Paula O Hare and Caroline Cane teach primary 1 at Nethermains PS in Denny. They are both developing 1 + 2 languages with their pupils – French and Spanish. They made effective use of Storyline methodology to engage their pupils in developing their language skills. Click here to see the plan they used to structure their storyline. You can also click here to see the learning plan they created with their pupils.
Kerry Girdwood teaches primary 1 at Carron Primary School and has also been putting her languages and storyline professional learning to good use in her classroom. Click here to see the imaginative way that Kerry structured her storyline plan for her pupils. Click here, and here to see her Postcode Lottery “initiating events”. Kerry used these to guide her storyline so that pupils learned about the culture of European countries, as well as developing their language skills.
Paula, Kerry and Caroline have all used the storyline approach to “bundle” or connect learning and make it more relevant and coherent for their pupils. They integrated their teaching of languages 1 and 2 within interdisciplinary learning to make it more meaningful, active and engaging. They also made good use of professional dialogue to share and develop their teaching and learning ideas. Hopefully this blog post will continue this process and support others in their teaching of languages within relevant contexts.
Click on the links below to see some of the resources created and used by Kerry, Paula and Caroline:
Travelling to France presentation
Travelling to Spain presentation
Pupil certificates Spain and France
Smart board document for Madrid
Learning about volcanoes
Key Information at a glance:
- useful context for “bundling” connected learning – social studies, literacy, learning for sustainability
- wonderful teaching resource on our doorstep http://glo.li/1IyegDf
- great online support and resources from the learning centre http://glo.li/1ESG43a
- relevant local hook for engaging learning http://glo.li/1LttCiE
- information leaflets available in French, German and Gaelic – opportunities to contextualise 1+2 languages – website can be accessed in these languages also
The Antonine Wall is extremely close to many Falkirk schools and is an invaluable learning resource for educators. It is one of Scotland’s 5 World Heritage Sites, meaning that it is globally recognised for its cultural, educational and environmental importance. In collaboration with the other 4 authorities which the wall runs through, Falkirk Council has a role to play in the on-going management of the Antonine Wall World Heritage site (click to view the 2014-19 Management Plan). Yvonne McBlain represents education services on the management group, and would be pleased to have any thoughts or suggestions for ways in which practitioners are using, or could use the wall to enhance learning and teaching.
The Antonine Wall website provides extensive high quality resources to support teaching and learning. These resources meet the needs of learners of all ages and levels of prior knowledge, and have been gathered from all available sources. It has all of the latest news about events relating to the wall, and provides relevant information about visits and field trips to each of the important sites.
Click here to see how social studies at early level could be developed through a visit, here to browse resources for first and second level, and here to explore how S1 &2, and S6 Advanced Higher History can be supported by the resources in the site.
Patricia Weeks represents Historic Scotland and is Antonine Wall World Heritage Site Co-ordinator. Patricia and Yvonne worked together to design a professional learning twilight training session for practitioners at all levels across Falkirk. This session takes place on 8th October 2015 at Camelon Education Centre and is coded YMcB36. There will be time during this training to explore the educational resources and features of the website.
Catherine Cybulska, primary 5 teacher, and Susanne Bell, Youth Music Tutor, at Denny Primary School used the BBC 10 pieces project to truly enrich and link their curriculum for pupils. Primary 5 were among many Falkirk classes who attended the premier of 10 pieces at Falkirk Town Hall last autumn, but went on to become one of only 4 Scottish winners. Their “prize” was to host a Scottish Symphony Orchestra-led BBC 10 Pieces music takeover day which happened on 23rd March 2015. Mrs Cybulska and her pupils are also learning how to the play the violin from scratch and are enjoying their lessons from Mr Atkinson, their music tutor.
These musical experiences have naturally linked learning and skills development across the curriculum and made a very positive difference to the life and ethos of Denny PS. The SSO/BBC visit was a truly transformative experience for everyone involved. Pupils applied to take part in stop motion animation workshops linked to the pieces of music and got to work with a BBC film crew. Catherine said “There are no words to explain how good it was…just amazing…I would advise anybody to do it” The people in Denny PS also made an impact on BBC staff involved, who wrote a lovely thank you letter with the following extract “Denny is a truly wonderful school…staff/pupil interaction we witnessed were both humbling and inspiring”.
