Classroom Heroes; Experience Sticks

Cody

The only source of knowledge is experience.

~ Albert Einstein.

I spoken recently about Classroom Heroes, the name the kids and I gave to our classroom role playing set up which we are using throughout the entire year. Each student gets to choose a particular fantasy character to play throughout the entire year, and they work together with their party members on their table groups to help each other out and keep each other focused.

It’s a fun, year long game I hope will instill in the kids a love of learning and a strong social habits to last them well after they close the classroom door for the last time this year.

Like a game, particularly the computer and console games so many of them have played, experienced or even just seen, the longer and better you play it, the stronger and more successful you become. The goal of Classroom Heroes is exactly the same. The more the kids seek to learn to progress themselves through gaining Learning Levels throughout the year, the more successful learners they will be, and hopefully the stronger those habits of life long learning grow.

With those goals in mind, I use a simple tallying system to signify to the kids how far they have progressed with their self-monitored learning.

Experience Sticks.

Experience Sticks 01So far, a full week and two days before that into the year, the kids love their Experience Sticks. I only use icy pole sticks which I can pick up for a few dollars for a bag of maybe 200 or so. Cheap and simple but the kids can collect them, count them, tally them, hoard them and covet them as concrete representations of their learning. The more then earn through just about every task and event they undertake during the year, the higher Levels they will earn, and the more special Abilities they will receive to use as they play as either the Knight, Healer, Rogue or Wizard.

In short, the idea of Classroom Heroes is to earn Experience Sticks to rise in Level as high as possible by the end of the year. Each level costs a total of TEN Experience Sticks, multiplied by the level itself. So, for example, to earn the first Level, Level 1, each student needed to earn a total of 10 Experience Sticks, which they would then hand in.

Nearly everybody had reached Level 1 by the end of the second day. That was quite easy. But to earn Level 2, a further 20 Experience Sticks would be required, and so on and so on. Each level, therefore, costs a further 10 Experience Sticks than the one preceding it, meaning that each new Level requires just a little more effort and responsibility to earn. So far, the kids are eating it up and working as hard as they can, not just with the curriculum I present them, but by asking to assist other grades, doing extra learning at home of their own, and all sorts of little ways they, and this is the best bit, ARE THINKING OF FOR THEMSELVES.

Experience Sticks 02After seven days of school, and only our second full week beginning tomorrow morning, all sixteen of my kids have reached Level 2, and a quarter of them have already made Level 3. That’s a total, already, of sixty Experience Sticks by those four who have made their third level.

Now they’ve started collecting 40 to progress to Level 4… it all adds up.

Besides seeing their Level increase, higher Levels also unlock the opportunity to choose a range of specific Abilities they can then use for the rest of the year either as little rewards for themselves (free time, a toy on their desk, the privilege of choosing a class game, etc) or to benefit their party members on their table (heal their friends, distribute bonus Experience Sticks, defend their party members from Morale damage).

But more on those later.

The Experience Sticks, while still just a concrete representation of their learning and achievements, have so far ignited these kids’ ambition and given them a purpose to pursue their own education. My hope is that, within a few weeks, they are all beginning to follow their own curiosities and interests without as much outside influence from me as the teacher.

By the end of the year, hopefully those habits are part of those kids and they realise they are self-learners capable of following any dream or goal they wish to pursue.

Next time, I’ll focus on how the kids monitor their own behaviour with their own personal level of Morale.

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

Classroom Heroes; The Healer

Chastity

A healer is someone who seeks to be the light that she wishes she had in her darkest moments.

~ Vironika Tugaleva

Three of the four Classroom Heroes characters the kids could choose to play as all year long were the Knight, the Rogue and the Wizard. That leaves only one, and possibly the most important, to cover today.

Lacking the strength or sneaky advantages of both the Knight or the Rogue, or the magical talents of the Wizard, this final class is the one who can keep their party of table friends alive when the going gets tough.

Able to restore lost Morale to their fellow party members, and maybe save them from the Consequences of their poor behaviour, is the generous and benevolent Healer.

The Healer Description Parchment

The Healer is one of the more fragile classes the kids could play, with a Morale of only 15.

While the Healer may appear relatively weak, unable to take a great deal of Morale damage from poor behaviour before becoming Fallen, their powerful regenerative Abilities make them a crucial part of any successful party.

