Sunday, 13 May 2012

We Live in Exciting Times - Join Me in a Celebration

Britain has gone Britain-crazy! It's true! And it's contagious!

We Brits aren't well known for brimming with enthusiasm - we are, generally speaking, a reserved bunch, slow to wake, reluctant to react. But something is happening in Britain that is shaking us all to the seats of our pants. For we live in exciting times.

It really only struck me last night while watching the final of "Britain's Got Talent". I know you have something similar in the US, but the prize here is unique - a chance to perform for Her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance (oh, and £500,000....). Generally I don't go out of my way to watch this type of TV programme, but I have been tuning in to support our boys - a 140 strong Welsh male voice choir of boys between the ages of 14 and 19 from all across Wales. The choir has given them new hope, purpose and enjoyment, and is promoting and breathing new life into the age-old tradition of the Welsh male voice choir. If you have never heard a male voice choir, click on the thumbnail below for a glimpse - it's guaranteed to give you goosebumps.  And they are singing in my native language, Welsh - Calon Lan (pure heart). Truly beautiful.

Nationality is a strange thing. I consider myself to be Welsh British - Welsh first, but British in a more global context. In Wales we have our own parliament, flag, language. Last night, I was so proud of the lads, and for the first time it really hit me that Britain is an exciting place to be at the moment. I felt it - a little shiver of pride.. And it's growing.

We are celebrating. The Queen has been on the throne for 60 years - no mean feat for an octogenarian! Can you imagine teaching for 60 years?!? She has been touring the country for the last few months in a bid to meet as many people as possible - to see and be seen. The first week of June sees the country in Royal fever. Royal barges, concerts, Big Jubilee Lunches and street parties (a unique British tradition...).

In June the eyes of the world will be on Britain for another reason - the 2012 Olympic Games. Things are really hotting up. 


So I'm sending you all in invitation to join us for a summer of celebration. Tune in to the olympics, hold a tea party, string up some bunting, mix up a jug of Pimms, and wave a few flags. I will be helping you along with some bits and pieces you can use with your children in the last few days of school. Or you could save them and use them after the summer break. Start with this little freebie - a series of fact sheets about the Queen's early life and accession to the throne, differentiated so you can use them with grades 2-5. They come with "Think, Pair, Share" comprehension sheets. Then, use the timeline cards to build up a picture of what was happening in the 20th century and where the key events in the Queen's life fitted in.

Most of all, enjoy the summer.

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