Category Archives: Third Level

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

The Tireless work towards Wireless

 

Stuart Lennie, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, has been working with ICT Corporate Services to implement Wireless Technology into Education Services establishments. The installations follow many months of work to research and evaluate the best solution, with small scale pilots being undertaken in both Primary and Secondary schools.

The chosen solution, using Cisco Wireless Access points, provides fast and reliable Internet connectivity throughout the school. This means that Council ICT mobile devices, such as laptops, can be used at the point of learning, rather than the pupils moving around the school to access ICT. At the moment the solution is being deployed across all Secondary establishments, but by the new session work will have begun to progress installations in Primary schools too.

One added benefit of the solution is the additional provision of guest access for personal devices- which could be a laptop, tablet, phone, or media player. This access, often referred to as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) allows staff and pupils to connect to the wireless network using their existing username and password, providing them with filtered and secure Internet access in the school building.

Currently a small scale pilot is underway in Denny High school to allow pupils in two Senior Phase classes to receive this access on their personal devices. This work will allow for the development of policies and guidance documentation, as well as starting to build good practice in safe mobile device use in schools.

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Creative Conversation with Paul Collard

Gayle Martin, Arts & Culture Offiicer, Curriculum Support Falkirk Council Education has been working in partnership with Clare Hoare at Stirling Council to develop Creative Conversations.  The lastest event was led by Paul Collard.  Paul has over 25 years experience of working in the arts and is an expert in delivering programmes that use creativity and culture as drivers of social and economic change. He joined the U.K government’s flagship creative learning programme, Creative Partnerships in January 2005 and played a crucial role in clarifying the purpose of Creative Partnerships and streamlining the delivery of the programme in schools.  Paul delivered our latest Creative Conversation ‘How do we Capture & Measure Creativity’ on Wed 17th April at the Tollbooth. 

Throughout the session Paul discussed how to identify and recognise creativity in order to measure.  As part of the Creative Partnerships work in England Cambridge University carried out research examining the pedagogy of creative practice, as part of this they outlined the following:

Pupils need risk for motivation – this gives learners incentive to work. Schools can be too low risk – pupils need high visibility outcomes.  High functioning pupils will be physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually engaged equalling high performance pupils.  

 Other Creative indicators are:

Essential Psychological Needs

Key Ingredients

Defining Creativity

Creativity – What Is It?

Gayle Martin, Arts & Culture Officer, Curriculum Support Falkirk Council is working in partnership with Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council to develop Creative Learning.  Gayle recently attended a presentation by Sheila Paige of Education Scotland who is leading Creativity Across Learning, which is a creative review across a range of education establishments in Scotland.  The review will complete in June and results will be published in September.  As part of this Sheila was able to share how Education Scotland has defined Creativity, which is listed below:

 Definitions of Creativity

 Creative skills, sometimes referred to as capacities, include being:

  • Inquisitive
  • Open-minded
  • Able to harness imagination
  • Able to identify and solve problems

 We also define people who have well-formed creative skills as being:

  • Confident in their right and ability to influence change

 These organisers are used to describe more fully those key learning behaviours which will support the development of these skills and capacities.  The following list aims to expand these concepts.  It is not exhaustive but includes:

  • Being curious
  • Registering patterns and anomalies
  • Drawing on previous knowledge
  • Researching productively
  • Formulating good questions
  • Defining problems
  • Exploring multiple viewpoints
  • Functioning with uncertainty
  • Lateral thinking
  • Hypothesising
  • Synthesising and refining multiple options and viewpoints
  • Inventing
  • Crafting, delivering and presenting solutions
  • Applying discipline and resilience
  • Evaluating impact and success of solutions
  • Identifying next steps in refinement or development of process

We would also expect children and young people to become increasingly:

  • Motivated and ambitious for change
  • Confident in validity of their own viewpoint
  • Able to apply a creative process to other situations
  • Able to lead and work well with others

Active Literacy in the Secondary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team is currently working with two Falkirk Secondary Schools on a very exciting Active Literacy transition project.

The recently published Active Literacy pack takes the Active Literacy programme into S1 and Sharon is currently team teaching with John Doherty at Larbert High School and an S1 class, and soon Graeme High School, also with an S1 class on higher order reading skills.

The P4/5 Active Literacy pack develops the higher order skills introduced at P1-3 and the P6/7/S1 pack takes these skills even further.

The S1 classes are developing the six key reading comprehension skills using the Alfred Noyes poem ‘The Highwayman’ as a ‘text’.

The initial lesson looked at Strategy 1 – prior knowledge of ‘highwaymen’ and this period in time, followed by Strategy 2 – using ‘metalinguistics’ – picking out key phrases/ interesting vocabulary. The pupils then used Strategy 3 – using visualisers to produce a mind-map which incorporated the main themes of a non-fiction text about ‘Highwaymen’.

This is a very exciting project taking the Active Literacy programme into S1 and the skills even further into real life.

The second lesson in this series was really successful and examined comprehension strategies 3 (using visualisers), 4 (inference), 5 (main ideas) and 6 (paraphrasing). In a very short timescale, S1 pupils from Larbert High were able to produce visualisers to summarise the main ideas of two stanzas from the poem. Working in cooperative groups on two different stanzas each, the pupils were able to cover the entire poem. They then went onto producing a summary/ paraphrase of those two stanzas using only 140 characters and published these live on twitter.

Some of the tweets included:

‘The highwayman knocks on the window of the inn and finds Bess #younglove x’

‘The Highwayman is a structured poem which has good describing words #shotottheface

‘The highwayman rides to the inn. Sings a song to the girl. Redcoats make her shoot herself. #death

LGBT Young Person Group FKInclude

Marian Boyle Curriculum Support Officer Health and Well Being in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team supported the implementation of LGBT Young Person Group FKInclude. This is the new Falkirk group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and their friends and allies aged 13-26.This group runs every Thursday.  It  is an inspiring, fun and great place to be! There is a programme of weekly activities, which include workshops on young people rights, sexual health, ‘coming out’, mental health, the National Youth Council, LGBT History Month and Film nights, to name but a few. Workers and volunteers are also on hand for check-ins, support, advocacy and information.If you would like to be kept up to date with information about the group and other opportunities, please go to  www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/Falkirk

Active Literacy Network Meeting – Reading

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team was delighted to host the second Active Literacy Network meeting of this year at Camelon Education Centre. As usual, attendance was fantastic and colleagues were keen and enthusiastic to hear the latest Literacy developments, share good practice and network with colleagues. News was shared about the forthcoming P6/7/S1 packs, as well as links to useful websites relating to reading and updates relating to the Early Years conference. Colleagues from Stenhousemuir Primary and Bonnybridge Primary shared good practice from their schools. Colleagues considered using ‘film’ as a text, as well as using resources such as the Comprehension triangles for each stage.

Comments from colleagues included:

‘As usual, inspiring!’

‘Great getting input from teachers sharing good practice!’

‘These courses are fab and really support us!’

‘Enjoyed professional dialogue with other teachers’

‘As always, taking away some new ideas and an ‘enthusiasm’ boost!’

Active Literacy Parent Session at Ladeside Primary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, delivered an active literacy awareness raising session to parents and staff from Ladeside Primary and Carrongrange. The session involved 6 pupils from P1 – 3 who eloquently demonstrated their Active Literacy skills from all areas. The session began with an overview from Sharon, followed by Reciprocal Teaching of the parents by the pupils at various work stations.

Parental comments included:

‘Very enthusiastic presentation’

‘Homework now makes more sense’

‘Well presented, very helpful, will use the websites, thanks’.