Category Archives: Learning

Learning in school

Sports Championships

Every year Port Ellen Primary has a sports day in which every member of the school including the nursery gets a chance to compete in the races and win points for their houses. P6/7 all got a chance to win sports championships. Sports championships is a series of activities in which you can get first, second or third and if you do not get placed you get 25 points. The winners of sports championships for the girls were, in third place Harmoni Edwards, in second place was Charlet Rose and in joint first was Holly  and Freya. For the boys it was Donald Swanson in third place, Jack Shaw in second and in first place was Aaron. At sports day the three houses( Orsay, Texa  and Nave) made their relay teams, Orsay’s relay team was Holly, Aaron, Dearbhla and Charlet, Texa’s was Freya, Jack, Donald and Ciaran.

2019 Leavers Assembly

This year for the Leavers Assembly the theme is superheroes. We have made up our own superhero names and outfits. We are having our Leavers Assembly on Wednesday 26th June. The starting song that we are singing for the Assembly is Superheroes by the Script and the sad song that we are singing is Somewhere only we know. We have an I-movie to show what we have done through out the years that we have been in this school for. We also wrote speeches for the Assembly to say what we have done from Nursery to P7. We would like to say thanks to the Teachers and all the staff in the school. We would also like to say a little thing to the rest of the school pupils as they make their way through the next few years that they have in Primary. Good luck P7s in High School.

BY Charlie P7

End of term Eco Committee.

The Eco Committee in Port Ellen primary have been looking at saving animals from dying by eating plastic and cleaning the Coop beach following on from our plastic topic that we had been doing as a whole school. Katie Harrison is in the global group and they have wrote a letter to the Ileach.  Mara who is in the litter group they had got everyone in the school to do a litter pick the total amount of litter we collected was 3245g.  When we were down cleaning the beach we found the following amount:

Plastic: 2000g


Aluminium: 75g

Wood: 50g

Plastic Box: 900g

Total: 3245g.

Katie Harrison wrote a letter to the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust to ask them to come over to visit us. A couple of weeks ago Katie got a letter back from the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin trust and we got lots of different facts about sharks and dolphins and they might becoming through out the next year or so.



Sports championships 2019

Sports championship is all about doing your best to win points.  There is 9 events each one is for points for your total score.  You get 100 points for 1st 75 points for 2nd and 50 for 3rd.  We did hurdles and long jump on the beach hurdles Dearbhla got first for hurdles for the girls and for the boys it was Aaron. long jump girls Freya and boy Donald, the second day we did cross country and basketball  for cross country we did four laps around the school and on baskets we had 20 shots and we had to see how many we could get in. For boys Braeden and for girls Holly won baskets. For cross country girls Holly won and Aaron for boys.  The last 2 events we have done so far is football dribble and distant throw, Holly won distant throw for girls and Aidan won for boys.  Are last and final event we have done is football dribble, for girls Charlet and Jack won for boys the only events we need to do is the high jump and the 100m sprint.

by Millie and Donald

Islay Schools Primary 7’s Robotic Trip!

On the 16th of May All the primary 7’s in Port Ellen went to the high school for a robotic trip in the hall. When we got there they showed us what the robot was (the robot was made of cubes which had different purposes which were magnetic) we were told that the blue cubes were the power cubes, the black were the sensors, The white cubs were the cubes that moved or made noise (action cubes,) The red cubes were reverse cubes and the green cubes were for decoration. At first we were told to make cubes that moved and made sound but after the first task was complete the second was different, we were told to make robots that could fall over or move without falling over. At the third test we had to make something that was like a motorcycle and could move. At the final test we were told to make a robot that could move and make art with a pen while moving. Altogether I thought the event was very enjoyable. by Alexander and Ciaran

Maldives Scientist Glow Meet

Recently we had a Glow meet with two scientist that are working about Whalesharks mainly around the Maldives. Their names where Alina Wieczorek, and Giulia. They were also telling us about; Plastic  turns into miniature microplastics, and then when whalesharks eat their food, they can be possibly eating tiny microplastics which can damadge their bodies, and it can lead to death sometimes. Whalesharks eat plankton.

