Monthly Archives: January 2016

Holocaust Memorial Day 2016

In September 2014 I visited the largest concentration camps from the Holocaust: Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz Birkenau where at least 1.1 million people were murdered. I took part in the experience through the Holocaust Educational Trust in a project called “Lessons from Auschwitz” where two people from my Advanced Higher History class were chosen through an Auschwitz bapplication process. This experience was one which was wanted by so many, so I was honoured to be one of the two chosen and I am now a Holocaust Ambassador for the Trust. I feel that writing this post today is very important as I want to inform people what I saw and how I felt. My main aim with this is to ensure that people never forget about the Holocaust and we must try our best to learn and teach about the events to ensure something like it will not happen again.

The experience consisted of three stages- an orientation seminar, the day trip to Poland and a follow up seminar.

During the first seminar we heard a testimony from Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke. Eva was born in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in April 1945, so though she would not be able to remember the events herself, she was able to tell the story of her mother’s time in the camps and her survival of the genocide. Teva_clarke_220_1he thing that struck me most in Eva’s testimony was the fact that no one noticed that Eva’s mother was pregnant until she began to actually give birth. This helps highlight the sheer strength and bravery of her mother. In Eva’s story, all her mother’s family were separated from one another, like many others who lost their lives and loved ones, yet Eva’s testimony helps to highlight that each person involved in the Holocaust was a human being with their own extremely different experience and her story stuck in my mind while we were in the camps. On this day each year I think of Eva as 15 members of her family were murdered in Auschwitz Birkenau.

Visiting the actual camps was one of the most horrifying and moving experiences of my entire life and it is something that I will never EVER forget.

The quote we heard in the first seminar “seeing is not like hearing” described how I felt perfectly. I saw for myself the infamous Auschwitz 1 gate which reads “Arbeit Macht Frei” and I arbeit-macht-freifound this chilling because so many prisoners of the camp would have believed this. Making our way through Auschwitz 1, we saw 2000 pairs of shoes, pots and pans, hairbrushes and suitcases with the prisoners’ home addresses on them really brought the propaganda and horrors of the Holocaust into a larger perspective as it showed that the victim’s really believed they would be using such belongings and their lives were going to change for the better, only for their life to be stripped away from them. For some, their lives were taken in a matter of minutes. I feel the part which moved me the most was being in Block 4 and seeing 140,000 people’s hair. This upset and me so much as this is someone’s DNA and by shaving their hair it completely dehumanised them and to the suitacaseNazis, it made all prisoners seem the same. Though I have given statistics for a lot of the belongings we saw, it is extremely impersonal and through seeing them for myself I know that each prisoner in Auschwitz was their own individual with their own families, friends, homes and backgrounds.

The trip to Auschwitz itself taught me so much that I could ever imagine. It brought everything I had learnt during the first seminar and everything I learnt about the Holocaust in History lessons to life and it felt so surreal. While in Auschwitz, we were taught that everyone in the Holocaust were individual human beings. Of course there was the millions of victims, but we were taught the terms ‘perpetrators’, ‘bystanders’ and ‘collaborators’. The perpetrator is the person who committed an evil act, such as a Nazi murdering victims. I also know bystanders were important in understanding the Holocaust as they were often people who would witness things such as families being taken away from their homes and not telling anyone about it. Though some of these people committed terrible crimes, we must always remember that each and every single person who is related to the Holocaust in some way is a human being and will have been affected by the genocide in so many different ways.

The most important part of the project is your Next Steps. This is where you have to teach your school and community about the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure that it is never forgotten. Sydney (the other student taking part in LFA) and I gave lessons to all 7 second year history hetclasses. We taught them a little bit about the Holocaust and what the LFA project consisted of. They then asked us questions about Auschwitz which we could confidently answer due to being taught so much valuable information at the seminars.

