3rd/4th Class – Holy Family N.S – Week 9 – Parents Workshop

As this was our last week we invited the parents/ grandparents and guardians in to do a workshop with the class. While we were waiting for them to arrive we had an interesting conversation around what other subjects we had explored through art over the last nine weeks.  As we talked about it we realised we had some great examples:

Maths  – measuring/ space and shape/ 2D and 3D/ balance/ how old Picasso was when he died?

Geography – maps/ exploring our local area/ making physical landscapes

Science – lunar and space landscapes

History – local history through visiting Monkstown Castle

English – Oral language talking about our projects

Physical Education – Walkabout of the local area.

For our workshop today we were going to use the same starting point and mark making  processes as last week  to generate collaborative drawings – using works to describe marks and lines etc. using coloured pencils this time and with a different outcome. We swapped our drawings around and rotated them while working over them until each drawing was a mass of lines and marks. Now we had to find a monsters eye in the drawing….

Outline it and pass on the drawing for the next person to find mouth, and so on until fantastic monsters grew from the drawings. We then cut them out transposed them onto a coloured background and came up with the monsters name, where he lives and a mild super power that he or she might have….Here is the fully gallery of monsters!

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First Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Week 9 – Parents Workshop!

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This was the last week with First Class so we invited the parents in to do some painting with us! We had a great crowd and began the workshop by telling the parents what we had been up to over the last eight weeks – all the colour mixing and painting we had been doing. As it is coming into the cold weather today we mixed some Wintry whites. Mixing white with a little drop of another colour we soon had a wonderful rainbow of pale colours emerging in the classroom!

Then with all the colours we had mixed we changed tools – just like real artists we used canvas and palette knives and forks. Well a version of – we used some old blinds that I had got in Recreate and plastic knives and forks and experimented with the different marks we could get. Wonderful expressive paintings! Well done children and parents of First Class!

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3rd/4th Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Drawing and Mark Making


This week we went right back to basic materials – pencil and graphite and paper. We were exploring different mark we could make with these basic drawing tools. I gave a list of words that could describe a line – straight, long, thick, squiggly, scribbly, swirly etc and as they did each line we passed the drawings around working over each others drawings so they became collaborative drawings – nobody owned any of the drawings. We built up the drawings until there we no space left to fill as they were dense with lines and marks.

After lunch we resumed by looking at the drawings and I asked how we could change this drawing again – we agreed we could not do any more drawing on top – but that we could rub out some marks to make space, we could scrunch up the drawing, we could tear the drawing, we could fold it, we could roll the drawing, we could cut it up, make it into more than one thing. Loads of options and loads of ideas. It was up to each child to decide what they wanted to do – they could use scissors and an additional sheet of black or white paper to work with. Here are some of the transformed drawings? We finished with a discussion as to whether they were still drawings and whether they were now 2 dimensions or 3 dimensions.

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Also as part of today’s session we looked at Picasso’s famous painting Guernica and had a long discussion about one of my paintings Afghan Tour.

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First Class – Holy Family N.S – Week 8 – Thick and Thin, Flat and Round

Over the last number of weeks we have been exploring different painting processes – we have looked at colour, mixing primary colours, we have looked at mixing tones – light and dark colours and last week we experimented with using paint really thin with lots of water on watercolour paper (textured paper). So this week we looked at the brushes we use to paint with – big and small, thin and thick, flat and round, hard and soft. All these brushes can make different marks when painting.

So we began today just using one colour to explore the different paint marks. We were using thick paint – so we could also use our brush to move the paint around and use the end of the brush to draw back into the thick paint. A beautiful rainbow of paintings began to emerge in thick and vibrant paints!

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Dalkey School Project/ Forest Friday

Session 9

Today was our final session for this year. The fourth class invited their parents to work with them.

Fourth Class.

Pine Grove Meeting.

On arrival the children with their parents went to their mats. There were boxes with  a variety of natural materials – stones, drift wood, pine cones, berries, burdock seeds, sticks, ivy, conkers, moss etc. and some man made materials, cardboard cones and sponge. Another box had materials for connecting the objects – string, elastic, pipe cleaners.img_9010-copy
There were 6 cards for each group.Each card had a word. Each pair chose one card and the word on the card  inspired them to make something from the contents of the box.
The words were house, bicycle, squirrel, fish, bird and tree.








Our focus plant today was the Oak. On our way up to our camp we stopped under some oaks.

