Following a meeting at Hallglen PS about staff development of skills within their curriculum, Alison McCalley and Linda Hastie gave Yvonne McBlain a tour of the learning walls around the school.
Click here to read more about this development process. Staff had made very effective use of walls around the school to share and celebrate learning. In every classroom the “learning walls” were used to help pupils understand what they were learning. Pupil self-evaluation and next steps were also displayed.
Themes like Houses and Homes linked learning and skill development in social studies, numeracy and technology. Teachers used their themes to integrate literacy skill development in reading, writing, talking and listening. There was evidence of pupils developing their vocabulary and their higher order reading skills by being “Thinking Readers”. Writing tasks were carefully planned by teachers to progress literacy and numeracy across learning within the social subjects or science topics. This included homework tasks at all stages.
From the meeting, and the tour, it was clear that staff are collaborating very effectively to build their curriculum. Their joint exploration of the skills built into the experiences and outcomes means they can make progression explicit to pupils so that everyone can track and profile learning in a meaningful way. It was a pleasure to experience the depth of reflection going on at Hallglen PS. The following pictures give a flavour of the development of the curriculum and how staff are addressing the 4 aspects of the curriculum. Next steps for staff is to pull their bundles of connected E & Os together with the significant aspects of learning and contexts and build their curriculum framework. Staff worked on this during the May inset day and will combine it with subject specific and discrete skills progression to build and review their curriculum.
On Wednesday 26th November Yvonne McBlain visited primary 7D at Wallacestone PS to hear what the pupils think of using Daily 5 and Cafe to develop their literacy skills.
First pupils shared their thoughts with their shoulder partner, then Zander Thomson wrote these on the board, and Mia Beveridge typed up the summary below:
Café and Daily 5 is a different way of doing literacy. It helps us to learn independently and will be helpful in the future. Read to Self and Work on Writing is more enjoyable and we are reading more books than we used to.
While this was happening, Gregor Fullerton and Jacob Campbell took the photos you see in this post which they felt would show how Daily 5 and Cafe worked in their classroom. You can see how organised their books and literacy tools are, and how the pupils identify and share their skill development and progress.
Mrs McBlain loved hearing how enthusiastic pupils were about the difference this way of learning is making for them. She was also very impressed by how well they could explain their thoughts and opinions and use their literacy skills in other parts of their learning.
Deanburn Primary School nursery staff have been developing their approach to planning interdisciplinary learning with Yvonne McBlain, curriculum support teacher from Falkirk Education Services. They took an enquiring approach to exploring how their planning procedures could help them to identify and select related “bundles” of experiences and outcomes which were relevant for their learners. Caroline McKay, principal teacher with nursery responsibility, and Karen Stewart, senior early years officer, took an innovative approach to integrating learning through the storyline approach. During the project, Yvonne worked with the team for half a day once a week with a working lunch evaluation/planning meeting straight afterwards. The team used the storyline approach to explore how the children would engage with an initial stimulus story linked to winter and Jack Frost. Click here to read the stimulus story.
In this way, planning for next steps responded to the children’s interest and engagement with the characters and the story. Click here to see the initial simple daily plan which was trialled for use in the floor book. As suspected, this proved unsustainable as a planning procedure in the long term, but has helped the team explore exactly where and how they met the essential elements of the NAR planning flow chart – they are still tweaking their planning formats to maximise impact, but minimise unnecessary workload. The project included an opportunity for parents to take part in the storyline and was very positively evaluated – click here to see some parental evaluation. Clicking here will allow you to see the results of the assessment activity designed to guage impact on the pupils – lots to consider from a sample assessment! Everyone involved was fascinated to observe the degree to which each child opted in and out of the storyline context while still fulfilling the learning intentions and success criteria during free play, outdoor time and group time.
As a result of the project, the team are now consolidatng the children’s knowledge of the seasons through relevant development of specific skills, understanding and attitudes across the curriculum. Click here to see the floor book page gathering the children’s existing knowledge of spring. Karen and the early years officers have developed their use of the floor book as a record of all of the learning taking place across nursery. They now feel that their ability to evidence and track progression in learning is enhanced by the changes they have made. As can be seen from the photo at the start of the post, the team are also developing their use of a learning wall in the waiting area to try to inform and engage parents as much as possible in their child’s learning processes. The experience as a whole has supported the team in reviewing their systems to meet the requirements of the NAR planning flowchart and improve their application of the principles of curriculum design – both for discrete and interdisciplinary learning.
Marianne Savage, principal teacher at St Bernadette’s RC PS has created Microsoft Publisher poster versions of the experiences and outcomes at first and second levels of Curriculum for Excellence. She developed these from the South Ayrshire Early Years Annual overview document below. Marianne has very kindly agreed to share these (now converted into PDF format to ease access – you will need to assemble the pages and enlarge the documents if printing):
Early Level South Ayrshire Annual Overview First Level
Second Level sheet 1 Second Level sheet 2
Marianne’s head teacher, Cathy Quinn, had these printed A2 size by Printworks so that staff throughout the school could highlight the E & Os being addressed by learning and teaching. Staff use colour coding to monitor coverage via this simple tracking system and record the levels of breadth and depth achieved. Click here to visit St Bernadette’s school blog, and contact Marianne or Cathy on 01324 503400 for more information.