Category Archives: Sciences

Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase Had a “Great Buzz”

WordleOur first Falkirk Learning to Achieve Showcase took place on 4th June between 4-5.30pm at Camelon Education Centre. 64 practitioners came along to get ideas, or to share work they had done with pupils relating to the themes in the Learning for Sustainability word cloud (top left).

17 pupils from St Bernadette’s RC PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS, Deanburn PS, Larbert HS & Stenhousemuir PS – stole the show with their enthusiastic and passionate explanations of their work. They very naturally demonstrated that they were confident individuals, successful learners, effective contributors and responsible citizens. Ellie Williams, a pupil from Bo’ness Academy, held the room spellbound with her performance of her own song “Train Track” then “Ae Fond Kiss”. Her music and lyrics powerfully communicated her feelings about her own community and were so evocative when combined with her beautiful, note-perfect singing.  IMG_4660

Anthony Hutcheson, Development Officer for Learning for Sustainability, Education Scotland opened the event with a brilliant, concise presentation of what LfS is all about. He really set the scene for the event and has been a great support for our LfS mobilisation team (Jane Jackson ,Yvonne McBlain, Megan Farr & Tony Bragg) and our emerging Falkirk Learning for Sustainability network.

IMG_4682During the short formal part of the event programme we were delighted to celebrate the achievements of 7 teachers who have gained Professional Recognition from GTCS for their Global Storyline development work. Kim McAuley, Global Education Advisor with the West of Scotland Development Education Centre (WOSDEC) kindly presented the following teachers with their certificates Liz Stephen & Laura Beattie (Deanburn PS), Heather Nicol (Carron PS), Holly Keenan (Bonnybridge PS), Brenda Bennie & Gemma Douglas (Kinnaird PS), Jennifer Main (Wallacestone PS). Our education service is proud to recognise this achievement, and it was great that the audience attending were able to help us celebrate their contribution in a public way. IMG_4658

Jane Jackson linked the content of Anthony’s presentation really well to set the scene for Ellie’s performance and then the mingling and sharing of good practice began.

17 establishments were represented at the event: Mariner Support Service, Kinnaird PS, Rannoch Nursery, Bonnybridge PS, Deanburn PS, St Francis Xavier’s RC PS nursery class and their SCIAF project, Stenhousemuir PS, Larbert HS, St Bernadette’s RC PS, Carrongrange School, Larbert Village PS, Wallacestone PS, Slammanan PS, Limerigg PS, Denny HS, Airth PS and Grangemouth HS. Our own Learning Resource Service took over room 13 and turned it into a wonderful cornucopia of resources useful for supporting teaching and learning around Learning for Sustainability – as always, these were beautifully presented and selected.   Visitors could circulate from this room, via the sustainably decorated improvised café (where consultation on LfS in Falkirk could be left, and leaflets could be picked up) into the main market place, then into the foyer where all of the stalls and displays were set up.

IMG_4680The event was made even more valuable by the participation of a number of organisations who support teaching and learning through Learning for Sustainability, and/or can provide professional learning for practitioners. These included Communities along the Carron (CATCA), Scottish Development Education Centre (SCOTDEC), Project Trust, the British Red Cross, and Grounds for Learning. The John Muir Trust, and Traidcraft were kind enough to send in leaflets and materials for distribution at the event. Yvonne McBlain and Jane Jackson would like to thank everyone involved for their enthusiastic participation, and for creating that lovely BUZZ.

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Sign up for the Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase!

Word cloudFalkirk Council Education Services will hold a Learning for Sustainability Showcase event in Camelon Education Centre on 4th June between 4-5.30pm.

Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain are working with colleagues in schools and in the Service Support and Improvement team to make the programme for the event as rich as possible.

So far, we know that Scotdec will be there to share the professional learning they can offer and lots of wonderful resources teachers can use with their pupils. We are thrilled that Anthony Hutcheson, development officer from Education Scotland will welcome everyone AND will be sharing the new LfS professional learning area in Glow. Organisations like Opal, the John Muir Trust, Royal Highland Education Trust are all coming along to share how they can contribute to learning for pupils and for staff. CATCA will be there, and members of the Outdoor Learning Network will show how they have developed learning outwith the classroom.  Wosdec will also attend to help us celebrate the achievements of teachers and pupils taking part in the Global Storyline training programme.

We know that Falkirk teachers and early years officers use the Learning for Sustainability theme across many areas of the curriculum and are pleased to have a growing number of applications to share this work at the showcase. We know there is lots more good practice out there though so please click here for an application form and instructions if you would like to share your work too. The word cloud above shows just how diverse Learning for Sustainability is, and with your help, we are keen to show as wide a range of work as possible. LfS snip

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to share this year at this event – you can always sign up using code LfS1 in CPD Manager. We would love to see you there to help build a strong and appreciative audience at the event. The more, the merrier – we look forward to seeing you on the 4th June!