As the Healer grows in power and Levels as they earn Experience Sticks, the unlock more and more powerful healing powers, able to restore the lost Morale of a single party member, or their entire group. While very few Abilities actually benefit the Healer individually, their purpose is to serve their party members and keep them alive.

While they are as physically weak as the Wizard, they can survive longer through their medical knowledge, while also having the chance to earn powerful spells that can double the Experience Sticks they earn from individual tasks, or even, if the worse case should happen, revive a fellow party member from death should their Morale fall to zero.

While not as exciting a character as the Rogue or Wizard, and not as sturdy as the Knight, the Healer will quickly find themselves rather popular as an essential member in the make up of any party of learners.

Should you return next time, I will begin speaking about the kids’ Morale and Experience Sticks in more detail, showing how they can earn their Levels and keep track of how close they are to earning any Consequences…

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

Classroom Heroes; The Wizard

Mr-Kelly

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien

Of the four character classes the kids in the grade could choose to play all year long as part of our Classroom Heroes game, one in particular  drew immediate interest and curiosity.

Lacking the overall strength of the Knight, or the more subtle skills of the Rogue, or the generous talents of the Healer, this particular class is shrouded in mystery and wonder.

Able to summon creatures out of the air, disappear occasionally at will, and enchant those about them, is the mysterious and maybe not completely virtuous Wizard.

The Wizard Description Parchment

The Wizard is the most fragile of the four Classroom Heroes, with no way to restore their own health and a small pool of only 15 Morale.

While several of the Wizard’s abilities can only affect themselves, the Wizard can be a powerful ally to those party members on their table, with the ability to foretell the future and avoid dangerous events, and share the benefits of some of their learning with those close to them.

As the Wizard grows in Level through earning more and more Experience Sticks, they gain access to more and more powerful spells. From summoning a toy or trinket to stay on their table for the day to disappearing for some quiet time, teleporting to other people’s seats for the day, or even allowing a fellow party member to Cheat Death, the Wizard becomes a useful member of any group.

While they are physically weak and cannot afford to take too much Morale damage, they can protect themselves from a minor wound, or choose to help a party member by allowing them to regain an Ability they have already used once before. Choosing the perfect time to cast their range of skills, they can strengthen their party for the benefit of all.

While some of their spells may be considered a little selfish, overall the presence of a Wizard is a valuable asset to any party.

Lastly, I will move on to the final Classroom Hero, the vitally important Healer.

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

Classroom Heroes; The Rogue

Cody

A thread will bind an honest man better than chain a rogue.

~ Proverb

While the purpose of Classroom Heroes is for my students to actively pursue their own education and strive to achieve the most out of themselves as they can, not all of the Heroes they can choose to play as need be completely noble.

Sure, the Knight is fun to play to protect your fellow table partners, and a selfless Healer is valuable to heal the students who have maybe strayed off the narrow track of Good Behaviour… but every now and then you need the skills of a more shady persona to get you out of a sticky situation.

Lurking quietly in the shadows, waiting for the precise moment to strike and turn the tables or swipe the treasure from a poorly guarded hoard and share the spoils with their party, is the mischievous Rogue.

The Rogue Description Parchment

The Rogue is a fairly sturdy character for the kids to choose to play, having a decent amount of Morale of 20.

While the Rogue may appear sneaky and untrustworthy at first, they can earn some very useful skills that can greatly benefit their party members on their table. The Rogue’s talent for removing certain items from hidden places, or the luck they can bring to their friends can really turn around the fortunes of their party.

As the Rogue rises in Level through earning their Experience Sticks for various learning tasks, they gain access to more and more of their stealthy and underhanded Abilities. If the Dragon has managed to gather pencil cases, workbooks or toys in its Hoard that have been left out overnight, the Rogue is the Hero to step forward and steal them back for their friends. The stronger the Rogue becomes through the year, the more treasures they can return from the Dragon’s Hoard without having to do a Chore to help tidy the room.

Beyond their talent of ‘finding’ things that shouldn’t be ‘found’, the Rogue can also quietly sneak away from time to time for 10 minutes of quiet time, sometimes perhaps with a party member as company. Or perhaps they see another class mate earning a nice little trove of Experience Sticks. Using their strengths at the right time, they can gain that same amount for themselves, and even for their fellow party members.

