Category: First Level

Curriculum Development at Hallglen PS

IMG_2666On 19th April, Yvonne McBlain popped back to gather staff feedback on their curriculum development so far at Hallglen Primary School. 10 staff members were kind enough to give their time and views during this informal evaluation activity. You can read more about Hallglen’s curriculum development process here.

Staff described the following impact:

  1. Increased knowledge of the curriculum – specifically their ability to interpret the skills, knowledge and understanding built into the experiences and outcomes. This has helped them to build their curriculum more effectively, and enabled better planning.
  2. Although they didn’t realise it at the time, they were moderating their teaching and learning in various ways – through collegiate discussion, learning walks, and then joint planning with stage and level partners. This has helped integrate moderation and collegiality naturally, and contributed to a positive ethos and culture of sharing good practice and ongoing self-evaluation.
  3. Have a powerful understanding of progression – know which E & Os needed to be consistently progressed, and which ones could be done less often.
  4. Topics in school have changed radically and are much more relevant and responsive to pupil needs. Everyone in school has  an overview of which contexts are being used – not just for their own stage or level. This has enabled more powerful and effective transition between stages, and teachers feel confident and clear about what they have to teach and why.There is greater consistency across the school – they have a shared language, u nderstanding and vision for their curriculum
  5. Learning walks, peer moderation and observation visits are all more purposeful and help staff evaluate their progress together.
  6. Next steps in curriculum development are therefore clearer to all, but staff are looking forward to their formal, whole school collegiate evaluation of the changes made this session.
  7. There is the facility to offer pupils flexible and responsive progression pathways across the curriculum

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One of the new developments staff have worked on this session, is pupil understanding of the curriculum. This was felt to be a valuable way to increase attainment and pupil participation, and teachers developed specific learning experiences for their classes. Staff can see ways in which these lessons can be made more meaningful and appropriate to age and stage, and further development of these lessons will be done, but already the following impact has been observed:

  1. Children can have a genuine input into planning their learning.
  2. They now quite naturally reflect upon and evaluate their learning in action during a project as well as at the end.
  3. Pupils have the vocabulary and language to comment effectively on their learning.
  4. The curriculum lessons have “made the penny  drop” for a number of pupils – they can better understand the purpose and structure of the learning they need.
  5. Pupils have a better appreciation of what learning is and what they need to do to help themselves learn.
  6. They are now getting to know their curriculum and can see and comment on links across the curriculum. (Staff are therefore tackling the very challenging job of developing pupil understanding of interdisciplinary learning.)
  7. Pupils have the confidence to make respectful suggestions about how the teaching they receive could better meet their needs.
  8. They are better motivated and engaged by their learning.
  9. They think more deeply about their learning and can talk about it fluently.

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The need for a pupil curriculum understanding lesson was discussed at the last inset day and staff agreed to teach their lessons at the same time in the session. A general lesson was provided which each staff member adapted for their class if they wanted to. Stacey Walker, Kara-Anne Kelly and Louise McGlynn all talked enthusiastically about what they did, why they did it, and what the outcomes were. Stacey,  Kara-Ann and Laura Hurren then gathered the photos of work and displays shared in this post. Click here to listen to their description of this work. Yvonne would like to thank everyone involved for their time, especially Stacey, Kara-Anne and Laura for taking the time to record these files.

Braes Cluster Day of Dance 2016

IMG_1155Morag Simpson and  Morag Young, PE Lead Officers within Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team organised and delivered a Day of  Sottish Dance for the Braes Cluster. Avonbridge Primary kindly agreed to host the event with Sheildhill Primary and California also attending.

The day was a great success with lots of fun had by all and some fantastic dancing on display. The pupils from all schools worked well together, helping each other through the dances. We were treated to a creative Scottish Dance experience from California Primary at the interval. A huge thank you to Avonbridge for hosting and to all participants for performing so well on the day. We would also like to take this opportuity to thank Tesco in Camelon for providing the water and snack for the day.

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!

Developing an online collaborative classroom with Microsoft Office 365 in Glow

NethermainsPSGlowSitesMalcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services led sessions with all teaching staff at Nethermains Primary School, Antonine Primary School, Carmuirs Primary School, Bonnybridge Primary School, Shieldhill Primary School, Denny Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and St Patrick’s Primary School on developing an online collaborative classroom with Microsoft Office 365 in Glow.

