Category: Primary School

04 March 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 Create, Design, Build and Test with Barefoot – Programming Workshop

A glow login is required for this webinar Book Here  

Before you attend the Programming workshop, you will need to make sure you have registered for a Barefoot and a Scratch account, this will be needed as part of the training.

Take your knowledge to the next level with this interactive professional learning workshop led by an experienced primary teacher. Get to grips with Scratch programming and the concepts of sequence, repetition and selection through a series of Scratch activities, this workshop is best placed for beginner to intermediate Scratch users. In keeping with the rest of what Barefoot offers, it’s fun, interactive and free! There are limited spaces available, so be quick to avoid disappointment.

25 January 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 Create, Design Build and Test with Barefoot- Programming Workshop

A glow login is required for this webinar Book Here  

Before you attend the Programming workshop, you will need to make sure you have registered for a Barefoot and a Scratch account, this will be needed as part of the training.

Take your knowledge to the next level with this interactive professional learning workshop led by an experienced primary teacher. Get to grips with Scratch programming and the concepts of sequence, repetition and selection through a series of Scratch activities, this workshop is best placed for beginner to intermediate Scratch users. In keeping with the rest of what Barefoot offers, it’s fun, interactive and free! There are limited spaces available, so be quick to avoid disappointment.

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01 December 2020 1630-1730, Developing Literacy and English Through Digital Learning in Primary Schools

This webinar is an opportunity to discuss emerging practice in the area of literacy/English and digital learning and teaching.

 

About this Event

A Glow login is required to join this webinar in Teams.

It is for teachers working in PRIMARY school contexts.

This webinar will take place on Tuesday 1st December at 4.30pm

Follow this link to Eventbrite to book your place

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10 Blended Numeracy & Maths Activities Using O365

This webinar recording is aimed at teachers, primarily in the Primary sector, but could be adapted to the Secondary Numeracy & Maths classroom. The aim of the session is to demonstrate ideas for delivering and assessing Numeracy & Maths in a blended approach using digital tools available in Microsoft O365 on Glow.  Delivered in partnership with the Education Scotland Maths officers,

12 November 2020 16:00-17:00, Practitioner Examples of Blended Learning in Primary

The Webinar will look at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term, the digital tools used and their impact on learners.

About this Event

Delivered by Andrew Boulind and Rory Buchanan from St Joseph’s RC School, Aberdeen.

Open to all practitioners, Glow Login Required

The Webinar will look at how Blended Learning has been used on return at the start of this new session 2020-2021 and its impact on the learners. After having returned in August form Lockdown, we felt it was important to utilise the digital skills the learners had gained as well as improving pupil engagement, motivation, and challenge by using a blended approach to learning in the classroom. By maintaining this blended approach, we have been able to provide a differentiated and more personalised approach to learning.

Although technology has played an important part in our classes it has been important to create a stimulating environment in the classroom where the displays demonstrate a range of curricular areas and are accessible and used to reinforce learning.

By using our variation of Blended learning, the pupils have been leading the learning. It was vital for us that learning was relevant and built on previous online learning. The approach has made sure that pupils are aware of learning expectations and know how to be successful in their learning, whether online or in class.

Learners are engaging in various types of learning experiences, online, in class and in groups. Learners are encouraged to develop high order thinking strategies in their classwork using the and online activities. Due to the use of online assessment tools the Learners are aware of feedback and can act rapidly on this. Digital technology is a feature of learning with both in class as well as at home. After the lockdown and the possibility that they had more “textbook type activities” it has been important to provide them with activities that they can relate their learning to real life contexts.

The Webinar will look at the tools and pedagogy used in this first term (August – October), the digital tools used and their impact on their learners. They will be examples of activities and pupil work as well as practical ideas and applications to take away from the session.

Register Here

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DigiLearnScot Webinar Q&A with Claire Eade, Meethill Primary School, Peterhead

We have been speaking to teachers across Scotland to find out more about their experiences of using digital technology to support their learners. In this Q&A Claire Eade, Class Teacher at Meethill Primary School in Peterhead, shares what she has learned from joining webinars to build digital skills and the top tips she would give to other educators on using digital technology. Look out for more Q&As soon!

