Category Archives: Bonnybridge Primary School

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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Sharing Classroom Chick Egg Hatching

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of  Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, has provided advice on request to various schools when they are taking part in a chick egg hatching project as part of science, and health & wellbeing elements of the curriculum.

So that pupils can enjoy watching the activities of the egg hatching and of the chicks, and share that with their parents and carers, at times outwith normal classroom times, often schools want to find ways to share live video of the eggs and chicks.

At its simplest a school could use a class blog, or the school website or the class, school (or specially set up project) Twitter account to share periodic photographs with short descriptive text of the activity happening. Recorded video could also be similarly shared.

However schools most frequently want to be sharing what’s happening at times outwith the normal school day.

So this is where live streaming of video via a webcam connected to a PC can provide the answer.

St Patrick’s Primary school in Denny is one recent example of a Falkirk primary school which set up live video streaming of the chick egg hatching process. Click here to see recorded excerpts from the live stream of the chick egg hatching project at St Patrick’s Primary School.

Do you want to set up live video streaming for a chick egg hatching project in your school?

Click here for a description of the process for setting up live video streaming for a chick egg hatching project.

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

Coffee, croissant, controversy Planning Meetings

Yvonne McBlain and Karen Thomson of Falkirk curriculum support team facilitated two lively sessions recently with principal teachers, depute and head teachers. The initial session explored how our establishments were including each element of the NAR planning flow chart in their planning processes. Discussion focused on the numbers of layers of planning being used, and how this was contributing to the improvement of teaching and learning. Participants requested a second session to enable them to bring along and share their planning layers and documentation.

So, on 10th December Julie McKenna shared how Airth Primary are using a digital tool to manage their planning. Staff use this system to create discrete and interdisciplinary units of work in the form of planning wheels with skills and other information noted. They are able to track both the depth and coverage of experiences and outcomes and the progression of skills. At Airth PS, all staff collaborate to create the annual long term plan, and their planning wheels form the rest of their planning structure, with any other detail being recorded in the weekly plans. Julie and her staff now intend to develop how they integrate their  assessment and recording into their planning. 

 Jill Stocks and Andrew Watson from Bonnybridge Primary shared how they use the Learning Unlimited tool “Realistic Record Keeping and Powerful Planning”. Bonnybridge PS staff work from the experiences and outcomes to create annual master plans for literacy, numeracy, and non core learning. Further detailed planning takes place in weekly plans, meaning that the school has two layers of planning. You can click here to see a collection of the master plans for second level. Staff are also using maths pathways to support their planning of progression in specific numeracy skills – click here to view. Jill and Andrew now intend to develop their tracking of coverage and depth of learning within the E & Os. They value the way this planning tool has enabled a significant shift away from a resource-led approach to planning, increased focus on the principles of curriculum design, and a reduction of paperwork for planning. Early years senior managers also shared their development of floor books as their main planning layer  in nursery settings. They value the way floor book planning makes visible the relevance, personalisation and choice and progression of learning for pre and ante-pre school children. It was noted that not all practitioners are comfortable yet with not having additional layers of planning and documentation.

The rest of the meeting consisted of really valuable discussion of how to effectively integrate assessment, manage tracking and monitoring, and how to enhance awareness of when each of the four contexts for learning is being addressed. Click here to see the power point presentation for this second meeting.

Active Literacy – Networking

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has hosted three Active Literacy Networking sessions this week at Camelon Education Centre.  Colleagues participated in Early, First and Second level network meetings with a focus on sharing good practice and professional discussion around literacy.

Colleagues from a number of Falkirk Council establishments participated in a range of activities including: updates, Using Smart Notebook Toolkit 2.0 and sharing good practice. Sharon was delighted to hear all the good practice and good news stories happening. It is really encouraging to hear how confident pupils are using the six key comprehension strategies in reading and how much pupils are enjoying learning new strategies to help with their common/ tricky words.

Teachers were provided with an update of all things new in the world of literacy including:

  1. The Literacy Strategy
  2. Every Day’s  a Learning Day
  3. The Daily What (Bothkennar’s article)
  4. Courses delivered this term including Using Twixter and Fakebook
  5. The Thinking Reader approach
  6. Using Blooms fans and comprehension skills triangles

Sharon demonstrated how Smart Notebook Toolkit 2.0 can be used to create effective learning experiences for spellings and phonics. Colleagues then produced their own Active Literacy games using anagram, keyword, multiple choice, sentence arrange, vortex sort, word biz and word guess.

