Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Kirkwall to Colorado Springs

P6 are developing a link with a school in Colorado Springs, USA. Their link school is in the middle of the continent of North America in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, a perfect location for our P6 class topic 'Mountains' and a complete contrast to our own location in the centre of an archipelago of low lying islands.

Shared Ancestry, Homecoming and Pow-wows.

As part of their Exploration and Emigration topic P7 have been finding out about the shared ancestry of Orkney folk and the First Nations people of Canada that can be traced back to the days when most of the men working for the Hudson Bay Company were Orcadians.

Kim Foden's Cree relations visited Orkney in a homecoming event in 2004. Following this a group of Orkney folk made a return visit to Sturgeon Lake where they were invited to a pow wow.

To see and hear a clip of the Grand Entrance click here:

Shared Orcadian surnames like Drever and Rendall were common.

The Sturgeon Lake First Nation had created a stone circle to celebrate the link with Orkney.

Kim came in to tell us the story of her ancestor Magnus, who set out for the Hudson Bay Company in 1771, and to talk about her visit to her Cree relations at Sturgeon Lake. She showed the class the artefacts she had brought back with her.

Kim also showed everyone how to put up a teepee in the traditional way and all about the pole values which are considered as it is constructed.

Here is a video of Kim showing us the traditional crafts and artefacts of her Cree relatives at Sturgeon Lake, she also shows how to construct a model teepee like the ones in the picture above.

Spirit Dancer and the Canoe Family

Last summer the 'Spirit Dancer' canoe visited Orkney. It was crewed by the Canoe 'family' from the Okanagan in BC, Canada who have now helped us set up a link between our school and the Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School. P3/4 are developing this link.

Go to

to find out more.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Orkney and the Nor' Wast

Class 7 began their Exploration and Emigration topic by finding out about the Hudson Bay Company in Stromness. The street walk helped everyone understand that some features of Stromness had remained unchanged since the time of John Rae.

At the museum the class were allowed to look at some of the artefacts brought back from Canada many years ago. The class were allowed to handle snowshoes, model kayaks and a the tip of a spear used for hunting seals and walrus from a kayak. Gloves had to be worn to protect the objects which are very old and fragile.

Also at the museum was a replica of the inflatable Halkett cloth boat John Rae used in his explorations in northern Canada...

..and a copy of the drawings he made which explain the correct way to construct an igloo.

The class also visited Login's well where the HBC ships took on board fresh water before the long trip across the ocean, and the gun, which was fired to let everyone know when ships were returning from the Nor' Wast.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

New school links for 2009- 2010

This year we are building new links and maintaining some established links with schools abroad.

The early years classes will be linking with schools in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago and comparing 'Island Homes'. P2 will be continuing their link with Australia and sending Peter Puffin for a visit. While studying Fairtrade P3 will use a weblink to Ghana, and for their Rainforest project they will get in touch with a school in Cameroon, the home of the Baka Forest People. P3/4 are looking forward to finding out about the children at a First Nations school in BC, Canada and comparing our experience of a living in a maritime environment through the topic of 'Coasts'. P5 will be in touch with a school in Bergen, Norway and be looking at cultural and historical links between Orkney and Norway both at Christmas time and through their topic, 'Vikings'. P6 are already in touch with a school in Colorado and through ePals will be finding out more about the geography of the area for their topic, 'Mountains'.

P7 will be finding out about Orkney's links with the Hudson Bay Company and the First Nations of Canada, as well as John Rae and his Arctic explorations. The impact of climate change on the Arctic and our responsibilities as global citizens are issues which they can explore using our established link with Ataguttaaluk School in Igloolik, Nunavut.

International Education does not have to involve contact with a link school but can be achieved through investigating social, cultural, and historical links, comparing aspects of everyday life and culture and issues such as Fair Trade, food miles and global health. These opportunities occur throughout the curriculum and over the school session.

We hope to use our class blogs as a primary point of contact for our link schools who have internet access. However we will also be using traditional methods to exchange letters and parcels alongside email, video-conference and involvement in online education communities such as ePals and Rafiki.Kidogo. As well as following the individual class blogs you can follow what the whole school is doing here, where we will publish sample activities from each of the classes.