Friday, 31 October 2008

I can't believe it

The Christmas lights are up in Ayr. Thankfully they're not on (yet!) - but it seems so early to put them up. Haven't they realised it's still October???!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Busy, busy, busy

Things have - hopefully!! - reached the peak of workload - and stress levels...... got 2 assessed individual tasks for next week for the primary curriculum part of the course, plus a group task, and as assessed group task which is worth 1/3 of our mark for the school & professional studies part of the course. It's busy, busy, busy......

Our group has a crisis of confidence in our idea for the main assessment yesterday and completely changed our plan - which has added a lot of stress and a lot of work but I think we're all feeling much more confident now. We're all now busy rushing about trying to assemble pirate costumes and other resources (we have a ship's wheel!!) as well as do all the paperwork side of the task - and of course the presentation side too. I've got the 'pirate captain' song playing just now and am trying to learn the words :-)

Had a visit to my next placement school on Tuesday. It's great, a lovely wee school with friendly staff. The kids seem really nice too. I'm really looking forward to it.

Weather's turned very cold, but nice.

Car is now back - a mere £330 for the repair (the water pump had 'exploded' into little pieces and leaked all over the timing belt.....) but now the rev counter isn't working so it's going back in next week. Sigh.

I'll try to get some new photos uploaded over the next few days.

Kye left on Wednesday - so it's back to having to make my own tea now :-(

That's all I can think of just now - back to the pirate song (complete with actions) now. So yo ho, me hearties, it's a pirate's life for me ....

Monday, 27 October 2008

It's cold, but dry

Well we didn't get to Perth and I'm still disappointed. The car is still in the garage and we still don't know when we're getting it back, hopefully will have more idea later. The Orkney contingent didn't make it to Perth either as their ferry was cancelled.

We had a quiet weekend, went a short walk (the weather was WILD) and went out for lunch yesterday. Got lots of coursework done, but there's still masses to do. 3 more assignments due in the next week or so. And the pre-placement visit tomorrow.

The weather has been wild all weekend with the waves coming right over the pier - I haven't got a photo of it as the rain and wind were just too much to go out in at the time. Today the wind has dropped and it's DRY :-) There's blue sky and I can see Arran - and there's snow on Goatfell (it was a really cold night here too).

Friday, 24 October 2008

No car :-(

Well the car is now in a garage to get fixed - and will definitely not be ready for getting us to Perth tomorrow (although Kye tried several garages they all seem to be very busy at present), so sadly we'll have to miss the Canoe Scotland show. I'm really disappointed, as I was looking forward to the show - and to seeing friends from Orkney there too. Although I've just heard that the Orkney ferries have been cancelled due to the weather, so they're not going to make it either! And i'm also disappointed that I'll not be able to see my wee nephew as planned on Sunday evening on the way home from the show.

Anyway - the car is being dealt with, I managed to cancel the hotel booking in time (so we didn't still have to pay) and the wonderful Kari-tek came to my rescue and arranged to pick up the Arduaine Trophy for the SCA Touring Photo competition which has to be at the Show for Sunday.

Now I'm just hoping that the car is back in time for the pre-placement visit to my next school on Tuesday. Fingers crossed .....

Thursday, 23 October 2008

An eventful week

Well, it's been an eventful week so far. Kye got here last Sunday which was great, I also had a great time with my wee nephew on Sunday morning, I've had my first major assessment at uni (powerpoint presentation about active learning, get the results in a week or so) so it's been really stressful, got handed out the next major assessment as well as about 3 other assessments this week .... and now my car has broken down.

Kye got stranded in Renfrew this morning courtesy of my car. Luckily Andy & Clair came to the rescue, and arranged to get him and the car home to Ayr. So I'm now madly trying to do assignments, do reading in preparation for tomorrow's lecture and find a garage to get the car to!!!!!!!!!

I'm now hoping but not expecting that the car is back by tomorrow evening (very unlikely I would say) so that we can still get to the Canoe Scotland exhibition in Perth for the weekend as planned. I'm also madly trying to make alternative arrangements to get the photo trophy to Perth if we can't get there ourselves. And thinking what else I need to arrange - like cancelling the hotel ..... Aarghhhhhhh!!!!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008


It seems like it's time to brighten up my blog with another photo - so here goes ...

