This term, the Year 11 Visual Design students have taken on the role of specialist teacher, choosing a design-making activity they are interested in and then teaching it to the class. This role saw them do research, prepare an example, create an informative and aesthetically pleasing handout, organise the materials, consider and address relevant Work Health & Safety issues, instruct the class and reflect on the feedback given to them by their peers. This experience provided the students with a unique learning opportunity and one that they really enjoyed, despite being nervous to begin with.
Visual Art & Design Teacher
Over the last six weeks, our Year 10 students have been on a journey through time, beginning with a study of humanity’s oldest surviving written story, Gilgamesh, (which they learned, was a lot more interesting than the version they read in Class 4) to the literature of the Baroque period. This was a time where Man was looking out at the stars for the first time, with the aid of newly invented telescopes, as well as at the less visible world through microscopes, where they were greatly inspired. Through each text, we inquired into the development of human consciousness and asked ourselves, ‘What does the story reveal about the human condition at this time?’
In Lynne’s class, students were immersed in epic poetry; reading an abridged version of The Iliad, where ancient battles for Troy washed over us, and we wondered about a time when the collective consciousness of the group outweighed that of the individual, and where the gods manipulated the human beings for their own pleasure. We pondered on what causes we might willingly devote 10 years of our lives to.
We dipped back into The Canterbury Tales where the satirical characters offered stories that surprised us in their forward thinking. We revisited Camelot, with King Arthur’s knights, and enjoyed the powerful female characters. We inquired into the values of each period, as represented through the stories, in order to understand how human identity and society have changed over time.
We explored the origins of writing in cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics. Rei instructed us on the art of writing simple Japanese kanji and Shiri explained the basics of Hebrew, both of which are read from right to left. We created timelines in groups, which reviewed all the significant periods and events studied since the beginning of Primary School, building a picture of major events shaping human evolution up to today.
Under the microscopes last week, we examined a number of prepared slides - from a drop of human blood to a rat’s tail and a bumblebee, and wrote inspired poetry to express our wonder at the natural world. We attempted to view the natural world from a religious perspective, as most during Baroque times did, and then narrowed our focus as an exercise, to look at a natural object from other perspectives, including aesthetic, legal, ethical, emotional, artistic and mathematical.
It has been a rich journey for most students, and one that we hope has planted seeds of wonder about the human condition, that will continue to germinate for years to come.
Theatrical production is a collaborative, creative form of fine art. It is simultaneously individuality and collectivity working in unison. Theatrical art demands the collaboration of the actors with one another, with a director, with the various technical support people upon whom they depend for scenery and lighting, and with people who advertise and sell the show. In addition, the theatre depends more than most art forms upon audience response.
Our Year 11 production of The Peach Season, by the contemporary Australian playwright Debra Oswald, was a fine example of the team effort that is at the heart of theatre. The cast and crew worked tirelessly to bring the words on the page to life. They created a memorable cautionary tale, leading the audience through a range of authentic human emotions to arrive at a place of redemption for their characters.
The cast and crew experienced the electricity that is live performance. It is the presence of the audience that creates the final ingredient to make the performance live. Everything that has been learnt must be brought into the now – into ‘the moment’ for the audience.
I am very grateful to the many people who contributed their time and energy to the show and particularly to our audiences who braved the challenging weather to come and complete the circle.
An enthusiastic team of 25 of our Year 10 students recently participated in the Northern Rivers Science and Engineering Challenge, held at the Southern Cross University Lismore campus. Pitting their skills against other bright young people from the region, the Year 10 Science students came away with the second highest marks at the annual challenge, and a well-deserved award for best team spirit. The trophy can be admired in the High School office, along with trophies from previous years.
For the Challenge, each of the participating eight schools had teams of three to four members competing in different competitive activities involving science and engineering concepts, which were presented to the judges at the end of the day. Activities included developing rail networks that convey trains in the most efficient way possible; constructing a bionic hand using straws and PVC piping; building a tall earthquake-proof tower using only basic materials; and designing a Mars Rover to carry a precariously balanced load over a rough surface.
