Saturday, September 20, 2008

Clarence Mafia 14 d Knackered 13

Last week we played the 2nd bottom team and notched our second win. (We are last). Last night we were up against the top side, a slick and super-fit bunch of youngsters, who beat us 22-7 last time. Paul and I did a bit of tactical planning earlier in the day.

Paul, Bowen and Eleanor came over for a visit during the morning, and we had another game of 3 v 3 soccer with Cameron and Adrian from next door. We had a chat about how to try to beat the Clarence Mafia, and we agreed that their goalkeeper was a bit of a weak link, and that we should try to surprise him with a few early long shots.

We took a 1-0 lead through exactly that tactic. I had a swing with my left without really looking and the keeper didn't know anything about it. However four minutes later we were down 1-5. We fought very hard, and made it as physical as we could without giving away too many frees. At half time we were down about 6-10.

Paul, Brett and I were all tiring fast and I was having trouble keeping my feet. Every time I hit the ground I lost skin, and hauling myself up again cost energy. But we were staying with them on the scoreboard and in the last five minutes we outplayed them. I never really though we were a chance to win, but they didn't really look like scoring either. I ended up in goals as I was completely spent - Paul and Brett threw everything at them but we just fell short.

I felt like we had got pretty close to our best possible effort. Cam was excellent in defence and our running off the ball was very good - this is why we had trouble running out the game. It gives us a lot of hope for the next few weeks.

We've gone solar

I came up with a few half-baked ideas to fill a few hours of the school holidays. Michael had asked me if we could make an orrery - a mechanical model of the solar system. He saw one in the background in a storybook and it really stuck in his head. I tried to think of an achievable way of making one, but I couldn't really. I know that if I made a non-functional contraption out of toothpicks and foam balls, we would be stuck with it forever, so matter how unsightly and hopeless it might look to grown-ups.

So I aimed low, and instead I drew approximate sized circles for the kids to colour in. I had Karri and Miah as well as the boys that day, so we shared the planets around. I cut the sun out of an old sample calendar made of yellow card, and everyone joined in drawing flames on it. When they had finished the planets I added some shading to one side, and used my recently redisovered blu-tak technique to make a highlight on the sun side, then I just stuck it all to the wall with the versatile grey-blue product.

Marcus was very specific about the moons. He had read somewhere that Mars had 2, Saturn 16, Jupiter 10 etc etc. I think he remembered them all perfectly, but thanks to the Hubble telescope a lot of this long-accepted stuff is out of date now. Jupiter now has four big moons, 12 substantial moons and at least 47 moonlets. Then there is all that ridiculous dwarf-planet business, whereby Pluto has been de-planetised. There are officially now 8 planets, and four dwarf planets. Some of the dwarf planets have moons. Also Marcus is very keen to add the rings which have now been observed around Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. I am having trouble accepting non-Saturnian rings - I like Saturn to be special! I don't want to talk about TNOs (trans-Neptunian objects).

The next door boys were over here this afternoon so I set the four boys to work colouring moons. Eventually we will get the moons into orbit and probably the rest of the rings and I guess the dwarf planets and then we might look at some labels. So let's call this picture a progress report.

Monday, September 15, 2008

School holidays edition

We have been talking about planets and so on a lot at home. Michael is pretty sure the Sun is a planet. And he's pretty sure it's got deserts, as all hot places do. Marcus told him that no, it's like our own big star, and all the planets go around it. Marcus knows that people used to think the sun went around the earth. "Some people still do - I think there are 4 people who still think that. They're a family".

Once we established with Michael that everything revolves around the sun, he said "So its like a parade, in space" which is a lovely way to think of it, really. An hour or so later after attention moved to other things, I called for bed time. Usually this sparks off loud disgruntlement, but last night Michael said "OK - I suppose we can talk more about space tomorrow".

Last week I played my first ever game of indoor cricket, for the Roar Film house team the Nartzi Pasties. (Nick registered the team as Roar Film, but when Jeff overheard he phoned the indoor centre back and instructed them to rename the team "the Nazi Pasties - no, Nazi - that's right. Well you can spell it any way you like". I bowled well but when batting got out 4 times in my two overs, mostly run outs as I was treating it like tippeny-run.

The soccer team continue to lose most weeks in the tougher division. We have lost four but won twice now, against the same group of over-skilful teenagers who don't pass. They are very young and I have to be careful not to flatten a couple of the skinnier ones.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Marcus had a standing ovation from his classmates just before the end of school today. The Vice Principal, Mrs Wright had come to the class with the news that Marcus gained a credit in the Maths Competition. Marcus (who is in Grade 1) completed the Grade 3 level test, in place of a Grade 3 child who pulled out or was sick on the day. His teacher Mrs Corney thought he would find it interesting and enjoyable, but I don't think she was expecting to hear any more about it.

Not only did he do well in his answers, but Mrs Wright said his whole approach was very mature and she was very impressed with how comfortable Marcus seemed, sitting in the staff room with kids of all ages, just tackling maths problems.

We are so proud of him!