The children shared their finds with their parents.They found an oak tree with very large leaves and some oak apples and they explained what they were. Elliot found a jay feather.The jay is a shy bird found in broadleaf woodlands throughout Ireland.

At our camp we gathered in a circle to welcome parents and explain looking after yourself, others and nature.

Texture treasure hunt in pairs.

The children played their favourite game Eagle Eye with their parents.

Group project.Celtic society.

The Fine:

The smallest group in Celtic society was the Fine. A fine is an extended family group that included grandparents and parents and their kids, and could include aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids. The individual was not important. The fine was a unit, and was treated like one person. Everything belonged to the fine. A person could not break the law. If a member of a fine broke the law, the fine was responsible. By the same token, there was no such thing as individual glory. The fine was victorious.
The Clan:

The next step up was the clan. Each clan was made up of several fines. In some cases, a fine would be so large that it was a clan in itself. You were part of a clan for life and beyond. Clans went back many generations.
Each clan had a leader. You did not inherit leadership from your father. Any male could be chosen as long as he had a blood relationship to the clan. Each clan expected certain things of their leaders. Leaders had to be strong warriors. They had to be able to work out disagreements with other clans and conduct trade and raids on neighbouring clans. Most importantly, they had to be rich enough to throw really good festivals.
Clans stuck together. Members of a clan supported each other. That is one of the major reasons the Celts never developed an empire. To have an empire, you need a central government, with one leader who ruled all the people. The ancient Celts would never had allowed this. Their loyalty was to their fine and to their clan.
Inside each clan, there were three major groups of people.
· At the top were the nobles, which included warrior leaders and landowners.
· In the middle were the artisans, druids (priests and teachers), and the bards.
· At the bottom were the common people, the peasants.
Everyone in Celtic society belonged to a clan. Everyone belonged to a fine. And everyone had a job to do.
Each fine had several buildings that they shared. One building called a roundhouse was a big home made of straw and mud. This is where the members of a fine slept and sheltered from the elements.
The Celts did not have chairs or furniture other than a scattering of low tables. They slept on furs or mats. They sat on the floor. The biggest piece of furniture in each home would be the large looms where fabrics were woven all winter long.
They also built outbuildings that they used to cook food, tan leather, store food, and shelter their animals. Again, these outbuildings were shared by everyone in the fine. Sometimes, these buildings were shared by several fines. These were farming communities. But that’s about as big as a single “village” grew. The ancient Celts did not build cities. It was not their way.
Each homestead (group of buildings) was surrounded by the fields in which they grew crops. Beyond that, at the edge of their boundary, the fine built a short wall made of rocks. This wall was used to define the fields that belonged to the fine, and also acted as some protection from attack.
In times of attack from another Celtic tribe, or from the ancient Romans, the fine retreated to a hill fort, which was built on top of a hill. It was surrounded by enclosure of stakes.
Hill forts were huge things that could hold everyone in the village in times of attack. There were huts and cattle enclosures standing ready at all times. But unless the fine was under attack, they stood empty, waiting until they were needed. The Celts did not like to live closely together. The hill fort was considered a temporary retreat.
The Celts built large earthen banks or stone walls around their farms to protect themselves and their animals. These walls were called raths or duns. The more important families had several circular banks protecting their homes and sometimes they built their homes on high ground, which were called hillforts. Some families built forts surrounded by stone walls or banks of earth on headlands looking out to sea.
They were both farmers and hunters of food.

Each pair in the group choose a part of the village to work together on. Everyone got going with problem solving using natural materials from our camp.

Finally each pair had to find a space to sit within the boundary and spend a quiet 10 minutes listening and watching the forest.We gathered together to reflect & integrate.img_9106-copy

Ms. Dungan’s Fourth Class

We started off with playing a few games to get us moving on a beautiful, cold morning.

On our way up to base camp, we learned some fox walking skills that the Fianna would have been expert at. When we arrived at camp we explored textures within the boundaries and then had some free play with our parents.

There was a bird of prey hovering over the rocks as we sat eating lunch.

Then we got stuck into the focussed part of the session where we made villages from the time of the Fianna. Though everyone was given the same design brief and had the same raw materials at their disposal, imagination and the flow of collaboration and problem solving created such diverse and inventive villages.