Catherine and Susanne felt that BBC 10 pieces helped them bring CfE to life for pupils by linking their analysis, interpretation and evaluation skills across music, ICT, media studies and literacy. The project has also developed pupil confidence, motivation, enthusiasm and creativity and contributed to a more positive attitude towards learning which pervades the classroom and certainly extended across the school on the 10 pieces day. Pupils model the 4 capacities better in their contributions to all areas of learning, and in their increased attention to detail, behaviour and ability to persevere with tasks. Use this link to hear some of the primary 5 pupils being interviewed about their experience by Radio Scotland.
Catherine and Susanne have succeeded in involving others very effectively in the project in order to create a lasting legacy from the project. Click here to listen to the pupils’ composition, and here to read their song lyrics. The PR video P 5 made to inform other classes about the upcoming takeover day can be viewed by clicking here. The photos below show one of the banners each class made to interpret one of the pieces of music. P5 invited 2 pupils from each of the other cluster schools to join in on the day. Look out for 10 Pieces 2 which will begin in session 2015-16 for primary 7 – S2 classes.
Primary 5 pupils at Wallacestone PS, and primary 6 pupils at St Mary’s PS have now completed their final video responses to the BBC Ten Pieces project. Click here to read more detail of the process pupils went through with their music teacher Audrey Mackay.
Click here to see Wallacestone pupils’ “A Very Small Car in a Very Large School”
And here to watch St Mary’s pupils’ “Inspired ”
These videos clearly show the power of real interdisciplinary learning. Pupils have clearly developed their music and ICT skills, but this project/context for learning has also developed higher order skills such as analysis, synthesis and creativity. In addition, these successful outcomes would not have been possible without effective team work and collaborative problem solving.
Audrey will provide every child with a hard copy of their creation to share with family members. She now plans to develop pupils’ reflection, self-evaluation and literacy skills through peer interviews about the whole creative process.
On 27th March, staff and pupils at Comely Park PS proudly presented their successful collaborative work with The Park Gallery. This project was initiated by the gallery and was inspired by Ruth Nicol’s exhibition, Three Rivers Meet which combined landscape painting with poetry. The project links to Falkirk’s successful Creative Place Award and encouraged pupils to look at their place and select their favourite icons of the area.
Ruth Nicol is an award winning Scottish Contemporary landscape artist based in Edinburgh. In her exhibition Three Rivers Meet she is inspired by Alexander Moffat’s “Poets’ Pub”, and investigates the landscapes of the seven great Scottish poets. She worked directly with 8 P7 pupils from Comely Park School in her Edinburgh studio, where they produced their own landscape paintings of well-known Falkirk landmarks. The pupils had to go through a selection process to be one of the final 8 who learned new techniques and created the stunning works included in this post.
Zara said it was “A really different experience from what we were used to.” Her partner Megan said “I was really glad I put my name down. I loved being in the real artist’s studio. It was great to work with Ruth.”
Reid and Amy chose to depict the Kelpies and said “It was really easy cos we’re best friends. I drew the background then we did a horse each.”
Heather and Lisa said “I just enjoyed a bit of everything about the paint – we sprayed, and painted and chucked everything, then it really started to come to life when we added parts in.”
Tomi said “I think my favourite bit was actually going to the artist’s studio. I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was 5”
Yvonne McBlain and other invited guests were highly impressed by the whole occasion and the work shared. The paintings took centre stage, but the poetry linked to their local area produced and read by the pupils was well-written and moving. It was obvious that teachers Gillian Hepburn and Gillian Cain had maximised the value and impact of this interdisciplinary learning for their pupils in partnership with Ruth Nicol, and Barbara Murdoch, visual arts assistant with Falkirk Community Trust. Comely Park PS has a Makar named Ruby, who read her poem inspired by her local area and said “I like writing poems – it’s another way of expressing yourself.” Click here to see Barbara’s record of the second of the studio visits.