 

How has your use of digital changed since schools closed in March? 

My use of digital has changed a huge amount. I had used Teams a little bit before schools closed but not to the extent we then needed to. Initially I had no idea how to navigate Teams and upload assignments but taking part in the digital skills webinars helped me with this greatly.

 

Which webinar/s from Education Scotland’s DigiLearn team did you join and why?

I joined the webinar on using mobile devices to enhance and capture language learning and I joined webinars on using Teams. I also joined the webinar on Google Classroom in case I ever need to use that.  

 

Why did you pick these webinars in particular?

The descriptions for these webinars sounded exactly like what I needed to help with teaching the children on-line.

 

How was the experience of joining an online webinar?

They were absolutely brilliant. They were so easy to join. I was sent a link and I just needed to click on it to access the webinar. It’s up to the webinar attendees whether they switch their camera and microphone on. You’re given the opportunity to put questions in and if these aren’t answered at the time then the DigiLearn team will come back to you with an answer later. The webinars are recorded so you also have the option to watch it later which is great in case there is anything you have forgotten.

 

What have you learned from joining these webinar/s to build digital skills?

I’ve learned that it is not essential for me to be face to face with the children to teach them. When schools closed I thought I really needed to be in front of the children to teach them but I’ve learned that we can absolutely teach them on-line.

 

How did you use these skills to support your learners? Tell us more.

These digital skills have helped me to support my learners in many ways. For example I’ve learned how to use screen capture so that I can show my pupils videos or PowerPoints. I can also record commentary over a PowerPoint so that I can highlight and explain different points to my pupils. I can also use the whiteboard tool to actually demonstrate examples to them and aid their understanding.

 

How have you used Glow to help you support learning at home?

I found Glow very useful for finding resources. For example, I found a great resource for teaching activities in French through Glow. I also saw posts from teachers on social media suggesting resources they had found using Glow which I could then go and look up. Glow has also been very useful for communication as my class regularly contacted me through my Glow email while schools were closed.

 

From your experience, what top tips would you give to other educators on using digital?

My top tip is don’t be scared! Don’t be scared to ask questions especially on the DigiLearn Teams group. It doesn’t matter what the question is, and you might think it is a silly question, but there is always someone else wanting to ask the same thing. I posted a question recently asking about how to archive my Team and I got a response back really quickly. It’s important to make use of the expert knowledge out there as there is always someone who can answer your question.

14 September 2020 15:45 – 16:30, Code Clubs – Online and Remotely

A Glow login is required to join this webinar in Teams.

Webinar in partnership with Code Club Scotland

During this session, Lorna Gibson, Programme Manager for Code Club Scotland will outline ways that people have run their Code Club during lockdown. She will highlight best practice and the resources available to teachers to support an enriched Code Club while social distancing and other restrictions remain in place.

Upon booking your ticket a link will be issued to you to join the Digital Skills Microsoft Team Site within Glow where the training will take place, this can take 24hours to process.

Register Here

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Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey Lights, Camera, Action! Sustaining Engagement

“Today’s young people should be taught using video games because they have ‘much lower attention spans’ than in the past”

Headline quote from Mohit Midha, the chief executive of Mangahigh that appeared in a recent TES Magazine edition (Hazell, 2018); although the merits of this statement can be debated, the fact remains that teachers are undoubtedly up against the ever-growing numbers of pupils who now play video games, who access social media (even at primary school age) and are growing up in the ‘on-demand age’ of instant entertainment, complete with flashing lights, thrilling action and the lure of passively interacting without really thinking.

Therefore, it could be argued that digital learning during lockdown gave teachers and educators the unique opportunity to utilise technology to engage children at home, adapting teaching styles as we discussed on our last blog – Every day’s a school day, and finding new ways to compete against the temptation of entertainment technology in homes. Teachers are not entertainers (and should not try to be), but by making learning fun and interesting and our teaching style immersive and informative we hoped that we could spark engagement and sustain it during lockdown.

