* This session uses a Pollock picture. There is one downloadable at the bottom or find your own image that would work!


  • Are there any objects in this painting?
  • Are there emotions in this painting?
  • Is there anything in this painting?


Starter Question:

  • Does this painting make sense?

Questions to take you further

  • Is this painting nonsense?

  • ‘It doesn’t make sense’. ‘It’s nonsense’. Do these two sentences mean the same thing?


  • Write a sentence about something that happened this week. Make sure what you write doesn’t make sense?


  • What if the artist wanted it to make sense – does it make sense then?

  • What if the artist didn’t want it to make sense – does it make sense then?

  • If it makes sense to the artist then does that mean that we should be able to understand it too?

  • What if all pictures were in this style, would it make sense then?

  • What if no other picture on the planet was in this style, would No. 5 make sense?

  • Why would somebody made something that they didn’t want you to understand?

Doing Question:

  • Can you write a story about your breakfast that doesn’t make sense?

Take a student’s example, here is one from 8 year old Clara:

“Today I eat 5 bananas and 4 bananas and 5 but 6 but 7 slices with 9 jams on it.”

Q: Does Clara’s sentence succeed in not making sense?

Another example from Jane:

“I have krave breakfast with my brush after I left home 8:00 but I didn’t.”

Q: Does Jane’s sentence succeed in not making sense?

Try Reading

On Not Getting It, by Adam Philips
Death of the Author

Download Resource

Download Nonsense