Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Who do Slovene children get presents from?

In Slovenia, the last month of the year is a very special time as many festivals are on during this time. Most of the cities get decorated with Christmas lights and Christmas trees are lit up as well already at the beginning of December by the latest. Our capital, Ljubljna, is a very popular place to visit as it gets really spectacular as you can check out by clicking on the link below: . People usually decorate their homes with Christmas lights. Some houses really get that fair-tale sparkling outfit. Children usually also help their parents to bring Christmas spirit into their homes, by cutting out snowflakes, snowmen, Santa from different paper and then they put those up around the house, especially on the windows, so everybody can see. Moreover, in most of the households mothers and grannies start their Christmas baking really soon, so everything is prepared by Christmas Eve for a family get together. In our family, me, my sister and my mother usually do lots of baking in the weekends before Christmas. In that way we end up with lots of different types of cookies to offer together with some tea or coffee for possible visitors. There is another thing most of the families can not spend the Christmas (well, can’t really spend none of the holidays) without, and this is POTICA. It a traditional Slovene rolled cake with nuts (usually walnuts). You can try to make one by following this recipe: .
The one thing you are probably very interested into are the good men that bring presents to children in Slovenia. And yes, you are right, there is more than one. There are three of them. The first one is Saint Nicolas, who used to bring sweets, dried fruit and some biscuits to those children who were good throughout the year. However, he has a companion, Parkel, who brings switches to the naughty children and might even take them away. Because of that, not many children are very keen on going out on the night before St. Nicolas day, which is on the sixth of December.
The next good man is Santa. He comes through the chimney and makes sure children get their presents on Christmas morning. As I have said, we have another one who brings presents. He is called Father Frost and he brings presents during the last night of the year, which means kids get another surprise on the first of January after waking up into the new year. Santa and Father Frost deliver presents under the Christmas tree, while St. Nicolas delivers them into the stocking children hang somewhere in their rooms.
During the last month of the year there are a lot of family-get-togethers, especially around Christmas. Christmas is believed to be celebrated with and around family members, which is also one of the reasons I’ll be going home next week, as well as to get the presents from all the three good men :)

St. Nicolas&Parkelj

Father Frost

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Glaitness tree lighting

We had our own tree lighting celebration at school too - see more pictures on the Class 7 blog.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Tree Lighting Ceremony

We were delighted to be part of Kirkwall’s tree lighting ceremony this year. Each year a tree is gifted to Kirkwall from Norway and is officially switched on at St Magnus Cathedral as part of a ceremony with guests from Hordaland in Norway.
We appointed a St Lucy and some attendants to take part in the proceedings along with our school choir. Our choir sang beautifully helped by St Lucy and her attendants.

A group of Norwegian musicians played and sang some very moving pieces before St Lucy and her attendants formed a procession up the aisle with their candles as the choir sang the Norwegian version of Sancta Lucia.

St Lucy, played by Agata, and her chief attendant (Alice) then made a speech to the congregation.

After the carol singing everyone made their way outside to stand around the tree. The tree was formally switched on by the Hordaland County Convener, Torill Selsvild Nyborg, after which our choir sang their final piece.
It was a lovely service and our choir, St Lucy and her attendants put on a great performance and made staff and parents very proud. Well done all.

To find out more about the legends of St Lucy and the Scandinavian traditions click the link below.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

International Education Week

Glaitness School in Orkney is one of many schools across the country taking part in international projects and activities to celebrate International Education Week 2010, from 15th – 19th November, which is championed this year by the British Council. So far this year children at the school have received a package from their link school in Trinidad, made a new link with a school and orphanage in India, and welcomed Icelandic school children and archaeologists into the classroom. Activities this week at Glaitness include finding out about melting glaciers in Greenland from a visiting scientist, part of a wider look at Orkney’s links with the Arctic which compares the Arctic environment at the time of John Rae’s expeditions with conditions today. Have a look at the Class 7 blog to find out more.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

In Slovenia there is no outside playtime

This time I’ll tell you a bit more of how happy kids are around here to attend school which offers outside playtime. Spending time outside school fills them with fresh air and gives them strength to cope with all the hard work which awaits them during lessons in the classrooms. As games are a crucial part of happy childhood and the best way for the children to learn, it’s nice to see they are a part of everyday practice at the schools around the UK. I’ve also joined in to see what kids do during outside playtime at Glaitness. What is important is that the kids are always supervised by the adults and are never left on their own. However, they are free to choose whatever it is they want to play with, which gives them freedom to try, take risks and make decisions. Games teach kids how to establish an attitude towards life, which is way they are to be taken as very precious.
It was really not the best weather to be outside on the day I joined in for the outside playtime, but the children were eager to go outside anyway. It was freezing cold and the wind was blowing, it was also raining at times. Irrespective of this, all the kids couldn’t wait to get outside (see photos below). They were told to get in for a few minutes as the rain became heavier, but were out only a few minutes after. It seemed to me like they were enjoying it despite the weather. In Slovenia, you wouldn’t see anything like this. Students are not allowed to leave the school during break times (It’s like this at primary schools only). Moreover, kids can’t really play around school, at least not the games they could if they were allowed to go out. Some years ago, when I was at primary school myself, it didn’t matter much of whether there was no outside playtime at school, as we had our outside playtime after school almost every day. Nowadays, you wouldn’t see kids playing outside to that extent as most of them would be playing computer games or spend time on the Internet chatting with their friends rather than going out with them to talk. Sad but true. Anyway, some of the games we played when I was younger are listed below (check out the links, you may find out better of how some games are played):
~ dodgeball,
~ land stealing (,
~ gummitwist (,
~ hopscotch ( ),
~ hide and seek,
~ stand still,
~ Miss, what time is it?,
~ Blindfolded mouse,
~ Stinky egg ( )…

