After the old junk-food advertisements were (thankfully!) taken down from above the school canteen, it was looking a little drab, so a friend and I painted this sign one weekend. I drew the lettering freehand on a large piece of paper, then cut out the letters to make a stencil. Unfortunately, it happened to be very windy on the day I tried to put it up on the wall, so my struggles with the enormous cut-out would have been hilarious if there had been any onlookers (though the swearing wasn’t pretty). Somehow I managed to stick it up long enough to draw the outlines on the wall… eventually.
I really like the fruit and vegetables we painted within the lettering, but in retrospect I think the bees buzzing around may be a little too suggestive of flies (or is that just me?). I also think the lettering is a trifle too large, and I regret not having painted the background. Overall though, it’s a big improvement, and the colours fit in nicely with the existing rainbow painting and the murals we painted on the nearby columns.
I painted this quick-and-easy display for the London Olympic Games. I simply found a couple of small pictures and, using a grid to ensure the figures were vaguely in proportion, transferred them onto large paper. Time was short, so I painted them quickly in flat colours.
To link the theme to the library, I gave the weightlifter a barbell made of books, and I gave the hurdler a large book to jump over. Then, to get the students involved, I drew a simple medal with the words “Champion Reader” written on it and photocopied it onto gold cardboard. Each of the kids in the school wrote their name on a medal, cut it out and punched a hole in it to attach a ribbon. It looked great when several hundred medals were hanging from the ceiling, swaying nicely in the breeze.
The display made a great backdrop when the school was visited by Paralympian Matthew Cowdrey. And when the display came down, each child proudly wore their own medal home.
Planet earth library display
Close-up of Australia with popular children’s books
This display was more of a challenge than I expected. Most of the displays I had done to date were simply fun illustrations rather than accurate representations. After all, who would notice if a bridge were wider than it should be, or a tree was off-centre, or if a nose was a bit bigger than it really ought to be? But when I started drawing this poster I suddenly realised that if I left off an Indonesian island, or if Taiwan was in the wrong spot, or if my map of Australia was missing a bay… disaster! Anyway, it worked out OK in the end (or at least no-one in our multi-cultural school complained that I’d left off their birthplace) and my map-drawing skills improved to boot! Every child in the school decorated a star and placed it on the wall, so the end product looked great with around 400 colourful stars surrounding the earth.
I made this poster to highlight the spooky and scary books we had in the library. The mini-books on the poster could be opened to show information on vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc. The kids were tremendously excited by the appearance of this poster, and vast numbers participated in the raffle to win it when it was taken down.
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.
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…