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Victorian Arts Week

The year 3 Arts Week activity was to make a diorama with a Victorian theme.
A diorama is a three-dimensional full-size or miniature model, sometimes enclosed in a box or in glass. The Victorians enjoyed looking at dioramas because of their detail and 3D effect.
First, we planned and designed our diorama, including our ideas for the background, middle ground and foreground. We drew the three scenes on different sized paper:
For the background we used the largest piece of paper. For the middle ground we used a middle sized piece of paper and for the foreground we used the smallest piece of paper.

We included historical detail such as Victorian windows, doors and street lamps.
We used black pen to 'ink in' the detail.
We coloured, added detail and carefully cut out the 3 'layers' of our diorama, including tabs to stick to the scenes to the base.
We coloured and added detail to our base board, for example a pavement, river or stream and railway tracks.

We stuck the 3 'layers' of our diorama to the base using the tabs, then we added finishing touches.
We thoroughly enjoyed making our dioramas. It was interesting to see so many different interpretations of the theme.

In Year 4 we studied how wallpaper was made in the Victorian times using block printing. We looked at William Morriss' designs and then created our own clay piece based on his style.

We also learnt about the history of Snakes and Ladders. Originally it was designed by Hindus to teach religion. We studied some Victorian designs and then we created our own games.

In Mrs Rowley's group we looked at the work of Edward Lear. We read some of his nonsense poetry and limericks and looked at some of his examples of nonsense botany. The children then created a piece of work of their own.

In Class 8 the children created their own Victorian silhouette portraits. They drew a profile of their friends and framed it in order to create a portrait. In the Victorian era, ladies would cut silhouettes out of black paper, frame them and hang them on the walls to decorate their home.


Throughout our ‘Victorian Arts Week’, the children have also had the opportunity to make their way to the playground to participate in some games that Victorian children would have enjoyed.

We had a go at some hoop rolling and skipping, and even used chalk to draw out our own hopscotch grid before enjoying the game itself.
We learned a great deal about how children used to play and the Victorian games they enjoyed!

In class 11 with Miss Aldridge we have been learning about Victorian hats and were inspired by the mad hatter from Alice in Wonderland to design and make our own hats.  First we learnt about Victorian headwear focusing on the top hat for men as well as the bonnet for women.  

Did you know hats were popular throughout the Victorian period and they were worn for all sorts of occasions such as:  to indicate a person’s job or as part of a uniform; for wearing when in town and to indicate the status or importance of a person. In Victorian times it was much easier than today to tell from a person’s hat how much they earned, what they did for a living or where they came from. 

Next we designed and made our hats using card, we tried to make them different by thinking about the shape, style and colour.  We then accessorised our hats using ribbon, feathers, flowers, jewels, fringing, veils and patterns.


Phileas Fogg Balloons
As part of Victorian Arts Week in Year 6, the children designed and created their own hot air balloons inspired by Jules Verne’s story of Phileas Fogg.  The children learnt a brief history of balooning from its modern inception by the Montgolfier brothers of France some 250 years ago, up to the modern day uses of weather balloons and Felix Baumgartner’s extreme skydiving!

We also talked about how it captured the Victorian imagination of flight and Jules Verne’s visionary stories, in particular Around the World in 80 Days.  Having heard an overview of the global adventures of Phileas Fogg and his renown as a hot air ballooner, the children then set about decorating and assembling their own Phileas Fogg balloon.

The older children were given a spiral template which they decorated and cut out.  The next stage was to carefully secure each arm of the spiral so as to create the overall balloon shape.  With the balloon created, they turned their attention toward assembling the basket and decorated and cut out an open cuboid net on a piece of card.  The final step was to attach the basket and balloon using some string and basic knots.

The younger children followed a similar process but rather than creating a fully 3D balloon from the intricate spiral template, they decorated 2 pieces of card which could then be cut and slotted together at right angles.
The children really enjoyed the activity and made some amazing and vibrant designs that Phileas would have been proud of!