In the Spotlight this week are the schools in India attended by Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and their UK partner schools.
The Doon School is twinning with The Thomas Hardye School in Dorset. St Stephen's Chandigarh is twinning with Vale First and Middle School, Worthing
How many 3-pointers can you score in 90 seconds? Pupils at The Doon School and Thomas Hardye School have been setting each other Olympic challenges
THE DOON SCHOOL AND THE THOMAS HARDYE SCHOOL
Rory, Pupil, Thomas Hardye School
The fact that both our schools are willing to make this work has made it a great relationship already, and with a little bit of help from our athlete Abhinav Bindra we've managed to keep things exciting and topical.
We've been working really closely with our partners at The Doon School to think of way in which the Thomas Hardye School (on behalf of Dorchester Area School Partnership) and The Doon School can keep in contact, and exchange culture, knowledge and experience in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
We've already started our monthly 'Sporting Challenges' which sees both Hardye's and the Doon School set a task and attempt their best shot at it, and see who wins on the scoreboard each month, which is great fun and a special opportunity to share culture and achievement through sports. We have been using these challenges to form the basis of our assemblies with the rest of our school so it's a fantastic idea.
Very recently I got in contact through Twitter with Abhinav Bindra, our Olympic Dreams Athlete who attended The Doon School. He and I talked about the scheme and how he could possibly get involved, whether it be answering questions, a video from him or maybe even a visit to Thomas Hardye in 2012 while he's over here.
It is all very exciting and a great opportunity to learn more about the 10m Rifle Shooting legend himself.
I really feel that it is a once in a life time opportunity to learn about communities and culture through sport
Udai, a student from The Doon School, represented his school at Olympic Dreams Live in London and I had the great pleasuring of meeting him, and getting to know about Doon School and Indian culture during the workshops.
I showed him round London in the evenings along with Mr Chaudhri and representatives from St Stephen's school (Abhinav Bindra's other school). After the event in London, Udai stayed at my house and attended my school and the local schools for two days, and it was then that we realised how similar both our schools were, but also how very different our schools were.
I really feel that it is a once in a life time opportunity to learn about communities and culture through sport, and it's something everyone can get involved with, whether they're a fan of sports or not.
I've got to know so many great people, and learn so many great thing already and there is so much more to be done in the run up to the 2012 Games and hopefully afterwards too.
A teacher and pupil from The Doon School visit The Thomas Hardye School
ST STEPHEN'S AND VALE FIRST AND MIDDLE SCHOOL
Debbie Webb, Head of PE, Vale School
Children and staff were all eager to meet the staff and pupil representatives who had travelled from St Stephen's school in Chandigarh, India. On Tuesday 19th January children across the school were engaged in interactive learning about India, ranging from jungle expeditions in the school hall, to creating live news reports on Abhinav Bindra.
Stephen's School visits Vale School
During the beginning of March we held an Indian Arts Week. The pupils were involved in exploring the arts and every activity they undertook focused on India. The activities included a Bollywood dance workshop, Indian drumming, an Indian storyteller, a henna workshop and Indian food tasting.
In light of our recent partnership with St Stephen's School in India, we thought it would be the perfect occasion to come together to create a joint piece of art. Therefore, each child made a patchwork square which will eventually be used to create two patchworks containing squares from both schools. Every child also created an Indian design and used it to decorate a drawstring canvas bag, which they took home at the end of the week.
To start the week off with the 'wow' factor we asked parents to provide their child with Tiffin (an Indian lunch) during the week.
Our pupils have been inspired and engaged by the activities. Every child knows about our link with India and they want to find out more.
We have a permanent display in the school hall, showing the items bought to us from India and the pupils really benefit from being able to see and interact with these.
Being involved in this project and being twinned with St Stephen's has bought the school together as a community. We are currently consulting on the best way to incorporate this partnership into the whole school development plan. Staff across the school have been motivated to incorporate our partner school in their day-to-day plans and the parents have made very positive comments about this link.
We are about to embark on another joint activity, involving creating our own culture boxes. The aim being to show objects and places that are important to our school and community.
To have a real contact in another country, to meet people and to experience their community really teaches pupils and staff - it beats anything you can read from the internet!
Debbie Webb, Teacher
We aim to keep this partnership for the long term; developing the links with staff and pupils. Our next step is to create a link over the internet and allow pupils to interact with each other in this way.
Our schools are vastly different; we are an average sized primary and St Stephen's covers a much larger age range and therefore has many more pupils on the roll. It was really enlightening to discover how other schools in other countries approach the school day. The biggest difference is our assemblies; we sit in smaller groups in our school hall, whereas at St Stephen's they all stand outside. Having these differences has had a positive impact on our partnership as it has inspired us to find out more and look at how we do things ourselves.
To keep a partnership going takes dedication and a real desire to want it to work, communication is key to it working. You need to have someone in the school who can lead the project and inspire the whole school to become involved. If you can make it work it is amazing, it is a huge learning experience and enhances the pupils everyday learning. To have a real contact in another country, to meet people and to experience their community really teaches pupils and staff - it beats anything you can read from the internet.
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