Category: West Partnership

Using QR codes and ‘Thinglink’ for homework and resources – Early Years

Williamsburgh Primary School Using QR codes and ‘ThingLink’ for homework and resources, to encourage children to lead their learning, develop digital literacy skills, and overcome written communication barriers Aileen Mackey Early Learning and Childcare Officer gw17mackeyaileen@glow.sch.uk  Twitter @mackey_aileen

 

Click on link 👇

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/13wxuGHMd7e8vKcj7ytVJmJv82gEXiPewyt3FX2Uwj8U/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

Using QR codes creatively within Williamsburgh Primary School

The following link showcases how QR codes have been creatively used within our school in order to enhance children’s engagement in learning and play, improve digital literacy across the curriculum, overcome written communication and interpretation barriers, provide opportunities for vertical learning through interactive displays, and deliver a sustainable and efficient method for staff training, to enhance our service provision. Evaluation and feedback on the success of these strategies is also included within this blog post. 

Link to presentation – https://bit.ly/3l0oU3z

 

Using QR codes, videos and drone footage to enhance viewer engagement and experience of Nursery- P1 transition 2021, Aileen Mackey

At Williamsburgh Primary School we have used QR codes, videos and drone footage to enhance viewer engagement and experience of Nursery – P1 transition. By doing so we have  maintained our pedagogical approach, tailored our service delivery to the needs, interests and queries of children and families, encouraged children’s independence and digital literacy by accessing this information, and related theory from ‘Realising the Ambition: Being me’ (Education Scotland, 2020) to our practice. Examples of practice are featured within this post.

View the presentation here

Lenzie Meadow Primary School – HOW TO CREATE HIGHLY ENGAGING CONTENT Lisa Ann Tani

‘HOW TO CREATE HIGHLY ENGAGING CONTENT

Have you ever created a digital resource and felt that it was somewhat uninspiring?

It is easily done. We have all experienced “death by PowerPoint”.

ThingLink is a fabulous (and free) platform created by a Microsoft Gold Partner team which can be used to create highly engaging virtual classrooms, tours and even escape rooms.

Let’s dive in.

Example of primary one homework focusing on rhyme:

Our school’s Senior Leadership Team comprising of Sheona Allen (HT), Lorraine Donnelly (DHT) and Elaine Gardiner (DHT) have been successfully using ThingLink to create weekly virtual assemblies:

One of the most engaging aspects of ThingLink is the ability to create escape rooms. I recently finished developing an escape room for our primary two pupils focusing on internet safety when playing online games. Try it out for yourself:

Get started with ThingLink using the links below:

Tutorial Microsoft Educator Community

Try out ThingLink

 
 
 
 

Using Microsoft Forms to Support Learners and Assess Understanding

Gayle Badger is a Biology and Science teacher from Johnstone High School in Renfrewshire.

She has been using Microsoft Forms to support and assess learners understanding of the course content. Forms has allows her to create a variety of questions and provide instant feedback for them. This has been extremely beneficial and has received great feedback form learners and parents about how the instant feedback has guided their learning and next steps. Forms also allows Gayle to embed video and picture content that can be used to flip the learning or even to provide support to incorrect answers on the quiz, allowing learners to revise their answers more independently. 

“It is definitely my go to now for checking understanding and I also use it as a ‘live’ lesson to go over answers , especially with seniors where they can see where they may have gone wrong with their answers.”
 
Pupils have said that they find it useful to have the teacher go over answers ‘live’, after completing the form, as they benefit from hearing her ‘going through the process’ of how to pick out data from the problem solving questions – just like they would do in class.
 
 
Here are two examples for different stages:
 
 
 
 
 

webinar logo for literacy

Teaching English with O365 Forms, Susan Galloway, Drumchapel High School

Susan Galloway, from Drumchapel High School in Glasgow, shares how she has used O365 Forms to engage learners and improve attainment in English with it.

 

We have been using Microsoft Forms to support pupil engagement in English and we’ve found that this has had a positive impact on attainment and supported assessment of learners at all stages.

In the BGE, we’ve primarily used Forms as quizzes to support pupils with short reading tasks. These are self-marking and classes often have access to quizzes with different levels of challenge. We generally use the ‘chilli challenge’ concept for this with the majority of learners being asked to do the ‘Hot’ challenge with a ‘Spicy’ and ‘Extra Hot’ version to offer challenge and support. What surprised us was how keen pupils were to choose the more challenging versions and their increased resilience even if they got quiz questions wrong. This approach particularly benefitted pupils who struggled with literacy and who could use assistive technologies to support them if needed.