Office 365 in Glow

These sessions led staff through an exploration of various features within Office 365, including class sites created within SharePoint as part of Microsoft Office 365 (which is accessed via their Glow username), as well as the Falkirk Council local authority site and a site within the national site which provided exemplars of pupil engagement activities.

Task Workflow – easy, secure sharing of pupil work with their teacher

Each Glow user (pupils and staff) has an Outlook email account as part of the Microsoft Office 365 account included in Glow where each user has 50GB storage, and each email can have attachments up to 25MB, and their own secure cloud storage (each user has unlimited storage in this OneDrive). So staff were shown (and carried out this themselves) how a task can be set by a teacher (perhaps using the discussion webpart in their class site) and each individual pupil can then create their response in their own OneDrive using Word Online (so Word does not need installed on any device), and then they can share it with their teacher (just by clicking on “Share” within the document, adding the teacher’s Glow username and clicking “share” to automatically both send it by email to the teacher, and making it available in the “Documents shared with me” part of the teacher’s OneDrive for easy access).

The teacher, with whom the pupil’s document has been shared, can then either edit the document in Word Online or simply click on “Insert” in the edit menu to add comments at appropriate parts in the pupil’s document, to provide feedback, encouragement and suggestions for change. All of this is able to be seen by the pupil instantly the changes or comments have been added.

Collaborative Document

Staff were shown how they could open a Word Online document in Office 365 in Glow to be editable by as many users as they chose, opening the possibility for groups of pupils to collaborate on the same document online all at the same time from their own computers, or mobile devices – staff trying this out could see that they could all view the same document being edited in front of their eyes with different coloured flags appearing on screen to show who was editing the different parts of the document.

Class Shared Resources

All classes have their own online space within Office 365 in Glow. A class space includes, by default, a discussion app (which provides the facility for pupils sharing their work with the teacher who has set the task, and for asking questions in a controlled class environment, peer to peer or teacher-pupil in the confines of a private class area); weblink sharing; a document store (where documents were created using Microsoft Word Online as part of Office 365, meaning that the document can be created online without need for the software to be installed on the PC or mobile device); and a picture gallery. Further apps can be added to these class spaces (so some include a class calendar, or media-specific gallery for uploading videos or audio recordings), and each page is easily editable by the class teacher. In most cases class sites are set up so that pupils can only add to the discussion area (though this can be changed by staff should they so wish), whereas staff can add and edit throughout the class site.

Collaboration via Video-Conferencing

imageStaff were shown that Glow includes two options for staff to use video-conferencing between classes or between schools.

These are the Office 365 Lync tool (which works like Skype, with which many are already familiar), set up as simply as adding an entry in the online calendar, inviting collaborators by adding their username, ticking the box to add an online meeting, and then clicking the share button to send an invitation via email to all invited to take part in the video-conferencing meeting. Currently this is only available to staff users.

The second option is Adobe Connect which provides more options for varying access permissions for different users, so that some may be able to present a Powerpoint presentation, others may be able to talk via microphone, or some may only be able to view the content and video (interacting via chat text messaging).

Access via Mobile Device

OneNoteAll parts of Glow can be accessed via a mobile device either via the mobile device browser or via different apps for each tool, including Office Mobile (in order to be able to edit Word or Powerpoint for example) and OneDrive for Business (the ordinary OneDrive app is for the likes of a personal Hotmail account).

Setting alerts for changes

Staff were shown how to set an alert in their class site so that they get sent a message whenever anything gets added or changed in their site. They were shown how to click onto their own MySite in Office 365 to access a page where they can see all of the sites they want to get to quickly (both within and outwith Glow), the contacts in Glow, the documents they store in their OneDrive and more.

Online Pupil Engagement Activities

They also had a look at the national Glow Winter Challenges site in which pupils have a host of activities which they can complete in order to gain points and online badges – which can be used right away with pupils, or provide ideas for teachers to adapt for use in their own class sites.

