Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Odysseus mural... gone but not forgotten

Way back in the nineties, when I was first teaching, we painted the story of Odysseus' journey onto the library wall. This year it disappeared under fresh paint and new shelves, but it deserves its moment in public.
Every child in the Prep school at the time contributed at least one drawing. Some children responded with a flow of lively characters and details - others needed persuasion, more persuasion and sinister threats... but everyone was represented in the final composition.
Then I spent a lot of time with tracing paper and the school photocopier, making all the images the right size, before putting them on the wall with carbon paper (carbon paper - I haven't seen any for years!) We had to fit the composition to the shape of the wall, which was a rectangle with a door cut out in the middle.
The wall had been re-plastered and had a coat of nice fresh emulsion. This was before the damp bits appeared... The painting was all done with acrylics, the flow formula type, with glaze and matt media to thin the colours. Then I added the black outlines with Indian ink.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Archaeology Box

This is the fourth time we've tried the hands-on archaeology experiment, finding out how different materials are affected by being buried underground for months. The first time, we couldn't find one of the burial sites at all. The next time, we flagged the buried box too well and it was disturbed by person or persons unknown (or possibly the school dog!). This time, we dug a really deep hole and recorded how far it was from the classroom window!
We used a small, unlidded wooden box. This is what we put in:
A conker
A piece of candle wax
A thin slip of wood, as thin as the Vindolanda tablets
A piece of paper
A piece of toast
A stainless steel knife
A glass bead
A piece of glazed china
A tiny glass bottle
A feather
A piece of copper foil
A lead weight from a curtain
A 2p coin and a 5p coin
A cow's tooth
A flint
A cork

This is what the stuff looked like when we dug it up in July!