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.

Sharing Classroom Chick Egg Hatching

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of  Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, has provided advice on request to various schools when they are taking part in a chick egg hatching project as part of science, and health & wellbeing elements of the curriculum.

So that pupils can enjoy watching the activities of the egg hatching and of the chicks, and share that with their parents and carers, at times outwith normal classroom times, often schools want to find ways to share live video of the eggs and chicks.

At its simplest a school could use a class blog, or the school website or the class, school (or specially set up project) Twitter account to share periodic photographs with short descriptive text of the activity happening. Recorded video could also be similarly shared.

However schools most frequently want to be sharing what’s happening at times outwith the normal school day.

So this is where live streaming of video via a webcam connected to a PC can provide the answer.

St Patrick’s Primary school in Denny is one recent example of a Falkirk primary school which set up live video streaming of the chick egg hatching process. Click here to see recorded excerpts from the live stream of the chick egg hatching project at St Patrick’s Primary School.

Do you want to set up live video streaming for a chick egg hatching project in your school?

Click here for a description of the process for setting up live video streaming for a chick egg hatching project.

Larbert Cluster Interdisciplinary Planning

Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Curriculum Support Team was thrilled to attend the first of a series of cross-sector cluster interdisciplinary planning sessions on Tuesday 17th September 2013. As chair of the Commonwealth Games Interdisciplinary Project sub-group, Linda-Anne Reid worked with colleagues to co-ordinate this collegiate planning. Early year’s practitioners and primary 1 teachers met in Stenhousemuir PS, first level teachers met in Carron PS, and second and third in Kinnaird PS. All staff were given relevant planning materials and information in advance, including the cluster plan, NAR planning flow chart, NAR planning flow chart  instructions and Falkirk Community Trust/Active Schools Going for Glasgow Accreditation paper. Isobel Edmond provided early level practitioners with a very clear introductory overview of the potential benefits of this interdisciplinary learning context.  Morag Carson then explained that each of  the 3 hour-long planning sessions would involve same stage groups planning within 3 bundles of E & Os. This means that the Larbert cluster will generate at least 3 interdisciplinary plans per level which meet experiences and outcomes from: Social subjects & Expressive Arts, Social subjects & Technology, & Social subjects and Science. They are more than happy for these plans to be made available across the authority when complete. Once these groups were established, their first task was to identify the small bundle of E & Os they felt could be progressed by this context, for their learners. Yvonne and Linda-Anne enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the nursery and primary 1 groups, and then nipped up to Kinnaird PS to pop into the second and third level groups. The staff involved had already made choices about their E & Os , and begun to consider learning intentions, and the best activities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills within the Commonwealth Games context. There will be 2 further planning sessions on 30th October and 21st November, but some groups have opted to do one double session instead. Although clearly linking into national events taking place in 2014, this way of working across-cluster offers potential benefits on many levels: the planning of robust interdisciplinary learning, development of understanding of skills progression, and the sharing of practice generally. All in all, a really active, purposeful form of collegiate professional learning!

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

Taking Science Outdoors

A group of primary teachers spent a very wet morning with Jane Jackson,  Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team, exploring how to deliver Science in the outdoors.

Practical ideas from several of the CfE science organisers were demonstrated, and included exploring how small mammals keep warm during the cold, wet winter months.  The participants insulated their own ‘home made’ mammals in a range of ways and there was a lot of competition when we re-tested their core temperatures after 20 mins!

As well as giving teachers some practical ideas, the course encouraged participants to think about their planning, and consider where taking their learning outdoors would enhance the teaching and learnng experience for pupils.

Links to some of the supporting material used on the day can be found below:

minibeast ID key

nature detective resources

Science E’s and O’s handout

A Curriculum for Eggsellence!

Egg Incubator
Live Stream of the Egg Incubator

Shieldhill Primary School are eggs-ploring the life cycle of chickens through their Living Eggs Project- and now they’ve become Internet stars with their own live show! The project, following the development and incubation of the eggs through to hatching, is being streamed live over the Internet. The live video stream, facilitated by Stuart Lennie of the Curriculum Support Team, allows the pupils and a worldwide audience to monitor the process via the school website.

The eggs are on the verge of hatching, so pupils and staff are now able to keep “round-the-cluck” surveillance on the eggs from school or at home!

The streaming service is free to use, and can easily be adapted to other projects, so tune in while it’s going “cheep”!

To view the stream, click on: http://www.shieldhill.falkirk.sch.uk/ and click on the “Living Eggs Webcam” link.