Glow and Malawi working together

3 06 2008

Yesterday I made the other teachers from the Sharing Success and Making Connections conference that had expressed an interest in my Malawi glow group members of it and used it with my class.  A few weeks on from the conference I know but as I have said on here before school has been incredibly busy and I was adamant I wanted the glow group finished to how I wanted it before I opened it up.  This I gave up on as I realised that is not important and it is not long until I go!  So the only thing I have not put on it yet that I specifically wanted on it are the surveys that I had planned – well the point is they are not really planned, I just know I want them on there!

So I asked my class to go on yesterday and start answering questions I had set on the discussion pages about what games and ideas I could take out to Malawi for maths, language, P.E, playground games etc.  This was after I had read them out the letter from my family etc which certainly sparked their interest and made them keen off their own back to raise money for the school and for gifts, ie a football particularly, for the four year old boy that will be in the house.

They were really only interested in writing about their pe and playground games so still looking for active learning/needing no resources games for maths and language, hopefully I might get some of these as other schools get involved.

Tomorrow I am going to spend time with p.4-7 showing them glow and hopefully getting them interested in it, as well as explaining a bit more about Malawi.  Then I want to make sure they all have their passwords changed and have been on before the summer.  One problem I have at the moment with staff passwords is that apart from myself we only have another 2 permanent class teachers in school at present so I don’t have the passwords for the other teachers.  Most children are going to end up with their passwords before the children do!

Today I bought myself from Amazon a wind up mobile phone and ipod charger, a wind up torch, a wind up radio and a lot of batteries!  I am going to take my ipod to the village (and keep it on me!) and use it with small speakers to play scottish music on as requested.  I had better brush up on my scottish country dancing to teach it to the village!  I will give the radio as a gift to the family since they mentioned that.  I suppose then I only need the batteries for my camera but I am sure I will be using that a lot.  I will be taking my video camera too but will just need to use that sparingly as it will be three weeks before I can charge anything with electricity.  I will be taking a head torch but thought I had better get a wind up one too.  I was really surprised at how cheap all of these things were but then even more surprised that the packaging came to more than the actual cost of the items.  Still bought them though as I have no time to get to the shops and search things out!  I also bought a load of tablet and shortbread!  I am planning on buying a parachute as a gift for the school, they are not exactly cheap but not as expensive as I thought they might be.  I might pack it in my hand luggage – I am not feeling very confident about the flights!

Proud of myself!

30 04 2008

In the days leading up to the SLC Headteacher’s Conference yesterday I was convinced everything was going to be a disaster and not without good reason!

Going to a wedding in Bristol at the weekend was terrible timing!  I realised as I basically just sat about in pubs and restaurants (sober) with friends all day Sunday that I find it very, very hard to do what I perceive as nothing as I was itching to get away and get some work done.  I actually found myself getting really stressed and almost tearful which is just ridiculous.  I was fine at the wedding on the Saturday as that was what we were there for but on the Sunday I just wanted to find a coffee shop with wifi and work on my presentation.

Got a couple of hours work done at the airport though and a bit on the plane although you are barely in the air long enough to get the computer on.  Got a taxi from the airport and my husband wanted something from the chip shop so we stopped there and of course not until after the taxi had gone did I realise I had left my handbag in it!  This was 9pm and I had left marking in the house to do when I got back.  Well without house keys, driving license (so address for my house), purse, phone, passport, fob and address of the school and 5 flashdrives I was not going anywhere.  I did finally get it back but did not get home till after 11.30pm and not without a lot of tears, mostly from being worried about the school!  I had not even realised till I got it back that it had my house key and address in it too.  I don’t know how I could have been more disraught if I had known that at the time but I am sure I would have been!

We have a new headteacher and she was great and let me have some time out on Monday to prepare it with the 3 children I was taking.  She had also mentioned to me on Friday lunch (so I had only worked with her 2.5 days by this point) that she had already noticed how hard I worked and it was appreciated etc so that was nice.  Practicing it at home on Monday night though I felt I did not know what I was doing well at all and that it would be an absolute disaster.

So things had not gone well and there was a huge lack of sleep invovled in these few days too.  I was not only presenting for Glow at the conference but also (and firstly) displaying, during a walkaround by the heads, work on our African rich task.  So I was there early to set all that up and had to be nice and calm through that.  Staying calm was hard when the support assistant bringing my kids in a taxi turned up – with only 2 of the 3 kids!  The other had forgotten his permission form!  My support assistant is so fabulous though that she had sorted them out in the taxi and split all the words up so I am eternally grateful to her and she was a great help through the whole morning too. 

