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.