Latest from the Olympic Dreams Network
For 86 schools across the globe, a remarkable journey is entering its most exciting phase yet.
World Olympic Dreams
- The Olympic Dreams Network is a group of British schools partnered with the schools of the World Olympic Dreams (WOD) athletes.
- WOD follows the stories of 26 athletes from around the world on their journeys to the London Olympics
Back in 2010, the primary and secondary schools of 26 athletes from around the world were twinned with schools in the UK through Olympic Dreams School Search, a BBC and British Council competition.
Since then, the school partnerships - and the athletes - have followed many different paths.
As the London 2012 Olympic Games draw closer, find out how they are getting on in our Olympic Dreams Network diary.
Team Shawn Johnson news: Many thanks to Gaby and Kelvin from Herbert Thompson Primary School in Cardiff, who have sent in a great report of their trip to the Paralympic Games!
Gaby and Kelvin's report
"Wow!" That's what we screamed when we walked into the Athletics Stadium at the Olympic Park.
"Wow, Wow, Wow!"
The atmosphere was electric, the flame better than we could ever have imagined and everyone was so nice!
We saw Oscar Pistorius receive a silver medal and David Weir from Team GB receive gold for his 5000m race.
We also met up with our Olympic Dreams partner school, Ysgol Bryn Y Alyn!
Team Achieng Ajulu-Bushell news: Teacher at St Mary's Church of England Primary School, Colette Cotton, has been in touch with details of the latest activity at the school.
"We held an Olympic Fortnight of Games, here at St Mary's which tied in with the World Sports Week", she told us.
"This is particularly important here at St Mary's, as we are one of the Olympic Dream partner schools and had the privilege of Sir Matthew Pinsent spending a whole day with us here back in September 2010."
St Mary's have also been part of a chain of schools passing on their own home-made 'Olympic torches' - a fantastic project which you can find out more about here.
Last but not least, the school have been participating in the 'Shepway Olympics' - a venture that gives local schools the chance to participate in a variety of Olympic sports.
Team Emily Seebohm news: We've received a great picture from Highfields School, who travelled up to Manchester to meet some of the Australian swimming team!
They didn't manage to catch Emily herself training, but had a fantastic day watching the sessions and meeting the team.
They also have plans to catch a pre-Games exhibition badmintion match between Australia and Canada - sounds great!
And teacher Jayne Allen has something else to be excited about - she'll be carrying the Paralympic torch at the end of August.
Team Olga Kharlan news: A bumper update from the Coopers Company and Coborn School. They've just held a mini-Olympics with a local secondary school and a cultural Olympic day for all year 6 puipls in their local primary schools.
Extract from Aimee's winning poem, 'Run'
The small-framed girl rages down the mud track,
Her dark skin glows under the stars which burn impassively, unaware that they are being murderously outshone by the light from a fire -
A fire called Spirit.
The celestial flames are blind. They cannot see what you and I see.
The girl, at twelve years old, has what the millions lack
She excels in her field of vocation, fuelled by the internal calling, and the gravitational allure of the possibility of a life with clean water, food, even real running shoes.
It is her jarring blaze which commands respect as she hares through the night.
300 pupils had a range of Paralympic and cultural events including an opening ceremony when every school performed a piece that they had practiced at school.
There was also goalball, cheerleading, seated volleyball and the opportunity to learn an Olympic song made up by the Coopers music department.
Assistant Headteacher, Karen Pack, tells us: "It was exhausting but great fun".
Furthermore, the school have been running an Olympic poetry competition.
The prize? Tickets to the Olympic Games. You can read an extract of the winning entry on the right.
The school have also provided us with a link to one of their Olympic assemblies, which you can watch for yourself here.
Great work guys!
Team Linet and Moses Masai news: There's been some great pen pal activity between two of the Team Masai schools.
As part of a Citizenship project looking at global issues, students at Bedford Academy sent letters to their partner school, Bishop Okiring, asking for a response on various topics.
English is the third language of Bishop Okiring students, but the letters nevertheless tackle hard-hitting topics such as poverty and HIV.