While they may not be the most noble and upstanding Heroes in the room, the skills of the Rogue to gather treasures and Experience Sticks to their party can make them a very useful member to have on any table.

Coming up, I will speak more on the next Classroom Hero; the Wizard.

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers

Classroom Heroes; The Knight

Jackson on his Bike

Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of Brave Knights and Heroic Courage.

~ C. S. Lewis

By Friday morning just past, our second morning for the year, the kids had chosen the roles they wished to play for the year as part of our Classroom Heroes role playing game. We had looked at each of the four roles to be chosen from and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each, and more importantly, the different ways each could assist their party members on their table.

While each table shall be made up of four students, at least at this stage while we have a nice, even grade of sixteen, it would be possible to have one person of each class on a table to nicely balance all of the skills and benefits they can offer.

At the forefront of each party stands the noble and valiant Knight, there to uphold justice, protect the weak and innocent, and stand against anything that may assail their friends.

The Knight Description Parchment

The Knight is the most robust character the kids can play, having the highest Morale at 30.

While this means the more disruptive students could opt to play as a Knight and therefore take more Morale damage through doing the wrong thing before they Fall and face a Consequence, that is not the purpose of the Knight’s high Morale.

As they earn Experience Sticks through their learning tasks and rise in Level, the Knight has access to special Abilities where they can protect their party members from harm. While they are sturdy and strong, their role is to take Morale damage for others, saving their party from losing a member through poor behaviour or unfinished homework. A Knight is a valuable member of a table group, particularly as the Healer and Wizard only has half the Morale as the Knight, and may well be thankful for the protective assistance the Knight gives should they take Morale damage themselves.

Beyond defending their party members, the Knight also has a few other special Abilities they can earn, such as a chance to choose a Class Game, inspire their party members to earn twice as many Experience Sticks for a task or event, and if powerful enough, can even slay the Dragon guarding the Hoard, returning everything the Dragon took as treasure that was left out on tables overnight.

In these ways, the Knight is a powerful and valuable member to any table in Classroom Heroes.

Next, I’ll talk more about the next class, the mischievous Rogue.

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

Classroom Heroes; an RPG for Learning

Cody

Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story. 

~ John Barth

G’day!

For me, particularly with the older kids in primary school, it’s not so much about giving them things to learn, but inspiring them to learn. Some kids are lucky and just seem to have that spark intrinsically within their very fibre, but for most kids it needs either a good old kick start, or a helping hand to guide them in the right direction. I always consider that my job for the kids isn’t to show them what to learn rather to show them where to look.

To that end, this year I have transformed the classroom into an entire year-long fantasy role playing game. I give you…

Classroom Heroes Banner

In short, my main purpose for this whole approach is to ingrain in the kids a sense of independent learning and general decent citizenship. While none of this changes the curriculum we are required to deliver, I don’t consider it a gimmick to trick the kids into working. It’s a scaffold to allow them to seek their own further learning and turn occasional acts of generosity and fellow assistance into habits that hopefully linger long after they’ve moved on from our classroom.

Boys love computer games, and even most of the girls will appreciate the idea of earning levels as you gain more experience and grow more powerful. This is how the kids can ‘keep score’ and have concrete materials to indicate how they are progressing. For everything the kids work towards, they earn Experience Sticks. A strange name for what are simply icy pole sticks. The more of these they earn, the more levels they attain, and the ‘stronger’ they feel they have become with their learning.

More importantly, they know the can all earn further Experience Sticks for going above and beyond the regular curriculum I present to them. Read at home, run around the oval to try to keep fit, have a healthy lunchbox, even taking on extra curricular activities like sports or musical instruments, or even just helping out around the house. All will likely earn them Experience Sticks.

It’s not just if they’ve finished their work, it’s what they want to do for themselves to take control of their learning that will make them stronger.

NicholasThe kids have selected the fantasy character classes they wish to play for the entire year, and when they return to school on Monday they will see their names below their chosen profession, such as the Knight to the side here. As they earn levels, they will earn special Abilities which those classes possess which will then further aid their table partners and their own learning. I will go into each of those classes next time.

While we haven’t started playing as their fantasy character classes yet, which we shall begin from Monday morning, only one day of earning Experience Sticks has shown an amazing approach to learning from the kids. One girl returned on the second morning with maths problems she’d found online for further practice, and another boy took his writing book home and spent the night writing a further two whole pages about his holiday.

