Third and Fourth Class, Loreto Crumlin Senior

Teacher Ms. Murray

24 pupils

Our eight sessions with each class begin with the artist and teacher meeting to find themes and materials to explore with the children. Themes are often one that they are also studying in other subjects.

This ensures that the Creativity in the Classroom programme is unique to each classroom group. As the weeks go on the teacher and artist evaluate each session and decide the direction the programme should go according to this. One of the sessions includes a visit out of school to a museum or gallery. The museum visit also informs us on themes and materials. We invite parents in to view the children’s work and join them in creating work together in the final session.

The beginnings

We began looking at the balcony area off the classroom as a space. It was not being used and Ms. Murray was interested in developing ideas to make this space more interesting. The Creativity in the Classroom programme is not product based but we do explore ideas and materials and in this exploration we have products. Some ideas work and others don’t – trying things out and not being afraid is so important to the programme where children learn to believe in themselves and their ideas. We spend a lot of time discussing each other’s ideas.

The class were also going to study the Aztecs. We began with a slide show looking at two themes – Balcony gardening and the Aztec calendar Sunstone.

Plantings

The balcony is enclosed so we thought we could bring the sun into the area. We began by looking at patterns in the Sunstone. The children tried out a variety of patterns in oil pastels.

Then they worked in pairs to make a sun pattern. Pair work encourages the children to discuss, listen and compromise.

We brought in waste materials to recycle and use to make planters. We discussed what the plants would need, soil, water and somewhere for the water to drain.

The children explored the materials in a very creative way and we ended up with lots of ideas some practical and others not so practical, all productive in terms of children learning and thinking.  At the end we looked at each other’s ideas to see what we could make that would work for plants.

The children worked on grid paper too work out patterns to hang the bottles on the grid block work of the balcony. We had 24 bottles so the had to find a pattern to fit in 24 squares. Lots of maths to be explored! Finally the bottles were planted with seeds and hung in place. The children are tending the seeds and waiting to see the first signs of growth.

Sun God

We worked with materials that would survive outdoors to create a Sun God. The children explore pattern and shape using wire. They added colour by wrapping the wire in wool and weaving with the wool. Each child explored their own ideas and techniques and shared with the others. Plastic piping was used to create an ‘almost’ circular structure.

During final session before our Christmas holidays we looked at images of New Grange and how our ancestors worshiped the sun. To celebrate the winter solstice the children each made their own suns to take home.

Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire

We planned to take the children the Nick Miller and the Studio of Edward McGuire at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. http://www.imma.ie/en/page_236947.htm

During the session before the visit the children explored portraits using props.

The children began the IMMA visit looking at the contents of Edward McGuire’s studio. Then looking at the paintings they enjoyed finding props in the paintings they recognised from the studio. They quickly began to distinguish Nick Miller’s paintings to Edward McGuire’s. It was a wonderful exhibition to explore how different painters explore the same subject.

Finally the parents were invited in to view a slide show of the children’s work. The children explained the work. We did not get many parents – many of them were working but it is always good to have visitors for the children introduce their work to and it gives them time to focus on their experiences.

The children who had parents work on a collage of the child’s life story together. In the collage they shared stories of special occasions and people. The other children worked on their life story collages on their own.

These collages were then photographed and the images projected on to the faces of the parents and children and photographed again.

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