Tag Archives: active learning

Denny High School Pupils film local sporting celebrities

Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Education Services Curriculum Support team is working with 4SIG2 and their Creative Digital Media teacher Sarah Felton to create a pupil version of our education policy Learning to Achieve. The 4th year pupils in this class are in the production phase of creating a magazine-style digital presentation which we hope will bring the paper version of the policy to life for secondary pupils all over Falkirk Council. The class decided that interviewing successful people who had attended our schools could be a really inspiring part of this presentation. Following lots of research, they organised and filmed Asia Bailey, former pupil of Larbert HS, and Jack Hamilton former pupil of Denny HS. Asia is about to become a full-time Tae Kwon Do athlete, and is currently German and Dutch Open Champion. Click here  for more information on her career so far. Jack has had a very successful junior football career for his club and national teams and is now a goal keeper with Hearts Football Club – click here for more information . Click here to see the design brief the pupils are working from – this includes the paper version of section 4 of the policy which was written by pupils from a range of our schools. The pupils were really grateful that Asia and Jack could give up some of their training time to be interviewed, and thrilled to meet these local sporting celebrities. One of the next jobs that these pupils have scheduled is to organise and film “Vox Pop” style interviews with pupils at all of our other secondary schools.

Inchlair Nursery learns about the Commonwealth Games

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Education Services Curriculum Support team has been finding out about some active and engaging interdisciplinary learning happening at Inchlair Nursery School. The pre and ante-pre school children have become immersed in preparations for the Commonwealth Games following their reading of the story “Captain Bristle’s Thistles”. This story (click to see the story video) really captured the imaginations of the children and has led very naturally into development of their knowledge within various disciplines. Isobel Edmond, head teacher at the nursery, has worked with staff colleagues to involve parents in extending and deepening pupil understanding of this international event. Click here to see one of the documents used to keep parents informed of developments with this interdisciplinary work. Click here to see how one of the children continued to develop his learning at home with his mum. Staff are responding to the children’s interest in the progress of the Queen’s Baton Relay by using a map display within the nursery. The children are developing this display by noting and bringing in photos or other items which show their links to the relay route on the map. Click on the photograph at the start of this post to watch Inchlair pupils sharing their learning.

Scottish Learning Festival 2013 – Sharing Good Practice

Sharon Wallace, Curriculum Support Officer, Curriculum Support Team delivered a workshop to 95 colleagues from across Scotland and beyond at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival.

The theme of the presentation was ‘Sharing the Learning with Parents/ Carers – Active Methodologies’ and the aim of the session was to provide an overview of the wide variety of approaches Falkirk establishments are using to share active methodologies with parents and carers.

The agenda for the workshop was:

  • An overview of the Falkirk picture
  • An explanation of the range of active methodologies used in Falkirk
  • Parent/ carer workshops on offer
  • Literature/ leaflets used
  • Online methods – blogs/ you tube/ twitter
  • Working in partnership with schools/ partners
  • How this fits into Falkirk’s Literacy Strategy 2013 – 2016

Three pupils from Kinneil Primary School spoke eloquently and confidently about their experiences helping out at active learning workshops for parents. They talked about how attending the parental workshop gave their own parents ideas on how to support their homework.

Sharon shared a short video of Susan Dyer from Bankier Primary School explaining the impact an active learning workshop had on her school, as well as a video from a Bankier parent describing what it meant to her and her family.

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https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/fa/LiteracyStrategy/

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Feedback included:

"Inspirational, you have really motivated me!"

"Thank you for sharing the Active Literacy parental leaflets - they are very useful."

Lots of delegates who attended this seminar then came along to Falkirk Council's stand in the Local Authority Village to enquire about our short animations Falkirk has developed on CfE and Active Literacy.

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.”

 

Introduction to the Storyline Approach

On 12th September 2013, Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk’s Curriculum Support Team delivered introductory training on the use of the Storyline Approach. The practitioners attending the training listened to a short presentation setting out the philosophy and structure of storyline methodology, but the bulk of the twilight session was about actually “doing” storyline. This involved them creating a setting for their storyline – in this case a new community (see below) called Camelon Court .  They then worked collaboratively to create 3 families for this new community. As usual in storyline, the creation of these characters was enjoyable, engaging, and the resulting verbal introductions to the families was entertaining too. Click here to see the biography format used by the groups to create these families. Already we can see potential relationships and narratives emerging! Look out for part two next week!

