Following a chance conversation about Bo’ness Potteries at a meeting last session, Colin Findlay (teacher at Bo’ness Academy) and Elaine Reid (depute head and primary 1 teacher at Bo’ness Public PS) realised that their pupils could work advantageously together.
As part of their ASDAN course, Colin’s pupils needed to develop their skills and capabilities by engaging in a community project. Colin realised that investigating the role of the potteries in local industrial heritage might be an engaging context for these pupils. He also realised that working in collaboration with Elaine’s primary 1 pupils could enable his pupils to develop their social and communication skills, and deepen their knowledge and understanding of their local area. Pupils began by researching Bo’ness Potteries and finding out where they were on Google maps. They had a visit from a local pottery expert called Robert Jardine, who brought along various examples of Bo’ness pottery. Robert also told pupils that there was still lots of physical evidence of pottery waste lying on the shoreline at Bridgeness.
Curiousity was roused then and visits to the site were made to collect shards. Pupils went once a week to work with primary 1 pupils to support their learning about the potteries. This obviously had a significant impact on the older pupils as can be seen from their comments:
Lisa – “I enjoyed working with the primary 1s and want to work with primary 1s when I’m older. I kind of thought that, but wasn’t sure.
Ryan and Matthew – How to work with them and how much they know.
Rebecca – “It gave me something different from school work – I was still working, but not written work. I liked making the pottery and I helped them if they needed help. It helped me understand how they understood things… How to be more responsible – how I should be acting compared to them”
Click here to read a previous post sharing how this local heritage impacted on the Bo’ness Public PS pupils taught by Elaine and her colleagues.
As can be seen from these photos, the S3 pupils have realised that their collection of shards can be upcycled. Pupils have cleaned them, smoothed their edges, and added simple pins to make the shards into brooches. They are currently selling to members of staff within the school, and pupils are investigating other enterprising opportunities developing from their learning experience.
When Yvonne McBlain joined them to find out what they felt they had learned and enjoyed, pupils said:
“I like it because I get to do this (preparing the shards) and getting the money. It’s developed my confidence and relaxed me. We’ve worked well as a team to build on what we’ve done. Claire
“Teamwork. Working with groups – social skills and all that. Sitting in a group talking.” Matthew & Ryan
“It was good when we went to Bo’ness Public School. It was good to get some time out of school – I felt older and good helping younger folk.” Ritchie
Colin’s original aims: to develop the confidence of pupils, their knowledge of local history, and their ability to work with others would therefore appear to have been met. His intention is to develop this course further next session by including some clay work and firing of pots by S3 and P1 pupils in Bo’ness Academy. He will also review the timing of his course, and work with Elaine to plan for the collaborative work with primary pupils.