Community Project: Rainbows

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old. Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged …

Continue reading “Community Project: Rainbows”

I have been volunteering with a Rainbow unit in Ayr since the start of the term. Before that I have volunteered with a Rainbow unit and a
Guide unit in Livingston and have been involved in Girlguiding since I was five years old.

Rainbows are the first section in Girlguiding. It is for girls aged five to seven. They take part in different activities, trips and overnight adventures all based around the Girlguiding program and our promise:

“I promise that I will do my best, to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the Guide law.”

This is simplified for the Rainbows to:

“I promise that I will do my best to think about my beliefs and to be kind and helpful.”

(Girlguiding, 2019)

The most surprising thing I found at this unit was how big it was. The unit has been split into two and has up to 20 girls in each sections. The sections run back to back so we can have up to 40 girls in a night. We run this with two leaders and two young leaders. This also presents several challenges as we have a very small space in which to work and controlling girls who like to run around screaming can be very challenging. We try to overcome this by working with the girls in small groups when doing the activities.

Another challenge I have faced is learning about the new program that has been implemented in Girlguiding. I took a year out from Guiding when I came to university so did not receive any training for the new program, therefore I am having to learn how the program works and the new way in which the girls are earning badges and awards.

Despite these challenges I absolutely love working with the girls. It is one of the reasons I decided to become a primary teacher. I love being able to work with them and teach them new skills. To be able to see girls walk out with a smile on their faces that they didn’t come in with is really amazing to see.

The girls all come from different schools and different backgrounds but they all come together once a week to  work and play together. In doing this they are able to create their own community within Rainbows. Rainbows also take part in wider community events. Recently the rainbows took part in the Remembrance day service at the church we meet in. Rainbow units could also look after community flower or vegetable plots, help with toy appeals or visit care homes.

Girlguiding within itself is a community made up of “50,000 young members” and “11,500” volunteers in Scotland alone (Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This, however, is just one country if we look at our worldwide community – who all come together under the name of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) – we have 150 countries and 10 million members all over the globe ( World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, n.d. and Girlguiding Scotland, n.d.). This is something that I find amazing that 10 million girls and women can be connected by one single organisation which has commons goals and outlooks. Being part of girlguiding has allowed me to meet and become friends with people from across the country and around the world. It is through this community that I was able to start up with another Rainbow unit in another town.

Within Rainbows I have been able to build my confidence when controlling a group of children. I have also developed my communication skills with parents, children and with other volunteers. These are essential skills in teaching as communication and control are paramount in the classroom. I’ve also been able to develop my confidence in being able to keep this age group focussed on tasks – another thing that is vital in the classroom. As I continue to volunteer I feel that my skills in communicating and engaging children will improve. I also feel that I will be able to transfer the experiences of learning through play from Rainbows into the classroom.

Many of the activities that are in the Rainbow program have to be adapted to suit the venue, resources and the type of girls we have. This would be similar to the differentiation that has to be done in a classroom. This sometimes has to be done very quickly with no prior planning because of changing circumstances. This skill will help in my development as a teacher in a ever changing environment.

Volunteering with the Rainbows links with Sustainable Development through the badges that focus on looking after the planet and looking after the community. Girlguiding’s (2019) “#PlasticPromise” that is a pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Rainbows also links to Interprofessional Working because as a Rainbow leader I need to work with other leaders and young leaders, district commissioners, county commissioners, parents, other organisations and the church minister. This requires good communication skills and the ability to work well as a team.

 

References

Girlguiding (2019) Girlguiding launches #PlasticPromise, the biggest ever girl-led campaign to tackle plastic pollution [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/what-we-do/our-stories-and-news/news/girlguiding-launches-plastic-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding (2019) The Promise [Online] Available: https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/about-us/what-makes-guiding-special/the-promise/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Facts and Figures [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/what-we-say/press-and-media/facts-and-figures/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

Girlguiding Scotland (n.d.) Rainbows (age 5 – 7) [Online] Available: http://www.girlguidingscotland.org.uk/who-we-are/what-girls-can-do/rainbows/ [Accessed 25 November 2019]

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (n.d.) Membership [Online] Available: https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/membership/ [Accessed: 25 November 2019]

energy

Energy As we are all aware, we only have a finite amount of natural resources, and as such we are running out of them faster than we can produce them. Although this is a fact that is well known, as teachers we need to get this across to children and reinforce that we as humans … Continue reading energy

Energy

As we are all aware, we only have a finite amount of natural resources, and as such we are running out of them faster than we can produce them. Although this is a fact that is well known, as teachers we need to get this across to children and reinforce that we as humans have a responsibility to do something about it. This links to another theme that we explored, climate change. When we burn Fossil fuels, they generate high quantities of carbon dioxide, this can lead to a change in the climate as carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere.

