Category: Themes

Grangemouth HS Developing Practitioner Enquiry for Professional Learning

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Yvonne McBlain attended the most recent meeting of secondary professional learning co-ordinators to hear how Falkirk secondary schools are using an enquiring approach to their self-evaluation and development of teaching and learning. Yvonne provided an update on the success and impact of the practitioner enquiry element of Falkirk Children’s Services’ probationer induction programme. Co-ordinators from each school then shared how they are exploring the extent to which this approach can impact on learning. Ash Wood, depute head at Grangemouth HS wrote up the following account of what this looks like in his school.

We have purchased resources to supply a “practitioner enquiry” section for teachers in our library.  We also offer limited financial support to enable teachers to buy resources to support their enquiry.  When they have completed their findings these resources are added to the library.  We have created a one side of A4 template for teachers to complete to share their findings with their colleagues.  Mrs Laura Gallagher (Teacher of Chemistry) has developed an interactive “toolkit” for teachers to use to help them understand, prepare for and complete a practitioner enquiry.  She has also conducted a pilot of the tool with her faculty colleagues and received very positive feedback both about the toolkit and the benefits of the practitioner enquiry process.  Laura has also shared and demonstrated her toolkit to CPD Co-ordinators in the authority.

Dr Alex Fraser (Teacher of Biology) will present his practitioner enquiry on pupil voice to our Extended Leadership Team later this session to promote the benefits of practitioner enquiry and demonstrate its relevance.  His findings will support PTs who have pupil voice as part of the Faculty Improvement Plans.

Laura will promote her toolkit, and practitioner enquiry in general at our staff meeting in February.  Leanne Welsh and Amy Nichol, two of our NQTs from last session who are now with us permanently, will also share their practitioner enquiries from last session to illustrate the process and how it has benefited their practice.

We are currently considering using our core School Improvement Groups as a way of taking practitioner enquiry forward, while conscious that the voluntary nature of the exercise is key to teacher “buy-in”.

 

Curriculum Development at Hallglen PS

IMG_2666On 19th April, Yvonne McBlain popped back to gather staff feedback on their curriculum development so far at Hallglen Primary School. 10 staff members were kind enough to give their time and views during this informal evaluation activity. You can read more about Hallglen’s curriculum development process here.

Staff described the following impact:

  1. Increased knowledge of the curriculum – specifically their ability to interpret the skills, knowledge and understanding built into the experiences and outcomes. This has helped them to build their curriculum more effectively, and enabled better planning.
  2. Although they didn’t realise it at the time, they were moderating their teaching and learning in various ways – through collegiate discussion, learning walks, and then joint planning with stage and level partners. This has helped integrate moderation and collegiality naturally, and contributed to a positive ethos and culture of sharing good practice and ongoing self-evaluation.
  3. Have a powerful understanding of progression – know which E & Os needed to be consistently progressed, and which ones could be done less often.
  4. Topics in school have changed radically and are much more relevant and responsive to pupil needs. Everyone in school has  an overview of which contexts are being used – not just for their own stage or level. This has enabled more powerful and effective transition between stages, and teachers feel confident and clear about what they have to teach and why.There is greater consistency across the school – they have a shared language, u nderstanding and vision for their curriculum
  5. Learning walks, peer moderation and observation visits are all more purposeful and help staff evaluate their progress together.
  6. Next steps in curriculum development are therefore clearer to all, but staff are looking forward to their formal, whole school collegiate evaluation of the changes made this session.
  7. There is the facility to offer pupils flexible and responsive progression pathways across the curriculum

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One of the new developments staff have worked on this session, is pupil understanding of the curriculum. This was felt to be a valuable way to increase attainment and pupil participation, and teachers developed specific learning experiences for their classes. Staff can see ways in which these lessons can be made more meaningful and appropriate to age and stage, and further development of these lessons will be done, but already the following impact has been observed:

