After working in Stirling for over two years, we decided it was time to 'make time' to visit Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument. We were not disappointed! You also get to meet the most unexpected people - I (Lynne) encountered a rather worn-out Timmy Mallett who wanted to know how far he had left to climb. A long conversation ensued, without me realising who I was talking to - much to the amusement of everyone else!
Now these views come with a room if you choose to stay in the right hotel! Photographs taken from my window - with a little help from the zoom feature on my camera!
…and so we find ourselves in Scotland, which is rapidly beginning to feel like our second home!
The last three weeks have been somewhat intense, tiring, dangerous (M25 and London rush-hour) yet thought-provoking, rewarding and full of purpose. It is a privilege to be invited to work in schools, classrooms and with learners of all ages. No one day is ever the same as the one before. Different countries, different cultures, different schools, different people, different dynamics - but all united with the same purpose to make a positive difference to the learners in their care.
Life on the road has its moments. The endless possibility of taking somewhat mundane photographs of motorways…then using the Snapseed app to create 'something out of nothing'. You also become bizarrely adept at packing a small car with the entire contents of your garage…completely knowledgeable about every service station on the M25, M4, M5, M6, M74, M73, M8, M9 and M80 with an ability to recite them in order…and be able to pinpoint the location of a high number of supermarket petrol stations within a 2 mile radius of major motorways.
You also realise the importance of a smile.
(As for packing a suitcase for life on the road…that still remains a problem. I currently have Winter boots, Spring sandals and Summer flip-flops with me in Scotland.)
So - some 'mundane' photographs taken yesterday on the drive to Scotland - transformed by Snapseed and a little bit of creativity on our part. If you'd like to see more, check out our Photo Gallery page.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Our project with Miskin Primary School began almost a year ago. We have had the pleasure of joining the staff on their journey of 'designing for literacy learning', facilitating a mixture of INSET days, twilight sessions, design/development days and embedded CPD in the classrooms.
The majority of our time this month has been spent in Miskin Primary and we have many moments to remember.
On leaving the school late one evening, we reflected on the sense of community that was apparent between staff and children. There was a genuine desire to improve the lives and learning of every individual child, recognising that each had a different starting point. This was echoed around the school, by children and adults. Learners (of all ages) were concerned about how they could each take their 'next step'.
In the often stressful climate of educational accountability, data and reaching expected standards, the underlying importance of feeling valued, respected and 'liked' can sometimes be overlooked. Relationships are essential. The culture and mindset of a community can have a huge impact on its success and effectiveness.
We asked the staff to watch the following TEDtalks video clip: 'Every Kid Needs A Champion' by Rita Pierson. The discussions that followed resulted in a unanimous agreement - the principles she speaks about so passionately are actually right for every age learner…and we are all learners. Take a look - it is worth spending 7 minutes listening to Rita Pierson.
We'd like to publicly 'thank' the staff and children of Miskin Primary for welcoming us into their school community - it has made a real difference to the project.