Category Archives: Nethermains Primary School

Developing an online collaborative classroom with Microsoft Office 365 in Glow

NethermainsPSGlowSitesMalcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Education Services led sessions with all teaching staff at Nethermains Primary School, Antonine Primary School, Carmuirs Primary School, Bonnybridge Primary School, Shieldhill Primary School, Denny Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School and St Patrick’s Primary School on developing an online collaborative classroom with Microsoft Office 365 in Glow.

Office 365 in Glow

These sessions led staff through an exploration of various features within Office 365, including class sites created within SharePoint as part of Microsoft Office 365 (which is accessed via their Glow username), as well as the Falkirk Council local authority site and a site within the national site which provided exemplars of pupil engagement activities.

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). So staff were shown (and carried out this themselves) how a task can be set by a teacher (perhaps using the discussion webpart in their class site) and each individual pupil can then create their response in their own OneDrive using Word Online (so Word does not need installed on any device), and then they can share it 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.

Collaborative Document

Staff were shown how they could open a Word Online document in Office 365 in Glow to be editable by as many users as they chose, opening the possibility for groups of pupils to collaborate on the same document online all at the same time from their own computers, or mobile devices – staff trying this out could see that they could all view the same document being edited in front of their eyes with different coloured flags appearing on screen to show who was editing the different parts of the document.

Class Shared Resources

All classes have their own online space within Office 365 in Glow. A class space includes, by default, 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); weblink sharing; a document store (where documents were created using Microsoft Word 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); and a picture gallery. Further apps can be added to these class spaces (so some include a class calendar, or media-specific gallery for uploading videos or audio recordings), and each page is easily editable by the class teacher. In most cases class sites are set up so that pupils can only add to the discussion area (though this can be changed by staff should they so wish), whereas staff can add and edit throughout the class site.

Collaboration via Video-Conferencing

imageStaff were shown that Glow includes two options for staff to use video-conferencing between classes or between schools.

These are the Office 365 Lync tool (which works like Skype, with which many are already familiar), set up as simply as adding an entry in the online calendar, inviting collaborators by adding their username, ticking the box to add an online meeting, and then clicking the share button to send an invitation via email to all invited to take part in the video-conferencing meeting. Currently this is only available to staff users.

The second option is Adobe Connect which provides more options for varying access permissions for different users, so that some may be able to present a Powerpoint presentation, others may be able to talk via microphone, or some may only be able to view the content and video (interacting via chat text messaging).

Access via Mobile Device

OneNoteAll 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

Staff were shown how to set an alert in their class site so that they get sent a message whenever anything gets added or changed in their site. They were shown how to click onto their own MySite in Office 365 to access a page where they can see all of the sites they want to get to quickly (both within and outwith Glow), the contacts in Glow, the documents they store in their OneDrive and more.

Online Pupil Engagement Activities

They also had a look at the national Glow Winter Challenges site in which pupils have a host of activities which they can complete in order to gain points and online badges – which can be used right away with pupils, or provide ideas for teachers to adapt for use in their own class sites.

Glow provide access to hosts of resources with just one username and password

Glow provides access to many online resources which are provided with their Glow account, including, for example,  TigTag Science videos and teaching materials matched to Curriculum for Excellence Science at all levels, Scran (enormous digital archive of videos and images with associated information), film archives and several other subject-specific and cross-curricular resources.

Resources to support Staff in Using Glow

Staff can click on the following link to access support material for using Glow: http://tinyurl.com/l5zmeqw (Glow login required – access restricted to staff); as well as at the national Glow Connect site: http://connect.glowscotland.org.uk/

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.”

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

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

Nethermains Outdoor CAT Session

Following on from the success of the Nursery Class visits to the woods and the parents sessions, Karen Thomson, Senior Early Years Officer and Jane Jackson, Outdoor Learning Development Officer, Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team were invited to facilitate a CAT session for the teaching staff on 27th March 2013.

The site has been part of an outgoing project within the school and has been transformed and developed with the help of Criminal Justice Team.

During this session the staff took part in practical activities for maths and literacy lessons and discussed how these activities could be differentiated for all children. All staff were given a copy of Activity Descriptors that could assist in planning for outdoor learning.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/hZFt9gl8cec" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]

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

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)

Nethermains Parent Sessions

Over the past few weeks  Karen Thomson, Senior Early Years Officer, Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support Team, has held Parent Information and ‘Come and Play’ Sessions to enable parents to become more informed of the outdoor learning initiative that Nethermains Nursery Class have taken forward.

See Powerpoint for Parents

These sessions have proved very successful with parents being able to explore the woodland with their child and becoming more aware of the benefits of outdoor play and learning.  Many of the parents discussed the shift in attitudes towards play since they were children and the importance of them knowing their child is safe while in this exciting environment. 

Here is some video footage of the children’s experiences in the woodland.

http://animoto.com/play/o3Zy34OiH5uJSHiN2BzDyw