Morag Young and Morag Simpson, PE Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team arranged a visit to Avonbridge Primary School to work with their Scottish Country Dance group. The purpose of this visit was to showcase good practice in Scottish Country Dance and create a resource for class teachers. The resource will help with the delivery of this activity context through curricular PE or as an extra-curricular club in preparation for the annual Day of Dance . We would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the pupils and staff of Avonbridge for their warm welcome and willingness to assist us with this project. Particular thanks to Mrs Rankine for all her input with the dancers.
Yvonne McBlain, Curriculum Support teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services has helped to co-ordinate partnership work between Bo’ness primary schools and Falkirk Community Trust. The Trust has appointed Hanneke Scott van Wel and Lindsay Lennie to take forward their Kinneil Museum Engagement for the Future Project. On March 25th, Lindsay and Hanneke began working with primary 5, 6 and 7 pupils from each Bo’ness primary school to explore their links with their local heritage. The learning experience involved studying a range of old maps of Bo’ness and opened pupils’ eyes to the many changes which have taken place in their landscape over the last 400 years!
Observations from Kinneil PS p6/5 pupils included:
“We’ve found out that Bo’ness was called something different long ago.”
“We can find Kinneil School in this one (map) and can’t in the other one.”
“They(person who made the map) haven’t got the two potteries and they don’t have the gas works…we found a football ground but they didn’t have it.”
The pupils had brought in a picture or object from home and were asked to consider whether it connected to the places they had identified on the maps. One group said: “We found the town hall ‘cos that’s where the Fair takes place.”
Hanneke and Lindsay will ensure that each class taking part in the project has these learning experiences to prepare them for a whole cluster working day on 20th May in Bo’ness Town Hall. On that day each class from each school, will contribute/pool their expertise on their specialist aspect of Bo’ness history, and use this to co-create a historical timeline of their town. This process and its end product will form the pupils’ contribution to the wider community consultation taking place in order to ensure that the new museum displays reflect a true picture of the interests and experiences of the community they are designed for.
Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher with Falkirk Education Service, is continuing the filming process for Falkirk’s pupil version of their education policy Learning to Achieve. For the past two years, pupils from as many Falkirk schools as possible have been contributing to the creation of the policy in collaboration with Yvonne, staff in their schools and at the centre. Click here to see the paper version. Pupil council members have played a leading role in the organisation of the tasks at every stage. They suggested that the policy should be digital, and as dynamic and visual as possible.
Yvonne offered all schools the opportunity to be involved in this creation process and currently, secondary pupils are sharing their thoughts on their role in getting the most from their education. Many pupils are taking the opportunity to share and celebrate the educational experiences they have had so far.
On Friday 21st March, St Mungo’s RC HS S5/6 sociology students were filmed in conversation about their role in their own education. These students spoke eloquently about what they would like their lives to be like in 10 years time, and how their education has equipped them for this life. Paul and Martin from Baby Grand Productions are the media partners providing technical support for the creation of the policy.
Carrongrange High School pupils were filmed during their Enterprising Fridays and Life-Long Learning experiences. Each Friday pupils develop their skills for learning, life and work within a range of elective groups.
At Braes HS in the afternoon, a small group of S3 drama pupils were also filmed in conversation. They had prepared some thoughts on how best to conclude the policy video and “acted” out a conversation which they felt would do that well. Their vital task was to persuade and communicate a summary of the policy message to their target audience – every Falkirk pupil!
Mariner Support Service pupils will be filmed on 31st March sharing some of their diverse learning experiences and then all of these parts will be edited with the content already created by S4 Denny HS Creative Industries pupils in conjunction with Baby Grand Productions.
This year there was an international dimension to the Book Award with young people from Nairobi (International School of Kenya and Mathare North Library) shadowing the award. It was very successful and they have renamed their book group The RED Book Club!
250 pupils from the secondary schools in Falkirk Council participated in the Book Award reading, enjoying and debating the shortlisted books. Along with the Kenyan young people, they voted in December for their favourite book and planned a creative interpretation of one of the books to be performed at the award ceremony.
The Award ceremony had a wonderful atmosphere thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the young people. The performances showcased the creativity and confidence of the young people. We particularly enjoyed the performances from Nairobi sent to us electronically. At the ceremony the radio broadcast team from St Mungo’s High School recorded interviews, pupil journalists from Graeme and Larbert High Schools wrote a news report which will appear in The Falkirk Council News, a film team from Braes High School filmed the event and a pupil from Falkirk High School, interested in photography, shadowed the council photographer.
