July 5


Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1


It is less than 12 months since we had our first meeting and our OUTER WEST VISUAL ART TEACHERS NETWORK is thriving! We had our first professional learning day, organized by ourselves, for ourselves, in March this year which was a great success, considering we had only been operational for 6 months.

Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1

Outer West Visual art teachers network Professional learning day 1

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Since we have commenced we have had meetings in many primary art rooms across the outer west and have shared and learnt so much from each other. We have shared resources, rubriks, assessment ideas, ipad apps, pinterest boards,  planning documentation, favourite art supplies, etc, etc, sent hundreds of emails to each other, and oohed and aahed appropriately over each others ‘show and tell’!

Spectacularly, all of this is done with the one constant we can be certain of – our incredible budget of $0!!!

Yes, all of this incredibly valuable professional learning has been achieved out of the giving of our own time, the depths of our own pockets, to provide drinks and nibblies for after school meetings, and the goodness of our schools allowing us to hold our meetings in our art rooms.

Our membership grows every week and includes part time and full time Primary Visual Arts teachers, some with tons of experience, some brand new, aspiring Visual arts teachers who are working in general classrooms, and PSTs (pre service teachers who used to be called student teachers, once upon a time). All are welcome as we all have skills and ideas to share.

Just email me if you are interested in joining.us, menhennet.shelley.s@edumail.vic.gov.au

shelley menhennet




Walls Road


An easy drive from Hoppers Xing, Tarneit, Truganina, Pt Cook, Laverton, Deer Park, and all parts west!!!

WHEN: Thursday 30th July 2015




August 26


I have found that making sure I put an article into every school newsletter is a big commitment but now I have been doing it for quite a while, they are an effective avenue for communicating with the school community. On the few occasions I have missed putting something in I have the children asking me where my “Art Room News” was??? It has hugely increased the recycled donations being given to the Visual Art program which is fantastic!


Art Room News


Art smocks – As at last week’s check there were 206 children from grades P- 6 that do not have an art smock!!!! Was your child one of them???? If you do not want your child’s uniform covered in clay or paint please send an art smock along for your child to use. Waterproof art smocks with long sleeves are best however an old thick winter shirt in an adult size will do an adequate job of covering that expensive uniform.



The Art Room is looking for helpers in 2014. Don’t be shy! You don’t have to book in for the time that your child is in the Art room and you don’t need any special skills, just a willingness to help out, and some time to do it. It will give you the opportunity to experience one of our specialist programs up close! And you might even enjoy yourself!!! Just see Mrs Menhennet for details.



Don’t forget the  BLOG I intended to load up as many Art photos from 2013 as I could over the school holidays but like a lot of good intentions – it just didn’t happen! Hopefully I’ll get some time to do this over the next few weeks as I still have so many photos from the 2013 Art Show to upload.


And did I tell you about the wonderful lady Jascinta from Bondi Junction in NSW that sent me a huge parcel full of old calendars and cards as she saw my plea for them on the blog. She said she was so impressed with the children’s art work that she saw on the blog that she just had to send them! I keep telling you the world of blogging is amazing!


And did I tell you about the wonderful lady Jascinta from Bondi Junction in NSW that sent me a huge parcel full of old calendars and cards as she saw my plea for them on the blog. She said she was so impressed with the children’s art work that she saw on the blog that she just had to send them! I keep telling you the world of blogging is amazing!

Don’t forget to have a look at the cluster map in the side bar of the blog so you can check out where the visitors to the blog are coming from. The children love to do this in the Art Room. The blog is also a great way for you to share your child’s work with friends and relatives that live far away. http://thebackartroomblog.global2.vic.edu.au

national  gallery  of  Victoria

Melbourne Now is the huge, popular, major exhibition running at the NGV until the 23rd March 2014.  This is a free entry exhibition! Did anyone tyake their children in to the Children’s Festival part of the exhibit in January? If you did I would love to hear from you.

. Melbourne Now celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect the complex creative landscape of Melbourne. This ambitious and far-reaching exhibition across The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International presents the various ways in which visual artists and creative practitioners profoundly contribute to the society in which we live, and to Melbourne as a city with a unique and dynamic cultural identity. Melbourne Now is a collaborative, cross-disciplinary project that has involved staff from all areas of the NGV, as well as a team of guest curators and artistic collaborators whose expertise and networks represent the excellence and diversity of Melbourne’s cultural community. The exhibition involves more than 175 individual and group presentations, as well as a suite of special projects which extend from the visual arts to architecture and design, dance and choreography, performance art and sound.

The Melbourne Now project is supported by a suite of dedicated publications, including a limited-edition volume, an exhibition guide, a children’s book, and a free ebook, which will be updated over the course of the exhibition. Download the ebook from the App Store or view it online. In addition, a Melbourne Now App has been developed that allows visitors to explore the exhibition and public programs – to plan itineraries, discover multimedia content and find out where and when special events and new activities are happening. Download your free app now.

