Monday, 14 June 2010

More UK Tree Plantings

Just before the summer drought sets in our Year 2 pupils helped us plant out 30 small trees consisting of Rowan, Wild Cherry and Silver Birch. We also planted one special Norway Spruce which was container grown especially for the project and which was much larger than the others. The clearing was made a few weeks prior to planting out. It was in an area on the edge of existing woodland. This area was once part of the woodland but gales about 20 years ago had destroyed the trees here. It was now overgrown with nettles and brambles. Hopefully the rabbits and deer will allow some of the trees to survive. In the clearing we discovered two small oak trees about 30cm tall. We surrounded these with a ring of twigs, like a bird's nest, for their protection.

Year 2 planting the Norway Spruce

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Forest Code Video - UK contribution.

The UK team presents our Forest Code submission electronically. We hope you find it interesting!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Pupils' report from Finland

On 8th of May we went from Oulunsalo to Helsinki, and from Helsinki to Prague We were in Helsinki two hours. There we ate something, shopped and talked together, and then we left to Prague. We travelled by plane. It was nice. Our flights were fun, children sat far away from the teachers. It was the first flight to some of us. Food in the plane was okay, no good, but no bad. Every one of us liked to travel to Czech.

To tell was that the Czech Republic is a green and hilly country. It was summer in Prague! It was so green, warm, sunny and nice. When we arrived to Prag, we took our luggage to hotel Vinoh and after it we went to look at the city. Our hotel was also quite good, the position of hotel was good. We spent one night there and all the next day we were in center on Prag.

Prague was a big city and there were a lot of bridges and a lot of churches. It was full of beautiful and massive churches and towers. We saw church roofs everywhere. Prague had also a big castle, lookout tower, a football stadium and many more amenities.

Prague was a clean city, there was no garbage on the streets. Prague wasa great city, full of history. Airport of Prague was bigger than HelsinkiAirport for example. We used underground, trams and busses many times. It wasnew for me. There were steep and high escalators, near the underground.

In evening we travelled to Jablonne by train. On the train station were our hosts waiting for us. We went to homes with them. It was very late and dark.

The food was different than here in Finland, but it was still excellent. We ate different food in Czech Repulic. We ate dumplings, meat, ham and Chips. The dumplings are Czech national food.There wasn't salad or vegetables. There used much grease. We also ate much chicken. When we arrived in Prague we went to a restaurant. There I ate pasta, other boys and girls ate pizza.

In Prague and Jablonne it was very nice. There were nice people, good food, beautiful scenery and fantastic trips. Our host family was great, and their home was big. Simka, the daughter in our host family, was very nice and friendly. We went shopping with Simka, and we really had fun! Jablonné is a very beautiful and pleasant village. That time was a wonderful experience. Speaking English to my new friends from England, Czech Republic, Turkey and Slovakia was the best way to learn more English!

Every day we started in school and we went somewhere. On Tuesday we visited Zampach. We played games outside the school. On Thursday we visited in a wood company and in the same day we went hiking. On Friday we planted a Comenius tree and we met the mayor of Jablonne. After that we had a Comeniusparty in the theatre. We even sang a song about a bear.

On Saturday 15 th of May we travelled by train from Jablonné nad Orlicí toPrague early in the morning. Saturday was terrible because we had to go back to Finland. On the train we didn't find any seats, so we had to sit in the restaurantcar. But we had to buy something there. First we bought hot chocolate and after that we bought some pancakes with cream. That was really delicious. After the pancakes we were already in Prague. Ourf light went from Prague to Helsinki in the morning and we were in Oulunsalo at four o'clock pm.

We had a great time in the school, with our hostess and in Prague. All activites were great too!! Trip went safely through, and nothing bigger damage occurred. The trip was very funny and I would go happily again. :) Our journey to Czech Republic was great! Comenius journey was great! We got many new friends, new experiences, and we learned more English language. Trip exceeded my expectations. It was an amazing trip, I'll never forget the week in the Czech Republic.

