About Tania Sheko

I am Teacher Librarian at Melbourne High School, a selective school for boys year 9-12. I also live on Twitter as @taniatorikova

“How to read a poem” by Mr Blair Mahoney on World Poetry Day #tenminutetuesdays

To celebrate World Poetry Day, Mr Blair Mahoney talked about “how to read a poem” today as part of our Ten Minute Tuesdays series at recess.

He started with the poem “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins:

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Mr Mahoney encouraged us to enjoy the poem without having to understand all of it.

“The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins

To Christ our Lord

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-

dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding

Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,

As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding

Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding

Stirred for a bird, – the achieve of, the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here

Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion

Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion

Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,

Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion.      

Mr Mahoney read “Cartoon Physics, part 1” by Nick Flynn after he talked about poems sometimes having personal meaning for people at different times of their lives.

Children under, say, ten, shouldn’t know

that the universe is ever-expanding,

inexorably pushing into the vacuum, galaxies

swallowed by galaxies, whole

solar systems collapsing, all of it

acted out in silence. At ten we are still learning

the rules of cartoon animation,

that if a man draws a door on a rock

only he can pass through it.

Anyone else who tries

will crash into the rock. Ten-year-olds

should stick with burning houses, car wrecks,

ships going down—earthbound, tangible

disasters, arenas

where they can be heroes. You can run

back into a burning house, sinking ships

have lifeboats, the trucks will come

with their ladders, if you jump

you will be saved. A child

places her hand on the roof of a schoolbus,

& drives across a city of sand. She knows

the exact spot it will skid, at which point

the bridge will give, who will swim to safety

& who will be pulled under by sharks. She will learn

that if a man runs off the edge of a cliff

he will not fall

until he notices his mistake.

 

After sharing some tips for reading poetry out loud, Mr Mahoney read out “In the Park” by Gwen Harwood, demonstrating paying attention to punctuation and run-on sentences.

She sits in the park. Her clothes are out of date.

Two children whine and bicker, tug her skirt.

A third draws aimless patterns in the dirt

Someone she loved once passed by – too lateto feign indifference to that casual nod.

“How nice” et cetera. “Time holds great surprises.”

From his neat head unquestionably rises

a small balloon…”but for the grace of God…”They stand a while in flickering light, rehearsing

the children’s names and birthdays. “It’s so sweet

to hear their chatter, watch them grow and thrive, ”

she says to his departing smile. Then, nursing

the youngest child, sits staring at her feet.

To the wind she says, “They have eaten me alive.”

 

Thanks to Mr Mahoney for his engaging session and expertise. Thanks to all who came; I’m sure you got the most out of ten minutes of your recess on World Poetry Day.

10 minute Tuesdays have started!

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This year the library is running short topical sessions in the GLC at recess on Tuesdays. About 10 minutes long, the topics are varied, so we’re certain you’ll find something of interest. As a special consideration we are permitting food to be eaten during this session.

We kicked off the series last Tuesday with my presentation on “How to Spot Fake News” which was well received (as far as I could tell) – something we hear a lot about these days, sadly.

These sessions will sometimes take a lecture-style format, and other times they will be more interactive. They will all be short and sweet so please come and sample.

Next Tuesday March 14 we have a session from Ms Morton on “What’s your goal? Setting your study goals.

On March 21 we have “How to read poetry” by Mr Mahoney

On March 28 Ms Morton is running a session on “What’s the difference between homework and study?

fake-news-invasion
Image source: A Social Media Marketing blog

Swimming Carnival 2017

Another great swimming carnival at the most beautiful sports venue in Melbourne.

Waterloo were the winners, followed by Yarra, Forrest, and Como. Well done everyone who participated in the events, and thank you also to those who helped out as martials, with photography, or cheering on your house in the stands.

Our friendly and hard-working officials.

 

 

Rich tapestry of difference – Focus on diversity in MHS Sport program

[Photo by pasukaru76] found in Jesse Stommel’s article on Hybrid Pedagogy

Melbourne High School teachers are more than just subject teachers – which is the same for teachers everywhere. Sometimes we forget that teachers not only teach in their area of expertise but are also people whose beliefs and values ‘teach’ students in a very different way, shaping them and their understanding of life and their role as citizens of the world.