Plenty of information about the Melbourne  Now  Exhibition is available through this link http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/melbournenow

I’m really looking forward to theItalian Masterpieces from Spain’s Royal Court, Museo del Pradowhich will be the big exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria from 18th May-31August 2014. All grades will be discussing this exhibition and looking at some of the images available through the National Gallery website in second and third term.



Thank you so much for all the donations to the Art Room that I have had already this year. It seems that I receive bags and boxes full of treasures every day. So far I have received

  • Calendars
  •  fabric scraps
  •  egg cartons
  •  plastic jars with lids
  •  over runs of printed paper
  •  ice cream containers
  •  christmas and birthday cards
  •  cotton  reels
  •  small boxes
  •  assorted pieces of junk for printing
  • dead  CDs
  •  assorted plastic lids
  •  cardboard offcuts
  •  etc, etc, etc.
  • Please keep all these items coming as they are all utilised in our busy, recycling conscious, art rooms! So many things that you would ordinarily just toss out can be made use of in the Art Rooms.
  • And can we please have some magazines as our stockpile of them is running a little low?

Thank you,

Shelley Menhennet



August 19


On Thursday afternoon I will host the first meeting of the OUTER WEST VISUAL ART TEACHERS NETWORK! It is being held in the main art room so I have some serious tidying up to do between now and then!!!


I was joint President of a local network years ago but it folded about a year after I left to have my first child, who is now nearly 17! I can’t believe there hasn’t been an art teachers network around here for that long as Visual Art teachers really need their networks as they are often isolated within Primary Schools and need each other to bounce ideas around and ask for help with curriculum, assessment, budgets,  etc.

people network

There is a network running out of Footscray I believe, and a long established one in Geelong, but I think it’s important that you don’t have to travel far to get to a Network meeting, so that is why I thought it was time to get one going in the outer west again. The old network was called the Werribee Art teachers network but I didn’t want the name to necessarily put anyone off from coming, by thinking that they absolutely had to come from Werribee to be there. So I will suggest it be called the Outer West Network and see what the participants think.


So hopefully, with about 15 people RSVPing to say they will be here, we will have enough impetus to get started. I am really looking forward to the meeting getting to know other art teachers in this area. Wish me luck!!!



April 29



Here are some more photos from the Cambridge Primary School Art Show last year.


They sort of show how I set the display boards up in what we call the  Old Gym.  This was the first board they saw as they came in the door so was the obvious place to put Welcome to the Cambridge Primary School Art Show. Although it is a bit hard to see in this photo the word welcome is a photocopy of a WELCOME mat, to and the are just printed large in fancy fonts, the diamond shape is our Cambridge Primary School logo and the word show is an image I found on Google images which I enlarged on the photocopier and is sitting in the middle of the R in ART!


The visitors then turned right as the layout led them down a narrow entry – wide enough for prams, pushers and wheelchairs, of course.




View looking towards the entry – and yes. this is before we opened or I would have been crushed by the crowd!


in the photo above you can see a green rectangle. That was a trolley, camouflaged in green hessian, which had a PC with my blog running on it, for anyone to have a look at, before they walked through the Art Show. It was great to see lots of children showing the blog to their families. This is how it was set up below.


So after walking down that long tunnel the visitors turned left and saw Harmony Day kites  made by  grade 5 and 6 and  Wound and Woven Hearts made by the Preps. These were suspended from a net slung from the climbing frame which was at right angles to the wall, utilising part of the gym structure.




This is what the visitors saw in the centre of the gym. The climbing frame with the hearts hanging from it is in the top left of this photo.



I think my son Sam climbed up a ladder to take this shot!

And he then took this shot!


There were displays on tables.


As well as the floor.


And on the right hand side I had a slideshow of more that 1000 photos of children’s work from 2013 projected up onto the gym whiteboard.



Some of our fantastic helpers sitting right at the entry/exit handing out leaflets and collecting money from sales as all Art work on display was for sale at $2 per piece! You can see some of the lovely Monet bridges and lily ponds behind them.



I really had no idea as  to how I was going to set up the boards until they got there, as it was the first time I had to organise the Art Show, but it all worked out OK.

I will certainly be hiring more boards next time though as the school numbers are still increasing and I tried to put more than one piece of work up for each child.

My plan for next year is also to have a Committee so the organisational load can be shared and I’ll add in a raffle and some other ideas which were just too difficult to attempt for my first Art Show.

Thanks for looking,


April 27



Oh, my poor neglected blog!


I have missed you so much!

missed you sand

My plans for  blogging regularly in the Christmas school holidays just went out the window and it is nearly May! First term has already come and gone, and it is time for this weary old Art Specialist to almost start my first semester reports!!!! Admittedly I have been ill intermittently but I have had SO MUCH admin/paper work to do for school it has been nothing short of insane!

more paperwork

Here in Victoria we are changing curriculum from AusVels to the Australian Curriculum so all our planning documents have had to be updated accordingly but at my school I have also had to update/alter/change/reinvent so much that has to be handed in to be checked, that it feels like it’s all I’ve been doing. Teaching – what teaching????


So my plan is to finish uploading all my stuff from 2013 so I can get stuck into uploading all the magnificent work the children have been doing in 2014. I will severely restrict myself to the briefest amount of text I can get away with and if people need extra info about a certain activity they will just have to email me and ask me – otherwise I might never get it all uploaded where it belongs.