Friday, 12 November 2010

Glaitness Given Full International School Award

It was a very special day for Glaitness primary school today. As a result of doing a great job in going international, the school was given a full international award by Mr Alistair Carmichael this morning.

International comparison

In Slovenia, children enter school at the age of 5 and leave it at the age of 14 approximately, which means they spend whole nine years in their primary schools. These nine years are later further divided into first three, second three and last three. In the first three years children are taught all basic subjects by one teacher. They get a new teacher each year, but she or he stays with them throughout the whole year. This seems to be the case in Scotland as well. In class four, they are still left with one teacher, but they usually start to learn a foreign language at this stage, which is done by a specialized teacher. From class five on, classes get a master teacher, who deals with the class issues, but all the subjects are taught by specialized teachers. Geography would be taught by a geography teacher, English by an English teacher and so on. Next, the classes switch classrooms during break times in order to get to “geography classroom” or any other classroom which subject is on next. This is also one of the things classes do not do here, in Scotland. Moreover, classes in Slovenia are also given a weekly timetable at the beginning of the year which lasts throughout the whole year. It is a big difference to see pupils in Scotland don’t follow a particular whole-year timetable, which means teachers have more of a free choice of when to teach this and that. I like this, because it gives you more freedom and enables you to fit in the things when you consider appropriate. Here is where we come to the International education. Going international is a very important aspect of how to bring the world closer to the children and how to make them understand the way the world works outside there owns. I’d be very happy if I could say we have International Education in Slovenia as well, but we don’t have it to that extent. During the last four years, some improvements have been done where many schools get visiting students form other countries, but to make links with schools, where classes communicate with classes and where they exchange e-mails and send letters to each other, we simply don’t have that in Slovenia. This is what can really be called learning, whereas in Slovenia learners would be told how people live and work and play in another country, here, learner have a chance to discover all these things on their own. Giving children the chance to teach one another brings them closer to becoming a responsible global citizens, who understand the world, respect others and the whole thing makes them realize we only have one planet that we need to look after and share.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Hello Sally!

Welcome Sally!
This week the whole school met Sally the sea turtle at assembly. Children from P1 explained that she had come from Trinidad for a visit and tried to work out how old she was.

There were lots of questions.
Class 1 are making a display all about Trinidad for their topic, 'My Island Home'.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Voice from Slovenia

Hi there. It’s me Vesna, current Comenius assistant from Slovenia. I graduated in June 2010 and was eager to spend a part of my life working and living abroad.

But who is actually responsible for me being here? Here is the answer. On the one hand, it is the European programme – Comenius Assistantship which offers teachers to be (either students or teachers who haven't started teaching yet since graduation) a chance to get their first teaching experiences abroad, while on the other had it was me, as I applied for being a Comenius assistant.

At the beginning I wasn't actually sure of whether I was going anywhere at all, since I was put on the reserve list. Later on, they contacted me and here I am – right in Orkney :) …
Thanks again to our National Agency in Slovenia and to the people who encouraged me to take this opportunity and spend 6 months abroad.

I’ll never be sorry for coming here and that’s why so many thanks go to those who welcomed me here in such a nice manner as well.

In my upcoming blogs I’ll be speaking about differences between the school systems and tell you more about Slovene culture and holidays as we go along.

Look forward to speaking to you soon.

Friday, 29 October 2010

What makes us happy?

What do we need?
Class 3  are creating pictures for an art competition on the theme of 'What makes us happy?' 

What do you need?
Is it the same?
 The fundraising competition will raise awareness of what the children in Bangladesh need.

Mrs Whittles in Bangladesh.

Class 3 will be sharing their pictures on their blog next week.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Icelandic visitors

This week Class 7 learned a little Icelandic and found out about life for children their own age in Iceland.
To read about the visit you can go to the class blog.

We hope we can build a link with a school in the North East of the country where it is already snowing!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Hello Trinidad!

The Primary 1 classes have a new friend!
Sally has arrived from Trinidad!
She will be finding out all about life here in Orkney while she is here.
To find out more look at the Class 1F blog here.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

International School Award Success!

