One more lovely day

Today was our last day, its amazing how quickly you get so used to each other and it seems so strange to be leaving, even if it is “only” virtually.

We had a few bits left to do on the map that we are hoping to use for the game that the class devised. The questions are ready, the bits are being made for the game and lots of thought is going in to all the elements of this board game.

map still left to do

We are using our origami boxes (4 of them ) as our dice.

One of the other things that went on today is the structure building with all the origami boxes, but with an added difference. As part of the structure we were using the leg or other parts of a chair or table to build around, it adds interest and also helps as a support for the structure. Looking forward to seeing the pictures of these! (they were building this in the back of the classroom and sadly the camera cant’ reach there).

We had some technical hic-ups, which sadly happens and when it does can disrupt the flow but we also have become quite resourceful and thankfully when it happened today we already discussed what we were doing for today and the class were in full swing when the connection dropped.

so as well as the box buildings, the mapgame the class revisited the traces of human life photographs, this time though we used them as starting points for map drawing.

map collage 2sm


I did mine on top of some old marks that I found on a piece of paper. using them as a starting point for contours, roads, rivers and paths. The photographs can look like landscapes already and since our discussion on what we see and what we imagine it seemed natural to respond to the things that we found by using them in a way that could show us something new!

I can’t wait to see the results of this!

One more thing we had to do was to try the game……. it is hard to develop something without trying it first, there is a lot to it! we had the rules made:

  1. youngest roler goes first or first to roll six.
  2. if you roll 6 you get another go.
  3. 2-4 pleayers can play.
  4. Follow the black line
  5. Someone else reads you the questions
  6. First to the old school win
  7. Make sure everyone plays fair!
  8. if you don’t know the answer you have to back two spaces or unfold and fold an origami box.

so we put these to the test; reality showed that thinking out all the steps takes a bit more trying out but it worked!

We had a busy but lovely day, so sad its over now!

Thanks third class! you were brilliant!!

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fingerprints, contours and map game… oh and boxes, lots of boxes!

We started of today by looking at fingerprints. This came up in discussion a lot last week when we revisited the idea of traces, and marks we might leave behind.

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looking at the lines we talked about other things it might remind us of

Trees, water, mountains and all things like that.

I found a piece of a tree yesterday that reminded me of my fingerprint drawing!

you know what they say…. great minds….!

tree   finger

they also reminded us of the ridges of mountains.

I found a lovely map of Banna beach ( one of the places one of the 4 old schools was)

and as Ardfert is fairly flat this was the best example for contours/ mountains on maps.

and we talked a little about how that would look in 3D.

banna   model

 So first off the class had their magnifying glasses at the ready and a bit of chalk to highlight the ridges in their fingertips and on close inspection they did lovely line drawings of their fingerprints.

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Then before the break, as per request form the class we did a trial of different ways of using the boxes. to make it fun and even a bit harder we set a timer to two minutes and each group had a go and see what they could come up with.

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In our chats last week the idea of making a board like game with the maps and all the research and all the other bits that we have gathered, done and learned, came up a few times. We have a wonderful map, lots of boxes, traces, x-ray vision and knowledge and  ideas, so after the break two groups set about thinking up possible rules, questions and things you might get to do if you get something right!

the other groups concentrated on adding colour and other elements to the map that will enhance the journey from the old to the new school and make the game bright and colourful.

All will be revealed!

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photo’s, x-ray vision and the like

In our last session we looked at the boxes we built and how we could take interesting photographs of these spaces, there are lots of options for angles and light to be considered and the different groups all had a go at it.

example 1 sm example 5 sm example 6 example 7 sm

We also looked at something called Amodal Percepetion.

We just call it X-ray vision!

it is where you look at say, the table in front of you, and although you can only see maybe two legs or bits of three of them, you know that there are four legs. Your mind fills in the blanks…

so for instance: this drawing I made by standing on the treshold of my kitchen, everything on the right of the red line is what I saw and everything left of the red line is what my mind knew to be there. Each group in the class had a good at using their x-ray vision too!

amodal  detail


One of the main things of today was discuss all that we had done so far and all that we could do with that! so in the groups the children came and chatted to me about all the possibilities that we might not looked at yet. so we discussed the boxes we have been folding..

boxes 2 sm


The map, the other built boxes, the writing and the drawings and the traces, to name but a few. there was some wonderful brainstorming with brilliant ideas for the last two weeks ahead.

Last but not least the groups did some writing about the ideas of history and what it “actually” is. we had devised some start of questions to help the thinking along. I haven’t read or seen the writing yet so am bursting with curiosity!


