Castlemilk Kids – writing, performing, recording their own song ”It’s Up to You”

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Health & Well Being, Learning & Teaching, New Music | Posted on June 2, 2013

book-40As a music teacher in Castlemilk High School, Glasgow in 1998, I received a video that was sent to all schools in the UK. It was a short video of no more than 10 minutes, perhaps less, featuring legendary Beatles’ Producer (the fifth Beatle) Sir George Martin exhorting schools up and down the land to get involved in composing new songs. These songs were to reflect young songwriters dreams and aspirations, engaging them in collective creative experiences working together in composing new songs with powerful  messages. It’s a long story to share exactly how we went about this, but for now I just want to share that out of thousands of schools involved in this venture, the kids from Castlemilk High ended up featuring on the CD (100,000) sold in Marks & Spencers shops in the UK. We were invited to open and perform at new M&S stores. We recorded in Sir George Martin’s Air Studios in London, met the great man himself (our Executive Producer!) and admired his Rolls Royce parked outside. We performed in front of 3000 (opening the concert with the first song!) in London at the Skyscape Auditorium adjacent to the Millenium Dome in February 2000. It was an adventure I’ll never forget, and hopefully the whole process from start to finish is one that will remain with those kids for the rest of their lives.

 

‘It’s Up to You’  Track 20/22 track CD (Children’s Promise Charity no. 1073761)   20 It’s Up To You

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, EVERYONE ME AND YOU, WE’VE GOT TO SEE THIS WHOLE THING THROUGH, THERE’S WORK TO DO

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

CHILDREN OF OUR WORLD TODAY, THEY’VE HAD IT TOUGH, WE CAN CHANGE THEIR DESTINY, IF WE WORK HARD ENOUGH

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

MAKE THE FUTURE A BRIGHTER PLACE, FOR EVERYONE, FOR EVERYONE’S THE SAME AS US, LET’S SHARE OUR LOVE

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

THIS SONG HAS BROUGHT A MESSAGE, A MESSAGE SUNG FOR YOU, ALL OF US NEED FAITH AND HOPE, TO SEE US THROUGH

IT’S UP TO YOU (MAKE THE FUTURE A BRIGHTER PLACE, FOR EVERYONE)

Fun and games!

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Whether you’re from Scotland, the USA or anywhere else in the world, everyone (of all ages) likes to get together and just have fun! The 48 kids and 9 chaperones that made up our New Jersey / Dumfries & Galloway exchange group had a great time at Cream O’ Galloway, Xscape and on the water at Loch Ken. The pictures say it all!


USA / Scotland exchange visit

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Health & Well Being, International Education | Posted on April 16, 2013

Young people from Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland and Northern Valley, New Jersey shared a week-long exchange with visits to a variety of cultural places of interest. They also had great fun at Xscape in Glasgow on the snow and kayaking at Loch Ken. The weather was great, although a tumble into the loch felt more than a little refreshing!

Gordon Brown – UN Special Envoy for Global Education

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Health & Well Being, ICT, International Education, Leadership for Learning, Learning & Teaching, video conferencing | Posted on November 25, 2012

Last Thursday, at the ADES (Association of Directors of Education) conference at the Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld I was very honoured to be in the company of Gordon Brown to hear him speaking on global education issues. The UK’s former prime minister has taken on the role of Special Envoy for Global Education for the United Nations.

He was very challenging (in a non-political way) to everyone in the room as to how each of us might support his mission of bringing education to all children in the world. He spoke very passionately of the value of education to children across the world and of his hopes and plans to improve matters in a radical way. His challenge to us was for us to support and encourage  Scottish schools to lead the way in linking and partnering schools in Africa and India in the next few years, particularly as internet connectivity continues to improve in these places.

I’m hoping our schools in Dumfries & Galloway can continue to build links with schools in areas of need in the world, possibly through our growing video conference infrastructure in all secondary and many primary schools.

‘Peter Pan’ Cricket Match in Dumfries

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, Health & Well Being | Posted on July 3, 2012

J M Barrie Anniversary Cricket Match at Nunholm on Thursday 28 June

To celebrate JM Barrie’s passion for cricket, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of his death, and to raise funds for the work of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust, a match took place between a JM Barrie Invitation XI (the Allahakbarries) and a Dumfries Select XI at Nunholm, the ground of Dumfries Cricket Club, on Thursday 28 June 2012. Barrie loved cricket. He played his first serious cricket at Dumfries Academy and went on, when his career took him to London, to form his own side, the Allahakbarries, who played mostly in the south of England. His players included such famous authors as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, P. G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome and A A Milne. Can’t say I’m a cricket fan, but I popped along during my lunch break to see the opening of this historic match.