So, at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class, we decided that the key to digital engagement for us would be the ‘human element’, just because we were not together in a building did not mean that learning had to be passive and simply uploading files for children to work on independently and return was not going to compete against all the other household entertainment temptations or support our families in trying to get their children to learn. Using our FAST-remote learning strategy we explored how we would capture and sustain the engagement of our pupils.

F – Our motto of “Do what works for you” came into play again. We could not implement a rigid structure as there was not a ‘one size fits all’ at the beginning of this pandemic. Each family had their own unique circumstances and if parents and carers came across barriers to remote learning or felt under pressure to ‘keep up’, then they would simply switch off.

So, we needed to work together by offering synchronous and asynchronous tasks and giving families the flexibility on how, when and where learning would happen:

  1. Firstly, families had the option to follow the structure and routine of our weekly visual timetable from NLC Friendly Communications which we posted on our Twitter account and Microsoft Team each Sunday and emailed directly.

This had the option of joining 3 or 4 live video calls each weekday, for all ages and often we had a choice of call to join for different stages. Using a traditional approach the work would be explained live on the video call with the ability for the child to ask questions or seek support from the teacher and then children could complete the task in their own time afterwards, although on occasion the task was completed during the call itself synchronously.

  1. Alternatively, families could dip in and out of the visual timetable or miss the live call and complete the task asynchronously, with some choosing to do this in the evenings or weekends. Although our timetable ran 9am – 3pm, families did not need to operate like this. Furthermore, we made use of a flipped method of teaching on occasion which gave families further flexibility to complete work in advance and then discuss afterwards in a call.
  2. A third option was for families to make use of the work we uploaded to our Pupil Zone website, which gave them the option of offline work for all curricular areas without the need to download any apps or use Microsoft Teams. The work here did not require digital technology and we ensured it was kept up to date and relevant.
  3. Some families chose to make use of our pre-printed worksheets and the jotter giveaways we organised and they completed work away from the computer screen, often accessing our parent guides for support within the parent zone of our website.
  4. Finally, some families just did their own thing.

    They purchased books or resources that they were familiar with and confident in teaching. They made use of the time at home together to develop life skills such as baking and gardening and we still wanted to see and acknowledge this learning, therefore some of the families would share it on our Microsoft Team or Twitter.

Every family had a unique set of circumstances.

As discussed in our first blog in this series, our focus for term 4 was on the health and wellbeing of the children and therefore our priority was to ensure that we did not add further stress to families at an already unsettling time for our children by expecting too much or demanding that all children accessed digital content. So, we truly made use of a blended approach to offer as much flexibility as we could with traditional and flipped learning opportunities and synchronous and asynchronous tasks to allow our families to do what worked for them, without judgement or worry that their child would ‘fall behind’.

Later in this blog series, we will detail what our approach at Mossend Primary and Nursery Class will be should blended learning come into force next session, as clearly the focus will change within the context of a part-time school and digital learning mix, nevertheless, we will still strive to offer flexibility for our families as we believe that a blend of digital approaches is the best way to sustain engagement.

Similarly, we replicated this approach with our staff, sending out a weekly sign-up sheet to volunteer to deliver lessons, with absolutely no pressure as detailed on our previous blog.

A – The accessibility of the digital learning we were offering was another barrier that we had to overcome and we will discuss next week in greater detail the applications we chose to use and the reasons why.

However, we did make use of the accessibility features within Immersive Reader on Class Notebook in our Microsoft Teams to highlight to our families how this could be used to support reading and writing at home, particularly for children with additional support needs.  Furthermore, we utilised Microsoft Office Lens as a way to take text and make it accessible, distributing via Class Notebooks and assignments within Microsoft Teams. This provided support to some of our families and differentiated the work we were offering to our pupils.

