The Oxgang Primary Infinitree Crop

WP_20160318_005[1]On Friday 18th March, Bartek and Scott in primary 5 at Oxgang School, told Mrs McBlain all about the imaginary Infinitree crop which they invented. This is a very special crop which is a blend of chocolate cane and a tree. The tree has leaves which can be crushed to give chocolate oil and then the leftover leaves can be made into chocolate paper, AND the chocolate canes can be crushed to make chocolate powder!! WP_20160318_006[1]

The Infinitree crop is grown in the town of Little Market by very special characters. These include:

WP_20160318_007[1]

Rocko Bartson who is the harvester for the village farm. He is 18 years old and gets up at 6 o clock to harvest the Infinitree crop.

WP_20160318_009[1]

Bella Flower checks the fences and she drives the trucks which take the crop to market.

Declan Donald has 5 children, and he has to get up at 1am every morning to start watering the crop. He has to water 5000 plants, 5 times a day!

Miranda Rubber plants the seeds, she has one child and she works five days a week and does housework on the other 2 days. She gets up at 5 in the morning.

Bartek and Scott helped to write this blog post and were very good at explaining how their harvesting machines worked – they chose to make these from Knex instead of making them with their bodies during drama.

 

WP_20160318_002[1]

WP_20160318_001[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

WP_20160318_003[1]WP_20160318_014[1]

As you can see from the photos above and below, Bartek and Scott have had to think hard about farming, farmers and the crops they grow. We hope you enjoy reading about the valuable learning the boys have done with their teacher Mrs Stephen. They would be delighted to read any comments would like to write in the space below.

WP_20160318_011[1]WP_20160318_010[1]

 

 

Head of Muir PS continues to develop their curriculum

WP_20160304_010[1] On Friday 2nd March 2016, Fiona Anderson, head teacher, shared current developments with the curriculum framework and interdisciplinary learning at Head of Muir PS.

WP_20160304_001[1]

Fiona used extensive data from her consultation of stakeholders to shape the school rationale. Parents placed great store on literacy and numeracy, which resulted in a curriculum framework where these are seen as separate, but integrated where beneficial (see her quick visual curriculum overview above). Staff at Head of Muir therefore teach these key subjects discretely, using interdisciplinary and subject specific contexts where these are advantageous to pupils.

WP_20160304_003[1]During previous collegiate sessions, staff defined which experiences and outcomes were naturally covered during everyday parts of school life in order to capture and build their Ethos and Life of their School as a Community. These were things like, school assemblies and performances, circle time, eco groups, etc. Many of these related to Health and Well-Being and have been grouped and bundled to help staff in their next steps with tracking progress of these.

WP_20160304_002[1]Nursery staff worked with Fiona to do the same for the nursery setting (see pic left). As they worked, clear bundles emerged which will now shape nursery planning and help align it with early level in primary 1. This will ensure greater coherence and progression from 3 – 12.

At the latest inset day, staff used the experiences and outcomes with the significant aspects of learning and progression framework statements to define groups which they felt were more powerful taught together. They tried to do this without linking expressly to contexts such as World War II, so that teachers would have more professional autonomy, and would be better placed to respond to the prior learning and interests of their pupils. WP_20160304_005[1]Staff at Head of Muir PS are trialling the pupil-led planning sheets originally developed by colleagues at Stirling Council. The examples pictured show how these plans are influenced by the interests of pupils, and how they develop over time.

WP_20160304_006[1]

At the end of this blog post please click the video screen to hear what Louise in primary 7 thinks of this planning.

The bundling exercise is building the contexts/aspects of interdisciplinary learning and discrete curricular areas and subjects within Head of Muir PS. Fiona and her senior manager colleagues will streamline the bundles to create progressive frameworks which ensure progression and coverage across all four contexts. She  intends to work with staff to explore how skills are progressed through their bundles, to work towards ensuring that learning is progressive and challenging for every pupil. Like many other schools in our authority and across the country, these processes also aim to reduce workload and increase the efficiency of planning, tracking and monitoring processes. By working collegiately from their curriculum rationale, staff are building a shared understanding of what makes their school unique, AND basing this on reflective self-evaluation.

