Lasadh teachers Mairi Macdonald (left) and Gwen Culbertson
A website of resources for Gaelic Medium Education, originally set up and run by two primary school teachers from Skye in their spare time, has been shortlisted for a Scottish Gaelic Award for the second year running.
The website, Lasadh, is managed by Gaelic educational resources organisation Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig, based in Stornoway, and led by teachers Gwen Culbertson and Mairi Macdonald, who both teach in Bun-sgoil Shleite.
Lasadh is up for the Innovation in Education Award in the Daily Record’s Scottish Gaelic Awards, as it was last year, but is also nominated in the Learner Award category this year.
The awards, sponsored by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, will be held in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow on November 15 and aim to “reward all aspects of our Gaelic culture, education and language” and “highlight the excellent work undertaken to maintain growth and heritage”.
Lasadh is an online, digital and interactive resource for primary school pupils and teachers, created several years ago by Gwen and Mairi who had realised there was a shortage of language-related resources for Gaelic Medium Education (GME).
Found online at www.lasadh.co.uk, the website focuses on literacy activities and provides a range of resources for use in the classroom or at home and for individual use or group work.
Recent additions to the website include spelling games, modelled on the ‘look, say, cover, write and check’ system used in schools, as well as jigsaws for the early years.
Use of the website’s resources has been increasing across Scotland. To support this demand, the Stòrlann team including Project Officer Sarah MacEachan, who is based in Uist, have delivered training sessions on Lasadh via video link to teachers on the mainland.
Another new development is that Gwen and Mairi have been seconded onto Lasadh since August for a day a week, thanks to support from Bòrd na Gàidhlig via the Gaelic Language Act Implementation Fund (GLAIF).
The money means Stòrlann can fund the necessary class cover for Gwen and Mairi. Previously, the duo were working on Lasadh in their own time.
Gwen said: “The day a week each out of class for this year means that we can have a clear focus for development of materials and dedicated time to research and create them. Up until now it has been quite a juggling act with my young family of three and teaching full time, trying to fit it all in.
“Our secondment is only newly established – however, thus far it has provided us with much needed opportunities to work together with Stòrlann to meet, discuss and plan the road ahead for Lasadh.”
All GME teachers are warmly invited to contribute their own resources for possible inclusion in Lasadh. The best way to contribute these resources is via a second website, also managed by Stòrlann, which functions as a repository.
Stòrlann Project Officer Sarah MacEeachan explained how that website, called Seo Sibh!, works. Teachers can upload files to various collections — primary school, high school, etc — on the website, www.seosibh.storlann.co.uk. Again, this is a website for GME.
Once the resources have been checked by Stòrlann they will then be uploaded for widespread use, either via Lasadh or the main Stòrlann website, www.storlann.co.uk.
In its nomination, Lasadh was described as a “fantastic and much-needed Gaelic Medium language resource”, with resources for reading, writing, talking and listening which were “high quality, easy to use, fun and have filled many of the gaps we had in language resources”.