A group of Higher French pupils from Braidhurst High School visited the Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld last week to take part in a French immersion day organised by the Institut Francais Ecosse. The pupils engaged in a number of activities, all carried out in the French language, with groups of students from other schools in North Lanarkshire. Of particular interest to the pupils were the workshops in which they were able to listen to and discuss modern French music, as many have already downloaded popular French music on to their i-pods and access songs out with their Higher French lessons. Pupils were able to extend their knowledge of French culture further by finding out about popular French slang words and phrases used in particular areas of the country. All pupils thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to practise their oral and aural skills in French and found it very valuable to be able to spend time I the company of the French assistants from the Institute who delivered the sessions. Many Braidhurst pupils are interested in continuing their study of a Modern Language in Higher Education when they leave school, and the Immersion Day succeeded in heightening their enthusiasm for languages.
Braidhurst had the pleasure of hosting a German theatre performance organised by the Goethe Institute this week. Pupils studying Higher German in schools throughout North Lanarkshire Council were invited to view the play ‘Uber die Grenze ist es nu rein Schritt’, written by the acclaimed German director Michael Muller and starring German actors Janna Lena Koch and Patrick Abozen. The play tells the story of an African youngster who has been living in Germany for five years. However, when it emerges that he and his family are living in the country illegally, the situation threatens to get out of control. It is a tragic yet comic German play for young people and draws attention to issues such as migration as well as exploring themes relevant to young people, such as identity, dreams and the search for self-issues which are just as relevant and important in the UK as they are in Germany and beyond.
Pupils engaged in a follow up question and answer session with the actors and director themselves, and thereafter divided into groups to take part in three workshops, focusing on the topics of ‘Characters and Plot’, ‘On the Run’ and ‘Friends and Family’ in order to further develop the pupils’ comprehension of the play and their linguistic competencies in German.
All pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience and made use of the opportunity to improve their German listening and speaking skills, as well as making new friends from other schools.
Peter McInally, representative of the Parkinson’s Group in Bellshill recently dropped into Braidhurst to lead the S3 XL pupils in a discussion about the condition. Pupils were keen to ask questions and accepted an invitation to provide some entertainment for the group as a part of their St Andrew’s Day celebration. Pupils are now busy rehearsing and perfecting their Scottish themed programme of entertainment!
S1 and S2 pupils celebrated the European Day of Languages last week. As part of the activities organised by the Modern Languages Department, S1 pupils played an inter-house ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ contest in French, which revealed their competitive streak and caused much hilarity. All S1 pupils also researched a famous European person and produced a poster with vocabulary in the language of the country the person came from. The pupils used a wide variety of figures from the past, including Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Curie, St Joan of Arc and Christopher Columbus, as well as current footballers and celebrities. Posters have been displayed throughout the school.
In S2, pupils were divided into groups and each group had one period to create a giant poster about a European country of their choice. The poster had to contain information about the culture, food, geography and history of the country of their choice, as well as being illustrated with pictures, graphics and words of vocabulary spoken in the country. All pupils were involved in co-operative learning practices and divided tasks amongst themselves, whilst still working as a group. The Librarian, Mrs Kirsten Scott was on hand in the school library to assist with pupils who wanted to access reading materials or use computers for research purposes. Posters were displayed in the Modern Languages corridor.
S2 pupils will also partake in a French breakfast, as they are learning the French vocabulary for topic of ‘Food and Drink’, and they may even get the chance to make French crepes by following a French recipe in liaison with the Home Economics Department! Miam miam!
It’s time for S2 Art classes to complete their entries for the North Lanarkshire Road Safety Calendar Competition. Each year, at this time, pupils in the Art Department submit their work for judging in this competition. The Art Department has had great success in previous years and are hoping for a good result this year.
Megan Rooney (5M) and Ross Grant (6L) joined 200 young people from central Scotland in a History lesson they will never forget. The senior pupils have returned from an emotional pilgrimage to the infamous Nazi death camps in Auschwitz, Poland as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz project led by the Holocaust Educational Trust.
Prior to their visit, Megan and Ross took part in an Orientation Seminar for the once in a lifetime opportunity to hear the incredible story of a Holocaust survivor first hand. Eva Clarke shared the story of her mother, an inmate and survivor of the Nazi death camps and of her own story of fate and good fortune to have been one of only a few babies to survive being born in a concentration camp. The heart-touching story evoked an emotional response from the audience and added a personal perspective to the events and atrocities of the Holocaust the pupils had previously studied from textbooks, films and photographs.
On arriving in Poland, Megan and Ross explored the camps and prison cells at Auschwitz I which have now been dedicated to a museum housing the evidence of the atrocities. This includes a display of human hair, spectacles, luggage and prosthetic limbs to name but a few. The visit inside the gas chamber and the nearby crematorium, offered a chance to reflect on the terror felt by the inmates who met their untimely and inhumane end in the “showers of death”. The scale of the exhibits merely touches upon the scale of the mass murder experienced by the inmates in Auschwitz alone, not to mention the other Nazi death camps elsewhere in Poland.
The tour continued in the afternoon to Auschwitz- Birkenau. The sight alone of the railway tracks leading into “the gates of hell” sparked an emotional response from many students. Megan and Ross walked along the infamous railway tracks which brought many innocent men, women and children to their fate. During World War Two over one million people were killed in Auschwitz- Birkenau including Jews, political prisoners, and Soviet prisoners of war. The calm but vivid imagery of the tour guide brought the fear and terror of the inmates to life in a haunting thought of the millions who had passed through the gates of Auschwitz- Birkenau under the chilling and much feared presence of the Nazi guards. The day ended with a moment of reflection with a short service of memorial and a candle lighting ceremony led by Rabbi Barry Marcus. Megan and Ross agreed that this was an appropriate and touching end to their visit.
All of the young people who took part in the Lessons from Auschwitz programme arrived with a textbook understanding of the Holocaust and what happened in the camps. They have now witnessed first-hand the extremes that humanity can sink to under the hands of a powerful and evil regime. Megan and Ross will now work in school as Ambassadors for the Holocaust Educational Trust and will complete a Next Steps Project in which they pass on the lessons they have learned from their involvement in the programme. This will include a focus on a presentation and lesson delivered to lower school pupils focussing on the theme of prejudice, racism and tolerance. The experience is sure to be one lesson from history that Megan and Ross will never forget.