Rathfarnham ETNS Project – artist in residence Tunde Toth – SESSION 6

Our 6th session took place on the 23rd of January in the school.

We introduced another another process connected to Batik: using hot wax from burning tea-lights to create images and patterns on paper. There was some silence in the class room!

We set up a space for each child with the burning tea-light, a small paint brush and paper and started a slow drawing process with the melted wax. As the paintbrush and the wax has cooled down relatively quickly, everyone needed all their patience to create their pictures.

The pieces were then painted all over with fabric dyes. A separate, un-waxed sheet of paper was also painted in a pattern or design, decided or chosen by the children.

St. Mary’s, Sandyford – Fourth Class – Session 12 – Friday 11th May 2018 Teacher: Áine O’Connell Artist: Michelle Read – Playwriting

This was our last session and a chance for the children to perform some of their scenes for two of the other classes.

The children spent the first part of the session fixing and finishing their set boxes and then picking partners and rehearsing their scenes. It was like being in multiple rehearsal rooms all at the same time – wonderfully chaotic, but with a very special urgency and intention behind the noise and bustle. It was wonderful to see the children so engrossed as I moved around the room from one story to the next .




Miss O’Connell adds (very kindly)… Our last drama session was very special, it was a culmination of all our hard work, the children got a chance to perform for other classes and the teachers commented on how impressed they were with the project. I was very proud of them and truly grateful to have had Michelle working in my class, I learned so much from her throughout the programme.

I would like to add how much I enjoyed working with, and learning from 4th class. They were a pleasure to meet every Friday and they seemed to really engage with the idea of writing plays and making stories that happen live in front of you. We had a lot of discussion of why live theatre is different from digital and recorded forms and about the impact of being in the same space with the actors and the set and the costumes and lights and sound… Live connections are of course fundamental to human life and it’s exciting to see children connecting with and understanding the power of liveness!

My thanks also to Fergal the head, and Carol the school secretary who extended such a warm welcome to me, and all the teachers at St. Mary’s who happily accepted me into the staff room at break time! But most of all to Miss O’Connell who made it all work and was so interested and supportive.

Here are some of the performances caught in pictures…

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Session Eight ‘Construction on a grand scale.’

Artist: Helen Barry

Teacher: Bríd McGovern

Class: Junior Infants (4&5yrs)

School: Our Lady Of Mercy School Convent

In our previous session we had concentrated on construction, building bridges on a smallish scale and teamwork. Each team consisted of 3 children. Some found this worked well and others found it more challenging. The children are really enjoying the designing and building in 3D hence we are going to focus on this until the end of our time together.

In Session Eight we divided the children into 4 groups keeping the children in their table colours. The children were familiar with the materials of foam piping, cardboard tubes and Velcro straps. They also had a good understanding of the building possibilities of the materials. In our previous sessions the children explored stability and structure so we were off to a good start. We also gave the children the option to turn the tables and chairs upside down. What was very different this time when using these materials was the this would be completely child led. In previous session I invited the children to follow a specific pattern in order to build a specific design, this time the children would do the design and then build.

In some groups the design came first and for other the building offered the potential for the design. I was pleased with how well the children worked in their small teams. Both Bríd and I worked hands on with each of the groups. As each group worked their designs and builds all took their own shape. Some builds focused on high arches, another a long piece and another a low series of sections. As they build the children were eager to play in what they were creating. The children worked fast and their structures stable.

When they had completed their builds I asked the children to draw what they had created. I really enjoyed watching this, on the pages the most beautiful designs for playgrounds appeared. During the break I put transparent fabric over each of the builds. And afterwards the children finished the drawings, ate a snack and got to play in their structures.

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Naturally the deconstruction was as energetic as the build itself.


dlr Primary Arts, 6th Class Kill Of the Grange National School Ms. Breen’s and Students 2nd Post May 2018

Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland,  Teacher: Elizabeth Breen

I asked Ms. Breen to ask the students for their reflections/feedback now,  several weeks on from having finished the dance project.

Here is some of the class feedback:

It’s been quite some time since we had the dance workshop, but I still remember each one of the dances.  I really enjoyed doing the dance workshop, every Monday and Thursday we would go down to the hall and we would start dancing. Whenever I was dancing I didn’t think about anything else. I thought the dance workshop worked really well and it always made me happy. I really enjoyed it.

When it came to the performance I felt like we were all amazing, we all danced like no one was watching.

Just before Easter we finished a dance workshop. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really like dance before because it made me feel awkward. Now at the end I can say that I am more comfortable with dance. At the end we did a performance for 3 classes and I felt really proud. The dance classes are something I will remember about 6th class.

