Category: Expressive Arts

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Moray Council Instrumental Instruction Service 

“Swapping Musical Instruments for Computers” 

Here in Moray the small but ‘mighty’ team of instructors have been working hard to ensure our young musicians continue to have access to quality learning and teaching opportunities and instructor support during lockdown. By using Microsoft Teams instructors have been sharing challenges for their pupils to engage with in place of traditional face-to-face instruction. 

 

Learning a musical instrument is a very practical thing: from listening carefully to a young musicians sound and offering them tips and tricks to ensure they always produce their best tone, to supporting them physically by adjusting bow holds or correcting technique etc. Remote learning will never replace in-person, face-to-face music lessons, but it can bring a whole new dimension to learning and teaching musical instruments – one which enhances our service and provides learners with lots of new opportunities to develop , improve and share their experiences. 

Like many others, we faced a very steep learning curve and in the early days took our time to figure it all out. Instructors were not used to using computers as part of their daily routine and had been due to have some in-service training on GLOW in May. Having been pipped to the post and had remote working thrust upon them confidence has steadily grown and, by working collegiately, there has been lots of new learning. On our return to school buildings we’ll take with us new skills such as video editing, multi-track sound recording, knowledge and experience of various digital learning platforms and a vast library of emojis and gifs… all new skills which will benefit our young learners. 

‘Over the Rainbow’, a Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG) initiative to encourage as many of Scotland’s young musicians to perform on Thursday evenings during the clap for carers, gave us the perfect opportunity to engage our pupils online. Instructors digitally editedannotated and shared sheet music; recorded, edited and uploaded tutorial videos; and encouraged pupils to make their own sound and video recordings to share with their team. On the 30 April lots of Moray’s young musicians took to their doorsteps, not only bringing music to their quiet communities but boosting their confidence, building their resilience, and giving them opportunities to share their learning with others. 

With the future in mind we look forward to developing our digital skills and enhancing our service even further by (hopefully) offering pupils video lessons; adding digital learning platforms to our learning and teaching toolkit allowing us to support our pupils between lessons by sharing tutorials etc; and empowering instructors to take ownership of digital learning and teaching in their ASGs. 

 

Facebook: @MorayMusicCentre 

Instructor Over the Rainbow video. 

 

 

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Craigie High School’s Digital Journey during Lockdown

 

Craigie High School’s Digital Journey During Covid-19 Lockdown

Before Covid-19, Craigie High School was looking to improve digital engagement for both pupils and staff. We werein the process of self-evaluating and looking to work through the Digital School’s award just as Covid-19 closed our schools. We had created a Digital Teacher Learning Community and set up the Twitter page @digilearnchs in order to showcase examples of high-quality digital learning and teaching in our school. If we can take any positives from lockdown, it is that Craigie Staff have gone above and beyond to improve their digital skills at home. We are looking forward to returning to school and continuing on our journey to become a Digital School. We are definitely much further forward than we were in March!

At Craigie High School staff have found many creative ways to engage pupils remotely.

Many departments have set up individual class teams on Microsoft Teams, allowing them to access resources and talk to staff directly. Many departments make use of the assignments tool to track pupil engagement and mark homework this way. We also have whole year teams, where pupils are given more generic resources and information. This has allowed for a more collaborative approach from staff and sharing of good practice. This can also be seen on our Whole School Staff Support Team.

Online Support Hub

Resources have also been added to our Craigie Online Learning Hub for pupils who may have trouble accessing Teams or may prefer a different format. This is a public facing website which has information for both parents and pupils on how to support learning for home. This directs pupils to information about lost passwords etc, and has links to lots of useful revision websites and fun learning tools. This also has information for pupils and parents about how to cope with learning from home and some information about the importance of Health and Wellbeing at such a time.

Twitter

Craigie also continues to use Twitter effectively. Our whole school Twitter page keeps parents updated with all important information, as well as retweeting information from partner agencies and individual school departments,. Each department has their own twitter account and has been sending out many encouraging and positive comments along with essential information for parents and pupils.

The Art department, for example, have set up a 30 day Drawing challenge and tweet examples of excellent work from very talented pupils.

 

In Home Economics, pupils have been given lots of resources to learn practical life skills at home. There have even been differentiated lesson plans sent out for pupils to work on catering for their different dietary requirements. They have also used their Twitter to share examples of pupils finished recipes.

The Science departments continue to share many different exciting videos and resources for pupils. The Biology Department have set milk and volcano home experiments for pupils and a spring photography challenge. They have been sharing excellent examples of home learning from pupils on twitter.