Sharon then invited colleagues to share examples of good practice and these included:

  • Bainsford Primary teachers Emma Cuthbert and Claire Morrison shared some fabulous evidence of literacy using the outdoor environment and also how they have been engaging with parents and consolidating phoneme work. They also recommended the use of online support materials such as Geraldine the Giraffe!
  • Helen McNeill from Whitecross Primary shared some fabulous task cards she has produced to enable her learners to be independent in their Active Literacy activities.
  • Laura Cotton, a probationer from Bo’ness Public has produced her own materials using Toolkit 2.0 and she shared her lesson on the phoneme ‘ee’

Some colleagues were unable to attend, but still shared their good practice and these included:

  • Andrew Watson, DHT from Bonnybridge Primary kindly shared his reading planner for ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar’
  • Carol from Laurieston shared her Reading toolkit for second level
  • Alison Marshall from Drumbowie shared her reading planner for Carrie’s War

Suggestions for the theme for the next round of network meetings included – more ideas using Toolkit 2.0 and reading. The Daily What and Film Club have offered to attend our network meetings to share what they can do to support schools too.

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

Effective Teaching – Uganda style

 

Yvonne McBlain, from Falkirk Council curriculum support team was fascinated to hear about the parallels observed by Sarah Ritchie and Jill Stocks during their recent visit to Uganda. Sarah  embarked upon this visit expecting to focus on the differences between Scottish teaching and that delivered in Uganda. However, instead she has been struck by the similarities of the fundamental elements of teaching in Kampala and Bonnybridge!  One of her first observations was the sharing of learning objectives with pupils – in Kampala classrooms these are very effectively shared with pupils – despite the differences in resourcing levels there. Teachers in Uganda are challenged by very large classes, small classrooms and limited resources – a chalk board and a piece of chalk basically. In spite of these limitations these teachers are making extremely effective use of what we would call formative assessment. Other aspects of practice familiar to Scottish teachers commonly used were: pupils teaching pupils, active strategies used to gauge understanding, regular peer feedback, a very natural and integrated use of outdoor learning, and a very creative range of randomising techniques. Teachers at every stage ensured that pupils had a clear understanding of success criteria for their tasks. The ethos and life of this Kampala school was overwhelmingly positive and affirmative and achievement and learning was truly and enthusiastically celebrated. Click here to view a page of teacher planning Uganda style, and click on the pictures at the start of this post to see short video clips taken by Sarah during her visit.

Active Literacy – P6/7 Training

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer of the Curriculum Support Team has carried out Active Literacy training over the past two weeks with 54 teachers. The two three hour sessions examined the writing programme incorporating spelling and the reading programme.

Session one looked at how teachers can support pupils in becoming independent spellers. Pupils are taught strategies to use their previously learned knowledge of phonemes and spelling rules to more complex, polysyllabic words.

 The course examined the programme for spelling strategy work, alongside the new addition of ‘vocabulary building’, homophones and common confusions. Trials of the programme so far indicate that pupils are really enjoying the investigation element of prefixes and suffixes and how these affect the meaning of words.

The session also examined the writing genres covered at second level looking at incorporating writing trios, chunking, use of genre success criteria and next steps.

Session two focused on the development of the six key comprehension strategies across a range of texts. These strategies are:
1. Prior knowledge and prediction
2. Metalinguistics
3. Visualisation
4. Inference
5. Main ideas
6. Summarising and paraphrasing.

Sharon demonstrated how to develop these skills using a traditional ‘novel’ text, moving image (film trailer) and a poem. The course also looked at using online tools such as Powtoon, go animate and twixster to develop reading skills.

Colleagues were given a ‘Stories Allways’ resource containing a range of Scottish myths and legends as well as two CDs. This is a great resource as it provides pupils with a range of challenging questions, tasks and a synopsis of each tale.

Colleagues enthusiastically participated in a range of Active Literacy activities across the course of the two sessions and feedback so far has been really positive.

“The course was delivered extremely well by Sharon Wallace and the resources provided were very useful.”

“The course was presented over 2 days in which it provided an overview of the key methodologies and strategies as outlined in North Lanarkshire’s Active Literacy 6/7 programme. I thought all aspects of the course were useful and it enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the 6/7 programme which I will now be able to confidently implement in the classroom.”

“I am new to teaching as well as the Active Literacy programme. I had very little knowledge and understanding prior to the course however I now feel I can confidently implement active literacy in the classroom.”

“Sharon is a very enthusiastic presenter and it is clear that she wholly believes in the Active Literacy Programme. Her passionate delivery and ideas instil in you, the confidence to have a go in your own classroom.”