Category: South East

Remote Learning – What is Working? Berwickshire High School in Scottish Borders.

In this guest blog post, Derek Huffman, PT Pedagogy / English Teacher from Berwickshire High School in Scottish Borders, South East Improvement Collaborative, shares what is working well in remote learning and what they can take back to the classrooms as a whole school team when learners return.

 

One of the many issues facing teachers during ‘remote learning’ is maintaining high levels of student engagement. It is understandable why, when left to their own devices, a student might reach for their PlayStation controller rather than their school iPad. What can we do to fight this?

At Berwickshire High School, our student engagement spreadsheet suggests that, in some areas, teachers are consistently keeping students coming back for more. After discussing with staff what is working, I found that, though no two people are doing the exact same thing, there are some key commonalities. 

I’ve pulled these together, with some exemplification, in this seven-minute video:

Where it’s working, teachers are focussed on the following:

  • Simplifying: reducing the amount of ‘stuff’ students are facing to what is essential. What is simplest way to word the Learning Intentions? Do you need that extra slide?
  • Using the success criteria like a checklist
  • Having a ‘consistency of experience’ for the students: students know that at this time, they go here, where they’ll experience a lesson with a common structure – starting with daily review, going into a discussion of the Learning Intentions and Success Criteria, followed by teacher modelling and time to complete a task, and ending with a plenary where the teacher checks that the students have learned what they should have.
  • Giving brief, regular, useful bits of feedback that outline next steps

None of this is rocket science, but it works. The good news is that these are all the exact same things we should be doing in our actual classrooms. If we can focus on getting this right during these wild times, just think how much more effective we’ll be as teachers when we bring what we’ve learned back into our classrooms!

The majority of teachers I know are being too hard on themselves at the moment. It’s important to remember that we are doing our best, and if you are struggling, call someone. Send an email. We’re all in the same boat and if we row in the same direction, we’ll get there.

Derek Huffman , PT Pedagogy, Berwickshire High School

gw09huffmanderek@glow.sch.uk

 

 

January 2021. New Webinars for SEIC Practitioners. CEOP Thinkuknow Introduction Course.

Starting early in 2021 the Digital Skills Team will be offering practitioners from each RIC to join us in a series of webinars covering the CEOP ThinkuknowUK Introduction Course.

First up, the course will be delivered across the South East Improvement Collaborative in Jan/Feb. More dates to follow🗓️

Please open the PDF below to access more information and sign up form.

SEIC Thinkuknow information Jan 21

 

Race for the Line Event by Liz Dighton at Boroughmuir High School

On a rather cold, but thankfully dry, Wednesday all 220 of our S1 pupils were involved in an inter-disciplinary project which was part of the National BBC micro:bit Model Rocket Car Challenge called Race for the Line.  Over 400 schools from all over the UK are participating in the competition.  The inspiration behind the national project is the Bloodhound car which is attempting to beat the 1000mph world land speed record and also inspire the next generation of engineers to get involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.  #STEM 

In Design and Technology classes leading up to the Race Day, pupils worked together in teams of 4 to make a foam rocket car creating a design folio which showed how they had considered aerodynamics, friction etc.  In Computing classes the pupils programmed the Micro:bits which were used to carry out the timing mechanism on the race track and in Science they explored the forces which would be applied to the cars. 

On Race Day we were joined in school by a team from the Royal Navy who are based at Rosyth and are members of the crew of the new aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.  The Navy team equipped each car with a solid fuel rocket and setup the Race Track in the playground.  Each class took turns to race their cars and the times were recorded for each car.  The Navy had brought along one of their PT instructors so to keep warm pupils carried out a fitness test with a couple of our S1’s managing to reach the fitness standard for the Royal Navy while wearing their school shoes!!!  After racing the cars the pupils then used our new Dual teaching space on the 3rd floor to create some posters to summarise their learning in this project.  Some of these are now on display in the classrooms around the school. 

The top 3 car teams went forward to the Regional Final on the 3rd of May when they competeagainst all of the teams from other school in East Central Scotland @ the Royal Navy facility at Rosyth and 3 also qualified for the Scottish Final at the Barracks at Redford.   

 

 

 

Delivering learning from school to home, Sarah Clark, Queen Anne High School

When schools returned face to face this year in August I had thought that at some point throughout the years some of my students would be working at home for an extended period of time due to covid. That ‘blended learning’ approach we had been planning for back in June would still be needed but didn’t think I would be doing it so soon!

I am a biology and science teacher at Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline. We are a Microsoft Showcase School and are very lucky to have 5 MIEExpert member of staff this year. Most of our students are familiar with Microsoft Teams accessing via Glow and staff have been using it to set work and assignments even as we are back in the building.

