Thanks to all parents and community members who came along to our Community Open Afternoon to celebrate the end of our year-long Rolls-Royce project and share with the children all the fantastic learning that had taken place. Comments we received were all very positive about the experience and impact on children’s learning. It was lovely to see children and parents building together and having just as much fun! Happy engineering!
This term we have been learning about how WW1 affected the lives of people on Islay and Port Ellen by learning about the sinking of the Tuscania and the Otranto and the lives of the local people at the time. All through our WW100 topic we have made art work, researched from primary sources of evidence online, imagined letters and put ourselves in the soldiers shoes. The reason for this is that on Friday 4 May it had been one hundred years since WW1 and we had a big remembrance event on Islay. Everyone around the island came to remember WW100 in Port Ellen. The Islay Quilters had worked with local community groups to make the state flags of the US soldiers who died in the two sinkings, including our school; our class made the flag for the state of Michegan. The five schools on Islay came together to carry the flags in a procession to the pier and then we put them at the Ramsay hall for display. For the project we used our research to write letters pretending to be one of the soldiers from the Port Ellen war memorial, that we had chosen, writing to their family. We included the name of our soldiers, any interesting facts, information about family members and their jobs. In the hall there is information about the Tuscania, Otranto, and soldiers that fought in the war. Jack used a map of Port Ellen at the time to show where the soldiers lived. The art work we did was about the Tuscania and all different things about the war and was mixed media. The other schools also had things on display. We liked learning about the war and how the war started and how it impacted on people here on Islay.
After Katie suggested to the class that we adopt a polar bear, P1/2/3 have not raised the £50 required from selling popcorn and adopted a Svalbard polar bear. We’ve named him Snowball. We have learned that polar bears are becoming endangered due to global warming. Less ice means that there is less of an area for them to hunt, they have to swim longer distances between ice and they are coming into conflict with humans when they approach towns in Alaska and can get shot. We found out that they have polar bear jails where they can catch them and then release them back where it is safer and not near where people live.
One day after rugby club we where pulled in and I was chosen to be the mascot for the Scotland Rugby Team through the Islay Minis Rugby club, which is a club for people who want to play rugby till there in s2 and then they have to go to the one in high school. On February 24th me, my dad and my grandad headed to Murrayfield to see the Scotland vs England rugby match as I was the mascot. When we got the stadium we had to meet up with the rest of the mascots to go and sit in a room and wait for some other people as they were late. When every one was in the room our parents went to there seats and we were taken into the tunnel where we waited for the game to start. When the game was just about to start the players came out and lined up. I was partnered with Stuart Hogg who was my favourite player. When we ran out we had walk forward and kneel as Princess Anne walked behind us and shook the players hand. After that we went off and went to our seat and watched the game. Where we were sitting we had the subs right behind us. After half time we back to our seats and the game started up and it started up. When England were progressing through our defence, Jamie Bhatti, another one of my favourite players, he was injured and carried off and when he came up the steps to his seat he almost fell as he had torn something in his leg. After the game we went down and had to wait till the players got ready and got changed then they came out to sign our t-shirts and other stuff. I was really thrilled that Scotland won!
On Saturday 27th January Dolphins were having a championship event. They did lots of different types of strokes. They did butterfly, breaststroke, front crawl and backstroke. Some of the swimmers also did tumble turns and dives for starting. All of the children that attended had an amazing time. From the people that attended seven of them were from Port Ellen primary and two more from Port Ellen Primary helped at the pool side. Everyone got a medal at the award ceremony, we also got loads and loads of food after swimming as well. All of the people that went and also the people watching were very proud that there are such good swimmers on this tiny island.
On Friday 26th of January Port Ellen primary school had our 10th anniversary Burns Celidh. We had loads of people from the community coming to join us and we all had great fun. We had all learned different Scots poems for the poetry competition and the judges came in to hear us read them before we all went to lunch. At lunch the Primary 7s said their poem, Address to the Haggis over the haggis and Lauren got to cut the haggis open. After lunch we went to the hall to celebrate with our family and friends. We did lots of Scottish Country dancing; my favourite was the Virginia reel. We also heard people play their musical instruments; Rowan and Rebecca did a duet on the accordian and tin whistle. All the winners of the poems read them out: P1 was Rachael, P2 was Chloe, P3 was Mya, P4 was Kayla, P5 was Dearbhla, P6 was Aidan and P7 was Rowan. We all had a great time and enjoyed tea and shortbread made by Mrs Holyoke afterwards. Thanks to everyone who came along.