Furthermore, we embedded pupil voice within our digital approach by asking the children what they wanted to learn, involving our Digital Leaders to assist and take ownership with the Microsoft Team and encouraging children to help their peers with navigation and how to access content when new pupils joined. We even had a P7 girl plan and deliver an arts and crafts lesson on her own in Microsoft Team to the school; the true essence of a confident individual and leading their own learning. 

Our Microsoft Team was accessible to all ages and stages of child and by ensuring that the pupils had a say over their learning, allowing them to take ownership of it, listening to their voice and making them part of their learning it did become one full school Team and increased our overall engagement – the children wanted to be part of it, they wanted to learn and they looked forward to the lessons! 

This was evident at our whole school assembly on a Friday, which quickly became a highlight of the week for everyone.

S – The key to our sustained engagement was down to the support we offered, we needed our parents and carers to know that we understood they were not teachers and that we did not expect them to replicate the school day at home, however, they knew their child better than anyone and we would be here to help engage them in their learning regardless of the route they chose.

Our flexible approach allowed families to focus on the needs of their child, without the worry of them ‘falling behind’ or the pressure of them trying to learn new digital skills. We made use of an “open-door policy” and ensured that our Twitter account was manned between 9 am – 3 pm each weekday, that we had Microsoft Team Moderators daily and that emails were responded to quickly. Digital support was always on hand.

Previously, if a parent or carer needed to discuss something they would simply come down to the school and ask at our office, so it was important for us that our communication channels remained opened and that our families knew they could contact us during the school closure. Some reached out just for reassurance, to ask for advice on a concept or if the work they were completing was at the right level and others just to ‘check-in’.

Nevertheless, not every child in our school did engage in learning during the lockdown and we did not hear from every family, although we made phone calls and efforts to offer support it may have just been too late. If any school is to increase engagement in digital learning next session, then working with these families to understand the barriers and challenges for them and identifying what we (schools, communities, local authorities, government) can do to help and support them will be essential, but that must take place before any future lockdown happens in order to Get It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) next time. 

T – We all love a ‘well done’ and some positive recognition for work completed, so we quickly introduced a gold star system to fit in with our “Where Stars Shine Brighter” school vision. 

Every piece of work that was shared with us on our Microsoft Team or Twitter was acknowledged, recognised and the effort praised in a timely manner and each child was awarded a virtual gold star.

This was not about rewarding those who were engaging with the Microsoft Team or Twitter, it was about rewarding the work that was shared with us and the effort that had gone into it regardless if it was offline work like cooking, baking, gardening, building or a worksheet – it didn’t matter – learning had taken place and this needed to be celebrated.

At the end of the week, we would celebrate all the work shared at our school assembly and put the name of every pupil who had earned a star into a weekly draw with the winner receiving a £5 E-voucher for Amazon emailed directly to their parent or carer.

The fact we implemented this system right at the beginning of our journey was paramount to our success and absolutely the right time as it gave our children a real incentive to get involved and we know they enjoyed receiving their virtual stars each time they shared work with us. The children shared their work for the intrinsic motivation of being praised publicly (using the praise feature within Microsoft Teams) and the feelings that the recognition gave them, the weekly Amazon voucher was just a nice add on for those children who were extrinsically motivated and a further supportive carrot for their parents or carers to dangle in motivating them to get logged in each day.  

Our Microsoft Team was successful because there was a range of cogs working in the background in a timely manner, things did not just happen.  We would meet virtually at the beginning and the end of each week to create the timetable for the following week, send out the staff sign up sheet and then look to fill any gaps. We constantly reviewed upcoming events or celebrations such as Father’s Day, World Smile Day and VE Day to ensure our lessons were timely and that we were able to tap into the natural excitement of events like Easter and Star Wars Day, thus increasing engagement.

