Category Archives: Bowhouse Primary School

Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Facilitators

On 9th October members of the initial cohort of facilitators for the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme had their first network meeting for  session 2014/15. The main agenda item for this meeting was a general catch up on how each facilitator was using the programme to facilitate professional learning for colleagues.

The whole Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme is available in Glow (click to visit) and is being used in a variety of ways by teachers and schools across the authority to impact on teaching and learning. Here is a brief outline of what the facilitators are doing now that their initial training is complete.

  • As a result of using session 6 Using Higher Order Taxonomies as part of Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view power point) Iain Farrington and colleagues at Antonine PS have developed this (click to view) High Order Skills poster for their classrooms. Staff will use the chart to help them explicitly plan HOS for one curriculum area per term. Their eventual aim is for pupils to be able to identify the higher order skills they are developing and applying. Iain’s TLC is a voluntary one which he and colleagues choose to attend.
  • Sharon Welsby at Stenhousemuir PS also facilitated session 6 for colleagues and will deliver session 7 Planning Higher Order Skills into Teaching for Deep Learning (click to view) next. Teachers at Stenhousemuir are trialling and sharing how they are building HOS into their practice and are also aiming to build pupil awareness and understanding of which skills they are using when.
  • Charlaine Simpson is very interested in session 3 – Effective Questioning as part of Teaching for Deep Learning. A new Learning and Teaching policy for Grangemouth HS has been launched which gives opportunities to integrate many elements of the TfDL programme.
  • Kim Davidson and colleagues at Bo’ness Public PS particularly enjoyed session 6 in early October and have used all of their sessions so far to engage in really valuable professional dialogue. Kim is skillfully adapting the session materials to tailor them for her TLC and feedback from her colleagues is very positive.
  • Susan Macleod at Bankier PS also had very positive feedback from colleagues following her facilitation of sessions last year. She and colleagues want to take more time over fewer sessions from the programme this year in order to delve deeper into specific areas of classroom practice. Their chosen sessions are built into their SBNC and linked to the school improvement plan.
  • Fiona Caygill facilitated 2 sessions in Bowhouse/Victoria PS last year and will also be using session 6 this year to support development of classroom practice around HOS.
  • Pamela Webster intends to work with her colleague Rosemary McGaw to offer voluntary TLC sessions (1 per term over this session) using the programme. They will consult colleagues in Larbert Village PS about which sessions from the programme would be the most valuable.

Yvonne McBlain is the curriculum support officer with accountability for the ongoing development of the programme. She will add further posts sharing detail and evidence of impact of the programme, and the next facilitator network meeting will take place on 5th February 2015.

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 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.”

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives and History On This Day – a support session for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools

Powtoon, School YouTube Channel, Twitter for Schools, Maths Interactives & History On This Day – some of the tools presented by Malcolm Wilson (ICT Curriculum Development Office in the Curriculum Support Team of Falkirk Council Education Services) at the support sessions for ICT Co-ordinators in Falkirk Primary Schools (and to which secondary ICT Co-ordinators are also invited) – an opportunity to be guided through a hands-on exploration and use of a variety of online tools to support learning and teaching in Falkirk primary schools.

* The YouTube Channels for Falkirk Council Education Services and schools provides a resource to share videos created for Education Services in Falkirk Council as well as a link to each of the YouTube channels of Falkirk Council educational establishments. Having a school YouTube Channel provides a means to upload school-created videos and more easily share or embed elsewhere such as class blogs or school websites. Playlists in a YouTube Channel also let you bring together videos, of relevance to your own school, created by others from elsewhere on YouTube in topic/curricular headings. Falkirk school YouTube channels are created centrally for each school on request so that the technical setup of settings, etc, is not a burden on schools, yet the control for the each school channel is with the school.

* Powtoon provides a free online tool to create short animated promotional videos for schools or event in schools. These can be embedded on school websites and blogs. These animated videos can be used to promote a school event, activity or explain a topic. A description and examples can be found here: http://glo.li/WY4Ek2.

