Yvonne McBlain attended the most recent meeting of secondary professional learning co-ordinators to hear how Falkirk secondary schools are using an enquiring approach to their self-evaluation and development of teaching and learning. Yvonne provided an update on the success and impact of the practitioner enquiry element of Falkirk Children’s Services’ probationer induction programme. Co-ordinators from each school then shared how they are exploring the extent to which this approach can impact on learning. Ash Wood, depute head at Grangemouth HS wrote up the following account of what this looks like in his school.
We have purchased resources to supply a “practitioner enquiry” section for teachers in our library. We also offer limited financial support to enable teachers to buy resources to support their enquiry. When they have completed their findings these resources are added to the library. We have created a one side of A4 template for teachers to complete to share their findings with their colleagues. Mrs Laura Gallagher (Teacher of Chemistry) has developed an interactive “toolkit” for teachers to use to help them understand, prepare for and complete a practitioner enquiry. She has also conducted a pilot of the tool with her faculty colleagues and received very positive feedback both about the toolkit and the benefits of the practitioner enquiry process. Laura has also shared and demonstrated her toolkit to CPD Co-ordinators in the authority.
Dr Alex Fraser (Teacher of Biology) will present his practitioner enquiry on pupil voice to our Extended Leadership Team later this session to promote the benefits of practitioner enquiry and demonstrate its relevance. His findings will support PTs who have pupil voice as part of the Faculty Improvement Plans.
Laura will promote her toolkit, and practitioner enquiry in general at our staff meeting in February. Leanne Welsh and Amy Nichol, two of our NQTs from last session who are now with us permanently, will also share their practitioner enquiries from last session to illustrate the process and how it has benefited their practice.
We are currently considering using our core School Improvement Groups as a way of taking practitioner enquiry forward, while conscious that the voluntary nature of the exercise is key to teacher “buy-in”.
Whitecross Primary School celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The actual date is 5th December, but pupils, staff and parents are preparing to create a very special memento of the occasion.
Claire Quigley, head teacher at Whitecross PS , is collaborating with colleagues in Graeme HS and Camelon Education Centre to create a permanent clay tile installation for the foyer of the school. They are solving practical problems like how to get 250 plus tiles made and fired! But they are also building effective links between schools and their communities, as well as individual pupils. This all contributes to the life and ethos of both schools and the wider experiences of pupils. All of this is in addition to the art and design skills being developed by pupils.
Henry Meldrum, art and design teacher at Graeme High School saw an opportunity for his S2 class to support groups of Whitecross pupils in their creation of terracotta clay tiles for the installation. Each pupil will make at least one tile which shares their interpretation of their local area. On Friday 11th September, the first group of 12 primary 6-7 pupils from Mrs McNeill’s class in Whitecross PS visited Graeme HS to make their tiles.
After watching Mr Meldrum’s demonstration of clay techniques, the S2 pupils advised the primary pupils on how best to create their tile. They offered practical advice on techniques, and artistic advice on how the tile looked.
Daniel in S2 acted as photographer and Yvonne McBlain gathered the thoughts of the pupils involved:
Connor “I’m enjoying being in the high school, and I like using the clay. Also having a nice person to help me do shapes and have ideas about different things.
Abbie “It was very good that we had people to help us”
Thomas “I did it myself with no help!”
S2 also valued the experience:
Demi ” I’m enjoying working with the clay and the kids. It’s helping me knowing and understanding the clay…cos we’ve never used it in second year before.”
William “It’s fine – fun. Not helping me, but helping him”
Aimee ” I think it’s good because our class was chosen to help with this. It’s something different and it’ll give us an experience in working with younger ones.”
Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher, will lead a practical workshop with staff and parents on 30th September, to support them in making sure that everyone in Whitecross School, and its local area can create a tile for the installation.
On 2nd December, the school will be hosting an open afternoon and evening when pupils will be able to use new skills gained from their visits to Graeme HS art department to “teach” their parents, friends, former pupils, and wider community how to make their tile.
A date for the grand opening will be decided once everyone who wishes to be involved in the 60th birthday celebration has had the chance to contribute.
Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services has worked with key staff at Denny High School, Graeme High School, Falkirk High School, Braes High School, Grangemouth High School, Bo’ness Academy, Larbert High School and St Mungo’s High School to develop online collaborative class spaces with Microsoft Office 365 in Glow.
