Category Archives: Head of Muir 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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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 – 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.”

Active Literacy Packs Distributed to Falkirk Primary Schools!

 

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning teacher, Curriculum Support Team delivered an overview session on Active Literacy second level to 90 colleagues at Camelon Education Centre.

Colleagues from P6/7 classes and members of  Senior Management Teams received the new second level packs to take back to their establishments.

Sharon provided an overview of the strategies and methodologies contained in the new pack. Colleagues who have been involved in the trials of these new materials spoke about the impact of the new resources and how their pupils have responded to the content delivered so far.

Carol Ann MacLeod, P7 Class teacher from Laurieston Primary shared her experiences of delivering reading, spelling and vocabulary building lessons. Her pupils have really enjoyed the lessons, with vocabulary building work on affixes proving the most popular.

Susan McLeod, P7 class teacher from Bankier Primary also spoke of how her pupils enjoyed the challenge of working with prefixes, root words and suffixes.

Alan Willox, DHT from Head of Muir, spoke on behalf of their P7 class teacher who has been working on some of the writing lessons. He said the pupils certainly enjoyed the lessons.

Maria McNally, P6/7 class teacher from St. Bernadette’s shared some videos of her pupils incorporating spelling rules and strategies into drama scripts and performances.

Colleagues took their new resource back to their establishments and Sharon is keen to hear how colleagues would like their training to be delivered. Sharon can be emailed or colleagues are invited to leave posts on this forum.

The second level pack develops and extends the strategies and methodologies introduced at earlier stages.

Spelling lists contained in this new pack can be accessed via the Active Literacy section on GLOW.

Sharon is also working with Secondary Schools to develop, consolidate and extend the Active Literacy skills and strategies taught at Primary School

Can We Persuade You To Eat Your Sprouts?!

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team has been trialling some of the new Active Literacy materials for P6/7 with Head of Muir Primary School.

Sharon has been working with 33 P7s on the persuasive writing genre. The learning intention was to develop the pupils ability to give an opinion through a piece of writing. Using the success criteria, pupils looked at persuasive language, synonyms for ‘persuade’ before embarking on an opening paragraph.

Pupils watched this shared ‘text’ to gather evidence of persuasive language and techniques and really enjoyed this activity. Eat Your Sprouts!

Pupils in this class will persuade you, through their writing, that ‘There’s always time for a sprout!’ and they invented new characters to convince readers of the benefits of sprouts.

Here are some of their characters they designed to persuade younger audiences to eat their sprouts:

Working in writing trios, pupils worked hard  incorporating the success criteria of: changing the mind of the reader, using powerful verbs and strong adjectives and setting out main points in a paragraph.

Here are a few examples of their opening paragraphs:

‘Do you eat brussel sprouts? No? Well, you should! Eating brussel sprouts will provide you with many benefits such as making you live longer, run faster than Usain Bolt, jump higher than Captain America and be smarter than Steven Hawkin. You will increase in height and muscles galore, these are just a few of the benefits, so rush out to the shops and buy some now!’

‘Brussels Give You Muscles’

‘Why should we eat these scrumptious brussels? Well, for a start, I am going to convince you that they are God’s greatest creation yet! Can I coax you to understand that if you eat sprouts every day and night, you will become marvellously wealthy, even wealthier than Robbie Williams!’

‘Your dreams will come true with brussel sprouts! How will eating brussel sprouts make your dreams come true I hear you asking!? Well, can I coax you to understand that sprouts of the God of vegetables? I bet you will have them on your plate every night. You might even be caught washing with brussel sprout soap! Messi eats them everyday – that is why he is the best footballer in the world!’

Have they managed to persuade you yet?

 

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

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.

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.