Our first impute for todays theame was a very different approach from the rest. In today’s workshop we had a debate on whether renewable energy such as windmills were harmful to the environment or not. Todays class was very student led, we were given a guideline on what to research and were provided with articles on Moodle. I found this approach effective in terms of being more involving and retaining more information as I was actively looking for it myself. I feel I can implement this in teaching as children learn better when they are interested and involved with the lesson. By making lessons more child led and there being little input of the teacher gives children a sense of responsibility and in-dependency. After researching, the class was divided into two and each side chose whether they were for or against windmills. We choose for. As someone who doesn’t really talk much in class, I targeted my focus on the research aspect of the debate and wrote down many strong points that I felt argued our case well. Having my friends in my group made all the difference, as one of them volunteered me to speak in the debate. If this was two years ago I wold have strongly rejected the offer, however this course has constantly pushed my level of comfort by putting me in scenarios that make me uncomfortable and stressed. However, I have tried to mend my thinking by telling myself the more practice I get at speaking out loud, the better it will make me as a person and more importantly as a teacher. So, I said yes. Thinking about this from a teacher’s perspective I understand the strength of friends and having them in the same group, as they can encourage children that may not be comfortable in these situations and give them the confidence they lack. However, I also understand the advantages of mixing children up, it encourages them to bond over a common aim, and get along with people that they may not get on with and listen to their opinions. Participating in this debate developed a lot of my skills, research skills, collaborative skills, and my speaking skills, all skills that are highlighted in the General Teaching Standards. Curriculum for Excellence wants us as teachers to create confident individuals, and by incorporating small activities like these tests their abilities and encourages them to step outside their comfort zone in a safe and familiar environment. (Curriculum for Excellence 2016)

Our last input of energy was again a much different approach. As a class we were divided into two sections. My section was given a sheet with instructions that showed how to make a car out of very basic materials such as card, wooden sticks and cardboard. The instructions only showed how to make the car, however, our job was to make the car move without touching it, we were given additional materials such as rubber bands, balloons and paper clips. I enjoyed this activity, mainly because it was straightforward and clear on what we had to do. The instruction was concise and there were small pictures on the side as a reference, which proved very helpful at times when we were unsure. The element of a visual aid in a classroom id very effective as it provides children with a rough outline and guide. The second part of the activity was where we were able to use our initiative and creativity. We were able to successfully get the car to move using rubber bands and paper clips. After, both groups were accumulated together, and we discussed to one another our process. Instantly I could see the difference just by looking at their cars, everyone’s car in the other group was differnet, were as in my group we all the same structure, and people and gained on this by adding small decorations. I later learned that both groups were given the same task, make the car move with out touching it. However, where my groups had instructions on how to build the car, the second group were given none and were just given a random assortment of materials and told to build their own. This process of freedom and ability to use intuition and creativity is known as “Tinkering”.

After critically analysing both methods of practice I learned the benefits to both processes in a classroom. Since my group were given instructions, and set resources, it allowed us to be calmer and more relaxed as everyone knew what they were doing. There was also no pressure to create your own car. However, this may also cause concerns in a classroom, and some children may find it frustrating following instructions and may find the concept of instructions limiting as they cannot explore much. The solution for this would be to work with a pencil for so that no mistakes would be made before going on to something more concreate like a pen. Another reason why this method is effective in a classroom is because everyone is making the same product, no on has drastically different outcomes and this therefore eliminates the factor of competition. Assessment and experiences and outcomes are easier to manage as everyone has had the same experience of building a car. Through the guidelines of the CfE as future teacher I can monitor the skills that children are developing in using tools, equipment and materials.

