Tag Archives: memories

Which cereal did you eat?

Drawn has plunged me into childhood nostalgia by compiling an archive of cereal boxes. There are 100 of them on this site. I don’t think we had a lot of these in Australia.

cereal

There’s something smile-worthy about the cheery, colourful graphics of cereals past. Even though I don’t recognise many of these, and despite the fact that most of these were forbidden, the happy times of simpler days still shine through these colourful graphics.

I wonder how many people remember a childhood of uncensored cereal-eating? Was it the norm to eat these sugary breakfast treats? My childhood was a mixture of ‘the norm’ and not. Yes, I was allowed sweets, even fags, and no, I wasn’t allowed fairy bread for school lunch, but had to eat doorstopper sandwiches full of ‘disgusting’ fillings that would now be popular in trendy cafes. I wasn’t allowed to watch things on TV that many others were so I couldn’t talk about these shows in the playground. I wasn’t allowed to play in the street. I didn’t have free weekends at a time before children’s lives were so overcommitted, but went to ballet and Saturday Russian school.

I was talking to my 18 year old son about fitting in and standing out. This can be particularly painful in the primary school years. If you had Corn Flakes like everyone else then you didn’t have to feel it. If you had vegemite sandwiches for lunch you didn’t have to feel it. If you could wear Target jeans instead of well tailored handmade ‘slacks’ you didn’t have to feel it.

Different. You didn’t have to feel different. You could walk around in your jeans and miller shirt and talk about Number 96 on TV, you could stay at your friend’s house instead of crying crocodile tears over your Russian homework and going to play rehearsal for The Governor Inspector.

So we were talking about not fitting in during childhood, and I talked about not letting him watch The Simpsons in primary school, not because it was ‘bad’, but because childhood was too short not to savour the innocence of TV, film  and literature written especially for children, and because a very young child cannot understand satire. He said he didn’t understand it then, but he understood it now. I told him that a parent who made the decision to be selective about a child’s early experiences also suffered when it meant that the child couldn’t talk about popular TV shows (Big Brother) in the playground, couldn’t talk about computer games that were out of bounds. It really was hard. And he said he’d survived; he didn’t think there was anything wrong with him, he was his own person, stronger for standing out.

Sometimes when I see parents of young children agonising over choices – wanting to make all the right decisions, but torn between the possibilities, I want to say –  Go with your gut feeling; if you take something away, then replace it with something else that’s wonderful; talk about everything; respect your children’s viewpoints; don’t be afraid for them to be different.

When they grow up, differences become attractive, being your own person is respected, strength lies in being true to yourself.

When we look back at past cereal boxes, none of us ate all of them, but we share the memory of the collective culture.

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Bring Show and Tell into the 21st century

peacock

Does Show and Tell sound old fashioned to you?  Think again…

Remember Show and Tell in primary school? In my primary years (a long time ago), Show and Tell was possibly the only time that the teacher stepped aside and encouraged students to take centre stage to share sundry news items and paraphernalia. Think about what’s happening – a variety show led by students themselves. You can say or show almost anything – news (world news, local news, trivial or important news, news about your dog or about your uncle), opinions, and the freedom to bring in ANYTHING you like – stick insect in a jar, your dad’s gallstones, the latest in technology (for me, that was my talking Bugs Bunny), strange money, photos of a trip to exotic lands, a special book, something you have made, a science experiment (remember growing your own crystals) – wonderful, wonderful things. I imagine Show and Tell still happens in primary schools.

But why stop at primary school? How often does a student get free reign and the attention of the whole class? When else does the student audience get to see such a great show. By secondary school – correct me if I’m wrong – everything fits into neat little curricular boxes. Very full boxes. No room for randomness, for the unexpected, for student-directed sharing; no procession of ever-changing wonders, no exchange of opinions on student-directed topics.

And another thing. The time limits for each Show and Tell slot allow for a quick succession of small, tasty morsels. If you’re not interested in one thing, the next offering could be more to your liking.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Doesn’t this remind you a little of Twitter? The short, quick exchange of goodies just discovered, great links, photos worth sharing, questions offered to the group? Is blogging or microblogging our new version of Show and Tell? A reclaiming of our natural desire to share and learn with each other? Our instinctive knowledge that learning happens from and with others, and not just from the teacher?

What do you think?

What are your best Show and Tell memories?

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A picture’s worth a thousand words

I found ‘A picture’s worth’ on the Learning technology teacher development blog. it’s a wonderful collective version of people’s stories behind their own photos – even more interesting as a kaleidoscopic collection. Starting as a personal project, ‘A picture’s worth’ has developed into a pictorial record of varied experiences and reflections. Submissions of photos and text between 300 and 1000 words are moderated, and copyright for photos and essay remains with the author.

Some authors will include website links, and a map showing where the photo adds to the authenticity of the story. I like this idea for the classroom. Rather than write the usual story about a personal photo, students can showcase to a peer audience, and the shared stories could trigger ideas. It’s always interesting to see what subject matter is chosen and for what reason. Here’s an example of someone who loves photographing little forgotten theatres. Some of these stories are more intimate than others. Here’s an intimate, emotional one about a family coping with a dying grandmother. Here’s a confronting, brave one about abuse called ‘Bruised twice’.

The picture inserted in this post is of my church in Brunswick, Melbourne, on Merri Creek, although it could well be in Russia. This church building houses many stories, from its inception which remained a dream for many decades, including the efforts of many people, some of whom never saw the completed project, to the present day. And it will be connected to many different families and individuals in years to come.

The picture below is the inside of the church looking up at the cupol.

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“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow”

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I played tourist last weekend. Grabbed the no-frills digital camera and my legs, and went in search of the treasures of Melbourne in early Spring. I grew up in Melbourne, and frequented the city centre regularly as a child. My grandmother, a school principal and biology teacher (Russia) turned factory-worker, sewed toilet bags and shower caps for a Jewish factory in Little Collins Street, and I used to go in with her, sometimes to be shown around to her work colleagues so they could tell me I had beautiful skin (nobody tells me that now), or to deposit her wares and have lunch. These are the memories I cherish – of the mysterious worlds within buildings, old, cage-like elevators, dark passages and illuminated cafes in arcades. Thankfully, much of old Melbourne remains to this day. I love the details and little surprises around the city.

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More than reading

Thinking about the point of Book Week made me think about reading, and sparked a mental journey through my own book and literature memories:
being read to in bed, listening from my playpen to my grandmother reciting Evgeniy Onegin while she sewed her way through thousands of shower caps for her boss, reading to anyone who would listen as a young girl waiting for her mother’s perm to be done at the hairdresser’s (Cornelius) in Camberwell, re-reading my favourite books and poring over the illustrations, not understanding why a girl in my primary school class was forbidden to read by her mother, dreaming of being an author, choosing all literature subjects in different languages at university, learning languages to read the literature, reading to my children, translating an English picture book into Russian to my toddler while simultaneously watching Neighbours (go figure), deriving so much pleasure from buying all the old classics for my first child before he was conceived, rediscovering these books with him, listening to children’s audio books in the car, passionately discussing wonderful books with students as an English teacher and trying to ‘convert’ the unbelievers , delving deeper and deeper into literature with students, challenging students and making them think, watching students come into the library to ask impatiently if their favourite book had been returned …

What are your literature memories?

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The Dick Tracy Show

Originally uploaded by tsheko
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 There are many educational YouTube videos to be discovered. Then there are these…

Greenacres

The Addams family

My three sons

The Patty Duke Show

Father knows best

Mr Edd

Bewitched

Lassie

Bonanza

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