Week 3: 6th Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Light, Colour and Reflection

I began today’s session by looking at an image from New Grange (3200BC) and we talked about what the class knew about New Grange. Some had been before and remembered about the chamber, the Winter Solstice and the sun lighting up the chamber and that that it was a burial chamber. We talked about how it is older than Pyramids (2610BC) and although similar in that it is a grave how special it was that the sun came in on this one day – maybe the dead persons birthday or day they died.

We then looked at an image of the Rose Window stained glass from Chartres Cathedral and I explained how stained glass was used not to allow those in the building to see out but to control the light that came into the dark gothic churches. How they were also used to tell stories from the bible – so nearly like a comic strip. But also how the artists who created these huge stained glass were artists, craftspeople and engineers. I was using these images to get the class thinking about how an atmosphere, environment can be created by using light, colour and architecture.

Unfortunately the session was shorter than usual so we had less time to get on with the practical making part of the session. The intention was that in pairs the class would create models of light installations using reflective card and the coloured cellophane as the colour filter. So as we only got started on these models we will try and get time to return to them over the coming weeks and explore the effects of light, colour and reflection.

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Week 3: First Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Spooky Street

10th October 2019

When we finished the constructions last week and put them all together Ruby said they looked like a line of houses or a street. Which got me thinking that we could build on some of our construction techniques and look at the idea of inside and outside and with it coming up to Hallowe’en what better way that to make some haunted houses! We looked at the shape of haunted house and how the walls are kind of wobbly. We discovered that if you made some ghost sounds while drawing the house that you ended up with very wobbly walls indeed making it look all the more spooky!

Then we looked at what might be inside and drew the rooms inside and then where the windows might be and cut open the windows with a little bit of help all round. It all got a bit noisy so we took a little minute to look at new ideas that we could use like the pop out ghosts by folding long strip of card with ghost on the end. We thought of ideas for what might be outside the house – railings, gravestones and maybe a full moon in the sky. Then it was time to give our haunted houses a name and assemble them altogether to create a haunted street. Very busy session! And some great ideas and sharing of ideas too!

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Week 2: 6th Class – Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Stained Glass Designs and Portraits

3rd October 2019

Following on from the suggestions from the class to work in abstraction and stained glass I had planned to work with the designs we had created from the layered drawings from our walk to Monkstown Castle. So we overlaid the designs with A3 acetate and coloured cellophane creating stained glass version of our designs. The class got stuck into this and worked quite quickly in some case simplifying their designs so that there were block of colour. While some in the class experimented more with the shapes and overlaying different colours.

So as a short exercise and to carry on the idea of starting from observational drawing and moving to abstraction – we did some direct portraits. Using A4 acetate on the windows the class worked in pairs on each others portraits with permanent markers. and then added layers of coloured cellophane so they began to look like some strange contemporary pop art stained glass portraits.

Images to follow.

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Week 2: First Class – Holy Family N.S – Flat Shapes and Folded Shapes

3rd October 2019

Following on from gathering drawings and shapes last week we selected two shapes – one man made and one natural. We drew them on white card and cut them out so now we had a shape we could draw around and repeat to create patterns. We could put the shapes on top, beside, overlapping, upside down, sideways to create a layered drawing.

We then had a chat about how we might get our shapes to stand up – not flat on the sheet. We tried putting glue along the dge but it was too thin and fell over. So then one student suggested if we folded the bottom is might stand up. So working from a flat card the class experimented with different ways of folding and bending card to construct. The constructions grew and grew – all different! Some started making buildings, houses, garages, grass etc. So when we put them all together Ruby suggested it looked like a line of houses or a street. And this leads nicely onto what we will do next week – construction but with a seasonal twist.

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Week 1: 6th Class – Holy Family N.S – Angles, Reflection and Abstraction

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26th September 2019

First week back with Mr.Watt’s 6th Class – I have worked with this class nearly every year since they were in Junior Infants so we know each other well! After some reminiscing on projects we had done over the years I asked the class if they had any suggestions for materials, themes or ideas they would like to work on over the next nine weeks. Suggestions included: Construction, Stained Glass, Abstract Art, Painting, Puppet Theatre and Action Figures.

So I planned to link some of these together over the first three sessions. As with every year I like to being with a walkabout around the field and as far as Monkstown Castle – gathering ideas – to bring a different angle and viewpoint to our drawings we brought small mirrors and tries to find different angles, reflections, abstractions.

