Today was my first day of class. You see, the company I work for supports a local inner city school in Allentown by providing computers we don’t use. The company has also set up several mentoring programs for the students including reading help, exploratory classes and email buddies. Exploratory classes are held for one hour on a Thursday and run 8 classes total. These are taught by employees and include a variety of hobbies and interests. There are ones on cooking, drafting, model rocketry, jewelry making and more.
Since I make boomerangs and have interest in Australia and the Aboriginies, I stuck my neck out and offered to do a class. The class will deal with Aboriginal Dreamtime stories, Aboriginal Art and of course, boomerangs.
Today was the introduction. I didn’t realize that the students were assigned to classes and did not choose which class to attend. My class is made up of more girls than boys. We started with introductions and expectations from both the students and teachers. We started by talking briefly about the Dreamtime stories which we will dig deeper into on future classes. Then it was time to introduce the students to some Aboriginal art. We had samples of both dot style and x-ray style. The students leaned what some of the symbols meant and we discussed one of the pieces of art and what it meant. We’ll bring more art in each session. We plan to have the students create their own dot art one session.
After the art portion I started showing a number of artifacts I had brought along. A carving on wood, various carved boomerangs, clapsticks, bull roarers and even a nulla nulla. We moved to some old kylies or throwsticks. From there it was modern boomerangs in every imaginable shape. The students enjoyed seeing all the types of boomerangs there could be. Of particular interest were two bat shaped boomerangs made by former SHS student, Ian Guldner. Ian made these as part of a project he did for his senior year in high school. Ian was my email buddy when he was at SHS and learned about boomerangs from me. Ian’s bat boomerangs took first place in the 2007 USBA National Craftmanship Contest. Quite an accomplishment for a new boomerang builder. Here is a photo of Ian and me along with some of his creations.
On tap for next week is a Powerpoint presentation on how boomerangs actually work. We will also make some roomerangs and decorate them before testing them out. I’ll need to find my Dreamtime CD so we can play a story or two.