The students worked together as a team and tackled the activities with revolutionary fervor. The bridge was the final challenge and although Hugh, Dylan, Saxon and Tashi worked tirelessly against time to ensure its success, unfortunately it could not hold the final mass. It was a fantastic day out also providing a snapshot of possible career paths for the students.
Our Year 12 HSC Modern History, Physics and Chemistry students recently took part in a three-day excursion to Sydney. While the Science students visited the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation at Lucas Heights (ANSTO), home to Australia’s only research reactor and one of the country’s premier research institutions, the History class attended the annual HSC History study days, held by the History Teachers’ Association of NSW at the University of Sydney.
HSC Physics and Chemistry Teacher Gerard Braithwaite said the visit to ANSTO was a wonderful opportunity to bring to life the more theoretical aspects of the HSC Science course, on nuclear science. "The tour enabled the students to more deeply understand the role that ANSTO plays in the production of nuclear medicines for the Asia/Pacific region, irradiated silicon for the electronics industry, and a host of projects, from all areas of scientific research, involving neutron scattering and particle acceleration."
According to Year 12 Physics student Scott Lerch, the visit was not only a great learning experience but also a lot of fun. "You can study and research a lot about ANSTO online but it doesn’t compare to going and visiting the facility and having a guide that works there telling you everything they know about the science and engineering behind the fission reactor and particle accelerator,” said Scott.
Ravi Newman-Pache, also from the Year 12 Physics class, agreed. “The ANSTO excursion was a great experience," said Ravi. "It was inspiring, educational and eye-opening. Getting to see, in person, what we’ve been learning about helped with our understanding. But it was also really cool to see all the machinery and high tech equipment.”
The Modern History students who attended two of the university study days, also described their experience as useful, educational and fun.
"It was such an insightful and inspiring experience to go from our little Shearwater to the big city, and be able to gain a sneak peak into life as a university student," said Tiane Alexander. "We attended lectures on the Rise of Nazism, study tips for the exam and the Nuclear Age, among other things. It was amazing to be in a place filled with people as invested in, and inspired by, the subject as you are. I also felt especially honoured to have the chance to be lectured by the professors who write the very text books we learn from! It really gave me a motivating push to get through the rest of the year."
Emile Scheffers agreed. "The lectures brought a sense of simplicity, clarity and understanding to complex course concepts, the exam, and the overall HSC Modern History course," he said.
"The whole trip was an exceptional experience: walking through the unfamiliar city, and the Chinese and botanic gardens; admiring the curious ingenuity of Vivid festival and the subtle vastness of the State Library and experiencing the emotional stories of the Holocaust museum."
A final note from Gerard: "It was such a pleasure to be able to spend this time with some of our graduating class, and we thank the School administration for making such a trip possible."
This term, Year 11 Philosophy students have been engaged in a multimodal study of the medieval legend of Parsifal. Students have been reflecting on the young person’s journey into adulthood through a collaborative examination of the narrative and through the artistic and meditative process of watercolour painting.
Our Year 9s have recently returned from an epic three-week journey around the Northern Territory. The first four days were spent travelling on the bus, stopping only to eat and sleep. It was a character building time, often arriving at in the dark, setting up camp, cooking for 55 people, eating, washing up, sleeping, waking before dawn, packing up and leaving. The first night we stayed at a free camp site where we set up camp in the dark not realizing that it was a day picnic area. At 1am the sprinklers went off soaking all the tents. There was much moving of tents and ducking and weaving the fountains of water - luckily most of us saw the funny side.
Our first actual destination was Bitter Springs at Mataranka (pictured above). We stayed for two days in a beautiful camp spot a short walk away from most wonderful hot springs. A crystal clear stream that carried you down stream to a bridge, where you got out and walked back to either do it again or soak in it’s nutrient rich warm waters. The students loved it!
A couple of days later we headed off to Litchfield National Park where we spent two days. During this time we swam at Buley Rock Waterhole and had a talk from the rangers about crocodiles and termite mounds. Later in the day, we walked to Florence Falls where we also swam, getting the students to buddy up for safety in the large swimming hole.
