Category Archives: Fourth Level

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.

Physical Education Conference

Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team attended the  inaugural conference for the Scottish Association of Physical Education Teachers (SATPE). This was held at  Tulliallan Castle on Saturday 2nd November 2013.   The occasion highlighted the importance of professional dialogue, the sharing of good practice and the unity of practitioners across the country. The key note speaker was Paralympian David Smith, a truly inspirational individual.

Presentations from the event will be available from the website shortly. www.SATPE.co.uk 

Individuals can join SATPE for £25 or a primary school membership costs £40. For this membership you will gain access to an online journal, teaching resources, notification of relevant events and discounts from association sponsors.

The PE Lead Officers across Scotland are encouraging schools to join the association to assist their professional development in reaching the 2 hour PE target.

Satisfying the yearning for mobile learning!

Stuart Lennie and Malcolm Wilson of the Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team have been working to create a Mobile Devices in Falkirk Education Blog.

The blog is designed to support Falkirk Council education establishments in their use of mobile devices in learning and teaching.

Beginning from September 2013, this site will develop to have further materials as work develops in establishments.

Click here to visit the blog: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/mobiledevices/

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/LkiRWTJYPS0" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

Good Grammar = Good Manners – your thoughts?

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Falkirk Council has been examining the area of grammar in relation to developing literacy attainment in Falkirk Schools.

Sharon started this project off by talking to pupils fro P5, P6 and P7 at Stenhousemuir and Laurieston Primary Schools. Here is a collection of their thoughts:

The pupils then went on to explore a wide range of grammar resources which included: books, games, websites, grammar literacy maps, CD containing grammar songs and grammar dictionaries.

 They really enjoyed the grammar games and websites and thought they would be most effective to support with their learning of grammar.

The pupils were really enthusiastic about the resources and developing a blog to support other learners.

Here are a few of the websites we looked at:

http://www.dreaded-apostrophe.com/

http://www.apostrophe.org.uk/page2.html

http://www.spellingsociety.org/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/

Watch this space for further developments! Thanks to the pupils from Stenhousemuir and Laurieston for their active involvement in this exciting project!

English Focus Group – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher and Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer, both of the Curriculum Support Team have begun work with a focus group of English teachers with representatives from all Falkirk High Schools.

This group has been set up to identify the key features of current approaches to the learning and teaching of English and to identify commonalities and differences between Primary and Secondary establishments.

The group began the first meeting defining Active Literacy. They then went onto provide an overview of current practice in the teaching of English in their schools.

 Colleagues from our High Schools have requested a further meeting with Sharon and Carol to examine the Active Literacy key methodologies and strategies explicitly taught at Early, First and Second level.

Sharon was able to share some of the online resources available via GLOW, Falkirk’s You Tube Active Literacy training videos as well as the Curriculum for Excellence – engaging parents short film.

Colleagues were able to consider next steps in establishing effective transition of literacy skills across learning. These included sharing ideas with their department, reviewing materials on GLOW and finding out more about Active Literacy in their cluster primary schools.

Comments included:

‘Am looking forward to coming back and finding out more about Active Literacy’.

‘Thanks – looking forward to meeting again’.

Cooperative Learning – Secondary SLA training

Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher, along with Carol Paton, both of the Curriculum Support Team delivered a Cooperative Learning academy to 80 Secondary High School Support for Learning Assistants at Grangemouth High School.

The academy examined a range of Cooperative Learning strategies and aimed to raise confidence and knowledge of how to support class teachers and lead small groups using Cooperative Learning techniques.

Newly formed ‘home’ teams developed their team identity with the design of a flag which encapsulated commonalities. One stray, three stray was used to share the learning. Colleagues also participated in ‘think, pair, share’, ‘stand and deliver’, ‘paired reading’ and  group processing activities. A range of social skills were included across all of the activities.

Class builders included an ‘inside/ outside circle’, ‘corners’, ‘find someone who’ and  clock partners.

The day concluded with the sharing of team poems which were delivered with confidence, enthusiasm and lots of laughter!

Next steps were examined and colleagues returned to their schools to share their new learning.

Click here to view full presentation: SLA day course revised april 2013

For more information on Cooperative and Collaborative learning, please visit: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningteachingandassessment/approaches/collaboration/index.asp

Using Reciprocal Teaching to Engage Parents in Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, along with Class teachers and  pupils, carried out an Active Literacy Parental Awareness Workshop at Deanburn Primary School.

Pupils participated in an overview of the strategies and methodologies relating to Active Literacy before engaging parents in an active workshop.

Pupils used the Reciprocal Teaching method to engage their parents in activities such as: spell-er-cise, fun spelling tasks, Elkonin boxes, diacritical marking and dictated sentences.

Parental feedback was collected by P7 pupils.

‘What did you like about the Active Literacy Workshop?’

  • WOW
  • Very informative session will definitely use some of those ides with my son
  • Very useful workshop has gave me a greater understanding of my daughter’s learning journey when she starts P.1
  • It was good to get to see what kind of activities go on in schools in Falkirk council
  • I have a much better understanding of literacy and thought it was very intelligent of the children how they explained it

‘Which ideas or advice will you use to support your child?’

  • I will use the recipe checking together and the list making for shopping and packing bags
  • I will read more to my children even they are older
  • Very informative, especially diacritical marking #
  • I will try and make up stories in the car with my son
  • I loved it
  • I will get them to think of unusual ways to learn tricky words (e.g. mnemonics or words within words)

Parents took way Active Literacy leaflets which contain a glossary of terms, useful websites and lots of great ideas to support literacy activities at home.