I have spent time on my Pinterest boards lately – seriously, I use them EVERY DAY at school –  and this seems to have had an unexpected, but very pleasant affect, as all of a sudden I have about 1700 followers on Pinterest – WOW!


I hope my Pinterest followers all come over and look at my blog sometime!

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Thanks for reading and I’m so glad I’m back!


December 9


I know this is very off topic from what I usually write about but my 16 year old son Sam has set up a petition to name a newly discovered planet GALLIFREY which is the name of Doctor Who’s home planet.

Here is Sam’s reason for setting up the petition.

I really want this planet to be named Gallifrey. Even if it just an honorary name, or a nickname, there really needs to be a Gallifrey out there in the universe. Doctor Who is legendary, award winning, record breaking, and global, and this newly discovered planet deserves something special and supernatural as its name, How better to honor its existence than by dubbing it the home planet of our beloved time travelling alien, The Doctor? Years from now, when I have grandchildren, and I tell them about my favorite show growing up, I want to tell them that we found the planet that The Doctor was from. Do it for the fandom! Please share! and get everyone whovian to sign this petition!

LETS DO THIS! Please share this petition with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Email etc! Anything to get the message spread out. Recruit as many people as you can! If you have a website put it on that too anything! Copy the link to this page and use the hashtag (#GallifreyFound) THANK YOU!

Here is the link to the petition


Thanks for reading,



December 8



I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was so cute I couldn’t resist. Thank you to Welcome to Room 36 for the idea!


They were a big hit at the Art Show – so bright and sunny – and the children put so much effort into the faces. Such great work for Grade 1 children. They were all very proud of their ROY G BIV – and that they had figured out his secret when lots of the Art Show visitors could not!!!

Since the Art Show I have been told there is a fabulous children’s story book called ROY G BIV. I’ll have to find it and add it to my list of resource purchases for 2014!

December 5



As mentioned in previous posts, the Grade 2 children were inspired by the work of Queensland artist Dave Behrens. We looked at his website on the projection screen and even watched a video of him in his workshop.


The children were itching to get started after looking at the amazing squiggles, lines and symbols that go together to make Dave Behrens amazing paintings.


We started off small with each child decorating a rectangle to add to a whole grade piece of work.


They then chose a template to trace from a heart, a circle or a person. Some children found looking at the whole empty shape daunting so they used rulers to break the space up into sections to fill.


They were so proud of their work when it was finished and they looked terrific displayed together at the Art Show.

December 3



 I just checked the cluster map on this blog – I do this nearly every day – as I love seeing all the magical places my blogviewers come from – and saw that one of my recent visitors was from MONOMOY ISLAND MASSACHUSETTS.

As I had honestly never heard of this place, I looked it up on google, and found it’s Wikipedia listing, stating that it is an uninhabited spit of land that over time has become an island, at the edge of Massachusetts.

So hello to all the seals and seagulls and birds and whatever else lives there and thanks for looking at my blog!!!!!

Or perhaps it was a passing ship????

In that case I suppose I should say Ahoy!

I just love looking at my cluster map! It just makes me happy!

Thanks for reading!



November 19


These photos are of the hall display I did earlier and the drawings mounted and on display at the Cambridge Primary School Art Show.

I read THE COAT by Julie Hunt to the Grade 1 children as part of celebrating the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week in the Art Room. They were mesmerised by the story and the illustrations, by Ron Brooks, are divine. Ron Brooks illustrated The BUNYIP OF BERKLEY”S CREEK as well as lots of other Australian children’s titles. Thhis book went on to deservedlywin Australian Picture Book of the Year 2013!


After immersing themselves in the story and having a great discussion about the fabulous illustrations we talked a bit about how fantastic it would be to fly through the sky in a magical coat. The children then drew their own head and neck onto a coat shape I provided them with. They could decorate the coat in any way they liked and they were so excited to add some sequins to it as well! Such a simple thing but they just thought it was so special! I love the picture below with the flying ponytail!

The next step was to cut their coat drawing out very carefully, ensuring they didn’t hack off the head or the feet, and put it aside to start the background. Drawing from a bird’s eye (or a person flying in a magical coat) point of view is tricky when you are in Grade 1.

 We looked at photos and maps and drawings I found on pinterest and google for inspiration, we talked about what they would see if they flew over their house, or the school, or the MCG (the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an iconic Melbourne institution, where footy and cricket are played, and other events held, in our sports mad Capital city, so it was familiar to most of the children) and most of the children seemed to be able to articulate what they would see and what it would look like when they drew it. I love that you look at the back of his headas he is flying in the drawing below!

 I have to admit, when it came to the execution it was really tricky. Some of them started out with a bird’s eye view but then as they found something tricky to draw they would revert to a straight on aspect. Some of them just drew a picture from a straight on, normal view from the start, even if it was very detailed.

But boy, when they GOT IT, wow, they well and truly GOT IT!!!


I am so proud of all their attempts as nearly all the children said they thought they were the best drawings they had ever done!