Session Three: A Game of Cat & Mouse (Rat)

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23rd January 2017

Artist: Helen Barry/ Teacher: Sharon Smyth

I think that children in Senior Infants have growth spurt over the festive break. They all seem a little taller and definitely a bit more mature. January brings the children back to school with a new eagerness and willingness to learning and being with friends.

With all four wings prepared we were ready to stick all the pieces in place. This took some co-ordination and patience to get this to work. As we were using polystyrene we could not use the hot glue gun and even heavy-duty glues just melt the polystyrene. Hence much of the beginning of the session the children had to stand still holding the various pieces in place. Thankfully everything is very light so staying still is the most challenging part. We worked in small teams hold the pieces and one small team worked further on the overall design of the rocket focusing on the head of the rocket.

We were all a little impressed when the rocket stood in the centre of the room. We then looked at the design teams ideas for the rocket head. What shape would it be, how and what we could make it from. I knew that it would need to be cone shaped and I wanted the children to think about the construction of building this. In the midst of this discussion Olivia suggested that we constructed it like a staircase. Wider at the bottom and gradually building inwards. I was very impressed at how she understood the logistics of this and was able to explain her idea to the rest of the class. They completely understood what Olivia was saying. We then looked at what kind of materials we would need for this and all agreed to collect and bring in plastic containers of various strengths and sizes for our next session.

Putting our thoughts of rockets and outer space aside we moved our of creativity to a little Jolly Phonics. I asked the children to rhythm Hat and we got Cat, Rat, Mat, Fat, Bat……. Etc. We divided the class into groups of 6. Each group was given one word e.g. Hat. And six small black cards and coloured chalks. Each of the six children would take the word Hat and in either tiny, medium or huge draw or write the word. This took some co-ordination to communicate this to the children. Once complete we had six ‘flash cards’ for each of the five rhyming cards.

Now we were ready to play our game. As I held up each card the children had to match their voice to the size of the image or picture. With a little trial and error and lots of laughter we successfully recorded our voices shouting and whispering Hat, Mat, Bat, Cat and Rat. Note for the self – the pictures of Cat and Rat can be a bit too similar!

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