Ruth Nicol said:
“Working with the pupils and staff of Comely Park School was very exciting and has been a privilege. The creativity, commitment and expression of all the pupils was evident to see. I hope everyone enjoys the paintings and poems we have made together.”
Alison Morton and colleagues in the art department at Braes HS continue to develop and improve their S2 design unit. Since their initial development of Curriculum for Excellence courses for S2 in art and design in session 2011-12, they have adapted their unit through collaborative working within their department, and with student teachers and a graphic designer. Yvonne McBlain initially worked with Alison to build in elements of Teaching for Understanding and link pupils’ learning to other parts of their S2 curriculum.
These course developments and collaborations succeeded in deepening pupil understanding of the ways product packaging persuades consumers. Alison, Yvonne and Janine White from the English department, shared this work at the Scottish Learning Festival in 2012. Yvonne also shared how elements of the storyline approach contribute to this pupil understanding at the 6th International Storyline Conference on Saturday 28th March 2015. She was able to pass on the impact and images of current S2 pupil work following a recent chance meeting with Alison. Delegates attending Yvonne’s workshop at the conference were enthused by the idea of building small elements of storyline into their practice at secondary level. Some of them had not previously appreciated the impact the use of characters and setting could have in subjects across the curriculum. They were also struck by the idea of product packaging as a “text” which could be analysed and evaluated in the same way as a written text or digital image. They felt this approach could help them develop subject-specific skills while also addressing their responsibility for the development of transferable literacy skills.
Braes HS is developing interdisciplinary connections across all departments, with teachers looking for opportunities to take full advantage of natural overlaps between subjects in order to deepen and enrich pupil learning. Read more about Falkirk’s contributions to the 2015 Storyline Conference by clicking here.
Teachers and senior managers from Kinnaird and Moray Primary Schools shared their use of the storyline approach at the 6th International Storyline Conference on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March 2015. Gemma Douglas and Brenda Bennie presented their global storyline practice with teachers from Glasgow schools and the West of Scotland Development Education Centre (WOSDEC). Ashley Thomson, teacher at Limerigg PS prepared the Falkirk contribution with Gemma, but was unable to attend due to illness and Brenda thankfully stepped in. Everyone involved shared the powerful impact of the Global Storyline training on the 14 teachers involved and their pupils. Feedback from the workshop delivered on Saturday was very positive, and the delegates attending engaged fully with the practical elements built in to help them understand how powerful this interdisciplinary learning is. Click here and here to read previous blog posts with more information about these storylines.
Lynda MacDonald, DHT, Gillian Brodie, PT, and class teachers Alison Feasby and Simran Multani also shared their development of storyline within Moray PS. In their session entitled “One School Telling Many Stories”, this team described the storyline journey taken by their whole school community over the last 2 sessions. During this time a small group of teachers have worked with and championed the storyline approach. Session 2013-14 saw every class embarking on a Storyline at the same time; their classrooms and playrooms were filled with vivid representations of characters, settings, plots and an abundance of new learning. In April 2014, all stages from nursery to Primary 7 celebrated and shared “Telling Many Stories” with parents, grandparents and other special guests. The school journey continues this session 2014-15 with an aim to improve practice and achieve greater consistency across the whole school and a drive to build in progression of skills across learning. The pictures above and below come from the nursery storyline floorbook.
At the conference, Lynda and colleagues made connections with 2 schools in the USA whom they plan to share practice with next year – there will be opportunities to link classes and storylines across the Atlantic which is very exciting for everyone involved.
Falkirk teachers are recognised for their use of the storyline approach to deliver powerful and engaging interdisciplinary learning. It was wonderful to see this practice being shared with an international audience – maybe we will have even more to share at the next International Storyline Conference in Istanbul in 2018!
Audrey Mackay, primary music teacher at Wallacestone PS and St Mary’s RC PS, has been working with pupils on the BBC 10 Pieces initiative. Click here to learn more about this project.
A number of her classes have been listening and responding to classical music during the “Ten Pieces” project. This project is designed to introduce young people to the world of classical music in a fun and interesting way. Primary 7 at St Mary’s RC PS have been particularly inspired to create their own response to the music by working together to compose a fusion between the opening bars of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, the familiar theme from Greig’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and Scottish Composer Anna Meredith’s body percussion piece “Connect”. The class are now in the final stage of rehearsing and hope to complete the video of their composition in the next week.
