Category Archives: Comely Park 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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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.

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

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.

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

Taking Science Outdoors

A group of primary teachers spent a very wet morning with Jane Jackson,  Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team, exploring how to deliver Science in the outdoors.

Practical ideas from several of the CfE science organisers were demonstrated, and included exploring how small mammals keep warm during the cold, wet winter months.  The participants insulated their own ‘home made’ mammals in a range of ways and there was a lot of competition when we re-tested their core temperatures after 20 mins!

As well as giving teachers some practical ideas, the course encouraged participants to think about their planning, and consider where taking their learning outdoors would enhance the teaching and learnng experience for pupils.

Links to some of the supporting material used on the day can be found below:

minibeast ID key

nature detective resources

Science E’s and O’s handout

Comely Park Nursery Class

Comely Park Nursery Class chose Callendar Park for their venue for the Outdoor Learning Project.  Karen Thomson, Senior Early Years Officer, Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team, assisted staff in preparing for these visits and, following a parents information session (presentation for parents  ) supported all members of staff on the initial visits.  Comley Park staff were supported by a parent helper and this is continuing every week where a group (maximum of 10 children) will spend their nursery session in Callendar Park Woods.  The children come into nursery at the normal time and then walk to the Park – the staff felt this was very important to give children the opportunity to learn about safety issues as well as improving their fitness levels.

The children are encouraged to explore the woodland area and have the opportunity to risk assessment and challenge themselves through natural play.

Click here for videos of the sessions.

More videos

Outdoor Learning

Karen Thomson, Senior Early Years Officer, Falkirk Council Education Services, Curriculum Support Team provided support to nurseries prior to outdoor learning opportunities for early years children.

If you would like your nursery children to access a local woodland or greenspace here are some of the documents that could get you starting in your planning.  If you wish support in setting up this programme and supported visits from myself please contact me on 01324 503764.

Initial General Letter and Consent Form

Sample Outdoor Education flyer

Sample Powerpoint for Parents can be obtained by contacting Karen.