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history to be unfolded

The Virtual connection always has its challenges but the beauty also is that it can be done from anywhere. I had to go to Holland for a funeral but this beautifully did not have to impact on the project. Sadly we ended up doing this session via Email (as phone were not an option) because of an internet issue in the school.

But preparations were made and the class could get to work on their constructions of the rooms. I could not show them to them, (yet) but continuing on the idea of traces and unfolding history I always return to Gordon Matta Clark.

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in his work he investigates structures, layers and investigates places in ways we wouldn’t dream of trying.

deconstruction is as interesting as construction.


(example of one of my (older) trials)

In order to catch up verbally with the class we logged in again a few days later just for a little hour to discus their beautiful photographs. in groups they came up and speculated over the origins of the marks, dents and scrapes.

‘Maybe a chair was thrown after a hard maths exam?’

‘the hole in the brickwork would make a wonderful hideout for insects’

‘The big blob of white paint could have been made by a clumsy painter’ or even a pancake from a pancake competition which was painted over?’

‘ and a long time ago, (because I saw it) these marks might have been made by people carrying chairs in and out of the classroom’ or ‘ maybe it was the cleaners trolly bumping into the wall’ or ‘ someone carrrying in a chair for the inspector?’

We have a lot of research, making and investigating done now its maybe time to step back for a minute and see what all these bits are telling us. which bits grab our attention, what needs more experimenting and investigating and what can we leave behind?

‘ in years gone by there might have been an earthquack that caused the crack in the ceiling near the junior infant classroom?’

The construction of the rooms that the class are working on is hard but I hope very satisfying, we don’t have to be precious about the materials and the efforts will still be visible even if we try to deconstruct them again. (We haven’t gotten to that yet)

So lets see what wonderful conversation unfolds this week!

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Traces of human life and imagining

We started our session this week with looking a little bit more at why Rachel Whiteread and I talked a bit about the idea behind the boxes; she is interested in traces of human life and this can mean al sorts of things.

I had gone looking for traces around my own house and showed the class some of my finds.

paint mess sm


radiator small


nail sm

The children went in search for these traces and marks that were made by children and teachers over time in the school. some wonderful examples of this you can find here! (the teachers journal).

We had split into groups of seven and everyone had brought in cardboard, one of the tasks of the day was to tear up the cardboard into pieces roughly the size of our hand….. what this will become is yet a surprise!!

Every group also traced a part of the map of Ardfert, projected on the whiteboard. Another work in progress but it is great to approach our ideas from so many sides and discover what comes to the surface.

One of the ideas from last week we wanted to investigate further was the idea of imagining what might have been there or what things, that we only have a small puzzele piece of, might look like.

We have one picture of the interior of the old Ardfert school. we looked at it and all the things that could give us clues. and I showed the class what I imagined.

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I also had some little details I imagined other spaces with:

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And I had sent ahead seven different pieces of my house (on paper…) which became these wonderful spaces!

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We concluded our session with a discussion on wether history is fact of guessing? and we will continue this debate because it was not as easily answered! A classroom divided with very valid points being made on both sides! the No side (no to it being guesswork) argued that we have proof of things, where the yes side were not so sure about how you can actually know things for sure! Oh so much food for thought!




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research, maps and memory

We had our first Virtual Meeting!

in the week that I was away the teacher and the class went off and researched the old schools and the things that happened and discovered things that were different and still the same.

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they showed me the work they had done in the lovely notebooks Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.48.04Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.48.13


we imagined where the chimneys might have been for their turf fires and wether or not there might have been an upstairs or not…..Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.49.54


the class also had used the throndel wheel to find out how big the new school is and showed me the drawing. we traced it on the whiteboard and located the different parts including their classroom.

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(apologies for quality of images we are working on improving this.)

And told me as many things as they could remember from their findings. like how many rooms, children, teachers, when things happened and how. what the children ate, how they heated the school, how strict the teachers were and lots lots more.

After the break we looked at the map of Ardfert

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and where the old school that we visited was and where the new school is. and we traced our path and tried to remember all the things in between, like shops, the fountain and peoples houses.

So lots of discussion of facts and findings (research) as well as imaginings and speculations about what might have been (guessing) or what we could remember (different for everyone!) this is proving quite interesting. History being something that is made up of a bit of all the above……

When we had our meeting in the education centre a while back a few children described a few objects to us all, which we drew then without knowing what it was. This time the children drew the front of my house just with my description, better still only with my words and memory and imagining. with lovely result and not an easy task!

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.49.18 front


(again, whiteboard pictures are not great but hope to have a solution soon!)

The class has also been very busy with their folding of the boxes for our ongoing project.


they have one WHOLE BUCKET full already!!Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.49.26

And to inspire I showed them a picture of Rachel Whitereads’ Embankment. (2005).

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which we will further investigate next week!

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