It's Validation Time!
It’s Validation time at Trailblazer! The time of year when Trailblazer schools let us know how they have been Trailblazing and when we get to hear about all the exciting things that the children have been doing outside the classroom.
Last year we introduced an on-line validation survey which has made the process much simpler for schools. The completed forms are a good indicator of how Trailblazer is working and also give us the chance to see if there is anything we can help with.
When the Validation survey is complete schools can request certificates for their Trailblazing pupils. Our colourful certificates cause great excitement for the children who receive them and are a great way to celebrate their efforts.
Certificates are awarded to children who complete the following Trailblazer hours:
Foundation Award - Early Years (no specified hours)
Green Award -40 hours
Bronze Award -60 hours
Silver Award - 80 hours
Gold Award - 100 hours
Platinum Award - 150 hours (very few issued, but available due to demand!)
If you are a Trailblazer school and would like your children to receive certificates this year please complete the Validation Survey. When this is complete, please email Karen.firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of the children, the level they have achieved, your school name and the date that you wish to appear on the certificate. Please allow 2 weeks for the certificates to reach you.
If you are not a Trailblazer school and would like to find out more please contact Karen for more details.
My first weeks in the Trailblazer team were filled with new information and unfamiliar concepts. When tasked with adding Raccoon Circles to our Trailblazer Problem Solving kits I was bemused. What could these Raccoon Circles be? When presented with a bag of colourful strips of cloth I was still none the wiser. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how they could work and I certainly didn’t believe the hype!
So, I had low expectations when I got the opportunity to take part in a Raccoon Circles workshop; led by Tom Nash from Stubbington Study Centre;at the recent Learning and Playing beyond the Classroom conference. But by the end of the session I was a convert – Raccoon Circles are amazing!
The resource can be used for so much, one minute I was telling a group of strangers a fact about myself while passing the Raccoon Circle round (I’m good at making cakes if you’re interested!), the next we were making a variety of shapes and letters. We then had to undo several knots in the Circle without speaking to each other and using only one hand each. Working as a team had never been so much fun!
From my experience I can certainly say that Raccoon Circles are an innovative, fun and cheap resource that could be incorporated into most areas of the curriculum. The teachers I worked with were equally enthusiastic and could really see the resource working in their schools. They are such a simple way of taking learning outdoors for a 5 minute session or even a whole lesson.
Are you interested in finding out more? We are holding our next Raccoon Circles Workshop on Tuesday 18 June 2013 from 13.30-16.00. The workshop costs £45 (£55 for non-Trailblazer Schools) and will be held at Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve.
Keeping livestock in school is exciting but ...
If your school keeps any livestock such as sheep, goats, pigs or cattle you should seek advice from Katrina Ayling (Animal Health and Welfare) at Trading Standards. Email Katrina -email@example.com - and she will make an appointment to visit your school and give you valuable advice so ensure you are compliant with the law. Please share your exciting 'farming' experiences with the PDL Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
An idea - which hasn't been tried and tested - but looks interesting (thanks, Suzi):
An opportunity to bring in this amazing group to deliver cross-curricular learning objectives with a twist! Based on generating electricity with alternative cycle-power it can focus on science, power, energy, geography, climate change, maths etc
A great recommendation from Chris Townsend at Minstead - two useful links for those of you who are thinking of denbuilding and telling tales in the woods ...
Den Building: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-6PNDYF
and a local Hampshire story to tell in the woods too from Mike O'learys new book available from December