Session Two – Obair Foirne- (Teamwork)


Artist: Helen Barry

Teacher: Eoghan O’Neill

Ranga Dó: 30 paiste

I surprised even myself this week, my level of Irish is far better than I had expected. I did however bring along at least 90% of the vocabulary that we would be needing on the day. I also brought along my Zoom mike so we could capture some audio of the children throughout each session and feedback afterwards. A little sample is in this blog but the sound level of most of the other pieces recorded were not good enough quality to use.

We began the session with creating our rhythm pattern using the a sound nest and the children’s clapping and exploring pattern-pátrún ceol, introducing the children’s voices.

Naturally being in Ranga Dó the children are the perfect age for gore and creepy crawlies of tropical dimensions. They had expressed an interest in seeing my Ciaróg (Beatle) collection. We all learnt some new words as I had headed to google to name the various creatures that would be joining us.

Damhán alla – Spider

Trantúla dubh- Tarantula Spider

Féileacán – Butterfly

Cuileog – Fly

Leamhan – Moth

Trumpallán – Dung Beatle

Foicje – Wasp

Cipíneach – Stick Insect

Péist – Worm

Snáthaid mhór – Dragon Fly

Bóin Dé – Ladybird, which I particularly like as it translates as ‘little cow of god’.

After lots of ooohhs and squeals and discussion about where in the globe the creatures came from and whether one could eat any we washed our hands and had a bit of lunch and a run outside.

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The children had really enjoyed the exploration of structures, building in 3D and understanding stability so we focused the session on this again. We remained in the classroom seated at our desks. I gave each child some Boucotelli a type of hollow spaghetti and some marla. Initially I asked the children to work in pairs to assist the building of a structure from the pasta. As the session progressed the pairs became single units. The children became quite absorbed in working with 3D this way. There were many different types of structures some very ambitious and some really interesting work.

The first part of the session was based in the classroom. Once we had put away the pasta as this was like a warm up session we moved down the corridor into a spare classroom which has become out studio. I had brought with me the insulation piping, Velcro, transparent fabric, pegs and each child brought their chair or cathaoir with them. We divided the class into 5 smaller groups. The children were invited to build a structure of their choice. Each group or team needed to be able to discuss and plan what they were going to build and how they were going to build it. Clearly some of the children found teamwork extremely challenging where as some children thrived on being part of a team. Structures went up and many came down as ideas were discussed, ignored and shouted as designs were torn down and rebuilt. Thankfully the children’s teacher Eoghan took this dynamic in his stride and supported the children figure things out or calmed them down.

We had 5 groups in total, 2 groups built quite ambitious pieces with some interesting ideas and good teamwork, another group built a complicated piece but perhaps under the guidance of a few determined engineers in their group and the final two groups energy and ideas was focused on the group dynamic. It was hard to watch the children struggle with teamwork, for many it is something new and it is a skill that needs to be learnt through practice.

We felt it was extremely important to have time for feedback at the end of the session. Some of the children said they found the teamwork really challenging and others enjoyed working this way. We debated whether working this way would be something that the children would want to do again. Eoghan felt that this is something that the children need to learn and with practice they will find it much easier and could find this a valuable skill to have. We agreed to divide each session into two the first art the children will work on something individually and the second part we will focus on building our teamwork skills.

A sample of the children talking about what we did in the session.


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