This term P67 have been learning about renewables and how energy is produced from different sources. They went on a trip around the renewables projects on Islay and this inspired a group to enter the BP STEM Challenge by making and testing their own Hydro Energy device. Watch the video they made for their entry below.
Our school has just achieved digital school status through the Digital Schools Scotland Awards Scheme. To achieve this we had to review our approach to technology in school and have our work validated. We spoke to a lady called Jen Mackay using Glow Meet, and she asked us questions like what technology have you been using in school. We are the first school in the whole of Argyll to win this award and the first to do it via Glow. Jen MacKay said that we were very good at telling her what technology we use in school and what we use it for. We use Glow for writing essays and homework and also for writing blogs on our website and our learning blog. We use Classdojo so that if we needed to bring in something to school like a packed lunch for a school trip Mrs Clark can message our mum or dad, we also use Excel to work out points for our houses. Sumdog Maths is really helpful for us too and we also use Nessy to help us with our spelling skills.
On Saturday 18th November I went to London as a finalist for the Tomorrows Engineer competition. In the competition there were 10 finalists from all around the UK. All the finalists had to meet up in the Science Museum to present their invention in front of 4 judges and the audience. We had professional posters made to show our inventions. My invention was the Scaredy Sheep, a device that would bark like a dog and is attached to the sheeps ear so when sheep get stuck on their backs they are scared into jumping up again.
When the finalists first arrived we went down into a room where the judges were and we got to talk to them and the host so we weren’t as scared to talk about our inventions in front of them. We also had to get head sets on so we could do a sound check. After the break we all went down and sat down. The first thing that happened was a balloon experiment and a bubble experiment. In the bubble experiment a lady got bubble mixture and big bubble stick. Another lady came out and got another bubble stick and each side of the room did a bubble competition. The balloon experiment was really cool because a lady put a balloon on fire and it made a REALLY loud bang.
Then the first finalists went up to present their ideas. Then we got a quick break to explore the museum. After about 15 minutes we had to go back and on my way in their was a robot called Oscar who walked into me. Oscar was a really cool robot because he speaks to you and hands out chocolates and lollipops. Finally we got into the room and sat down and then there was another quiz. Then it was lunch and after we got to have a quick demonstration on how the body digests food. It wasn’t a good sight at all!
After the disgusting demonstration I had to go up and present my idea. I was nervous but excited and was proud of explaining my invention. Then the judges came out and the host announced the winner, and the winning design was an excellent hover wheelchair. We all congratulated the winner and then we got to explore more of the museum. After a long day I went back to my hotel. I really enjoyed the competition and I would like to be an engineer when I grow up. While I was there I learnt that to complete something you have to stick with it and keep trying.
Wednesday 15th November was the Argyll and Bute swimming competition for qualifying for the nationals in Dunoon. From Islay and Jura Dolphins swimming club there was: Ross Thompson, David John Morris, Matthew Mcusker and me. The coaches were ; Karen Siddle and Allan Campbell my dad. It was my first swimming competition away from Islay and I loved it. Ross was a big help; he told me when to go up to the Marshall which is when you line up to get ready to go up to the blocks to dive off. My races was front crawl and back stroke. In my front crawl my previous personal best was 1:07.7 min but now my personal best is 47.35 sec. In my back stroke my previous personal best was 59.73 sec but now my personal best 55.34 sec. I had a great time, thanks to Karen and my dad for taking us!
Last session Port Ellen took part in the Scottish Diaspora project – a national project which produced a series of hand-sewn tapestry panels showing the movement of people into and out of Scotland over it’s long history. Twenty pupils from Port Ellen worked together with Mrs Hazel Onions to produce a panel depicting the arrival of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers on Islay and this was put on display in St. Giles cathedral in Edinburgh. Just before the summer the whole school then worked on a timeline for Islay using appliqué techniques rather than stitching. We had an amazing day with lots of support from the Islay Quilters, parents, grannies and community members. Over the school holidays the quilters have finished the panels off for us, ready to hang and be enjoyed by everyone – here is the finished display, which was unveiled at our Farmer’s Feast. We’d like to say another HUGE thank you to all of those who were involved in this project, producing a lasting and meaningful display which we hope at some point will be moved out of the school to be enjoyed more widely in the community.
