Tag: secondary IDL

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

S2 Design Unit Update at Braes HS

 

WP_20150323_007Alison 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. WP_20150323_008

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.

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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.

Braes Anatomy going well for pupils at Braes HS

WP_20150323_003S2 pupils at Braes High School are coming close to the end of their Braes Anatomy interdisciplinary experience. This experience links science, social studies and RMPS through the context of vaccination – click here for more information about the whole project.  On Monday 23rd March  2015, Yvonne McBlain joined S2.5 for their RMPS lesson with Mrs Menzies to see how things were progressing. Mrs Menzies  gave a lesson entitled “Playing God or Doing Good?” where pupils developed their understanding of religious concerns regarding medical ethics.

During this lesson, the young people explored their thinking about a number of medical moral dilemmas such as: stem cell research, designer babies and “saviour siblings”. They began by considering their own views about these dilemmas, then created a table showing how these were viewed by major world religions.

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Mrs Menzies highlighted the links between the subjects involved for her pupils and outlined their final essay task and homework. Yvonne was able to collect feedback from the young people about how this interdisciplinary work has/is making a difference to their learning:

“It’s good. It helps me understand it so you don’t forget about it so easily and understand it more.” TJ

“It’s alright. It feels like it’s carrying on a bit towards the end – the science bit and history.” Hannah

“I think it’s quite good that instead of doing separate topics for each subject, they’re getting a bit linked up. The science bit was the best because it was more interesting” Ellie

“It’s alright. Simple really.” Omar

“I really like it because you can take what you learn from RMPS and use it in science.” Alix

“It’s quite interesting and helpful when all of the subjects tie in together. It gives you a different understanding on each subject.” Elly

“It’s quite good because it links them all together and helps us gather information and use it different ways. It could be useful even if we don’t take these subjects – like, we can use it in other subjects.” Alana

These comments suggest that the young people value being taught in a connected way and can clearly say how this benefits their learning. Some of them are able to recognise the value and necessity of transferring knowledge and skills across learning.

 

Graeme High School S2 Holocaust Project

GHS HolocaustS 2 pupils at Graeme HS in Falkirk took part in an emotive interdiscplinary experience which deepened their understanding of the Holocaust in a very real and relevant way. Teachers in History, English, Art & Design, Music and Drama collaborated to plan this connected learning which broadened pupil understanding and developed new and existing skills. Click on the image above to watch the full story via YouTube.

This is an excellent example of type 2 interdisciplinary learning where subject skills, knowledge and understanding are integrated into a meaningful context. It is clear that the teachers involved collaborated effectively to synchronise how and when the learning would happen. Each member of staff was able to build in relevant course content which progressed learning via the engaging context and active approaches. In addition, the pupils would have been able to see how the work they did in each subject  connected and enriched their understanding of the Holocaust and its continuing impact on modern society. Teachers encouraged their pupils to make effective use of their mobile phones and tablets to further enrich the experience and their engagement in their learning. This project exemplifies how effective integration and connection of teaching which would be done anyway within subject courses, becomes much greater than the sum of its parts when delivered in an interdisciplinary way.

Interdisciplinary Learning at Falkirk High school

Yvonne McBlain was pleased to be able to meet with teachers from Falkirk HS to explore how they have been developing interdisciplinary learning across the school. James Thomson, Head of Language faculty and his colleagues Amanda Gouther and Melanie, shared two collaborations taken forward this session.

The first involved English, Social Studies, PSE and Pupil Support staff, and took place over 2 weeks for S2. Staff in all of these departments recognised a need to develop pupil ability to speak confidently and well in public. They had observed that many pupils lost confidence between S1 and S2 in their ability to apply their skills to structure and deliver a verbal presentation. Consequently, staff worked together to plan a series of tasks which used social studies content as a focus for the pupils’ final presentations, which were delivered in English. In this way, staff were able to co-ordinate their course content with minimal change or disruption to their unit plans and normal timetables. The experience built into a cross-year competition which raised the profile of these skills for learning, and allowed pupils to appreciate their own, and others’ progression.

The second IDL development also involved S2 and was a collaboration between Modern Languages and HE. Each subject planned activities which were delivered within their usual timetable. In the early stages, most took place discretely, but then culminated in more obviousl integration of subject learning when pupils opened and ran their French Cafe. Pupils developed their knowledge of French vocabulary by using this in Home economics. They tried samples of traditional French food and used role play to deal with currency conversion between Euros and Sterling. Teachers used co-operative learning strategies to ensure that pupil groups had specific responsibilities for setting up and running the cafe. The pupils had real customers and were able to apply their conversational use of the French language and money-handling skills as well as the obvious and valuable social interaction. Staff built assessment of agreed criteria into the learning experience via a pupil quiz, and this learning experience proved very motivating and engaging for the pupils involved.

James also shared a planned IDL activity for December 2014 linked to the famous football game truce which took place in No Man’s Land 100 years ago between British and German troops. This will be called Joyeux Noel and will involve S3 modern languages and history pupils. He hopes that pupils can attend a special film screening and use associated resources to develop their knowledge and understanding of the conflict, as well as offering an opportunity to develop and use language skills.

Deanburn Primary 6F learn about the Jacobites

On Friday 12th December, Yvonne McBlain visited primary 6F at Deanburn PS to find out about their Jacobites interdisciplinary learning. Robyn, Findlay, Cara, and Aiden volunteered to write the rest of this blog post to show everyone how much they have learned.

