The mad session – Session 10

We are all in the hall today. Leanne is working with the children creating tie dyes designs on pieces of materials with the children. She and the children are using natural materials to create dyes. She is using turmeric, beetroot and red onion. The energy is the hall is electric.

Whilst this is going on, I spend time with with 4 groups individually.

Chatting and listening, observing and questioning, sharing and encouraging.

Here are my notes to each group –



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A frustrating experience – Session 9

This session proved to be a very frustrating lesson for us all.

Technology really impended our ability to connect. We’d actually had a really smooth run up until now. I could see and hear Ms. Kyle and the children but they couldn’t see or hear me. I must admit the experience was both frustrating and upsetting as I fely much arise for me around ‘letting everyone down’. It was a slightly surreal experience and brought up much feeling around…. really wanting to be present in person with Leanne and the children. I felt the restrictions of this particular medium and the virtual space between us.

So we worked separately and at the end of the day we sent each other WhatsApp voice messages.

We continued to work with our attention to ‘hands’.











Creating and building layers.

My attention is with, ‘how are we promoting positive experiences with our own bodies and with the natural world outside?’

Through our layered creative process, how are we all developing an ‘interest, sense of care, love’ for our own body as a place and our own place (the environment around us)?

Then I receive Leanne’s photographs of the children’s work today.

Acknowledging my absence in the session today was difficult for me.

I recognise the beauty, details and sense of care in the children’s art work today.

Response time: I feel moved by their work to go outside – listen, see, touch, sense and taste.

I visit Dzogchen Beara, a Buddhist retreat centre in West Cork and attend an ‘Exploring the Senses though Meditation’ retreat (

The drive up to the retreat centre
The meditation room looks out to the Atlantic. The fog is down at the moment!
Out for a walk.
The first fuchsia appears.
It’s great to see and smell the gorse.

I wish to learn more and experience other ways of ‘being’ through my own senses. This feels important for me.

Here are some images of my time at the retreat.

From Lisa’s personal journal,

Knowing and sensing the place I’m in and the world around me. 

Fullness of internal place.

Fullness of external place.’


A final word for now –


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Session 8 – trying to tie everything together!

After the last session, Ms Kyle brought my attention to ‘trying to tie everything together’. I was really grateful to her for reminding me to consider the intentions, choices and actions of this project and ‘how’ we speak about what it is we are doing.

We have expanded our ways of working. These include movement, going outside, mark making on rolls, gathering natural materials, sensory exercises, drawing with particular attention to our hands.

I write Ms. Kyle an email. I want to try to become clear in our communication about what I feel is underpinning our work and where I wish our attention to be placed.

I write this… ‘bringing together the story of our dances, our drawings and our choice of colours (for our rolls and costumes). These are then all underpinned by sensory experiences and engagement with the outdoors and the seasonal changes that are happening around us.’

So I play and explore the layers and interweaving elements of our work together and I create a short video.

I also wonder if all children, Ms. Kyle and I can perhaps share our individual understanding and experiences of the work we are engaging in together. Is it possible for our container to hold a multitude of diverse understandings and experiences? Perhaps we are not all experiencing the same thing at the same moment.

Response time:

I travelled to the Burren in Co. Clare to attend a ‘Place-based Learning’ symposium with the Burrenbeo Trust, I attended a workshop by artist Karen Webster and really enjoyed some of her tasks. I have included some images here from her workshop.


Seeking to match colours from the environment we are in.
For one minute I closed my eyes and listened. I recorded all I heard through marks on this page.
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Session 7 – the fruits of our gathering

With the fruits of our gathering, we are feeling the connections of the experiences that we have invested in.

We continue to investigate – identifying and acknowledging the season that we are in now. We ask each other – How is our body receiving this change? – through the senses.

The children are expanding the breathe of their language – words are emerging from feeling, touching, smelling, seeing, noticing, listening, hearing and tasting.

Receiving and digesting – we take our time.

I worked with small groups this week. A pair or a trio of children at a time. The others were working outside or in the hall. I notice my attention to my role as listener and observer.