In summary, whilst we may not have had the flashing lights, we did have the (one way) camera and the plenty of action. We utilised our talented staff to offer diversity in our lessons, ensuring they were timely and relevant. We offered a flexible and supportive approach to families with communication at the heart and we achieved this by moderating Twitter and Microsoft Teams, acknowledging work, ensuring pupils had a voice with involvement in their learning and praising and rewarding the work that was being shared back to us. All of the cogs were moving in the background to spark and sustain engagement in our digital learning and our hope for the future is to continue to increase this engagement by identifying what else we need to do to Get It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC).  

John Dewey once said, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow” (Dewey,1916), teachers are always going to be up against the lights, camera and action of the latest blockbuster, video game or must have gadget; so we must continually find new, creative and inventive ways of engaging our children in their learning,

Lockdown 2020 certainly gave us all the unique chance to ‘test the waters’ with remote digital learning and we think John Dewey would have been proud of our approach.    

Patricia McKay is the Depute Head Teacher at Mossend PS & NC in North Lanarkshire and Gordon Reid is a class teacher and ICT Co-ordinator. Together they facilitated and led the remote learning strategy for the school.

Mossend PS & NC is a non-denominational school situated in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire. The school has 382 pupils and there are 40 children in the nursery attached to the school.

Twitter: @mossendps @Mr_G_Reid

https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/nl/mossendps/


References

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and Education. New York: Free Press Available at: http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/publications/dewey.html [Accessed 15 July 2020].

Hazell, W., 2018. Teach With Video Games, Schools Told. [online] Tes. Available at: https://www.tes.com/news/teach-video-games-schools-told [Accessed 15 July 2020].

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Spotlight On: Craigour Park Primary School’s Digital Journey.

In this blog post, Matthew Greig, P4 Teacher and Digital Strategy Lead from Craigour Park Primary School in Edinburgh takes us on the digital journey at Criagour Park Primary.

Before the idea of school closures ever crossed our mind, Craigour Park had been working towards improving digital engagement for staff, learners and parents. We had over the past year evaluated our progress, highlighted our strengths and had a clear vision of how we would like to move forward. A new skills progression was being developed in collaboration with learners and parents. Our class teachers were routinely integrating digital technology into learning experiences, robotics dance parties were no longer a wild dream, our learners were becoming experts in the world of Office 365 and words like Plickers and GoSpiral now had meaning. Then Covid-19 emerged as the next great challenge our nations schools would have to overcome. The classrooms fell silent and the school doors were locked. Despite the significant changes to the way that we now lived our lives, our staff took this as an opportunity to enhance the digital literacy of our learners and seek new and creative ways to continue delivering high quality learning experiences.

Communication

Our journey began with our teachers establishing multiple lines of communication. For our P1-3 teachers this meant Learning Journals. For the rest of the school (P4-P7) class teams were set up on Microsoft Teams. Twitter accounts were established by each stage from Nursery up to P7. Our school website was updated, and a school YouTube account was created. During this initial phase of lockdown, we gained useful feedback from learners and parents by using Google and Microsoft Forms. This allowed us to actively respond to our learner’s needs and ensure that we engaged as many pupils as possible.

Microsoft Teams

After a few initial teething errors, Microsoft Teams proved to be a huge success amongst learners and teachers. As well as providing a platform for learners to access their learning it also provided them with a social space where they could talk directly to one another. Who knew that a 3-hour conversation could be sustained purely with emojis? Teaching staff embraced the opportunity to develop their pedagogy with Sways, Forms and assignments now becoming commonplace. Using rubrics, points systems and forms a variety of assessment techniques are routinely implemented and our whole school marking policy is continuing to be used. Our Spanish teacher was added to all our Teams allowing them to run school wide competitions ranging from creating a Tapas feast to recreating famous works of art by Spanish Artists. Several additional apps have been trialled by our teachers. Insights for example has now become the standard tool for assessing engagement allowing us to target further support to pupils who may need it. Our school has also realised the value of Teams in supporting transition with new teachers having the opportunity to communicate directly with learners and assess their current levels and interests.

