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

  • Non-renewable energies
    •  Are limited sources of energy that take along time to renew (sometimes hundreds or thousands of years), (Shinn, 2018)
      • Coal
        • Could run out in 150 years
      • Natural Gas
        • Will run out in 52 years if no new deposits are found
      • Oil
        • Could be gone in 53 years

(ecotricity, 2016)

  • Renewable energy
    • “comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished,” (Shinn, 2018)
    • Wind
    • Wave
    • Solar
    • Biofuel

Windmills debate

We debated the pros and cons of wind farms.

We first split into groups of four and collected all key information we could find to support both sides of the argument. I found this difficult as I let my opinion dictate what information I collected rather than gathering information for both side of the debate. For pupils it might be best to be tasked with either the pros or cons to make it easier for them to research efficiently.  Two groups then joined to compose arguments and then the whole class were assigned either for or against. From here we gathered all the arguments and evidence we had and presented them. For each of the six rounds of the debate the ‘for’ group went first and then the ‘against’ group followed with a rebuttal.

This type of debate is called the hot air balloon debate (or simply the balloon debate). The basic idea of the balloon debate is that a hot air balloon is going down and in in order save it, objects or people need to be chucked overboard. A debate for and against each person or object is presented and then the class votes on whether the person or object should stay or get chucked overboard. This can be done with a wide variety of different subjects (Teach Primary, 2016).

Another type of debate is the four corner debate where, in four corners of the room, the words ‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘disagree’ and ‘strongly disagree’. A statement is read out and the children have time to think and/or write down their response to the statement. The children are then asked to go to the corner that comes closest to their original opinion. The children can then discuss their opinions in their corners and then present a group response to the statement (The Teacher Toolkit, n.d.).

Instruction vs. Tinkering

Another activity we did was to build a car which we had to make move without pushing it. The cohort were split into two groups; one group were given set material and instructions that needed to be followed, the other group were given a variety of different material and were told to build a car. We were then brought together at the end to compare the different ways of doing this activity.

Building the car with instructions was fun however we missed out on developing communication and group working skills that are vital for pupils to develop. Using instructions does have its merits, such as everyone having the same end product and having more structure to a lesson. Building the care out of a variety of materials is known as tinkering. “Tinkering is part of a hands-on, trial and error-based process that rewards persistence, resourcefulness, and self-sufficiency,” (Learning is Open, 2017). These are all important things to develop in children. The hands-on process helps to engage pupils who may not be so academic and the trial and error process helps to build resilience. Tinkering can open up more of a free flowing work space that helps students and teachers learn more about each other in a relaxed setting.
I believe tinkering is valuable for children’s education which can build self-confidence, communication and resilience. Tinkering also links to the experiences and outcomes in ‘Craft, Design, Engineering and Graphics’ under technologies (Education Scotland, 2018).

Resources

https://www.parliament.uk/education/teaching-resources-lesson-plans/primary-school-debating-pack/

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/non-renewable-energy/

References

Ecotricity, (2016) The End of Fossil Fuels [Online] Available: https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/energy-independence/the-end-of-fossil-fuels [Accessed: 16 November 2019]

Education Scotland (2018) Experiences and Outcomes [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/education-scotland/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5/experiences-and-outcomes/#all [Accessed: 18 November 2019]

The Exploratory (2017) Tinkering and Making [Online] Available: https://learningisopen.org/toolkit/tinkering-making/ [Accessed: 17 November 2019]

Shinn, Lora (2018) Renewable Energy: The Clean Facts [Online] Available: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/renewable-energy-clean-facts [Accessed: 16 November 2019]

The Teacher Toolkit (n.d.) Four Corners [Online] Available: http://www.theteachertoolkit.com/index.php/tool/four-corners [Accessed: 17 November 2019]

Teaching Primary (2016) Implementing debates in the primary classroom  [Online] Available: https://www.teachprimary.com/learning_resources/view/implementing-debates-in-the-primary-classroom [Accessed: 17 November 2019]

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]