I could have been sick before going on to speak but as soon as I started it was so easy.  I would like to know how many people I was presenting in front of – I think it must have been over 100 but I could not concentrate to do a head count at any point.  I used very minimal notes and flicked through lots of the glow stuff without a problem (I did have 3 Glow sites open to make it easier).  The kids were great and everything we said was relevant and I didn’t fluff anything or hesitate.  It felt really natural.

To put this into perspective, I did my Standard Grades just a couple of years after they were introduced and up until 3rd year have no recollection whatsoever of doing solo talks or even answering out much in class.  I was actually really shy!  So I got a 6 for the first solo talk I did and I was absolutely terrified.  I will never forget it (it was on abortion) but did quickly learn from it and by 4th year had pulled it up to a 1.  I still hated doing it though, all the way through uni and beyond I have been terrified about talking in front of others and so yesterday was just this amazing turning point for me.  I also know that I am very good at being negative about myself and so feeling proud of myself for the rest of the day was this amazing experience for me and I have no recollection of ever feeling like that before.

I even managed to keep up the feeling during class in the afternoon and then staying at school through to parents night in the evening.  It made the night for me going home, catching up on blogs and seeing the following in Andrea’s on the day:

“I felt like Caroline’s Mum watching her up there, I was pretting much bursting with pride.”

Lots of praise as well from my new headteacher and I am more able to accept it now as opposed to when Andrea was first there and praising me and I was virtually in tears as unable to accept praise at that time at all. 

So it was a great experience for me and one I would be keen to repeat, particuarly doing it about using Glow as I am getting even more enthusiastic about this and am keen to help implement/promote its use in the council and beyond.

I am planning on blogging on a lot of what I actually said yesterday with snapshots from my glow pages and some quotes from my kids which will let everyone see what they think about using it but that will have to wait until tomorrow!


26 04 2008

It felt really weird being back in class Thursday and Friday after being away in Stirling – it should have been the weekend!  Although I could have done without being in Bristol for a wedding this weekend when I have the glow presentation and the rich task board to have prepared for Tuesday.  Loving Jury’s hotel though – free internet access in the room with a cable and so just when I was wishing I had brought a cable (although I would never have thought of it) I found one in a drawer!

I felt really inspired going into class after the conference and ended up showing some of the kids how to add web parts to their own pages so they could put more images in etc and had a couple of kids set up their own blogs which next week I will show them how to add the page viewer in so it can be seen through Glow.  I would just love to have the laptops more often so that it would be easier to build the use  of Glow into the curriculum as now that we have finished the rich task and our electricity topic I feel I am contriving it slightly until I put in a new project.

Glow Conference (Sharing Success and Making Connections)

23 04 2008

Image (advanced)

I have spent the last two days at the Stirling Manangement Centre for the Glow conference on Sharing Success and Making Connections for Glow mentors.  It was really productive to be able to get plenty of time with people from other local authorities to discuss what we had done so far and where we wanted to go in the short and long term with Glow.

I had been asked to present to others and this involved doing a presentation 3 times yesterday, including being filmed once.  That was pretty nerve wracking – I would never make a news reader or presenter!  Just as well I wore my hair down so I could cover my face a bit!

The only disadvantage of this was that I could not hear the other presentations made at the same time to other groups and that would have been a useful insight into what others were doing.  It was great to be with a group of people who were all positive about using Glow in the classroom and wanted it to change their teaching practice.  I am desperate to get going with Glow meet and now that we have a webcam and a few others on their way I will get into this, after Parents evenings and the Head Teachers conference next week that is!

I decided I wanted to lead a cross-authority glow group on Malawi which could be started before we go and obviously continue and grow next session.  Glow was one of the things I said in my presentation to Link and in the first training weekend that I wanted to be use and expand in relation to my trip and global citizenship in general and this is just going to be a fabulous way to do this not just within my cluster but across Scotland.  I am really excited about this and hope it works as I well as I am imagining it in my head.  I am really looking forward to talking about this at the next training weekend as nobody else going is using Glow yet so I will be doing something unique for Link and it is something they are really keen to take forward and get involved in.  They will then obviously have lots of contacts that I might be able to make use of and they have a collection of resources.

I think I might be sounding a bit like a big kid about this – I can never bear to read over my posts before publishing them as I think it is cringe worthy so that is why there are probably mistakes in every one.  Check out the animoto below for the advert that my group made to advertise Glow.

Animoto from Glow conference

23 04 2008

Click below to see some of the work we have been doing at the Glow (Sharing Success and Making Connections) conference I am at just now.