I have never seen kids of that age lining up so perfectly straight after recess, either…

And while no, it won’t be as successful every single day, and there will definitely be the odd day when one or two of them tell me to go jump in the lake, after two days of school for the year, I think I have enough evidence to be quite ambitious with how they will change their own attitude to learning by the end of the year.

And that’s all we’re wanting, eh?

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

A New Year and a Grade of my Own Again

Casper

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. 

~Edgar W. Howe

G’day!

School has gone back for the first time in 2016, and after several years of wandering around several of the littler outlying out-of-town schools as a casual relief teacher, I’m back in a grade of my own again.

Back in the Big Chair.

To be honest, once I knew I had the job for these next two years, once school ended in the middle of December I was ready to get Christmas over and done with and start up as soon as possible. Not that the summer holidays weren’t appreciated or well spent, but I was eager to get going and put a few ideas I’d been thinking over into practice with my new gaggle of kids. Yesterday when the kids finally returned and walked through the doors, I was fairly certain I had everything in place to hit the ground running and set them up for the year.

I have the pleasure of teaching the upper grade in the school this year, our 4/5/6s. All sixteen of them. You won’t hear me complaining about large class sizes this year!

While I’m quite certain they were all (well, mostly) glad and ready to be coming back, there’s always the white lie about hating coming back to school, isn’t there?

Setting up the classroom for the first start of each year is always a major undertaking, but more so this year as, although I’d spent a lot of last year in this room taking the grade, this year it was all mine so I could set it up as I saw fit. While it’s still not settled as I’ve rearranged one particular area of wall several times in the last two days while the kids were there already, the overall tone is settled. Nice and bright with plenty of useful and valuable visual stimulation about the walls and a table set up that should allow the kids to work independently yet still not feel they’re restricted by simple rows and rows of desks.

While I’ll own up to taking this photo with my resource bookcases BEHIND, here is most of the room, or at least the better looking side of it! No, there’s no door into the next room, the room just flows into the library and then beyond into the other two classrooms. But it’s still enclosed enough for the kids to feel as though they own this part of it.

The year has started really strongly, too. We’ve turned the classroom into a year-long fantasy Role Playing Game and they’ve embraced the idea of earning Experience Sticks for every learning task, helpful job, friendly gesture and an all-round decent civil presence they present to the world. We’ve called it Classroom Heroes, and I’ll elaborate much more on that in future posts very soon, but at this stage it’s been very well received.

When I can get a handful of mums commenting when they pick their kid up that ‘Johnny wouldn’t shut up for half an hour about this learning game and actually used words and not grunts to tell me how his day was’ then I think this might just succeed!

Learn something new tomorrow!

Cheers.

Camp Woorabinda, March 2014

A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp.
~Raymond Duncan

It’s an amusing little line, that, although in this case, I don’t think it’s accurate when describing the gaggle of suburban boys I had the good fortune to meet last week.

I was lucky enough to be called up to replace a teacher at a local school camp. Even better, some teacher has pulled out from this week’s camp too, claiming they deserve to get paid overtime so that’s it, game over, the kids can go without them, so I’ve been offered another week. Obviously I jumped at the chance and now spent this weekend catching up on sleep and then washing and drying all of this week’s clothes to put them back into the bag again! While I’ve been waiting for kids to cough on their teachers this year so they can start calling me up to come and relieve them when they’re sick, I didn’t expect to be called up to go to camp. Monday to Friday, a week’s work, and eighty kids from the suburbs I’d never met before, and likely will never meet again.

And this is how I finished that last morning before we piled the kids onto their buses and waved them out of our lives; paddling quietly about the lake with the mist rising from the bush backdrop as the rain threatened to fall but kindly waited until we’d finished our quiet, peaceful little farewell trip.

2014-Woorabinda-01-Lake-Paddle

The little bloke in the canoe I handpicked because the last thing you want is a kid who can’t paddle, wriggles around and threatens to tip you both into the drink, and natters away about inane little things all the way through the trip. This little guy did none of that. Always make sure you grab a kid you are confident in having a solid conversation with but appreciates the silence and beauty of the place and recognises when to keep their mouth shut! This little bloke was all that, and good company.