We then headed up to Darwin, stopping at Berry Springs, yet another beautiful swimming hole. In Darwin, we went to the War Museum and the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory, where we had a excellent talk from the curator and saw the stunning Yidaki exhibition.
The following day, we all enjoyed the Big Buoy Water Park, before heading to the Trailer Boat Club for a great dinner overlooking the beach sunset.
Our next destination was Kakadu. In Ubirr we took in the magnificent rock art sites as well as the incredible view from the escarpment over Kakadu wetlands. One of the highlights of the camp was the Wetlands tour where we saw huge crocodiles and many varieties of birds. The students participated in workshops with a local indigenous family. The boys made didgeridoos and clap sticks under the guidance of Travis, while the girls learnt how to make bangles with Mandy, beginning with harvesting pandanus palm leaves to make thread and learning how to dye the thread using natural dyes. Later we enjoyed some excellent damper that they had brought and shared our lunch with them.
After Kakadu, we headed to Katherine Gorge and the Nitmuluk National park. We swam at Edith Falls, stopped at Katherine Thermal pools, and went to the Cutta Cutta Caves (meaning place of many stars). We took a ferry through the gorge and some of the students did a challenging walk back to camp.
The camp was amazing and such a journey of growth for the students and staff alike. One we will remember for the rest of our lives with gratitude and wonder.
April and Tony
Year 9 Guardians
We don’t often have a chance to experience the simplicity of inner stillness in full consciousness. Winter is a time to look within and reflect on our lives and gather for the next year. To ensure your children experience this mood of soul here are a few possible suggestions to continue the mood into your home life:
• Create a quiet family ritual that you enact each year on the longest night.
• When you arrive for the Winter Festival in your car, ensure the radio is turned off for a quiet ride home.
• After the festival, go home and share a meal by candlelight. Immerse yourselves in a rich peace and quiet. Prepare the meal during the day so that you don’t have to turn on any electric lights.
• Have the whole family at home - no sleep-overs - for the longest night.
• Light candles instead of turning on the electric lights.
• Have a family campfire and go to bed early.
• Wake up early in time to watch the sun rise on the new year ahead.
Below are the words of our new Winter Festival song, composed by Lisa Cameron and written by Liz Kee.
Let the water spring
Out of the earth from deep below.
Welling up from secret places hidden from our si-ight
Bubbling up through layers of rock to break into the light.
Rivers ru-u-nning clean and strong
Flowing free-ee-ly through the land
Deep and sonorous is their song
Such powerful mu-sic
Ri-ppling rivulets trickling by
Babbling cheekily as they run
Lakes and billabongs bri-mming full
Spar-kli-ing in the sun-shine
Let the wa-ter spring
Out of the earth from deep below
Welling up from secret places hidden from our si-ight
Bubbling up through layers of rock to break into the light.
Guard this gift of li-i-i-ife.
Sometimes all you can do is sit back and watch people make mistakes... The instant a person loves a person or a thing, they face the risk of losing that person or thing.
The Shearwater Year 11 Drama class of 2019 invites you to come and see their production of Debra Oswald's The Peach Season. Winner of the 2005 Rodney Seaborn Playwright's Award, The Peach Season is a powerful and moving story of desire, and the painful process of a mother's letting go.
After fleeing Sydney following the loss of her husband, Celia has spent 16 years on an isolated peach farm, hiding from the horrors of the world, in an effort to keep her daughter Zoe safe. But Zoe is chafing against Celia's protectiveness, and the arrival of two young people looking for picking work heralds the end of their remote existence. An intoxicating cocktail of heat, isolation, and the excitement of the forbidden, is destined to trigger youthful passions and bad decisions, changing Celia's world forever.
The play will be performed over two nights, June 26 and 27, in the Shearwater School Hall. The show starts at 7.30pm and will run for about two hours including an intermission. Tickets are $12 or $8 concession and will be available at the door. The play has a mature audience rating MA15+, due to strong themes and course language.
"The virtue of Oswald's funny and tender play is that it's deeply caring of people, irrespective of the mess they create or get themselves into.” (Sydney Morning Herald).
© Shearwater The Mullumbimby Steiner School