On return to the classroom we then enlarged our drawings and began layering the drawings on top of each other to create an abstract design with some recognisable shapes and features from the walk. We then selected colours to add to the design. We will return to these designs next week.

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Week 1: First Class, Holy Family N.S, Monkstown – Out and About

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26th September

First week back with Ms.Brandsma’s First Class – I had first worked with this class when they were in Junior Infants. Also 6 students from the ASD Horizons will join us every week too. So we began remembering the clay we had worked with and also they all remembered we had read The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt when we were exploring paint and colour. In planning for this term we decided we are going to focus on construction – as the class do a lot of colouring and drawing we felt it would be good to get them working more in 3D. So with this in mind we were going to go for a walk to the park to gather some drawings of shapes and patterns and we will use these shapes as a starting point for working towards construction.

We discussed what shapes the class know already – square, circles, rectangle, triangle, oval. And also had a chat about natural and man made shapes and patterns. With folded notebooks and pencils in hand we went on our field trip – making drawings and collecting natural objects like leaves, conkers, feathers, helicopters, twigs, flowers, weeds – so a very busy walk!

After break we selected one thing we had collected that we would draw – looking at the item closely turning it round in our hands to notice details, marks, colours and textures. We used some magnifying glasses to help us see and draw small details. Beautiful observational drawings by First Class!

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Dalkey School Project/Forest Friday

Session 6

Focus animal


Hedgehog Read-Only

Interesting Hedgehog Facts

  • Hedgehogs have poor eyesight but a great sense of smell – so good that they can even smell the scent of an earthworm underground
  • Hedgehogs can swim but can become trapped in pools and ponds with steep sides
  • As many as 500 fleas live in a hedgehogs’ spines
  • Hedgehogs can wander for up to 3 km a night in search of food
  • The English name hedgehog, is because when they move through the hedges looking for worms and insects, they make a piggy grunting noise.
  • The Latin for ‘hedgehog’ is Erinaceus which means ‘spiky wall’
  • The Irish word for hedgehog is ‘gráinneog’ – meaning ‘horrible one’
  • Hedgehogs occasionally perform an unusual ritual of ‘self-anointing’. This occurs when they come across a strong or an unfamiliar scent. The hedgehog will lick and bite the source and then form scented frothy saliva, which it pastes over its spines with its tongue. Some believe that this ‘anointing’ camouflages the hedgehog with the scent of the area.

Winter nests – Master builders

Nests are constructed in sites chosen for support from surrounding objects. They are usually made mainly of dry leaves, specially selected and carefully built into a robust weatherproof structure. They are 50 cm in diameter. Nests built in brambles, with plenty of support last a long time.


Make a Hedgehog

Materials: clay, Pinecone or teasel.

Build a hibernating nest of grass, leaves and dried vegetation for your hedgehog.

It’s October, your hedgehog has to build up fat for his hibernation. Where does he eat?

Can we find hedgehog food in our base?


Materials: card/paper, pencils and or black markers, magnifying glasses.

Find food for hedgehogs. Work in pairs. Draw each kind of invertebrate/hedgehog food you find. Count how many you find of each and put the number beside it.

Senior Infants

Meeting Point activities.

At the meeting point. Senior infants are very inventive. Every week new things happen with the boxes of materials. One child is hitting a stone with chalk and asks us to listen to the rain. Stones change colour when painted with feathers with water.

On the way up stopping under a horse chestnut and finding lots of conkers. One child found the biggest conker ever!

It takes a long time to walk up to our camp as the children show such curiosity in everything as they encounter. Letting millipedes walk on their hands as the examine them.


The hawthorn tree is at the top of the hill. Today we hiked up and collected haws to make tea. The weather was so sunny we decided to have our picnic and drink our haw tea on the sunny rocks.

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What is in the pool? Something new to explore.

Clay, pine-cones, pencils and bug boxes for our hedgehog focus.

Second Class

Something has been feeding on this very large mushroom.


Recording hedgehog food.

One child saw a mouse go down a hole. A group of four spent lots of time waiting patiently for the mouse to come out. They tried lots of tactics. They placed a piece of cheese at the hole. Someone got a clump of grass to hide behind. They created a wonderful imaginative word in the cave by discussing what was happening to the hidden mouse.

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