It was a fantastic week. Forty boys in the dormitory, generally two to a room, although there is always the six bed room that you keep an eye on because if any room is going to get rowdy it’s the one with six boys in it. But it was quite amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large group of genuinely friendly and polite boys. There were thank yous here and thank yous there, and even thank you agains all over the place. They generally did as they were asked and I can’t remember anybody having to raise a voice to any of them!

There were forty girls on the camp too, but as I didn’t have a group of my own and wandered around and took a few sessions to give the other leaders a break, I didn’t have as much interaction with them and I think as a result I only learned three, maybe four of their names! I had the boys’ names down pat by Tuesday morning!

Of course, there were the exciting events like the zip wire, and the night hike and the camp fire and all those sorts of camp things, but to me camps are always about those little personal events. My little three foot shadow who trailed after me during most of the night hike talking about books he’d read. Barely ten years old and already reading ‘A Fortunate Life’ and having already finished ‘I Can Jump Puddles’ and ‘The Power Of One’. We yabbered nearly all the way there and back about good books and the French he was learning. For the rest of the camp we’d say ‘je mapelle croissant’ to each other and he’d collapse with giggles.

The little titchy bloke who wore a onesie to bed made in the figure of Stitch from the Disney movie. He looked absolutely adorable in it, and then decided that was what he wanted to wear to the disco on Tuesday night. And tear up the dancefloor? This little feller burned the place down with his funky little moves! Ever seen a three foot break dancing Stitch? Absolutely brilliant! He would have been the highlight of the whole night had not the little bloke in the canoe above stepped out solo right at the end and performed a thirty second little Michael Jackson number and bowl us all over!

He didn’t even win the night… in the dying moments it was the tall quiet kid who just sauntered into the middle of the dance floor on his own and then did a five minute Gangnam Style on his own! I reckon he landed every single move, too!

There’s always the home sick kid, though. Now, if they’re barely an hour off the bus and already sitting themselves alone and blubbering to get some attention then they’ll get a pat on the shoulder from me and a ‘get over it’ and that will just about be it. But if they get to that first night after a big, long day and realise that ‘wow, it’s dark, I’m stuffed and… there’s no mum and dad…’ then I’m more than happy to give them a bit of time as they settle down for the night. There were two or three of the boys who spent a quiet half hour having a chat sitting against the wall in the dormitory corridor while we talked about mum and dad and all those things important to ten year old kids. One kid, when I offered to come back and check on him, said yes please and when I asked in how long he was even polite enough to say ‘in five minutes… if that’s no trouble…’

They got through the night, although one of them did still make sure he knew which door was mine later on in the week in case he needed to knock on it. He was dead to the world five minutes later…

I’m sure there are many more little anecdotes I could draw up and this would go on all day. I’ll finish with one of the boys who had the room directly across from me. He and his room mate never made a sound once the lights were off, and were no trouble at all, until this kid decided he was going to find all sorts of ways to injure himself! A small rope burn on his knee on the second day was nothing much, but the full blooded crack to the forehead with a cricket bat on the Wednesday afternoon was something completely different! That egg on his noggin was enormous! I swear if he walked into a wall, his forehead would hit it before his nose! I took a photo or two because it looked so awesome, and told him to find me if he felt groggy during that night’s hike. After all, I was the only leader who actually vaguely knew the way back! He was fine though. A ring home to his mum by the nurse eased all concerns, and they passed on the message that his parents had fed his fish!

But then… at the camp fire somehow he managed to burn his neck with melted marshmellow!

Yes, you read that correctly!

The nurse found me a little later to update me on his condition (again, all good, he was more worried about putting the nurse out than any damage he’d done to himself!). Apparently when she asked him who his camp leader was he said ‘go find Dan, he’s the one lookin’ after me’.

Yeah… I might have choked up a little at that!

And then it was early Friday afternoon too soon and I had to watch all these kids pile onto their buses and drive out of my life. I’ve toyed with the idea of sending off a letter to each of their schools to say thanks for being so polite and friendly and just generally good fun. And maybe to ask how those fish are going.

Although that little bloke in the canoe up there drew me a picture but we packed it in his suitcase without realising it. He says he’s going to post it back to the camp for me.

How great were these kids, hey?

Tomorrow I get to do it all again with another bunch.

School Spirit, 1400 strips!