 

The tinkering approach allows a sense of freedom but still in forcing rough guidelines. This method invites a divergent process in which there is no set plan and ideas that are constantly changing and developing. It encourages innovation, which develops skills such as curiosity, problem solving and the ability to take initiative. In a classroom I feel this approach may be well reflected

Disasters

“A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins” (IRFC, 2019) Disasters are split into …

Continue reading “Disasters”

  • “A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins”
    • (IRFC, 2019)
  • Disasters are split into two main categories; man – made and natural.
    • Man made disasters
      • “events that are caused by humans and occur in or close to human settlements.”
      • Examples are famine, industrial accidents, transport accidents, famine and other complex emergencies or conflicts.
        • (IRFC, 2019)
    • Natural disasters
      • “naturally  occurring physical phenomena caused either by rapid or slow onset events”
      • Examples are split into four categories
        • Geophysical: earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and volcanic activity
        • Hydrological: avalanches and floods
        • Meteorological: cyclones, tornadoes, storm/wave surges, and other extreme weather
        • Biological: disease epidemics and insect/animal plagues
          •  (IRFC, 2019)
  • A countries capability to be able to deal with a disaster relies on three factors;
    •  Preparedness
    • Response
    • Recovery
  • This can be seen most clearly when comparing Japan’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake in  March 2011 and Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.
Japan Haiti
Preparation ·       Prepared for earthquake

·       People had hard hats and protective headgear

·       Not prepared for following tsunami

·       Around 2 million Haitians live on land that they don’t own (In Port-au-Prince 67% of the 2.4 million population live in ‘Informal Areas’)

·       Buildings can be put up anywhere without proper foundations or planning

·       Only 30% had access to sanitation

·       Only 54% had access to clean water

·       History of corruption and violence within the political history

·       Badly prepared

Impact (numbers) ·       2,000 people confirmed dead (10,000 more expected to be dead)

·       2,000 people injured

·       530,000 people displaced

·       2,500 evacuation centres to house those displaced

·       2,400 people were isolated immediately after disaster

·       1.2 million homes without power

·       1.4 million homes without water

·       4,700 destroyed houses (50,000 damaged)

·       582 roads cut off

·       32 bridges destroyed

·       3.5 million people living in the most damaged areas

·       Anywhere between 85,000 and 316,000 people dead (unconfirmed because of rapid body decomposition in the heat and humidity and overwhelmed morgues resulting in mass graves)

·       30,000 injured

·       1 million made homeless (10% of the population)

·       250,000 dwellings destroyed or significantly damaged

·       60% of government buildings destroyed

·       80% of schools in capital and 60% in South and West provinces damaged or destroyed

·       UN headquarters in Haiti destroyed

Response ·       Tsunami warning issued 3 minutes after the earthquake

·       Emergency cabinet meeting convened

·       News conference held

·       Military sent in to help

·       Task force and disaster control team set up

·       Asked for help with search and rescue

·       Used social media to bring updates on the situation

·       Makeshift camps set up causing outbreaks of disease because of poor sanitation and proximity to decomposing bodies

·       Poor response from government

·       Problems with management of airports

·       4-day delay of supplies to remote areas resulting in looting and violence

·       Haitian government called off search on 23rd January (last survivor found on 8th February)

·       Lots of international response

·       No long-term strategy so problems still continue over 9 years since earthquake

This shows how much a country’s readiness and response to a disaster can really affect the recovery of the country. Although Japan’s earthquake should of had more of an impact on the country, because of the greater magnitude, it is Haiti that is still suffering because Japan had the education, money and resources to prepare themselves for the earthquake but Haiti had none of this.

This topic has really made me reflect on how the UK would cope in a situation like this and how much countries such as Haiti really need our support and help even now. This is a topic I would look into with older classes to help them understand how the impact of such disasters differ from country to country. With younger classes I would approach this subject and make them aware that disasters do cause injury, death and destruction but would mainly keep to how these events happen or form; just like what was presented in the micro teaching done by the cohort.

The main skill I used was critical thinking skills when looking at the case studies on Japan and Haiti and being able to form an opinion on the situation and to be able to able to compare them. I used a variety of skills when it came to preparing and presenting the micro teaching such as; research skills, communication skills, critical thinking, decision making and communication skills.

