P12 are Pirates for the Day

Well me hearties, what a day we did have!! Today we learnt to be pirates, we dressed the part, found buried messages in bottles, used maps, followed and created instructions and problems solved to find the hidden treasure! Well done boys and girls, we hope you had a super day! A special thank you to The Copper Still Coffee for being awesome and providing us with our treasure! All part of our explorers topic!


On the 10th of December, our school held a Christmas fair for the local community to attend. We had lots of merry raffle prizes for adults and children. The nursery and p1/2 had a stall, and p5/6/7 had 4 stalls for each of the tables in the class. The groups that were handling the stalls in p5/6/7 were called:

Santa’s Elves: Chloe, Teddy, Ayla, Evie, Freddy and Sani.

The Gonks: Iona, James, Jacob, Brody, Stephen  and Ellie.

Da Boys on Da Shelf: Aiden, Thomas, William, Finlay, Archie and Alfie

Santa’s little helpers: Rachel, Duncan, Ella, Hugh and Dylan.

These groups made:

Santa’s Elves made Block Christmas Characters, Snowman Face Tree Decoration and Stone Bird Tree Decoration.

The Gonks made Clay Gonks, Scrunches and Block Calendars.

Da Boys on Da Shelf made phyrogrithy cooking spoons and ornaments, Christmas trees decorations made out of blocks and sock creatures.

Santa’s little helpers made keyrings made out of thin blocks, coasters and sock snowmen.

Lots of people came along and we raised loads of money for the school.  There was Santa’s Grotto run by the parent council and also waffles to buy and eat.  Ms Brown did face painting too.  It was a wonderful Christmas Time!



We were very excited to receive some classroom pets this term! We have ten tiny wriggly caterpillars we are watching metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies. We’re very much looking forward to watching this process.

We were very excited to see how much our caterpillars had grown after a few days, they’re huge! We’re wondering how long it will be until they go into cocoons? Some of us were also delighted to see that our sunflowers have started to grow! We’ve added another page into our diaries to track their progress. Laurie’s is 4 cm tall already!

The Panto

We are doing a panto this year. A panto is where we do a show for our family and school. The panto that we are doing is Pirates of the Curry Bean!  We have all got our parts. I am Dead Eye which is the narrator. The panto is on the ninth of June in the primary school hall.

The Curry Bean is hilarious. Its where a fearless pirate called Captain Swaggersword buried all his booty in a far distant land. But then the captain vanished! All his treasure lost forever never to be seen again well that is until now…

This is going to be funny, dangerous and a big adventure!  We are learning lines and what to do on stage just now, and making props.  We hope everyone will enjoy the play!


Port An Eas Distillery

In school we made a distillery and a company for whisky.  Our group was called Port An Eas.  We made the distilleries in groups of five people and our group had Evie, Hugh, Connor, Iona and Calin . Everyone in the group had a different role in our Distillery: Evie is milling and mashing, Hugh is casks and ageing Connor is distillation, Iona is malting and peat and Callin is fermentation.

To make our whisky drinks we had lots of whisky smells and we had to pick the three smells that we liked best.  Together we chose rose, caramel and coconut. A few Days later we made teas that replicated the smells that we chose with different flavours of tea.  You can make it with 4tsp of black cat caramel tea, 3tsp of rose black tea ,1 pukka relax tea bag and 6 leaves of stevia.

We made are distillery with card and some modelling card to make it stand up because it is a circle it couldn’t stand up on its on own so we cut up strips of card to hold it up.



Our Loch Lili Distillery

Our Loch Lili distillery is near a loch and it is located there because it is near water. Our distillery’s special features are we grow our barley on the roof and we have  a windmill outside.  It is located there because it is near a ferry so we would have  some tourists around. But the negatives are too many tourists about  and that could be a problem. We made a model distillery and this is a picture.


P12 Distilleries Presentation

Yesterday afternoon we presented our distilleries to our class. We needed to think about how we built our model, ensure we spoke clearly and used as much distillery language as possible and could answer questions from our friends. We gave each other feedback on our designs using 2 stars and a wish.

Distilleries Timeline

P234 were revisiting the past, present and future and making a timeline for Islay distilleries, including some of the early ones which closed. We discussed how distilling had changed over time and what it might be like in the future, remembering our Googlemeet with Georgie Crawford about the new Farkin distillery.

Barley Germination P12

Last week P12 had the challenge of trying to get barley to germinate. Some of us decided we should put our barley outside (picture 1) this had two different outcomes. The barley which were left under/beside the train disappeared! We think some visitors ate it….. The barley that was protected by the creel was very wet but did begin to germinate slightly. The barley that was in the fridge (picture 2) went mouldy although it did begin to germinate too which Mrs Hannett was surprised at! The barley which was left in the classroom by the window and kept damp germinated beautifully and we will attempt to plant this tomorrow. Fingers crossed the deer don’t get it!

My Joinery Endeavour By William Allan Campbell

This is my Endeavor and it Endeavor is a challenging  project that you know nothing about but at the end of endeavor you’ll know every thing about it.