Louise

 

 

 

The Water Source Storyline Develops at Head of Muir PS

Hed of muir celebration Pupils and teachers in primary 6 & 7 at Head of Muir PS are enjoying their developing Water Source storylines. The Water Source is a global storyline created by the West of Scotland Development in Education Centre (WOSDEC) and University of Strathclyde, which you can learn more about by clicking here.

Kirsty Bruce is working on the storyline with her primary 7 class as part of her second year of global storyline training. She is also supporting her colleagues in primary 6 and 7, with their delivery of the storyline, including Nicola Harding, a probationer teacher for primary 6. Nicola has very effectively documented what she has done so far, and how it has impacted on her pupils – see a short extract below, and click here for Nicola’s full documentation:

We started our topic by creating a strong foundation of community. Following initial research into what the term means, we set about creating our own fictional community to become our ‘home’ for the next 8 weeks. Learners were fully engaged with the process from the beginning, largely because they had full ownership of the village and sense of community. We discussed the careers and responsibilities needed to support a village and created characters/families based on these ‘needs’.

Head of muir village

Here is our village display. We brought in a selection of junk items and were free to create our buildings in our own way using our own ideas for design and materials. We all worked together to create the river, road and houses.

 Since we created our ‘families’, they have become very important to us and we do a lot of things together. We update our character diaries on a weekly basis detailing each new and exciting thing we have been involved in.   H of M celeb

Global storylines are strong interdisciplinary learning which help practitioners develop skills, knowledge, attitudes and values in a powerful, but naturally connected way for their pupils.

Kirsty explained that: “Initially we got together to plan how we would approach the storyline and I shared information I have gathered from the Global Storyline course. I have been very impressed with how Nicola has taken this on in her class and it is great to hear about how involved the children are.

We have mainly collaborated on ideas for the classroom displays and resources that we have each created. However, frequent discussions about how things are going have been very useful for sharing ideas and talking through the plans and how best to approach the learning at each point.”

For more information about global storyline training in Falkirk schools, contact yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk  .

 

Primary 4 learn about Law & Order at Bantaskin PS

IMG_4651Yvonne McBlain visited Primary 4 at Bantaskin PS on 16th November, to hear about their Green Street and Friendship Street Storyline work. Mrs Russell’s class helped Yvonne write this blog post, and took some of the photos too. Mr Davidson’s P4D class held their court hearing during the visit – they were all desperate to hear the verdict! 4R will visit Falkirk Sheriff Court on 17th November and then stage their court proceedings back in class. DSCF6599

We have been busy creating a street of houses in our classrooms. Each group in our class created a “typical” Falkirk 8 year old character, then made up a whole family to live with them.

Our families needed houses, so we designed  homes which were just right for them. We got letters asking us to do different jobs. When  an elderly couple from Malawi moved into the empty house on Friendship Street, 4D had to come up with ways to make them feel welcome in their new country. Another letter said that the council had given us a piece of land near our street, and that we had to design and make a community garden on it. IMG_4654Primary 4 used their tiling skills to create a tiled centre-piece for the  garden using squared paper. The gardens had to be Eco-friendly – Olivia said that eco-friendly is “putting everything in the right bins”, Caitlin said “eco means don’t waste anything”. We learned how to tile a hexagon shape, and when our gardens were finished, we displayed them and organised a Grand Opening tea party to celebrate. The next day we were “outraged” to discover that  our community gardens had been vandalised!  Who would do this terrible damage? Why would they do it? The pupils discovered clues – a bottle of black paint, some fingerprints, and apples with bites taken out of them.    DSCF6588

Children in both classes learned about Law and Order in our country by investigating the crimes of vandalism which took place in their community gardens (SOC 1-20a). Their storyline included a visit to the local Sherriff Court, and the storyline letters they received, highlighted skills and knowledge they would develop during this interdisciplinary work. The letters helped to engage the children in their learning and made it accessible to them. The pupils also developed their understanding of the impact of vandalism on real people because they experienced it through their make-believe storyline. Storyline is often valuable for this reason in helping children to develop sound values and attitudes which contribute to their development of the four capacities. DSCF6615

 

Click here to see a version of this storyline plan which was developed by Yvonne and primary 5 teachers at Ladeside Primary School a few years ago. It has proven to be a valuable way to link or bundle, specific Social Studies and Health and Well Being experiences and outcomes with elements of Learning for Sustainability.

