TGIF- 27th February 2015
It’s been a week of fallings out this week. I have had various groups of children arriving at my door (either voluntarily or sent!) to talk about disagreements in the playground. These differences of opinions happen for many different reasons- some understandable, some not so. The one thing they have in common is that they are all regrettable and better avoided. In my view, life really is too short to fall out with folk- especially your friends.
I have been blessed with many, many good friends during the course of my life- some of which go back some 30 or 40 years now and some who are relatively new. Over the years, I have shared many things with these people- good times and bad. We have travelled together, worked together, played together; we have partied, celebrated, laughed and cried; we have gone to weddings, christenings and funerals together. The good times were enriched by their presence and the bad times made more bearable by their comfort and company. They put up with my irritating habits- which only they could list, forgive my dog trailing mud into their cars and houses and go along with most of my suggestions with just a shrug and a raising of the eyebrows.
There is a little round I sing with children which says-“Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver -the other gold”. How true this is-I wonder how many of you have friends you made in primary school? I tell the children about my friends when they are falling out with theirs- I tell them that I could not get by without them and how lonely I would feel if I didn’t have them in my life and how much fun it is to do things with them- even at my age! Admittedly our adventures now have to take two knee replacements and a bad back into account!
I hate to see children falling out- the friendship pool is quite limited in a small community and friends are too valuable as a resource not to be treated with care and respect. Perhaps that is a message we should try to share with our children- tell them about your friends and what they mean to you.
I hope you have a good weekend- I am off to lunch with four of my best buddies tomorrow- I will be sure to tell them how much they mean to me, although I hope they already know that.
Following up from our visit to Whitelee Windfarm (where we saw 220 wind turbines and learned that it would take 3 of them to provide enough electricity for the whole of Macmerry – see previous post for photos of trip), P7 made their own wind turbines this week. There were some quite tricky bits but our nacelles can spin around and so can our blades. We are proud of them!
Whitelees Wind Farm Feb 2015 on PhotoPeach
As part of fairtrade fortnight we will be running a tuckshop with the following items on sale:
Apricot Geobar – 50p
Mixed Berries Geobar – 50p
Stem Ginger Cookie – 40p
Fruit and Oat Cookie – 40p
Yoghurt Covered Raisins – £1
The tuckshop will run at break time from Tuesday 24th of February until Friday 6th of March.
MAD Day Feb 13th on PhotoPeach
Why “Tug-of-War” will never work at Macmerry.
A tug-of-war team in full swing is an awesome thing to see- veins in necks bulging, faces screwed up, legs braced and straining. But, of necessity, it involves people pulling in opposite directions- and that’s why it won’t work in Macmerry.
One of the first things I noticed about the school when I arrived in January was that everybody pulled together. Pupils, staff and parents are here for the same reason- the learning and learning together. Now, you may think I am just in rose-tinted spec mode because of the rapidly approaching holiday week and I have to admit to a touch of that. But that was my first impression and I have had no reason to change my mind on that in the ensuing six weeks.
As I write this the children are taking part in their first MAD Day of the term. They are working together in mixed-aged home teams of 4 engaged in a task to share their learning on Scotland. There is some lovely cooperating and collaborating going on. The skills identified by staff (in a shared planning session) were everyone taking part and everyone taking turns- so far it looks like that is what is happening.
Like all schools, we have issues in the playground- children falling out, calling each other names and sometimes getting physical- we deal with this in the usual way using the usual sanctions. But, if it is better to teach by example, we can surely tick that box- in Macmerry school we are all pulling in the same direction.
If you feel like joining the team, especially for MAD days or for outdoor activities, we would be delighted to have you.
Have a good week off,
TGIF 8th Feb
First of all apologies for the lateness of my Friday piece- it was a hectic day with training in the afternoon and I ran out of time. I don’t suppose too many of you will have let it spoil your weekend!
I would like to think a little bit about competition and competitiveness. This came to mind as I watched our P7 boys at their first football coaching. I began to wonder why we were doing it. Was it about winning our next tournament or just playing the best football we could?
There is always debate about playing to win or playing your best. For some people winning is important and drives the effort to succeed; others are happy to take part and play the best they can no matter the result. There is no doubt that winning at a sport or activity is a great feeling- particularly if you do it as part of a team. In my fitter and younger days I played hockey for Dunbar Ladies and I remember how sweet it felt when we won our first- and I think only-trophy at a tournament at a very posh club, which I will not name. Later on I did a little bit of running and took part in a few half marathons. Of course, I was never going to win- coming in among the first 20,000 was a bonus, but there was always the challenge of beating your best time and it felt really good to shave off a even a few minutes.
So, do we want our children to be competitive, to be winners, to do their best and beat other people? Of course we do. We want them to be the best they can be. But for every person who picks up a trophy or cup or medal, there are another ten or twenty or a hundred who don’t. We all have to deal with that too and if smashed tennis rackets are anything to go by, then some of us deal with it better than others. Perhaps what we should encourage in our children is the desire to do the best they can, be as prepared as possible, be fit for the challenge, try hard, play fair and try to improve on our last performance.
That said, when the next tournament comes, no one will shout louder for our boys than me!
I look forward to hearing your views on competitiveness.
Hope you have had a great weekend.
A well-known bank once used the slogan “Teamwork makes the dream work”. Now a lot of these statements can be trite and twee but I think this one hits the mark. It was brought to mind this week by our Scots evening. I hope those of you who were there, would agree that it was a great event. The children performed really well without a great deal of rehearsal. The P7’s were very gracious hosts and we had a very appreciative audience- I think.
The best part of it for me was to see the school team in action- staff, pupils and families. Everybody knew what had to be done and everyone did their job and a little more. I feel proud and privileged to be part of the team and look forward to many more such occasions.
I have taught now in East Lothian for 36 years- yes, I am that old- and for nearly 30 of those years I have been in small schools. One of the best features of a small school, in my opinion, is the opportunities it can offer children to be responsible for aspects of school life- events, playground issues, choosing activities and so on. Then they have the responsibility of making these things happen- planning, resourcing, preparing, running and evaluating. All great skills for life.
All of this, of course, chimes with Cooperative Learning where each child is a member of a home team and jointly responsible for the performance of that team. They may have a specific role to play or be responsible for one area of learning which must be shared with others to successfully accomplish the task.
If we can build an ethos of corporate responsibility, accountability for your own actions and loyalty to a team, then we can look forward to many more successes like last Monday.
Have a good weekend,