Posted by schoolspirit in Extra Curricular, Great Kids Books, Teaching Kids, tags: books, dressups, fairy tales, imagination, kids, play, school, spirit, teaching
‘Let the wild rumpus start!’
It’s been a week or two since I last updated this page, and a little bit has happened in that time. For now, I’ll fill you in on the dress up day we had a week back. Yes, there will be a photo…
Currently one of the teachers is on a trip through Europe and about to start the Fairy Tale Trail visiting various locations throughout Germany. To follow her travels, the grade is focusing on fairy tales for the term, which is good fodder for literacy and all sorts of other creative pursuits. The youngest grade is also using fairy tales as a theme, as is one of the older grades while they’re following the trip through Europe and researching some of the places being visited.
So, as a whole school event, we held a Fairy Tale (or story book) Character Dress Up Day.
Enter a whole fairy tale world of characters and creatures in the morning and lots of dresses, princess tiaras, woodsmen, Star Wars characters, Superheroes, Transformers… yeah. When in doubt the kids just dressed up as any character from a story they could think of!
I think I had no fewer than four Cinderellas in my grade alone.
From the window of the staff room I spied one little impy kid waddling around in a bright green gown that reached past his knees with little curl-toed felt boots, a purple hood and big plastic ears. I told the rest of the staff to call the day off, we already had our dress up winner! There was no way we could go past Dopey! The little bugger looked absolutely adorable!
Of course, we teachers weren’t to be out done. Not only were we going to dress up for a bit of a laugh, but we knew there was no way the kids would let us live it down if we didn’t.
So… I bought a few rolls of polar fleece, sweet-talked mum, and had a big, white onesie made with wolf feet and ears.
Come Friday morning, once the kids were sitting in the hall dressed in all their fairy tale regalia, I stepped out as Max from that classic children’s picture story book, ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak.
I also adored the film and was more than excited to see how they imagined an entire movie from a book that was all of nine sentences long. I thought it was wonderful, although slightly dark and edgy and not really a children’s film if you looked deeper into it.
So yes. I spent most of the day dressed in a onesie wolf suit hiding bits and pieces around the school ground for a treasure hunt.
Did they laugh?
Did they LAUGH??
Yup, but that’s what these days are all about, eh?
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Posted by schoolspirit in Classroom Songs, Kids Sport, Music / Band, Teaching Kids, The Kids, tags: ball, keyboard, kids, music, noise, physical activity, play, school, spirit, sport, teaching
Play the music, not the instrument.
Last Friday was good. A lot of the reason for that was because it was Friday. That’s always halfway to an awesome day right off the bat.
The last session of the day was particularly good fun though. While one staff member needed some time to work on important objectives for their own professional work and that of the school itself, we decided to pool the kids together and run a bit of a collective afternoon session. So we grabbed the entire school together in the afternoon (about sixty kids or so) and sat them down in the ‘hall’. The ‘hall’ is the wide, short corridor between some classrooms in the new building.
The plan was a whole school music session followed by some sporty stuff outside before the day ended.
So I had the keyboard and amplifier set up, thanks to a few of the older boys who I nabbed at lunch time to carry it all in from the car. I figured it involved power cords and noise so they’d be interested in helping to set it up. I was right. Now I’m getting one of them to set the keyboard up all the time until he realises what I’m up to!
We started off with a practice of the National Anthem. I told the kids it was because it was a song they’d recognise first up, but mainly because they slaughtered it during the assembly earlier in the week! Once that was out of the way though we got down to some music.
Cue the keyboard volume and the amplifier turned up to eleven… a synth voice or two combined on the keyboard… and I launched into Jump. The cheeks of the prep kids sitting in the front row were almost blown off their skulls, but they loved it.
Oh, and I also taught them all how to hold their fist up in the air in the horns of rock sign. As you do.
After a few songs to wind them down again, it was outside to run around; after I grabbed that kid to help me put it all back in the car.
I waited until they started a game that involved throwing balls at kids’ heads before I joined in without letting the kids know. Cleaned up about seven of them. Good fun.
Unfortunately our half of the netball court was looking into the falling sun, so I didn’t see the ball coming until it was about a foot away and copped it in the neck.
One of the grade six boys up the other end just gave me a thumbs up sign in recognition.
I probably deserved it…
But 7 to 1, I won!
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Posted by schoolspirit in Footy, Kids Sport, The Kids, tags: duty, football, footy, kick, kids, physical activity, school, spirit, sport, teacher, teaching, yard
“Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to sail through the air for even longer.”
- Peter Landy
The first day back for term three today, and the first day officially taking this grade as my own while their teacher is gallivanting around Europe for a term. But it’s not the grade at this stage that I’m going to rabbit on about. Plenty of time to talk about them later, eh?
No, the highlight of today was actually yard duty. Yes, that little form of purgatory where you wander the school grounds keeping an eye on the kids and hoping nothing actually happens because you’d probably rather be inside having a cuppa. Or at least reading the paper or something.