On Tuesday the 19th of September P6/7s from Islay and Jura went to Oban for the fabulous Stramash trip. At first I didn’t feel too sure about going but as it got closer I felt more and more exited. We were on the ferry first and then the bus for 1 hour in order to get to the hostel. By the time we were in Oban we had already got told who was in our groups and who was in our rooms. After the chat we went into our groups and discussed what we were unsure about and what we were exited for. That night we had already been in our rooms so we went and played games at the lovely Ganovan beach and grass. We played fun games in our groups but by then I just wanted to go to bed.
The next morning I woke up to a shock when I found out we were doing canoeing in about an hour, I wasn’t really sure about canoeing so it just made it even worse when I found out I had to wear a wetsuit! At the end of canoeing I found it WAS really fun so it made me more confident about the rest of the week. That afternoon we were doing coasteering, another one I wasn’t to sure about! I thought it was just jumping off a rock into the sea but that was a small part of it. You had to climb rocks with barnacles on them then at the end you got to jump of the rock which was fun. That night we got to go swimming, the pool had a big slide in it so I went down it. My friend Taylor also belly flopped into the pool!
On Thursday morning my group was going gorge walking so I had to put on another wetsuit sadly. We got into the bus and drove to the gorge. Once I saw the currents I knew it would be fun so I had a go at going down on my back. I knew whatever I did I would be happy with but this one was even more fun than I thought, it was so deep at the waterfall I couldn’t touch the bottom. We carried on up the woods until it came to a dead end then we went to the hostel to have lunch. There was lots of different instructors for each activity. After lunch my group did an adventure walk to the woods then a castle. Some of my friends that went before me said it was rubbish but when we got to light a fire it got interesting because it took my friend Craig 32 tries with the Swedish fire stick to light a fire. We then drew a picture of what we could hear and see. We then set off to the castle. Once we got to the bottom of the hill at the castle the instructor said a story about a whale a guy and a girl attached to the whales heart. After that we got to the castle and saw an eagle. That excellent day we had a bonfire that night so we got to toast marshmallows on it.
The last day we only had one activity left that was rock climbing. Once we got to the amazing Ganovan beach and grass we walked to the rocks. I never knew how much equipment you needed to wear until he explained that it was so safe. The first rock we climbed was easy. I did it with Robbie from Keils then we moved on to the next rock! It was scary at first because it was big but when I started I was up there in seconds. We had the choice to abseil down but I didn’t but some people did.
Overall I achieved making friends, rock climbing, abseiling, gorge walking and coasteering. The one that I found most challenging was coasteering because of the wave splashing up on to you. I found gorge walking the funnest because you got to float down the gorge. I also found rock climbing boring because you had to wait but when it was your turn it was so fun. I was scared of jumping of rocks and swimming in the sea but when I finished coasteering I overcame my fear. Overall Stramash was brilliant and I did stuff I would of never thought I would of and I would certainly go back to Oban for Stramash.
On Saturday 9th September the joint choir, gaelic choir and individual competitors performed at the local mod in Islay High School. Both choirs came back with trophies for the unison, peurt ubeil and two part competitions. Lots of individuals came back with medals for poems, solo’s, duets and instruments. Mrs MacDonald was very pleased with all the trophies that the joint choir and the gaelic choir won.
On Wednesday 8th June, two members of staff and three pupils from Port Ellen Primary flew to Glasgow to attend the Scottish Education Awards. The school had got through to the finals of the Science, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Award along with another primary school and a high school. Assessors visited the school back in March to see STEM activities in class, speak to children about their experience of STEM learning and talk to staff about the development of STEM in Port Ellen.
Charlet Rose Munro, Rowan Morris and Natalie Logan were very excited to attend such a large event………and we were all even more surprised to be announced winners! The award was sponsored by BAE systems and the presenter told the girls that he was very happy to see girls being so keen on science and engineering and that he hoped he might see some of them working for the company in the future. It is predicted that the UK will have a huge shortage of scientists and engineers in the near future.