Office 365 in Glow
One part of Glow is Microsoft Office 365which includes sites created within SharePoint (all accessed via their Glow username). So, in collaboration with key staff in each establishment, sites were created specific to each school for each curricular area, subject department or faculty as appropriate to each school.
Class Shared Resources
All curricular areas, faculties or subject departments have their own online space created for them within Office 365 in Glow. These spaces include:
a discussion app (which provides the facility for pupils sharing their work with the teacher who has set the task, and for asking questions in a controlled class environment, peer to peer or teacher-pupil in the confines of a private class area);
a links section for sharing weblinks;
a document store (where files of any kind can be uploaded form elsewhere, or can be created online using Microsoft Word Online, Powerpoint Online or Excel Online as part of Office 365, meaning that the document can be created online without need for the software to be installed on the PC or mobile device);
a media gallery (where, for example, videos or audio recording can be uploaded and which play without the need to download the recordings). With unlimited storage space, and files uploaded by a quick drag and drop, either singly or multiple uploads, this is ideal for teachers using the flipped classroom concept to share videos explaining concepts for pupils.
navigation links back to the school’s main Glow site, as well as to the main department or faculty sites.
Further apps can be added to these class spaces (so some include a class calendar, or tasks app for tracking tasks set for groups), and each page is easily editable by the class teacher. In most cases sites are set up so that pupils can automatically access the sites but cannot anywhere except the discussion section (where the pupils can ask questions, tasks can be set for them, and pupils can add attachments or links to work completed by them elsewhere such as their own OneDrive cloud storage in Glow).
Access rights can be changed by staff should they so wish. Staff can add and edit throughout the class sites as they are given full administrator rights in their sites.
Task Workflow – easy, secure sharing of pupil work with their teacher
Each Glow user (pupils and staff) has an Outlook email account as part of the Microsoft Office 365 account included in Glow where each user has 50GB storage, and each email can have attachments up to 25MB, and their own secure cloud storage (each user has unlimited storage in this OneDrive).
A task can be set by a teacher(perhaps using the discussion webpart in their class site)
Each individual pupil can then create their response in their own OneDrive using Word Online(so Word does not need installed on any device)
Each pupil then shares their completed task with their teacher(just by clicking on “Share” within the document, adding the teacher’s Glow username and clicking “share” to automatically both send it by email to the teacher, and making it available in the “Documents shared with me” part of the teacher’s OneDrive for easy access)
The teacher, with whom the pupil’s document has been shared, can then either edit the document in Word Online or simply click on “Insert” in the edit menu to add comments at appropriate parts in the pupil’s document, to provide feedback, encouragement and suggestions for change. All of this is able to be seen by the pupil instantly the changes or comments have been added.
Pupils collaborating on a joint Powerpoint presentation using Office 365 Powerpoint Online
All parts of Glow can be accessed via a mobile device either via the mobile device browser or via different apps for each tool, including Office Mobile (in order to be able to edit Word or Powerpoint for example) and OneDrive for Business (the ordinary OneDrive app is for the likes of a personal Hotmail account).
Setting alerts for changes
The sites include a guide to setting alerts on the sites – users can set an alert in their class site so that they get sent a message whenever anything gets added or changed in their site.
As a template site has been created for each of these schools then a teacher can create additional sites, should there be a need to do so, within just a few minutes. The video below provides a step-by-step guide to creating a new class site, where a template site has previously been created for that school.
Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in the Curriculum Support team of the Service and School Improvement division of Falkirk Council Education Services has been providing support to staff in several high schools in Falkirk on the use of OneNote Class Notebook Creator.
What is OneNote?
The ordinary OneNote is a free tool available to anyone. OneNote Online a free tool either for use online or as an app on a mobile device or via a web browser on a desktop PC or mobile device. It is akin to a ring-binder online – it can have multiple sections (like with colour dividers) each with multiple pages. It can be used for a whole variety of purposes from pupil topic research tool to a learning journal shared by pupil with teacher. Microsoft OneNote is part of Microsoft Office 2013 and is also part of the suite of tools available free to all users via Glow in Office 365. OneNote online is available via Glow and works with mobile devices. For more information about how to go about using OneNote click here.
What is OneNote Class Notebook Creator and how is it different?
