I’ve had a couple of solid weeks of work so despite making good progress on a number of things in progress I’ve not managed to publish a video of a completed project. I’m considering altering my approach to ensure more regular updates.
Anyway it was a dad and F day today. “The Nooms” as they are called are the representations of the numbers in his F’s favourite tablet game ‘Dragonbox Numbers’, which is incidentally the only educational games series that I have ever yet found able to wholeheartedly endorse both as parent and educator.
Obviously it is not my IP but I had a look and couldn’t find any colouring sheets or activities suitable for his abilities. So I whipped up these and we had fun painting them to match their game counterparts and the big brother mucked in to help finish painting the last of them when he got home from school.
The holidays as ever have flown past. We spent five lovely days in Canberra with my mother and step father and a night on the road in each direction, once with family and once at a motel. I’ve logged a bunch of our experiences over at Trip Advisor. We had some particularly special meals out, saw more than a few museums and galleries and visited all the best playgrounds in town.
After months of talking and circling around ideas, trying to decide where and how we want to live. Including keeping voting tally sheets with pros and cons for each destination on the kitchen cabinets. We have decided that we will stay in Australia. The where in Australia bit remains nebulous, but we are effectively ruling out living in Scotland, Europe or Asia for now. I am still coming to terms with the next bit but it is likely that we will need to stay in Cobar for the duration of 2018 to build capital. Our key criteria in looking for a place to buy and build are quality school for the boys, proximity to family, proximity to a capital, affordability, proximity to wilderness, mountains, sea as well as climate stability, vulnerability and habitability. Nowhere meets all needs.
I’ve started a list of every good or interesting state or alternative school in Australia. As expected apart from a few really exceptional state schools I hadn’t encountered before, it is a pretty short list at the moment. I’m hopeful of being able to add more before we begin narrowing it down.
I’ve resolved to devote more effort to developing my creative abilities to combat the latent ennui of life out here. Finishing things is critical to progress for me and today I finally put finishing touches on two projects that have been lingering on my drive for years and months respectively. Both are being used for T-shirt design competitions the first is here on Threadless.
The second will go up on Woot! for a relevant competition opening there early tomorrow morning. Link to follow. Edit: It seems the relevant WOOT comp wont open until Thursday.
Votes are greatly appreciated on both. As with many such sites the winning entries get about $1k US, some store credit and a portion of all sales for the life of the design on the site.
Tomorrow is the first day of term 2 for me, though my student wont be back until Wednesday. As Tuesday is ANZAC day Monday is student free and hopefully productive.
A lot of long days have left me with not much to say of an evening save a string of Z’s. Nevertheless lots of projects have come together over the weekend and the beginning of this week.
A set of three nested photography sitting boxes. To be used for portraiture in the studio N has just signed a three month lease on.
A bird house.
Assembled from scraps and painted with a stinky old enamel helpfully labeled ‘Stromboli’ found in the shed.
Puppets are taking over in my classroom. Yesterday I had a mixed group from various grades thanks to a sports day so we made free choice pin and paper puppets like this example which I whipped up in lunch. Today my class began making their own interpretations of the characters in the book we have been reading with the intention that they will then animate scenes from the story.
As noted on insta, we have denuded the entire town’s supply of split pins and I am now desperately hunting more.
I finished another segment of the costume build video. We didn’t make it out for a costume shoot over the weekend as I had hoped to do. Looking forward to this weekend though.
I desperately need to do away with the huge and unwieldy collection of clips that are clogging up my hard drives. Editing a gogo.
Fell in love with the art and concept of this game:
I am absolutely devastated that I missed the kickstarter (and associated loot) last year. Can’t hardly wait for release.
I received my first ever snake bite yesterday. Completely harmless and entirely my own fault.
Molasses the python got a a little too eager when I opened his enclosure with my hand in front of his head. I freely admit that it got my heart going though.
A week of very long days has left little energy for making in the evenings.
In an exciting development I now have fish in the classroom. A small school of Jade Perch to be precise.
The aquaponics system is still some way off functional but we have transferred the fish into a pair of the system’s tanks and plugged in some air-stones to keep them happy.
A number of interesting things have caught my eye this week but i’ll limit myself to only a couple.
The animator behind this fantastic little gorgon battle has recently finished a four year odyssey to single-handedly animate a feature length hand drawn film. Very impressive and pretty cool looking to boot.
Deep in the disturbing underweb evil masterminds find perfect matches between pop rap hits and nightmarish children’s television.
Teaching myself Tinkercad so as to be of use as a teacher of it for my students, who will be learning the program so that the 3D printer can be put to work. It is a basic and quite powerful modelling program. The controls are a little bit idiosyncratic and it has a tendency to dump the user back the main menu when doing hard operations, though it has so far not lost progress doing so. My first self set challenge is an Order vs Chaos chess set.