IMG_4652

Primary 6 Learn about RMS Titanic

titanic IDL completed mission oneKayleigh Docherty and her primary 6 pupils at Carron PS are embarking on an interdisciplinary storyline about RMS Titanic. Kayleigh is a probationer teacher with Falkirk Children’s Services, and is using the Cambridge Education, Joyning the Learning resource “The Unsinkable Ship” as a starting point for her storyline. She provided the description below:

I introduced the topic as a story line involving a secret mission. Letter one was delivered on a Friday afternoon and told the class that they had been chosen to participate in a secret mission. It also asked them to bring old clothes to school on Monday as the mission would involve a lot of paint and glue. As you can imagine, this grabbed the pupils’ interest and excited them beyond belief.  mission one photograph

 When they arrived on Monday another envelope was waiting, this time containing ‘secret agent’ badges. The next envelope was then delivered which revealed the first mission which was to bring the Titanic back to life in their classroom. The pupils then decided to create a huge replica of the Titanic and worked in groups for the full day to complete this. Over the past two weeks they have added a huge amount of detail and have now completed their task. secret agent badge

 The pupils are also studying ‘Kaspar, the prince of cats’ by Michael Murpurgo as the novel links to the titanic theme. I find that they are much more enthusiastic during literacy due to the excitement and engagement from the Titanic being embedded throughout their learning.

This work is still in progress, but Kayleigh reports that “It certainly has engaged the children and having just finished parents’ evening, parents are very pleased with how engaged and enthusiastic the pupils are.” Primary 6 are developing a range of skills through this IDL context, as can be seen from the photos of their work in progress.

mission one teamwork

creating the detail for mission one

 

 

Professional Learning Linked to the Antonine Wall

Child and romanWe are delighted to be able to offer practitioners in Falkirk schools and establishments some new professional learning linked to the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. Patricia Weeks, Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Heritage Environment Scotland will lead this session and prepared the following information:

Find out more about how the Antonine Wall can help deliver outcomes and develop the capacities of Curriculum for Excellence in your classroom. The session approach will be cross-curricular, and will focus on what physical and digital resources are available to help you prepare and deliver a range of topics. It will cover: a short history of, and introduction to, the Antonine Wall; real and replica handling materials and how to use them; the new Antonine Wall website and how to make the most of the wealth of primary and secondary evidence it showcases; and how to use and access new digital resources in development such as a game and forthcoming site-based app.    Chn at Callendar House

By the end of the session, participants will be able to:

Share information about the Antonine Wall with colleagues and pupils
Say how learning about the Antonine Wall could help them deliver elements of CfE
Create learning experiences based around the resources and support materials available

Participants will also receive a support pack on the day, with copies of teaching resources and promotional material to support future development of your own lessons.

The training takes place on 3rd March 2016, between 4-6pm, and is coded YMc26 in CPD Manager.

Falkirk Probationer teachers go Interdisciplinary!

WP_20151105_001[1]“In early November 2015, Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support officer with Falkirk Children’s Services enjoyed working with primary and secondary probationer teachers as part of their core induction programme. Click here to see the presentation which the primary teachers experienced, and here to see the adapted version for secondary teachers. You will note that much of the content of these training sessions needed to be similar to reflect the generic nature of interdisciplinary learning and its vital role within Curriculum for Excellence.

