Category Archives: Bothkennar Primary School

Commonwealth in rhyme – creating and editing audio recordings to share online

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services, supported pupils from the Grangemouth High School cluster to create and edit audio recordings which they shared online as part of a national Digital Commonwealth project. Creating, editing and using an online tool to share recordings provided one set of skills learned across a series of themes in this project.

Working with Dugald MacGilp (of Young Reporters for the Environment, part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Charity) and Steve Duffy of Grangemouth High School the pupils were set the task of creating an audio recording of a piece of writing in rhyme which represented a Commonwealth country of their choice. Some groups of pupils chose to find a representative poem from a Commonwealth country of their choice, while some did some research about their chosen Commonwealth country and their Commonwealth athletes (in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow) before creating a piece of writing, poem or rap.

Click here for Jamaica Rap which one group of pupils pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo, free online podcasting host.

Click here for Swaziland Rap which another group of pupils created, edited in Audacity (including adding backing sounds) and uploaded to AudioBoo.

Audacity is free downloadable software which works like a word-processor except it is used to edit  audio recordings. With a simple click on a record button in the screen, and with a connected headset/microphone a redording can quickly be made of any audio. Once recorded there are simple cut/copy and paste icons just as in a word-processor to remove unwanted noise or move elements and reuse in a different sequence. It can also be used to have multiple tracks so that once the spoken word (for example) is recorded you can play it back and also record a new track at the same time (such as to add a beat sound). Once you are finished editing the audio you can go to File – export – and save as an mp3 file which is then ready to be shared with others for playing back. Click here for more information about where to download the Audacity software and how to use it.

AudioBoo is one of a number of free online tools which can be used to either upload previously recorded mp3 files or to record straight from microphone. The resulting AudioBoo recording can then be shared with others and played straight from the page where it is stored.

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

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.

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.”

Small Schools World of Work Day at Scottish Prison Service College

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, Curriculum Support team delivered the opening session at the latest Small School World of Work day which was hosted by the Scottish Prison Service College at Polmont Young Offenders Institute on 28th February.

The event which was  planned, resourced and  managed by a team of teachers from the Small School Cluster led by Shirley Garioch from Avonbridge PS, gathered 108 pupils  from Avonbridge, Bothkennar, Blackness, California, Drumbowie, Limerigg and Whitecross Primary Schools to undertake four work based sessions with employers. 

The focus of the day was ‘planning for choices and changes’ and the young people were looking at how the skills they are developing in school transfer to a work environment.

Workshops were provided by a Veterinary Nurse,  Childsmile Consultant,  Police Diver,  Mathieson’s Baker, Glisten Hairdresser, Scottish Prison Service  Officer, the Marketing Manager from the Helix and a farmer from RHET accompanied by Valerie, the Forth Valley model Cow!

The young people were a real credit to their schools and following the highly successful event, our partners at Scottish Prison Service said they would be delighted to welcome pupils back.

Staff booking onto CPD

Jamielee Dickson, Clerical Assistant within the Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team deals with staff booking onto courses. Jamielee is the person at the end of the phone or sending e-mails for staff booking onto professional development.

Employee Review and Development (ERD)

Anne Hutchison, Support Officer for Professional Development in Falkirk Council’s Education Services Curriculum Support Team has been co-ordinating the implementation of the new ERD scheme. 

Falkirk Council’s key education policy, Learning to Achieve  states  ‘In a culture of ongoing self-evaluation and professional accountability, practitioners will be encouraged to be proactive in their own professional developments in line with personal, establishment and authority priorities.’

Anne has worked with colleagues across our schools to devise Work Profiles which set out their key accountabilities in their daily practice. Those profiles will be used to support regular self evaluation of practice, and to focus the discussion at one to one meetings with line managers.  What’s the difference beteween the new scheme and the former PRD process?  ERD is an ongoing process, rather than just an annual review.  At the end of the day, we need to ensure that all staff have a responsibility to deliver the very best support for Falkirk’s children and young people- this can only be achieved by having a workforce that reflects on what they do, and takes action to improve.

Click here to see the Glow Group Employee Review and Development (ERD)- please note that a Glow username and password are required to access this group, which is open to Falkirk staff only.

Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics

Anne Forrest from Steljes presented a continuing professional development course to staff from a wide range of primary schools in Falkirk on “Using a Smart Board to Support Active Learning in Primary Mathematics.” This was organised and supported by Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team.

This provided hands-on guidance to making use of many of the interactive features of Smart Notebook software to support staff to make learning and teaching in mathematics more engaging for pupils.

Reference was made to resources available to download for free at Smart ExchangeSmart Notebook Express provides a means to access some of the tools in Smart Notebook online.

The presentation by Anne Forrest, along with a host of other resources colleated by Malcolm Wilson to support Falkirk teachers to be able to download the software for use at home, can be found by clicking on the Falkirk Glow Group for ICT in Learning and Teaching.

Comments from participants included:

“Lots of interactive ways to engage learners – opportunities to try these out were useful.”

“Excellent ideas to take away.”

“Very good tips on using the Smart Board in class.”

“Excellent mix of information and practical activity.”

“Extremely helpful course which has provided a vast amount of knowledge and resources to help deliver engaging lessons.”