Asking and encouraging the children to identify the parts of their dance that they enjoy and feel interested in. I encourage them to expand and deepen into these parts, to physicalise it more.

I was really taken with the children’s care and attention with me. They asked me ‘can you see us Lisa?’, ‘can you see us dance?”. They moved the camera up and down when needed. I noticed my heart swell and received their attention and care.

I’m really with Miss Kyle’s initiative and motivation. I feel that she is the lead driver of our partnership at the moment. I really appreciate her energy, her ‘gatherings’ and the connections she is making.

I feel clearer in myself because of her responses and encouragement.

We tried something new this week. I wanted to give the children a practical example of a dance that was developed to reflect the seasons. I tried to teach the children the movements of the dance – the Nelken line. I think it is tricky to use this methodology as part of ‘Virtually There’. I wished I was there in person, showing the gestures and sharing my enthusiasm with the children.

The ‘Nelken Line’ – Dublin Dance Festival is inviting everyone to dance one of the most famous dance sequences ever created by iconic German choreographer Pina Bausch: the “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter” line from her 1982 piece NELKEN, as part of a global project by the Pina Bausch Foundation and ARTE, the European culture channel.

Check out more details here;

Response time:

Spending time outside – noticing and engaging the senses in specific listening, seeing, tasting, smiling and touching tasks. I also feel a huge urge to draw with the charcoal and begin to consider a way of connecting the images of Spring, our body responses, actions and engagement with the senses and drawing.

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Session 6 – Engaging the senses

We have developed a new warm up. This is a voice recording. Miss Kyle plays the recording in the classroom. I can hear it also. So we all warm up together. That is to say, we lie down and relax for a while and gradually come into movement.

Try it yourself –

We have all gathered a natural object, which is by our sides.  We listen to a second recording. The objective of this recording is to individually engage with our chosen object through our senses.

Have a listen and try it for yourself –

  1. We return to the area around the whiteboard (where I can see everyone). We find a partner and tell them name of your object and a little more about it.
  2. Miss Kyle invites some people to come to tell me about their object and I record this on the whiteboard.

It feels so essential to gather, acknowledge and affirm the children’s responses and imaginative stories and descriptions of their objects.

  1. Everyone else creates an art piece with their objects on the table(s) by placing them together. I couldn’t see this happening. It had been created quietly on the tables away from the camera. I got such a lovely surprise when Miss Kyle shared the photographs with me.

I shared some images of artwork that was made during the Autumn time. This artwork was initiated by my colleague Laura Thornton, who is an art lecturer at the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education at Maynooth Uuniversity. We were working with Year 2 students of Primary Education at the Froebel Dept.

I thought how interested it is to see the differences between the colours and textures of the Autumn and Spring.

We chat about our dances and how we could begin to include other senses and a feeling of Spring.

The children go to the hall with Miss. Kyle to experiment and play.

They also begin to use charcoal to draw shape and gesture and from their dances. Partners take turns to hold a pose and draw each other.

Lisa’s response time:

This week I take some time to go outside and photograph Spring time around my local area. I take time to play with charcoal and draw parts of the children’s dance.


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Hello to us and 2017 – Session 5

Taking time in January together, Miss Kyle and I reclaim the shared intentions for our collaboration.  Continue to ‘go outside’ and engage the senses.

Miss Kyle tells me that this term the children will develop their skills and creativity in writing poems (sensory poems).

I wonder to myself as I look into my screen now at the classroom, the eager children and Miss Kyle how I can maybe hold an intention of not always seeking to express something by its ‘appearance’ and ‘look’. Is it possible to express the layers of something, which include my response in my whole sensory engagement with my experience?

Inside – my own own body and

Outside – to the natural and built outdoor environment of the school.
Scavenger hunters – we go out. We go out to find, seek out, track and capture.

The found treasure of my hunt outside
 Found something!

I have a need to address a question for myself; what other possibilities are there of recording our hunting and tracking of the senses? Perhaps recording our dialogue as we move about and discover, drawings, drop the experience into our own memory bank, share it with someone else, photograph, video, etc.

I have brought some cut grass back with me. I want to tell the children what it smells like for me right now. I bring it to my nose.