You can read more of the letters by clicking the 'Latest pics' tab at the head of this page - they are well worth a look.
Fantastic work by all involved!
Team Alistair Brownlee news: Bradford Grammar School are really gearing up for the Games now!
Their junior school (Clock House) recently staged a World Class assembly with an Olympic Torch flavour, to commemorate the Torch passing near the school on June 24.
And upper school student Jordan will be performing in the Olympic and Paralympic closing ceremonies!
A fantastic achievement - especially since other performers include the Rolling Stones! Check out the 'Latest pics' tab for pics of Jordan and the assembly.
Team Luol Deng news: Located on Unst in the Shetland Isles, Baltasound Junior High School boasts several international school links.
In addition to their Olympic Dreams Network partnership with Blair Academy in the USA, the school also have ties to institutions in Ghana and Norway.
To commemorate these links, Baltasound held a torch-led procession - and their three school houses, normally named after the islands around Unst, were named after each nation for the day.
To see more pictures from the event, and to find out where the school got their remarkable torch, check out our latest pics gallery by using the tabs at the tops of the page.
Team Linet and Moses Masai news: There's been some great pen pal activity between two of the Team Masai schools, but don't get the wrong idea - there's no gossip here!
As part of a Citizenship project looking at global issues, students at Bedford Academy, UK, sent letters to their BBC World Class partner school asking for a response on various topics.
Team Ivan Ukhov News: A musical update now from two schools in Team Uhkov.
Fairlands Middle School and their twin, School #108 in Yekaterinburg, Russia, have been competing in an inter-school poetry competition!
Here's a sample from School 108 Year 8 student, Victorija. Translated from Russian, it references Russian Olympic pole-vault legend Sergey Bubka, as well as chess grandmaster Mikhail Botvinnik:
Russia is rich in different talents/ Who can be proud of a lot!/ Their names have become great legends:/ Botvinnik, Bubka - you are the superstars!
Fairlands have gone one step further - they've composed an Olympic anthem!
Adapted from the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games fanfare, 'The Olympic Dream' was produced to commemorate their own version of the torch relay.
On 25 June, The 'Mendip Flame' will travel between Cheddar First School and Fairlands, and during the day 1,000 students will be singing the specially-composed anthem.
A shout out, too, to all the local schools who helped Fairlands write the lyrics for the anthem: Axbridge First School, Cheddar First School, Draycott & Rodney Stoke First School, and Shipham First School.
Well done guys!
Team Hinrich Romeike news: Some great updates from Granta School in Cambridgeshire, who have been using their partnership as a way to introduce students to new sports.
To mark 200 days to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games, the school's 'Olympic Committee', made up of Key Stage 4 and 5 pupils, arranged opportunities for students to try out sports including boccia and new age kurling.
The impact seems to have been a positive one, with Granta's boccia team taking 8th place in the recent National Boccia Championships in Sheffield! (External link)
Elsewhere, pupils visited the Aquatic Centre in Stratford's Olympic Park, and the the school has plans to attend the Paralympic Games when term re-starts in September.
We'll keep you up-to-date with their progress!
Team Julien Absalon news: Take a look at this short video, in which students from Julien's old school got to interview the man himself!
The pupils, form Lycée André Malraux in Montereau-Fault-Yonne, France, quizzed the Olympic mountain-biking champion on a range of topics.
They then produced and edited this clip for the benefit of their partner school, The Thomas Lord Audley School.
Fantastic work - and a special thanks to the André Malraux students for providing English subtitles as well!
Team Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan news: Some further detail from Rekha Slatter and Derek Peaple's incredible 8,500-mile round trip to their partner school in Mongolia (see April).
Representing Edlesborough Primary and Park House School respectively, they travelled to meet staff and pupils from School #79 - and described it as "the most inspiring experience of our lives".
Have a read of this fantastic account of their experiences, which included meeting Bader-Uugan himself.
