Year 8 – James

17 Dec 2014

7th September


I got lost!!!!!,  on Monday and on Tuesday!!!! The building is so so big.  My class had left to move to next room and a whole surge of people appeared in the corridor because, of course, all classes were changing and I got caught up in the wrong group and when I realised, my class had vanished!! Me and 2 others from my class walked around for a bit and then older students helped us find our way. It was daunting!!!!


After 3 days my back is so sore carrying my back pack with all my books. I have so many books already. Each subject has class book, homework book and a text book. Some classes even have a file  to go with the books!!

So far this week I have had French homework, English homework, science homework, art homework and maths homework… much homework and that’s only the first week over!!!!



14th September


Our form teacher told us we could earn points for our class for helping the teachers in various ways.


Putting the books away at the end of the lesson earned me an achievement point – I was so pleased.


A person in my class called me a teachers pet – I was gutted!!


The same person also told me that everyone hates me. I have not had a great week as far as name calling goes.


Earning my achievement point has triggered this person in my class to pick on me but even though they picked on me I still help the teachers with different things they ask me to help with and other things that I do to help them voluntarily.


I have quickly learned that class peers can be very cruel, something I did not experience at primary school. I have told my family and together we are dealing with it.


A  good thing that has happened this week is that our Music teacher has told us about music tuition and what instruments are available should we want to learn to play. We get to choose this week from what instruments are available.



21 September


This week I really enjoyed rugby which is a sport that I have not played before. I thought it was too rough which is why I never tried it but it is awesome!!

Our coach got us to do some challenges, like having to crawl and then dive for the ball. If you got to the ball first you got to keep it. I managed to get the last ball which I have used to practice in my free time at home.


In H.E (Home Economics), we made chicken goujouns and a homemade tomato sauce. During this practical we had to work as a team of four and we all had a different job to do.  The girls did not like the job of cutting up the chicken.

The goujons were too tasty to bring home!!


I also met some new friends, one of which is the boy I now sit beside in Science class. It’s strange how we have been in the same class for 3 weeks but didn’t really notice or see each other before.


After 2 weeks of getting lost and thinking I would never get to class I have had a week of knowing exactly where I needed to go and got there on time.



28 September


This week I finished my four weeks of rugby so for the next four weeks I will be playing hockey during my games period. This will be good fun because I will go from one of the people who are not as good at a sport (I had never played rugby before)  to one of the best because I have been playing hockey since I was in year 4.

After this month we have to decide which one we want to do for the rest of the year. I have enjoyed Rugby and think I might keep at it.


Now that I have been at the school for a month I don’t really get lost unless I don’t know what the class is (if I forgot my timetable and don’t know what subject is next!!!!)


I have also started going to chess club at lunchtime on a Friday. It’s good fun. The game boards are set up and you just start to play.

Other after school clubs are now an option but it means not getting the school bus home and that is a scary thought because I would have to get a regular bus at a different bus stop away from school. This is my next hurdle!!


The homework has got gradually more substantial and it is getting a bit harder. It is strange sometimes because on some occasions I have been taught a method of doing questions that my mum has never even heard of.





5th October


This week I went to my schools Science Club for the first time. It is on during lunch time, once a week. It was really good fun and we made cobalt chloride paper, which is where you take a chemical called cobalt chloride and mix it with some water to make a pink liquid.

You then take some filter paper and put it in the pink liquid for literally one second, then take it out and dry it over a Bunsen burner. When you do this it should turn blue, but if you hold it in the air for to long the moisture in the air will turn it pink again!)

I thought this was so cool and can’t wait to go back this week.


I also did hockey for the first time in school and enjoyed it a lot but we were only learning the basics like the left to right drag and also played a mini-match at the end. It was a bit boring as I know all this already and had to be patient as others in my class had never even held a hockey stick before.


I was also really embarrassed in school this week because I went to the wrong house meeting.  I thought I was in a different house to the one I am in and pretty much the entire class laughed at me because of it. It made me feel really self conscious and upset.



12th October


This week my school hockey coach was very impressed with me because he saw me evade getting tackled by three different people at the same time!! He said I had very good skills.

Along with two other boys, I helped pick one of the goalies by taking shots at him when he was in the net and he was pretty good. It feels good to be doing something I really like. This week I will stay behind 2 afternoons to practice my hockey skills.