  1. Children can have a genuine input into planning their learning.
  2. They now quite naturally reflect upon and evaluate their learning in action during a project as well as at the end.
  3. Pupils have the vocabulary and language to comment effectively on their learning.
  4. The curriculum lessons have “made the penny  drop” for a number of pupils – they can better understand the purpose and structure of the learning they need.
  5. Pupils have a better appreciation of what learning is and what they need to do to help themselves learn.
  6. They are now getting to know their curriculum and can see and comment on links across the curriculum. (Staff are therefore tackling the very challenging job of developing pupil understanding of interdisciplinary learning.)
  7. Pupils have the confidence to make respectful suggestions about how the teaching they receive could better meet their needs.
  8. They are better motivated and engaged by their learning.
  9. They think more deeply about their learning and can talk about it fluently.

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The need for a pupil curriculum understanding lesson was discussed at the last inset day and staff agreed to teach their lessons at the same time in the session. A general lesson was provided which each staff member adapted for their class if they wanted to. Stacey Walker, Kara-Anne Kelly and Louise McGlynn all talked enthusiastically about what they did, why they did it, and what the outcomes were. Stacey,  Kara-Ann and Laura Hurren then gathered the photos of work and displays shared in this post. Click here to listen to their description of this work. Yvonne would like to thank everyone involved for their time, especially Stacey, Kara-Anne and Laura for taking the time to record these files.

Mariner Support Service Open Afternoon

Mariner invitationYvonne McBlain enjoyed popping into the Mariner Support Service Christmas Open Afternoon. Staff, pupils and parents have been working hard over the last weeks to prepare for this event and there was lots to see.

The event opened with a celebration of learning by pupils, with prizes for good work done this term. The young people demonstrated their enterprise and social skills during the event – selling home baking, raffle tickets, and meeting and greeting. Brandon was particularly welcoming, polite, and charming. WP_20151209_001[1]

The parents’ group have been creating all sorts of crafts in school on Wednesday afternoons. These were all for sale to help raise money for school funds, and included Christmas tree decorations, wreaths, jewellery, and home baking. This is one of the ways in which Mariner Support Service builds connections with parents and carers.

This event was a valuable way to build the life and ethos of the school, while progressing young people’s skills and experiences.

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Whitecross Primary invite parents and community to celebrate their anniversary

WP_20151202_001 On 2nd of December, Claire Quigley, head teacher of Whitecross PS and her staff hosted an unusual celebratory event on the 60th anniversary of the opening of their school.

This involved visitors in making a terracotta clay tile which was personal to them. These will be dried, fired, and added to a tiled display in the foyer of the school. Every pupil in the school has already made their tile, and many were primed and ready to help their parents and guests make one too. Pupils from Graeme HS supported their primary colleagues in making their tiles, and Henry Meldrum, art teacher has fired them all. WP_20151202_002

Visitors were taken into the school hall, and shown examples of the pupils’ tiles. Claire and colleagues demonstrated how to make the basic tile slab, then guests could decide how it should be decorated. Tony Bragg, team manager – performance management, and Eddie MacLennan, team manager – workforce development, joined in, and Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support officer, was delighted to make the “1955” date tiles which will be part of the commemorative display. WP_20151202_003

Jessie Dick came along and worked with her granddaughter Diane Balloch to make a tile. Both are former pupils of the school – Diane’s maiden name is Bryson, and her gran was known as Janet Reid, winner of the school dux medal in 1941-42. Jessie lives locally and enjoys return visits to the school, Diane said “It hasn’t really changed that much – the cloakrooms are gone – they’ve been made into classrooms now.”  WP_20151202_005

Claire, staff colleagues, and pupils, will host a formal launch event to unveil the tile display when installation is complete.

 

Postscript from Claire 15th December 2015:

We are sad to say that in the short time since this event Jessie Dick sadly passed away.  Our thoughts are with her family.

 

 

 

Pupils as Digital Leaders at Hallglen Primary School

HallglenPSDlsMalcolm Wilson, ICT Curriculum Development Officer within the Curriculum Support team of Service and School Improvement, Falkirk Council Children’s Services, supported a session with the Digital Leaders group of pupils in Hallglen Primary School.