However, for our second part of the Next Steps we were lucky enough to have a Holocaust survivor come and speak at our school. His name is Harry Bibring and he was born in Austria in 1925. Sydney and I got to spend the whole day with him and go out for a meal at night with our history teachers. He is such an interesting and kind hearted man. Harry’s story was about his childhood and how he was put on the Kindertransport to Great Britain with his sister. Harry enjoyed things such a speed skating and going to the cinema, but when the Nazis took charge in Austria Harry could not take part in these hobbies.  His father owned his own business which was destroyed in LFAthe Kristallnacht. Harry’s family’s plan was to join him and his sister in Britain, however, his father died of a heart attack and his mother was taken to Sobibor, a death camp in Germany. Harry’s story was so moving, but so very different to Eva’s which I feel is extremely important in understanding my previous point about how every person involved in the Holocaust had a different experience and story to tell.

On this day, the 27th January 2016, I feel that  that the Holocaust is still very relevant in this day and age. It is the 21st century and yet there is still anti-Semitist attacks and sheer racism happening,  not just in the UK, but all around the world. I feel that we should learn from the Holocaust and never ever allow anything like it to happen again and as a teacher I WILL be teaching about the Holocaust and how we must learn from it to ensure something like this NEVER happens again.


We recently had a workshop on dance and it was something which I thoroughly enjoyed. Between the ages of eight and 15 I took part in a couple of different dance groups. I started off as a highland dancer which was something I loved taking part in and is something I would really like to start doing again at some point. I then danced at a local dance school with a ‘street dance’ kind of style. However, I did not enjoy this as much and stopped dancing.

I then started musidance-dreamingcal theatre which is still a huge love of mine. I feel as though I’m a much stronger singer than I am a dancer so I think this is why is preferred this kind of performance and expressive art.

So, when I saw that we had a workshop on dance I had mixed emotions. I just mainly did not know what to expect from it. However, I loved every second of it. We mainly explored different aspects of contemporary dance which was slightly out of my comfort zone and this was something which I really liked. We were shown different techniques of dance and shown the importance of using levels of height.

After this workshop I realised how much I actually enjoyed expressing myself through dance and it is something I cannot wait to teach when I’m on placement and when I have my own danceclass. I want the children to understand that if they’re not feeling so confident that it is okay and I want them to enjoy themselves.

For placement I have been given a primary 6/7 class and with my knowledge of the CfE Experiences and Outcomes for Dance as a subject I feel that I could make an enjoyable lesson for the pupils to take part in.

CfE Outcomes : “Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express my ideas, thoughts and feelings through creative work in dance” EXA 0-09a / EXA 1-09a / EXA 2-09a and ” I can explore and choose movements to create and present dance, developing my skills and techniques” EXA 2-08a

Learning Intentions: By the end of the lesson I will have worked with my group to create a short dance sequence to express our ideas and thoughts on a specific topic using different movements and levels.

Success Criteria: To create a short routine, with or without music, using different forms of travel, rhythm and levels and highlighting the theme of the lesson. 

Assessment: To assess if the pupils have achieved the success criteria I will ask each group to perform their routine and make use of peer evaluation.

How I will achieve this: I will include activities within the lesson that involve the exploration of different forms of travel across the room and activities which allow the pupils to understand the use of different levels and how important this is in the presentation of their routine. Finally, I will include an activity that makes the children use different parts of their body to make a beating noise (e.g. stamping their feet and clapping their hands at a certain speed and a certain beat) 

Therefore, I want my dance lessons to be an enjoyable experience for all my pupils. I want them to feel they have the confidence to express themselves through this art anddancer to keep dancing. 

Second ICT Workshop

treeoctoToday we had our second ICT workshop where we learnt about searching safely on the internet and ensuring that the websites that our pupils will be using are safe and, more importantly, accurate.

Sharon put links in the PowerPoint to websites that are filled with ‘made up’ facts, but the websites are surprisingly believable.

One of which is a website about an ‘endangered’ animal called “The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.” The website can be found here: The website has a lot of different tabs, one of which is about how to help make people aware of this ‘endangered species’ where it tells you to add their logo to your social media sites and join and donate to the organisation. This is quite a scary concept as there are people who could be conned into such a silly idea.

The point in showing us this website is to make us aware that not everything posted on the internet is true and it is possible that many people could fall for these ideas- in particular young children.

We were then told that we should teach children about internet safety before we ask them to carry out searching tasks on the internet. One good one is “Zip it. Block it. Flag it.” This will make children in the classroom aware of which websites they should be using and which ones they google-logoshould choose to avoid for their own safety.