Homework wasn’t too bad this week because there wasn’t too much of it .There was a bit of Maths, bit of Music revision and some Science revision because we are having tests on what we have learned over the past six weeks – yes, tests already!!

Not only do we have to find our way around a huge building, get used to lots of different teachers and different classrooms but we also have to take in all this new information on lots of different subjects and remember it all in 6 short weeks!

I really miss primary school –

It is tough but it is getting easier . I think



19th October


I got selected for my school hockey team!! We travelled to another school miles and miles away to take part in a couple of hockey matches. It was great fun. I don’t mind staying behind two days a week for hockey training. It is tiring but I really enjoy it.


My lost P.E uniform is still lost!! Lots of boys use the same changing room but no-one has handed anything in that belongs to me. I have been to lost property lots of times and there are lots of hockey sticks and socks and even an aluminium baseball bat but no shorts belonging to me.


Being at my new school is just fantastic. I love the uniform and now all the nerves, worries and fears have all died down. Revising for tests is really boring because you have to sit there and read over all the different things that you have learned in that subject.



26th October


This week I had a day off so I went back to my old school for a visit. I was so excited about going back because I miss it so much.  It was very strange because at my school our rugby pitch is bigger than the whole of my old school,  it is just so small.

It was also very strange because although I have found it difficult getting used to my new school I felt I didn’t fit in at my old school. I thought it would be like old times but it was so different. None of my friends were there and my class was not my class any more. I think I thought it was going to be as i remembered it but I forgot that we had all left.


My best friend who had moved away came back for a weeks holiday. Five of the boys from our class met up to spend time with him.  It was so much fun. We have stayed friends even though we all now go to different schools. It was good to hear how they were all getting on. They all seem to like their new school.

It has brought back some of the feelings of sadness that I felt when I first went to my school.

Tonight I am sad.





2nd November


Today is the last day of mid term holiday and I am dreading going back to school because after a full weeks holiday I just don’t want to go back to all the different lessons, moving from class to class and all the different teachers because it just drains me and makes me sooo tired.


I am dreading next week because it is “parents meeting” time. I am worried about how the results of my first set of tests will be and what the teachers will say to my mum. I have not been in any trouble but I am still worried about the whole thing.

I am also happy that my mum will get to meet my teachers and that when I talk about them at home she will now know what they look like.

It’s sort of strange to feel happy and worried at the same time.



9th November


This week I chose hockey for my games lesson at school, this means I now do hockey for the rest of the year. I play hockey 4 times a week now. Once as a P.E. lesson, twice for my town after school and once for my hockey club.

Another thing that I have done this week is to join Army Cadets.  I have wanted to be a cadet for a very long time but had to wait until I was 12 as this is the minimum age to join.

I am in detachment F company, 2nd Northern Ireland battalion.  I love it so so much.

In school this week my Maths teacher was tons of fun. He sat there cracking jokes in the middle of class which made us all laugh. I didn’t like him at first but now I have got used to him and have grown to like him a lot.



16th November


I have been finding people more friendly and being a lot more social with each other. They aren’t as shy anymore as they would have been in the first couple of months.

I am now making friends in class as well as at my after school activities.


This month in school I got a report card telling me and my family how I am getting on and assessing how I am doing in class. I am really happy with it because I got 7 A’ s and 6 B’s.

My mum had to spend 3 hours at school one evening for a parents meeting. She had to go round 13 teachers!!



23rd November


This week I have been to a weekend away with the A.C.F (army cadet force).

We did things like orienteering, shooting, navigation and the history of the A.C.F.

Being in the A.C.F is really good because it teaches you discipline and teamwork skills.

It also gives you the opportunity to get awards like the Duke of Edinburgh award which is an outdoor pursuit achievement, which is something that I really like.


This week at school I didn’t get much homework so I’ve got it all out of the way for tomorrow, so this evening I can just relax after a weekend away.



30th November


This week has been very good. For starters, I was put on my schools under 12s hockey A-team and we also beat a rival school 1 nil that day.

I had to do my Home Economics practical test on Wednesday and my H.E teacher was very impressed with it. She loved the dressing I made to go with my dish.

I am left-handed so some things are more awkward for me than for other people – one of those things is slicing vegetables and on Wednesday I cut my thumb whilst slicing an onion.