I splashed out and bought a couple of rolls of printing filament from these guys mid week so that I can get some personal printing done at work guilt free.
On Saturday N and I made the Dubbo run leaving the children with grandparents. A shockingly expensive shopping and very long drive later we made it home safe and have cupboards chock full with food and a shed full of timber and paints for projects.
I’ve been commissioned to build a set of portrait photography boxes and among the supplies purchased were two sheets of 12mm ply cut down to fit in the car. This project provided me with the first opportunity to put my mitre saw to use and my what a pleasure that machine is. All pieces are cut and ready for building and I even ripped down some off cuts to make parts for a nesting box. Assembly to happen later in the week.
Tuesdays are staff and year level meetings each week, meaning that I am usually not home until near six. I have found out that there is a Judo class on from Seven in the school hall on Tuesday evenings. I would like to attend but the mental hurdle of returning to work is a big obstacle. Wish me luck.
I periodically return to the works of Simon Stålenhag (Sale site) Disturbing, fantastical and somehow totally believable they conjure a deeply uncomfortable alternative world. Someday I’ll commit and buy a print. I just haven’t settled on which yet.
Not pictured, the white cotton gloves I was given at work to complete the look.
It was a hot day for it but there were some truly splendid costumes from the students for Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (Dr.Seuss’s) 113th birthday. In my class I had a couple of Green Eggs and Ham, 5 Things (3 ones, 1 two and a three), a One fish, and a Blue fish (Two fish and Red fish were in other classes), A fox in socks and a couple of cats in hats, including yours truly.
I discovered to my horror that my school doesn’t do book week. Then to my immediate relief the librarian told me that we do four book fairs a year and a dress up day for the simultaneous story time event in May.
To add further excitement this year another bookish celebration has been added to the calendar. It is the birthday of a certain well loved American cartoonist and storyteller tomorrow.
In consequence this evening I have been fighting with the sewing machine again to produce an altogether different kind of costume. Build complete, full dress run is tomorrow.
Editing part 5 at the moment and stewing on alterations to the weekly maths program as I work.
Of course I found my macro lens just days after purchasing a replacement, but I was glad of it today. My principal caught two baby browns on school property this morning. I took the opportunity to get some closeups of the deadly little buggers.
Painted all of the remaining costume elements by hand today. I tiny bit of dry brushing and they are ready for clear coating and a build complete announcement. For now I need to get editing because filming was interrupted by filling up my 64g camera memory card today and there is no way I have room to store it all for long.
Sir Vader’s ruby meteorite Damascus steel short sword below:
I also did a fair chunk of manual labour helping move one of the principals aquaponics systems into the outer wet room attached to my classroom. He had a gravel bed system in use which needed mucked out. In the classroom we will be trying a suspended foam system. I am now expecting a whole lot of jokes about Mr.Langs ‘Hydge setup’.
In another exciting turn of events today we looked at properties around town suitable for N to use as a photography studio. Now that both boys are in care or at preschool at least two days a week she is feeling ready and keen to begin working. There are a couple of promising properties the best of which is only $100 a week.
For reasons unclear theses images simply would not attach to yesterdays post. All made using the machine learning AI painter Dreamscope.
A real flayed man leaping from Bodyworlds using the Greek Urn filter.
A real skeleton from Bodyworlds using the Picasso filter
Old and new cylons eye to eye using the Van Gogh filter
As I said yesterday I don’t feel that it has yet produced a truly extraordinary work for me like some I have seen. But it is entertaining and pretty incredible.
N didn’t make the Dubbo run today but likely will tomorrow. Instead we took a swim, sheet mulched cat heads int he garden and played games, real imaginary and computer and whiled the day away.
This evening I’ve made more planning progress on my maths programs in which I have two separate groups and topics to cater to. I take the top maths rotation which is mostly my class sans the year fours and a few more from the other 5/6’s. With that group for three to four hours a week we forge ahead in the number strand using the NSW year 6 and 7 syllabus as a guide, but with a whole lot more physical and creative based learning activities as well as some solid traditional bookwork and problem solving practise. For forty minutes each day I also take maths for my whole class and it is during this time I am expected to cover all the other strands of maths; Chance, Data & Statistics, Geometry and Measurement.
This is not enough time and so of course I am doing my best to cross pollinate ideas and build actually useful skills. For instance as a significant portion of all our classes were away for an inter-school swimming carnival during my last lesson. I taught circles to the upper rotation. It being very apparent that most had never used a compass before and even those who had, were never given explicit instruction into how to not mess it up every time. We will be building on that session in the week ahead when we will create pie charts to illustrate the common fractions using compasses and protractors. All this in the hope that by the time we get to angles a few weeks down the line we can move beyond classifying angles and into the elements in short order.