The scientists also said that when the Whalesharks eat plankton, the plankton may already have plastic inside of it, so when they eat it they are eating plankton but also some plastic/or microplastics.

There was also something about a Whaleshark and its baby, and the mother was staying with its baby, even though the baby just recently died because of the milk from the mother.The milk was poisoned from the ammount of plastic the mother had recently eaten.

The two scientists  were  from Ireland, and Switzerland. There were also some facts we were given that we already


As a whole school our topic is Pollinating. We will be learning all about the different species of bees and flowers that are around the school grounds and all over the island and maybe the whole world. Every Monday we have been having visits from Fiona MacGillivray who is part of the Islay Pollinators project and is from the Islay Natural History Trust.  Yesterday Mrs MacGillivray came into the school to do the project. When Mrs MacGillivray came in yesterday we were looking at all the different types flowers up the back of the school. Yesterday we also looked at all the different flowers that were in the Quadrants on the hill behind the school.  We found the following plants up the back of the school:

  1.  Sorrel
  2. Bluebells
  3. Pignuts
  4. Ribwort
  5. Billberry
  6. Tormentil
  7. Meadow Buttercup.
  8. Scapius Leave.

We drew Botanical drawings of the flowers that we found. Here are some facts about pollinators/ pollinating;

  1. There are 24 different species of bumble bees in britain.
  2.  Ivy is a very good food source for pollinators at the end of the summer.
  3.  There are around 220 species of solitary bees in britain and they don’t sting.




Maldives Whale Shark Community

On Tuesday 14th May we had a glow meet with Alina Wieczorek and Giulia Donati. Who are part of the Maldives Whale Shark Conservation. There are 200 islands in total and 100 are used for tourists and the other hundred are just normal islands for the people who grew up in the Maldives. They answered a lot of our questions and we also found out a lot of new facts. We learned that whale sharks can live for up to a century and in rare cases over a century, we also learned that the reason they are protecting this fascinating creature is because it is endangered and if it were to become extinct its loss in the ocean would have repercussions on many of the other marine animals. In the end we thoroughly enjoyed learning many interesting facts from this experience and we all will be sure to watch our use of plastics and will also help contribute to saving these magnificent creatures and all the others who share the ocean.

By Holly and Scott

Digital Learning Week at Port Ellen

This week is digital learning week #NDLW19 across Scotland, and we are carrying out lots of digital activities here at Port Ellen.  We have STEM Robotics, Expressive Arts Green Screen Movies, Literacy and IDL with Google Meets, Numeracy Graphing with Gapminder online and Digital Story Telling using Sway.

As part of our ongoing plastics topic we are holding a Google Meet with scientists from the Maldives on Tuesday, linkng 3 different countries in order to find out about the latest research into the effects of plastics on our oceans from another island nation.

Generation Science will be joining us later in the week to deliver Robot constructor workshops for P4-6 in school, and P7s at a transition event in High School.

We will be telling superhero stories using Microsoft Sway and preparing to film our superhero tales using greenscreen and Imovie for our leavers assembly.

Finally, in our long term Endeavour projects we have to apply a new digital skill to our learning.  Some people have been designing video games on Kodu; we have gymnastics, triathalon and world geography Book Creators; a powerpoint recipe book; microbits and electronics being built; and several imovie documentaries from survival to marine aquariums to magic maths.

Global Data

Primary 6&7 have been using a great resource so they can look at data from around the world and use it to compare life in different countries.

Using the Gapminder tools online they have been able to compare things like income, life expectancy and child mortality for a range of places around the world, creating their own comparison graphs on Excel.

They have also visited Dollar Street, a fantastic tool that show exactly what it means to live on one of the four income levels, no matter where in the world you live.  The children have researched a family living on one of the income levels, and created a fact file.  We now know a lot more about the world around us, based on facts!