For Senior Phase pupils our focus has been in using Forms to support RUAE. Questions from past papers or any close reading can be easily copied into Forms and it only takes about 5 minutes to create a Higher paper. Self-marking is less effective here as we expect pupils to have a wider range of responses so the basic Forms format works best. The ability to see all pupil answers in spreadsheet format means teachers can quickly identify questions learners have struggled with and accordingly target teaching. It also means you can easily share anonymised answers with pupils and get them to peer mark, identifying quality answers and how to improve weaker ones. Previously I would have typed example pupil answers or used a visualiser on a pupil’s work but this approach saves time and makes peer assessment more straightforward for pupils to access. RUAE results have directly improved as a result of this approach.

Both the quizzes and forms are really straightforward and quick to make, and easy to share with colleagues which helps reduce teacher workload. Pupils benefit from being able to use assistive technologies to read questions aloud and pupil feedback has been extremely positive.

Having the skills and opportunity to work with others using digital technology, Heriot Primary, Renfrewshire

Whenever I plan a lesson, I refer to the Digital Learner poster to ensure that I am incorporating at least one of these skills in my lesson. In my primary one class, we had been learning about shapes and their properties. In order to consolidate their learning, I brought out a shape mat and told them we were going to play a game where they had to travel from one shape to another using a Robot Mouse. This instantly grabbed their attention and I initially let them play around with the mouse to see what they knew and if anyone could work out how to programme the mouse.

A few of the children immediately recognised the arrows from games consoles and their computer keyboard. They began playing with the mouse, using words like forwards and backwards. I then stepped in to show them how to ‘clear’ their instructions and asked them to input one direction, press go and then press clear after the mouse carried out the instruction. This allowed all pupils to take part in the activity at a very basic level.

At this point, some of the children started to ask if they could do a “long move” to get the mouse there quicker. This then opened a discussion about how would you remember what instructions you had put into the mouse. A 4 year old boy suggested working with a partner, where one child could input the instructions into the mouse and the other child could use their hand, place it on the mat and move it along the squares on the mat following the instructions. Working together, the pupils managed to programme the mouse to move across the mat.

This was a great activity to introduce directional language, introduce the concept of coding, as well as ensure that the pupils were confident in being able to identify different shapes. Working together as a team, the pupils were quick to point out if the instruction was correct (that’s right, not left) and would help guide each other to the correct shape, especially if they mistook a pentagon for a hexagon.

 

Celebrating Computing Science on Ada Lovelace Day 2020 in Glasgow

Richard McKean from Glasgow City Council wanted to share a massive thanks from everyone involved in digital learning across Glasgow this Ada Lovelace Day:

“We are very proud of the digital leaders of learning we have in our Early Years Centres, Primary Schools and Secondary Schools as they support each other to ensure our children and young people have essential digital literacy and computing science skills.

Today on Ada Lovelace Day we would like to give a ‘Big Shout Out’ to the ten female primary teachers who, during lockdown, recorded lessons for primary children to develop their skills in digital literacy and computing science in a progressive and fun way. 

These recorded lessons are now being used by teachers and children in our schools across the city. Thank you to them!​”

 

 

screenshot of the four contexts

Mossend Primary School – Remote Learning Journey One Moment in Time – Assessment

This unique period in our history needed to be captured.

It was one moment in time that, we will not experience again in our lifetime, but without a doubt, our pupils will always remember the time that the country went into lockdown, schools closed, they couldn’t play with their friends and they watched their teachers at home on webcams.

As educators, we assess to see what our children know, understand and can do and this informs our next steps, our reporting and the overall tracking of progress, however with our approach of ‘do what works for you’ during term 4 we had to be adaptive and creative with our assessments. Learning was happening, it just wasn’t happening inside a classroom.

Therefore, we decided to use the Education Scotland templates to capture learning across the four CfE contexts and using the four capacities at the heart of the curriculum. This allowed us to seize absolutely everything, from learning to bake and cross stitching at home to pupils assisting elderly neighbours with shopping during the pandemic and inextricably linked to these the skills, attitude, values, and morals that were being instilled.
We were delighted that some of our learning featured in Issue 4 of the Education Scotland newsletter for practitioners as an example of good practice detailing how we worked with families during lockdown to recognise and celebrate the successes of our children.

https://education.gov.scot/media/expdo4bc/practitionersnewsissue4.pdf.