This award reflects a high level of commitment to STEM learning throughout the school, from Pre-5 to P7. We all feel that encouraging children to be curious about the world around them leads to high levels of engagement in learning and that STEM subjects promote creativity, problem solving, co-operation, resilience and reflection. The school was recognized as having ‘an adaptable and resourceful teaching team who makes best use of the local environment and technology……..and that by engaging in partnerships, the school supports and extends the development of skills for life, learning and work.’ We are all very chuffed to have achieved this recognition.
Every year Mrs Clark’s class take part in the Scottish Maths Challenge, a competition where you have to complete tricky maths problems that require you to think outside the box. It is a great way to improve your maths problem solving skills and learn to apply strategies to help you work out the answers. Children can opt to take part in the challenges, and there are three sets of questions over the year. One of the questions this year was:
Colin and Tom are on a camping holiday and, at their campsite, they make friends with Fiona. They ask her when her birthday is but, being a bit of a joker, Fiona tells them only that it is one of the following;
May 14, July 12, May 15, May 18, June 16, June 19, July 15, August 12, August 14, August 16.
She then tells Colin the month of her birthday, but not the day in the month, whilst she tells Tom the day in the month, but not the month.
Immediately, Colin Declares “Well Tom certainly cannot know for sure when Fiona’s birthday is.” to which Tom replies “Ah, but now I do.” “And now I know when it is as well,” comes back Colin.
When is Fiona’s birthday?Explain your reasoning.
The children who took part have been very successful and should be proud of their perseverance and skills. Ellie and Matthew have achieved a bronze medal and Eva, Ruaraidh, Rowan, Rebecca and Kaitlyn achieved a silver medal in the competition. Kaitlyn and Rebecca missed out on the gold by one point! Well done everyone.
On the 22nd March 2017 two pupils from Port Ellen Primary School went to the Lighthouse in Glasgow to receive their reward for the My place photography competition run by the Scottish Civic Trust. Those two boys were Matthew Campbell, overall winner in the primary category, and Ruaraidh Macdonald, runnner up. Ruaraidh and Matthew got two canvases, one for the school and one for their family and Matthew also got a camera for himself and for the school. The two of them went up to the front one by one to accept their awards. After the ceremony Matthew had to stay for more photos with the rest of the winners from the My Place Awards and My Place Photography Competition. They both enjoyed the day and were really proud to have done so well in a national competition. To read more go to http://www.scottishcivictrust.org.uk/news/my-place-award-winners-2017/
On Monday 20th February primary 5/6/7 had to guess who won the My Place Photography Competition
and Mrs Clark said that there was a winner and a runner up in the class. So we went through all the photos and Mrs Clark told us if we were right or wrong. We were told that the runner up was Ruaraidh MacDonald and the winner was Matthew Campbell. They were absolutely shocked and they were very happy and exited. On the 22nd March they will go to Glasgow and get presented to and interviewed by the press. Our photos will be blown up and put with all of the other winners and runner ups. They will get to see a private viewing of all the winners and runner ups from the past years. Then they will go back to Islay that night and they will tell their school the next day when they go back in.
On Tuesday 7th February at 3PM my Mum brought my Guinea Pigs Rachel and Bella up to school for my presentation on my “Guinea Pig instruction Booklet “ I have been working on with Miss MacIntyre.
The cage was covered by a towel over it is because they like the dark and because they like it on their own. Also, Guinea Pigs can get scared easily and in new places. My class all sat around the cage quietly and waited for me to take off the towel. They were so excited and couldn’t wait to see Rachel and Bella. Ellen was jumping around on her knees she was that excited!
I carefully removed the towel and took Bella and Rachel out of the cage. My class were so happy to see my Guinea Pigs and that made me feel so happy for them. It was the first time most of them had met them and they thought they were both so cute! Most of the class preferred Bella because she is the baby Guinea Pig. I feel sorry for Rachel so I gave Rachel lots of love and cuddles as she is my favourite.
My mum also brought in the bowls, small water bottle, toys, food and the corn sticks they like to eat to show the class. I really enjoyed doing this project a lot and hope my class enjoyed learning about Guinea Pigs from me too.
