Category Archives: Early Level

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.

Using ICT to develop creativity and innovation in the classroom

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services presented hands-on practical sessions for all probationer teachers in Falkirk primary schools, on using ICT to develop creativity and innovation the classroom.

There was a guided exploration of the wide variety of open-ended software installed on all PCs across all Falkirk primary schools, which can be used to support learning and teaching across the curriculum at all stages – and a reminder that resources to support every piece of software (providing examples as well as guides and tutorials) could be found online here: ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools

There were practical activities related to how the free audio-editing tool Audacity might be used to support learning and teaching across a range of curricular areas. Recording voice, moving sections of recorded sound to different parts just like a word-processor, adding special effects (robotic and raising the pitch just being some) to create interest for pupil-read texts, adding a music soundtrack and varying the volumes of spoken word and music. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/25/school-radio-podcasting-pupils/

There were practical activities making use of one of the spreadsheet/graphing programs on all Falkirk primary school networked PCs, RM Starting Graph to show how such tools can enhance engagement with information handling both in mathematics and across the curriculum, so that the learning can be focussed on the questions being asked rather than on recording the information. More information about spreadsheets/graphing software for primary schools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/03/30/spreadsheets/

The session provided a guided exploration of the tools and resources available for use with Smartboard interactive whiteboards (which are in almost all Falkirk primary school classrooms) to support teachers and learners across a wide range of classroom activity, including a host of pre-created Smart Notebook resources created and shared by teachers in Falkirk schools, as well as pointing out access to the worldwide network of educators who have shared resources in Smart Exchange: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/18/smart-exchange/

The session provided hands-on guided opportunity to explore the software 2DIY from 2Simple which provides the means for teachers and primary pupils to create their own interactive resources, activities, games, puzzles, quizzes. More information about this software can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/11/11/game-making-in-the-primary-classroom-with-2diy-from-2simple/

Guided hands-on practical activities were provided in the use of collaborative tools within Microsoft office 365 through Glow, using Word online to create and share a document in either a user’s online store space OneDrive (or from a class space), jointly edit at the same time as other users, add encouraging comments to the work of another (and all which can be done on a mobile device), use Outlook to share with others in the room, and to see possibilities for using the Lync video-conferencing tool – all within the Glow environment. More information about Office 365 can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2012/07/10/microsoft-office-365-for-education/

Practical activities were provided in making use of the programming robots (whether the robot or the software versions) making use of Roamerworld software (including the pre-created scenarios such as subway and storks which provide a learning context for the logical thinking, collaboration, maths of shape, position and movement and much more). More information about these programming tools can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/04/20/beebot-to-logo/

To help with classroom engagement some free tools were also used in the session which can be used in the classroom, including timerr and random-name-selectors. More can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2010/08/19/countdown-timer-from-classtools/

Encouragement was given to make use of Twitter both for sharing classroom activity and as a professional to develop a professional learning network to share ideas and benefit from the collective knowledge and skills of colleagues worldwide. More information about setting up and using a class twitter account can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2013/03/05/twitter-for-schools-and-classes/. More information about using twitter to develop a professional learning network can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2011/08/16/personal-learning-network/

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.”

 

 

 

 

Gymnastics – Using Apparatus

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers from Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a Gymnastics twilight for primary class teachers and specialists. This course was led by Anne Murphy,  from Education Scotland and specifically focussed on using apparatus. Anne demonstrated how to provide a progressive Gymnastics programme focussing on the Significant Aspects of Learning in PE from Early Level through to Second Level.  This was a follow on course from the first session with Anne in February, focussing on  developing practical content with literacy and numeracy links.

Examples of the very positive feedback are shown below.

“This was a wonderful course to support teachers, such as myself, when working to build confidence in our own practice.”

“The opportunity to learn more about the various techniques and how to carry them out properly was excellent and very enjoyable.”

“Demonstrations of the equipment has allowed me to be more confident using the equipment in my teaching.”

 
 

 

Avonbridge Dancers

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, PE Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team arranged a visit to Avonbridge Primary School to work with their Scottish Country Dance group. The purpose of this visit was to showcase good practice in Scottish Country Dance and create a  resource for class teachers. The  resource will help with the delivery of this activity context through curricular PE or as an extra-curricular club in preparation for the annual Day of Dance . We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the pupils and staff of Avonbridge for their warm welcome and willingness to assist us with this project.  Particular thanks to Mrs Rankine for all her input with the dancers.

Inter-Authority Moderation

Gillian Campbell (CSO Secondary) has been working with two Falkirk Primary Head Teachers and Glasgow, West Lothian and North Lanarkshire Education Authorities on a major project on moderation. This Education Scotland funded piece of work focused on moderation of their self evaluation procedures and Falkirk were represented by Cathy Quinn (St Bernadette’s RCPS) and Linda-Anne Reid (Stenhousemuir Primary).

One Head Teacher from each of the four authorities involved joined in two  seperate groups to visit each other’s schools and act as critical friends. Suggested discussion points had been devised by the group based on the Self Evaluation expectations from Education Scotland. Meanwhile the 4 Local Authority leads met to discuss how each handled quality assurance at a strategic level in their councils. From this work we will look at impact and how  individuals, authorities and the whole group will further develop aspects in our schools and authorities.

All 8 Head Teachers and 4 authority represenatives will meet to share their experience and contribute to the final report. If Education Scotland give their approval to the content of the final report then the work will be put on the National Assessment Resource during the summer.

For more information on this project, or assessment/moderation in Falkirk generally, email: gillian.campbell@falkirk.gov.uk

Bookbug

Carolyn Sharp, Learning Resource Service, Service & School Improvement Team, Falkirk Council Education Services.  Bookbug provides free book packs to children aged 0-5 years.  During 2013-14 we gifted the following packs to children in the Falkirk Council area;

  •  1576 Bookbug baby packs
  •  1720 Bookbug toddler packs
  •  1767 Bookbug pirate packs
  • 1953 P1 family packs

For more information on the Bookbug programme, please visit the Scottish Book Trust website.

Bookbug logo

Raising the Bar in Physical Education

Morag Simpson and Morag Young PE Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised a hugely successful Raising the Bar Event for Physical Education on the inservice day on Thursday 13th February.

The day provided the opportunity for delegates to expereince  a combination of  practical workshops and presentations from both Education Scotland and HMIE. Feedback from all sessions has been extremely positive with the opportunity for Q & A sessions being greatly appreciated by all.

Morag Simpson and Morag Young are hoping to provide the same opportunity at the next inservice day on the 2nd May 2014.

Here are some examples of feedback given:

“Excellent day, informative and very useful”

” A very interesting day with lots of fun ideas and activities”

” Great having notes and resource links”

“Excellent resources to support teaching”

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, School and Service Improvement team led a CPD session on The Thinking Reader approach to active reading. 54 colleagues attended the session.

Kristina McGinley, Hallglen PS, Aimee Roan, Carron Primary School, Anita Cowan, St. Mary’s RCPS and Alison Marshall, Drumbowie PS all shared good practice in this area. Kristina had observed Sharon teaching using this approach, whilst the other three ladies had attended the course in November. All four teachers explained how using this approach to reading had led to noticeable increased attainment in reading skills.

Colleagues then participated in a Thinking Reader lesson before considering how they could use it in their own establishments. They all engaged in professional dialogue considering how this approach could be used to develop the six reading comprehension skills across a range of texts from a range of genres.

Schools Library Service also contributed to the session by providing a wide range of resources which support this reading approach.

All resources produced so far for the Thinking Reader can be found on the Active Literacy Resource section on GLOW.