Sunday, May 25, 2014

Federation: this term's history focus

This second term we will be focusing on Federation, looking closely at what it involved, the plusses, the minuses, the interesting aspects, and of course the aboriginal perspective. This painting was created in May 1901 to commemorate Federation and the opening of the first Parliament of Australia. The painting was done by Tom Roberts and it was such an arduous job that it nearly killed him. His friends nick-named it "the big machine" and it took him over two years to complete.

Below you can see the Duke of Cornwall and York speaking in front of thousands of people. Robert was of course very excited to be officially commissioned to create such an important painting.

The painting is way bigger than most people imagine it to be, I was surprised at its impressive dimensions on a recent trip to Canberra parliament house where it now hangs. It hasn't been hanging here all the time you know! Where could it have been? Wouldn't it be interesting to know about the private lives of all those depicted?  Who were they all? Bet they weren't all squeaky is. And of course the aboriginal perspective is often missing from this stage of the Australian story.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Box of Bears - An Art Lesson

This week for our art lesson the students drew bears and toys. I brought in a box of bears and a few students brought in their own favourite toy to sketch. They are experinenting with different ways to draw fur. We also looked at a Steiff bear, the first company to make the teddy bear. The lesson will continue next Thursday after the Naplan testing is finished.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Barry's Visit

At the end of term one students were lucky enough to have Barry Geard to come in and talk to them about his grandfather Private Herbert Walter Chaffey who fought in World War I on the Western Front.  Barry had brought with his an original roll honour board and his grandfather's medals. He talked to the students about th e huge death toll of WWI and also showed them an excerpt from the film All Quiet on the Western Front.  Barry talked mainly about trench warfare and the conditions in the trenches. Barry focused on the heart wrenching social consequences on the home front as well.He is going to come back this second term to focus more specifically on the Gallipoli campaign. In class we will be doing a film study on the  groundbreaking Australian film Gallipoli made in 1981 with a focus on the main characters of Frank and Archie. The students really enjoyed the session and I was proud of them for the huge amount of respect they showed and for their good manners.