Category Archives: Larbert Village 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.

11th Enterprise in Education & Enterprise Champions Awards

Lynne Lauder, Enterprise Co-ordinator, oversaw the 11th Enterprise in Education Awards at Grangemouth High School on Thursday 12th June.
10 Schools attended the event to receive their certificates presented by Nigel Fletcher, Acting Director of Education.
The Awards, which started in 2006, recognise excellence in the delivery of  Enterprise in Education in schools. Awards are presented at Bronze, Silver and Gold level.  Schools who have managed to sustain Gold level for three years have the opportunity to go for Platinum.  

The schools recognised at Gold Year 2 or Year 3 at the event were, Antonine PS, Bantaskin PS, Grange PS, Kinneil PS, Deanburn PS, Larbert Village PS & St Margaret’s PS.   Four schools achieved Platinum status, Drumbowie PS, Maddiston PS, Carrongrange School, Larbert HS.  We now have 21 Platinum Enterprise schools in Falkirk.Schools also have the opportunity to nominate partners as Enterprise Champions and to date we have 461 individuals who have received recognition for their work in inspiring and motivating young people to be more enterprising.
The event was a great success as is demonstrated by these smiling faces .

Safe and Responsible Use of Social Networking Peer Education Tour

Well done to the Larbert HS Pupils who planned and delivered  a fantastic Theatre in Education  social networking education tour for Larbert cluster primary schools. The primary pupils loved the experience and were very clear what they had learned from it.

“I won’t give out my personal details”

“I will think carefully before I post a picture of myself”

“I will consider others feelings when posting comments”

 This tour was part of an accredited Theatre in Education Project  for Creative Industries.  The pupils  took responsibility for planning the entire project which included liaising with each primary school, creating questionnaires for primary 7 pupils  on their social networking use that was used to inform what they included in the drama.  The pupils had to plan and create the drama and have regular team meetings to evaluate their progress and set targets to meet deadlines for the completed  script and devised workshop activities. At the end of the tour the pupils have to evaluate their own contribution to the process and identify improvements that they could make to the planning of the project that could be carried forward to the planning of another project.

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

Using a Smart Board to support active learning in the classroom

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, presented a hands-on continuing professional development session for staff from primary and secondary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board interactive whiteboard to support active learning across the curriculum.

Participants were guided through hands-on use of a host of interactive techniques using Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board which a teacher could use to support learning and teaching in the classroom across the curriculum. These included different ways of using tools like the magic pen tool (to zoom in, magnify, spotlight, and fade out annotations), using pen tools for annotations and sorting on screen as well as handwriting recognition, moving pictures to hide and reveal, matching images within tables, and page activity recording.

The variety of different gallery items including engaging interactive tools such as timers were illustrated in various activity contexts, as well as how to adapt the host of lesson activity toolkit pre-created game-type interactives to any topic. Hands-on use of the resources on the Smartboard by participants illustrated how the activities can be used to help engage pupils in their learning.

There are also many free pre-created templates and question sets ready to be downloaded and adapted by teachers from Smart Exchange to suit the needs of their own pupils. Click here for the online Smart Exchange site where these can be downloaded.

The resources used during the session can be accessed by clicking here (note that a Glow username and password is required to access these resources).

Comments from participants included:

“Well delivered and well organised course with a clear focus, interesting and relevant content and an engaging presenter.”

“Taught me new ways to use my SMART board which will in turn enhance learning of my pupils.”

“Showed me how to use different functions on a SMART board that I had never seen or used before, with examples of how they could be used, which was helpful so I can start using these with my own class.”

“Provided practical opportunities to engage with the materials presented, and the delivery of the course was engaging and accessible to someone looking to develop their use of a SMART board in their classroom.”

“A very well presented course that catered for a cross section of abilities.”

“The hands on overview was very helpful and the delivery style of the presenter was at a pace that was very easy to follow.”