These pupils are being supported for them to then support classes around the school in the use of technologies in their classrooms. They are led by teacher Louise McGlynn.

Communicating and Collaborating

This session let the pupils explore different features within Office 365, including a specially created SharePoint site for them in Microsoft Office 365 (which is accessed via their Glow username), their sites for each class, one for their Digital Leaders Group, their own site, the local authority site and a site within the national site. All learners in Glow have access to their own Outlook email account (each user has 50GB storage, and each email can have attachments up to 25MB), a discussion app (which provides the facility for pupils sharing questions, comments or responses to set tasks (peer to peer or teacher-pupils). weblink sharing, and 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).

Simultaneous Collaborative Writing in Word Online

The pupils all worked simultaneously on a shared Word Online document in their Digital Leaders site (and were shown how the same could also be done in their own OneDrive personal storage area called MySite, giving them unlimited storage space online). They all collaborated on the same document online all at the same time from their own PCs – and there was general excitement as they vied with each other to add lines of text, increase or decrease font sizes, and see the resulting writing from the rest of the group change in front of their eyes, with flags in different colours indicating who had added or amended each section of the writing.

How to avoid being locked out of Glow when you forget your password

Pupils were shown how to set a recovery email address in their profile within Glow so that in the event that they forgot their password in the future they would not require to ask a member of staff to reset their password for them – they would simply be able to click on “Forgot your password?” on the login screen and an email would be sent to their recovery email address to then let them into Glow to reset their own password to one they will remember. To set up their recovery email address within Glow they login and on the RM Unify tiles screen click on their name at the top right-hand corner, then “My Profile” then add their email address, click save, and most importantly then go to that email account and click on the email which Glow will have sent to that email account and confirm it (without that last step the password recovery facility will not work.

Avatars

AvatarCreatorsPupils were shown how they could create an avatar (an image which would be seen throughout Office 365 as a fun representation of them) using one of the tools of their choice from this link, and how to add it to their Office 365 profile by going to Office 365, clicking on the head-and-shoulders icon at the top-right, then clicking on “change below the head-and-shoulders image to browse for their created avatar image and upload it. http://primaryschoolict.com/avatars/

Access via Mobile Device

Pupils were told about how they can be access Glow via a mobile device, with different apps for each tool, including Office Mobile (in order to be able to edit Word or Powerpoint for example) and OneDrive.

Newsfeed and Discussion tool for all pupils

Each class site in Hallglen Prmary School’s Glow site will have their own online collaborative class space created for them. Each class space is set up by default with access for pupils to view content added by their teacher, and with teachers able to add content anywhere in their site. The Discussion part and newsfeed app are both set for pupils to be able to contribute so that a teacher can set tasks, or ask questions and pupils are able to respond. The Digital Leaders have their own site which is set up for these specific pupils to be able to contribute in any part of their site, but with all other pupils to be able to respond to questions or tasks set by the digital leaders in the discussions part or newsfeed app.

Want to know more about Digital Leaders?

Several schools have pupils who act as supporters to other pupils in the use of digital technologies. More information about Digital Leaders can be found here: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/ICTFalkirkPrimaries/pupils-as-digital-leaders/

Happy Birthday Whitecross PS

IMG_4653Whitecross Primary School celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The actual date is 5th December, but pupils, staff and parents are preparing to create a very special memento of the occasion.

Claire Quigley, head teacher at Whitecross PS , is collaborating with colleagues in Graeme HS and Camelon Education Centre to create a permanent clay tile installation for the foyer of the school. They are solving practical problems like how to get 250 plus tiles made and fired! But they are also building effective links between schools and their communities, as well as individual pupils. This all contributes to the life and ethos of both schools and the wider experiences of pupils. All of this is in addition to the art and design skills being developed by pupils.

