Donald What’s Your Tartan?

Teacher and artist work together to bring a fun interdisciplinary project to Primary 4 students from Walker Road.

The partnership between visiting drama specialist Trina Smillie and visual artist Jane Ronie came through attending the Arts Across Learning Collaborate Educate CPD sessions, in which teachers and artists were paired together to inspire each other in creative approaches to learning in the classroom. 

Working in collaboration, Trina and Jane explored a drama project themed on the story of “The Three Donalds”, a metaphor for the origin of tartan. In the story 3 boys are born to 3 separate families, and are all called Donald.  Troubled as to how to distinguish them, the families appeal to the village Wise Woman, who solves the dilemma by weaving three distinct pieces of fabric to distinguish the Donalds.

In the classroom Jane showed the children how to weave paper into tartan, measuring the background precisely, choosing contracting colours inspired by the story, and then individualising each section. The finished pieces were then mounted on three separate panels which will be used as the “scenery” for the dramatic interpretation of the story.

The project was a fantastic example of interdisciplinary learning that wove together skills in art, drama and storytelling in a way that gave ownership of the staging decisions to the children.

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