However in my 2nd full week of teaching I had my first student leave class to isolate at home and that’s when my blended learning approach needed to kick in. I had spoken to all my classes about how things were going to work in our class this year with specific channels set up for ‘Home Working’ and ’Live Lessons’ but I was still scratching my head about managing this now it was a reality.

Class tasks for my senior pupils were set as assignments in Teams so pupils at home could see what work was expected of them. I have all my board notes in a Class OneNote so all students can see what content we are covering but live lessons that students could join from home we’re going to ensure they could still be part of the class.

I set up a meeting in the ’Live Lessons’ channel in Teams and when the student would normally be in class they joined the meeting.

Now I have tech in my classroom having a desktop computer, interactive panel and a Surface Pro device also. This isn’t all needed though.

I join the meeting on my desktop computer and share the screen so that anything I write on the board can be seen by the students in my class but also by the student joining us from home. Unfortunately I have no microphone for my desktop so I needed to join the meeting on a second device. This was what my ‘surface’ was used for but this could be done with a phone or iPad. This device I place pointing towards me and the board (or even towards the class) and I turn the camera and microphone on. This is the device that is picking up what I say and the student can see me too. If the student has their camera on, I can see them, hear them and I am able to check the chat panel easily if they have a question. It is much easier to do this on the second device instead of changing  views repeatedly on the board. I have to turn the sound off on my desktop computer as we did get a terrible echo and there was a few issues if I was showing a video as the sound and image was delayed but overall it worked very well and the students were fully involved in the class. I was even able to put the second device in the absent students seat and they could communicate with their friends while working on a task.

So far I have had 7 live lessons with my higher and advanced higher biology classes and this head meant students haven’t missed any work, there is less need to catch up sessions when they return and they have completed the same work as everyone else in the class. For the student they have also felt sully included in the class and were able to connect with me as their classmates.

This synchronous learning model however is not suitable for all students or all classes. It’s important to ask students if they are able to join live lessons. For my s2 class I have been making short video clips (2-3 mins long) to introduce them to the task they are to do as well as a brief overview of what we covered in class. I have found Flipgrid great for this as I can add the video to the assignments in team along with the task instructions (see the link below for an example of my video). I don’t want to be creating lots of work for myself and it only take me a few minutes to make my video and upload time the Team.

I think since lockdown, as teachers we have learned a lot about how we use technology and how we can integrate it into our class everyday. For home learning I am hoping it can ensure no student missed out of learning because they are at home but also how I can use it to reduce my workload. Blended learning isn’t easy. I’ve gone round in circles the last few weeks and my model may change throughout the year but it’s a start and so far it’s working for me and my students. As a school we are supporting teachers with guides, CPD sessions and links to resource.

My tip would be to test it out with a colleague and iron out any teething problems you have. Let students know your plans and walk them through how to access, how to find the home learning tasks and how to submit.

Sarah Clark @sfm36

Delivering Learning and Teaching from home – Webinar Catch Up

Webinar in partnership with practitioners from the Scottish Borders and Fife

During this session, practitioners from Selkirk High School in the Scottish Borders and Queen Anne High School in Fife share how they have been delivering learning and teaching to pupils in school while having to be at home.

 

 

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A Devastating Fire, A Global Pandemic and The Evolution of Digital Teaching in the Biology Department at Peebles HS.

Iona Minto, PT STEM and Teacher of Biology takes us on the journey of how digital teaching has remarkably evolved at Peebles High School in Scottish Borders.
In this Sway you can find out how the Biology staff embraced the introduction of Scottish Border’s Inspire Learning Programme (1:1 devices) and how they have worked together to support one another through a peer to peer professional learning support network.
In this Sway, Iona also details
  • the digital tools that have helped them to work better as a department so far
  • the initial response to school closures in COVID-19 Lockdown
  • features to support pupils
  • what digital learning and teaching may look like moving forward at  Peebles High School
  • and lots of practical examples of what the learning looks like

iona.minto@glow.sch.uk      @MrsMintoBioSci

 
 

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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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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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Learning at Home – Ormiston Primary School, East Lothian

Ormiston Primary School in East Lothian have documented their planning and experience of learning and teaching with technology for learning at home.  The document covers areas including

  • Pre-Lockdown Preparation Our Systems
  • Routines- Old and New
  • Pastoral Care
  • Feedback
  • Pupil Equity Fund Interventions
  • What do people think about Ormiston’s Home Learning?
  • Examples of Home Learning

Ormiston Primary School can be contacted on Twitter @ormistonprimary