Yvonne McBlain, Curriculum Support Teacher with Falkirk Council Education Services recently met with Julia Branch, THI Heritage Engagement Officer from Falkirk Community Trust. During this meeting, Julia and Yvonne explored a range of ways in which the Falkirk Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI ) http://glo.li/194nhCZ could contribute to the range of teaching and learning experienced by our pupils. The THI Team has been given permission to start, and are keen to work with interested establishments, practitioners and young people. The THI is grant giving initiative funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland & other local partners. The project’s overall aim is to breathe new life into Falkirk’s historic Town Centre by improving the physical appearance of the area and enhancing the things that make Falkirk special and unique. This will include repairing and conserving important historic buildings, restoring traditional shop frontages, and improving the public realm. Alongside the physical regeneration work, Julia will be implementing a ‘Community Engagement’ programme, which will bring local history to life, offer the community and schools opportunities to learn about and promote Falkirk’s rich heritage. If you are interested in taking part in this part of the project or want more information please contact Julia via email email@example.com or phone 07739328530. Julia has created a really useful Pathfinder pack of classroom resources within Scran which you can access here http://glo.li/194nDtb , and more resources will follow.
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.
Morag Young and Morag Simpson, Physical Education Lead Officers for Falkirk Council Curriculum Support Team delivered a twilight course to primary staff on the Better Movers and Thinkers Programme. This programme is an innovative, exciting and challenging movement and learning programme for Physical Education, that focuses directly on enhancing the links between moving and thinking and how these elements scaffold the development of physical performance and inter-disciplinary learning. The practical content was delivered and developed in response to the questions and identified needs of the participants.
Feedback was extremely positive and participants are looking forward to the follow up session in February.
Examples of some feedback are shown below:
“Really interesting course with many ready to use ideas, can’t wait to try with my class!”
” Enjoyed the layering effect of tasks as it really allows for differentiation”
” ..will implement right away, very motivational”
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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Yvonne McBlain, from Falkirk Council curriculum support team was fascinated to hear about the parallels observed by Sarah Ritchie and Jill Stocks during their recent visit to Uganda. Sarah embarked upon this visit expecting to focus on the differences between Scottish teaching and that delivered in Uganda. However, instead she has been struck by the similarities of the fundamental elements of teaching in Kampala and Bonnybridge! One of her first observations was the sharing of learning objectives with pupils – in Kampala classrooms these are very effectively shared with pupils – despite the differences in resourcing levels there. Teachers in Uganda are challenged by very large classes, small classrooms and limited resources – a chalk board and a piece of chalk basically. In spite of these limitations these teachers are making extremely effective use of what we would call formative assessment. Other aspects of practice familiar to Scottish teachers commonly used were: pupils teaching pupils, active strategies used to gauge understanding, regular peer feedback, a very natural and integrated use of outdoor learning, and a very creative range of randomising techniques. Teachers at every stage ensured that pupils had a clear understanding of success criteria for their tasks. The ethos and life of this Kampala school was overwhelmingly positive and affirmative and achievement and learning was truly and enthusiastically celebrated. Click here to view a page of teacher planning Uganda style, and click on the pictures at the start of this post to see short video clips taken by Sarah during her visit.
Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Education Services Curriculum Support team has been working with our team of facilitators for the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning programme. There are 18 trainee facilitators for the programme – 15 from the primary sector and 3 from the secondary sector. Some are already taking on a distributed leadership role in facilitating teacher learning communities within their own establishments. Others are willing to facilitate sessions across the authority, and anyone wishing to access their services should contact email@example.com . The latest training meeting on 3rd October was the first opporunity for the facilitators to practise delivering the programme content to each other. Kim Davidson from Bo’ness Public PS, Jaime Thomson and Shirley Gallivan of Comely Park PS led the rest of the group through session 12 “Using professional collaboration to reflect upon & support teaching for deep learning”. The group was able to experience this session as participants, and then give feedback to Kim, Jaime and Shirley on their delivery. Read some of the feedback below:
Reflected and developed comments really well; Calm and purposeful
Pace really good – just right amount of time to reflect; Nice conversational feel
Allowed discussion to keep going – allowed it to go deeper; Circulated well
Deep understanding of content; Made participants feel comfortable
This meeting also gave Laura Wallace, Fiona Caygill and Mary Jalland an opportunity to share how sessions they had facilitated in their schools had gone. Staff colleagues gave these facilitators very positive feedback about the value of the sessions for them. Mary reported that her colleagues had put into practice some of their actions from the session the very next day! This training session was a very positive experience for all concerned, and we look forward to the remaining 3 meetings this year where the other facilitators get a chance to deliver their chosen session to our group. Click here to visit the Falkirk Teaching for Deep Learning Glow group and browse the session materials. * You may have to request permission to join the group – just click and ensure you type a short message explaining who you are and what establishment you work in.
Yvonne McBlain of Falkirk Curriculum Support Team was thrilled to attend the first of a series of cross-sector cluster interdisciplinary planning sessions on Tuesday 17th September 2013. As chair of the Commonwealth Games Interdisciplinary Project sub-group, Linda-Anne Reid worked with colleagues to co-ordinate this collegiate planning. Early year’s practitioners and primary 1 teachers met in Stenhousemuir PS, first level teachers met in Carron PS, and second and third in Kinnaird PS. All staff were given relevant planning materials and information in advance, including the cluster plan, NAR planning flow chart, NAR planning flow chart instructions and Falkirk Community Trust/Active Schools Going for Glasgow Accreditation paper. Isobel Edmond provided early level practitioners with a very clear introductory overview of the potential benefits of this interdisciplinary learning context. Morag Carson then explained that each of the 3 hour-long planning sessions would involve same stage groups planning within 3 bundles of E & Os. This means that the Larbert cluster will generate at least 3 interdisciplinary plans per level which meet experiences and outcomes from: Social subjects & Expressive Arts, Social subjects & Technology, & Social subjects and Science. They are more than happy for these plans to be made available across the authority when complete. Once these groups were established, their first task was to identify the small bundle of E & Os they felt could be progressed by this context, for their learners. Yvonne and Linda-Anne enjoyed a whistle-stop tour of the nursery and primary 1 groups, and then nipped up to Kinnaird PS to pop into the second and third level groups. The staff involved had already made choices about their E & Os , and begun to consider learning intentions, and the best activities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills within the Commonwealth Games context. There will be 2 further planning sessions on 30th October and 21st November, but some groups have opted to do one double session instead. Although clearly linking into national events taking place in 2014, this way of working across-cluster offers potential benefits on many levels: the planning of robust interdisciplinary learning, development of understanding of skills progression, and the sharing of practice generally. All in all, a really active, purposeful form of collegiate professional learning!
Stuart Lennie, along with Lynne Lauder and Anne Hutchison of the Falkirk Council Education Services Curriculum Support team have been working to commission and implement a new way for staff to search, request, and record CPD opportunities.
The new CPD Manager Portal is now live for all Falkirk Council Education Services staff, and can be accessed here:
All Falkirk Education Services staff should have received their logins via email by now. If you have not received your email, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org from your Falkirk Council emial address.
These short video sessions are aimed at Second level, however some of the materials can be adapted and applied to earlier stages.
Sharon has recorded nine short videos for ‘Reading’ including using film trailers, critical analysis, non-fiction analysis and moving image education. There are two sessions relating to spelling and these include the new spelling section and vocabulary building which explores homophones and affixes. There is one training session called ‘Developing Writing at Second Level’ and this looks at incorporating a range of different genres, as well as the use of mixed ability writing trios and effective conferencing to improve writing skills.
These short animation videos are part of a series of CPD online sessions which range from P1 to S1.
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