Pupils have been making use of One Note in Science. They have made a poster about an animal and its habitat/diet etc using a rubric attached to their assignment in Teams. Some have done this digitally and uploaded it, others on paper. They’re all uploaded to their pages of our class notebook.

They have also been completing class work through OneNote, including an experiment setting up a pitfall trap and counting and identifying the insects they trapped the next day.

 

 

School Videos

Our lovely Support for Learning Dept sent out a video message on twitter to allow pupils to see a friendly face. We are currently working on a Prizegiving congratulations message and a staff wellbeing video.

Music and Drama

Our Instrumental service has set up teams groups for all instrumental pupils, they have access to video lessons, sheet music, discussions etc. Mrs Mackay has have delivered instruments and music to around 25 kids. Some of our pupils are performing outside at 8pm on a Thursday night, over the rainbow on 28th April drew a lot of participation and engagement. Our seniors are currently working on a music video which will go out in a few days. Drama pupils are engaging with the National Theatre online resources which are brilliant. Pupils have also engaged with creating online performance videos which have been edited together by one our wonderful music instructor, Mr Nicoll.

 

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RMPS

Unfortunately, the RMPS dept did not get the chance to take part in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative before the school closure. However, a ‘Your Community Fund’ challenge has been launched by the Wood Foundation. Our RMPS dept are working with pupils to create presentations explaining the reasons for donating money to a local Dundee Charity. S3 (new) have been set the task the task of writing a letter to someone they find inspirational. For example, they are able to choose to write to a key worker or even someone in their family. The returns have ranged from writing to a nurse at Ninewells hospital thanking them for their hard work and also a beautiful letter to a Gran who is also a care worker who has to come home and look after Grandad who is ill. I’ve been encouraging these pupils to actually send their letters of appreciation on.

Also for June, pupils in the BGE are going to be set this RMPS Superstar challenge.

Office 365 Tools

We have also been making use of Microsoft Forms and Insights on Teams to monitor pupil engagement and check for understanding. We have also been using other Office 365 tools through glow such as Sway to try and encourage digital literacy in our pupils.

 

 

Some staff have been providing live online lessons through Teams, whilst others have been videoing themselves teaching and uploading these to onedrive for pupils to access.

Online Classrooms

Staff have also created Online Interactive Classrooms. These have been updated with links to work, and sites along with showcasing pupil work. They look amazing!

And so much more…

Our Duke of Edinburgh candidates are still being supported remotely too, with teachers sending links and advice to help pupils to continue their award through challenging times.

Staff have also been working on continuing their professional development, and the introduction of a Craigie High Quality Learning and Teaching webpage is helping staff to consider new ways of teaching on their return to the classroom. They have also been attending Dundee City Council Online Digital Support Webinars. Finally, our amazing Parental Support Officer has delivered over 130 learning packs to pupils. She is joined by PTG’s PSWLAC and PTSFL in making weekly calls to pupils and their families. Food parcels are also organised on a daily basis for our families through other foodbank agencies.

 Twitter : @craigie_high and @digilearnchs

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Self Portraits on Purple Mash from Cargenbridge Primary in Dumfries and Galloway

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BeeBots at Home with Kirkton of Largo Primary School Fife

Gemma Sanderson, Primary Teacher from Kirkton of Largo Primary School in Fife, shares how Computing Science learning can be continued at home by creating your very own paper BeeBots!

using pencils laid out on table to create a maze
carboard cut out of bee bot
maze on floor created with necklaces
maze in sand pit created with assorted plastic toys
bee bit made with paper plate and had decorated with arrows

Further Information
Email: gw11sandersongemma@glow.sch.uk
twitter: @gems_sand @KirktonPS

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Let’s all “Meet” up – in a virtual learning environment

Our school community are, on the whole, fairly confident and upbeat just now. To understand why I receive such positive views from across the parents, pupils and staff, I have to give a bit of background “pre-Covid”. Argyll and Bute Council have a great IT Team that have been promoting the use of G-Suite (Google Apps through Glow) for a few years now. We in Oban High School had a number of really enthusiastic staff who saw the potential of Google, ran with the training and led peer CLPL.

Around the same time we built a new school and added a Promethean Board to every classroom and gave every teacher an iPad, which they were trained to use alongside the Google Apps. This led to an explosion of online learning via Google Classroom.

The necessity to use the new technology and Google apps, along with regular training, ensured some of our staff were ready for the next step on our journey: live learning and teaching between two schools. As I lead both Oban and Tiree High Schools, it was fairly easy to merge the timetables to allow for the delivery of live lessons to and from each school. This increased the level of subject choice available to senior pupils and ensured effective leadership across the sea; consistent curriculum development and a wealth of shared CLPL.