Cut grass

Perhaps I have more questions today then usual as I track and try to find my way back in to our work together……… But that feels ok.

I’ll sit with those questions for a while.

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Our final session for 2016…. We dance the year out! Session 4

We have gathered and collected during this Autumn/ Winter period.

We have listened and created sound out in our own environments.

We have moved and touched.

In my own practice, I am looking at how I can engage the senses and natural materials (leaves) in my movement.

I note how beautiful this time of year has been for our trees. It has been a particularly dry and calm Autumn/ Winter. Trees are displaying beautiful colours right into the belly of Winter.

The colours of Autumn/ Winter 2016

I want to spend time outside. I feel supported and encouraged to do this because of the mild weather.

I really enjoy observing and appreciating the children’s partner dances.

Partner dance

We play with bringing the dances and the sound scores together.

Are you excited about seeing these?

We will reveal them slowly during 2017.

Revealing and unfolding our dance and journey together is an important element of our relationship.

Revealing the chestnut.
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Listening…. a little more deeply to our environment and each other. Session 3

Last week we collected sounds from the environment around us.

Here is the exercise that we set for each other.

Find a place begin. Gather and pause. 

Listen for 3 minutes, listen and hear sounds that are loud and quiet, near and far. 

Find a sound that interests you.

Create sounds by using your bodies (hands and feet, etc). 

Collect sounds that are quiet and loud, fast and slow, soft and strong, rough and smooth. 

Use natural and man made materials of our own environment. 

Think about the sounds that the leaf might encounter on its journey.



We listen to each other’s sounds.

My body tingles, wriggles and shifts to the changing sounds.

Listen to some of the sounds I collected. Can you hear the bells of St. Anne’s? They are quite famous here in Cork.

See and listen to some of the sounds the children collected.

In partners and trios the children worked on their leaf dances a little more, teaching each other their favourite moves and finding new and different ways of working together.


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Session 2 – beginning our leaf dance.

We begin with the children sharing what they enjoyed about our last session together.

Leaf tattoo.

Many speak about having enjoyed talking to me and making the leaf tattoos.

I am very curious about how many children speak about ‘going outside’.

They describe this activity in many ways. This intrigues me.

‘Going outside.’

‘The leaf walk.’

‘The walk outside.’

‘Collecting leaves.’

A Leaf Dance

We discuss and imagine what journeys our leaves have taken before arriving in our hands.

Beginning as buds (Jamie has a great idea here to interwine our hands so that our knuckles can be used to illustrate buds).

The opening of the bud as the leaf grows.

The wind blows and the leaf begins to dance.

As Autumn comes in the leaf changes colour and prepares to fall.

We create a sequence of movement (through the hands) based on some elements of the journey of a leaf.

The leaf dance

Structures to encourage movement exploration 

Miss Kyle and I have considered how we might structure and communicate movement tasks, whilst allowing the children and I move in our own spaces.

We have decided to experiment with a pre recorded warm up.

This will allow each party to listen to one shared recording and respond in movement in our own ways.

I look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback to this task.

I enjoy the freedom to move away from the laptop.

I just listen and move whatever way feels good for me right now. We encourage the children to do the same.


Today we gather sounds from our place.

We consider the sounds and noises a leaf might meet on its journey and the sounds that a leaf creates.

We take time to work separately to listen and record sounds.


Collecting my sounds

I enjoy going outside.


The bells of St. Anne’s Church are a resounding sound in my environment.

I go a little closer.

St. Anne’s Church.

There is actually a small museum inside.

I go in.

I discover a little more about Bob and Joan.


Bob and Joan went to the Green Coat Hospital School. The school is no longer there. So we’re talking about a long time ago, back in 1716.

That’s interesting the school was founded 300 years ago exactly.

I feel a resonance with ‘Bob and Joan’s Walk’ and our walks outside.


From the roof of St. Anne’s Church, I can see the Firkin Crane again.


The Firkin Crane

It’s barrel shape is so clear from here.

I’m really enjoying going outside, finding out the stories and engaging my senses as I discover this place.


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