Category Archives: St Joseph’s RC 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

The Thinking Reader – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team has delivered a CPD session to 22 teachers entitled ‘Active Literacy Reading – The Thinking Reader Approach’.

The aims of the session were:

To provide an overview of the thinking reader approach

To provide an overview of the six comprehension strategies in reading

To examine ways forward for the teaching of reading using active approaches.

After examining the benefits of reading, Sharon explained that the thinking reader approach is used to teach children reading strategies to improve their ability to understand what they read. It is an approach which can be applied to a range of ‘texts’.

Sharon demonstrated the thinking reader approach using the text ‘Chinese Cinderella’. Colleagues gained a deeper understanding of this text through the following activities:

  1. Using prior knowledge – what do you already know about Cinderella?
  2. Metalinguistics – colleagues were asked to include the word ‘unwanted’ in a sentence and highlight words/ phrases they like/ don’t understand in an identified paragraph
  3. Visualisers – colleagues were asked to produce a visualiser of the character Naing using the information in the extract
  4. Inference – two questions were posed about the text relating to inference e.g. What is the relationship between Naing and Jun-Ling
  5. Main Ideas – What are the main themes from the text you can gather using the information you have already been given
  6. Summarising – summarise the character of Naing in a tweet

Sharon then explored how the thinking reader approach relates to the key reading skills which are assessed in the context of the Scottish Survey for Literacy and Numeracy.

Sharon then shared how she had previously used the thinking reader approach with the following texts:

P2 – The Daily What article/ Beware of the Bears

P3 – The Wish Cat

P4 – Michael Rosen’s poetry

P5 – Moving Image Education film

P6 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

P7 – Poetry from the Active Literacy Pack

S1 – Chinese Cinderella

The course also looked at the comprehension triangles from the Active Literacy programme:

Sharon then examined ways to use effective questioning in reading lessons, examining the role of Blooms fans and how these can be used at different ages and stages.

The course was well received and feedback included:

“I wanted to thank you for the CPD last night. It’s really helped me work out a plan of action for all of my reading groups and not just the group that weren’t ‘getting’ the Bloom’s Fans work. It was good to have input on the key comprehension strategies and I’m going to start as of Monday”.

“I really enjoyed the course last night and I think (or hope!) that I am starting to understand the type  of questions and activities that the pupils should be completing”.

This course will be re-run on Tuesday 11th March from 4 til 5.30pm for any colleagues who didn’t get an opportunity to attend this one.

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.”

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

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

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.

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.