Henry Meldrum, art and design teacher at Graeme High School saw an opportunity for his S2 class to support groups of Whitecross pupils in their creation of terracotta clay tiles for the installation. Each pupil will make at least one tile which shares their interpretation of their local area. On Friday 11th September, the first group of 12 primary 6-7 pupils from Mrs McNeill’s class in Whitecross PS visited Graeme HS to make their tiles.

IMG_4651After watching Mr Meldrum’s demonstration of clay techniques, the S2 pupils advised the primary pupils on how best to create their tile. They offered practical advice on techniques, and artistic advice on how the tile looked.

Daniel in S2 acted as photographer and Yvonne McBlain gathered the thoughts of the pupils involved:

Connor “I’m enjoying being in the high school, and I like using the clay. Also having a nice person to help me do shapes and have ideas about different things.

Abbie “It was very good that we had people to help us”

Thomas “I did it myself with no help!”

S2 also valued the experience:

Demi ” I’m enjoying working with the clay and the kids. It’s helping me knowing and understanding the clay…cos we’ve never used it in second year before.”

William “It’s fine – fun. Not helping me, but helping him”

Aimee ” I think it’s good because our class was chosen to help with this. It’s something different and it’ll give us an experience in working with younger ones.”

IMG_4654 Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher, will lead a practical workshop with staff and parents on 30th September, to support them in making sure that everyone in Whitecross School, and its local area can create a tile for the installation.

On 2nd December, the school will be hosting an open afternoon and evening when pupils will be able to use new skills gained from their visits to Graeme HS art department to “teach” their parents, friends, former pupils, and wider community how to make their tile.

A date for the grand opening will be decided once everyone who wishes to be involved in the 60th birthday celebration has had the chance to contribute.

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Teaching and Learning linked to World War I

ww1-1 Teachers, early years officers, and pupils across Falkirk Children’s Services may be linking their learning at some point this year to the commemoration and centenary of World War 1. Education Scotland have published an update (click to view) with links to teaching and learning resources which might prove useful. Click here to visit Education Scotland “WWI in Scotland” blog where there are lots more valuable materials. In addition, by clicking here, you can access the Scottish Government’s WW1 Commemoration Panel which has a huge variety of links to very current events, information and media.

The picture above was taken from the collection housed in Falkirk Community Trust Archives based in Callendar House. Click this link to visit the Heritage – World War 1 section of the Trust website, and explore sources which provide a more local dimension. This includes the Laurieston School Album, and information about the Quintinshill Railway Disaster.

Please contact Yvonne McBlain yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk  if you would like to share your WWI Commemorative teaching and learning via this blog.

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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Sign up for the Falkirk Learning for Sustainability Showcase!

Word cloudFalkirk Council Education Services will hold a Learning for Sustainability Showcase event in Camelon Education Centre on 4th June between 4-5.30pm.

Jane Jackson and Yvonne McBlain are working with colleagues in schools and in the Service Support and Improvement team to make the programme for the event as rich as possible.

So far, we know that Scotdec will be there to share the professional learning they can offer and lots of wonderful resources teachers can use with their pupils. We are thrilled that Anthony Hutcheson, development officer from Education Scotland will welcome everyone AND will be sharing the new LfS professional learning area in Glow. Organisations like Opal, the John Muir Trust, Royal Highland Education Trust are all coming along to share how they can contribute to learning for pupils and for staff. CATCA will be there, and members of the Outdoor Learning Network will show how they have developed learning outwith the classroom.  Wosdec will also attend to help us celebrate the achievements of teachers and pupils taking part in the Global Storyline training programme.

We know that Falkirk teachers and early years officers use the Learning for Sustainability theme across many areas of the curriculum and are pleased to have a growing number of applications to share this work at the showcase. We know there is lots more good practice out there though so please click here for an application form and instructions if you would like to share your work too. The word cloud above shows just how diverse Learning for Sustainability is, and with your help, we are keen to show as wide a range of work as possible. LfS snip

Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to share this year at this event – you can always sign up using code LfS1 in CPD Manager. We would love to see you there to help build a strong and appreciative audience at the event. The more, the merrier – we look forward to seeing you on the 4th June!