Twitter

Our school Twitter accounts have provided opportunities for our learners to engage with school and city-wide initiatives. Recently to support the transition from Nursery to P1, many of our staff and learners went on a Teddy Bear Hunt! Our P5 teachers led a #BigDayIn where learners had the opportunity to showcase their wider talents and achievements which would normally be celebrated at assemblies, the magic tricks were mind boggling! Throughout lockdown our school PE teacher has created a variety of challenges and initiatives which keep our learners healthy and active. Ranging from community treasure hunts to playing conventional sports with items you might find in the cupboard.  We are ending the school year with our own version of the Olympics and a school wide BRAW (Bike Run and Walk) challenge where participants are challenged to do one activity each day for the whole month of June.

YouTube

During lockdown our school established a YouTube channel to directly show learners different strategies and skills. Feedback from teachers, parents and learners indicated that this would be a useful tool to support home learning activities. This has enabled us as a school to deliver lessons directly to our learners with the same explanations and guidance they would receive within the classroom. Our P3 Team have used this excellently with learners now having access to videos showing them how to create and understand Pictographs, Bar graphs and Carroll Diagrams. Our Nursery is regularly reading bedtime stories, a favourite of which is of course the Wonky Donkey. Learners can learn new PE skills directly and learners can join in with Maths warm up games. In addition, our SLT and Head Teacher have taken the opportunity to deliver messages directly to parents and learners. The school year is ending with a whole staff video for our P7’s in lieu of their usual leavers assembly.

Although Covid-19 has certainly raised many challenges and continues to have a significant impact on the lives and education of our learners, one positive is that our staff and many of our learners are certainly now more adept  and confident delivering learning in the digital age.

https://craigourparkprimary.wordpress.com/

@CraigourPark

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Parent and Community Engagement during ‘Lockdown’

I have always viewed Dalintober PS & ELC as a ‘community’ school, in its truest sense.   Our commitment to ensuring that we actively communicate with parents and partners and include them in our curriculum and social planning and implementation is essential to our schools’ & ELC ethos.   This has grown to include the second school that I recently became Head Teacher of – Glenbarr PS.

We have always had very solid foundations and relationships with our parents and communities, but I can truly say that the ‘lockdown’ period has only strengthened these connections.   Engagement and discussion has been a constant feature of our overall strategy during lockdown.

We had intended to investigate Google Classrooms as part of our 3 year School Improvement Plan – but ‘lockdown’ certainly expedited this!   The commitment and energy of staff, pupils and parents in taking forward our new digital learning systems has been, quite simply, outstanding.   We have worked together to find ways to offer devices and support, including phone consultations – and with the help of partner agencies in the Children & Families Team and the Kintyre Community Resilience Group.

We have very successful school Facebook Pages, including a closed ELC Parent/Carer & Staff Group, and these have continued to be the main vehicle in recognising and celebrating achievements, sharing good news stories and information.   Parents are incredibly supportive of our social media pages and there are lovely interactions on a daily basis.   We have ensured that we have a ‘virtual’ final term, keeping many of the events and activities that would normally occur at this point in the school year – this has included ‘Virtual’ Assemblies, ‘Virtual’ School Photo Day, ‘Virtual’ Sports Day, ‘Virtual’ School Trips  and Music Festival Week and on-going transition activities.  Posting and sharing photos, as we normally would, has helped us maintain a positive and feel-good link with the community and parents at this unprecedented time.

We have also continued to work alongside local partners and businesses – this has included Shopper-Aide, the Great Lockdown Quarantine Quiz, Roots of Empathy, and Glen Scotia & Springbank Distilleries and may others – including upcoming interviews with ‘noted Campbeltonians’ such as best-selling author, Denzil Meyrick and musician/composer, Lorne MacDougall.

I very much believe in being open, honest and approachable to parents and the school communities.   There is nothing more powerful than human connection and maintaining that connection ‘virtually’ has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of my working week – both prior to, and during lockdown.

Our school buildings may be closed; but our schools’ & ELC ethos continue to thrive.

We thank everyone involved in helping us achieve and sustain this.

 

Caroline Armour

Head Teacher

Dalintober PS & ELC and Glenbarr PS

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