Erika, Jenni, Joonas, Kaisa, Veera, Ville L, Ville V

Friday, 14 May 2010

Saturday 15th May

A day for parting! All but the English left for home. The English were left behind to experience concentrated culture. The children stayed with their hosts and either went swimming or to the zoo or visiting other children to "bond". The staff were given a wonderful trip along the Polish border and into Poland. At one point we came across a very strange trio of musicians in a derelict old church. Who would have expected to find a didgeridoo band rehearsing in such an isolated spot? Wonders never cease!

Friday 14th May

After gathering together at school we all marched down to the Town Hall where a tall darkly-suited gentleman was waiting to receive us. He was the mayor of the town and the reception hall was beautifully bedecked with fine wooden furnishings. The mayor spoke very good English but he preferred to talk to the whole group in Czech.

He talked a little about the town and about the project. After his welcome speech some of the Czech girls played some recorder pieces from the elevated section of the room.

Outside it was raining; but this would be perfect for what was about to happen. We walked for a few minutes down to a small green area in the lower part of the town. The mayor had had three holes prepared for the planting of three new trees in commemoration of the Comenius project.

This wasn't time for long speeches so we grabbed the three trees, birch, maple and hornbeam and placed them in the holes. The middle one was given a rather special present. Under its roots was placed a sealed bottle containing coins and messages from each of the partner countries. Perhaps when the tree keels over and dies in a couple of hundred years someone might find the bottle and investigate its contents.

So the mayor was thanked and he went back to his work and to a dry pair of shoes! The rest of us walked to the cinema where the musical performance would be taking place. There was first a rehearsal for the performers whilst the few non-performers wrestled with the hot drinks machine. Soon the performance was ready to start. The orchestra played Yellow Submarine and another Beatles tune. The Czechs gave dancing displays, belly dancing from the younger ones and something a little more classical from the older ones. The Slovak girls sang songs and one of them gave us a wonderful solo performance accompanied by her teacher on piano. The Finnish team also sang for us.

The morning was not over yet because it was time to visit the plastics moulding company, Isolit-Bravo. We were shown around the injection moulding department where we saw parts of Skoda cars being made. the highlight, however, was the white plastic highchair seat for young children which was something we could all relate to. They were being shoved into boxes with Ikea labels all over them. Interestingly, later we were to encounter some of these deployed for real in a couple of restaurants. Deep fat fryers bound for the Netherlands were also piled high.

In the assembly department we saw the fryers being packaged up. There were also some ingenious motorised wheelbarrows and many of the children got to give each other rides round the assembly and packaging area.

Lunch was in the factory canteen with some of the workers eating at the same time. We were made to feel very welcome and the lunch was very nice. Thank you Isolit-Bravo!

Back to school and a free afternoon. Some of us went shopping in the town whilst others just chilled, catching up with some of the uneaten cakes which had decorated the tables all week or grabbing some computer time. The weather was improving a little and the evening was drier.

Children went back to their hosts for a last night together whilst the adults met in the Black Bear for a goodbye meal.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Thursday 13th May

This morning the children were divided into two groups. For half of the morning, each group did artwork for display at the final assembly, or practised their music for it. For the other half, they walked through the town to a factory where wooden garden furniture is prepared and assembled. Teachers accompanied this trip and also put up the display in the town cinema.

The factory belongs to the husband of a teacher at the school, so he knew all about us and had prepared a warm welcome. We were given t-shirts and refreshments, shown the processes of the factory from start to finish, and then the children were invited to do some manufacturing themselves. They hammered and glued and used electric screwdrivers for all they were worth, making parts of small stools which were patented here, while teachers watched in admiration, taking photos. The best surprise of all was that while we were having our refreshments afterwards, we were presented with a wrapped stools for our schools which our own children had put together. How cool is that?