Team Shawn Johnson: Fourth and fifth grade students from Westridge Elementary attended the Exercise Your Character (external link) event in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
The programme, designed to combine physical activity with motivational messages, featured appearances from role model Iowans.
Teacher Rob Chapman told us: "Students enjoyed lots of singing, dancing, and enjoyed many great speakers! This event was also tied in with the World's Largest Assembly on the BBC, getting everyone excited about the 2012 London Olympics."
Team Abhinav Bhindra: The Doon School in India and Thomas Hardye School in Dorset, UK, are engaged in a series of sporting challenges as part of their partnership.
They are competing in certain events and comparing the results to find out which school excels at which sports.
Both schools are even uploading video clips as they go (external site). Take a look at the video on the right to find out who emerged victorious in the 60 metre sprint battle!
Team Ivan Ukhov news: A number of students from Redruth School in Cornwall have pen pal relationships with their twin, The Special School of Olympic Reserve from Ekaterinburg in Russia.
"The pupils are communicating in English and sharing information about themselves and the London 2012 games", says Redruth teacher Craig Bonds.
"We are also planning a 'Pulling Up' event between the schools where there are several awards for completing pull ups as individuals and classes."
Team Alistair Brownlee news: A quick update from James Brindley School, whose own version of the upcoming Torch Relay has been scheduled for 12 July.
This is a great idea which will see students and teachers running between the 14 different sites that make up the school.
Team Ivan Ukhov news: Have a listen to this brilliant interview, in which students Beth and Zoe and their teacher Rebecca Sheppard, from Fairlands Middle School, recount an unusual meeting.
Speaking to BBC Somerset's Ben McGrail, they reveal how through their place in the Olympic Dreams Network, 14 Fairlands students came to be in a room with five of Russia's hottest medal prospects for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
They had a great day - even though they didn't quite realise that one of the athletes was former world number one and rather famous tennis player, Dinara Safina.
Team Linet and Moses Masai news: Shadrack Kosgei and Philip Langat had an extraordinary task - to set the pace for the elite male runners at this year's London Marathon.
End Quote Michael Cox Community Development Leader, Bedford Academy
Its great that an international link can also help create local links too!”
The two Kenyans had to lead the way at a near record-breaking pace, before dropping out to watch the others finish the job.
Impressively, they also found time to join students from Bedford Academy... in a run around a local park!
The students had earned the honour by virtue of running the 26-mile marathon distance themselves in increments over the preceding weeks.
The Run with the Kenyans project was set up by Bedford Borugh Council Sports Development Unit and the Kenyan Community of Bedford.
Bedford Academy teacher Michael Cox told us: "Ever since we set up our link with (Kenyan school) Bishop Okiring, we have had a wonderful relationship with the Kenyan Community of Bedford, who have been to our school many times to support our partnership."
"Its great that an international link can also help create local links too!"
Team St Patrick's news: St Patrick's High School have announced an inter-school athletics competition due to take place in the school's town, Iten, in Kenya.
The town is the beating heart of Kenya's running community and the event, funded by the Kenyan Ministry of Sport, aims to unearth the country's Olympic stars of tomorrow.
Team Emily Seebohm news: We've received confirmation that St John Fisher College will be participating in The World's Biggest School Assembly - all the way from Brisbane, Australia.
The College will report on their involvement in a community march for Anzac Day - remembering Australian and New Zealand Army soldiers who gave their lives in combat.
Team Team Nader el Masri news: Over now to Northwood Primary School in East London, who have lined up a series of Olympic conferences.
Northwood will be speaking to schools from a fantastically diverse range of locations, including Gaza, Nigeria, and Siberia.
Closer to home, they've incorporated the Olympics into every corner of the curriculum. Some pupils have designed games that assist with classroom learning, while others have been decking the school hall in Olympic livery!
And as if that wasn't enough, Year 5 students have been helping to introduce Olympic sports and values to younger pupils.
Team Ivan Ukhov news: After the news of boxing legend Konstantin Tszyu's school visit in Russia (see below), the UK half of the Ukhov partnership is getting in on the act!