In this post I’m highlighting the first paragraph of the report written for the Unicorn magazine by our Director of Sport, Olivia Doherty.

We are so fortunate at Melbourne High School to be surrounded by an abundance of diversity. Our staff and students share different cultures, religions, beliefs, values, perspectives, visions, needs and interests. It is my duty to understand this rich tapestry of difference and piece together a Sport program that inspires maximum participation.

At Melbourne High School we strive to make sport safe and enjoyable so that all students can reap the rewards that sport can provide. Through sport we can improve our cardiovascular health, muscular strength, flexibility, coordination and kinesthetic awareness. We can learn discipline, communication, organisation, leadership, goal setting and achievement. We can expand our social connectedness with peers and mentors. Sport can alleviate emotional stress and anxiety. It has the capacity to develop self-confidence, self-respect and an understanding of personal and social responsibility. Finally, research shows that physical activity and physical fitness can improve learning and academic success.

 

Olivia Doherty, Director of Sport (Melbourne High School)

Katherine Brabon, winner of The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award for her first novel, The Memory Artist, launches Laureate 2016

On Wednesday, 24 November members of the school community celebrated the launch of the 2015–16 edition of the English Faculty’s literary magazine, Laureate.

In what was a very special occasion, staff, students and parents gathered in the school library to recognise the outstanding creative writing and artworks of Melbourne High School students. Australian author and winner of the 2016 Vogel’s Award for her novel The Memory Artist, Katherine Brabon, presented copies of the 2015–16 Laureate to those students whose work appeared in the magazine. In her speech, Katherine noted how impressed she was by the imagination and flair displayed by MHS writers and she commended them for their dedication to the craft of writing.

The English Faculty extends its congratulations to the students whose work appeared in the 2015–16 edition of Laureate.

Appreciation should also go to the English teachers for their tireless work in nurturing the students in their creative endeavours, providing them with advice and feedback, and also for proofreading the work submitted for this publication.

Special mention and a big thank you must go to Sam Bryant who has continued in his role as editor for the 2015–16 edition. Sam has spent many months co-ordinating, collecting, collating, reading, and editing the student work, as well as designing the layout and assembly of the magazine.

The Melbourne High School community extends its appreciation and recognition to Sam and all English staff for their dedication and commitment in showcasing and immortalising our students’ talents. In Horace’s words the English Faculty has created a ‘monumentum aere perennius’ (‘a monument more enduring than bronze’).

Copies of the Laureate 2015–16 and our past editions are available for borrowing from the school library. Access to electronic copies are available on the ‘news’ page of the English website.

– George Marotous, Head of English

It was wonderful to see so many parents attending!

A great opportunity to catch up with former students (2015)

Contributing student authors were presented with a copy of Laureate.

We are so fortunate to be supported by our assistant principals at such events!

Thank you to Katherine Brabon for inspiring our student writers!

Great job, Mr Sam Bryant! Keeping our literary publication alive and enabling our student writers to be published.

Showcasing our students’ creativity – the MHS Student Art Exhibition

Showcasing the creative work of our students is always a joy, and this year the MHS Student Art Exhibition delighted those who came to see the variety of work by students of Art, Visual Communication Design, Photography, and Media and performances by Drama students.

We were honoured to have as Guest Speaker this year Richard Roberts, an internationally acclaimed and sought-after stage designer. He has designed for drama, dance, film, television and opera. Alongside his practice as a designer, he established the design programme at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (1991- 96), was Head of the School of Production at the Victorian College of the Arts (2000-07) and most recently, Head of Design at The Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts (2013-15). Most recently he has designed a new production of Fiddler on the Roof for TML, The Last Man Standing for The Melbourne Theatre Company, Rigoletto and Don Pasquale for Opera Australia and Glengarry Glen Ross for Black Swan Theatre Company. He is currently designing Much Ado About Nothing for Queensland Theatre Company and Caucasian Chalk Circle for Black Swan Theatre Company He is the recipient of four Greenroom Awards. He won best design for Drama in 1998 for Stolen (Playbox Theatre Company), and in 2000 for Life After George (Melbourne Theatre Company) and best design in Dance in 2001 for Requiem (The Australian Ballet) and in 2004 for Molto Vivace (The Australian Ballet).

