Art…in the Shower

Sticking artworks to the shower counts as ‘doing art’,

doesn’t it?

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Yes, I seriously did stick artworks to our shower.

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I printed out a bunch of artworks for us to study over the term

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and stuck them in my usual spot – on cupboards.

But I decided that I needed a more visible spot.

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So I’ve been sticking them to the shower!

Now, while all that expensive water is going down the drain,

my boys are studying art.

Tick √

Art is done.

(PS.  I just had a brainwave. 

I could give them their old bath crayons and they could make reproductions!


(PPS.  Yeah, perhaps it’s a little creepy having two old people watch you shower.

It’ll be especially scary when I stick Munch’s “The Scream” on the shower. 


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Posted by on October 19, 2016 in Art and Craft


Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar

“Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar” is a great book.

It’s a historical fiction book about the change over from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

Do you know much about the calendars?

I didn’t, which is why I decided to hunt down a copy of the book

and read it to my boys.

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Did you know that we lost 10 days in the change over?l

Well the Catholic countries did.

They changed over in 1582.

Many protestant countries thought the Pope was up to mischief

so they waited until 1752 and they lost 11 days.

And Eastern Europe waited until various years during World War 1.

Yep, that late.

So why did we need to make the change?

Well the Julian calendar was created on the basis of a year being 365 days and a quarter, exactly,

(which is why leap years used to occur every four years)

However, it turns out that a year was actually a smidge shorter than their calculations.

This meant that our man-made calendar was creeping ahead of the actual solar year.

and that really messed with the Church’s calculations of special days,

particularly Easter.

So they had to pull the calendar back into line.

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Oh, and if you are wondering about leap years,

they don’t happen every four years anymore.

Every hundred years we miss a leap day.

So on 2100 and 2200 and 2300 we won’t have a leap day.

However, every four hundred years we get to keep the leap day,

which is why the year 2000 was a leap year,

as will be 2400.

This dabbling with the leap year

helps keep the new calendar mostly in sync with the solar year.

(It’s actually still out a smidge but we won’t creep ahead a whole day for hundreds of year).

Oh, we thoroughly enjoyed “Tibaldo and the Hole in the Calendar”

It was a fascinating read.



Posted by on October 18, 2016 in History, Mathematics, My Library


Spirit of Anzac

I totally forgot to blog about our visit to “Spirit of Anzac” earlier this year

so I’m jumping in and doing it now.

It was such a wonderful experience

and we don’t want to forget it.

Plus, the exhibition is still traveling around Australia

so check the website and see when it’s coming to an area near you.

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The exhibition is visually spectacular.

Every area is different and attempts to take you on a journey.

As you read about the troops enlisting

and traveling on ships to the warzone,

you walk up ramps as though you too were entering a ship.

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After you read about the troops training in Egypt,

you exit the room through a tent door

into the Gallipoli zone,

which is dark and loud.

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Every zone is themed wonderfully

and spectacularly.

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Nothing is done in an ordinary way.

Videos about the navy are displayed in port windows.

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Images about the sick and injured

and those that cared for them

are projected onto hospital beds hung on the wall.

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You can even look through periscopes in the trenches

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and see images similar to what the soldiers may have seen.

(Every so often bombs would explode in the view and shrapnel and dirt would fly everywhere.)

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Even the floors in the exhibition

are a canvas.

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There are so many images to see.

You really have to take your time

to soak it all up.

We spent well over two hours exploring the exhibition.

(Children who don’t cope well with seeing, experiencing and hearing a lot might struggle with this exhibition.)

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Make sure to check out the famous Cheops photo.

(You can check it out in more detail and at your own leisure online as well.)

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There are lots of interesting photos in the exhibition.

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Check out this observation tree.

I had no idea that they did things like this.

The observation post is made of steel and concrete

but it looks like a tree.

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This photo reminded me that

the weather conditions were particularly unpleasant.

Just check out those icicles.

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The artifacts were also fascinating.

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This is a sheet of metal from over the top of a trench.

If it’s any indicator of the number of bullets flying into the trenches,

I don’t know how anyone survived!

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And this helmet needs no words.

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I had a little chuckle over this next one.

These devices were used to warn the soldiers of incoming gas.

The ‘clacker’ on the left is the one used by the Australians

and the more sophisticated one was used by the Germans.

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This piece was really cool.

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It’s the very last shell fired by a group of Anzacs.

In Egypt they had it engraved and mounted in a display.

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Did you know that there were more than 170 MILLION shells launched in World War 1?

That’s just staggering.

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There were lots of statistics throughout the exhibition.

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My favourite part of the exhibition was the audio guide.

I wish more places included audio tours.

They are wonderful.

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My least favourite element of the exhibition

was the little red buttons.

Throughout the exhibition, you could tap your audio device on the red buttons

to collect additional information to be email to you

(all of which is available on their website anyway).

These ‘buttons’ took the children’s focus away from the exhibits.

We were overtaken by quite a number of school groups,

who were dashing from room to room simply tapping buttons and moving on.

These buttons were overkill and a detraction from the experience.

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But aside from that, the exhibition was excellent.

If you visit, which you should,

move slowly through the exhibition and take your time.

There is so much to listen to, look at and read

(perhaps a little too much).

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“Spirit of Anzac”  is one of those exhibition that you must see.

And the very best news is that it’s totally free.

So book your tickets now.


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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Field Trips, History


Lennie the Legend

We read a great little book over the holidays.

It was called, “Lennie the Legend:  Solo to Sydney by Pony”.

Alone, nine year old Lennie Gwyther rides his pony Ginger Mick

all the way from Leongatha, Victoria, to Sydney

to see the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Believe it or not, this is a true story.

The book retells his story

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and includes a number of photos and clippings from the Gwyther albums.

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Each chapter also includes an information section.

It’s an excellent children’s book!

One I highly recommend.

Not only did we learn about the courage and tenacity of Lennie,

but we also learned a lot about life in Australia at that time.

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The author, Stephanie Owen Reeder,

has written several great children’s books

based on historical events.

Coincidentally, I have several of them

and love them all.

(I didn’t realise they were all by the same author

until I was looking for more books like “Lennie the Legend”).

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So if you are looking for a great children’s book

set in Australian History,

check out “Lennie the Legend”

or one of Stephanie’s other books.

(If you want to know more about Lennie and this book,

there is a great podcast about it here.)

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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in History, My Library