Feedback from the some of the authors:
“Thank you so much for everything this week. I had the best time at the RED book awards. I think having the colour red as part of things added such a fun element to the day. I really enjoyed myself, and was amazed at how good the presentations by the schools were. ” Teri Terry
“Could I just say a big thank you, on behalf of David and myself, for the hospitality shown to us during our time in Falkirk. We enjoyed our visit to Scotland so much and are looking forward to returning when we have more time. Some of our favourite moments were seeing the children act out parts of the shortlisted books – especially Torn of course!” David Massey
Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Education Services curriculum support team is working with the nursery team at Deanburn Primary School on a Jack Frost storyline. Caroline McKay, principal teacher, and Karen Stewart, Senior Early Year’s Officer wanted to explore how the storyline approach could help their children learn about winter in a creative way. The whole nursery team were keen to explore new ways to fit in all of the essentials of planning, assessment, observation and recording of pupil progress. For the last two weeks Yvonne has supported the team in the nursery for one half day per week. The team have then developed, observed and responded to the children’s interests over the rest of the week in order to evaluate impact on learning and develop next steps. For more information about what has been done so far, click on the documents below.
Click here to see the planned learning for 20.1.14
Click here to see the planned learning for 27.1.14
Click here to see the planned learning for 3.2.14
These simple plans are put into the large-scale floor books where the team are recording how the children use the Jack Frost character to develop their understanding of winter. This story started the storyline off, and the team intend to use Twitter as one of their ways to involve parents in the learning.
Yvonne McBlain and Malcolm Wilson of Falkirk Council Service and School Improvement Team have created a new interdisciplinary learning blog. Yvonne will develop and maintain this blog as a major element of support for IDL across Falkirk Council education establishments. She is working hard to fill the blog with useful material and valuable IDL practice. Click here to visit, and contact email@example.com if you have suggestions, ideas or interdisciplinary learning practice to share.
Yesterday, Yvonne McBlain, Curriculum Support Teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services was pleased to accompany two Swedish student teachers from the University of Gothenburg on their visit to find out about Falkirk storyline practice. Catrin and Sofia are working on their final dissertations and are exploring how teachers in two different education systems employ the storyline approach to progress learning in their classrooms. At St Francis Xavier’s RC PS, they interviewed Vikki Williamson, Joanna Rowe and Margaret Priest about their piloting of Learning Unlimited “Joyning the Learning” materials. Vikki, Joanna and Margaret worked on Fairyland, The Circus and The Unsinkable Ship last session with their primary 1-3 classes, and were enthused by the levels of pupil engagement and parental involvment generated. These resources make extensive use of the Storyline approach to enrich interdisciplinary learning for pupils. The teachers have exchanged email addresses with Catrin and Sofia and supplied them with lots of really valuable reseach information. Yvonne then took our guests to Stenhousemuir PS where Laura Swan welcomed them and shared a loose timetable for their whole day visit on Thursday 21st November. Catrin and Sofia will be able to interview Laura and her primary 1 pupils, about the recent Space storyline they worked on. They will also be able to spend some time with teachers in their classrooms, and speak to the regular Thursday parent’s group. Yvonne enjoyed finding out how Swedish teachers use storyline and discovered that the Swedish curriculum has significant similarities to our Curriculum for Excellence – including a definite place for interdisciplinary learning.
Yvonne McBlain, support teacher with Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team delivered some new professional learning around the Higher Order Skills on 7th November. Click here to take a look at this session and contact Yvonne on firstname.lastname@example.org for more detail about this course.
Feedback from participants in the course was very positive on the whole, and impact reported included:
I will continue to use the HOTS within the classroom and embed this within planning.
I will use the skills matching exercise as part of a professional discussion surrounding skills for learning which will take place within my establishment.
A greater understanding of the Higher Order skills and examples of how they can be used in practice.
A number of delegates suggested that the course was very comprehensive and would benefit from being run over two sessions and/or repeated, and Yvonne will be addressing this feedback.
Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Curriculum Support Team met with Ray McFadyen, Education Officer from the Museum of Scottish Railways on 12th November. Ray shared the new museum education support pack (click to view) which he has just completed, and described the themed artefact handling boxes he has created (click to view). Yvonne and Ray talked about the range of steam and diesel-driven machinery and artefacts which could stimulate ideas for teachers of technology. Consequently, they will collaborate to create and organise a CPD Manager course offering secondary DET teachers the opportunity to visit the museum collection after hours. A visit to the museum and railway station next to Bo’ness harbour offers a whole range of creative teaching possibilities (click to explore how a visit could look). Yvonne and Ray will work with Sharon Wallace, Primary Curriculum Support Officer to plan and deliver an innovative series of CPD sessions which will include a site visit. These sessions will allow teachers to explore how the museum collection and location could be used to progress literacy skills across learning, in an active, engaging and creative way – within and outwith the classroom! Keep your eye on CPD Manager – we hope to upload these descriptors soon.
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