Category Archives: Third 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

Using Media to Support Literacy Skills

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team and John Doherty, Principal Teacher of English and Literacy at Larbert High School this week delivered a CPD opportunity to staff from the Braes Cluster.

The aims for this session were:

•To provide an overview of ways to use ‘cultural tools’ to support pupils to learn and express their ideas

•To explore ways pupils can read with understanding, communicate effectively face to face, in writing and through an increased range of media

Sharon began with an overview of the six reading comprehension skills and outlining the range of media resources available to support the development of these skills.

John began by outlining the key differences between a ‘book’ as text and ‘film’ as text:

John then identified the different types of camera angles: close-up, extreme close-up, high/ how angle shot, long shot, point of view shot, zoom and tracking. John showed different stills from a range of films and the teachers identified each shot.  The teachers were then asked to use their mobile devices to produce a camera shot from this list.

John then went onto analysing the use of music in film and we learned that music in film is known as the soundtrack. It  can be divided into two categories –

   a. Diegetic music (in the film – characters can hear)

  b. Non-diegetic music (music that characters cannot hear – not part of the film’s ‘reality’)

We then analysed a scene from Jurassic Park identifying examples of diagetic and non-diagetic music.

The final part of the course looked at the effect of lighting in film. We analysed a range of stills taken from recent films and examined the effect the lighting had on the meaning of the text.

At the end of the session, colleagues put all of their newly learned knowledge and skills to the test by analysing the film trailer for War Horse.

Feedback from this session was very positive and the course will be running again at Camelon Education Centre on March 5th from 4 til 5.30pm. (Course Code SW008). We are also hoping the Film Club will be attending this session too to share how Falkirk establishments can sign up to the fabulous range of resources on offer to support the development of literacy skills using film as text.

For more information about this and other literacy courses, please contact Sharon Wallace.

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.

Scottish Learning Festival 2013 – Sharing Good Practice

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team delivered a workshop to 95 colleagues from across Scotland and beyond at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival.

The theme of the presentation was ‘Sharing the Learning with Parents/ Carers – Active Methodologies’ and the aim of the session was to provide an overview of the wide variety of approaches Falkirk establishments are using to share active methodologies with parents and carers.

The agenda for the workshop was:

  • An overview of the Falkirk picture
  • An explanation of the range of active methodologies used in Falkirk
  • Parent/ carer workshops on offer
  • Literature/ leaflets used
  • Online methods – blogs/ you tube/ twitter
  • Working in partnership with schools/ partners
  • How this fits into Falkirk’s Literacy Strategy 2013 – 2016

Three pupils from Kinneil Primary School spoke eloquently and confidently about their experiences helping out at active learning workshops for parents. They talked about how attending the parental workshop gave their own parents ideas on how to support their homework.

Sharon shared a short video of Susan Dyer from Bankier Primary School explaining the impact an active learning workshop had on her school, as well as a video from a Bankier parent describing what it meant to her and her family.

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https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/LiteracyStrategy/

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Feedback included:

"Inspirational, you have really motivated me!"

"Thank you for sharing the Active Literacy parental leaflets - they are very useful."

Lots of delegates who attended this seminar then came along to Falkirk Council's stand in the Local Authority Village to enquire about our short animations Falkirk has developed on CfE and Active Literacy.

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!

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/

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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!