Holy Family N.S – Week 5- Exhibition Visit to dlr LexIcon – Lines of Negotiation

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This week both class groups visited the exhibition – Lines of Negotiation: Mapping the Land at dlr LexIcon Municpal Gallery. This is a group exhibition of artist exploring the mountainous landscape of the county curated by Claire Behan. The class walked through the exhibition looking at the artworks and the different materials used by the nine artists in the exhibition. They watched the video piece and then we sat around Patricia McKenna’s artwork and discussed it – how was it made, what was it made from, was it a landscape we had ever seen before, was it a real landscape?

We then looked at the two artworks by Anne Cradden – they really liked the drawing and thought it looked like a hedgehog! They also really liked Diana Caramaschi piece how it was suspended and was a mountain that you could see through. We also looked at Kiera O’Toole’s drawing Insider Outsider which the artist used white ink on black paper so the reverse of how we usually do our drawings.

Using white pencils on black card we went upstairs to the Children’s Library to the huge window so we could get a good view of the surrounding landscape – all the way to Howth on the other side of Dublin Bay. After some short drawings we wnet back to the project room and used different white papers – cartridge, tracing and tissue paper to build up the landscape in layers. A really enjoyable morning in the Lexicon with the two class groups!

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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 7

Pine grove meeting point.


Making Images With Natural Materials.

It’s interesting to see that as each group gets a different box each week they create their own ideas, so what they do differs from how those materials were used the week before. This week images and words  were combined with the group who had the sea stones and chalk box. They began with words. A rock labeled so it could be seen camouflaged on a jumper. img_8492-copyThen they made images – turtles and labeled them. Then one child re-labeled his turtle and it became a sun.


Our focus this week was the Mountain Ash and spiders and webs.While looking closely we find lots of other interesting things on the way. Each week it takes us longer to reach our camp as children stop and examine their finds.

We found different shaped webs. We noticed that there were a lot of webs on the hog weed seed heads and on the gorse. We observed the spiders and gently vibrated the webs.There were seeds and flies trapped in some of the webs.Here are some of the things we discussed.


Observe spiders and their webs. Count the spider webs. Notice them. Gently touch the web with a stick so as not to break it but to experience the stickiness and elasticity of the web. Notice the spider. Is it off to the side in a “den”? Is it in the centre? How does it act when you approach? Is there a spider sac in the web?

  • What shape is the web?
  • Why do you think it’s that shape?
  • Do you think the silk is all the same?
  • Why does a spider have a web?
  • When an insect gets caught in the web, what happens?
  • Describe the web. Is it criss-crossed? Is it in a sheet? How are the threads held together?
  • Spiders release two types of silk. What is the purpose of each type?

What do you think a spider does when it is frightened?

Creating a string web.garden16

We had a look at this diagram to use as a starting point to making web.

The children worked in pairs.

The pairs were asked to choose three rigid branches to create a string triangle or use a peg to anchor the threads to the ground. Using this frame,they crossed lengths of string from one side to the other.We had discussed that spiders are like fishermen only their nets are air nets instead of sea nets.The aim of their webs was to make the holes small enough so they could trap things. When they had finished they threw leaves at them to see what they could trap.

4th Class.

David noticed that he could make sounds when he vibrated the strings on his web.

Ms. Dungan’s 4th class.

Finding webs

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We made some spider webs using string. We had to problem solve and co-operate to create them.

We played a maths game involving 90 degree and 180 degree angles.

We used field guides to discover what was around us.https://www.opalexplorenature.org/identification

We found lots of interesting things.

Alex and Benan were looking for acorns under an oak tree and got to see a grey squirrel eating a nut. They didn’t find any acorns though!

After hearing a story about Oisín and his youth, we continued developing skills needed to get into the Fianna such as jumping over things without breaking stride. Abby helped us learn by demonstrating her parkour skills which are a modern day equivalent.

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We noticed:
– the glimmer of the sea (many photos)
– how there was moss at the bottom of most of the trees but not at the top. (photo)
– a spider web in a stone
– a beetle caught in a spider web on a rotten piece of bark
– a boat really far out in sea
– that our spider webs looked better from far away
– how flat and calm it was
– it’s fun to poke yourself with gorse for some reason
– a helicopter flying overhead
– an ash tree overhead with lots of keys (photo)

We had our lunch and our sit spot out on the rocks and really noticed the changing light on the sea. Abby took some beautiful photographs of this.

6th Class.

Our story this week was about Oisín’s birth.In the story we hear how Oisín has to undergo challenges to join the Fianna. He has to run through a forest without disturbing the hair on his head, pluck a thorn out of his foot while running and running under a branch no taller than his knee.

Sixth class create their own challenges by making an obstacle course for each other.

Fourth class practice fox walking.They have to sneak up to the ‘farmer’ who is blindfolded. The do this by learning how to walk like a fox.img_8514-copy

Ms. Dungan’s 6th Class.

We’re preparing for being the leaders for welcoming our parents to the forest next week. We remembered the three golden rules. (Keep yourself safe and happy. Keep others safe and happy. Keep nature safe and happy.) We’ve chosen a game called Fox and Rabbit to get us active at the start of next week.

We found loads of things using our field guides, including lots of spider webs that were helpfully glistening in the sun. We even found a spider web between two sticky back seeds. And a few spiders!

