Wow, we are done with our fourth class already! We got really good news in that an extra week has been added to the schedule. That means we can cover more material and maybe introduce something new this year.
This week we started out with the painting project from last week, The paintings look really good and I think the students had fun doing them. They were really into it this week. While they were painting I playewd music from the CD “Didge Blows the Games” by Ankala & World Orchestra. We wanted to finish the painting early in class so that the paint could dry and the students could take them home today.
While the paint dried we moved on to more Dreamtime stories. This week we learned about the Rainbow Serpent and the first sunrise. The students did all the reading. It was really good to have them answer the questions so quickly.
The last thing scheduled was to watch some videos with Aussie music. The week it was “Waltzing Matilda” and “My Boomerang Won’t Come Back”. It was great when one of the students said during Waltzing matilda, “There a Coolabah tree, like in the Brolga story last week.” You really have to love it when they connect things from previous weeks.
I had hoped for a really fun class today. My energy level seemed a bit low so I was in real need of a pick me up. The students were going to make their own Aborigianl style art. This year I again provided samples of Aboriginal art and also drawings of symbols used in the art. I also told the students that they had to incorporate 3 of the symbols in their own artwork. The class was hesitant at first to paint but we finally got them going. I was really impressed with what they did because the class was all boys and usually the girls take to the art better then the boys. Here are a few photos of the artwork in progress.
During the art session I played selections of music from the CD “Sounds of the Outback Vol 2”. I had the students stop painting to watch the viseo “Treaty” by Yothu Yindi. After cleaning up we read and discussed the Dreamtime story about where the Brolga came from. One student volunteered to read the whole story. I think maybe he thought if he read, then he wouldn’t have to answer the questions. Again the students were on the ball with the answers, sometimes answering the follow up questions before we asked them.
They headed back to school and are enthusiastic about next week when they get to make didgeridoos.
Today we started class with how a boomerang works. I used a Powerpoint presentation by Tom Conally maker of Flying Frog Boomerangs. The presentation is titled “BOOMERANGS: Magic or Science?”. It explains Bernoulli’s Principle and gyroscopic precession. It also includes instruction on how to throw and catch a boomerang, effects of the wind and even a bit of history of boomerangs. It is a useful tool when doing classes such as this. It is detailed enough that it took up half the class period.
After learning about boomerangs we got to have some fun. Each student got to decorate a Roomerang (thanks to Gary Broadbent) and bend airfoils into it. They did some pretty nice artwork in some cases. We then headed to the building’s lobby to test out the boomerangs. The class had paid close attention to the presentation and were doing great in almost no time. It was fun to watch them and I even got a short video of them on my phone.
Next we switched gears and started reading stories from the Aboriginal Dreaming. Todays story was “The Red Waratah” a story about how the Waratah got it’s red color from the blood of an injured Wonga pigeon. I was pleasantly surprised that the class could answer all the questions I asked about the story. Its nice to know they are listening.
All of a sudden out time was up and they had to get on the bus to head back to school. They are enthusiastic about next week.
Well it must be spring because I hit the field today to test some boomerangs. It was typical for this time of year, temps in the mid 40’s, mostly cloudy and winds blowing about 15mph. Probably not the best day but doable. The field conditions were typical for spring too. Very mushy under the mostly dead grass. I felt like I was walking on sponges. Needless to say I wasn’t running around chasing boomerangs. Let them land were they land and pick them up. My knees and ankles cause enough problems without me messing around on squishy ground.
Everything I tested flew well, even though many tosses were blowbys. That 15 mph wind has a way of affecting fligh. I was most anxious to test the MDF boomerangs I received to use for my Australia class. These were originally made by Hasse Lindberg in Sweden. He originally sent them to David Fantone in Oregon, who sent the leftovers to me. They flew very well so I am happy to have them for the students to use. The other boomerangs I had for testing were orders for customers which have stacked up in backlog over the winter.
Well, it was good to see stuff flying again.
Today was the first session of my Sacred Heart School/Computer Aid exploratory class for Eighth graders. The class is called “Australia: The Dreamtime and Boomerangs”. I am assisted by my coworker, Hector Vazquez.
We started with an overview presentation on what would be learned over the next seven weeks. we also covered the grounds rules for conduct and participation. The students appear to be very enthusiastic. Then I openeg my bag (actually a box) of tricks. I had brought quite a few various aboriginal pieces to show. I had clap sticks, 2 nulla nullas, a shield and a number of both kylies and boomerangs. I think it was fun to let them pass the items around, to hold and touch each item. It made the experience more personal for them. I was pleased that the students had many questions.
Then I moved on to modern boomerangs. I had a bunch of boomerangs and realized I could have brought more. The students were very interested in the various shapes and were surprised that they all returned. Of particular interest were the bat boomerangs made by former Sacred Heart student Ian Guldner. Ian went on to high school and is now a college graduate. His boomerangs were made as part of class project in high school. He entered them in the USBA National contest and won. I had qute a few art boomerangs including some pieces by Alan Scott Craing which I recently obtained. I also showed boomerangs used for competition in fast catch, MTA, Long Distance and Aussie Round.
We had to move on so I began the presentation on Aboriginal art. We reviewed the symbols used and what they represented. Then we viewed a number of photographs of Aboriginal art and tried to figure out what was on them. From there we moved to a presentation on what the Dreaming or Dreamtime is and how it came to being. We ran out of time at this point so got the students back to the bus and went back to work. Our next few weeks will be fun because the students already have loads of questions which will be answered in future sessions.