The teacher provides most of the ingredients and you have to make something that is healthy and nutritious. I really love this subject.


I now sort of know which teachers I really like and which ones I am not so sure of.

We will be doing our 1st real exams in January so we have to revise all over the Christmas holidays!!  The teachers have said they will let us know what we need to do. I haven’t had to do revision for a list of subjects before. Watch this space……





7th December


This week in school I got called to the Principal’s office. I waited outside the office and was pacing back and forward with my stomach turning somersaults. I didn’t know why I was asked to go to the office and everything was going through my mind.  It was that feeling of – I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and yet I was wondering why I was sent for, was I in trouble?

The co-ordinator from Moving Forward popped her head out of the Principal’s office and told me to come on in.  I was so relieved! My stomach stopped turning somersaults and my heart rate slowed down to the normal speed again.  She brought me in to the office and told me about some of the other blogs and that she was enjoying mine and to keep up the good work.


Also this week I went back to my old school to help out on their Open Day.  I met up with some of my old class. It was very nostalgic.

It was strange listening to the others talk about teachers and subjects and not know exactly who they were talking about. Like when one said, you know the way Mr so and so said….and I had to say, no I don’t know who you are talking about.

At primary school we knew everyone and we could all join in.  Another reminder how much things have changed.

I really love my school but I also really miss my old school and friends.



14th December

This week I was clearing out my room and I came across some of my books from primary school, so I just read through them and thought about how annoying the transfer test was, but also how much of a good idea it was to do it.

The work in secondary school is far more complicated than the work at primary school which now seems so much easier.  It was very strange looking through my primary school books, everything about primary school seems years away.

I am really looking forward to this Friday because not only do I get out of school early for the Christmas holidays, I get to go and watch the schools choir perform at a carol service in the local church.

Our school really does have something for everyone. The drama group was super last week and now the choir get to sing in front of everyone.

20th December


This week was our last week in school before Christmas, so on Friday the whole school attended a carol service in the local church. At the end of the carol service, the headmaster gave a speech as he did every other year but this year his speech was special because he was retiring. Which means in January, the whole school will be going back to a new principal and I’m not sure how I feel about it.


Over the Christmas holidays we have to revise for our exams in January which means every day, apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we have to sit down and do different worksheets that our teachers have given us, along with reading all about the exams and what to expect. But even though this is all new to me I’m feeling good but slightly nervous about doing them.





4th January


Today is the last day before school starts back and although Christmas has been really fun, the Christmas holiday wasn’t all fun because my school sent us home loads of revision to do over the Christmas holidays for our exams in January.

I am going in tomorrow to start the countdown to the 1st set of exams as a year 8 pupil. I am a bit nervous about it.

I am also looking forward to seeing my friends and hearing about what Christmas was like for them.


Today my grand-dad turned 90 and for his birthday he was bought an iPad! Can you imagine what it’s like to be ninety! He doesn’t look or act like he is ninety because all his life he has stuck to a healthy diet, good exercise and even now he still plays golf and sings in a choir. On the other hand I went to visit his wife (my Nana) in hospital as she had a bad fall. She has a big bruise on her forehead and she has a broken collarbone. It was a happy day because my grandad turned 90 but also it was sad because of my Nana.



11th January


Tomorrow I have the first of my proper exams.  I have Geography, Maths and English.  The English and the Maths are both an hour and a half and my Geography exam is one hour so it isn’t just as long.

I am really nervous. I am nervous because it is the first exams at this school and the first time I have so many tests for different subjects. I am fed up revising. It is so boring!

It’s a bit like when I was doing the AQE. Practice practice practice!



18th January


This week I finished my exams so I am very excitedly and relieved.

It was a tough week going from subject to subject and trying to remember all the information I had revised.


On a more upbeat note, my school was completely covered with snow so at break and lunch everyone burst out the front doors and ran onto the front pitches (Which had the most snow) and started a massive snowball fight (which could have sparked WW3).



25th January


This week I got my army cadet uniform after going there for just over five weeks.