At Wallacestone PS, primary 5 classes attended the launch of the project at Cineworld in October and have been studying the various pieces during their Music lessons. Primary 5D chose Anna Meredith’s “Connect it” as the piece they would like to create a response to – click here to watch a performance of this piece. In co-operative learning groups they created their own body percussion compositions. Their performances were videoed for evaluation in class .
Primary 5E chose “A short ride in a fast machine” by John Adams. Their response was completely different to the other class. A suggestion from one child about playing the music whilst running his remote control car round the classroom led to a filming project in and around the school. Video clips were taken in various locations and then edited using Moviemaker. Whilst some children were filming others were experimenting with the mp3 track of the music and Audacity. The children were able to select how much or little of the original to use and then experiment with Audacity’s various features. After consultation with the class, one track was chosen to be the sound track for their film and was further edited using Audacity. The film is now in its final stages of editing and will hopefully be completed by 25 March 2015.
Audrey’s work is a good example of interdisciplinary learning, with pupils applying their musical literacy analysis skills while broadening their understanding of music in our society. The pupils have been able to use personalisation and choice and develop their creativity and ICT skills while creating their responses to their chosen pieces. Pupils will also develop understanding of how each subject within the expressive arts can be combined through a performance.
All four Primary 1 classes at Wallacestone Primary School shared and celebrated their Our crop, Our land storyline at the end of November 2014.
The photo on the left shows the farming community frieze created by the children during their global citizenship storyline. Each child took on the role of a villager in the farming community.
They helped create a new crop called the Super Berry plant and learned all about the processes and stages involved in growing, harvesting and selling it. Even at early level, class teacher Jennifer Main and her colleagues have noticed the impact of this project on pupil understanding of fair trade and global commerce.
The children shared their learning with the many parents and guests who came along to their open afternoon. Jennifer is one of the teachers from Falkirk schools who are making excellent use of their Global Citizenship Storyline training delivered in partnership with WOSDEC over sessions 2013/14 and 2014/15.
So far everyone involved has been very positive about the impact of this interdisciplinary work. The combination of the drama, social studies, science/HWB and literacy seems particularly engaging for pupils when taught through the storyline approach.
Martin Opgaard and Stuart Pearson, maths teachers at Falkirk HS are developing maths and numeracy across learning in various ways with colleagues in their school.
Most recently, teachers throughout the school used the Commonwealth Games as a rich context for their pupils to develop and apply skills, knowledge and understanding across the curriculum (type 2 interdisciplinary learning). Pupils in S1 and S2 took part in these linked learning experiences and gave very positive evaluations. For maths, these opportunities consolidated pupil skills in rounding numbers and graph work. They also calculated how foreign exchange rates might impact on visitors coming to the games. Click here to see a maths lesson presentation.
The project ended with a sharing of learning and celebration of pupil achievement at a “market-place” event in the school hall. The team of teachers delivering this project are now building pupils’ ideas and thoughts into their planning of a bi-annual version which will continue to happen during Commonwealth Games, and Olympic Games years.
Previously, FHS S1 pupils have enjoyed connecting their learning between maths, art and design and business education. Claire Jack, maths teacher developed an educational partnership with a local kilt hire business. The owner of this business worked with school staff to plan a tartan competition (click to view). This may be developed into a school tartan and a range of suitable products.
The photos show S 1 pupils learning how to measure properly for full Highland dress. Pupils enjoyed learning through this real-life context and developed their ability to interpret a range of number texts. In addition, they broadened their team working skills and explored their creativity within the constraints of a plaid pattern.
In the past, FHS teachers have also used the school’s annual Litter Pick as a context for pupils to consolidate and apply numeracy, literacy and computing skills. Click here to view a lesson presentation created by Maths staff for this IDL context.
Martin, and Stuart are now exploring topical science contexts and NASA resources (click here)with a view to creating some new and creative interdisciplinary learning for their pupils.