We begin the year with the news that we have achieved the full International School Award.!
Well done everyone!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Spirit Dancer

Spirit Dancer visited the school today.
P3/4 got a chance to sit inside the canoe.

James played the pipes.

It was a celebration for the P3/4 class who have had a link with a school in Canada this year.
The link was established through the canoe family who paddled the Spirit Dancer in Orkney last year.
This week there are more opportunities for members of the local community and families to paddle the canoe around Orkney.

Lots of people came to see the canoe and listen to James play.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Tommy from Trinidad

Tommy and Sally the sea turtles with visitors at Sans Souci school in Trinidad.
Our exchange travel buddy Tommy the sea turtle is preparing for the long journey to Orkney!
Will he bring news about Patrick's adventures?
More news here.

Fair Trade guests

Raymond Kimaro, Chair of the African Fair trade Network, shows Class 3 where Tanzania is.
Today we welcomed Raymond Kimaro to our school. He came all the way from Tanzania to tell us about how Fairtrade makes a difference to the lives of people in Africa.

At a whole school assembly Raymond and Betsy Reed, Director of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum,
explained how fairtrade works and how we can all help work towards Scotland becoming a fair trade nation.
Raymond told us about the lives of typical coffee farmers who farm on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and how hard life can be for them and how fair trade can help. Fair trade can even help the environment by giving out tree seedlings for people to plant in order to replace the trees they are forced to cut down for fuel.

Class 3 drummed and sang their Kuapa Kokoo song.

Reporters from the local papers asked questions and took photographs.
Many thanks to Betsy and Raymond for visiting our school.

Friday, 21 May 2010

The Tog

Class 5 have been celebrating Norwegian independence by taking part in the Norway Constitution Day Parade. Have a look at their blog.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Story of Sedna

The Primary 7 classes have finished the felt picture of the Story of Sedna.
Christina Sargent came in for the whole day, and with Mrs Firth our art teacher, they made the felt.
This felt is different from the three which have been made at St Andrew's, Rousay and Sanday because it was made the right way round and started with the background, and details were added on top. It also had
three dimensional elements like Sedna's hair and her father's beard.
These were made using a 'resist' technique.
The children also made coloured balls and rope to depict the way we use the seas around us in modern times. These elements will be used in between the four felts along with sea creatures created in Sanday.
You can see all the schools at work in the video below.
Glaitness is the last school in the sequence.

This work was part of the Learning and Teaching Scotland Developing Global Citizenship team's project to illustrate how global citizenship can be embedded in interdisciplinary contexts for learning.

The felts will be exhibited at the Scottish Learning festival 2010.

Canadian Art

Class 3/4 have been creating artwork in the traditional style of the First Nations of the west of Canada, where their link school is.
This term their topic is 'Coasts' and they have chosen a sea creature to paint. Can you tell what it is?
We sometimes see these animals around the coasts of Orkney too.
Check out the slideshow of everyon'e pictures on the class blog here.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Easter messages from Norway.

P6 have received Easter messages from their link school in Bergen.
They have thought about how different our schools are and what difference the weather and being surrounded by trees makes to the way we use our school and grounds around the school.

The topic this term in P6 is Vikings so they will be asking the children in Norway some questions about our Norse ancestors in their next exchange of information and messages.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Gumleaf arrives!

P2 have started the term with a new Australian class mate.
Gumleaf the koala has arrived from their link school.
Follow his Orkney adventures here.

Friday, 26 February 2010

A parcel from Norway

Class 5 have a link to three classes at the same stage in Kirkevoll Skole in Bergen in Norway.
A package arrived from them and the children opened it up today.

It was full of letters and cards and drawings and things that the children had made.

It was very exciting looking at everything and finding out more about the children in Norway.

In their letters one of the things they told us about was the particularly snowy weather.

So we went outside to show them that we had been having very snowy weather too.

Have a look at the video of Class 5 opening the package on their blog.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Music from the Caribbean

Class 1 have been listening to calypso music and finding out abot how steel drums are made. They even have one of their own to try out. Watch them on their blog.

Peter's Australian adventures

Peter is in Australia and having a busy time meeting new friends and visiting new places.
Have a look at the Class 2 blog post here and here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Fairtrade Fortnight

It is Fairtrade fortnight.
Class 3 have been learning a song the Kuapa KoKoo cocoa farmers in Ghana sing about fair trade.
Can you hear the djembe drum?
It is from Ghana.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

P3/4 build their link with Canada

This week the P3/4 class are making news in the local paper.
They are making a wiki about life in Orkney with the class in Outma School in Penticton, BC and learning some Orkney folktales to record and send to the children.

Here they are with some of the things they sent in their box.

Have a look at what they wrote in their blog here.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Class 1 have been finding out about foods that come from the Caribbean where their link schools are.
The best way to do that is to try them!

Have a look at their blog here.
What foods from the Caribbean do you like?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Check out our links!

Have a look at the new display outside the PE hall which shows our school links on a world map and describes the work classes have been doing.
Watch out for the P7 BBC School Report later this term which will include an update on our international projects.