Robotics Club

A lot of kids went to this club called robotics club. At this club we programmed sphroes, Marty and Mrs Marty and we also programmed microbits. At the end we invited parents to come and see what we have been learning about and we gave them a shot of programming. We learned that there was a site called microsoft teams witch we used to take quizes. First we took one to see how well we knew about robots and at the end we took another one to see how we have inproved. We had a go at useing lego boost and if you don’t know what lego boost is we will tell you. Lego boost is lego that you can code and play about with. If it is a club next year we are sure it will be even better than this time. Hopefully if it is a club next year everyone has lots of fun. Drew says “I have learned alot of things and I found it very intresting”. I said “It is something I have not done anything like this in my life so I found it hard but I had fun”.

By Scott, Drew



Dear Fishermen,

I am 12 years old and have been learning about plastic pollution in class. I know that this problem is speedily growing and can become worse than it already is. We did a beach clean and made surveys beforehand to see what one to use. When we went and did the beach clean we found out after that nets and rope was the most common amount of plastic found on the beach we cleaned.

The amount of rope we found was in-between three hundred and fifty to four hundred pieces. This means that fishermen have been dumping rope overboard and a lot of it as well. Rope can easily choke fish, choke seals and starve and choke literally all sea creatures. Rope and all plastics can be dangerous to animals and even turn and kill us. As a fisherman you rely on fish to catch. If we don’t sort the problem there will be no fish that are clear of plastic or in a long time no fish there. Would you like the food chain to be corrupt with plastics? Would you like to get poisoned by plastic waste? Would you like innocent creatures to die because of it?

As a fisherman that catches fish you want your fish to be somewhat edible and so it won’t poison your buyers or yourself if you decide to eat some of your catch. What you need to do is have a bag, a box or something like that to store your ropes so there’s no need to toss them overboard and so that they can be either re- used or dumped. Which is better than floating in the sea for animals to eat.

By Ciaran


Dear Reader,

My name is Rhys Gairns and I am 11 years old. I am writing this letter to inform you/the community why people should stop using plastic bottles. In school I am doing a topic of how harmful plastic is to the ocean and the environment. Every day over 60 million plastic bottles are thrown in the ocean, and over 2 billion plastic bottles are thrown away every year. We found 14 plastic bottles in the beach outside the co-op alone, which could be washed into the ocean, harming the underwater wildlife. I feel that writing this letter might persuade some people to try to stop using plastic bottles, which would help the environment.

Over 100 thousand aquatic animals are killed every year because of plastic, and lots of those could have died because of plastic water bottles. Plastic never decomposes, which means every bit of plastic ever made is still here to this day. When a plastic bottle is thrown away, it breaks down into micro-plastics after around 10 years. As a micro-plastic fish can eat it, and when they do they think they are not hungry, when they are actually starving. Whenever an aquatic animal eats a bit of micro-plastic, when we eat the animal, we also get the plastic in our bodies. The plastic is not as dangerous for humans as it is animals, but would you like to get plastic in your body?

What I would like you, the reader, to do is stop using plastic bottles. You could use tin or metal water bottles, or a flask. After all, even one person stopping using plastic bottles could make a major good impact on the environment.

Yours Sincerely,

Rhys Gairns


Dear Reader,

My name is Holly, I go to Port Ellen Primary and I am writing to you about the large amount of plastics found on beaches around Islay. We have been learning about the impact of plastic on the sea and how it affects it. This letter is about trying to make everybody aware of the damage that is being caused to the sea and help prevent it.

Plastic can be devastating towards our seas. Marine mammals can get plastic bags stuck around their heads and suffocate, plastic bags can get stuck in some of the animal’s bodies and so much more. Do you think it’s fair for the animals to suffer because of us? Here are some sad but true facts about plastic.

  • Did you know that more than 1 trillion pieces of plastics are already floating in our oceans.
  • Worldwide more than 73% of beach litter is plastic.
  • World plastic production has increased exponentially from 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million in 1993 to 406 million by 2015.
  • As of 2015, more than 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste had been generated. Around 9 percent of that was recycled, 12 percent was incinerated, and 79 percent put in landfills or the environment. 