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We identified rowan, ash, oak and beech trees. We found dock leaves, plantain, bramble, hogweed and clover.

We kept finding spiders and other creatures such as earthworms, woodlice and slugs.

We created our own spider webs which worked very well as traps! They all looked so different.

We developed our Fianna skills and some of us were able to do trunk jumps!

We paid attention to:
– how many pine needles there are and how painful they can be
– a woodlice on the rock that was blending into the soil and I wouldn’t have noticed it if we hadn’t had our sit spot
– when I threw grass up in the air it flew into Isabel’s face
– there was only a tiny bit of wind
– that there was loads of gorse to one side of me and loads of trees to the other side
– the sun made a sun bridge to Bray Head
– that we were almost in line with this low cloud
– how many bugs were on the inside of the log
– the wind blowing on the cobwebs we made


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3rd/ 4th Class – Holy Family N.S – Adding Colour and Texture to Landscapes

A lot of our landscapes from last week had come unstuck so first thing we needed to do this week was to fix them and make them stronger and sturdier. We were going to be adding PVA and tissue paper to them so they would have to be strong enough to take that!

To give us ideas for different colours we might use I showed a slide show of images of different lansdcapes – desert, valley, mountain, underwater, Arctic to illustrate how you could use a range of colours. I also showed how with the tissue paper you can put one colour on top of another to create different colours and shades.

The class got stuck in and worked well together building up colour and form on their landscapes.

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First Class – Holy Family N.S – Mixing Loads of Different Reds, Purples, Pinks and Oranges

We began this week by looking at the schoolyard through the red transparent sheets. We added another red sheet to make it more red, then tried yellow with red, blue with red and green with red to see all the different reds we could see. This week we were going to try and mix these colours in paint. Starting with a sheet of paper we divided it into four spaces by putting three lines of masking tape across the sheet. I gave a demonstration – using just red first I painted a stripe of red, then slowly added a tiny bit of blue to give a reddy purple, then another little dab of blue to make it more purple. I continued across the sheet making more purples.

This was quite a hard task for First Class – it took a lot of time and concentration. But with the help of the teaching staff everyone worked it out and created a range of beautiful reds and purples. We then moved on to yellow with red to make a range of reds and oranges. And then used white to make a range of reds and pinks. The children realised that some colours are stronger than others so you need to mix in more paint – eg. red is stronger than white so it takes a lot of white to make a bright pink. Really lovely work and a lot of concentration and serious mixing from the children!



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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 6

Pine grove gathering spot activity.

Focus tree – The Ash

We took a long way up to our camp so we could find ash trees. The children noticed that the leaves were pinnate – a word we learnt from last week having looked at the elder leaf.They had an odd number of leaflets opposite each other.Some had 15 and others had 13. Daisy noticed that there were a lot of black buds. We couldn’t find any seeds called keys on the trees we found but we found them on the ground.

As the weeks go on the sessions are guided by the children’s curiosity. It took a long time to get up to our camp as they constantly stopped to share things they found.Looking and responding is as important as making art.  Discussing pattern, colour and texture makes the children aware of the world around them. They noticed the light through water droplets on the pine, the pattern of the canopy of the leaves, the change of colour of the track up to the camp from the fallen leaves. We stopped for a long time to look at the seed heads of hog weed. Each one had a spider web on them. We watched a spider working his way towards and trapped fly.

Skellig Michael Monastery - Location for Star Wars VII

Skellig Michael Monastery – Location for Star Wars VII

How did the monks of Skellig build circular huts in the 6th century?How would they make a perfect circle?

The children tried out different ways of making circles using their bodies.A young tree as the centre with measured steps was used. One foot as the centre and the other foot marked the circumference. The length of the body was used. All these ideas were difficult as the centre point kept moving.

They tried with tent pegs and string. The monks would have had wooden posts and rope made from straw. They got perfect circles using this method.

Fourth Class Circles.

Sixth Class Circles.

We played some new games, rain sounds and fox walk and read the story ‘ How CuCulann got his name’.

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

This was a shorter session today as the school mass was on. So we got stuck in straight away after lunch to begin developing our 3D landscapes – we are still working in pairs and using the maps from last week as our starting point. Using cardboard bases and scrunched up newsprint and masking tape to mould a landscape – islands, mountains, volcanoes, underwater landscapes. The class found this difficult at first but once they started they worked away and built up their landscapes. Next week we will begin by making these landscapes more compact and solid with tape and then cover them using tissue paper and PVA.

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First Class – Holy Family N.S – Week 3 – Telescopes

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Since we went on our walkabout in the first week the class have been asking if they could decorate their telescopes but we did not get a chance since – so this week we decorated them. We began by rolling out one sheet of paper to cover the tube completely and then used smaller pieces of paper to decorate it. Some of the class made some their shapes 3d by folding them and making them pop-up off the telescope. Now we needed to make a lens for the end of the telescope to look through – some of the class had seen the coloured cellophane and thought this would make a good lens to change how we see the world around us. So we stuck sheets of it on the window and played around with layering the colours –  one red on its own was more pink when you looked through it, two reds together would make a deep red, and putting a red and blue together was purple when you looked through it. We might go on another short walkabout next week to try them out!

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