You'll notice the box is empty! These are the best dairy-free chocolates I've found. They're better - and much cheaper - than the Booja Booja truffles and are a nice selection of flavours. They even rival the bars of Swiss Couverture dairy free chocolate which tastes a bit like I remember Galaxy tasting like. This was a really nice treat to myself (which amazingly lasted me 2 weeks), and anyone looking for something to get for me for Christmas or birthday need look no further :-)


I've got some knowledge of music already, but have forgotten a lot of the theory. I always hated the theory anyway - and didn't advance past Grade 5 piano because I refused to do Grade 5 theory which was a prerequisite. Now I'm having to relearn some of the theory - along with learning lots of other things for music and other subjects. I must be thinking of it at night unconciously, because I woke up in the middle of the night last night and when I'd woken up enough to have some awareness, I realised that inside my head I was reciting "quaver, crotchet, minim, dotted minim, semi-breve"!!!!!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

More assignments and assessment

More assignments and assessments getting handed out today - and more homework, more chapters of textbooks to read, etc. I definitely need at least 40 hour days - and preferably 10 day weeks too, to keep up. I'm still really enjoying the course though.

Some of the lectures and workshops are great and get us really fired up wanting to go and research the topics more, and get out there and teach it - but then we have to prioritise all the assessments, assignments, etc. at the moment - so the rest will all be interesting stuff for whenever there is extra time - next summer maybe???!

The peer support on the course is great - I think it's going to be one of the most important ways of getting through this year. And we can learn so much from everyone else too as everyone has different strengths, different prior experience, etc.

Got our first lesson on lesson planning this week - we have a lesson plan to do for next week and they reckon it'll take 5-6 hours to do it!!! And we've 15 of them to do in our next placement, in addition to observations, whole school issues and numerous other things....... There's definitely no 'easy ride' days or weeks on this course!

I was talking to a couple of BEd 2 students the other day (one of them was from Dunblane - small world) - they're generally only in 3 days a week, as are the Postgrad Secondary students. OK for some :-)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

A busy week!

It's been an extremely busy week so far. Lots and lots and lots more reading to do ... assignments ... assessments ... I could do with at least 40 hours each day to keep up with it all!!!

Kye's coming down on Sunday so I'm really looking forward to that :-)

Monday, 13 October 2008

Back at Uni

First day back at uni today. It was really good to see everyone again, and catch up on everyone's experiences on placement. Picked up a few more tips on good things to do with 3-5s.

I really enjoyed my walks to and from uni again - I've kind of missed my 2 half hour walks a day while I've been on placement, I really enjoyed them today - helped by the fact that the forecast was totally wrong and it stayed dry all day.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Kayaks of every shape, colour and form

Despite having a heavy cold, I headed up to Fairlie yesterday for the Karitek Demo Day. Ann & Geoff are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and I got lots of advice about which kayak(s) might suit me and which to add to my "when I can afford a new kayak list".

It was a lovely sunny day, but quite windy (apparently around force 3/4 at the start, picking up to force 5 or maybe 6 by the end) and quite choppy, making launching in an unfamiliar boat slightly challenging for someone quite inexperienced like me.

The combination of a heavy cold, wrists and wind meant I didn't paddle many kayaks, but I did sit in a lot of boats - and discounted several from my list that way. Everyone taking part was really friendly and keen to discuss the characteristics of the different kayaks and help each other decide what to demo next based on their previous experiences. One guy who can't roll rolled the Alaw Bach!! I tried sitting in the Alaw Isel but that was enough - it's too small for me to be really comfortable in. I liked the NDK Explorer and the Rockpool Alaw Bach best of the ones I tried - both handled really well in the waves and felt very stable - which was really good considering it's probably been 2 years since I've been in waves that big!
There was a fairly sheltered bit once you got out a little from the beach and I managed to grab a quick photo, but mostly it was too choppy for me to risk taking photos on the water, especially as I was in an unfamiliar kayak. The wind and waves also picked up after I took this photo.

I definitely want to attend another demo day and try out some other boats (such as the Cetus, Romany & Alaw) as well as paddling the Alaw Bach and the Explorer again, and maybe have another go at the Eddylines Fathom (which wasn't quite as comfy as the Explorer and Alaw Bach but edged really easily and is very light to carry). I'll hopefully get my choice narrowed down to 2 boats and then maybe hire them for a day or weekend and give them a good workout to make a final choice - then start some serious saving!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Kayaks galore!

More explanation of this when my brain returns - it feels like my head must be filled with cotton wool at the moment due to the cold. My throat is very sore too - it felt like there were razor blades in it last night, which didn't make for a restful night's sleep.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Final day of placement

I'm sad that's my nursery placement finished - I've had a ball, especially this final week. It's been hard work, and I'm exhausted - and keeping records and evidence of what has been learnt can be very challenging - but I've learned a massive amount, grown in confidence and done lots of fantastic activities with the children. I'm really pleased with how they've responded to me and their obvious enjoyment in the activities. It culminated today with eighteen 3 & 4 year old singing along with me and playing their rainsticks (which we spent the last 2 days making) and - here comes the really impressive bit - starting to play when I indicated and stopping when I indicated, no making lots of noise when they weren't supposed to. Fantastic. And the singing just got louder and louder and the enjoyment was just so obvious, it was really great.

