Every wavy hair on this giant head is full of creative input from the primary school students – a multi-dimensional task! First, they were asked to think of a great first sentence for a story. Then they had to carefully handwrite their words around a spiral-shaped path. Then came the hardest bit: cutting around and around the curl – very tricky and good scissoring practice!
Every student in the school contributed to this stunning peacock
Peacock library classroom display
This peacock is more colourful and lively than I had imagined it would be. The kids couldn’t wait to add their feathers to ‘grow’ this bird’s fabulous tail.
Each student coloured-in one feather, wrote the name of a favourite book or author on the top, and cut out their artwork. The tail will grow even bigger in the weeks to come, and in the end there’ll be around 450 feathers… which should make for an even more magnificent tail!
For some time, I had been quite keen on the idea of a tree in the library. It was only after I started to draw it that I realised how big an undertaking it was. Even without leaves it took up an entire wall of my house!
On the bright side, it didn’t actually matter if my drawing wasn’t accurate (unlike the time I chose to paint a representational picture of the Earth). On this occasion it didn’t matter too much how I drew or painted the branches – if they weren’t quite correct it just added to the charm. Being partial to the graphics used in the computer game “Plants & Zombies”, I shamelessly copied their grassy knoll as a base for the tree, and stuck the whole thing up in the library with Blu-Tak.
Every child in the school was given a leaf on which to write their favourite reading topic and decorate to their heart’s content, and it was exciting for them to see the tree “grow” as their efforts were added. Each week (along with their leaves) I added an extra part of the picture: a kookaburra, a koala, a possum, a treehouse, a tyre swing, a goanna, a worm and a beetle. By adding something week after week, I’ve found that these displays avoid becoming background wallpaper. When each class arrives in the library for their weekly lesson, the first thing they do is rush to the display to find the new addition.
One of our students, who rarely showed any interest in anything school-related, put up his hand in the library and suggested that the next poster should be a space scene. We were so excited at his unprecedented enthusiasm that I got to work immediately to produce this poster. It wasn’t quite complete at the time, but I was keen to put it up as soon as possible… which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Each week I added something to it (a martian, some comets, a rocket, etc), so the kids were quite excited to visit the library and spot each new addition. Towards the end of the term, kids were making suggestions for the next addition, which was great!
Our P&C Fundraising committee decided that they wanted a thermometer to show their progress and enthuse contributors. Amongst the clutter in my garage (which stores everything but the car), I found this old piece of chipboard. A friend and I painted a fun and friendly design and added coins made of gold foil that catch the light nicely (though they look rather dull in this photo). The central “tube” of the thermometer is made of white cardboard which I remove and replace each year to start fundraising anew. The kids love colouring in the thermometer with red texta after each fundraising event.
A friend and I had such fun making this display. The theme for book week was “Across the Story Bridge”, so we thought it would be appropriate to use the Sydney Harbour Bridge and involve every child in the school. I drew up four male and four female figures, each holding a book. Each child chose a figure and wrote their name and favourite book title on the cover. I’ve got to say, it was extremely awkward laying out so much paper across my friend’s dining room floor to paint the bridge. It was also very difficult to stick it up on the wall. And after all that, we also required lots of help from parent volunteers to cut out the figures for the littlies who weren’t so good with scissors. However, it was definitely all worth it in the end. The kids loved colouring their pictures and searching for their artworks after they’d been added to the display. Most importantly, they eagerly spent time discussing which book was their favourite. In the end, there were around 350 children represented, and it looked more spectacular than these photos show.
I’m a school mum. That’s not so very unusual; there are a lot of us about. However, I also happen to be a school library assistant. I also work (occasionally) in the school office. I am a regular — though largely silent — member of the P&C. During the past four years I have painted school murals, helped with reading groups, covered endless library books on my dining room table, volunteered for cake stalls, turned up for working bees in the school garden (even though my home garden is in a sorry state of neglect), and have generally put my hand up for anything and everything that would help make my son’s school a better place.
My further qualifications for writing a blog about Australian school life include having personally attended an Australian primary school and secondary school and having two parents who were both dedicated and enthusiastic (not to mention exhausted, frustrated and under-appreciated) teachers for decades before their retirement.
When I decided to write a blog, I pondered which of my many and varied interests to focus on. It wasn’t long before I was forced to admit to being a hobby whore, flitting from short-lived passion to short-lived passion — from cooking to piano to writing to crochet to running to jigsaws — not really very suitable for a coherent long-term blogging experience. Then I realised that school was the answer. It is a never-ending source of potential topics, and in the near future I hope to entertain both you and myself with some of my anecdotes.
Let’s just hope that blogging isn’t just my latest short-lived passion…