We are also thrilled that we feature on Education Scotland’s website for the support of the refreshed Curriculum for Excellence narrative: https://education.gov.scot/improvement/learning-resources/resources-to-support-the-refreshed-curriculum-for-excellence-narrative/ and were surprised to see our assessment captures even feature in CLPL session slides from the Education Scotland Digital Team.

We needed to use assessment to inform our next steps as we would in the classroom, our digital timetable had to be relevant and the lessons had to be pitched correctly. Therefore, we planned for assessment in term 4 using our remote learning FAST remote-learning strategy that we had used throughout the lockdown period as a way of ensuring a consistent approach:

F – We chose to capture our learning using Book Creator as this allowed us a flexible way to create digital books of exactly what was happening during the period, embedding rich media such as videos and audio to bring the learning to life. Book Creator is free and has a simple user interface that can be accessed on a range of devices; therefore, it gave us the flexibility we were looking for to share the learning with our families and community.You can view our books on the links below to see for yourself:

Four Capacities: https://read.bookcreator.com/w0lbHSyRN9RIre7Z1W6WmgDuO6IcAhZtJGvzO7pf9Q0/xCHqVXzBRF-3s66mD5WljA

Four Context: https://read.bookcreator.com/LvokurZdF2swW6YiaTTGHtybUk5AD1Cwa9lIPW3GHmA/zudnsqGETi-_3pwChVkEJw

A – Self-evaluation and goal setting is something we normally do in term 4 across the school, where children self-assess their achievements and successes from the school session and set themselves realistic goals for the following session.

We wanted this to continue, but we had to adapt how we would normally do this since it was remote and we were working with P1-7 in the one Microsoft Team, therefore using Microsoft Forms we created two child-friendly versions of self-reflection questions that families could complete together at home and we could use the responses to identify the individual achievements. We found this accessible format worked well and allowed individuals to capture their moments in time.

Furthermore, we made use of accessible features in Microsoft OneNote such as the maths wizard to generate self-marking quizzes using Microsoft Forms, these short assessments allowed us to identify misconceptions and plan for next steps during our P1-3 Number Ninja sessions and P4-7 Mental Agility and Mental Maths sessions. They were very easy to create and could be used to direct pupils to further support, such as relevant YouTube videos, when questions were answered incorrectly.

We also assessed formatively using the ‘hands up’ feature during live calls on Microsoft Teams and the comments function, this was particularly useful during Story and Quiz time and during the planning of taught writing to check understanding and we found it a quick and assessable way to ‘check-in’ with our pupils understanding and use this to inform next steps.

Digital Escape Rooms were a huge hit with our pupils, they loved them! We created these using Microsoft OneNote and as time moved on we started to link the escape room questions to activities that were taking place, such as a question from the Story + Quiz, this allowed us to check understanding and as it was on Microsoft OneNote it was completely accessible to everyone, but importantly pupils completed it without even realising it was an assessment. It was fun and something we will continue to use when back in the classroom as they would work well for areas like IDL topic assessment.

Other assessment we carried out remotely in term 4, included the use of self-assessment rubrics in Microsoft Teams assignments; this was a useful feature that could be attached to the assignment, peer assessment using Glow Blogs and Flipgrid and teacher assessment of work that was being submitted to us, with comments left on Class Notebooks and as discussed on a previous blog we issued a gold star and written feedback for all work.

We chose not to use the Grading the function within Microsoft Teams assignments as our motto of ‘do what works for you’ did mean that some pupils in our team did not complete assignments which skewed the statistics, but this was perfectly ok. Nevertheless, if we find ourselves in the situation of blended learning in the future then we would reassess this approach under the new context of part-time learning at school with specific and progressive follow up work at home and this will be explored this further in a future blog. This would not operate as a dichotomy between learning in class and learning at home, assessment would be holistic and used to bridge blended learning.

S – As discussed on our previous blog about sustaining engagement, we understood that learning would only happen when families felt supported and were not under pressure to ‘try and keep up’ or concerned about their child ‘falling behind’.
Every decision we made was assessed against the FAST strategy, with support being central to it, it relied on parents and carers being empowered and supported to truly “do what works for them”.
We recognise that learning does not just take place in a school or on a computer screen and therefore we were delighted to see how happy and safe our pupils were and to see them take part in ‘real-life’ learning – knitting, cross-stitching, gardening, baking, helping with chores around the house, cooking, outdoor walks and supporting parents/carers with younger children.
If anything, positive comes from this lockdown it will be the chance our children had to spend time with their families, play board games, learn true life skills and to develop their resilience during a global pandemic. We heard from some families who said that their child excelled working from home and exploring their own interests, they loved doing their own thing and we were glad we were able to support and capture this learning too. This family feedback is something we need to be mindful of when the transition back to fulltime learning in a school takes place, particularly for these children. Nurture and support will be central to this.

