We are very excited to have received an Artist in Schools grant through Creative Victoria- thanks to Paul Allen our Art teacher for having the idea and working through the extemsive application process. We wanted our project to be something more than creating a piece of art for our school. We wanted something that would be with our students, and used by our students, for the rest of their lives. Our project is titled “The Malmsbury Memory Trail”. Over the life of our project our students, teachers and school community will be working with Lynne Kelly, author of “The Memory Code”, http://www.lynnekelly.com.au/ to learn memory techniques to apply to our school learning and important family events. Lynne will start working with us in term 2. Keep checking back for updates.
Term 2 2017.
April. Lynne is spending the first week of term with us and will be in and out of our classrooms getting to know us all. Initially she was uncertain how she could modify the project to suit our P/1 students but having spent time with them and their teacher and seeing how switched on and creative they are, her mind is bursting with possibilities! This project will be a learning time for all of us as nothing like this has been tried before- in any school anywhere! Go #teammalmsbury!
We held our information session in late April so members of our school and wider community could come along and hear Lynne and Paul give an overview of the project. They saw examples of Rapscallions, the figures our students are going to make, the heard about the different memory techniques our students will be learning and they got to put one of the techniques in to action. You can ask any of the people there about the top 6 countries with highest population and they will be able to go in to their memory palace, well, their house in their mind, and tell you. Go on, ask them!
Photos from our Information night.
One of the memory techniques our students will be using is song. After our information session our music teacher Joseph Bromley went home and wrote a song to help our students remember what a force is. ( We have science lessons on a Friday afternoon and are currently learning about Force). Check out our song-
Our students have begun creating their Rapscallions, the figures they will use to attached memories and learning. Of course, we should not have been surprised that many of the students have already talking to their figures and having them talk back and to other students and Rapscallions!
From Paul, our Art teacher.
The project is really coming together as the preliminary ‘experiments’ with our ‘guinea pig’ students start to come to fruition. This small group have experimented with making their own smaller scale memory trails on topics of their own interest (dog and horse breeds, World Cup soccer and NBA teams, etc.) Once they understand how the vivid associations encode the knowledge in the environment the students pick it up naturally and then run with it. They can even take all these associations and tie them up into a cohesive and highly memorable story. They are still childlike and random stories, but this seems to make them all the more memorable.
Below are some images of the little figurines we call Rapscallions, which were completed last week. There is one for each student and the varieties of characters and personalities are extraordinary. We plan for Lynne to move into the general classroom soon and begin to use the Rapscallions as learning tools with the teachers. From initial explorations with the Prep/1 grade the kids are just naturally inclined to engage with them in a way that seems much deeper than their imaginative play with mere toys. Maybe it is the age of these younger students, but they really seem to ‘channel’ information through them in a way that Lynne and I have found truly remarkable.
The final image is a small example of one of the ‘rusties’ (I have a shed filled with rusted bits of iron my son and I have collected over the last few years around Castlemaine). Students made these sculptures today as a means of ‘marking’ the date on the school wide memory trail that fits their personal interest. In this case it is a representation of the Loch Ness Monster from the reportedly first appearance in 1933. We have ‘rusties’ sculptures depicting the first footy match (1850’s); the first Harry Potter book (1996); the first hearing aid (1898); the opening of the Melbourne zoo (1862); the first world cup soccer game (1930); when pizzas first came to Australia (1950’s) and other eclectic historical moments derived from the curious minds of the students here at Malmsbury PS.
Most importantly Lynne is working with the classroom teachers to compile a list of the kinds of information and knowledge that will prove most useful to them. From learning issues related to literacy and numeracy and even in relation to broader issues like student interpersonal relationships and attitudes to learning itself.
Needless to say the work is fascinating, enriching and the consensus is that the kids themselves are having a lot of fun.
Artists in Schools- A Victorian Government Initiative