You get a big box which has two combat shirts, two pairs of combat trousers, two pairs of thick woollen socks, a warm khaki green fleece, a combat jacket and a caubeen – this is a beret type head-dress which is a dark khaki green.  You also get two Royal Irish Regiment cap badges. I have been waiting for my uniform for so long and it feels great to finally have it. : )


I really enjoyed myself this weekend as I got to go hill walking with my mums friend, my dog  and my mums friends’ dog. This would be one of my favourite past times. It was cold and icy, pretty slippy but really enjoyable.  One of our sayings is…no such thing as bad weather, it’s bad clothing!

One person actually had a pair of designer shoes and designer jeans and jacket – to go up a mucky mountain!!





1st February


This week my friend and I went to my other friends house. We played on the Xbox and ate an entire Dominoes winter survival meal then we had a snow ball fight and it was really fun.

Yesterday was also a great day to just sit down, have fun and switch off.


Next week my friend and I will be helping out at my school’s open day. We are both helping out in the English dept. It feels strange being part of encouraging others to see our school as the place they want to go to, but although it feels strange I’m really excited about helping out because I really love my school. It does not seem a year from it was me going to a huge place that was to become my school. I know how the year 7 children feel and there is just so much to do at the open nights, it is a great taste of what the school has to offer.



8th February


This week I went to the cinema with my friend, his sister and his sisters friend. It’s really strange – now, because we are year 8’s, we are trusted to go to the cinema by ourselves! Makes us realise we are so much older and more mature.

This week my friend and I helped out at my schools open evening.  We had to perform a pretend news report that a boy in my class had made up.  I felt really proud to be one of the people promoting my school to some of the year 7’s from my old primary school. I hope I have made them feel less worried about transferring to secondary school.


Next weekend I will be going to visit one of my best friends who has moved to another country because his dad now has a job there. I am really excited about going because I haven’t seen him in such a long time and so want to compare schools. We haven’t talked much about schools as he was a bit unsure of what to expect. He only started there in January.



15th February


This week (from Friday) I have been staying with my best friend in his new house, in Europe.

We are comparing what our schools are like and do you know, at home, we call cookery classes H.E, here they call it F.T or Food Technology. I like this term. Can’t wait to tell it to my teacher.


We have had a real taste of a different country and I am looking forward to all the sight seeing we will be doing over the next few days.



22nd February


Last night I went to the Red Bull Crushed Ice. It was amazing!

The track stretched all the way from the top of Stormont Castle hill to the bottom, there was a part called the “waves” which waved up and down and trust me, there were a lot of skaters who crashed there!

I went with a group of friends from my primary school, some that I had not seen since leaving last summer. In some ways they were different but in others they were just exactly the same. It’s nice to stay in touch.





1st March


This weekend I went to my friends house for a party and it was great fun. There were ten people altogether. Everyone went between playing the Xbox, playing pool, playing minecraft on a laptop or just mucking about playing truth or dare. All the other boys who were there are in my friends class in school so I met most of them for the first time. It has made me realise that I am not making many friends in my class.



8th March


This week we have the final meeting for information about a hockey trip with our school. I am one of the boys chosen to go and I am very excited and proud to be representing my school. I am also a bit nervous.

It is also the official launch of this blog/app, which again, I am excited about and nervous.  It is exciting to know anyone can go online and read how I have been feeling about changing schools and what my experiences have been so far. It is also kind of scary in a way. I know they won’t know who I am but I know they are going to be reading my words.

I feel rather important. I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about it!



15th March


The good thing about moving on is you get to play sport properly in school and for school.

I love hockey. I now play hockey in school for P.E and I play for the yr 8 team, this means I meet more of the other yr 8 pupils because it is not just my class, in two weeks time I will be going on a trip with the yr 8 hockey team to represent the school in a different country, because we are going on this trip we get a special kit in the school colours. When we go on this trip we don’t just get to play hockey we also get to go to the cinema and visit where Winston Churchill grew up!!! I am really excited about going on this trip because we get to stay at a university! I am starting to get to know some of the boys that are going on the trip pretty well so it will be good to enjoy ourselves as friends and not just teammates.



22nd March


On Friday I saw something AMAZING!! I saw the first partial solar eclipse in my life because the last one was 15 years ago! The whole school was allowed out of class to witness this phenomenon. The cloud cover over here meant that we didn’t use visual protection such as glasses or pinhole cameras as recommended. I got some really cool photos on my phone that I will share with our science club.


