St. Mary’s, Sandyford – Fourth Class – Session 3 – Friday 2nd February 2018 Teacher: Áine O’Connell Artist: Michelle Read – Playwriting

Today it was a bright cold morning and there was lots of energy in the class so we started off by sending a clap around the room and back as fast as we could – which was quite exciting. Then we sent our names around the room in the same way, loud and fast, which was great fun.

Next we had some story volunteers who stood up and tried to keep a made up story going for 2 whole minutes. I was adding in story suggestions and we noticed it was hard to keep going for that long, but that it was good fun and quite funny. We’ll do it again next week for those who didn’t get a go this week.

So once we were all warmed up I asked the children to take out their scenes from last week based on characters from Matilda. We had a little bit of time to finish writing and to rehearse and then the scenes were presented to the class. The co-writers of each scene had the option to read it out themselves or to ask myself and Miss O’Connell to read for them. We talked a little bit about how nice it can be to perform your own writing, but sometimes if you’re a writer, you just want to watch your work performed by someone else (a lot of writers can be quite shy in fact).

All the scenes were very well written and found something new and different to make the characters say, which was really interesting (and there were also some sad bits, some disgusting bits and some funny bits!) Some of the scenes are attached here as audio files!

We were very much in the flow of creativity, so the children got back into their pairs and groups and had a look at an unfinished scene. The task was to read through the scene and then to write their own new ending. This was a scene between a shark and a unicorn (and sometimes also an Octopus) and it wasn’t clear what way the scene might go… would the characters all get what they wanted? Would nobody get what they wanted? Or would there be a betrayal?! Certainly in one case the unicorn helped the shark, only to be eaten in return! Sharks, huh? What are you gonna do?!

Miss O’Connell added…

This week the children continued writing their scripts. Overall, they collaborated well together, and it was encouraging to see them make amendments and discuss the script with each other.

The children were very excited to see their script performed for the class. They were given the option to perform the scene themselves or to have the teachers perform it for them. I found that they were quite specific about whom they cast as different characters and they were willing to give direction to the actors. It was interesting to observe them learning to be independent and watch them establish creative control over their own work.

I feel that they learned a lot about editing during this session. This was a new experience as their writing is often critiqued by the teacher before the final product is displayed. However, during this session, the children went directly from writing to performance. Many of them realised when they attempted to perform their scene that the script wasn’t very clear and as a result the actors were either unable to follow the script or were not playing the characters in theway they had intended them to be played. The children then regrouped, edited and amended their scripts independently.

I learned a lot about my class while observing them during this lesson. Many of the children who are usually quite shy and timid were eager to perform, they put on accents and performed as actors in several of the mini-dramas.Other children who would normally be quite loud and articulate were reluctant to participate. Then there were children who were not shy but who wanted others to act out their scenes, so they could give direction and see their work performed. This activity certainly allowed the children to express themselves indifferent ways and it was amazing to see different parts of their personality manifest.

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