The culminating task for these sessions was to identify small groups of experiences and outcomes which could develop into effective interdisciplinary learning. Practitioners in most schools are engaged in developing interdisciplinary “bundles” of experiences and outcomes to help build their curriculum framework and enable them to ensure progression across all four context for learning. Probationer teachers were shown exemplar pro formas to model how a “bundle” might look when developed further – click here to see a 4th level example, and here to see an early level version.

There was no time during these sessions for proper sharing of the bundles created by each co-operative group of teachers. Consequently, it was agreed that this blog post would be used as a sharing tool, where teachers involved could have a look at some of the bundles, reflect on their IDL value, then leave any comments and observations they have. Yvonne looks forward to hearing your thoughts on the bundles below – some have contexts, and others are simple lists of experiences and outcomes.

MNU 2-09a, 09b, -9c, 10c & TCH 2-22a,03a &01a – Enterprise

SOC 2-07b, SCN 2-16a, 18a, TCH 2-12a & 14a Natural Disasters

HWB 2-08a, 09a, RME 2-09c, 09d, SOC 2-16b, 16c, 17a

SOC 1-16a, 17a, 18a, HWB 1-01a, 02a, 03a, 04a, 05a, 06a, LIT 1-02a, 10a, EXA 1-13a Developing understanding of differences

SOC 1-07a, 08a, 14a, RME 1-03a, 02a, 03b, SCN 1-17a/SOC1-08a Maps/Local Area

RME 2-04c, 06a, 09d, HWB 2-34a, 30a How do beliefs affect diet?

SOC 2-01a,04a, 09a, 14a, EXA 2-03a, 04a, 05a, 13a, TCH 2-04a, 14a, Titanic

MNU 1-20b, MTH 1-21a, HWB 1-50a, SCN 1-02a, SOC 1-13b Living things & environment

LIT 3-23a, & geography, RMPS & Maths outcomes to study potential support of local charities and campaigners using the big questions “Can people make a difference?”

HWB 4-29a, 30a, 32a, SOC 4-22b, 21a & MNU Cupcake Challenge enterprise

TCH, SOC & SCN at 3/4th level – Understanding physical, social and technological developments in society

Click here for booklet versions of the experiences and outcomes, and here for a document which collates the connections between subjects as described in each principles and practice paper.

 

 

 

 

World War I Project at Laurieston Primary School

hrh

Interdisciplinary information about this project in a nutshell-

What happened:  In 2014, primary 6 pupils at Laurieston PS developed their research skills by discovering how previous Laurieston pupils contributed to World War 1. With the support of Louise Tierney and Laura McDonald from the heritage learning team at Callendar House, they discovered wonderful, sad and heart-rending stories during their “Our Area in the First World War project”(click here to visit the heritage learning team blog). Pupils were able to work with a range of people during this project, including: relatives of the people they learned about, a reporter from the Glasgow Herald, ( click here for more detail of the stories uncovered in his article about their work), and a television researcher. They also worked with a storyteller and artist, who helped them to interpret the stories they uncovered in a creative and informative way. The resulting “memory box” exhibits were part of a travelling exhibition which was launched in the Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’ness, visited Callendar House,  and local libraries throughout the Falkirk area.

The pupils continued their involvement into primary 7, and their representatives shared their work with HRH Prince Edward, on 2nd July 2015.

IMG_homework

How does this work relate to Curriculum for Excellence?

These pupils applied their literacy skills within the “People, past events & society” organiser of social studies, to research the legacy of the first World War on their local area. Discrete subject skills were developed within and across literacy, social studies and expressive arts. The project blended the four contexts for learning – the transferable skills used across the curriculum progressed learning in a discrete and connected way. The project enhanced the positive life and ethos of the school in its local community, and offered pupils opportunities for wider achievement.

School presentation 2

As a result of this project pupils:

  • Developed and applied transferable skills such as: analysing information (primary & secondary sources), working with others, planning and organising, creating & presenting information
  • Explored their own thoughts about conflict, and their values and attitudes towards their school and community
  • Deepened their understanding and appreciation of the impact of war on real people & society
  • Experienced active and engaging learning
  • Benefitted from working with a diverse range of partners including the Heritage Learning Team

School Presentation

Sarah Black said “I feel that the WW1 project let me do fun and exciting things. Not only did I learn a lot but I am sure it will help me in the future. It was really special getting to meet Prince Edward. I really enjoyed meeting him as he was really nice and it was a once and a lifetime opportunity.