Yesterday I went into town with my friends. We went to the cinema and then just walked around town. After a while we went to the park. There were 8 of us all together, we just ran around the park and enjoyed ourselves as kids do. When I say friends I mean friends of mine from primary school and friends from my new school. Everyone got on with each other and had a great time and at one point or another everyone was laughing at the same time with each other. It was a bit worrying at first that we would not get on but within less than 5 minutes that worry was long gone

We have agreed to do this at least once a month. So looking forward to meeting up again.





12th April


Over the Easter holidays I really enjoyed myself because I got to meet up with some of my friends. We compared stories from school and heard about people we really don’t see now. It was good fun.


Also my aunt and my 8 year old cousin came to stay for 2 days. It was the first time my cousin had ever been to Northern Ireland in her life! So we made sure that she had a great time. I was really proud to show my aunt my school and I was very proud to be from Ireland as we were tour guides and my cousin thought it was a magical


Our weather was so good. We spent a lot of time outside. I am not really looking forward to going back to school because our teachers have said this is the hardest term. It is also the last term of my first year in secondary school.  Jeepers, it’s scary how fast it has gone!



19th April


This week in school we have been having “health talks”, which is basically health professionals or  our teachers telling us about what sort of changes we will be going through as we grow up. It was interesting, to say the least! The phrase, “too much information” comes to mind!


This weekend my friend stayed over. I got a new add-on for a game that we both really like playing and we have been playing it loads over the weekend.


My mum did a run called mud madness, where you have to run a 5 mile course which has loads of mud covered obstacles, lots of muddy water, manure filled pits and underground tunnels that you had to swim or wade through depending on the depth. I was really excited by the look of the course and really disappointed that I couldn’t do it. It is an experience I look forward to having even though I have to wait until I am 16.



26th April


This week I have started playing mixed sports at school because we can’t play rugby or hockey during the summer, you get a choice of mixed sports, cricket or tennis.

Last week we played football (which I wasn’t very good at) but it was still fun, this week we are going to play softball which is like baseball, so I’ll see if I can do any better at that.


One thing I have found is a site called doodle maths which is free to subscribe to and is also available on the App Store or google play store. It is a site where you can play maths games and challenge yourself to reach higher levels each time. To help me to just stay up to date with maths I have started using this site and have found it quite useful and helpful, I just take ten minutes a day and have a couple of turns at some different maths questions.





3rd May


This week my friend from another country came to stay who I hadn’t seen in over a year.

Yesterday we went to a big new indoor pool with lots of slides and a wave pool !!!! My favourite slide was one that was a big u shape where you went down one side really fast and went up the other side and then came down backwards !!


Me and my friend compared time tables and schools. They were only a little different. For instance, in his school they do a thing called “tutor time”, where they sit down in one of their teachers rooms and do some of their homework. The teacher is there to answer any questions they may have to do with homework.


They buy iPads from their school at a very reduced price and they have an app called “edmodo”‘,  which my friend told me was really useful because they use it to check home works, how they do this by going on to it and the teacher will have posted the homework and when it is due etc so they can’t really forget to do their homework!!

Another thing they do differently is that they have  6 lessons a day each lasting 55 mins where we have 9 lessons lasting 35 mins.

I really enjoyed my friends visit, it made me remember how much fun we have together and how I miss him.



10th May


This week has been a mix of good and oh no moments.

After all this time I now feel like I have made a few friends. I had a sleepover with one of them and had a fabulous time.

He invited me as his friend and had invited some other people who I knew and we hall had a great time together.

We had great fun in the swimming pool and stayed up until 4.30 in the morning!! That was the good part of the week.

The “oh no” bit is the end of year exams. I find revision boring. Do you know we have to remember everything we have learned this year, EVERYTHING!  because we will be asked random questions about all topics covered.

My favourite subject is science and I did well in a class test recently.

I really enjoy doing all the different subjects but I am not looking forward to all the different exams!for the next 2 weeks it is going to be revision revision revision. Roll on the end of May when it will be all over.



17th May


This week I have been looking through my friends and classmates accounts on Instagram.

I have found out some different things about them.

For instance, there’s a person in my class who I would now describe as a sort of free spirited, life loving person.  I think it is a nice quality and find the posts interesting.

Another person, who is really into horses, rarely mentions this in school but gushes about it on Instagram.