OneNote Class Notebook Creator is available to schools signed up to Office 365 for Education – which schools in Scotland get through Glow. OneNote Class Notebook Creator gives the facility for a single notebook to have different sections, each with unique access rights. So on setting one up in a class space within Office 365 (a Glow site) it automatically has a section which is open to the teacher to add content, and where the pupils can all see this content (but not change it or add to it). Another section gives all pupils a space to collaborate – they have access set up automatically to let them share and edit content with all others in that class. And the final section is for individual pupils to each have their own pages where only that pupil and their teacher can see the content – ideal for tasks competed by a pupil to be seen by the teacher and where the teacher can add comments to support the pupil, and where that is not seen by others in the class.
For more information about setting up and using OneNote Class Notebook Creator go to the following:
This year there was an international dimension to the Book Award with young people from Nairobi (International School of Kenya and Mathare North Library) shadowing the award. It was very successful and they have renamed their book group The RED Book Club!
250 pupils from the secondary schools in Falkirk Council participated in the Book Award reading, enjoying and debating the shortlisted books. Along with the Kenyan young people, they voted in December for their favourite book and planned a creative interpretation of one of the books to be performed at the award ceremony.
The Award ceremony had a wonderful atmosphere thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the young people. The performances showcased the creativity and confidence of the young people. We particularly enjoyed the performances from Nairobi sent to us electronically. At the ceremony the radio broadcast team from St Mungo’s High School recorded interviews, pupil journalists from Graeme and Larbert High Schools wrote a news report which will appear in The Falkirk Council News, a film team from Braes High School filmed the event and a pupil from Falkirk High School, interested in photography, shadowed the council photographer.
Feedback from the some of the authors:
“Thank you so much for everything this week. I had the best time at the RED book awards. I think having the colour red as part of things added such a fun element to the day. I really enjoyed myself, and was amazed at how good the presentations by the schools were. ” Teri Terry
“Could I just say a big thank you, on behalf of David and myself, for the hospitality shown to us during our time in Falkirk. We enjoyed our visit to Scotland so much and are looking forward to returning when we have more time. Some of our favourite moments were seeing the children act out parts of the shortlisted books – especially Torn of course!” David Massey
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Davina Gallacher, Graeme HS has been shortlisted in the ‘Enterprise Educator’ category for her partnership work with Cala Homes and Carrongrange School has been shortlisted under ‘Enterprise Society Champions’ for their work on the Social Enterprise Cafe.
Awards will be announce on 12th September but in the meantime we wish both schools the best of success and congratulate them on all the hard work and commitment to enterprise in education they have demonstrated.
As Director Andrew Sutherland said “Excellent news! Well done to all concerned”
Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher and Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer, both of the Curriculum Support Team have begun work with a focus group of English teachers with representatives from all Falkirk High Schools.
This group has been set up to identify the key features of current approaches to the learning and teaching of English and to identify commonalities and differences between Primary and Secondary establishments.
The group began the first meeting defining Active Literacy. They then went onto provide an overview of current practice in the teaching of English in their schools.
Colleagues from our High Schools have requested a further meeting with Sharon and Carol to examine the Active Literacy key methodologies and strategies explicitly taught at Early, First and Second level.
Sharon was able to share some of the online resources available via GLOW, Falkirk’s You Tube Active Literacy training videos as well as the Curriculum for Excellence – engaging parents short film.
Colleagues were able to consider next steps in establishing effective transition of literacy skills across learning. These included sharing ideas with their department, reviewing materials on GLOW and finding out more about Active Literacy in their cluster primary schools.
‘Am looking forward to coming back and finding out more about Active Literacy’.
Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher, along with Carol Paton, both of the Curriculum Support Team delivered a Cooperative Learning academy to 80 Secondary High School Support for Learning Assistants at Grangemouth High School.
The academy examined a range of Cooperative Learning strategies and aimed to raise confidence and knowledge of how to support class teachers and lead small groups using Cooperative Learning techniques.
Newly formed ‘home’ teams developed their team identity with the design of a flag which encapsulated commonalities. One stray, three stray was used to share the learning. Colleagues also participated in ‘think, pair, share’, ‘stand and deliver’, ‘paired reading’ and group processing activities. A range of social skills were included across all of the activities.
Class builders included an ‘inside/ outside circle’, ‘corners’, ‘find someone who’ and clock partners.
The day concluded with the sharing of team poems which were delivered with confidence, enthusiasm and lots of laughter!
Next steps were examined and colleagues returned to their schools to share their new learning.