Therefore, I feel internet safety is something which should be taught in the classroom because it is something which is continuing to concern more and more children and it is something which we should be making more people aware of.


The ‘M’ Word

Yes, the M word… Maths. Maths is a subject which I have never had huge confidence in so knowing that on Wednesday I had to sit in a workshop all about my most dreaded subject was something that I was really not looking forward to. I was actually very nervous. I had this image in my head of being sat in groups and working out maths problems in a scary kind of silence. But, that was not the case at all.

Throughout my time at primary school I hugely lacked in confidence when it came to maths. I stressalways remember being that child who was sat beside a pupil, who I always thought, was smarter than me and felt I needed to look at their answers just so I didn’t get in trouble for not completing the work or having too many wrong answers. Of course this was not the case. The teacher I had would always give me the support I needed- it was just a fear of being embarrassed that I always seemed to have.



Moving on to secondary school- maths was still the subject I dreaded. And this time, it was worse in my mind because ‘high school maths is much worse and harder than primary school maths.’ Even just the little thing of having to buy a scientific calculator rather than just a normal one seemed daunting enough. However, in first year I was put into the middle set which was almost a confidence boost. Although I wasn’t in the top group, I wasn’t in the bottom one either.

I had a teacher called Miss McCutcheon and she managed to entirely change my view on maths. She made me, and my whole class, understand that maths is not something that you should be scared of and always made lessons enjoyable. She was a teacher who believed in every single one of her pupils and knew that they would succeed. In third and fourth year I was put into the middle set again aiming for an Intermediate 2 in maths. I feel this is when my maths anxiety returned because I knew I was going to be offically assessed on my mathematical knowledge. I had a different teacher whose teaching style was different from Miss McCutcheon’s, but she maths is funntook a maths revision class after school on a Thursday. This was great as I could still rely on her for support and that positive push I needed. When teaching maths, I want to be as motivational and encouraging as she was for me throughout my whole time at high school. In fourth year I obtained a C in maths. The fact I’d passed was an absolute miracle in my eyes, but I knew I needed at least a B to get into university. So, I did Intermediate 2 maths again in 5th year, but this time I managed to get an A.

So, although I have an A at Int 2 maths, the thought of this maths workshop was something which scared me a lot. I had no idea what we would be doing. But, we sat in groups and the workshop was taken by Tara Harper whose enthusiasm for maths shines through. She has made me understand, again, that maths should not be something to be nervous about or scared of. We started the workshop with making a scale with 0 to 10 and putting a dot on the point of the line on how confident we are with maths. I rated myself at a 2. Throughout the workshop we spoke about maths in the primary school. From different types of maths to myths about maths. Originally I was scared to think that I would be teaching a subject I have such little confidence in, but it has made me realise that when one of my pupils are struggling with something in maths I will be able to give them the support they need because I know exactly what it is like to be scared and nervous. And when they have that ‘lightbulb’ moment of understanding or getting the right answer I will know that I have done my job correctly and I will feel extremely proud of my pupil.

By the end of the lesson I felt so much more confident with maths and, thanks to Tara, I am now really looking forward to next workshop on Wednesday. i love maths




ICT Workshop- Pivot

I started back at university on Monday for my second semester of my Primary Education degree. The first lesson we had was in the ICT suite with Sharon Tonner where we learnt how to make animations and her passion and enthusiasm made it such an enjoyable lesson.

The lesson started with us using a programme called Pivot. This application consists of a basic stick figure with each ‘joint’ being able to move in any direction. You can move the character and press ‘new frame’ to make the figure move. After clicking next frame, Sharon taught us the term ‘onion skin’ in which you could see where you previously had the stick figure on the screen. We then added another figure and made a full animation to the song ‘Let it Go’ from the Disney film ‘Frozen’ which made the animation really fun to create.pivot

This was very simple and enjoyable to use. I feel that it is something that primary school children will enjoy as they can make the animation about anything they want and base it on things like their favourite films. I plan on using this programme while on placement if I am told to do an ICT lesson as I now feel very confident in using Pivot and know it is something which the children will enjoy using.