Thursday, April 10, 2008

1990 - Part 5: More school stuff

Typisk, den morgen jeg skal afsted på skiferie vågner jeg og er snot-forkølet. Am NOT impressed. Ah well...

Næste 'kapitel' i 1990 minderne.

During the year we'd have different "Modules" in P.E.. I'm going to mention three of those here: Swimming, folk dancing and preparing for the gym competition.

* During the summer term we had P.E. classes in the school pool which was great when the weather approved, and really, really cold when it didn't ;) It was a rather shallow pool - no more than a meter deep I'd guess - so obviously no diving of any kind was allowed. Instead, for free play if we could get it organised we got everybody in class to stand in a long line and walk around the edge of the pool. With proper spacing we were enough to make a complete circle, and could really get a current flowing. Then at the appropriate time somebody (usually Mrs. Gilliland) would yell "Turn", and we'd all turn around and try walking the other way, against the current. Typically completely impossible and we'd fall and falter, all the while shrieking with laughter :)

* I don't even remember why we had a folk dancing module any longer, but it was lots of fun and ended with a performance for all our parents. We were taught several different dances, and practised them daily. Unfortunately I remember nothing of them any longer, but at the time I'd dance around to music in my head at any and all times :-) I was paired up with Daryl - one of the few Maori boys in class. While not Daniel, I liked him a lot and he was one of my good friends in class.

* About halfway through the year those of us who wanted to could sign up for a gym competition, with events on the bar, the mat, the 'horse' (okay, have no clue what that's called in English, it's a 'horse' in Danish), a balancing beam and jump rope. I did fairly well, but felt extremely cheated with the grade I was given on the mat. We'd been told it was a square mat, so that's what I had rehearsed my routine on. We came to the competition to discover it was a rectangular mat instead. I adjusted as well as I could, but was graded down because "I used too many superfluous steps". Yes, of course! I had to change the routine from a 5x5m mat to a 3x7m! Bah!

Where The Wild Things Are
About halfway through the year our class was visited by a student teacher. Ms. Saathof was studying to be a teacher, and as part of her training, she had to have some practical experience, so she helped teach us for about a month or so. As she was majoring in music and drama, her final project was to write and instruct a 'musical' with her class.

She decided to make a musical adaption of "Where The Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, writing out lines and songs for us to learn by heart. Meanwhile we spent the art classes making costumes (brown bags and scary masks) and set. Everybody had at least one line (is it sad that I still remember my line? "Brain the size of a pea?!" if you were wondering... which you probably weren't ;-) ) ). I was a bit sad I only had one line as even then I loved acting, and the girl who had been chosen to play Max' mother wasn't too pleased that she'd been given a part with many lines, so we tried to convince our teachers to let us swap. They wouldn't :-( Instead I was chosen to lead the gnarling and slashing when the Wild Things tried to threaten Max, so it wasn't all bad ;-)

We had a blast! It was simple, it was fun and it was just perfect for the age group. We performed it twice for the rest of the students as well as family and friends (I later discovered that Michael had actually been to see it!!! It's a small world) and were sorry when it ended. Like I said, I still remember most of the lines and practically all the songs. Some of them had words I didn't understand at the time, but I just LOVED to say! Like this: "We're proud we're loud, untamable, exceptional, immutable. We're the wild ones, that's who. We've come to frighten you (BOO!)"

Fun times :-)

School camp
In November standard 3 and 4 of Winchester School went off on a school camp (I was std 4) for a week. We had a great time! Every evening we were told to spend some time writing a camp diary. Most people found this an awful chore, but even then I knew I'd love to have such a diary later in life, and spent a lot of time on it. I was right, and have kept it around ever since. Not that I read it often, but it's just nice to have available. I reread it last night, and realised two things: 1) My English (written at least) was definitely NOT as good as I remembered it ;) 2) Even though I remember myself much older, at 11 I was still a young kid.

Anyway, the camp was great fun. We stayed near Wanganui which apparently has the oldest brick house in NZ - oldest, being from 1870 or so. I remember the others being suitably impressed, and me trying my hardest not to laugh, as it seemed so young to me (our local church was from 1100).

Some of the best things about camp:
* A tree swing - not the ordinary kind though. Of course you could use it like an ordinary swing, but a ladder had been put next to the tree it was tied to, and by getting up on the branch it was tied to and getting somebody else to pass the tire to you, you could throw yourself out from the tree, and get really, really high. So much fun!! I almost fell off once, because the tire snagged on a twig, which scared me off it for a couple of days, but before camp was over I was right back on it.

* The last day we were told to make our own lunch over a camp fire we had to build ourselves. We were split into teams of 4 and each team was given branches (I think), matches, a billy casserole, a sausage, a carrot, some potatoes and some chicken-noodle soup. Thanks to Mum teaching me how to build a good fire (and a LOT of luck) we were the first to get our fire started, and actually managed to make a delicious casserole by cooking everything in the chicken-noodle soup, instead of attempting to cook the things separately.

* The last evening we had lots of entertainment to end the camp with a blast. Everybody who wanted to could put on a show of some kind. There were skits of all sorts, as well as songs, dances etc. I remember very few of the acts, but know that Katie, Sarah and probably Steph danced to "The Right Stuff" by New Kids On the Block, and another group put on an act to "Tonight", also by NKOTB. They were HUGE in my class that year! ;) Andrew G and some others put on quite a funny skit about "the ugliest creature in the world". We ended the evening by playing games and eating chocolate. It was fun!

* While we were gone, the rest of the school had painted a mural on one of the school walls of the Maori legend of how the Manawatu Gorge was created (unfortunately I can't find a link to the legend), and of course our class were to add to it the week after. The school wanted us 'visitors' to paint something typically Kiwi on the mural, so I got to paint a kiwi bird :)

The camp was also where I first learned how to play knucklebones, but I think I'll save that for another post.

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