The Visual and Performing Arts studies give students the opportunity to develop skills and mindsets beyond the created work itself.

As Art educator Clara Lieu points out in her excellent article, Should we protect Arts education, “…  it doesn’t matter whether a student in my class becomes a professional artist or not. In fact, it is perhaps the students who go into other fields for whom my art class could have the greatest impact. Innovation happens when someone is willing to take a risk and try something out of the norm. Art class is the ideal environment to take risks: there are literally no answers at the back of the textbook, and so much of the creative process can be simply trial and error.  In visual arts, you have to facilitate your own path, and be willing to give anything a shot.”

Guest speaker, Richard Roberts, reminded us that creativity is not about whether you were ‘born creative’ but it’s about making things, creating something that previously didn’t exist. In this sense, the work displayed in the Art Show is a visualisation of the ideas and processes taking place in students’ minds. Richard believes that everyone has the potential to be creative but sadly we are often limited by categorisations which rank us as creative or not creative.  It is important to give young people the opportunity to spend time working through creative processes, and also to exhibit the resulting work.

The following is just a snapshot of what was displayed in the Art Show this year. As I look at the work each year and take in the names of students, I discover aspects of the students, their thinking and expression, that I had previously not known. We should be grateful to the Arts for this opportunity, and support events such as the Art Show, music concerts, Drama performances, etc., which showcase what our students are capable of.

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The old light box camera!

 

 

 

Welcome Day – welcoming new students and their families to MHS

On one of the windiest days we’ve seen in many years, Melbourne High School opened its gates on a Sunday to welcome the 2017 cohort of students and their families to their new home. As they entered through the main doors of the old building, perhaps overwhelmed by its history and tradition, they were greeting with the fresh, smiling faces of our assistant principals, Pelissa Tsilimidos and Marcus Sharp.

Earlier, in the dark corridors of the same building, assistant principal, Andrew Sloan, was already rounding up the troops – students who had given up their Sunday to act as guides or help out in different parts of the school in order to showcase some of the many things the school has to offer.

Parents of existing students set up stalls in the dining hall, including Friends of Music who transformed the place into a cheery market place. How inviting were their stalls and wares!

Memorial Hall was filled many times over by new students and their families who were addressed by principal, Jeremy Ludowyke, on the theme and motto of the school, ‘More than just marks’,  as well as by the school’s registrar, Rosemary Dickson, the current school captain and vice-captain who provided a student perspective, and by a representative from Parents & Friends who provided the invaluable parent perspective.

 

The library was open from 8.30 am until well after 3pm, and hosted about 15 large groups, as well as individual family groups, all keen to see MHS library spaces, and find out how the library supported the learning and wellbeing of their sons.

Head of library, Pam Saunders, made everyone feel welcome and drew on her experiences as a past parent, sharing ‘inside’ information and advice ranging from parking tips for whole school functions (such as parent-teacher interviews) to promotion of the very special whole school music event – The House Choral Competitions. She talked about House spirit and conveyed her love of the school as she transitioned from parent to teacher librarian and head of library.

I showed the rich range of online resources developed by the library, in particular, our website (Libguides) which provides both subject- and skill-related content, as well as how parents and students might keep up with what is happening in the library and school through our social media accounts: Twitter, Instagram, our library blog, our library Facebook page and art blog.

Parents and students were keen to find out more about the Interest Groups we run in the library: Library Assistants, Book Club and Writing Interest Group (WIG). The Writing Interest Group also has a blog (Unicorn Express) in which students publish their work to a local and global readership of over 100 people a day.

Study and life skills, such as time management, goal setting, mindfulness, note-taking and other important skills are also supported in our website, and parents were happy to hear that, should they ever need support, their sons would be recommended to work with teacher librarian, Catherine Morton, in academic mentoring sessions.

All in all, a great day, and we look forward to our new students settling in next year and becoming part of the MHS community.

  • Tania Sheko