Category Archives: Windsor Park 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

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.”

 

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.”

English Focus Group – Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher and Carol Paton, Curriculum Support Officer, both of the Curriculum Support Team have begun work with a focus group of English teachers with representatives from all Falkirk High Schools.

This group has been set up to identify the key features of current approaches to the learning and teaching of English and to identify commonalities and differences between Primary and Secondary establishments.

The group began the first meeting defining Active Literacy. They then went onto provide an overview of current practice in the teaching of English in their schools.

 Colleagues from our High Schools have requested a further meeting with Sharon and Carol to examine the Active Literacy key methodologies and strategies explicitly taught at Early, First and Second level.

Sharon was able to share some of the online resources available via GLOW, Falkirk’s You Tube Active Literacy training videos as well as the Curriculum for Excellence – engaging parents short film.

Colleagues were able to consider next steps in establishing effective transition of literacy skills across learning. These included sharing ideas with their department, reviewing materials on GLOW and finding out more about Active Literacy in their cluster primary schools.

Comments included:

‘Am looking forward to coming back and finding out more about Active Literacy’.

‘Thanks – looking forward to meeting again’.

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.