At the end of the session we wrote the blog as a group:
Last week we met puppets and wrote a story about who we thought they were, where they come from etc. and discussed them.
We read out some of these stories, and looked at some of the themes and ideas that came from them:
Theme of family problems: intergenerational disagreements, Alzheimer’s, missing out on daughter’s childhood due to overwork, “tension between father and a daughter’s wishes for future” etc
“I really liked the idea of the family arguing so I made two siblings be arguing like real life”
“I liked the ways you could find ways to link the stories and tie them together”
“I found it difficult to create something from nothing by myself” 7 students agreed with this.
But 5 “knew straight away what I was going to do”.
We drew out pictures of scenes inspired by this discussion and by last week’s work.
We shared them with the class. We hung similar scenes together and made connections between them. Then we split into pairs and developed storylines around some of the ideas.
We started planning our story and what we are going to do for the next while. We drew storyboards in pairs.
This week we looked at some artists’ work for inspiration. I also saw some of the class’s previous work on land art. We then continued brainstorming and developing our ideas from the previous week in new pairings. We added some new ideas and developments to our list:
names and leaves etc pressed into concrete in yard?
Picture of year use to paint this onto a wall
Scrabble / crossword with our names, added to each year on a wall? in yard?
Festival / Fun Fair Day: Bouncy castles, food trucks obstacle course each leaving class puts a splat of paint on wall and year
Put on a puppet show, about?
School animal farm run by an adult
Hand print with name on it
Eating in yard
pen sculpture with our names in it
Tips / advice book for 5th class maybe added to every year
Games in the yard
Alternative “sports” day
We then collaborated in groups of three or four to explore one of our favourite ideas by constructing a model of it from mixed media. We didn’t finish this yet so will return to it in the next session.
Brainstorming, Remembering and Dreaming
“We summarised stories in a sentence
We made up stories for Niamh’s puppets which we worked with last week
We remembered, then drew / wrote good memories of our time in school. 13 in the class really liked this.
Ideas of what we would love to do together to leave for the school when we go. 13 in the class really liked this.
We wrote the blog.”
The class agreed choices from all the brainstorms of what we would love to leave behind in the school :
- Names and leaves etc pressed into concrete in yard?
- Picture of year, use to paint this onto a wall
- Scrabble / crossword with our names, added to each year on a wall? in yard?
- Festival: Bouncy castles, food trucks, obstacle course, each leaving class puts a splat of paint on wall and their year eg: 2019
- Put on a puppet show, about?
- School animal farm ( run by an adult?)
- Hand print with name on it
- Being allowed to eat in yard
- pen sculpture with our names in it
- Tips / advice book for 5th class, maybe added to every year
“Hello” and Research day
I met all three classes together for an introduction where I shared some of the ways I work and took questions from and asked questions of them. I then worked with each group for half an hour each. In the half hour I asked them to dream up stories / lives for some puppets I had brought, and also asked them to individually dream / brainstorm how they imagined we might work together over the next 3 sessions I will have with each class, and the final shared session with all three classes.
As this was our last session together we invited our parents and some siblings to join us for a reflection on all we have done together and to enjoy a puppet show.
We used images on the blog and the children’s memories to share what we enjoyed best. Then the children chose to work in groups behind the puppet screen. When the puppets took over it became very lively.
It was great to see the puppet characters emerging through their play and improvised performances.
“This is Humpty Dumpty’s cousin and his name is Matt”
Lily the puppet on the left: “I like eating pancakes all the time, so I can get fat. I like to spend time with my sister, Isabel”
Isabel, puppet on right: “My favourite thing is going into Fairy Doors and wandering off and I love rainbows and I am 7”
The children were delighted to bring their puppets and books home and after the excitement of the show and visit from the parents, they settled down and continued working in them.
I began by using my puppet to introduce some ways of making hair. This resulted in it being awarded purple hair by the children, completely changing its character in a very interesting way. Then the children set to, to finish their own puppets. Again, they were very excited and it was a very busy session.
As they finished, they used their notebooks to think up some biographical information about their puppet – having been asked to make 3 “I am…” sentences that their puppet might say to explain about their self when they meet another puppet.
After their break we made a simple puppet booth and the children, in pairs or threes, had a chance to practice saying some of this to the audience of the rest of the children.
The children really enjoyed this. I noticed, that, as usual, puppets can be quite bold and rude. My puppet and I gave them some performance tips where necessary.
We also tried to connect via Skype with another Educate Together Senior Infant Class in Dublin 11 who were working with puppets, but unfortunately we had a technical hitch and this was not possible.
For my next, last, visit the parents are coming to help us celebrate all we have done together and to see an improvised puppet show. Then, at last, the children will be able to take their books and puppets home.
First we met our rod puppet again, who with help from the children talked us through what we needed to do next to our puppets. These had dried very nicely, very few needed repairs. Those children who had been absent the previous week were able to catch up quickly with heads from polyballs with Lolly sticks glued into a slit in them. They were able to quickly make the hands from cardboard kitchen rolls as their classmates had.
The puppet helped us with a quick recap on paint mixing – I advised that we would focus on skin colours first, on the face and hands, and we talked about how to make darker or lighter skin colours. When the puppets were painted, we then glued on their eyes, being careful to leave them lying down and resist the desire to play with them. It was such a busy session that afterwards they had the quietest lunch break ever!
After yard I showed the children how to fold and cut a rectangle of fabric or socks to make the clothes for the puppet. We glued the head and hands into the centre and middle corners of the fabric to make the body. We used pipe cleaners also to help hold them in place while the glue dried, and make nice collars. The children had brought in lots of lovely things to make with, it was like Christmas for a while as the children opened the bags, and they were good at sharing with each other where necessary.
Brown gummed roll (for quick repairs and strengthening)
Paint, palettes, brushes
Small beads, sequins, buttons etc for eyes,
Fabric, socks etc
PVA, 15 small pots , 30 lolly sticks to apply it.
Wools feathers etc
Their notebooks, Hole punches for additional pages.