Joanna with the Scottish Cup

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Featured, Health & Well Being | Posted on December 14, 2011

Well, what can I say?!  My daughter Jo has got her hands on the Scottish Cup! Clearly one of the benefits of working with the Scottish Football Association. Joanna, you’re a true Champion! Keep teaching those kids how to play football! 

Electronic Drumkit Lessons via Video Conference

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Health & Well Being, ICT, International Education, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, video conferencing | Posted on June 27, 2011

Richard James delivering a lesson on electronic drumkit to a student in St Columba's Primary School, Annan, Dumfries & Galloway

Instrumental Music Lessons in Dumfries & Galloway, south-west Scotland have in part been delivered for the past 6 years by tutors over the distance learning medium of video conferencing. Brass, woodwind, guitar and cello lessons have all been delivered from Lochside Education Centre in Dumfries to pupils in 16 primary schools and many secondary schools, spanning a distance across the Dumfries & Galloway region of over 100 miles. Recently in May 2011, Richard James (Senior Tutor, Percussion) started to teach young people in Dumfries & Galloway schools on electronic drumkit. Dumfries & Galloway is Scotland’s third largest geographic council with many small, rural schools. High quality Polycom video conferencing systems over broadband are tools we use to great effect in addressing equal opportunity issues in education for pupils in a sustainable way. Savings in travel time and costs for tutors can be achieved alongside the additional benefits of reducing the council’s collective carbon footprint. An independent evaluation on the teaching programme over video-link was conducted by Warwick University. They found our work in this area to be ground-breaking and ‘inspirational’.

http://www.flatprojects.org.uk/evaluations/evaluationreports/ITVC.asp

http://www.flatprojects.org.uk/Images/ITVC%20Project%20Final%20Evaluation%20Report_tcm4-450615.pdf

http://www.northerngrid.org/attachments/628_videonations_vc_case_study_music_learning.pdf

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=2416703

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6028669

http://phone.heppell.mobi/2009/09/making-notes.html

http://www.abrsm.org/resources/libretto0801.pdf

Living and learning in a beautiful natural landscape

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Curriculum for Excellence, Health & Well Being | Posted on October 30, 2010

Today I took a short trip from Dumfries to the Forest of Ae with my youngest daughter. The shades of gold, silver, yellow, changing browns and the scarlet of hawthorn berries stood out boldly against the background of evergreens beside the Water of Ae.  A great opportunity to take photographs and for us both to learn a little more about the stunning landscape on our doorstep.

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Your NHS, Your Future Care

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Health & Well Being | Posted on October 27, 2008

Dumfries & Galloway Secondary Schools Question Time Event

27th October, 2008     Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries

An excellent event in Dumfries for young people (S3-6) was held today at the Easterbrook Hall. In celebration of 60 years of free healthcare through the National Health Service, students from Dumfries & Galloway schools were invited to give their considered views on how the NHS might best meet a range of challenges in the future. Professor Phil Hanlon (Glasgow University) led a stimulating and entertaining session in the morning where the young people were encouraged to discuss and share their thoughts on a variety of scenarios and issues. Professor Hanlon praised the participants for the depth of their thinking, ideas and insight. ‘Roving’ microphones manned by organisers John Glover and David Mackie allowed students to share their thoughts with all 100 school representatives. Education Chairperson Sandra McDowall welcomed all to the event and Schools’ Service Director Colin Grant gave an introduction to the day and to Professor Hanlon.

After a buffet lunch, a Question Time event was held with an expert panel chaired by Superintendent Kate Thomson (Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary). Students were given the opportunity to raise some interesting and challenging questions following on from their deliberations in the morning. This was an excellent event for both young (and not so young) where ‘pupil voice’ was given a serious hearing. Young people attending the event reported that they really valued the opportunity to give their views on such important matters.

Excellent materials were provided for all participants including a booklet ‘Scotland’s Road to Health’ celebrating 60 years of health improvement. In this booklet I recognised Mr Happy Smile from my Primary 1 days; reminding me of the dental health programme I took part in at Carolside School, Renfrewshire in 1963!

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