Yes, it has been a long time since I have last posted to the blog. I got busy and the weather got cold. Once it’s cold I shut down all boomerang activities. With us rolling into March, there is a chance to make boomerangs as soon as the temps get a bit higher. That’s a good thing because I am developing a backlog of boomerangs to produce and i have a craft show the end of April. I’ll need shop time!
Also it is only two weeks until I begin my exploratory class for 8th grade students at a local school. This is the third time I’ll be doing the class. The class is called “Australia: The Dreamtime and Boomerangs”. In the class the students learn about the Aboriginal culture thru the Dreamtime stories and art. They also get to try to make their own Aboriginal art, make boomerangs, and make PVC didgeridoos. They will listen to some Australian music and study the science on how boomerangs work. Lots of fun but some real learning opportunities too. The class happens at my employer’s office and is scheduled from noon to 1pm each Thursday. We’ll have 7 sessions this year.
I look forward to the class and working with my coworker, Hector. This will be Hector’s third time too. Now I should look over my class lesson plan and make a list ot things I need to get ready in the next 2 weeks. First class is March 21st. I’ll be posting weekly updates after the class.
Last week I finally got to get away on vacation for a week. While away, I managed to paint a couple boomerangs in a dot art style. Here is a photo of me painting one of the shark boomerangs I had with me.
Those of you who read this blog already know about the exploratory class I teach here at work for students at a local inner city school. This is part of an initiative by my employer to help these students be better and includes an email buddy program, a remedial reading program and the exploratory classes which are done based on the employee’s hobbies and interests. I have been in the program for 10 years and have done all the programs with the latest being my “Australia, the Dreamtime and Boomerangs” class.
Yesterday my employer had a lunch thanking all the volunteers for their work with the students over the past year. We have this every year and usually we get a little gift. This year it was a insulated lunch bag with the company logo on it, last year a flash drive. After the lunch we all get paraded into the big conference room in front of the managers of the company. They applaud for us and two Community Service Awards are given out to people in the program. I have often wondered how someone gets selected and what is needed to win an award. The award is a glass eagle on a base with a name plate.
This year the first award went to a woman here who teaches various exploratory classes. She has done art classes and cooking classes. I think she is working on a gardening class for this year. The president of the company picks up the second award and announces “Could Dave Hendricks come forward?”. I think my eyes got as big as dinner plates and my jaw hit the floor. I was very shocked to hear my name called out. He went on to tell the group that I had been in the program a long time and had done email buddies, reading program and my Australia and boomerangs class. He mentioned me bringing boomerangs to the spring picnic and teaching the students how they work. Meanwhile I stood there still trying to believe it was happening. He shook my hand, handed me my eagle award and everyone applauded. It was quite a lunch for me.
For the first time in a long time, I had a reasonably free weekend. The weather wasn’t bad so I headed outside to make boomerangs. I had some boomerangs which were already shaped and needed to be painted. I made sure I got a good primer coat first and sealed the backs with clear. I had fun making some “Great White” or “Jaws” boomerang. Those of you old enough to reamber the movie “Jaws” will remember the ad with the nose of the shark coming out of the water. This boomerang tried to capture that image. Here are Great Whites getting painted.
Check out that stencil I am using. That is between 15 and 20 years old and made from shirt cardboard. My son, Vince, made that stencil and I have been using it ever since. There is alot of dried white paint on it. There are three sharks ready to paint, one finished one at the top and one under the stencil, having just gotten it’s teeth.
I painted several other models and the finished results are in this photo.
Once I had everything painted, I hit the shop again to shape more boomerangs. I got some unusual shapes done and even 2 cherry lap jointed boomerangs shaped. Now I have to find time to test them so i can paint them too.
I really expected to get farther along with boomerangs by now but between a very hot an humid summer, and other activities, I just haven’t managed it. Last weekend I did something about it. I got in the shop and shaped some plywood boomerangs. After that I decided to paint some Roomerangs so that I have them for my craft show the beginning of October. I tried a different technique and think they came out nice. There’s 62 total painted.
I ran out of time Saturday to do more but got back at it Sunday. I snuck over to the field and tested the boomerangs I shaped the day before. All went well so I headed home and did a good finish sanding on them. Then I made sure to get a coat of primer on them. I was hoping to get them pained up this week but haven’t found the extra time. More photos when I get them painted.
No more travel at the moment so maybe I can get back to boomerangs. It’s scorching here this week and I am not too keen on getting in the hot shop to make booms. I considered maybe getting out to throw but by lunchtime (my normal free time) it’s approaching or over 90 degrees. I am a bit worried because the boomerangs I have been accumulation are piling up and have gone untested in months. Here is a list of what I currently have that need to be tried out:
Duck and triblade by Chris Kalfa
Omega of unknown maker
Boombastic by Bill Glover
Weighted Binghi Eagle from the Br Brian Thomas collection
Lexfly quad by Boomerangfan
Strip laminated Omega, hook and triblade fby Ben Dehner
F-rang by Peter Ruhf
Too Much Fun and the Scream by Bear Boomerangs
Veebru, Retro Hook, Hook, Tom Pederson and Burwell Hook by Bruce Bernstein
Triblade and 2 hooks by Bob Burwell
2 E-Rangs by RusArt
4 Herb Smith boomerangs
5 Art boomerangs
Thats 31 boomerangs all together. Seems to me just testing all those would be quite a workout. I wonder how long it will take me to get them tried out and how well I’ll like any of them.