 You may want to explore more Falkirk storyline work in our Storyline Glow group, or see what is happening nationally and internationally with the Storyline approach at http://www.storyline-scotland.com/

Celebrating Learning about the Bean Geese

Yvonne McBlain from Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team attended a great celebration of  interdisciplinary learning at Slamannan Primary School on 29th May. Primary 4/5 and primary 5/6 have been part of some ground-breaking science work in partnership with the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. They have been studying a species of goose which visits the fields around their school during the winter. The Slamannan plateau is the ONLY place in Scotland that these geese occur, and scientists have been trying for 20 years to discover where they go when they leave Slamannan. Partners from RSPB worked with Mrs Murray and Mr Findlay and their pupils to find out how to observe, capture, monitor and then track the geese as they left in springtime.

The pupils shared their valuable interdisciplinary learning with an invited audience via a power point presentation and received Certificates of Distinction in their learning from SNH and RSPB. They were presented with a class set of binoculars so that they can continue their observations of the Bean geese next winter. The pupils were excitied to discover that RSPB and SNH will work with them again next session and follow up on the pupils’ suggestion that they communicate with people who live where the Bean geese go for the summer. See pictures of the Bean Goose Project display below, and visit the pupils’ blog to find out where they tracked the geese down to.

Christopher in primary 6 said that his favourite part of the project was tracking the geese, and pupils in primary 4/5 said they enjoyed “All of it!”

Cooperative Learning – Secondary SLA training

Sharon Wallace, Effective teaching and learning teacher, along with Carol Paton, both of the Curriculum Support Team delivered a Cooperative Learning academy to 80 Secondary High School Support for Learning Assistants at Grangemouth High School.

The academy examined a range of Cooperative Learning strategies and aimed to raise confidence and knowledge of how to support class teachers and lead small groups using Cooperative Learning techniques.

Newly formed ‘home’ teams developed their team identity with the design of a flag which encapsulated commonalities. One stray, three stray was used to share the learning. Colleagues also participated in ‘think, pair, share’, ‘stand and deliver’, ‘paired reading’ and  group processing activities. A range of social skills were included across all of the activities.

Class builders included an ‘inside/ outside circle’, ‘corners’, ‘find someone who’ and  clock partners.

The day concluded with the sharing of team poems which were delivered with confidence, enthusiasm and lots of laughter!

Next steps were examined and colleagues returned to their schools to share their new learning.

Click here to view full presentation: SLA day course revised april 2013

For more information on Cooperative and Collaborative learning, please visit: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/learningteachingandassessment/approaches/collaboration/index.asp

Active Learning in Health and Wellbeing using Smart Notebook software on a Smart Board interactive whiteboard

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 primary schools in Falkirk on the use of Smart Notebook software with the Smart Board interactive whiteboard to support active learning in Health and Wellbeing.

Anne Forrest guided participants 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 in health and wellbeing. These included different ways of using tools like the magic pen tool (to zoom in, magnify, spotlight, and fade out annotations), object animations to provide feedback, rub and reveal, move pictures to reveal, hyperlinked objects on images, pulling items to self-correct, matching images within tables, page activity recording. The variety of different gallery items from images to engaging interactive tools such as timers were illustrated in health and wellbeing 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.

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).

Feedback from participants included:

“Excellent with clear explanations and practical examples.” HK – Bonnybridge Primary School

“Excellent presenter.” MS – Kinnaird Primary School

Using Reciprocal Teaching to Engage Parents in Active Literacy

Sharon Wallace, Effective Teaching and Learning Teacher, Curriculum Support Team, along with Class teachers and  pupils, carried out an Active Literacy Parental Awareness Workshop at Deanburn Primary School.

Pupils participated in an overview of the strategies and methodologies relating to Active Literacy before engaging parents in an active workshop.

Pupils used the Reciprocal Teaching method to engage their parents in activities such as: spell-er-cise, fun spelling tasks, Elkonin boxes, diacritical marking and dictated sentences.

Parental feedback was collected by P7 pupils.

‘What did you like about the Active Literacy Workshop?’

  • WOW
  • Very informative session will definitely use some of those ides with my son
  • Very useful workshop has gave me a greater understanding of my daughter’s learning journey when she starts P.1
  • It was good to get to see what kind of activities go on in schools in Falkirk council
  • I have a much better understanding of literacy and thought it was very intelligent of the children how they explained it

‘Which ideas or advice will you use to support your child?’

  • I will use the recipe checking together and the list making for shopping and packing bags
  • I will read more to my children even they are older
  • Very informative, especially diacritical marking #
  • I will try and make up stories in the car with my son
  • I loved it
  • I will get them to think of unusual ways to learn tricky words (e.g. mnemonics or words within words)

Parents took way Active Literacy leaflets which contain a glossary of terms, useful websites and lots of great ideas to support literacy activities at home.