 

Larbert Cluster Interdisciplinary Planning

Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Curriculum Support Team was thrilled to attend the first of a series of cross-sector cluster interdisciplinary planning sessions on Tuesday 17th September 2013. As chair of the Commonwealth Games Interdisciplinary Project sub-group, Linda-Anne Reid worked with colleagues to co-ordinate this collegiate planning. Early year’s practitioners and primary 1 teachers met in Stenhousemuir PS, first level teachers met in Carron PS, and second and third in Kinnaird PS. All staff were given relevant planning materials and information in advance, including the cluster plan, NAR planning flow chart, NAR planning flow chart  instructions and Falkirk Community Trust/Active Schools Going for Glasgow Accreditation paper. Isobel Edmond provided early level practitioners with a very clear introductory overview of the potential benefits of this interdisciplinary learning context.  Morag Carson then explained that each of  the 3 hour-long planning sessions would involve same stage groups planning within 3 bundles of E & Os. This means that the Larbert cluster will generate at least 3 interdisciplinary plans per level which meet experiences and outcomes from: Social subjects & Expressive Arts, Social subjects & Technology, & Social subjects and Science. They are more than happy for these plans to be made available across the authority when complete. Once these groups were established, their first task was to identify the small bundle of E & Os they felt could be progressed by this context, for their learners. Yvonne and Linda-Anne enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the nursery and primary 1 groups, and then nipped up to Kinnaird PS to pop into the second and third level groups. The staff involved had already made choices about their E & Os , and begun to consider learning intentions, and the best activities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills within the Commonwealth Games context. There will be 2 further planning sessions on 30th October and 21st November, but some groups have opted to do one double session instead. Although clearly linking into national events taking place in 2014, this way of working across-cluster offers potential benefits on many levels: the planning of robust interdisciplinary learning, development of understanding of skills progression, and the sharing of practice generally. All in all, a really active, purposeful form of collegiate professional learning!

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.”

Smart Response tools to support Assessment for Learning

Malcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer in Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team, organised and supported a hands-on continuing professional development session presented by Anne Forrest of Steljes for staff from a variety of primary and secondary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Response tools to support Assessment for Learning.

Anne Forrest took participants through the use of Smart Response handsets to respond to a series of questions, then showed how that information could be used by the teacher to support learning and teaching in the classroom. Then she guided everyone through the steps to set up their own teacher profile and their class lists, so that when pupils use the handsets the responses could be analysed by the teacher to provide support as required. Anne Forrest made her resources available to all participants, which can be accessed by clicking here (note that a Glow username and password is required to access these resources).

Smart Response tools work in tandem with Smart Board interactive whiteboard software and provide a means for teachers to get feedback from all of their pupils in their class. This can be before a class starts work on a new topic in any curricular area in order to guage the prior learning of pupils, or they can be used regularly during a teaching session to let the teacher keep ensuring pupils have understood each step before proceeding to the next step (or quickly pick up where different teaching strategies might be required), or as an assessment at the end of a teaching session.

Sometimes called classroom response systems, class voting tools or clickers, these Smart Response tools are just one type of the many tools now available specifically to help gather feedback from all pupils in a class. These let teachers get a quick response at the beginning, during or end of a teaching session. This way the teacher has a wider overview of the undertsanding at any time of the whole class and not just of a few individual pupils. Used as part of an Assessment for Learning strategy a teacher can change the pace or direction of teaching to take account of responses from pupils.

There are many free pre-created templates and question sets ready to be downloaded and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of their own pupils. Click here for the online Smart Exchange site where these can be downloaded.

Click here for more information about classroom response systems.

Responses from participants included:

“Very useful session – took us through the set up step by step which was fab – learned lots – thank you! What an amazing tool.” KD – Stenhousemuir PS

“An excellent course – very informative and great, easy to follow instructions. I can’t wait to try them out. Thank you.” LD – Langlees PS

“A super session and great explanation on how to use Smart response.” JM – Bantaskin PS