It’s horrible to think that this is what plastic does to the environment and even worse to think that things will just get worse, but that won’t happen if everybody comes together and makes a stand against plastic. Just little changes could help save our environment and the animals that live in it. If you want to start making a difference start small like only using reusable bottles and bags. These little things will make a big difference and help save our planet.

Yours truly,

Holly Mckechnie.

Takeaway the Plastic!

Dear Editor, 

I am an 11 year old boy called Aaron Clarke from Port Ellen Primary school and I am very concerned about the use of plastics from around the Island, and I would really like if I could change your mind about your plastic use and make the world a better place. 

I am talking about Plastic Takeaway Boxes; this is a big problem because everybody loves a takeaway but the sea doesn’t. I know I love a takeaway and all the rubbish ends in the bin which end in a dump; did you know that 40% of the plastic that is used for packaging gets used once? If you think that’s the worse, a fifth of plastic doesn’t get recycled at all! Sea animals are accidently eating your plastic and dying because of it, and then it’s not just them consuming plastic because then their babies are eating it, then us as well so please stop. Would you like to choke and die on plastic takeaway boxes? Plastic doesn’t just disintegrate, as it takes over hundreds of years to break down; just break down not disappear. 

So I beg please stop using plastic. You can still have your takeaways, just please try not to get ones with plastic food packaging or at least reuse it. Or perhaps local business could find biodegradable takeaway boxes and cups rather than plastic ones.  So that’s all I ask for, ask for non-plastic packaging for your food; look up if they have a website and find out about their packaging before you buy. Thank you for taking your time to read this and I hope you can try this out. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Aaron Clarke 

Plastics; Friend or Foe?

Through a course of hundreds of years we have had a glorious yet destructive item, known as plastic. It is a durable material which is made from oil. It can be made into almost anything, from cups to cars. It is extremely common, and we even think that we could dump it anywhere with almost no consequences, but is that true?

Plastic is everywhere, which proves how reliable, cheap and popular it is. It could be used for packing, making anything inside a cardboard box safe from scratches or marks. And although people do say that oil is running out quickly, and it will be scarce sooner than we think, plastic doesn’t have much to do with that. Plastic only uses about 5% of oil in the world every year. It can’t hold anything, of course. A plastic bridge or a plastic skyscraper just couldn’t work, but as these things take years to make, and their materials are very expensive, it’s understandable why something as cheap as plastic wouldn’t be able to hold the weight. Plastic could also be used for transport. Plastic is lightweight, but strong with the right manufacturing. With it being light but strong, it is a perfect recipe for cars, to make them fast, durable and resistant to weak blows. Relating to its packing form, it can easily carry your shopping for only 5p most the time. You may complain that plastic bags break too often, but what do you expect for something that is 5p? Plastic is also extremely useful for power cords, as electricity cannot travel through plastic.

But, of course it has its disadvantages. Plastic probably has the biggest effect on the ocean out of everything it may damage. Plastic litters the street, the beach and most importantly the ocean. Plastics never break. The may decompose, but they only become micro-plastics, which is still dangerous to the environment and the sea life. If a sea creature eats a bit of plastic, it could harm its organs, and if it has children, its children would also have plastic in its body. Micro-plastics have this same effect. Plastic that is too big for an animal could either choke the animal if it tries to eat the plastic, or the plastic could get stuck around the animal, which could prevent it from eating, moving or it could tangle around the animal’s throat and choke it. If we eat something that has eaten plastic we would also be eating plastic, as fish can’t digest it. It’s not as dangerous for humans as it is for fish, but would you like to eat plastic?

In the end, plastic does have lots of benefits, and to stop using it altogether doesn’t seem like a good idea due to the amount of it we use and somethings would be impossible without it. But we should be wary on how much we use and what we do with our plastic and only use it where it is really necessary. Throwing it away is not a good idea and we should recycle as much as possible, and if people try to do things such as beach cleans to try to get rid of as much plastic as possible, I think we can live with plastic sustainably.

