Sunday, 30 August 2015

Looking for the positives

The start of  a new term is always one of mixed emotions. The excitement of new classes, the blank page - the new stationery mixed with the wistfulness of missing family and the slower days of Summer.
 For many children school is the one place that they have security. Following our visit to Kakuma refugee camp the first classroom from our fundraising is now built and will open shortly.
 Hopefully this is the first of many - we will keep you posted. I've been doing some editing today and looking back over my Kakuma photos - these are a few that I haven't shared before.

Kakuma refugee camp kenya

Kakuma refugee camp kenya

The two photos above are outside Hope school as we were leaving. Children desperate to wave for as long as possible - young children with nothing. Anything I write will sound trite but I have to keep reminding myself of how much I have and how much they actually need.

Refugee camp Kakuma Kenya

This collage is of a workers' cooperative where the people there were  making bags both from the amazing material you can see here and also the plastic UNCR heavy duty plastic sacking.
The resilience we saw there was second to none. The people were welcoming, friendly, determined, parents and teachers just like us who only wanted the best for their families and children.
Enjoy your first days of term and remember Education  can make such a difference to peoples' lives x

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Why did I not know this before?

I often run out of charge on my iPhone, especially when away from home. We've just spent 3 days in London and by the end of the day I've used my phone regularly - taking photos, looking at train app - all the things you do to make life easier - and consequently have no charge left on my phone. My brother showed me his phone case which had an in built charge - you charge it separately and when placed on phone (and switched on! I missed that step to begin with) you effectively have 2 batteries so twice the battery life! At under £10 it's brilliant - see link in side column.

Kew Gardens

Street Art Camden

Friday, 14 August 2015

The first of many

Our visit to Kakuma refugee camp seems a lifetime away. So much has happened since then and sometimes it's easy to forget how much we have and how much we take for granted.
I have however, been overwhelmed by the kindness of people who listened to our stories, who looked at our photographs and said 'OK we are behind you - we understand.' From the young girl who gave me 7p - all the change that she had in her pocket - to the schools who have fund raised, who have committed to helping to create a future for these children.
Some of these schools aren't in affluent areas themselves but they have worked tirelessly. The Dearne ALC has already raised £4,500 and aim to build a complete classroom themselves - what a legacy and what an experience for the young people involved.
Today we received photos of the classroom that was funded by a mixture of donations from our twitter colleagues, family and friends as well as Debbie emptying her wardrobe on E bay!

I'm not sure I've ever been as overwhelmed as I was at Northern Rocks, holding the orange bucket for people to throw 'change' into whilst listening to the wonderful Rachel Orr singing. I confess I did burst into tears when people put in notes, emptied their purses of change - not one person just walked past me without donating - amazing people.

I cannot thank you all enough - the difference this will make is beyond words. Education is the only hope for these children. If you are interested in learning more please get in touch - we have funds in place towards another classroom but aren't there yet so will continue to work as hard as we can. 

The just giving page is still open 

 Schools are involved in healthy tuck shops, 4,000 mile challenges, community projects - 

I felt incredibly inadequate on our return from Kakuma but today I feel heartened - humbled but heartened. Thank you all so much xx

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Fresh starts

There is something special about the start of a new school year. A pristine planner, new stationery, laminated display headings. I used to love going into school during the last week of the holidays, catching up with others and pottering around my room. My classroom was described as 'messy' or 'inspirational' there was no in between! I loved having pupils' work up, news boards, working walls, things strung from the ceiling, over doors... The pupils loved it, the staff were divided!

This is a really old image - from about 5 years ago but I loved that classroom (it was originally the girl's changing rooms - hence the high windows)

The link below is to a Pinterest board where I have collected ideas for you to set up staff photo boards with a difference.

Give staff - and pupils a blackboard to write their hopes for what they wish to be or have done by the end of the year!
The next Pinterest board is 'All about me' and has a collection of ideas about getting to know your new pupils.

I love the idea of drawing a camera around your window and using it as a discussion point
(This isn't my image but will happily credit if anyone know who it belongs to)

Remember Learning through a lens  has a whole chapter on Photo challenges and another about using photography to find out 'All about me'

 Sparky teaching has a great post on sourcing images for your classroom  - see above link