I chose joinery for my E ndeavor because  I have always wanted to be a joiner because you always are working with wood and that is one of my favorite things to do.

The people that helped me was Mr. Pollock  for the ladybird book and the wood that he sent me. My dad and brother have also helped by showing me how to use the tool and  how to identify the type of wood and how old it is.

So far in my Endeavor I have made a butt joint, lap joint and a miter butt joint. My favorite thing I had built was a copping board but I’m going to build a bird table for my mane project. I have been doing some designs for my bird table and chopping board and hopefully I will get  my bird table soon.

Here is my sway on joints and quiz.

wood work (Edit) Microsoft Forms (office.com)

Robotics- Learning New Digital Skills In Context

This year we received an Education Scotland CLPL grant to train staff in digital skills; for part of the project we have been learning computer science and technology to do with robotics.  A grant from the DigitalXtra fund has also  allowed us to purchase robotics equipment from early years up for the cluster, and has enabled the children to learn computer science outcomes in a meaningful way though programming their own robots.  This has been a really engaging way for pupils and teachers to engage with what can be quite tricky computer science concepts.

In Early years we used coda-pillars, Dash and Dot, Rugged Robot, Beebot and Spheros to show our understanding of computational thinking by coding the robots to follow an algorithm.

We learned all our computational thinking concepts using Barefoot Computing online, a fabulous and flexible resource.

We found there were lots of online resources that worked well even down to Early years and we made good use of them- lots of tinkering going on!

We made maps for the robots to move around and made them flash and play music as well as they followed the algorithms.

We then came up with our own designs for robots using engineering design principles and built them out of junk.


We think the robots looked fantastic!

Primary 3/4/5 have also been learning about robots and designing their own.  They learned about computational thinking and applied their skills making jam sandwiches and in Scratch.  They experimented with different robots like Spheros and Dash and dot.  With help from P67 they learned how to program Microbits to record temperatures and used this as a data handling high quality maths assessment.

First they designed their robots using engineering and iteration.

They then chose to program their microbits as part of their final robot design.  The builds were very imaginative.

With more experience of coding through Scratch and hour of code, P67 were able to take on more challenge.  They learned to use blocks rather than tracks to code the Spheros and were able to use them in maths to learn about angles in polygons by programming them to draw shapes using conditionals and loops, also programming games.  They then learned how to program Microbits.

Their final challenge was to look at Robotics holistically and design a robot to solve one of the world’s/Islay’s problems by using the sustainable development goals as a framework.  I adapted a Sway I found to structure their learning and used the great new tools on the new Microbit website which include programming based around the SDGs.

The children then used a design sheet to plan their robots.

For the elderly of Islay we had robots that were pedometers designed to help them keep fit and robots that made an alarm if the temperature got too cold to warn you it was icy out.  For children we had a robot that timed you washing your hands to prevent Coronavirus by playing Happy Birthday and one that timed you brushing your teeth.  For Farmers a child programmed a microbit to light up when dark, that could be fixed onto black Cows so they were easy to spot if on the road at night (cows are often free range on Islay!).  Another light sensitive device was to warn dolphins of underwater turbines at night.

The schools designs were then all shared with parents at an open afternoon in Science week, where children had to explain, demonstrate and discuss their new found digital skills.  It was clear lots of new digital skills were learned by everyone.






Robotics in P3/4/5

We have been doing robotics in school recently.  The children have been learning to think like a computer and develop their digital language and skills.  They have learnt how to code a robot using block code using microbits, spheros and dash.

They then had to design and build their own junk model model robot with a microbot to solve a problem in our classroom.  One was a ‘ghost tracker’ which identified if there was a ghost in the room by changing symbols on the microbit when the model was shaked.

Follow the link below to hear how it works.


P1/2/3 Renewables Trip


On 23rd May P1/2/3 went on a trip to see the different renewables being used in Islay.  First we went to Dunlossit Estate where David Gillies showed us the biomass boiler and we saw that the store where all the wood chips were stored was like a giant slushy machine.  Then we went to Ballygrant to see the hydro power station…it fitted inside a shed!  Finally George Dean took us to the wind turbine and we got to go inside it.  All were very intrigued by the upside down computer.  Thanks to David and George for a great day.


Solar Ovens


There was great excitement in P1/2/3…and a bit of envy from P4/5….as the solar ovens were used to cook marshmallows and melt chocolate digestives.  Even although it was not particularly warn, we were amazed how quickly the ovens melted the chocolate and marshmallow.  William is keen to cook pizza next!

African huts….using solar power

P1/2/3 have read the story of Handa’s Surprise and been learning about life in Africa.  They have found out that it is very different in rural Africa from the city.  They build these huts from straw, clay and wooden sticks….then added solar panels and LED lights.  They were a great addition to the sand tray with all the African animals. The children learned how useful solar panels can be in helping children in rural Africa to do their homework.  Evie’s mum showed the children a kerosene lamp that would be used – costly to run, dangerous and giving off nasty fumes.  We researched case studies and made these Explain Everything to show what we had learned.

