Spraying and sponging.

This morning we all had such fun making our backdrop for our photographs.  Ann had brought spray containers and we talked to the children about the different colours they would like to use to make the backdrop.  I had first go at the spraying and it really was extremely difficult to allow the children a turn.!!!

We also had asked the children to bring in a plain t-shirt.  The combination of the backdrop, paint and t-shirt just makes the masks stand out.  When I look back over the number of weeks I am amazed at the work of the children and their ability to communicate with Ann.  The work we have around our school as a result of the project is truly amazing.


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Extreme Cutting!

Today was a special day for us, as the parents were coming in to see our project in action and how it all worked.  I never really know how many parents will come to our open mornings but this year I was overwhelmed by the support.  I could hardly get moving around the classroom to take photographs, as there were so many parents.  The parents really joined in by helping the children with their cutting,  as well as modelling.

Mr Harrison (Principal) is also a parent of one of our children this year.  He too participated fully by trying on his son, Ben’s mask.  Ben cut his second mask quite differently than the first.  Most of the children did.  I thought this was interesting, as the first time so many of them were cautious and didn’t want to cut and for the second mask I could hardly get them to stop cutting!

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Wonderful things happen when you paint more and cut more.

Today the children were allowed to paint more on their masks.  They were also encouraged to cut their mask.  The first time we talked to the children about cutting their mask only a few of them were adventurous enough to cut freely.  Some cut, but only minimum amount.    Today we suggested making more cuts and using up to two more colours.  They certainly didn’t hold back today.  We had all sorts of cuts being made and all kinds of colour mixing.  Just look at the amazing masks the children produced.

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In our day to day class activities the children are directed, while still have an element of experimentation.  Today the children were all given a blank plastic mask.  they were asked to look at it closely and compare them to the cardboard ones they had made.  We wanted the children to think about how they were able to pick out their cardboard masks i.e. they knew the shape of their mask, they knew the colours, they knew the features they had cut out too. How would they recognise their white masks.  Would they be able to use the same selection process as they had for the cardboard masks?

The children were so confident about this task, not for one moment did they think the masks were all the same and would be impossible to find their own.  We asked the children  to place all their masks on the floor and try to remember where they placed them.  Three children came and rearranged the masks, then the children were asked to come and find their mask.  As we thought, they picked at random but sure it was theirs!!

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Getting to know you.

As part of this phase Ann and I decided to do some work with the P1/2 children.  Up to now our work has all been with the older children but because I am working with the younger ones this year it was a good opportunity to give it a go.  Sometimes, as teachers, we inhibit our children by the tasks we give them and the boundaries we put around our lessons and for this reason I was very keen that we allowed the children the chance to explore their creative talents.

I was really worried that the children would not be willing or would be worried about using the computer to communicate with Ann, how foolish I was.  Just look at the them.  They jumped at the chance to come up and speak to her, they were confident in the activities they were asked to do and on several occasions today, they lifted the IPads spontaneously to take pictures of their work and what they were doing.

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After lots of communication, emails, phone calls etc, etc we are finally up and running.  This year there have been changes for me in terms of my role in the school and in itself a massive challenge, so to add the art project into ‘The Mix’ is simply mad.  The children for both myself and Ann are all new this year and as well as that they are also a different age range.  So changes all around!


Learning to communicate with Ann using the whiteboard technology

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Exhibition – Dwell

Donaghey pupils get to the ‘art’ of it

Cookstown Council chairman Pearse McAleer viewing the work of the pupils of Donaghey Primary school which is currently on exhibition in the Burnavon Arts & Cultural Centre along with (from left) Mary Crooks, Cookstown Council Arts & Cultural development officer, Ann Donnelly, artist, Stuart Harrison, principal at Donaghey PS and Marcella Wilson, teacher in charge of the project, when they attended the launch of the exhibition. INMM0314-112ar.

PUPILS from Donaghey Primary School have just celebrated the launch of an exhibition of their artwork at the Burnavon.

Mrs Wilson’s P4-P5 class of 2012-13 worked with artist Ann Donnelly to create the artwork as part of the Kids’ Own Virtually There online residency project.

Communicating with the artist via the internet for the project ‘Dwell’, the children were inspired to connect with their home area and family history through art, creating a body of work that connects the past and the present.

Examples of this work now form an exhibition in the upstairs gallery space at the Burnavon, until January 31.

In additon to viewing the 20 framed pieces, visitors are invited to have a browse through the workbook and publication on display to get a real flavour of what the project involved.

The launch was attended by family and friends as well as school staff, and Orla Kenny representing Kids’ Own and Adrian Lavery from C2KNI. Cookstown District Council Chairman Councillor Pearse McAleer also attended the event.

During the launch thanks were conveyed to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership for funding the project and to staff at the Burnavon for their part in making the public showcase a reality.

Special thanks were also expressed to Ann Donnelly and to everyone involved from Donaghey Primary School, particularly the children who worked on the Virtually There project and Mrs Wilson for all her invaluable input and support.

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