Another brilliant moment from today had to do with my pictures in the sand which have gone down very well (and have had to be left at nursery because the children are enjoying them so much). One of the children was using the rainstick to show me that heavy rain and light rain sound different - I said "It's raining heavily, I'm getting soaked, I need an umbrella". A minute later someone else appeared with the umbrella picture out of the sand for me!!

Thursday, 9 October 2008


Went down the coast to Girvan a couple of weekends ago - and here's a few photos. I think there was some sort of "fun day" event on as there were ducks in the pond, and a sandcastle competition.

Have to say I wasn't overly impressed with Girvan - I wanted to find out about boat trips to Ailsa Craig as I'm really keen to do that and get some photos of the gannets but there was no info to be found anywhere apart from a phone number on a board at the harbour and it appears that nobody ever answers the phone. I did find a website too - and emailed for information - but surprise, surprise - no answer! Maybe one day I'll be experienced enough to kayak there ...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Tonight's lesson

Tonight's lesson is that photos taken on placement don't need to be 7 megapixel. I just downloaded today's to add to the previous photos, and then started to sort and print some for the nursery's own use. The computer went slower and slower until it pretty much ground to a halt. On investigation, I have a 20gb hard drive and 18gb of it is used - no wonder the computer has been so slow and keeps crashing!!! Lots of tidying out of files needed urgently I think. Oops!

Having taken so long to print the photos due to the slowness and unreliability of the computer, it's now 11pm and I'm knackered. Off to bed....

Autumn theme

We had great fun today with our autumn theme. The sensory bag of clothes went down well, with many of the children challenging each other to guess what was in the bag without looking - "Close your eyes, put your hand in the bag" and then discussing what weather you would wear it in. And the autumn box was good for using other senses - looking, touching and smelling. There was lots of investigating the objects, comparing them - and scrunching the leaves!

We got our display up - that's the result of the past 2 days work on collage and handprint leaves. I'm pleased with how bright and colourful it is - with lots of lovely autumn colours. I'm especially pleased with it as I'm definitely not artistic and creative - so this was a big challenge for me. I'm just hoping that the children like it when they see it up tomorrow - I was there till 5pm putting it up!

I did the story today as well - a rhyming one (Monkey Puzzle) which the children listened too well and also joined in with well, and we also used the rhyming tubs which are a great thing.

We're making rainsticks over the next 2 days - so we'll have to sing something about the rain so we can use them as percussion.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

It's raining, it's pouring ...

Well today it rained, and it rained, and it rained ... until the playground was so flooded that the parents couldn't get to the nursery door!

It's been a very busy day - I've worked with almost 40 children (in ones and twos) on handprint leaves, and we also talked about autumn trees, conkers, etc - and opened a huge bag full of conkers which Clair & I collected at the weekend. Great fun was had by all - and the wonder displayed by some of the children who hadn't ever opened conkers before was just great to see.

I was also using the hidden pictures in the sand today - I was initially a bit disappointed because nobody seemed to find them - or if they did, they just ignored them as too boring to be worthy of mention. Then suddenly someone shouted out that they had found a picture - and immediately another 2 children were searching in the sand to see what they could find. They started showing me pictures, telling me what weather they were showing, and counting them - perfect :-)

I did together time at the end of each session too (no wonder I'm tired now!) and it went well too - and we sang a very appropriate song: It's raining, it's pouring ...

Now off to read Monkey Puzzle as I'm doing story time tomorrow as well as introducing the autumn display table, autumn box and sensory bag - oh, and continuing work on my autumn wall display of course! I think it'll be another busy day ...

Monday, 6 October 2008

Today's name

Today's name is Mrs Cinab :-)

A bit of an unsettled day at placement today. The nursery nurse is off sick and is likely to be all week, and it was my mentor's morning of McCrone time so there is a different teacher for a Monday morning. Part way through the morning we got a supply nursery nurse - who of course doesn't know the children at all, so I found myself in the very strange position of having to explain to her the format of the nursery day and of being the only person there in the morning who was confident with all the children's names. The day went well, considering, and I managed to teach music to both morning and afternoon classes. we also made a collage tree - and tomorrow we're making autumn leaves for it (amongst other things!).

