Reunion weekend

2 11 2008

I have been in 12 different schools during the last 2 weeks, for Malawi talks, rich task discussions and work on Glow.  It has been really interesting going into the different schools, especially the rural ones around Strathaven and seeing how they work in different ways.

The Glow Mentors in each school have been really interested in how they can start to use Glow for learning and teaching and I have been really encouraged by this and am keen to get in and work with the teachers in the classroom.  I now have some times set up in a couple of schools to do this.  I am drinking far too much tea and coffee though from being offered it everywhere I go!

I also did my first CAT night in another school by myself – luckily I was too busy in other schools to worry about it too much before it started.  I was doing the e-beam and easiteach and went through the programmes first and then was lucky enough to have some time left over for them to practice using it.  This was what made the difference I think as they were apprehensive while I was showing a lot of the different things that could be done but giving them the chance to try them out right away would help them to remember it.  I got really positive feedback from it.

Glasgow Airport 27th June

Glasgow Airport 27th June

Friday and Saturday this week I was at the Stirling Managment Centre for our Global Teachers post-placement training weekend.  This was done in a different way to previous years.  LTS have now partnered up with LINK Scotland to do the Global Teachers Programme and so Friday was a nationwide conference for all present and previous Global Teachers, LINK schools co-ordinators and this years participants to Uguanda with SCIPD in partnership between LTS and LINK, as I suppose a kind of launch of this and to allow all of us to begin to network with each other.

Kaye Livingstone and Nick Morgan from LTS spoke to us and then a couple of global teachers.  It was a really positive day I thought as hopefully from this people should be able to swap ideas and help each other.  One of the things we were discussing was Glow.  Nick and I have been working on a few ideas for the national site and I mocked up a Global Teachers group, although in reality I think this would change to include link schools too, so that people could see how they could share ideas and resources that way.  There was a really positive reaction to this, I thought, even though the vast majority of the people there were not even on Glow yet.  I am going to do this, and my children’s Malawi glow group, as my follow up work for Glow and will be able to work with the Link staff on this which will be good as they are really enthusiastic about it too.

In the evening and on Saturday it was just our group who were there, to reflect on the experience and start thinking about our follow-up work.  It was great to all meet up again and share what we had been up to – and we finished at 2:00pm on the Saturday so still had some of our weekend left!  It was somewhat nicer than being at the youth hostel in Edinburgh for our training although we were only at the management centre because it was LTS who organised and funded the conference.

I feel quite strongly from discussions at the weekend that I want to do something a bit more sustainable with pupils in South Lanarkshire, not just going in to do assemblies and then leaving again. I have not quite worked out what yet though!


25 06 2008

I thought the filming went quite well today – although I have not seen it so I may quickly change my mind.  I got filmed being interviewed first, during which time the server went down in the school (typical!) but thankfully Margaret and Jim were there so they were able to sort it out.

I had decided to have the filming with me teaching done with primary 6 as they will still be at the school next year, they are more enthusiastic and better behaved and I got more parental permissions in!  When I had finished my explanation and the children got down to using glow I actually had to tell them that they were allowed to talk as they were trying so hard to be extra good that they were totally silent!

The lesson (I had got a bit of a fright when asked to do this, being the 3rd last day of term) I decided to do involved having a lesson plan on the noticeboard page of my Malawi glow group that the pupils had to follow involving documents and surveys.  I had them skim reading the first few pages of an information book I had saved on the documents page and then aswering questions on it on a survey.  They were then to go onto the discussions page and chat to talk about games that did not need any resources that I could do in Malawi.

Some of the pupils also got interviewed and I think they did quite well although I was not able to see as I had to stay in the class.

Afterwards I went to the advisory service to meet the other people coming out on secondment and to hear a bit more about what I will be doing next year.  I will be doing 2/3 days (I am hoping 3) a week on glow and the others on a curricular aspect of curriculum for excellence although there will be a lot of doing other bits and pieces.  As far as I could gather the glow and CforE aspects will also tie in together as a focus of the glow work is to be how to use it in learning and teaching. 

The only thing worrying me is the amount of food sitting in the office I will be in – apparently it is always like that.  I will need to work on my willpower!

The packing continues

24 06 2008

I am still packing!  Not only am I still packing up my classroom, in among many other tasks, but I have been packing to go to Malawi as well.  As it was the West Highland Way race last weekend I packed the weekend before just to get an idea of weight.  At this point we thought we were only allowed 20kg and I got to this weight having packed all of my gifts, resources, toiletries, first aid items etc.  The only thing is that ‘etc’ did not include clothes!  I had to put that to the back of my mind the rest of the week but it quietly simmering into panic.  I would have to be wearing a lot of clothes on the plane if I did not take some stuff out!

However just as I was trying to persuade myself to sorting everything out we found out that Catherine from LINK had somehow, I really don’t know how she did it, managed to get the airline to up our weight limit to 45kg each.  Of course as delighted as I was at this I did also have a niggle in the back of my mind about whether the planes would actually be alright with that much extra weight!  (I don’t like flying that much!)

I do not want to fill up to that weight but at least it means I can take all of my clothes!

My only other worry about going away is that my wind up phone and ipod charger never arrived.  I then ordered another one yesterday, asking for next day delivery knowing that someone would be in the house today.  It has not arrived either and this is the item I most need so hope it comes tomorrow.

The whole thing feels a little unreal and I am not sure when it is going to hit me what I am doing.  Ironically I am so busy getting ready to go that I do not have the time to think about what it will actually be like out there.   I still have silly things to do like clear the camera and video camera, make up a photo album and update my ipod.  And get some money out!

Primary 7 have been busy clearing out the classroom and getting ready for their assembly.  I have been busy getting next years p.4-7 set up with their glow passwords, changing them and logging on and having a look around what has already been set up.  This has taken some time, most of which is to do with the initial passwords that the pupils have to change – I should not have done this with p.3 (!?) but the thought of doing them all myself seemed less preferable.

I have really got going with p.6 using glow, their teacher and I are used to working together and we have been swapping over classes so I can work with them.  Tomorrow LTS are coming to video us for a DVD for SLF and interview myself and the children.  So after telling them all to be in school uniform I need to go and decide what to wear myself and do my nails etc!  I have set up a lesson on my Malawi glow group so they have to follow instructions to read a document and then answer questions on it through a survey.  If they are still filming after that we can use the discussions and/or chat pages on that glow group.

I had a lovely time in p.4 on Friday setting them up with glow.  One boy, who can be difficult but whom I have a real soft spot for, was really interested and did everything asked of him.  When I passed by him he just came out with ‘I love glow’.  Now he had only been on about 5-10 mins at this point and had not done very much on it but it was just one of those lovely moments and so I then spent 10-15 mins showing him how to put on web links and contacts onto his my glow page and then how to change the size of pictures and load them on his my glow page.  Something I have put on the web links page for the classes is the link to the LTS copyright free images so that they know where to find images they are allowed to use.  By spending time with this boy and showing him how to do things the rest could not do yet I hope he stays interested and maybe it will be something that will help keep him interested in other things at school too.  Far fetched maybe but nice to think of!