Fairlands Middle School is travelling to the British Council offices in London to meet a host of Olympic champions - including 4-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast, Alexey Nemov.
This special event will take place on 23 April and we'll feature more details and pictures as we get them.
Team Alistair Brownlee news: James Brindley School have revealed innovative plans to mark the upcoming Olympic Torch Relay - and celebrate their school's unusual architecture at the same time.
The relay will see students and teachers running between the 14 different sites that make up the school. A great idea - keep visiting this page to find out how they get on.
Team Ivan Ukhov news: The Special School of Olympic Reserve have been in touch from Ekaterinburg in Russia, with news of an inspiring visit from a boxer who enjoys legendary status in two different countries.
Konstantin Tszyu was the first man to unify the belts in the light welterweight division in 30 years, and is viewed as a sporting hero in both Australia and Russia, where he holds dual citizenship.
The students put together a fantastic interview with Tszyu, in which he reveals his philosophical side - you can read the full interview here.
It seems that Tszyu made quite an impression on the students! The School of Olympic Reserve told us: "The meeting was held in a warm and cosy atmosphere."
"Kostya shared his rich life and sports experience and gave a lot of useful pieces of advice to follow for our young athletes."
Team Linet and Moses Masai news: Here's an innovative concept from Bedford Academy - Athlectrics, which has been devised with the help of Bedford Athletics Club and the Kenyan Community of Bedford.
What is Athlectrics?
- Bedford Academy and their Kenyan partner school, Bishop Okiring, have planned sports days in their respective schools featuring exactly the same events, with the same times, distances and age groups.
- Once everyone has taken part, the schools will go head-to-head with their results!
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) are so impressed with the idea, they've awarded it Inspire Mark status.
The accolade is awarded in recognition that Athlectrics will contribute to meeting the Games objectives and contribute to a lasting London 2012 legacy.
The Academy is also offering students the chance to run with Kenyan athletes the day after the London Marathon - keep checking this page for updates on how they get on.
Team Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan news: Some amazing news from our schools in the UK twinned with School #79, the old stomping ground of Mongolian boxer Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan.
Rekha Slatter and Derek Peaple were representing Edlesborough Primary and Park House School respectively, on an 8,500-mile round trip to find out more about their partner school.
During their stay, Rekha and Derek also had the pleasure of meeting Badar-Uugan himself at the Mongolian Olympic headquarters.
Rekha told us: "The highlight for me was to meet the children who were so proud of their country and the school. I feel inspired and uplifted by this experience and I am hopeful that we will be able to continue this legacy through student and teacher exchanges!"
Team Pakistan Hockey XI news: On Wednesday 18 April, the Habib Public School in Karachi, Pakistan, will be staging an event celebrating the Olympic Values.
It's set to be a star-studded affair, with hockey stars and past Olympians Hassan Sardar, Qamar Ibrahim, Kamran Ashraf and test Cricketer Shoib Mohammad all attending the day.
With football, basketball and cricket matches planned as part of the festivities, this is shaping up to be a great event!
Team Seebohm news: High excitement has hit Highfields School in Matlock, Derbyshire, who will welcome the Olympic Torch to the school on June 29th when it comes to the area as part of the Torch Relay.
Teacher Jayne Allen said: "This is a huge honour for the school - everyone here is really excited by the news."
The news completes a double celebration for Team Seebohm after Emily clinched her place at the Olympics by winning the women's 100m backstroke final at the Australian swimming trials in March. Read our full blog about the Torch visit.
Team Shawn Johnson news: Over to Cardiff, where Herbert Thompson Primary have integrated all things Olympic into every year group and every aspect of their curriculum!
They've also got plans to link up with partner school Westridge Elementary in Iowa as part of their involvement in the World's Biggest School Assembly on 8 May.
And they'll link up with them again during they annual sports week, which this year will have an Olympic theme and will run from 25-29 June.
To get the staff 'into the spirit' for sports week, they'll be issued a challenge. Last year it was quad biking, this year it'll be either horseriding or speedboating in Cardiff Bay!
We're looking forward to hearing how they get on.