The Dr Bionic videos is a resource I would use for younger classes when doing this topic:

(These can also be accessed as seperate videos)

Red cross resources link

 

References

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2019) About disasters [Online] Available: https://www.ifrc.org/en/what-we-do/disaster-management/about-disasters/ [Accessed: 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Haiti  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Sustainable Development (n.d.) Case Study: Japan  [Module resource] Available: Energy tab in Sustainable Development on Moodle [Accessed 2 November 2019]

Natural Disaters

Our input for the past few weeks has been on natural disasters. I found this topic quite hard as I was unsure where I drew the line in terms of severity and graphics when it came to teaching it to children. I was unsure how children would react to such disasters as they entailed a … Continue reading Natural Disaters

Our input for the past few weeks has been on natural disasters. I found this topic quite hard as I was unsure where I drew the line in terms of severity and graphics when it came to teaching it to children. I was unsure how children would react to such disasters as they entailed a lot of death and destruction.

In our first input, as a class we discussed our concerns about teaching the topic, and I realised that a lot of my peers shared my concerns. The workshop however did touch upon the sensitivity and if or if not a focus should be placed on the element of death in disasters. As a class we had mixed opinions, some thought that children were too young and it would be too inappropriate. I personally feel that it depends on the class, and how mature they are. I feel even a small amount of focus should be placed on the element of death as this as it a reality, natural disasters occur all around the world, and although I do feel that as future teachers we should emphasise that these disasters occurring in Scotland are highly unlikely, but they do occur in other places around the world. This would calm any fears and nerves that children may have if they think that these disasters were a possibility.

In our workshops we done a series of experiments that mimicked disasters. This was very interactive activity as we were handling material and visually seeing the reactions that occurred. As a future teacher I would definitely include an experiment when planning this lesson due to the fact that it encompasses a lot of different elements and many skills can be obtained. For example, one of the experiments carried out was a volcano erupting,  and in order to build it vinegar had to mixed with two more ingredients before it could be mixed with the baking soda for the reaction to occur successfully.  This would require children to be attentive and follow instruction in a chronological order. Furthermore, during the experiment ingredients need to be measured so this effectively brings in an element of mathematics, as children are having to accurately measure the ingredients using the measuring tubes. Overall I feel children would interact with this experiment because it is interesting and fun to see the “volcano” erupt.

In our second workshop we looked at Natural Disasters from a more social point. We looked at two contrasting countries, one developed and one developing and discussed how they reacted to similar disasters. I found this part of the workshop very informative as it gave an insight into the real world by providing real life cases (Japan and Haiti). By doing this, it solidified the fact that disasters do actually occur, and although it is a devastating process it is enlightening to see just how factors such as wealth, education and government can really help with the recovery of a country. The conclusion was that Japan was much more able to bounce back after the devastating earthquake that hit in 2011 mainly due to the fact that it was very prepared for such an incident to occur in the first place , so it already had measures in place to reduce the amount of damage and loss that would occur. (Scott- McKie 2016) . For example, having strong infrastructure that would be more able to bear the adverse conditions. Our last input to this topic was to deliver a presentation in groups in which we were to explain what we would do as future teachers to teach a particular disaster. In another groups presentation they explained how they implement a small activity to provide a visual element of the different types of infrastructure that Hati and japan had.  To mimic Japans infrastructure Legos blocks were used and piled up. For Hati’s  jenga cubes were used. Both material mimicking the sturdiness of the building found in the countries. This was a small but a very efficient activity as it provided a great visual element.

 

 

Preparing a lesson plan with six other individuals was not as hard and complicated as I originally thought. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure if we were all going to agree on the same thing, or if due to the large number, information would be miss-communicated. These fears were all eradicated when we scheduled a meeting to go over the plan, and whilst verbally speaking of what we would do, we ended up getting into the details of the lesson plan and immediately started documenting our work. Bouncing ideas of each other was great because someone always had something to add to it or adapt it for the better and it became clear to me that creating a lesson that is innovative, creative, interactive and educational was not as hard as I thought.  The GTC (2019) highlights the importance of working  collaboratively with our colleagues.  I also gained communication skills, as outwith university we remained in contact by creating a message group where we were able to ask question and finalise last details. This was key as it meant that everyone knew what they were doing and no one was doing more or less than what they should be. This helped a great deal as it took a lot of pressure of us individually. In order to even present our finding I had to research Tornado’s myself and strengthen the basic understanding that I had, this in turn allowed me to develop my research skills. The skills that I obtained both from participating in the experiments and micro teaching are essential to have as a future teacher as I will be able to pass them on to my students who will hopeful be able to take these skills too and more.

This was a short video that we included i our presentation that we thought would be effective as it was child friendly and very informative. the language was also at an appropriate level so that children could understand what was going on.