But no! Not today! Today something impressive happened!
It was while crossing the oval and making my way towards the sand pit just to check out what the older kids were doing there at the moment. They could have been playing quite innocently and just digging a few little ditches and roads and things, but they could have been burying a prep kid too, eh? You can never be too careful!
Well it was just as I was about to finish crossing the oval when it happened. They kicked the footy out from the goal line in my direction. The grade six boy who was the target came running out to get it, but it bounced high and over his head. This was my chance!
Snagging it out of the air with one hand, facing the boundary line, while the kid said ‘Hey, that’s my ball!’, I threw it down onto the boot and snap kicked it across my body towards the goal. Thirty metres (likely to be thirty five tomorrow, and at least fifty by next week’s telling!), curling around like carried on a gentle breeze, it sailed through the middle of the big sticks at post height.
The world slowed down for a few moments as that yellow school footy soared!
The older kids playing footy just watched in awe as it sailed over their heads.
I humbly finished my walk to the sand pit, just now with both hands high above my head and pointing to the clouds!
My Awesome Factor hit the roof at that moment.
It’s just a shame it’s going to come crashing back down again the next time I go out to kick the footy with them and absolutely shank my first kick…
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Well, it’s the final Sunday night of the holidays. Term three starts up tomorrow. I’m prepared though. I’ve already made my lunch. It’s sitting in the fridge waiting for me to forget it tomorrow morning.
So… time to review the earlier targets for the holiday, I suppose.
I was right into drawing School Spirit comic strips through that first week. Getting between two and three done a day at times. Early predictions suggested enough to see me through to the end of September. Well… yeah. The second week of the holidays came around, I looked it in the eye and, in a very deliberate and calm voice, said ‘Bugger this, I’m kicking back this week’.
I’ve drawn enough strips to see me through to the end of August instead. I’m happy with that. Two full story arcs are complete and ready to go, and I’ve got about six weeks or so before I need to have another drawn. Should be enough of a head start to see the rest of the term through.
Taking on a new grade tomorrow for what may be most, if not all, of the term. I’ve been in there several times already, so it’s not as though I’m going in sight unseen. Get stuck into them early and train them over the first week. Make the rest of the term easier, hopefully!
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There is nothing wrong with today’s teenager that twenty years won’t cure.
Wandered into town today for that good old past time of grocery shopping. Parked the car under the plaza, finding a completely empty bay so I could just drive straight through and not worry about bumping any parked cars. I mean, why maneuver between two parked cars when you can just roll straight in, eh? Out of the car, grabbed the three grocery bags and wandered towards the escalator.
On the pedestrian crossing found two teenagers and their old man standing there waiting for me.
‘Is that you?’
‘Yes, it’s me, how are you all going?’
A kid I taught back in 2007 was standing there with his little brother and his old man. Seems I haven’t changed much in the last six years!
Anyway, it was nice to have a quick catch up while making our way towards the supermarket. Although he did ask me if I remembered the day he brought a blue tongued lizard into the grade to show everyone. Like kids don’t do that just about every year! I couldn’t remember that particular one, but he did assure me that he let the lizard go later.
One last thought though… what’s the deal with teenagers and all this long hair now?
How old do I sound, eh?
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A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.
The halfway mark of the winter holidays has been reached and crossed. Six days left, then back to the classroom.
And it will be a classroom, too. I’ve been picked up and asked to take a grade for most, if not all, of term three. That means money from day one, and probably at least eight weeks of nailed down work. That’ll help the red numbers in the budget, eh?
So here’s how the holiday has run so far.
A trip to the city and the footy to watch my team have a win. A nice start to the break. A day back at school to get some sort of idea on the grade I’ll be taking and where everything is hidden in the room. An afternoon and early evening in a Shed in town on the Friday to knock back a can or two and have a chin-wag. Helping a mate and his family put some guttering up on his back shed while he’s building it before the rain set in for the afternoon. I was paid with a beer and pizza for dinner. I think I won. Another trip to the city and the footy to watch my team have another win. Two so far this holiday, and hopefully they make it three next week!
And a game of indoor cricket during the week where we had a good, fun game, were ahead and winning, and then lost by 50. Oh well, eh?
Other than all of that, it’s been sit around home and draw a dozen School Spirit strips or so. That and clean the house. But that’s not too much fun, because the house keeps getting dirty, eh?
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Posted by schoolspirit in Friday Flashback, tags: casper, chastity, cody, flashback, friday, grace, liberty, pandora, school, spirit
While trying to get the blog up and running again the last time, every Friday became a Friday Flashback where the archives would be trawled for an old strip to go and have a look back on. As the current story arc that’s being prepared at the moment features Chastity and the Girls, I’ve picked out an early strip where Casper was much more active in getting Chastity to notice him.
