Category Archives: Victoria Primary School

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.”

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.

Employee Review and Development (ERD)

Anne Hutchison, Support Officer for Professional Development in Falkirk Council’s Education Services Curriculum Support Team has been co-ordinating the implementation of the new ERD scheme. 

Falkirk Council’s key education policy, Learning to Achieve  states  ‘In a culture of ongoing self-evaluation and professional accountability, practitioners will be encouraged to be proactive in their own professional developments in line with personal, establishment and authority priorities.’

Anne has worked with colleagues across our schools to devise Work Profiles which set out their key accountabilities in their daily practice. Those profiles will be used to support regular self evaluation of practice, and to focus the discussion at one to one meetings with line managers.  What’s the difference beteween the new scheme and the former PRD process?  ERD is an ongoing process, rather than just an annual review.  At the end of the day, we need to ensure that all staff have a responsibility to deliver the very best support for Falkirk’s children and young people- this can only be achieved by having a workforce that reflects on what they do, and takes action to improve.

Click here to see the Glow Group Employee Review and Development (ERD)- please note that a Glow username and password are required to access this group, which is open to Falkirk staff only.

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.

Getting Ready for Employee Review and Development!

  • All our schools are moving forward on implementing the new Employee Review and Development (Glow login required) process( ERD). Some have already begun while others are getting ready. Anne Hutchison (CPD Co-ordinator in the Curriculum Support team of Falkirk Council Education Services) co-leads the implementation strategy at service level along with Anne Pearson (Service Manager: Curriculum Support team) and today they were out and about in schools across Falkirk working with staff from Grangemouth High, Graeme High, Laurieston, Hallglen, Victoria and Westquarter primary schools. Preparation is key to getting this effective way of working off on the right foot. So what were we doing?
    1. Speaking to support staff to let them know that they are key players in supporting the delivery of high quality teaching and learning for all children and young people
    2.Raising awareness of what an ERD meeting looks, feels and sounds like. Big thanks to Hazel Cunningham (Primary Probationer Supporter:Curriculum Support team) and Fiona Anderson (HT:  Head of Muir PS) who bravely modelled the role of a self evaluator whilst Anne H and Anne P acted as Validators. The role of a validator is to support, extend and challenge the self-evaluator.
    Everyone has a role in this important improvement priority. During January and February of this year all Headteachers and Early Years Managers are using their work profile as a self evaluation tool in preparation for their ERD meeting. To support them in their preparation a series of 90 minute training sessions have been designed and delivered by the Curriculum Support team . By session 2014-15 the aim is that:
  •  all  Falkirk schools are implementing the revised scheme
  • the revised ERD scheme is integrated with schools’ ongoing self evaluation and quality improvement processes
  • we can see evidence of cultural change in relation to self evaluation
  •  GTCS registered staff are well prepared for Professional Update
  •  we can see evidence of the impact of ERD on our children and young people’s learning experiences