Interactive Teaching Programs for Numeracy and Mathematics are free online resources designed for whole-class teaching via interactive whiteboard. Each tool is versatile in letting teachers use it in any way to best suit the needs of their learners. For each tool there is an extensive helpguide available as a pdf for viewing either on-screen or printing out. These tools are designed to support the teaching and learning process with a teacher guiding a pupil, group or class of pupils, through their learning, and a pace appropriate to them. They are flexible tools so can be used at many stages in primary school. There is a host of tools included covering: Area, Calculating angles, Coordinates, Counting on and back, Data handling, Decimal number line, Difference, Division Grid, Fixing points, Fractions, Grouping, Isometric grid, Line graph, Measuring cylinder, Measuring scales, Moving digits, Multiplication facts, Multiplication grid, Number dials, Number facts, Number facts, Number grid, Number line, Number spinners, Ordering numbers, Place value, Polygon, Remainders after division, Ruler, Symmetry, Tell the time, Thermometer, and Twenty cards. They are available online here: http://glo.li/UR9HOS

* #OnThisDay in History – resources for connecting historical events, related to specific anniversary dates, to pupils today, can provide a means to connect events of past with work in class on specific days across curriculum – helps make connections with the past whether for a curricular area, a historical topic era, or lesson starter on any specific day. These free online tools provide short descriptions of events which happened on each day in the calendar (for any year). They can be searched on specific days, and any year. So if studying a historical period such as World War 2, the Romans, etc then events in sequnce day by day in any particular year can be shown. If teachers like to help pupils relate to historical events sometimes the starting link can be to look at events which happened on the day (in any any year) of their birth, or the year of their birth. If looking for links to music events, or studying art techniques through artists in history, then there are specific sites here which group these related anniversaries of events (including first performances, display, births and deaths).   The information which suits the occasion for the teacher and learners on any specific occasion can be used on a class blog or school website as a “hook” to connect events yesterday and today http://glo.li/Whu37F

* Twitter for schools – most Falkirk schools have school  Twitter accounts to help share activities going on in the school and increase engagement by the wider community. A list of these Falkirk educational establishments with links to their Twitter feeds (as well as resources supporting the use of Twitter by schools) can be found here: http://glo.li/12iKXTz. Once the Twitter feed of posts is embedded on school websites, posting information via Twitter on a mobile device makes it quicker to add news items onto the website as the information being shared by the school is instantly shared on the website without the need to log into the editing panel of the school website. Using Twitter also means that parents and others in the school community can choose to follow the latest information from the school, and share this with others to help more widely spread the good work of the school. Support can be provided to schools looking at setting up and using a school Twitter account or getting it added to a school website.

Feedback from participants at the support sessions included:

“Great, practical ideas as ever!” JC – St Bernadette’s Primary School

“Lots of useful resources.” AW – Head of Muir Primary School

“Lots of great ideas today – very worthwhile.” GM – St Joseph’s Primary School

“Now a convert to Twitter!” CM – Bo’ness Academy

“Yet another very useful session – many thanks.” LB – Moray Primary School

“Helpful and informative insight into ICT developments.” SD – Grangemouth High School

“Lots of great ideas.” FB – Kinnaird Primary School

“Great information – thanks!” FK – Bantaskin Primary School

“Thank you – very informative as always!” CH – Comely Park Primary School

“Very practical and helpful as ever.” RO – Easter Carmuirs Primary School

Active Literacy – Differentiation – Bowhouse Primary School

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been looking for how class teachers in Falkirk have been differentiating the Active Literacy resource to meet the needs of all pupils.

Sharon met with P4 Class Teacher, Nicola Lorenzetti and her pupils in action with Active Literacy activities. The pupils were working through an exciting range of differentiated Active Literacy activities and eloquently explained to Sharon what they were doing.

Nicola Lorenzetti has organised individual literacy trays which contain all the resources needed for Active Literacy teaching, consolidation and application across other areas. These trays provide breadth, challenge and allow pupils to apply their skills across a range of activities including working with non-fiction texts, use of ICT and talking and listening activities.

This good practice is going to be shared at a forthcoming Active Literacy CPD event.

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.

Sharing the learning with an online class discussion tool

Continuing Professional Development Session

A Continuing Professional Development session presented by Malcolm Wilson of the Curriculum Support Team with staff at Bowhouse Primary School in Grangemouth provided the opportunity for staff to further explore the use of a class discussion tool within their own class Glow page.

Class Example

An example was shared of the use by P7C where pupils had been set the task by the teacher to create their own versions of a poem inspired by The Selkirk Grace by Robert Burns. Pupils responded with their own creative and humorous verses updating the words of the bard for today.

Discussion Space for Class Sharing the Learning

Well done P7C, and a nice example of where the Glow discussion tool provided a facility for sharing work within the confines of that class so that peers and teacher could share in confidence with peers in their learning journey prior to sharing it more widely in public elsewhere.

Feedback from Participants

Comments from participants included:

“I’m going to use the ‘news’ and discussion’ tools with a class”

“I intend to continue to use Glow discussions as a way of gathering pupil work””