We are very happy to have had our Green Flag renewed again. Here is what the report said –
Congratulations to everyone in Port Ellen for a great whole-school effort in renewing the school’s Green Flag status. I thought your photographs showcased well all the great environmental work going on in school and it was clear that everyone had been working hard to reduce waste, encourage healthy lifestyle choices and re-develop your grounds as a marvellous resource for learning and recreation and a haven for wildlife. In so doing, you have monitored progress well, shared your successes with the wider community via your blogs and Twitter feed, and worked collaboratively with helpful partners such as Rejig, the RSPB, the Community Garden and your local plant supplier and boat builder. Eco is well- integrated into the curriculum and calendar via classwork such as your Water Cycle topic and events like your Waste and Walk to School Weeks, and you have enjoyed well-deserved success in the STEM Challenge, the Junior Saltire Award and the Pocket Picnic Garden Competition. Finally, you are to be warmly commended for your beach cleaning activities, your promotion of Fairtrade in school and your generous support of worthwhile charities such as Water Aid. Your young people are truly responsible, global citizens and I am sure you will enjoy exploring the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as part of your ongoing Eco focus.
Last week Joe, Bronagh, Kaya and Murray traveled with Mrs Clark and Mrs Leask to Glasgow and Edinburgh to take part in the Celebration of Science and Engineering run by @scdiYESC at the Glasgow Science Centre. They were finalists in the Junior Saltire Awards with their Wave Islay design, made with help from Bronagh’s dad Gus, an excellent boat builder. They tested their devices at the Flowave facility in Edinburgh along with 6 other primary schools and 5 secondary schools, before attending the event and presenting to the judges. They also took part in STEM challenges as a team, with around 40 other schools, where they had to correct a listing oil rig, calculate pH for crops, stabilize a bridge, build a train and identify oil products. When we got to the awards ceremony the Imax cinema was full. We were shocked and amazed when Heather the weather announced the winners of the primary STEM challenges as Port Ellen Primary School! We got a great trophy and went and sat back down, only to discover we had also won the Primary Junior Saltire Awards! What a day! Above is a video of our Junior Saltire Journey.
On Thursday 2nd June Mirren and Rebecca traveled to Edinburgh to set up their Picnic Pocket Pallet Garden. When they arrived, they set up their garden for the next morning when the show would be held. The Garden Show was held in Ingliston. They next morning Mirren and Rebecca and their families went to the show. There were lots of really good gardens from other sections and the section Mirren and Rebecca’s garden was in. They looked around all of the gardens and then they went back to theirs because a politician came to look at our garden and asked us questions about it. Then we got our picture taken by a photographer. After that we all went to look at other gardens and got ice-cream before we traveled back down the road to the ferry.
On Saturday 4th June Port Ellen Primary School choir went to the Local mod on Islay. The mod was held in the high school in Bowmore. The choir won the unison and came 2nd in the peaurt a bheil. Also ten people from the choir won the psalm. For the unison you have two songs and in our first song Mrs Macdonald made a mistake so we thought there was no chance of us winning but with our second song, Latha Math, we did really well and we got high marks for Gaelic and music from the Judges which meant we won. Lots of individuals did well also- Rowan was covered in gold medals! The Primary 1-3 class also did a fab action song. We really enjoyed taking part and improving our Gaelic.
P5/6/7 took part in the Eco Schools Scotland One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden competition and designed a Pocket Garden in pairs. The garden had to be eco-friendly, use seasonal produce, be grown locally and have a theme. Mirren and Rebecca’s Hogwarts Buzzing Garden came back as a winner! They had a Harry Potter themed Garden that is bee friendly which they now had to create and take to Edinburgh for the Royal Horticultural Show at the start of June. After they found out they won they went straight to work with finding, making and growing different items to put on there garden. Mirren, Rebecca, Mrs Clar and Mrs Leask took a trip up to Glenegadale Garden and Peter to source some locally grown plants for the display, which he generously helped us with. We think the final garden, which has plants to help with spells and help attract and feed bees, will look great. Thanks to everyone who is helping to make it possible, including our mums and dads who are taking us.
