Does the entire school have to participate in the Blue Star Programme?
As National Coordinator, we feel that our Blue Star teachers are best equipped to tailor the Programme to their own individual school and the Programme is designed to be as flexible as possible to allow for this. The entire school can take part or alternatively, teachers can choose to involve only one or two classes. Furthermore, some Blue Star teachers in the past have chosen to split the four key elements of the Programme between particular classes.
Can I integrate the Blue Star Programme into other programmes/lesson plans?
Yes of course. The Blue Star Programme is designed to be very curriculum friendly so it will fit right in with many of the lesson plans already in place. Additionally, we have a curriculum guide which was developed in conjunction with our Blue Star Champion Teachers. It is designed to support our participating Blue Star teachers and includes advice and guidelines on all elements of the Programme. We hope that teachers will find it a useful resource and aide.
What age group is the Programme aimed at?
The Programme is aimed at all primary school classes as it can be easily tailored to suit all ages. As we said above, we feel that our Blue Star teachers are best equipped to tailor the Programme to their own school. Participating Blue Star teachers can choose to have certain classes complete all elements of the Programme while other classes may only complete one, two or three of the four elements as they see fit. For example, for the Geographical element of the Programme, while the more senior classes can learn about European capitals and landmarks, the junior classes can learn about the European flag and individual countries’ flags. Previously, schools have completed ‘mini-studies’ based on EU countries that pupils in the class may have close association with or may be originally from.
Will all schools be visited by a Minister, MEP, TD, Senator or member of European Movement Ireland?
European Movement Ireland hopes to get around to as many schools as possible during the 2016-2017 year of the Programme. We are encouraging Ministers, MEPs, TDs and Senators to visit schools in their constituency. We have also asked Ambassadors of European countries to make themselves available for school visits.
Do I need to have a visit/inspection to complete the Programme?
No. As it is not possible for every participating school to be visited during the year, we ask schools to take pictures of their activities/projects throughout the year and send them to us along with their Final Report at the end of the school year as evidence of all your hard work!
Can I organise my own visit?
Yes absolutely! We encourage schools to reach out to their local Ministers, MEPs, TDs and Senators and extend invitations to visit their schools. The only thing we do require is that you keep European Movement Ireland aware of any Blue Star visits taking place in your school. If you need any advice or support on how best to arrange a visit, please feel free to contact our office team on 01 662 5815 or at email@example.com.
Why do we need to use IT?
When researching their projects, pupils are encouraged to use all means of technology available to them, including online resources. Previously, many projects were presented using interactive tools such as PowerPoint, video clips, audio clips, blogging sites and school websites. The use of technology among the different schools in the past has been extremely impressive and brought the goals of the Programme to life in a technological sense.
What’s included in the resource pack?
The resource pack includes wall charts, posters and EU country guides to offer tips on the types of projects the pupils can undertake and to help guide the teachers in how best to facilitate the pupils. This material is accompanied by background material and other collateral for pupils in order to help stimulate ideas and provide guidance on suitable projects.
What type of event do I have to have on Europe Day?
There are lots of options for Europe Day events. Europe Day is a good excuse for the pupils and teachers to display all the Blue Star work and for the school to make a conscious effort to promote all things intercultural and European. The simple ideas for Europe Day often work the best! In the past, schools have held European food fairs, parades, photography exhibitions and plays. It is also very nice to make an effort to present the Blue Star work to a wider audience or out in the community maybe in the local library, County Council office or community centre.
Why do I need to submit an Action Plan/Final Report?
Participating Blue Star schools are required to submit an Action Plan before embarking on the Blue Star Programme in order to give European Movement Ireland, as National Coordinator, an idea of the programme your school is undertaking. More importantly, the Action Plan assists Blue Star teachers with lesson/activity planning for the year ahead. Similarly, the purpose of the Final Report is to enable us to see how you got on with the different learning modules in the Historical, Geographical, Cultural and Creative, and Institutional areas. It also enables us to learn how we might improve the Programme year on year.
Will there be training provided for teachers?
Yes. A teacher training day was provided for participating teachers in the European Parliament Information Office in Dublin during the second, third, fourth and fifth years of the Blue Star Programme. European Movement intends to hold a similar training day in 2017. Further details on this will be provided when possible.
If you have any more questions on the Programme that have not been answered above, please feel free to contact our office team on 01 662 5815 or at firstname.lastname@example.org