Friday, 27 February 2015

Battlefield Trip to Ypres: Day Three

Hello Bloggers 

It was my final day in Ypres and we had unfortunately slept through our alarms and had to quickly finish packing our bags, get dressed and run down to grab breakfast before we had to check out! PANIC ENSUES!

Ypres: Day Three

Saturday 21st February 2015 

8 am
I'm sat eyeing up my plate of sausages, beans and hash browns with croissants, butter, jam and orange juice on the side. I have to admit I was getting rather fond of starting my mornings like this! Carmen Sharman, Jess, Danny and I had planned to visit the 'In Flanders Field' Museum, grab some chocolate and see the market before we had to get on the coach at 11.45 am. After devouring our food we ran back to the room to have one last check around (to make sure we hadn't forgotten anything- WE DIDN'T YAY) and then take our bags to a room until they were put onto the coach.

9.30 am
We got chance to explore Ypres before the Museum opened at 10.30 am, so we decided to walk through the market. We ended up going into the church where a quartet of men were singing 'Only You' which was really perfect in such a beautiful setting. We went into many of the chocolate shops where I eventually bought several chocolate gifts from 'Leonidas', needless to say Luke was pleased I'd bought him a bar of white chocolate and my dad was pleased with the fudge. I had to treat myself to a selection of my favourite chocolates. After picking out chocolates to fill my small box with (pralines, caramels and cappuccinos), we headed out to the museum.

10.35 am: In Flanders Field Museum

I had been to this Museum before so I thought I wouldn't learn anything new, however it wasn't how I remembered. We got given wristbands where we could sign in with our area and names so we could track our journey around the museum. There were many actors who were playing out stories on the screens. It was quite chilling to see the characters retell the story of what happened on Christmas Eve when the fighting stopped at the Germans and the British met in the middle. Silent Night is still ringing in my ears.

This museum offered so much for every person that walked through their doors, no matter what language you spoke. I loved how interactive some of the stories were and the exhibitions were varied. They had real objects recovered from the battlefields, as well as several models based on the trenches and showed what the battlefields would've looked like during that time. Although this museum was small there was a lot of information and things to look at. For €5 It was definitely worth the money.
Carmen and I went to the gift shop afterwards and I bought a pair of poppy earrings as a reminder of my trip. Really wish I'd bought the studs as well.

If you ever get chance to visit Ypres, this museum is in the square so within walking distance if you stay in the Novotel. It's cheap as well and quite frankly worth the money. You can document your journey and then print, email or connect on your smartphone to get the information when you leave. This enables you to take the learning outside the museum.

11.45 am
After grabbing our bags it was time to get back on the coach for a squished trip back to Leeds. I was not looking forward to the long journey and I was praying my portable charger and laptop held enough charge to re charge my phone if it died.

Before we set off to the ferry we stopped at Bedford House Cemetery to find one of the relatives of the Cumbria students. After walking round for over half an hour it seemed like we wouldn't find the grave, however we did and we were able to have a moments silence, pay our respects and he could take pictures of the grave. It was really nice to have a personal story linked to our journey. This would definitely be something I would take into the classroom as children can connect to the person and the story becomes real and relevant to them.

10.45 pm
Yes...we got back to Leeds Trinity at this time after our ferry was delayed and the drive took longer than expected. I had a great time though. After packing up my little Micra Derek I got back on the road dropping off Carmen, Alice and Kate off at home.

11.00 pm
I finally arrived at Luke's house and it is fair to say I was TIRED. I loved the trip and I definitely would go again. I'd made some new friends and become closer to people who were on my course. I managed to learn new things and see how I could use sites that we could visit with children. Even if I couldn't take them to that particular site taking my own experiences into the classroom and sharing them with the class allows them to be enthusiastic about what you're enthusiastic about. Even if you can't go with a school or your University organise a trip yourselves maybe with friends or family. It is definitely a wonderful experience and I have gained so much from it!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my experiences in Ypres. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting lots of different sites and seeing memorials that maybe I wouldn't have thought of visiting myself. It was really great to have such an enthusiastic tour guide who had so much passion for what he did. There was no question he didn't want to answer (even if he didn't know the answer) he allowed us as teachers to come up with our own ideas. Even if you don't know something you can always ask the children for their ideas and theories. You may find that their responses are more creative than the actual answer!

Next week it's back to my normal blogging schedule.

"The rest is still unwritten"


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