Category Archives: Numeracy

Falkirk Staff Online Spaces for Sharing Resources and Collaboration

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, has been supporting many central staff and staff within educational establishments across Falkirk Council to set up shared online spaces for making available resources to colleagues working in Falkirk Council, and to provide them with tools to collaborate.

These online spaces provide a means to share resources within the education community of all Falkirk Council establishments and can be accessed from here: http://tinyurl.com/pvmjx92

Each site provides at least one document store, and in many cases multiple document stores for making accessible resources in different formats, as well as picture galleries for sharing examples of practice, a discussion area for asking questions or sharing ideas, a news area for updates, and a weblinks area for quick access to related material elsewhere online.

Some of these sites are for sharing centrally sourced resources, some are for providing the means for staff in establishments to share with others, some provide a means to share with specific colleagues in different establishments, some provide structured professional development combining reading material, presentations and video, space for reflective comments with colleagues undertaking the same professional development and making use of video-conferencing spaces, and some provide a common space for clusters of schools to plan together and to pool resources for activities across multiple establishments.

These shared online spaces include Active Learning, Active Literacy, Art Teachers Network Falkirk, Bilingual and Traveller Pupil Support Service, Denny Cluster (including for Mathematics and for Outdoor Learning Network), Education Communications, Education Matters, Employee Review and Development, Curriculum for Excellence Experiences and Outcomes Expanded for all curricular areas and for all levels, Falkirk Confucius Classroom Hub, Falkirk Headteachers, Good Practice Network, Graeme Cluster Good Practice Network (including cluster transition event planning), ICT in Learning and Teaching, Instrumental Music Service for Falkirk Council, Interdisciplinary Learning in Falkirk Council, Numeracy and Mathematics, Physical Education, Primary Language Learning 1+2 Resource Bank, Specific Learning Differences, Storyline, Teaching for Deep Learning, and the To Lead or Not to Lead programme, amongst other online spaces specifically for staff working in Falkirk Council.

Staff within Falkirk Council Education Services can access the above spaces by clicking on this link.

Dance – Progression

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers from Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a series of two Dance twilight sessions for primary class teachers and specialists. These courses were led by Anne Murphy,  from Education Scotland. Anne demonstrated how to provide a progressive Dance programme focussing on the Significant Aspects of Learning in PE from Early Level through to Second Level.  Content examples were given to and developed by the group showing how to link learning in a dance context with all other curricular areas.

Examples of the very positive feedback are shown below.

“This has impacted on the way I would teach a dance block with the children now as it is not about following a routine.”

” Children will get more ownership of their learning through dance by using these approaches”

” Will now use the ideas given to promote higher order thinking skills while teaching dance.”

 

 

 

 

Active Approaches to Numeracy

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team recently organised a professional learning opportunity entitled ‘Active Approaches to Numeracy’. 57 colleagues from Primary, Secondary and the Curriculum Support team (including QIO) spent the day examining a range of active strategies to improve attainment in mental mathematics.

 Helen MacKinven, from Big Maths provided an overview of strategies including: jigsaw numbers, CLIC and partitioning. Colleagues were also treated to the experience of a ‘Beat That’ mental maths quiz.

Clusters then worked together to look at ways forward to improve attainment in mental maths. Feedback from this day has been extremely positive.

A number of colleagues have put their names forward to be part of the Numeracy Mobilisation Team. This work will inform the update of Falkirk Council’s numeracy strategy. The first meeting for this group is being held on 12th February. For further information on this, please contact Sharon Wallace at sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

Interactive tools for teaching primary numeracy and maths at second level

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services, presented a session to teaching staff giving a hands-on opportunity to explore a range of interactive software and online tools to support teaching numeracy and maths at second level.

Resources explored in this session included:

RoamerWorld – a simulated programmable on-screen robot. It is a graphical version of Logo. It provides concrete implementation of shape, position and movement abstract concepts. It has 16 in-built curricular-related activities.

Number Magic – spreadsheets to help with a series of calculations that need to be repeated often. Once they are set up they can be used to explore the effect of changing one number on the others. The data can also be displayed very easily as a graph or chart. Number Magic has a number of in-built curricular examples – in Blue level exercises folder.

National Numeracy Strategy Resources – Interactive flash resources to support mathematics available on every Falkirk primary school network PC in shared documents. Each has an associated set of instructions. These Flash files can be dragged into an open SMART Notebook page (or just used in an Internet browser). These included tell-the-time, thermometer, shape-sorting, symmetry, fractions and angle resources.

SMART Notebook resources – there are many tools and mathematics-specific resources in the SMART Notebook Gallery Essentials for Educators, and there is a huge number of pre-created SMART Notebook resources in the shared documents folders of every Falkirk primary networked PC.