Glow provide access to hosts of resources with just one username and password

Glow provides access to many online resources which are provided with their Glow account, including, for example,  TigTag Science videos and teaching materials matched to Curriculum for Excellence Science at all levels, Scran (enormous digital archive of videos and images with associated information), film archives and several other subject-specific and cross-curricular resources.

Resources to support Staff in Using Glow

Staff can click on the following link to access support material for using Glow: http://tinyurl.com/l5zmeqw (Glow login required – access restricted to staff); as well as at the national Glow Connect site: http://connect.glowscotland.org.uk/

Engaging with Learning Activities using QR codes & mobile devices

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, presented a professional development session to teachers from several educational establishments on engaging with learning using QR codes and mobile devices. This session was supported by Yvonne Manning, Principal Librarian, Service and School Improvement Team of Falkirk Council Education Service, and colleagues within the Learning Resource Service of Falkirk Council Education Services.

Participants first took part in a pre-created activity trail to interact with Falkirk Council Education Services Learning Resource Service based in Camelon Education Centre​. This involved participants making use of their own mobile device to scan the QR codes which were located within various parts of the building, each of which revealed a task to complete, and then provided a clue to find the next QR code and associated task.

This particular activity trail had been created using the QR Code Treasure Hunt Creator from Classtools.net​ http://www.classtools.net/QR/index.php​ – which provides a step-by-step guide for use by educators creating their own learning trail for their own pupils.

The session demonstrated that QR codes used with mobile devices can be used across the curriculum and for all stages, and provide a quick way to present information or tasks in a form which engages learners in their learning. Examples were described including using QR codes for Class trails​, linking to audio feedback​, pupil videos talking about their artwork​ or practical work, teachers adding links to support resources on labels stuck on pupil work.

The session provided advice about what to consider when making use of mobile devices in an educational context (taking into account the AUP which can be found here https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/mobiledevices/documents/ and availability of wireless and mobile devices).

Rather than simply linking to information the features of the mobile device can also be harnessed when linking from a QR code. An example of how this was used in an outdoor learning context was shared, and a description of this can be found here:​https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/CurriculumSupport/2014/05/12/taking-ict-outdoors-with-mobile-devices/

The session provided guidance on a range of free QR Code ​Creators which are available​. Some provide different options (such as www.unitaglive.com/qrcode), some provide tracking and automatic shortlinks (e.g. http://goo.gl/), some provide step by step guide to creating different types of link (to text message, URL, text-only, etc)​.

For more about how they can be used, how to create QR codes and more click on the following link: 

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2012/03/13/qr-codes-what-are-they-and-how-can-they-be-used-in-and-out-of-the-classroom/

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.

Pupils as Digital Leaders at Shieldhill Primary School

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported a session with the Digital Leaders group of pupils in Shieldhill Primary School.

These pupils are being supported for them to then support classes around the school in the use of technologies in their classrooms. They are led by teacher Chiara Sportelli. This session let the pupils explore different apps within a specially created SharePoint site for them in Microsoft Office 365 (which is accessed via their Glow username).

This included the use of a picture gallery, a discussion app (which provides the facility for pupils sharing work with the teacher who has set the work, and for asking questions in a controlled class environment – that’s the point of the discussion page in Glow for each class, where the teacher can set the task, the pupils can attach their work, ask questions, and peers or the teacher respond in the confines of a private class area), weblink sharing, and a document store (where documents were created using Microsoft Word Online as part of Office 365, meaning that the document can be created online without need for the software to be installed on the PC or mobile device).

The pupils then shared their documents with each other, inviting their peers to comment and add comments to the documents online. Then they all collaborated on the same document online all at the same time from their own PCs – and there were squeals of surprise when they could all see the same document being edited in front of their eyes with different coloured flags appearing on screen to show who was editing the different parts of the document!

The pupils then used a collaborative OneNote file which had been created in their online space – each pupil created their own page within this online ring-binder tool and added their thoughts on what they felt their contribution could be in taking the group forward in supporting the use of technologies in Shieldhill Primary School. OneNote works online or via a deskop PC or a mobile device (and is also part of the suite of tools included for all users of Glow). For more information about OneNote click here.

More information about Digital Leaders can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/2014/04/23/pupils-as-digital-leaders/