That side theme has settled down somewhat over the years, although it’s still a recurring little plot from time to time. Casper still holds out hopes, naturally, but it’s hard when you’re eleven and she’s so much older at twelve, eh?
Here is the strip from early 2005, Casper wondering what it is about him that makes Chastity ignore him. Cody… was still Cody.
Also, wow… I’m sure glad I tightened up the way I drew the kids since then. But still, it’s fun to look back on the old strips from time to time, eh?
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Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. ~Author Unknown
While the winter holidays are in full swing (which generally means I’m here at home keeping to myself and getting the house and yard… cleanish… I’ve managed to get stuck into the School Spirit comic fairly regularly. I usually like to tackle drawing the strips throughout the first half of any school holiday and see how far into the next term I can push the buffer. On one memorable occasion, the time of which I don’t recall, I managed to have enough strips drawn up in advance to cover the entire ten week term. That… is unlikely to happen this time around though.
With six days down though, I’ve managed to knock over twelve new strips, taking Wednesday off from drawing. That was the day I was back at a school looking into what I’m up to next term, with indoor cricket after that. So averaging two strips a day so far. If this continues for the rest of the comic, the archive should be filled almost to the end of September. Which would be fantastic, because that will be the whole of term three. If I can draw enough to get halfway through September though, I think that will be suitable.
If only I can remember to re-read the strips for spelling errors and missing words… and find them again once I’ve located them. I KNEW a recent strip had a word missing, but do you think I could find it when I had time to go back and fix it? Fortunately a sharp eyed reader pointed it out to me once it was online!
Before I wander off, the current story arc about a wet, rainy day at school is coming to a close. Following will be a sequence built around all of the spirits in the cemetery, and then it’s Chastity and the Girls’ turn for a story arc of their own. The main boys might get a look in after that, but for now I thought the more fringe characters deserved some time in the sun.
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Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater. ~Gail Godwin
Wandered my way into the school I’ll be teaching at for at least the first few months of third term today. A little late, but first I had to take Jem, the dog, up the hill so he could spend the day with my sister because, well, she’d yell at me if I left him alone all day when he could be hanging out with her, eh? Little bugger knows he’s cute and lovable and do you reckon he doesn’t try to milk it for all he’s worth?
Anyway, spent about five hours intending to plan themes, ideas and content for this upcoming term, but it didn’t quite turn out like that. Was shown the resources in the room and asked about the content of maths and literacy the kids haven’t covered yet, but that ended up just about it. The grades’ teacher is spending this term travelling through Germany and various bits of Europe, so we’re going to focus on fairy tales and keep in contact with regular emails. That’s all cool. We’ll be working on narrative writing (which fits right in with fairytales and myths and castles and dragons and whatnot, eh?).
Maths seems pretty straight forward. I’ve been asked to work on the four processes, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. We’ll tackle three of them. Division can wait till later. With grade 2/3 kids the first three will be more than enough for now.
Spent most of the afternoon instead kicking back in another teacher’s room while we talked her through her own planning. It was nice to impart some knowledge and advice in a little collegiate group like that and know your experience is valued, even if you did just rock up at the school a month or two back as a relief teacher.
I might get a chance to pop in some time next week to set a few things up, but at this stage I don’t have a key, so it might not be worth the chance of driving half an hour to find the doors locked and no one there.
Don’t want to be seen walking around an empty school fiddling with locked doors, eh?
Here’s to the last week and a half of the winter holidays!
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When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.” -
It’s been almost eighteen months since I last wandered by here. January, 2012, I started this blog up again meaning to contribute regularly again. How did that go? I made it almost to the end of January, 2012! But things are different again now. Like they were different again back then, too, but this is now! Hopefully this return will last much longer, probably with updates spread out more thinly!
Here’s the update over the last eighteen months, then…
School Spirit, the webcomic, has just recently passed nine years, and is still going at three comic strips a week. The archive now numbers beyond 1300 regular strips, and the site itself recently underwent an upgrade and redesign. It’s still a fun pasttime, and hopefully still a fun read for those who stumble over it and recognise something in its characters.
I’m still teaching, although I used some Long Service Leave through the first term of the year and took a break from the classroom. This last term, the second of the year, I’ve turned mercenary, of sorts. I’m working as a relief teacher at maybe half a dozen of the outlying schools nearby. I decided not to offer my services to the town schools. Not because I don’t want to work in town, but because I was more interested in seeing what the smaller rural primary schools are like. I live out of town myself, so it seemed a good fit!
The money is a little tighter, but I’m getting one or two days off a week extra as well, so swings and roundabouts, eh?
A good outcome of this choice though is that I’ve had the chance to meet, teach and get to know a lots of great kids I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise. There’s so many people out there than we’ll never meet and never know we missed out on knowing. I’m enjoying the opportunity to meet such a range of great kids, even if it’s only for a few days every few months or so.
So that’s the current situation. Let’s see if I can pop back here more often this time around.
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