An example of how social media can provide CPD that enriches teaching practice, from Kate Sturdy.

Social media is the biggest form of free CPD out there. It is global. It allows you to share the amazing work your learners create to a wider audience. A wider audience across the whole world – how fantastic is that?! It also allows you to ‘magpie’ (or pinch) ideas off other teachers who might have more expertise. You can ask for advice from others and widen your knowledge and understanding. For example, look at the self-portraits made by my class. I ‘magpied’ this idea from St Ambrose Barlow Art and Design Department, an 11-16 school in Salford.

If I hadn’t engaged in social media, I would have never seen this. I would have never questioned their talented, knowledgeable, KS3 Art Teacher on how her children made their self-portraits. I would never have shared it with my department, and there are 135 children who would never have had the opportunity to create these amazing pieces of art if it hadn’t been for this Twitter connection.

All in all, social media is one hundred percent a blessing, where teachers can learn so much from each other. Teamwork makes the dream work – by sharing ideas, help, and advice from across the whole world.

It’s the best free CPD you will ever get!

Self-portrait lesson


You will need:

  • A4 acetate
  • permanent pens
  • photographs of learners’ heads and shoulders – A4 size
  • paper clips
  • fluorescent paint – 4 different colours
  • sponges cut into quarters (each learner will need 4 quarters)
  • A4 white paper cut into quarters (each learner will need 4 quarters)
  • A4 white paper
  • glue
  1. Paint the 4 quarters of white paper using 4 different fluorescent colours using sponges.
  2. Whilst the paint dries, place the A4 acetate over the photograph.
  3. Using the permanent pen, draw all the lines of the photograph, face outline, eyes, nose, hair etc.
  4. Next, place the acetate over a piece of A4 white paper and place a paper clip at the top to secure it.
  5. Once the 4 quarters that you have sponged with fluorescent paint have dried, rip them up into different sizes.
  6. Carefully lift the acetate and glue pieces of the fluorescent paper on the white A4 paper the permanent pen portrait will cover. It looks cool if pieces slightly stick out onto the background.
  7. Once the fluorescent paint covers where the portrait is, secure the acetate to the A4 paper by stapling in the middle of each edge – top, bottom and both sides.
  8. Finally, take the paper clip off. Ta da!

Top tips

  1. When taking the photographs of your learners, ensure that the head and shoulders fill most of the photograph. You don’t want a massive space above the head.
  2. Make sure the whole of the head is in the photograph, especially the top.
  3. Remember to add as much detail as you can using the permanent pen, details such as strands of hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, creases on top etc. The more detail, the better it will be!
  4. Try to leave little gaps between the pieces of fluorescent paper so it has a mosaic effect.
  5. When you glue a piece of fluorescent paper down, don’t glue the same colour near any of the edges of that piece.


  • Kate Sturdy

    Kate is Year 5 and 6 departmental lead (six classes), the KS2 curriculum lead (12 classes) and a Year 6 teacher. She has given presentations to teachers for the Welsh Government, lectured at several universities and is currently working on personalised assessment with the Welsh Government. Kate also provides Adobe Creative Cloud training to educators globally.
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