They hardly get noticed in the classroom never mind express themselves openly.

Being in uniform hides people’s personalities!  This is one reason why I think uniform should be abolished – an essay I had to write for school!!

This week I ran a full 5 k in under half an hour! #proud of myself, it was my first run non stop. My challenge now is to get faster!!!

I want to be ale to improve my speed and agility for playing hockey so I am running in between hockey seasons and school hockey matches to be fitter and faster tan before.



24th May


Today I did something really fun…..I went to a thing called Splash on the hill at Stormount Castle. This was a 100 metre water slide.  It ended in a big pool of water!!! I went there with three of my best friends, two of them go to school with me and my other friend goes to a different school but we are still really good friends. Just because some of your primary school friends go to a different school to you doesn’t mean you forget about them or stop being friends.


That was the highlight of my weekend. The rest of the time has been spent…..REVISING,REVISING, REVISING, REVISING

Exams all next week…wish me luck



31st May


This week I finished my exams!!!!!  I am so happy.  I had to do exams for : History,English,Science,Maths,Geography,H.E,Technology,French,I.C.T and R.E.


I think I answered quite well in most of them.  I certainly revised for every subject and was pleased that what I had studied came up on the paper for most of them.


This weekend I went to the cinema with my friends to celebrate the end of the exams.We went to see a movie called San Andreas, which is about a giant earthquake that destroys almost all of San Francisco and California and also about this helicopter rescue pilot who was trying to rescue his beloved and only daughter, who got stuck in the middle of all these earthquakes.

We then went to a new restaurant which as superb.  We started off the weekend on Xbox and we came back from the restaurant and continued on Xbox.  It was a great way to celebrate the end of the exams.  One of my friends, who is at a different school finished exams 2 weeks ago but we all celebrated together.


I am looking forward to the end of my first year but am already wondering what it will be like next year!  As a year 8 we are allowed extra time for things like going to the canteen and get out early to get to bus stop on time but not next year. I hope I remember everything. My mum says I am fussing over nothing!!  So I will take her advice and look forward to summer.





7th June


Now that the hockey season is over I have started doing the park run, which is where a 5k course is laid out around the park. This park run is called couch 2 5k or  c25k for short. We have to run and walk for 20 mins after doing a warm up.


This week I have started getting the results for all the summer exams.  I am pleased with the results. It has been a tough year but the results how I have been listening and learning!!!!


This is one of 3 weeks left of school before the summer holidays #cant wait for summer !!!!!


We are going to abroad to visit my friend in July. We are probably going camping or renting a cottage somewhere during August. Both these holidays I am so looking forward to.

Camping is one my favourite activities, especially if its in the mountains.



14th June


This week I hiked to the top of Slieve  Donard with my friend and his dad, it took some motivating to get my friend to climb to the peak but we all got there in the endIt was definitely worth it, because the view from the top of Slieve Donard is absolutely amazing. My friend and I just lay down and admired the view. One of the best bits was getting a big Maud’s ice cream when we got back down – I got orange and Belgian dark chocolate, it was yummy.


As well as doing the couch 2 5k I have entered the Lisburn fun run, why they call it fun I don’t know but I am looking forward to it. I got my official t shirt today and it is cool, it is a tech t shirt and that means it is breathable and helps keep sweat off the body so you feel cooler when running.


There are two reasons why I am enjoying school at the minute – these are :

1 – because you get hardly any homework and

2- it is the few weeks before school breaks up for the summer!! Yipeeeeeeeee



21st June


This may be my last blog because we are now at the end this school year!! Feeling a bit sad about that.

I have got used to sharing my thoughts, adventures, ideas and fun times.

It has been a journey of discovery, learning all about a new building, new teachers, new subjects. Again it makes me realise how quickly this year has gone.

I saw people from my primary school  in my school for a taster day and it was strange watching them- a bit of “that was me not so long ago” came to mind.

I got to show them round, I was no longer the new person! It is hard to remember being at primary school now.


On a different subject, I will be 13 very soon – a teenager! I am not sure if I will feel any different.

I am getting to meet up with a group of friends and have a day out. Should be great fun.


Some of our birthdays are during the summer holidays so I get to meet with some friends before school finishes as most people go away on holiday at different times during the summer and we don’t get to meet up all together to celebrate our birthdays.