30 Day Challenge

“Try something new for 30 days”, Matt Cutts

My NSW Department of Education and Communities colleagues on Maang have decided to embrace the advice of Matt Cutts in his TED talk, “Try something new for 30 days” (above).

First up is the Photo Challenge (click for the cumulative slideshow). For the next 30 days, we take a photo a day and post it under the dedicated thread for the day. Day threads will be numbered according to which day we are up to. Subject matter? “What’s happening in your life/work today?” (I’m already experienced in this type of challenge, have done the 365 Photos project in 2009-2010.

Here’s my pic:

Fish'ook and Bluey

These homemade stuffed cats date back to my teachers college days (1979), based on my cartoon characters, Fish’ook and Bluey, who featured in a comic strip in the college newspaper, “Dugil”. They turned up in a vacation cleanup this week; hadn’t seen them in years! (Ah, Hobbytex – remember those roll-on paint-in-a-tube things you bought on party plan like Tupperware?)

Storyteller extraordinaire

Aboriginal storyteller, Boori “Monty” Pryor,
visits my school in the lead-up to NAIDOC Week.

Note that no students are recognisable in this shot.

Today, my school was visited by Aboriginal storyteller and author, Boori “Monty” Pryor. He was a huge hit with the students and teachers. They listened, asked questions, danced, mimed and generally had a great time.

Boori expertly guided the action: when the students were paired up to perform a dance about the crocodile and the fisherman, he kept both groups, the “crocodiles” and “fisherman”, as active as possible, but with minimum instruction. Everyone knew they’d get their moment in the limelight as the carnivorous crocodiles because it was explained that they’d eventually be switching positions with the fishermen.

The students’ reactions are featured here!

You must be joking!

A selection of work by cartoonist, children’s book illustrator
and director, Greg Holfeld, whose graphic novel, “Captain Congo”
has been nominated for the Children’s Book Council Awards this

I was thrilled to meet the talented and friendly Greg Holfeld this weekend, at Supanova Convention, at Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia. I was able to tell him how popular “Captain Congo and the crocodile king” is proving to be with the students at my school, and he autographed some copies of his previous picture book, “You must be joking!” (It was only later that I realised that the boy hero’s pet in that book is a super-powered Jack Russell terrier – not unlike mine!!)

We enjoyed a laugh together about the bizarre prevalence of giant purple gorillas in classic comic books (and at least two of his own works.)

Greg also threw into my package of purchases a copy of “Monkey, Bug, Rabbit & Goose have lunch and save the planet“, issue #1 of a unique reader, in comic book style, which he created for for fledgling “comicophiles” at his children’s school.

Thanks so much Greg.

365 photos

A few weeks ago, I happened across two different references to a blogging project that was called “365 Photos“. The concept is to use a digital camera to create one photograph per day, using an almost-impromptu, aim-and-shoot technique. Some days, one finds oneself putting a lot of thought into a photo, or at least the subject matter. Other days, a surprise opportunity just presents itself. And other times, it might reach 11.58 pm before one realises that the day has almost slipped by without a suitable photo opportunity. The family dog is useful for such moments of panic (even if he’s asleep).

I’ve been uploading the resultant shots to my Flickr account, and assembling them as a cumulative “set”. This also means that I can create a slideshow, as I did a few minutes ago, by requesting an automatically-generated URL from Flickr. eg:

Click here

The slideshow presentation will get longer and longer as time goes on, of course. And there is an option to display captions – or not.

Although I’m doing this as a personal blogging exercise, over on my other blog – and it has certainly ensured that I have no shortage of things to talk about on that blog – I’m beginning to realise there are endless ways to adapt this project for use with a class of students. Not to mention the potential for using it to discuss visual literacy!

I found a great online explanation of “365 Photoshere, and the reflections of its first advocate here.