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Canberra Today 7°/10° | Sunday, August 14, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Art win helps teachers transform classrooms

Rebecca Lupton transforming a window

A GOOD news arts story is in from the south-east region of an ongoing project that’s transforming rooms at Bega High School into a winter wonderland of visuals.

English teacher at Bega High, Rebecca Lupton, phoned “CityNews” yesterday to tell how  she and several of her art teacher colleagues had given up their holiday time to get together on Tuesday, July 12, to practice creating cut-out deckles and stick-ons to enliven the classrooms, using stage of the art
“Cricut” (Pronounced like “cricket”) technology.

Lupton, a self-confessed craft hobbyist who makes her own clothes, says: “I’m an English teacher, but I have a creative side to and I like to show my students that you can make things.”

A window decoration in the English classroom.

She explains that the Cricut is a precision cutting machine capable of cutting paper, vinyl and even materials as thick as leather, also etching on to metal.

She heard about the machine online, bought her own machine during lockdown about a year ago and since then has been avidly using it.

Then she saw news of the national “#cricutyourschoolau” competition, applied and won the $5000 Cricut prize pack, aimed at spreading kindness, celebrating school creativity, and making learning fun.

“My machine cost me around $600 and they’re pretty expensive, not something that the school was ever going to buy,” she says. “It was an 150 words-or-less type of competition so  I said how we’d been through two major bushfires – we won three of the machines and a lot of vinyls and tools.

Wendy shows off the machine

“We are in a lower economic zone where unemployment is high and wages are low, so people don’t have access to big fancy things like this and probably didn’t even know that it existed.”

As part of the prize, Cricut expert, Wendy, flew into Bega earlier in the week to conduct an intensive workshop with teachers, who will now put their new-found skills to work to help create a happier school environment.

“One of the really exciting things that the students will like is the iron-on vinyl [Cricut has even given them a special  big iron] so they can  personalise their own T-shirts,” Lupton said, explaining that her young daughter Stella had joined the workshop, too, so she’s seen the effect of making “things” to iron them on

Wendy was in Bega for only three hours and had to fly out, but now the art teachers are making their own images.

“Things” made with the machine

Luton’s  own main focus is on changing the atmosphere of her English classroom, up to now dominated by brick interior walls which can’t have things stuck on them, but on the windows you can have images. Before this, with the object of encouraging open-mindedness, she  had  already decorated her room with rainbow images

“My idea was to decorate the English room… there are massive windows but they have to be blocked out with blinds,” Lupton said.

One of her favourite things to do is to put literary quotations on windows, like the one on her T-shirt, which reads, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then”. That’s Alice talking in “Alice in Wonderland”.

Now Lupton and her colleagues are waiting to see what the students will think when they get back from holidays, most of whom don’t know about the big win yet.


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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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