Manga High – free online games-based maths teaching resource aimed at 7-16 year-olds. This combines development of maths skills with video game format games. The teacher selects specific maths/numeracy areas and level within the Curriculum for Excellence which assigns pupils teaching activities and game. The teacher can get reports on progress of individual pupils.

Other online resources included:

Primary Games Arena – a wide range of free online games matched to developing different numeracy and mathematics skills. 

Math is Fun – inlcudes games and a dictionary of mathematcis concepts for pupils.

Maths in the City – providing ideas for taking learning in mathematics and numeracy outside

Sumdog  – numeracy actvities where pupils can compete with others in a safe environment

Wolfram Alpha – described as a computational search engine!

Get involved in Falkirk’s Town Heritage!

 Yvonne McBlain, Curriculum Support Teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services recently met with Julia Branch, THI Heritage Engagement Officer from Falkirk Community Trust. During this meeting, Julia and Yvonne explored a range of ways in which the Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI ) http://glo.li/194nhCZ could contribute to the range of teaching and learning experienced by our pupils. The THI Team has been given permission to start, and are keen to work with interested establishments, practitioners and young people. The THI is grant giving initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland & other local partners. The project’s overall aim is to breathe new life into Falkirk’s historic Town Centre by improving the physical appearance of the area and enhancing the things that make Falkirk special and unique. This will include repairing and conserving important historic buildings, restoring traditional shop frontages, and improving the public realm.  Alongside the physical regeneration work, Julia will be implementing a ‘Community Engagement’ programme, which will bring local history to life, offer the community and schools opportunities to learn about and promote Falkirk’s rich heritage. If you are interested in taking part in this part of the project or want more information please contact Julia via email julia.branch@falkirkcommunitytrust.org or phone 07739328530. Julia has created a really useful Pathfinder pack of classroom resources within Scran which you can access here http://glo.li/194nDtb , and more resources will follow.

Better Movers and Thinkers

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team delivered a twilight course to primary staff on the  Better Movers and Thinkers Programme. This programme is an innovative, exciting and challenging movement and learning programme for Physical Education, that focuses directly on enhancing the links between moving and thinking and how these elements scaffold the development of physical performance and inter-disciplinary learning.  The practical content was delivered and developed in response to the questions and identified needs of the participants.

Feedback was extremely positive and participants are looking forward to the follow up session in February.

Examples of some feedback are shown below:

“Really interesting course with many ready to use ideas, can’t wait to try with my class!”

” Enjoyed the layering effect of tasks as it really allows for differentiation”

” ..will implement right away, very motivational”

Active Numeracy Workshop Materials for Parents and Carers

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team, has been working on materials aimed at sharing active learning methodologies with parents and carers. The workshop aims to share some of the strategies relating to mathematics, in particular mental strategies with people at home.

It also includes suggested websites which are helpful in developing mental mathematical skills e.g. www.sumdog.com and www.mangahigh.com

 Workshop activities include:

  • recalling facts
  • applying facts
  • the use of open questions
  • addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
  • numbers in society

Active numeracy parent presentation 2013 can be accessed from this link.

Innovation in moderation in Falkirk Schools

Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer offered all establishments the opportunity to access some additional funding to support innovative practices in moderation. In January this year, 3 Primary Schools, 3 Secondary Schools, 2 Clusters and 1 Special School successfully bid for funding. This innovative work allowed teachers to think differently about moderation. Projects focussed on moderation through teacher discussion and collegiate approaches at the planning stage; the use of visualisers to develop consistent approaches to the teaching and application of numeracy skills across learning. The development of agreed success criteria at the planning stage also featured – most  interestingly in a PE – English collaborative project.

For more information on some of these projects use the links below.

Graeme High School – Numeracy across learning using visualisers Graeme High School – moderation report ( Numeracy)

Graeme High School – Presentation skillsGraeme High School – literacy ( Presentations)

Larbert High School – Numeracy PassportsLarbert High School Approaches to assessment and moderation 2012 Report master

St. Andrew’s Primary – a new approach to planning in  ScienceSt Andrew’s Primary – report

St. Mungo’s cluster – starting to think about mental agility across the clusterApproaches to assessment and moderation feedback June 2013

Primary Probationers Go Outdoors!

Jane Jackson, Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team, has been working with the primary probationer teachers exploring how outdoor learning can become an integral part of their planning and teaching.   

There is no better way to demonstrate the range of ways that outdoor learning can contribute to CfE than by getting out there and doing it yourself.  The probationers took part in a wide range of activities, after having got the fire going and set up our base for the day.

They all agreed that we have covered many curricular areas with some very simple, fun, exciting activities  that could readily be used for further learning back at school.

The main purpose of the session was to challenge participants thinking about outdoor learning and to raise awareness of the benefits of learnng outside the classroom.