Dance overall was very enjoyable, I feel that it boosted my confidence a lot. The show at the end was very good. We all did very well. Myself, Hayleigh, Zoe and Anna performed it for our hip hop teacher (Robert’s Friend). I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

Dance overall was a very enjoyable experience. We learnt loads of parts of it. From how to leap with the beat to choreographing our own dances. We danced to lots of songs and did a performance at the end for lots of classes.

Dancing was really enjoyable; Robert did really well explaining the science behind muscle memory and remembering all of the dances. He knew all of the dance trends.

My favourite part of dance was when we split into groups and made our own dances. I think    we all enjoyed it and worked hard as a team.

Our 6 weeks of dance were probably my favourite weeks of my entire school year so far. We   got very creative and without moves and I feel very proud of myself and  everyone else.

I really enjoyed the dance sessions. From the moment we started to the moment we finished I have learnt so much about dance and all of the different routines.

The songs we danced to were catchy and the dances themselves were memorable.

Robert was a very good teacher, great at explaining different styles of dancing, very patient and overall a nice guy.

dlr Primary Arts, 6th Class Kill Of the Grange National School 11th and 12th Dance Sessions – 19 & 22 Mar 2018

Artist: Robert Connor, Dance Theatre of Ireland,   Teacher: Elizabeth Breen

Coming into the final two sessions, and with our sights set on finishing the choreographies, we work through the warm-up and stretches. Most notable in this part, the students are moving well, making a real dance of this material that gets them focusing awareness on their bodies, the space around them, changing rhythm, direction, and texture, and moving with a sense of unity.

We turn our focus to the two choreographies, “This Is Me” and “Faith”.

The “This Is Me” chorus section repeats several times, so we create some variation in the canon “wave” effect coming forward. Starting from the back of the group, the dancers came forward in lines, each consecutive line joining in until all were moving forward together. It had been a slide, with arms high, as they moved toward the front. We made a variation on this for the last time of the chorus, with a skipping step, and rather than stopping when they reach the next line, do another movement on the spot. This achieves the wave effect and also creates another layer of motion as the wave moved forward.

We practice the whole dance several times, the slow expressive opening, into the more rhythmic lyrics and wave canon of the chorus. The sense of accomplishing the whole is coming into view, and they become more self-reliant in getting through the entire song…the crescendo of their strong “This is Me” shapes each time the line comes in the song…and at the very end.

In “Faith” we review the groups’ choreography for the lyric sections and the choreography for the chorus with the directional movement premise. There is a “break” part of the song, and for this, they travel with rhythmic steps, circulating, weaving around and through each other, to join with someone else who is not a member of their group. The groups were self-selected to begin with, so this idea is to get them to work with someone not in their group. Here they learn a simple partnering routine, and then leave to move through group again, this time to partner with someone of the opposite gender (moving out of comfort zones). Here they learn a second pairs phrase, and with this partner, they make a short 8 count phrase of their own…When the chorus comes back in, each person performs their own group’s chorus movement, so in each pair they are doing different movement, but moving in the same spatial directions.

In the final session, we have a short time to rehearse each of the dances, and without prompting from me…they take ownership of the choreography. They are nervous, excited, which is a good thing. I can see they have grown in their abilities to work together, to focus in ways they might not have before, to understand musicality, moving rhythmically, multi-dimensionally, and to feel more confident in their movement expression and believe in and experience their creativity in dance. It’s really a joyful performance.

Well done, 6th Class!  Thank you!

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St. Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves.

Session 11… Clay Selfies

Carmel had asked me if we could use clay today, so it was decided that wed work again with self portraits. we talked about where clay come from, how it is processed. where it can be found in our local environment etc and then recapped on the children’s experience in using clay at the school. pinch pots, coiling, making impressions and of the technique of ‘smearing’ and using slip to bind.

The class were given mirrors and we discussed the anatomy of the face, how the face is built onto the skeleton etc.we looked at how to build up a small head and shoulders sculpture, discussing how in reality the head is positioned on the neck and the proportions of the features.

Everyone has interpreted the project in a different way, with some of the children still preferring to create a cartoon representation. we’ve decided to go with it and have fun! after all that’s what creativity is about!

Theres still more fun to be had here… so everything is wrapped up ready for next session .

St Columbanus N.S Loughlinstown

Carmel Murphy’s 5th/6th class with Artist Jane Groves

Session 10.. In the clouds..

Today we worked on finishing our second cloud and on decorating the forms. It was decided by the class that they wanted to incorporate some natural materials.Half the class went on a foraging mission ( taking care not to steal any daffodils from the school garden!) while the remainder worked on covering the clouds ready for the additions to be embedded in the paper.

The children also worked on creating wishes which we decided would be hung from the clouds, these ranged from aspirations for the environment to ´I wish my dad would give up smoking´ to wanting to win the lottery! the children wrote and illustrated onto card and then these were attached with string.