The weather was again kinder than forecast, so after lunch at school and a short break--time for teachers to update blogs and check the latest flight situation--we were able to set off by coach again for Tvrz Bouda, an underground fortification constructed in the 1930s for defence against Germany, but never used as such. Apparently it was used during the Cold War by the Russians.

This trip involved climbing what the English would call a mountain (nearly 1000 m above sea level) but the Czechs regard as just a hill. There is a wonderful view from the top as far as Poland, but we saw nothing because of the low cloud base. Then began a long descending hike to the fortifications, and a walk for an hour through the maze of tunnels underground, where it was cold (4.5 degrees). The guide was an enthusiast who felt he had to tell us everything! My impression was that I would have hated to live and work in such an environment as a soldier.

After surfacing and eating our packed tea we continued our descent, this time about 7 km to Těchonín where Hugh and Chris, two of the English party, have been staying. The track was muddy in places and steep in others, but now we enjoyed some spectacular views en route in Alpine-type country before rejoining our bus for the short ride back to school and hosts, tired but happy.

Wednesday 12th May

The Morning of Unusual Sports
The morning was a bit cloudy and Valeria thought it would be good to start right away at the sports field just behind the school building because the weather report had promised some showers. The sports ground had nice decorations in white paint. There was also the word COMENIUS in big letters.

The children were divided into four groups. Each group was of mixed nationality. The first game was dodgeball where the members of one group tried to hit a member of the other team by throwing the ball. What enthusiasm and accuracy in throwing!

The second game was named Finnball. The meaning in this game was to hit a ball with a baseball bat and the members on the field were to collect the ball and throw it back to the home base. During this time the whole of the other team would run around two cones. They got a point if all the members had passed the cone before the person in the home base had received the ball back from the field and shouted "Stop". After all the members had had a turn of hitting the ball, the teams changed their task. A lot of running gave red cheeks.

We were lucky; no rain the whole time. All were thirsty and glad to have something to drink, with delicious cake made early in the morning by one of the host mothers. After this the teams played crocker (a game played with a football but with runners and wickets as in English cricket) and bumball (a game played on all fours like handball except you can´t stand up). The children were quick like small spiders. The enjoyment, fun and the international co-operation was just gorgeous.

Afternoon trip to Litomyšl
Chicken with pasta and soup for lunch tasted very well. After that we took our siesta and at 13.30 was our bus ready to go to Litomyšl, that is the birthplace of Czech composer Bedřich Smetana. We have done this 40 km trip in about an hour. Some of us were a little bit tired and slept in the bus. The non-sleepers watched some of us, how to sleep. The weather has cooperated with our fatigue. It's raining, men­!

We arrived in Litomyšl at about 3.00 p.m. We visited the chateau complex which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. We saw the exquisite interiors of the castle, especially the baroque castle theatre, in the amphitheatre, in the castle park and Smetana's house, all offer varied programmes of concerts and theatrical performances. In 1994 the meeting of the seven Central European presidents took place at the castle.

There are original coulisses in the baroque castle theatre. It was built for the rich and also for ordinary people. They still play in this theatre. Opposite the castle is a brewery, where Bedřich Smetana was born as a son of a brewer.

There are large rooms in the castle with original wood-floor, made in different kinds of designs, which were in every room different. The owner and nobility entered this castle and all of the rooms already riding their horses. There is also a big collection of porcelain, pianos and great pictures with horses, war scenes and hunting scenes. There were also portraits of the owners, art pictures from holidays, a lot of lounge rooms – the blue one, the green one, saloon for ladies, etc.

After this visit we were in centre for shopping for an hour and we left the city at about 17.15. We turned back and the adults had a very nice dinner in the school. The meal was prepared by a school cook. Great surprise was an evening belly dance by the teachers (photos not allowed). Four ladies danced some prepared dances for our Comenius group.

We really enjoyed this day and the evening.