August 20


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It has come to my attention that lots of Visual Arts programs/classrooms don’t seem to be doing clay anymore!

grade 1 clay

grade 1 clay 57

I have developed this opinion after discussing it, off the cuff, at school, at network meetings, at our Outer West Visual Art Teachers Network Professional Learning Day, earlier this year, talking to colleagues at last year’s Art Education Victoria Conference, etc, etc, etc.

grade 1 clay 53

grade 1 clay 53

And, as far as I am aware, modelling is still a part of the Visual Arts Curriculum in Victoria.

grade 1 clay 54

grade 1 clay 54

I use clay for most of my modelling sessions. It’s fun. It’s messy! It’s cheap! And my students love it! And I love it!

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grade 1 clay 65

And, let’s face it, the Visual Arts room is the last place in the school where you are not only allowed, but encouraged, to make a mess, while you express yourself!

clay man in boat

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So what is happening out there? Are you still doing clay at your school? Have you got a kiln that is no longer being used? Why not? Do you find it too messy? Seriously? Or is all the kiln firing too time consuming? is it an OH&S matter at your school? Why? Do you use alternative materials to clay for modelling or is it just not part of your Visual Arts curriculum any more???? Do you find it a bit scary – a bit out of your comfort zone? Would it be helpful if more networks or other bodies were offering more professional learning in this area?

grade 1 clay face 22

grade 1 clay face 22

Please reply and comment on my observation as I would really like to know what you think.


PS I have mentioned this to my students and they have been as horrified as I am that there are other students out there who seem to be missing out on such a wonderful material to learn and have fun with in the art room.

grade 1 clay face 27

grade 1 clay face 27

July 5


Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1


It is less than 12 months since we had our first meeting and our OUTER WEST VISUAL ART TEACHERS NETWORK is thriving! We had our first professional learning day, organized by ourselves, for ourselves, in March this year which was a great success, considering we had only been operational for 6 months.

Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1

Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1

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Since we have commenced we have had meetings in many primary art rooms across the outer west and have shared and learnt so much from each other. We have shared resources, rubriks, assessment ideas, ipad apps, pinterest boards,  planning documentation, favourite art supplies, etc, etc, sent hundreds of emails to each other, and oohed and aahed appropriately over each others ‘show and tell’!

Spectacularly, all of this is done with the one constant we can be certain of – our incredible budget of $0!!!

Yes, all of this incredibly valuable professional learning has been achieved out of the giving of our own time, the depths of our own pockets, to provide drinks and nibblies for after school meetings, and the goodness of our schools allowing us to hold our meetings in our art rooms.

Our membership grows every week and includes part time and full time Primary Visual Arts teachers, some with tons of experience, some brand new, aspiring Visual arts teachers who are working in general classrooms, and PSTs (pre service teachers who used to be called student teachers, once upon a time). All are welcome as we all have skills and ideas to share.

Just email me if you are interested in,

shelley menhennet




Walls Road


An easy drive from Hoppers Xing, Tarneit, Truganina, Pt Cook, Laverton, Deer Park, and all parts west!!!

WHEN: Thursday 30th July 2015