 We started learning about the British Royal family tree. We discovered that this went down and down to James II of England and VII of Scotland. He got exiled to France and was the grandad of Charles Edward Stewart – also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie (the young pretender). 6F made up a Jacobite character called Angus Ferguson (see our photo of Angus with the prince).

 Angus, our made up character was good friends with the Macdonalds, and went to the massacre of Glencoe.

Findlay and Aiden got to become Angus – they got asked questions by the rest of the class and had to think on their feet to answer the questions. Robyn really liked it when Aiden was pretending to be Angus and described how he fought back. We all liked it when we got to pretend to be talking in Gaelic as Angus. He had 3 children and a wife. Cara learned “Angus was in danger because he kept some Jacobites in his house with his wife and his kids so he might have got caught.

 We have also learned the Robert Burns song “Ye Jacobites by Name” which we think is an anti-war song. We think Robert Burns sympathised with the Jacobites but thought that they should stop fighting. 

We learned that the final battle on British soil was the battle of Culloden and after this Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland forever.   We made targes, Highland sheep and pictures of Highland cows.” The Jacobites was a great topic because we got to learn about wars in history and we got to make targes, highland sheep and Highland cows pictures in art.”

Findlay “I feel I learned that the Jacobites were intelligent at some points – not all points.”

Aiden “The Earl of Mar wasn’t very bright – he tried to get inside a castle but the ropes he brought were too short!”

Robyn liked when we learned about the old and young pretender trying to come back to Scotland – the old pretender got no support but the young pretender’s army grew from 7 men to thousands. And I really liked how it was the last battle and he was like we can do it again but he didn’t. I liked making the targes too.”

 

Yvonne McBlain was impressed by the pupils’ knowledge of these important Scottish historical events, and was bowled over by their enthusiasm for their learning. It is clear that their teacher  made powerful use of Angus the storyline character to deepen the children’s understanding of the impact of these events on real people at the time. By using drama conventions and building in skill development in technology and expressive arts, learning has obviously been very engaging for these primary 6 pupils.

More Interdisciplinary Maths at Falkirk HS

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.

S5 Interdisciplinary Maths at Falkirk High School

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.

In session 2013-14, they collaborated with the modern languages department and involved S5 Higher Maths pupils in the Mathematiques sans Frontiere competition run by Heriot Watt University. Pupils had one afternoon to solve 10 fiendishly difficult maths problems and provide their answers in French or Spanish. These involved creative and critical thinking, problem solving and offered pupils an opportunity to apply their maths and modern language skills in a very unusual context. The Falkirk HS team did this so well, that they reached the top 10 across the whole of Scotland, and were invited to the award ceremony at the university.

Pupils were obviously thrilled with their achievement and gained valuable insight into university life through their visit and attendance at a maths lecture there. Stuart and Martin felt that this experience complemented their pupils’ preparations for their exams really well, and built pupil confidence and understanding. Consequently they intend to make FHS participation in Mathematiques Sans Frontieres and annual occurrence.

S1 Curriculum Enhancement Course

Fiona Malcolm, Faculty Head of Social Subjects and RMPS at Braes HS worked with colleagues to create a new course for S1 pupils which is currently being delivered. Click here to see the presentation shown to all Braes cluster primary 7 pupils as an introduction to the course. The rationale for the course states:

Curriculum for Excellence is seen as a continuous process of learning during and beyond the school years. The purpose of this course is to provide the pupils with time in S1 to build on skills and values learnt in primary school and develop them for further use across the secondary curriculum and into adult life.

In her message to S1 pupils inside the cover of their enhancement course booklet (click to view), Helen McCulloch, head teacher writes:

Our Enhancement Course is designed to improve and increase the quality of your education at Braes High School by helping you to pull together all the skills you gain across the different subjects you study in the junior school so that you can link them together and put them to good use in every classroom and in this way, have real success in your learning at Braes High School. …

One obvious problem with our Enhancement Course is the title. Enhancement Course sounds pretty boring so as the year goes on we are hoping that one of our pupils can come up with a good catchy name for our course. There will be a prize for the winning entry – so get your thinking caps on, pay attention to what is in the course and see if you can come up with an innovative and catchy title.

I look forward to receiving your ideas!

Staff used collegiate time in session 2013-14 to design the course, ensure that it meets the needs of all learners, and uses a wide variety of activities and different methodologies. This course is interdisciplinary – click here to see the skills poster for pupils. In addition, the course connects the four contexts for learning in Braes HS: pupils have opportunities for personal achievement; they contribute to the life and ethos of the school as a community; and specific knowledge and understanding is developed within curriculum areas, and through interdisciplinary experiences. (Click here for more information about these) http://glo.li/1rRhBYp

The course is being delivered over 2 periods per week – click on each term below to see the overview of learning for each term.

Term 1          Term 2           Term 3            Term 4

As part of the course, pupils are encouraged to explore, develop and share their personal achievements through Braes HS own award system called BRAW. Staff also intended that the course would enable pupils to achieve a Dynamic Youth Award, but are now in discussion with primary colleagues to explore how this element could be taken forward in primary 7 leading up to S1. This holistic approach to curricular planning for S1 helps build a coherent learning experience for pupils and alerts them to the transferability of the skills they will be developing. In addition, in contributes to a positive transition for pupils and encourages them to apply their skills, knowledge and understanding within a range of contexts.