There are furrowed fields to feed the village, sacred sites to honour the ancestors with the first yew tree in Ireland, interwoven fences, water slides (which as the village didn’t have any cows of their own, they decided to use the water slide to barter for milk!), trees planted outside, vegetable patches, watchmen to guard the gates, food stores built up off the ground, carrot rows, fire places, a bicycle and mountain bike track and many more details that were discussed and created.

Creativity is characterised by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated things, and to produce solutions. It was a real pleasure to observe the children and adults figuring things out together, interacting with the natural world in new ways, making connections with the past, problem solving with each other and producing their imaginative interpretation of a Celtic village with natural found objects.img_1173

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We noticed how many curriculum subjects we had covered in the session:
– Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiuil through our fox walking game and instructions
– English with all the oral language and problem solving tasks and the texture treasure hunt
– Maths through the robot game and problem solving
– SPHE with looking after ourselves, each other and the world
– Art inherent in nearly every aspect but in particular with the construction task
– Geography in the local natural environment and looking after the environment
– History through story and the Fianna / Celtic culture
– Science in Living things and in particular with learning about the trees and noticing the changes in the season and observing what’s around us
– PE in the outdoor adventure and games.
– Ethical Education in the sit spot and in Ethics and the environment


We are so grateful for our parents to be able to join us and for having lots of fun together.

Sixth Class.

Our focus plants today were holly and ivy. On the way up to the camp we found holly and ivy growing together. The children tasted the sweetness of the pollen on the flowers of the ivy. Saul found two branches and made a deers head using his hand and branches as the antlers.

Photographs for a band promotion and album cover.

This was the challenge for sixth class. ‘Your band has a forest theme. You are going to work on your costume. Each member of the band will wear a headdress and will camouflage parts of the body.Work in pairs to create your costume. You will choose a setting for the band and a point of view that a photograph will be taken. These photographs will be used to promote the band and for the album cover.’

Preparing for photographs.

Band Photographs

Free play

The children created their own games with leaves.

Ms. Dungan’s Sixth Class.

Album Cover Photographs

Figuring out what way they wanted it to look; tweaking; trying something different each time.

Start with one thing and end up with something completely different!


1) The Bushmen
with their album “Minecraft parodies 2017 4th edition (deluxe)”

2) The wee rascals
with their album “Dún na nGall”

3) The Windmills
with their album “The constipated puddle”

Over the last 9 weeks in the forest, we built connection in ourselves, between each other and with nature. And had a lot of fun in the process. As one child said, I nearly always learn more when I’m having fun at the same time.

Towards the end of the session, we had a lovely sit spot and ended by sharing our gratitude with each other.


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3rd/4th Class – Holy Family N.S – Week 7 – Finishing the 3D Landscapes

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We began these landscapes weeks ago but between the midterm break and our visit to the LexIcon we only had a chance to return to them today. So we retrieved them from the hall and had a look at what we needed to do to finish them off – we needed to add some features – people, buildings, animals, rocket stations, skyscrapers, signs, flags, rainbows. We were going to use a range of different ways of making and adding these things. Using skewers we could cut out things from card, attach them to the skewer and stick them directly into the model. We also used string, straws and folded card to make loads of different things to populate these colourful landscapes. (The election of Donald Trump influenced these landscape building projects….just a little bit with a few Trump towers appearing!!). Once the class got started and experimented with what they could do with the materials the landscapes developed up and out and beyond!

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First Class – Holy Family N.S – Week 7 – Watery Colours and Running Paint

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Today with First Class we continued our explorations and experiments with Paint and Colour. At our last session we had been using thick paint and mixing strong colours. When using paint there are  a huge range of different tools, different thicknesses and different textured surfaces you can use and experiment with. Today we used watercolour paper which is a bumpy paper and the stiff like card – beginning with putting water on the paper and letting the paint mixed with lots of water drop into the water and spread out and move around the watery surface. Everyone used different brushes to get different marks and discovered they could get darker blue by adding more paint to the water.

We then introduced red and experimented with letting the colours run together and by tipping the paper we could allow the colours to mix together and get a range of purples from pinks to red purples to dark blue purples. Using the brushes in different ways they could get different marks and shapes and brushstrokes. They began to look like skies, clouds, oceans and galaxies. We all gathered together to look at our creations and point out what they might be.


After break we had a look at The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner – an artist who loved watercolours and painting the sea, clouds, skies and storms at sea and when everyone else was sheltering from a storm at sea he would take his paints and stand at the mast of the boat to paint what it was like to be in the middle of a storm with the wind and the rain swirling around him.

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