Rathfarnham Educate Together, Session 5, Shadow Monster Factory

Again the children met the monster puppet, but this time it was also greeted by a puppet one of the children had brought in and a “sleeve puppet” that was spontaneously made by another child. An interesting interchange between these creatures happened. My monster clearly learns quickly, and was able to speak a little more and so could answer a few more of the children’s questions.

We then looked back at the shadow monster pictures that we had taken the previous week. The children took a lot of pleasure in this, calling out the names of the participants. We also looked at, and discussed, some photos of exotic creatures to further inspire their ideas. Then we invited the children to make a new monster head for themselves, higher than their own, which could alter their shadow. I showed them how, with a strip of cardboard and a sheet of light card/heavy paper, this taller version of their “monster” selves could be worn on top of their head. We showed how cutting out eyes and mouths etc (by folding the paper to make a cut, or asking an adult to help) they can appear in the shadow, and can be coloured by adding plastics, feathers etc. We had an army of parents ready to assist, each with specific assigned tasks – some to help with cutting out with paper knives, another to help make the strips the right size to hold them in place, etc. I had a bag of scrap theatre lighting gels, bubble wraps and various textural and shadow making materials which we divided into trays for the various tables so the children could access them easily.

The atmosphere in the room was wonderful and the children worked at a very relaxed, happily focussed pace, with lots of excitement as they tested their coloured shadows on the screen and the school whiteboard as they went along.

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