A few weeks ago p5/6/7 worked on designs for a wave power device for the Junior Saltire Awards, which is a national competition for school children to design and make their own devices to promote the use of renewable energy. The group that built the device was called Wave Islay, and included Bronagh, Joe, Murray, Kaya, Abi and Ellie. We researched renewable and non renewable energy and learned about wave powered devices. Bronagh’s dad came in to help us build our device. When it was finished we went to test it in the sea and it worked. We had to fill in some papers to send away. Later on we found out that our device was in the finals. Now we are working on improvements to make it better! Bronagh, Joe, Murray and Kaya get to go to Edinburgh for the awards on the 9th June, where we will test our device in the Flo Wave facility at Edinburgh University. It is all very exciting!
This year pupils at Port Ellen primary school took part in the Scottish Mathematical Challenge where they had to answer problem solving questions 3 times over the year showing their working out. To get a bronze award you couldn’t lose more than 10 points, to get a silver award you couldn’t lose more than 6 points and to get a gold award you couldn’t lose more than 3 points. Rebecca, Katie, Ross and Matthew got a bronze award and I got a silver award missing out on a gold award by only one point! I feel happy because I got a silver I am also very surprised because I didn’t think my problem solving was that good. One of the questions was “Maureen, Alice and Siobhan are three young sisters, in that order of age. Alice is two years older than Siobhan. Each year, their wealthy aunt gives each of them, for each year of her age, as many pounds as she is years old. For example, on her first birthday a girl would receive one pound and on her third birthday nine pounds. The aunt has promised to continue this family custom with each girl until her twelth birthday. This year Maureen received as much as Alice and Siobhan put together.
How much will Siobhan receive next year?” I found this quite tricky. There was also a question about a diagram that represents a rectangular net, which is made from string notted together at different points. Another one was about a diving competition where there are 5 judges that each awards a whole-number from 1-10 and you had to work out all the possible scores awarded. It was really challenging but helped me get better at my maths problem solving. There is an award ceremony in June in Glasgow. Next year I will try to get a gold.
The Euroquiz is a quiz about Europe. There are four rounds, Geography, Languages, History and sports. The group of four became a pair because two people were absent on the day which didn’t help our chances. We had one back-up who had been practicing hard with the others but they still needed another person so Kaitlyn volunteered to do it.
The first round was Geography of Europe. Some questions were about flags, landmarks and capital cities. To do this round they had to watch a powerpoint on the big board then they had to write the answer on an answer sheet.
The second round was languages. In the languages round they listened to Spanish, Italian and French. To do this round the teacher would ask a question then they would listen to it in Spanish, then Italian and finally French after that they would translate what the people said in the languages, then they would listen to it again to make sure they got the right answer, finally they would write their answer down on the answer sheet and hand it in to the teacher.
The third round was history. For the history round it asked questions about the History of Europe and some questions were about dates some countries joined the EU and what countries were the first to join the EU.
The last round was about sports. It had questions about sport and where some sports clubs are. To do the round it was the same as the first and the third round just with sports questions instead of geography and history.
The four pupils from Port Ellen Primary School who competed in the Argyll And Bute Euroquiz came 5th out of 5 schools-last! But everyone enjoyed themselves and had good fun.
On the 6/10/15 Port Ellen Primary School went to the National Mod and I was in the boys choir and it was our very first MOD and we came 2nd in our competition. We were in all the newspapers the ileach the Oban times. We stayed in 2 hostels then the mixed choir came in 1st and they were even on TV in the recording studios. I really enjoyed it.
On Thursday 29th October the whole of p7 did their cycling proficiency tests after practising for a term. Everybody passed the practical with an A or B, and no one got a C. Once p7 got back up to Port Ellen they did the written test and everybody passed so it was a success for p7. We also completed road safety posters as part of our learning. Well done everyone for all your hard work.
During the October break, Port Ellen Gaelic Choir competed at the Mod. We sang our unison, puiert a bheil and two part harmony. We came first in our unison and two part. We also got a third in our puiert a bheil.
Port Ellen also had lots of people doing solos, poems and duets. Lots of people got placed 2nd and 3rd. Eva got got FIRST in her poem. She was over the moon!
This year we also had a boys choir. They got a second in there unison, but it was there first Mod and we all think they did really well!
After a long day we all went back to the guest house for dinner. But before that we had to go and get recorded. As it turned out the recording studio was running late, so we had to go back for dinner. After a tasty dinner we went back and finally got recorded.
We are all proud of our selves and hope to do even better next year!
Photo of Port Ellen Choir after winning there Two Part Harmony.