Sir Ken Robinson passed away on 21 Aug 2020. Much of the work done in this website has been influenced by him.
In his memory, may we ask you to watch his famous TED talk here.

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Schools

Usually, art teachers refer our website to design, technology or well-being teachers, as the method we implement can be utilised by other departments as well. If we have already met with an art teacher in your school, let us know here and we will send you material regarding your subject.

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Teachers
What is a Teacher Card?

In 2020, we are replacing Sample Implementation Plans with Teacher Cards. Contact us to get yours if you haven’t yet received one. 

I have new teachers starting this term. How can I train them quickly?

Please contact us and we will provide them with free training. Each teacher is also entitled to a free copy of the student book. Every time a teacher changes, let us know. The best way to do this is to appoint an owner for the Visual Diary Guide and ask them to arrange the training for every coming year.

We cannot get the digital access to the guides working?

Please contact us and we will promptly arrange the necessary help.

How come my students did not get the digital copy?

The Visual Diary Guide is available in hard copy, digital copy or as a bundle with both included. Even though they are all the same price, the digital part of the bundle option needs to be specified at the time of booklisting. If you didn’t booklist the digital copy then your students will not have it.

If you have missed that opportunity, we may still be able to help. Please contact us.

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Students

You can normally buy the Visual Diary Guide from the supplier indicated in the booklist provided to you by the school. If no supplier is indicated, please contact us here and we will help you.

“After 5 years of use across our year 7 to 10 cohorts, including Arts and Design, we are seeing some remarkable results with students drawing and annotating really well and owning their own creative process. It is now part of our Unit designs and I realise that we are really teaching our students to work like an artist. Yet, in a large team like ours where every teacher has their own style, the guides also provide the perfect flexibility. It is very rewarding and sets students up beautifully for Year 11. Clearly, middle years students can learn to work independently as early as Year 7.”
Kellie Muller – Visual Arts Specialist Leader, Mount Ridley College, VIC

“We have really been enjoying using the Visual Diary Guides. One of my own children is in the class and I am able to see it as it’s working. It has been an excellent learning tool.” 
Lizette Richards – Classroom Teacher, Carroll College Broulee, NSW


 

“The Visual Diary Guide has been a GOD SEND during Remote Learning. I completed a series of activities with my junior art classes and changed some of them, e.g. Photographing Food into graded assessment tasks.

The tasks contained in the VDG were achievable and accessible to all students. They were also easy to modify for differentiated learning.” 
Sandra Greed – Art Teacher, FCJ College – Benalla, VIC


 

“Hilary, your Visual Diary Guide has been such a huge help and very popular with my students. It’s been soooo very helpful during the distance learning as I encouraged the students to complete the home tasks! There are a variety of successes and the opportunity was too great to miss. Thanks for all your help. I will advise for this to be added to the student book list.” 

Linda Bryan – Head of Art, Shepparton Christian College, VIC


 

Feedback after 2 years of use

“This year, I had a chance to compare results between two groups of students: one with the guides and one without. There was a stark difference. The ones with the guides were more driven to investigate on their own, confidently approached tasks, produced individualised work and developed their own aesthetic. Students were engaged and even excited to do the homework! In summary, they had the skills needed to produce good work. All of this created a positive air around the subject. In contrast, the other group required a lot more attention, developed competitive tendencies (as their work became versions of the same idea) with some students switching off. Significantly, since using the guides, retention has increased.” 
Stacey Coralde – Head of Art, Northpine Christian College, QLD


 

Feedback after 1 year of use

“It took a little to get used to, but after using the guides for a year, I see it really helps students to observe. It provides a positive air around the art subjects, which is wonderful to see.” 
Stacey Coralde – Head of Art, Northpine Christian College, QLD


 

“Visual Diary Guide is working fabulously well in Home Ec, Dance, Drama, Indonesian and Personal Development classes. The teachers I asked to join me in this endeavour have taken it and rolled with it. It is amazing.” 
Madeline Lynam – Middle Schooling Coordinator, Providence Christian College, WA


 

“As an experienced teacher, at first, I was not sure how to integrate this into my program. I started with the build-up activities and followed the initial advice from the training: keep drafts small & rough, and get students working fast! I used music to stop the students when the recommended activity time elapsed. Working fast is really successful, keeps them motivated and brings out their creativity (and they’ve learnt to listen to my voice). Now that they can work fast, it is possible for me to shift to a student-led approach, which the project framework in the guides scaffolds. I quite like it.” 
Kate Langridge – Art teacher, The Hutchins School, TAS


 

“I have to say the Year 10 class that has had the books for two years now do indeed know how to annotate and explore media and ideas before embarking on projects. The guides have indeed fulfilled the purpose I acquired them for.” 
Catherine Grimwood – Visual Arts Teacher, Taree Christian College, NSW


 

“The books have been amazing and I am getting far more out of the students in terms of filling their visual diaries than I did before! It is totally awesome!” 
Laura Morley – Head of Art, Lilydale Heights College, VIC


 

“There is a lot happening in each book and the layout helps to create a sense of fast-paced thinking, then deeper thought, followed by connection of ideas, resolution then reflection. I really like the way that the language and focus changes with each year level, particularly with the emphasis on creativity being shifted from a personal expression standpoint to being presented as an advantageous trait in future careers. This addresses the issue of students frequently underappreciating the value of creativity and failing to realise the vast number of employment opportunities in creative industries. Top stuff!” 

Michael Kapadia – Head of Art and Technology, Sirius College, VIC

See more here…

Teaching Art or teaching to work like an Artist?