Dr Mark Glow Meeting

Yesterday we had a glow meet with Dr Mark Biddiss because of my endeavour. Endeavour is something that you do for half a year then show at the endeavour fair to the whole village. I wrote to him and he kindly gave the whole school one of his books but I got all of them. I felt it was very fun to meet him as he is really nice and clever and answers everything as everyone in P4-7met him through Google Meet.  I might be having another meeting with him near the endeavour fair for tips and then I am having a maths show to present to the school and I need to learn all the tricks for it in the easter break. Everyone got to take their books home with them and they get to keep them forever. The books costed lots and lots of money.  I felt very proud of this as Dr Mark was so kind.

Beach Clean 2019

On Thursday 21st March the whole of Port Ellen Primary School went down to the co-op beach for a beach clean.  There was also people from high school to help, they where the John Muir group, and also ReJIG.  Before everyone went we got put into groups of 5. There was 10 groups. I got paired with Chloe, Katy, Christopher and Phoenix.  P67 had created a survey so we could find out what the different types of plastic were that we foundon the beach.  There were lots of small bits of plastic between 2.5 and 50cm long, but the biggest plastic pollutant was ropes and nets from fishing boats.  You can see the results in the graph below.  We collected 2 bags full of rubbish, lots of it was plastic. Altogether the school got 900 bits of plastic rubbish off the shore. When we left all the beach had was sand and seaweed.




About Islay – A digital book

As part of our whole school project on marine litter, P1/2/3 are reaching out to other schools near the sea to find out if they find lots of plastic on their beaches too.  Here is their digital book all about Islay.  We hope that you enjoy watching it and see how lovely our island is.  Please comment and let us know if you have what you can find on the beaches near your school.  Thank you, P1/2/3

Aloha Hawaii!

On Wednesday 13th of March Port Ellen Primary school met and chatted with 2 marine conservation scientists- streamed live from Hawaii!  Port Ellen is currently doing a whole school project on Marine Plastics and primary 4-6 have been designing their own Marine Rescue and Education Centres, and wanted to find out more about them from real life experts. The aim is to make links with lots of islands around the world who are also affected by the impacts of plastics in the seas, so their teacher Kate Brown emailed contacts in Hawaii.  Dr Gregg Levine is a veterinarian who works on Oahua with marine animals and lectures at the university, while Cameron Dabney is an education officer on Big Island and works for Dolphin Quest and they both joined up to answer lots of well researched questions from the children about their jobs and the impact of marine plastics on the environment-even though it was midnight in Hawaii!  The whole school were so engaged and really enjoyed the opportunity to discuss issues they care about deeply with others who are affected.  Thanks to Gregg and Cameron for taking time out to talk with us.

Comic Relief

On Friday the 15th of March it was Comic Relief.  We got to wear red or spots and nearly everyone was wearing red and we sold all our red noses.  The first thing we did was a dance-a-thon using Just Dance; it was really fun and tiring. After break we did Catherine Ryans favourite cupcake challenge and sold baking to raise money, as well as a panda treasure hunt.  The day was organised by a P7 for her Endeavour.

We raised £300 for Comic Relief and had a great time doing it.

My Endeavour March Update

I have now chosen my endeavour project for this year, I have chosen electrics instead of engineering. Through that I am making a remote control car. The skills I require are how to wire, how to build a remote control car, how to make myself safe when building a remote control car..

By Braeden

Books From Dr Mark Biddiss

For my endeavour I am doing magic maths and I wanted to find out more about interesting maths facts and maths tricks to play on my friends.  I plan to do a maths magic show.  I found this really great book called Magical Maths by Dr Mark Biddiss so I decided to write to him and ask some questions.

Dr Mark Biddiss was very kind and got in contact with the school.  He offered to send us lots of lovely books he had written and also sent me my own personal signed copies, which was fabulous.   Dr Mark does science as well as maths because he is a mathematician and scientist. I felt very happy about this and now I have lots of ideas for my magic maths show. I am also going to talk to Dr Mark via a video conference using Google Meet via Glow which will be great.


My Teacher Mrs Clark took a photo of me with all the books on the floor (I was also on the floor) and at least it was clean!