Category Archives: Denny Primary School

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.”

GTCS Validates Falkirk Employee Review and Development

General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) validates Falkirk Council Education Services Employee Review and Development (ERD) Framework

As part of the ongoing development of our ERD strategy, a team led by Norrie McKay from the GTCS visited Falkirk today to carry out a validation exercise. Along with Margaret Mackay (West Dunbartonshire) and Tara Lillis (NASUWT), Norrie met Anne Pearson, Service Manager of the Curriculum Support Team and Anne Hutchison, Support Officer Professional Development with the Curriculum Support Team as well as four groups of GTCS registered staff.

The groups included:

  • Permanent class teachers
  • Temporary and supply teachers
  • Promoted teachers
  • Specialist teachers ( Art, Music, PE, Outreach, Preschool Home Visiting, Specific Learning Differences teams)- Centre based staff ( QIOs, Pupil Support Manager, Curriculum Support Officer, Probationer Supporters, Support Teacher – Effective Learning and Teaching)

The purpose of the visit was to endorse the validity of the ERD process for GTCS registered staff in relation to Professional Update.

Anne Pearson and Anne Hutchison presented on the history of PRD in Falkirk. They discussed the big messages about the development of the revised ERD process (Glow log in required)and shared three key papers that explain the rationale and processes related to ERD. An engaging professional dialogue took place which was informative for all!

To validate the assertions made by the accountable officers, the GTCS team then met with 4 groups of staff who are involved in the new process and have informed opinions about their work profile & self evaluation prompt materials (Glow login required) . Once the triangulation process had been carried out, Anne Pearson and Anne Hutchison rejoined the validation team to hear the outcome of their scrutiny. Norrie McKay shared the team’s evaluation verbally and the service will receive a written report by the end of the session. This will be shared with all schools.

Overall, the feedback was highly positive and we anticipate that no conditions will be attached to the forthcoming validation report. Key strengths were identified:

– a quality process with quality documentation to back it up

– a clear vision for ERD in Falkirk with exemplary short, medium and long term planning

– coherence with other processes ( e.g. Recruitment, School Improvement Planning, Distributed Leadership)

– clear focus on the impact on teaching and learning

– high levels of trust in the process

– a continually improving process that responds to evaluations/feedback ( e.g. HT & validator survey monkeys)

– High quality partnerships with staff

– Staff think the central team has its finger on the pulse in relation to professional learning

The following recommendations were put forward for consideration:

– ensure involvement of temporary and supply staff

– continue to develop advice on evidence portfolios for Professional Update

– continue to reflect on the revised standards ensuring alignment

– continue to develop the quality assurance processes

This is a cause for celebration and another example of the great work that is going on in Falkirk schools. Thanks to all who gave up time today. Thanks also to all who have given up time over the last 2 years designing, delivering, participating, testing and SUPPORTING!

Click here to go to the Glow Group for Falkirk Council Education Services Employee Review and Development

Exploring elements of planning with Denny Early Years Cluster

On Tuesday 16th April Yvonne McBlain from the Curriculum Support Team worked with 27 early years practitioners from the Denny cluster. She facilitated a workshop which explored how practitioners were integrating essential elements of assessment into their planning of interdisciplinary learning. The workshop gave these practitoners an opportunity to work with their establishment colleagues on 2 “challenges”. These challenges were designed to enable collaborative and individual self-evaluation of planning effective connected learning. They also supported identification of the most relevant next steps for partricipants. The session was designed to generate questions as well as providing access and guidance on next steps. Participants said that the session was “useful” “informative” “made you think” and was “well-designed and enjoyable”. Here is a selection of next steps identified by participants:

Further conversations with colleagues around planning

Think more about what our success criteria will be while planning – which should make evidence and assessment more relevant

Develop team’s ability to identify appropriate learning intentions and success criteria

Review approach to planning

Share with other staff (higher classes in school)

Exciting changes at Denny Town Centre

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, based at Camelon Education Centre attended an exciting meeting with Jacquie McArthur, Economic Development Officer within the Council’s Economic Development, Growth and Investment team today.

Plans are moving along for the new Denny Town Centre and Jacquie and Lynne will be meeting in early April to design a twilight CPD session aimed at staff in the Denny Cluster (but open to all) on utilising the town centre development as a context for learning. 

The session, which will be held in Camelon Education Centre on 22nd May, will include information on the plans, suggestions of how this can be tied into lessons and opportunities to consider skills development around the activities.   

The descriptor will be out to schools post Easter, so watch this space!  This could be just what you were looking for to make those crucial My Future’s in Falkirk links for your Enterprise Awards.

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.

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.

Quality Physical Education -2 hour target

Morag Young, Physical Education Lead Officer,  in Falkirk Council Education Services, Curriculum Support Team has been engaging in series of meetings supporting the delivery of quality physical education in Falkirk primary schools. These meetings with Headteachers of Denny and Graeme cluster primary schools were to explore a variety of ways in which schools were able to meet the delivery of the 2 hour target to fulfil the pupil entitlement. These discussions provide the means to share different solutions to the different contexts in relation to staffing, accomodation and resources to name but a few.