Some photos from the weekend

I went over to Arran on Friday evening, which was a lovely, sunny evening.

Unfortunately it poured most of Saturday, but I still had a great time, mostly playing with my wee nephew. The rain did finally stop in the later afternoon, in time for a quick forest walk to collect resources for my placement.

Came back on Saturday evening feeling much refreshed (despite still being full of the cold) and ready for a long day's work preparing resources for my last week of nursery placement. There was still light in the sky when I left Brodick.

It was pitch dark by the time the ferry berthed at Ardrossan (below).


I went to the kayak club club AGM last night - primarily to hand in my membership form - and I somehow found myself on the committee as an ordinary member..... Well, it'll be interesting for both them and me to learn how other clubs operate.

I stayed on for the pool session but didn't go in the water as I still have a cold - and anyway by the time I'd been chatting to people and had been shown how to get down to the equipment store, etc. it was mobbed! At one point I counted 25 boats in the main pool and 6 (with children in them) in the diving pool. And I heard this morning that there were actually 34 paying folk in the pool last night!!!! I'll have to get there very sharp next week to make sure I get in :-)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Italian ancestry?

I've got a new favourite name - it's Mrs DiMab.

I'm now wondering what variations the children will come up with in my other placements - hopefully the older children will find my name a little easier to say.


Please sign this petition

It's a petition to ask the Scottish Government to review whether the surcharges made by many couriers are constraining the economic, business and social development of areas of Scotland. It has great relevance for Orkney, as well as for huge areas of Scotland.

I've been unable/unwilling to use lots of companies because of the ridiculous surcharges they add on - like an extra £35 to deliver to Orkney when the goods are delivered in the same van as goods from other companies without a surcharge! And the Royal Mail's Parcelforce service can deliver the same goods without any surcharge - but some firms still charge a surcharge then use Parcelforce.

And the one the couriers can't provide an answer for - why they charge a surcharge for delivering goods from England to the Highlands but don't charge the surcharge for collecting in the Highlands and delivering to England ........ it's the same journey!!


Friday, 3 October 2008

End of the week

It's Friday!!!! End of a full week of placement. It's been a tiring but good day. I read the story to the whole class both morning and afternoon and was really pleased with how well it went and how well everyone stayed quiet and listened (and joined in at times) as it as quite a long story so a long time for them to sit still. Also played my maths game with a group which went really well. I'm also getting lots of other good experiences with the children - spent a lot of time playing with sand and water today, and instead of reading lots of books a group this morning helped me tell the stories of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Red Riding Hood.

Now off to Arran for the night, it's lovely and sunny just now so should be a nice ferry crossing.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

No paddling :-(

Sadly I couldn't go paddling tonight as I'm choked up with the cold. I'm really disappointed as that's the last outdoor evening paddle. But I decided I better be sensible and not risk making my cold worse as I really don't want to be off work or uni. So it's an evening in, keeping warm and learning a new song for music on Monday.

Today's session went ok - but it's really hard work keeping a bigger group of 3 & 4 year olds on task (I'm usually working with groups of 1-4). I was solely in charge of the whole class (20 morning and 18 afternoon) for 15 mins!!! When I say solely, of course the other staff were still in the room, but they weren't involved in our activity. We did a new song - I hear thunder - and I was really pleased with the way the children responded, all joining in with some words and actions. And I must have sung it tunefully enough as they all joined in well :-)

Also did - as usual - lots of reading books, and building in the construction area, and cleaning teeth, playing with trains (which kept going to sleep and we had to be quiet - sssh!), doing puzzles, and playing games in the gym.

It's been a tiring day (especially because this cold is making me feel exhausted) and hard work too but I'm really enjoying it and I'm learning a huge amount!!! Only 6 days of placement to go now...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


Today's activities involved lots of sand, water and glue, and jigsaws, books, dressing up clothes, etc. There's always plenty of variety each day in nursery!

I'm going to have to sing at placement tomorrow - oh dear..... Actually I'm fairly confident I know the tune well enough, and hopefully the kids are too young to notice that I'm not a good singer, so I'm not as worried about it as I will be with older pupils. Then on Friday I'm doing story time, so I've got my 'homework' home with me - it's a Shirley Hughes Alfie book.

And more observations to write, and more making of resources for next week's tasks. I've been getting resources ready this evening - wooly hat, wellies, warm jumper .... we're looking at autumn and the weather.

I feel a cold coming on so I'm planning an early night tonight - with a hot water bottle as it now feels cold enough to need one. Well, it is October.... I'm hoping the weather's nicer tomorrow as I'm hoping to go kayaking - the last evening paddle of the season.