All about life in Tanzania

P1/2/3 really enjoyed Evie’s mum coming to visit the class to tell them all about life in rural Tanzania where she lived.  She explained all about the Masai, showing them some lovely fabrics.  She also told them how resourceful Tanzanian people are reusing and recycling things – making bags out of bottle tops and sandals out of car tyres.  Thanks you Mrs Wood!

Mission Adoption Accomplished

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.

Trip to the Museum

P1/2/3 had a wonderful trip to the Museum of Islay Life in Port Charlotte to find out what life was like 100 years ago.  They were fascinated by the chamber pot and the fact that people had to go outside to the toilet! P1/2/3 have been learning about school long ago.  They have discovered that there used to be many more schools in Islay and that teachers were much stricter! We saw the old teachers high desk and the wooden child’s desk at the museum together with the ink pots and slates that children would have used a century ago.  This is part of island-wide history learning associated with the WW1 commemorations.  We also found out about a schoolgirl from Port Ellen that gave an her account of what happened in the village following the sinking of the Tuscania.  Old log books have given a poignant insight into that time. Thanks to Jenny Minto for a great visit.

WW100 Visitors


On Thursday 25th January Jenni and Stuart from the Islay Museum came to Port Ellen Primary school to talk about WW100 on Islay.  This is so we can get information about WW1 on Islay and what happened here during the war. They told us about the Tuscania, which was torpedoed by a submarine in 1918 and it sank off the coast of Islay, but some the survivors came ashore in lifeboats or were wrecked in the rocks and people on Islay helped to save them and also to bury the dead.  Two brothers came down from their farm house and saved some people and gave them their home, and some poeple baked scones.  It is amazing to think this all happened 100 years ago on February 5th.  I am looking forward to finding out more about Islay at this time.

Curious about Cars

As part of our Transport topic, P1/2/3 wanted to find out all about cars, how they worked and what made cars go faster.  So they wrote to Dugald McKerral and went on a trip to the garage.  They saw a car up on the hydraulic ramp and could see the wheel axels and the chassis that they had learned about in class.  Lots of interesting questions were asked and we are going back to class to find out more about pistons. This learning ties in really well with the Rolls-Royce Science Prize.


Islay is a beautiful island off the west coast of Scotland, and one of the reasons it is so lovely is because farmers work hard to keep the land the way it has looked for generations, conserving the environment. But the land has also influenced how and what types of farming happen on Islay. As an Island the costs of transport are also an important consideration, as is the weather. All these factors contribute to the difficulties and successes of farming beef, sheep and barley on Islay.

Farming on Islay is very important to  Islay’s landscape and the farmers  that work hard to get paid and have more than just one job but two! The farmers on Islay have kept the landscape as it was years ago. The farming on Islay gives jobs to many people so that they can make money and live their lives as the years pass by.

The main land types found on Islay are rough grazing, grassland, peat bog and moorland.  Grassland is low lying and is used by farmers to grow grass for silage, grass to feed animals and can also be used to grow barley; this is the most useful land for farmers, but in the winter it gets very wet and muddy and can’t be used to keep animals on.  Rough grazing land can’t be used to grow grass or crops, it tends to be hilly with plants like heather, rushes and patches of rough grass.  Animals can graze it, although it is mostly used by sheep.  Rough grazing is useful in the winter because it stays dry, drains well and you can overwinter animals on it.   It can’t be used to grow vegetables or crops because it is stoney and the soil is poor.    Peatbogs are of no use to farmers as animals can get stuck in the bogs and the grazing is too poor.  Farmers on Islay often drain the land to keep it dry enough to grow grass.  Because of the limits imposed by the type of land on Islay, the main farming is Beef and Sheep, with a little barley production.

Islay has a wonderful type of weather for grass which has mainly rain and wind with a tint of sunshine as there is hardly any snow or frost on the island. The normal temperatures varies as seasons pass as in the summer there is more sun and it is not as rainy as autumn or winter as in winter it is mainly rainy and windy but it is still sometimes sunny. The lowest average temperature on islay is 3’c. In autumn the weather is changing to winter and during that there is sometimes gale force winds  and there is about 130mm of rain through the season. In summer the weather becomes less rainy and becomes more sunny.

Islay is an island than can only be reached from the mainland by ferry or plane.  This means farmers have to pay to get their produce off the island and also pay extra to get the equipment and resources they need to farm on the island.  As a result of this farmers on Islay struggle to compete financially with those on the mainland.  For example, fertilizer and concentrates need to be brought over on container ships and unloaded onto lorries.  This means fertilizer and concentrates cost more for Islay farmers. The type of farming that can happen here is also affected by transport; milk, soft fruits and other products will go off when transported for long periods of time so are not farmed on Islay.  However, sheep and cattle are easy to transport over time, and the barley that is grown is sold locally.  So farmers on the mainland have an advantage over famers on Islay.


Investigating wheels


As part of our transport topic, P1/2/3 wanted to find out about wheels.  They found lots of tyres out in the garden and checked out wheels on cars in the car park and bikes in school.  They found out that wheels are attached to axels and have written to Mr MacKerrell at the garage to see if they can find out more about how cars work.

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