Admin; Art; Biology; Business Management; Computing; Computer Games Design; Geography; Music Technology; Physics; and PE. Yes, PE! Theses subjects have all been delivered between our schools as part of the merged timetable or, as in the case of PE, to cover a staffing issue.

How does it work? Well, the experience gained by staff in Oban as a result of the introduction of the new technology and mainstream use of G-Suite certainly helped reduce much apprehension. All our teachers were used to setting up and using Google Classrooms (GCs), how to uploading assignments, marking work and conversing through GCs. Colleagues were used to creating Google Docs, Slides or Sheets and to saving and organising onto Google Drive. The only add-on was the move to live learning through Google Meet.

The  “new normal” our teachers faced was that some of the children’s smiling faces were now on a screen; their voices on a speaker. A class is still a class though. The exposition, the tasks, the Q&A and the plenaries are all shared experiences. When doing group work, the Tiree pupils can join an Oban group on the screen using a smaller speaker or vice versa. When they wish to ask a question, the teacher responds one-to-one over their headset. The cameras and screens allow the teacher to see every child in their (expanded) class at all times.

Concern with anything new is natural; safeguarding is a must. To begin with, we only used this with S4-6 classes. No class can exceed its SNCT maximum. IT support is on tap; a line manager is only a call away in the event of a behavioural issue; the office for a medical issue. We have now expanded this across the whole school at our teachers’ request.

What makes it work?

  • Investment by the Local Authority.
  • A core of experienced staff, keen to support colleagues and provide on-going training.
  • The purchase of good cameras, teacher headsets and pupil speakers to capture the whole class “look and feel” to make the pupils in the remote location feel genuinely part of the class.
  • The consistent and coherent use of one software suite of Apps: Google or Microsoft,
  • A safeguarding protocol to give confidence to staff engaging in live delivery.
  • Pupil buy-in – achieved by capturing the essence and experience of being in a larger traditional class environment, leading to an increased feeling of belonging to that class.

Learning and teaching from home has proved remarkably similar to what we already deliver, with the caveat that it has still been a very steep learning curve. The key difference is the need for safeguarding guidance to both staff and pupils; and a relaxation of accepted norms. We must be professional at all times in the way in which we interact with our pupils; we must have support in place for when the rules are not followed and we must keep stressing  that we’re all in a “class” when on online… but we also have to accept our four-legged friends may still appear on screen at times.

Equity for children? A recurring theme in this discussion but just as important for our staff. If there is not a device available or there are not enough devices in the home, every child, and every member of staff, is given an iPad, Chromebook and/or data Dongle. IT support is available to ensure every child can access the devices; teachers take children through getting onto Glow, Google Classroom or how to use any of the Apps. Each child is in a Clan (House system) and a pastoral team member liaises weekly with every vulnerable family or any pupil or parent who asks for help. We do Welfare and Engagement checks weekly. Those not engaging receive a call or a visit to the house where we offer pastoral, IT or curricular support for those who are reluctant to ask but need support; whether online, over the phone or on the door step – two meters distant. We’re here to help.

Delivering a virtual learning experience is not easy for anyone but it will get easier. As each day goes by we learn from our experiences and accept that change is good; or at least necessary. The “new normal” of remote learning in the future will not be new; just normal: the normality a consequence of us investing in both technology; from supporting and training our colleagues; and from teaching our children well in whatever manner we can. It works now; it will work even better with practice.

All support materials are uploaded and shared on the school website below,

http://www.obanhigh.argyll-bute.sch.uk/

 

 

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A Selfie in Isolation! North West Community Campus, Dumfries and Galloway

A Selfie in Isolation

by Jamie McKie, Primary Teacher from North West Community Campus in Dumfries and Galloway.

A Selfie in Isolation, an activity shared by Nicola Orr (@MrsOrrCPS) on Twitter has been used many times by teachers across the country.  Her resources can her found here.

Due to everyone being in lockdown, we’re experiencing home-schooling, coming together as a community and a whole bunch of emotions too! The children gave themselves something to look back on by taking a ‘selfie in isolation’. This could be completed as a family, with a pet or on your own – completely their choice!

To complete this activity, the children had to download the template and then insert appropriate sized text boxes to include information underneath the sub-headings and upload a selfie in the middle. The pupils were encouraged to be creative with font, size and colour. The result and engagement from learners towards this task was very positive and rewarding, I’m sure you’ll agree.