Category Archives: Fourth 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.

Subject Development Groups

Gillian Campbell (Curriculum Support Officer for Secondary) has been working, since taking up post in September, on the creation of ‘Subject Development Groups’ (SDGs) for Falkirk schools. At present we now have 25 groups representing the subject areas which our secondary schools present to SQA for new National Qualifications.

Each secondary school can appoint a subject specialist to join this group and the majority of the 25 SDGs have represenatation from each of the schools.

In their most recent meetings these groups have created action plans detailing the development work they feel is needed for the coming year in their specific subject area. Individuals and groups have opted to take on pieces of development work which will then be shared across the authority.

In additon to planning upcoming developments these groups discuss their experiences in implementating the NQs and as a platform for quality assurance of materials and for completing authority level moderation. In a time of massive curricular change in Scotland there has been recognition of the importance of secondary teachers working across schools to share workload and these groups are an excellent example of such collaboration.

For more information on SDGs and their work email: gillian.campbell@falkirk.gov.uk

Spelling Bee

Yvonne Manning , Principal Librarian, Service and School Improvement Team of Falkirk Council Education Service attended Larbert High School’s first Spelling Bee. It was an excellent event with pupils from S2 who overcame their nerves to stand on the stage in front of their peers and pupils from Kinnaird PS and Stenhousemuir PS to show their excellence in spelling. Award winning author Nicola Morgan, Larbert High School’s Patron of Reading, was there and her main message to us was that reading  for enjoyment helps the brain to perform better! Nicola also presented  prizes to the pupils.

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.

RED Book Award

 

Yvonne Manning , Principal Librarian, Service and School Improvement Team of Falkirk Council Education Service led the 8th RED Book Award ceremony on the 29th January  2014 in the Falkirk Town Hall.

 The shortlist this year was Mortal Chaos by Matt Dickinson, Torn by David Massey, Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley and Slated by Teri Terry.

This year there was an international dimension to the Book Award with young people from Nairobi (International School of Kenya and Mathare North Library) shadowing the award. It was very successful and they have renamed their book group The RED Book Club!

250 pupils from  the secondary schools in Falkirk Council participated in the Book Award reading, enjoying and debating the shortlisted books. Along with the Kenyan young people, they voted in December for their favourite book and planned a creative interpretation of one of the books to be performed at the award ceremony.

The Award ceremony had a wonderful atmosphere thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the young people. The performances showcased the creativity and  confidence of the young people. We particularly enjoyed the performances from Nairobi sent to us electronically. At the ceremony the radio broadcast team from St Mungo’s High School recorded interviews, pupil journalists from Graeme and Larbert High Schools wrote a news report which will appear in The Falkirk Council News, a film team from Braes High School filmed the event and a pupil from Falkirk High School, interested in photography, shadowed the council photographer.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Feedback from the some of the authors:

“Thank you so much for everything this week. I had the best time at the RED book awards. I think having the colour red as part of things added such a fun element to the day. I really enjoyed myself, and was amazed at how good the presentations by the schools were. ” Teri Terry

“Could I just say a big thank you, on behalf of David and myself, for the hospitality shown to us during our time in Falkirk. We enjoyed our visit to Scotland so much and are looking forward to returning when we have more time. Some of our favourite moments were seeing the children act out parts of the shortlisted books – especially Torn of course!” David Massey

And the winner of RED 8 is Slated by Teri Terry

Monitoring for Improvement in Active Methodologies

 

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Service and School Improvement Team, delivered a session to 25 Principal Teachers as part of their network programme. The course asked participants to consider how the use of active learning methodologies raises attainment across the curriculum.

Colleagues began the session using a placemat activity to examine questions, challenges, successes and barriers to monitoring active methodologies.

Sharon then provided an overview of the active literacy programme from Nursery to S1 which included: spelling and phonics, reading and writing. The principal teachers were provided with a range of materials to support effective monitoring in this area. They then watched a range of good practice videos highlighting active literacy strategies and methodologies in action in Falkirk schools.

Sharon then provided an overview of effective teaching strategies within cooperative learning and what to look out for in a ‘cooperative learning’ environment. Again, colleagues were able to watch a short series of videos highlighting the five basic elements of a cooperative learning lesson. Discussions were stimulated around the use of effective questioning and use of Assessment for Learning techniques.

The session concluded with participants stating next steps to further development effective monitoring in active methodologies.

For further information, please contact Sharon Wallace – sharon.wallace@falkirk.gov.uk

Feedback was positive with colleagues expressing thanks for the opportunity to see the whole programme across all stages.

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

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.