Ballyowen Meadows Special School – Session 9 Garden shadows

Again we built on the experience of the second session of the previous younger groups.

We began with a recap from before the easter break – showing photos of the work and talking about the process they had gone through “Let’s do that again” one boy said enthusiastically, and certainly our experience with the younger group had been that they did want to repeat the experience. However with only four sessions remaining we wanted to develop on from that. I suggested that this time we might see can we create actual places for their shadows to visit, and that each of them would use sticky backed clear plastic to keep the image they made – last time it had been all about playing “live” on the screen, just keeping the images through photographs.

We discussed then their favourite places and I noted down these on a large sheet of paper. I had had the images of places that we had used with the younger group to hand also, but in the event didn’t use them. We hung this list of places up on the wall and talked how they might like to create one of them to project onto the sheet so that their shadows might visit it. I reminded them of how they pretended to swim in the sea at the introductory session and showed them my beach set from one of my shadow shows up on the projector again, then bringing it to the table to let them see how I had made it using coloured plastics and found materials sandwiched between sheets of clear plastic. I also showed another set where I used twigs etc as trees, and I used the photos of their work to reference how we had used similar found natural materials to create interesting shadows last time. I asked them would they like to go outside to collect some things that might make interesting shadows, and this was greeted with enthusiasm, so we gave each a bowl to collect in.


Back inside I introduced them to the sticky backed clear plastic (which I got free from Recreate, although I had to be careful which one I used as one of them comes out as a grey tone on the projector rather than clear) and the boys arranged their collections onto it. We encouraged them to view it on the projector with delight all round at the results. If the boys wanted to then, they could add other materials and coloured cels spread on the materials table.


Only one boy worked pictorially – using a roll of tape, he claimed it was the moon, most of the others were satisfied with the materials and textures in their own right. Here I suppose I could have pushed the point of creating figurative places, but what they were creating was giving everyone sufficient pleasure it didn’t seem necessary. Some of the boys then interacted with these images with their own shadows as on the previous week. Then we wound up and name labelled everyone’s work and saved them for performing with or interacting with puppets and characters later, telling the boys they could take them home in three or four weeks when we complete.


Materials and Resources

Photos of work from previous sessions

Setting sheets from my own shadow shows

2 Overhead Projectors, extension cables, gaffa tape

Sheets of sticky back clear plastic

Coloured cels, and found materials that create interesting shadows, bubble wrap, laces, strings etc as before

Bowls to collect natural materials from garden

Place image resources and books

Sheets of A2 to note down their favourite places

Permanent markers

Cellotape, scissors etc


Blackout materials for the windows




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