School Spirit, Casper and Grace SwimmingYou can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and still come out completely dry.  Most people do.
 ~Author Unknown

About ten and a half years ago now I unintentionally drew a quick, little half page, four panel, completely hand drawn greylead comic of a kid waiting for the bus to pick him up to take him to school. A short while afterwards, I re-drew that strip into four larger panels, finished it off with a pen outline, and scanned it into the computer to add his dialogue and put it all together, and then uploaded it as the very first School Spirit webcomic strip. No colour, nothing fancy, just a black and white, simple little strip.

Technically, School Spirit was on it’s way.

And here it is, all these years later, and the 1400th regular School Spirit strip has arrived.

The thank yous to everyone are a little further down the page, but the current story arc finished with the above strip, seeing Casper and Cody, the ‘original’ boys of School Spirit, spending a day swimming at the local lake with Jackson and Didj, the newest members of the cast. While two of the boys are determined to bicker and fight amongst themselves because of their age difference at school, the other two leave them to it and focus instead on simply building their sand castle while trying to get their friends to get along with each other.

The full story arc begins here, if you would like to return to the beginning and read the ten strips in sequence, but here is the 1400th strip in question, or the link to the corresponding page on the official site.

Strip-1400

While it wasn’t intentional, I liked the way the casting turned out for this arc that brought up the 1400th strip. The original two boys having a proper storyline with the two most recent inclusions to the cast.Jackson on his Bike I’ve made it known quite openly that Jackson, in particular, was never meant to exist, but he just appeared in a crowd scene once and his expression and attitude towards the older kids just demanded a reason not to stick around. So he made a return quite soon afterwards and dragged Didj along with him. Completely unintentional, but probably the best inclusion into the strip of all time, excluding the eventual appearance of Wendy the spirit in strip #50, but that was planned from the beginning.

Time for the thank yous, isn’t it?

School Spirit has been chugging along for almost a decade now, reaching the official anniversary in early June this year. It’s never been a ‘big’ webcomic, and the readership has always been rather quiet and understated, but I suppose that’s fitting as so is the overall feel of the strip itself. Thank you, though, to everyone who’s been reading the adventures of the kids, both living and passed on, over these 1400 strips. Many have come and gone, many more have taken one look at it, left a comment if they decided it was worth the effort that said ‘not worth reading!’ (which I always found amusing!), and many, many more have not even taken the time to give it a look.

But there are a small, loyal group of you (and that includes those of you who have only just discovered it) who have understood the intention of School Spirit and given the kids your time. Thank you for standing by them. Every kid recognises when somebody else really gives two stuffs about them. The School Spirit kids are no different. So thank you, everyone, on behalf of Casper, Cody, Grace, Jacks, Wendy and the rest.

Thank you for your time, thank you for your readership, and thank you for the part you’ve taken in this little School Spirit community!

Feel free to leave whatever comments you would like. You’re a quiet bunch, but it’s always great to hear from like minded people who appreciate these kids!

Cheers.

Art: Boy Sitting On A Branch

CasperThere is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.
~Minnie Aumonier

I gave myself a few minutes the other day to have a glance over my ‘Art Wall’ in the lounge room. It’s the slowly growing part of the wall that’s holding various of my pencil drawings, framed and on display. There are seven of them up there at present, the first from way back in ealry 2000, and the most recent from April last year.

Yes, that’s what I thought too. April last year was the last time I drew a proper pencil picture.

Well, not counting the drawing I made of Max from ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ on our Book Week Dress Up Day back in August.

So I decided to find the time and inspiration to sit down and try my hand at another drawing. Maybe more than one. To allow myself to get back into drawing properly again.

Not that I don’t consider the artwork I do when creating School Spirit to be proper drawing, but… well, they’re different to the pictures I draw from time to time to slowly expand my ‘Art Wall’.

So today I sat myself down in the afternoon and settled in with my long neglected Derwent drawing pencils and set to work.

Two hours or so later and I had a nice, finished little piece.

It came out pretty good for about two hours.

I don’t really know what the young kid is looking at, and I don’t think it really matters.

I used five different grade pencils in creating this piece; an F, B, 2B, 3B and 5B. All up the picture is about 22cm by 13cm in size. Eventually it will be framed and hang nicely alongside the other seven on the wall.

Hopefully this gives me a bit of inspiration to draw a few more up over the next few weeks, but we’ll wait and see.