T – Assessment always needs to be timely, otherwise it is not informative. We certainly did not carry out any formal summative assessments as there was no need to add additional pressure and stress on families or children, however, lots of well-timed formative assessments allowed us to plan and prioritise our digital online timetable.

Some of the best learning took place when children had the time to work on a project, this was evident with the fantastic R2D2 STEM challenges completed for Star Wars Day, den building, Jurassic Park STEM and the cooking and physical challenges.
These types of activities allowed our children to be creative, to think critically and to use their inquiry skills with an end product to be proud of – true evidence of their learning and development of important metacognitive skills.

Furthermore, activities that allowed children to work together collaboratively in their own time were popular, this link is to a book that the children worked on within Book Creator linked to music and art, working in real-time to add parts to the same book to create a finished product of each interpretation of the music ‘The Carnival of the Animals’ composed by Camille Saint-Saens:
https://read.bookcreator.com/LvokurZdF2swW6YiaTTGHtybUk5AD1Cwa9lIPW3GHmA/yTZQMubyR7Wwi7HOUb7XSQ

We also had children work to create a discursive writing piece in the collaboration area of Class Notebook on Microsoft Teams, writing a paragraph each on their viewpoint on who the better footballer is – Ronaldo or Messi? Differing opinions that allowed us as educators to challenge opinions further and for the pupils to then use their internet access to research and evidence their stance. A great discursive piece that worked well remotely and taught valuable skills of researching, evidencing, and referencing.

Flipgrid was another successful application we used, allowing children to listen to stories read by a teacher and then respond with a video follow up question or for our P1 – 3 Number Ninjas to demonstrate their learning such as times tables or number bonds and even had virtual Number Ninja gradings, with children moving up a ninja belt after assessment.

As Flipgrid was something that was not time-consuming for our pupils (they downloaded the app or worked online and recorded their videos and thoughts) they were able to peer assess with video responses and comments and to self-assess using a rubric – all accessible with their Glow login details.

We believe that Flipgrid is a fantastic tool for assessment with so much potential, it is fun and engaging and at a time when Tik Tok videos are popular amongst this age group, we found this was a fantastic way for children to express themselves within a safe environment with the videos able to be used as assessment evidence by the educator and even feedback left in written format, video format, or assessed against a rubric.

Wider achievements also took place during Lockdown with many of our children earning Hi5 Youth Scotland Awards and one girl completing a run each day to raise money for a chosen charity. Children still took part in remote clubs like gymnastics and taekwondo and of course we had lots of family Zoom quiz successes to share too. These wider achievements could be celebrated at our virtual Superstar Assembly each week and were equally as important to capture for us.

So, how will we use this assessment to plan for the next term?

Well, our goal for term 4 was on the health and wellbeing of our children, therefore we will use the information we captured as positive discussion points with our children when they return to school in August. Our teachers will be able to discuss the learning that took place at home or online and have meaningful conversations with our pupils on this and what it meant for them.
Of course, there are also the families we did not hear from or who did not share their experiences with us and this information is as equally as important for us to be acutely aware of as we aim to resettle and transition all our pupils back into school life. As discussed on a previous blog, we need to understand the barriers these families faced and how we could make blended learning work for them should we find ourselves having to implement that format.

Will we be starting the new session with lots of assessments to see what children ‘fell behind’ or get our children ‘caught up’ on what they missed?

Absolutely not.

This has been a traumatic time for our pupils, they have not seen their friends for a long time, they didn’t get to say ‘goodbye’ to their last teacher, they were locked up for months and some of the children will not understand why. They are returning to a very different school with physical distancing in place and one way systems – children are resilient, but we all know that learning does not take place unless Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has been met; so we will be putting Maslow before Bloom for some time and ensuring that our children feel safe, secure and nurtured!

Each child had their own unique experience during the lockdown and we are confident that the purpose of the curriculum, encapsulated in the four capacities, was captured, and evidenced throughout our school.
To summarise in the words of Whitney Houston, “You’re a winner for a lifetime If you seize that one moment in time. Make it shine”, our pupils certainly seized this unique moment in time in a variety of ways.

Stars Really Do Shine Brighter at Mossend Primary School and Nursery Class.

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/