The most important thing I learned was that thousands risked their lives and many were killed to save my generation.  I am very glad I learned about WW1 and the opportunity I got to be on television with it.”

Falkirk Community Trust’s Heritage Learning Team received a small grant for from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) of £9,900 from their First World War – Then and Now programme.The project had an intergenerational focus with a group of adult participants from the local community also working with the Heritage Learning Team and artist Jan Bee Brown and Storyteller Allison Galbraith to create a further 6 memory box exhibits to complement those created by the children and to provide a current cross-generational perspective on the impact of the War on the local area.  Both generations came together to present their exhibits at the Hippodrome in Bo’ness to the wider community.

Let’s Build Deep & Progressive Interdisciplinary Learning

IDL 03 image44 practitioners from establishments all over Falkirk are developing their interdisciplinary learning during 5 twilight sessions as part of our authority development of Interdisciplinary Learning. Session 3 took place on 21st October, and involved practical and collaborative planning of IDL which progresses skills, knowledge and understanding from related Experiences and Outcomes across the curriculum. Staff in schools all over Scotland are going through similar processes to create the interdisciplinary part of their curriculum framework. This process is often referred to as “bundling”, and involves finding the strong and natural connections/overlap between curricular areas & E & Os, then planning how these could be taught in an integrated way. Many schools have, or are giving a huge amount of their professional learning time to this process, so Falkirk Children’s Services are supporting a whole authority experience to help accelerate progress and improve practitioner confidence, understanding and skill.

Cathy Quinn, curriculum support manager, Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support officer,  Marianne Savage, acting head teacher at St Bernadette’s RC PS, and Andrew Watson, DHT at Bonnybridge worked together to plan the first 3 of these IDL sessions. Click on the documents below to get an insight into how this highly complex process is evolving. Click here to view one of  the example plans created to model the planning process for participants. Watch this space for the results of practitioner planning coming soon!

1. Extracts from 2015-16 Inspection Briefing Paper relating to IDL

2. Education Scotland definitions of what good IDL looks like – and common misconceptions

3. The blank pro forma practitioners are using to capture their “bundles”

Practitioner evaluation of the IDL project so far is very positive, with most people saying their confidence is growing, and they feel as though they now understand what “true” IDL actually is. Most people taking part are sharing their experience and the materials used with colleagues in their schools – usually as part of a Raci school improvement task. Consequently, our service is finding sustainable ways to build our capacity to design deep, progressive and engaging learning for our pupils.

Interdisciplinary Learning Update

IDL banner smallInterdisciplinary Learning in Falkirk – a Quick Update

 Yvonne McBlain, is working with colleagues across our authority to review and develop our Interdisciplinary Learning. As part of this work, she will be taking forward the task “Build guidance and support for interdisciplinary learning through Glow and Glow blogs”. The Falkirk IDL Glow group has now been updated to act as a “one stop shop” for practitioners looking for guidance, and can be reached using this link http://glo.li/103OdF4.

IDLFAQ

Yvonne has built in a Frequently Asked Questions section which has comprehensive answers and supporting resources for the most common queries. In addition, people can respond and contribute to this section as a discussion board. The group links to national guidance from Education Scotland, and to other national and international research and ideas about connecting learning across the curriculum. Yvonne will continue to add to and develop the Glow group – please send any suggestions you have to yvonne.mcblain@falkirk.gov.uk.

This blog complements the Glow group, and is open to all without the use of a Glow password, http://glo.li/1ftOaIZ . Its purpose is to share good interdisciplinary learning from all sectors and all establishments across our authority. When you deliver strong IDL which makes a real difference to your pupils’ understanding and skills, please email Yvonne so she can help you celebrate and share your effective teaching.