Most situations leave little time for Art teachers to do the latter

Yet almost all art teachers we spoke to aspire to do it!

We’ve found a way to do both within the allocated contact hours, even if you have just one-term a year. It may sound too good to be true, yet our experience with more than 100 schools shows that it works.

How do we do it?

We focus on annotation skills

while having students experience the creative process within the confines of your program

Annotation is a bugbear of most Art teachers (or any teacher for that matter) and rightfully so! Great annotations are the culmination of many other skills combined: analysis, independent thinking, literacy, creativity, and many more…

Five years ago Hilary Senhanli, as an art teacher, developed the Visual Diary Guide with this in mind. In the ensuing period, it’s been established that annotation is also a great indication of engagement, student agency, retention rates, and the ability to produce interesting work.

Hence, we focus on the underlying problems! When they are resolved, the “annotation problem” is resolved organically. It just so happens that students also become more creative along the way. The key is to start as early as Year 7.

Here are a few of the challenges that we can help you with:

  • How can you improve the quality of annotation?
  • How can you ensure your students reach Year 11 with sufficient independent thinking and Visual Diary skills?
  • How can you deliver your subject’s mission with such little time allocated in the early years?
  • What can you do when many of your students want to go “from concept to product” in one go?
  • How can you allocate more time for creativity when production takes up most of the time? And while parents want to see “good-looking” results?
  • How can you raise the profile of your department with parents and within the school?
  • How can you communicate to your students that there are good employment prospects for creativity skills?
  • As STEM spreads, how can you position your department to become a building block for STEM?

What do you get?

You get students who can do "it" themselves...

...while students get a personal activity workbook they can use in many subjects

The idea is to make the creative process explicit to each student through practice, practice, practice…over 4 years…until they realise the process behind each creation is more or less the same. At that point, they become independent creators and acquire a critical life-skill.

This can easily be done in Visual Arts classes, for which we provide a lot of Visual Diary fillers. But what if the Visual Arts is elective or is offered for just one term or one semester? How can this fit into the contact hours?

We’ve designed the Visual Diary fillers to spread across many subjects. Each subject teacher can spend around 15-20 minutes per term to run short activities readily available in the student’s bag! This gives students up to 16 hours of practice every year. Activities are Visual Arts heavy because it is the foundation subject in secondary schools that applies the creative process in practice! Yet, they can be run by non-Art teachers.

The activities cover Visual Arts, Media Arts, Graphics/VCD, Woodwork, Metalwork, Textile and Food Tech subjects. There are also activities suitable for Dance, Drama, Music and Well-Being classes (we have schools using it in Maths, Indonesian and Science classes as well).

This is also great if your subject is an elective and you may face students with mixed skill levels. Imagine your 7A students keep practicing annotation, drawing and analysis across the whole year. When you meet them again as 8A, they will be more ready. Needles to say that this approach also improves the profile of Visual Arts in the school.

And so far, you’ve only used half the guide!

There are project activities in the second half. When you are up for refreshing your projects, this becomes useful. Hence, we are creating a project library, which focuses on Independent and Remote Learning. Coupled with the above activities, these projects enable students to work like an artist.

The guides are available both in digital and hard-copy.

I am a student

You’ll be doing a lot of fun activities that push you to think quickly. You’ll get an opportunity to play a bit, maybe, even in the middle of a Maths class!

I am a parent

You’ll see the extent of the important work that is going on in your child’s art classes. Also, for the price of a loaf of bread, you’ll find activities in your child’s school bag that even you may want to do yourself (that’s what parents are telling us!).

I am a Visual Arts teacher

You’ll quickly notice your students are engaging more, filling their visual diaries with great annotations and working faster. Gradually, you’ll notice that they can work independently, that they like your subject more and their work becomes much more interesting.

I am a non-Visual Arts teacher

Doing the same activity from your subject’s perspective will give students a deeper experience and understanding. The mobile nature of the guide is good for excursions. You’ll notice your students enjoy doing the short activities as it breaks up the regular delivery a little. You’d hardly need art teaching skills. Overall, you’ll be contributing to an accumulative process.

I am the Coordinator

You’ll find it much easier to convince other subject teachers to work together on creativity.

I am the Head of Art

Your students will have much better skills in Year 11 & 12, especially the ability to work independently and coming up with their own ideas. You’ll notice the more this is established, the more your department’s profile will increase.

I am the Principal

You’ll find your students literacy, critical and creative thinking skills will improve before Year 11 & 12. You’ll be pleased to find a resource which can facilitate a simple way for staff to work together and across departments.

The project library has been designed to allow you to spend more time with your students and less time worrying about paper work:

  • Student task sheets ready to go
  • Comply with your state’s curriculum 100%
  • Project related images and videos suggested for you

You can also create your own projects in just 4 steps:

  • STEP 1: DEFINE YOUR PROJECT
  • STEP 2: SELECT THE CAPABILITIES AND SKILLS YOU WANT TO COVER (ticking boxes)
  • STEP 3: CREATE YOUR SPECIFIC THE TASK SHEETS (the guide provides most of the content)
  • STEP 4: MAP TO ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS OR OUTCOMES FOR YOUR STATE (ticking boxes)

You can develop any type of project within a day or two (not prescriptive). These projects make the creative process explicit for students to see. 

Request a demo below to see how!

(Some projects are also made available for Remote Learning due to COVID-19 pandemic.)

We support:

Teaching the creative process is non-trivial at the best of times

Hence, we offer a quick online demo to show you how it works. Afterwards, we’ll give you free access to the guides for 7 days.

Book a free online demo now: