NESTA Primary One Day Digital Creativity CPD event

Nesta are running a one day digital creativity CPD event for primary school teachers. Find out more about digital activities you can introduce into your own classroom. Choose from four workshops on website creation, animation, Scratch and Kodu. No previous experience is necessary.

Date: Saturday 10th May

Location: University of Glasgow

To book go to onedaydigital.eventbrite.com

One Day Digital Workshops

Web development with CoderDojo

CoderDojo is a global movement inspiring young people to get involved in coding. At a CoderDojo you learn how to develop websites, build apps, design games and more. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience. This workshop covers the history of the world wide web, and how it is fast becoming the most exciting platform for digital making. The workshop will give participants the chance to learn about coding for the web, and build their own digital creation using the latest web technologies including HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript.

This workshop is suitable for those with a little experience of using a computer.

Creating, Editing and Sharing Content on the iPad

The iPad’s not just for capturing content; it’s an editing suite and means of sharing on the move. This session will give you a taster in photography, film-making, animation and audio, as well as manipulating, editing and sharing.  While you can share this content with the world, more importantly you’ll leave equipped to share your knowledge with your class!

This workshop is suitable for complete beginners.

Scratch

Scratch is designed especially for ages 8 and over but is used by people of all ages. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations and share your creations with others in the online community. This workshop will focus on the importance of computational thinking and how to deliver these within the Curriculum for Excellence for upper primary school classes. The workshop will first look at the background issues followed by an extended hands-on session using MIT’s free Scratch software – an entertaining and engaging graphical programming environment for learners.

This workshop is suitable for those with a little experience of using a computer.

Kodu 

Kodu is a visual programming language from Microsoft specifically designed for the creation of games.  It can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. This workshop will introduce you to the different Kodu tools that allow you to build engaging 3D worlds in which to situate your game, as well as learning to code the different objects in the world. The workshop will be very much hands on and you will make a range of worlds/games that will develop your confidence to take Kodu into the classroom.  You will also be able to use the materials provided in class and how to deliver these within the CfE.

This workshop is suitable for those with a little experience of using a computer.

To book go to onedaydigital.eventbrite.com@onedaydigital

N5 Chemistry Past Paper Guidance

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Chemistry Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Chemistry and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units and a problem solving booklet for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemical Changes and Structure (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemical Changes and Structure

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemistry in Society (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Chemistry in Society

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Nature’s Chemistry (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Nature’s Chemistry

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Problem Solving (pdf)

Chemistry N5 Past Paper Questions Problem Solving

Skills Conversation Day 3

The third Skills Conversation Day will take place at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness on Thursday 5th June 2014. Education Scotland are delighted to host the event with our education partners Highland Council and Skills Development Scotland.

The event will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to continue the conversations started at Loch Leven Community Campus in September and December 2013. The focus was on exploring the issues around developing a common language and understanding of skills and local approaches to engagement with employers, including contrasting rural and urban opportunities for work experience.

The key area of focus for the third event in the series will be how schools are planning for and recording progression in the development of skills. The conversations will pick up some of the inter-linked threads from previous events and weave these through the day’s presentations and activities.

The outcomes, materials and suggested actions generated from the day will be posted on the Education Scotland Learning Blog.

N5 Biology Past Paper booklets

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Biology Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Biology and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Cell-Biology

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Life-on-Earth

Biology-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Multicellular-Organisms

N5 Physics past paper booklets

Education Scotland and SQA have identified questions from Standard Grade Credit and Intermediate 2 papers from the last three years and matched them to Key Areas in the N5 Physics Curriculum.

This resource has been produced in response to the requests from practitioners who attended the National Qualifications Sciences events at Hampden Stadium in December 2013 which Education Scotland organised in partnership with the SQA.

The questions in this resource relate to National 5 Physics and have been taken from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Standard Grade and Intermediate 2 Past Papers.

Booklets of past papers and answers have been collated for the three units for teachers and students to use as part of their revision programme for the N5 exam.

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Dynamics-and-Space

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Energy-and-Electricity

Physics-N5-Past-Paper-Questions-Waves-and-Radiation

Glenfield Pre-five Centre Celebrate Success

Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, visited Glenfield Pre-five Centre in Renfrewshire on the 24th April 2014 to congratulate them on their recent positive inspection from Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate.

Children, parents and staff welcomed the minister as they celebrate the ‘excellent’ work they are doing to meet children’s learning needs. Glenfield Pre-five Centre is an integrated service that caters for children aged 2-5 years and Education Scotland inspectors have said that they do this exceptionally well.

The very caring, supportive and stimulating environment that the children benefit from has been highly commended and the work of staff in creating a loving and nurturing experience for the children was acknowledged.  The centre is committed to supporting families. Parents shared with inspectors how much they value the approaches staff have embedded as part of everyday practice.

The children that attend Glenfield Pre-five Centre are provided with opportunities that support and challenge their learning and the minister observed these as she toured the nursery. The staff have embraced a range of professional development opportunities and are committed to ensuring that their knowledge enhances the experience for the children. During the inspection, collaboration with a variety of professionals was highlighted as best practice. The communication staff have as a team has created an environment where children receive the support they need. This is reflected through delivery of all aspects of the SHANARRI indicators and the education authorities approach to GIRFEC. The minister was very keen to congratulate the centre on their achievements.

Royal Institution Summer Schools

Running throughout July and August, The Royal Institution Summer Schools bring to life all areas of science, mathematics, computing and engineering.

With over 50 sessions to choose from, covering topics from climate change to acoustics, earthquakes to rocket science, forensics to 3D printing, crash-testing to ancient history, there is something for everyone.

The two week long Summer Schools, ‘Computer-based mathematics’ start on Monday 28th July and ‘Introduction to robotics’ starts on Monday 11th August.

Booking is now open and places can be booked online via the Ri’s What’s On calendar or by calling our Public Programmes team on 020 7409 2992.

Please read on for just a snapshot of the different activities on offer.

http://www.rigb.org/

Issue 5 – Switched On Scotland

Issue 5 of “SwitchedOn Scotland” – Computing At School Scotland’s newsletter – has been released.  This edition gives an overview of the recent Digital Skills Investment Plan announcement, an update on the PLAN C Professional Learning programme, advice on how SQA standard pseudocode can be used and exciting news from Universities regarding their recommendations for Computing as an entry requirement for courses.

The newsletter can be viewed online at http://www.casscotland.org.uk or on ‘issuu’ at http://bit.ly/casscotissue5

Power Politics – teaching resources exploring Oil and Development

Power Politics is a new education learning resource for schools, community groups, and anyone interested in global learning. 

The resources were developed by the Living Earth Foundation as part of a three-year project funded by the European Commission. They were designed to meet the need for engaging development education materials, providing resources to teach with confidence on a broad range of issues relating to international development and global citizenship.

The resources explore issues including the Millennium Development Goals and the environmental, social and economic impacts of the oil industry, enabling pupils to compare and contrast the different contexts of Scotland and Nigeria.

Teachers, pupils and members of community groups in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, were involved in a range of creative exercises and workshops, and were at the heart of developing the resources, which is clear to see in the final products.  They created films and comic strips to bring to life the differences and similarities in their day to day lives, and to provoke debate and discussion about the opportunities and challenges that living alongside the oil and gas industry can bring. 

The Power Politics pack includes:

  • Comic text books
  • 9 short films introducing the key issues
  • Exercise packs with activities to suit a range of abilities
  • A user guide for teachers giving background information and additional support.  

 

Power Politics is aimed at S1-S3 and the learning activities can easily be tailored to suit any age group.

The learning pack, with comics and exercises for entire classes is available free to use. You can borrow them from the Montgomery Development Education centre www.montgomerydec.org.uk. or access and download from the website www.powerpolitics.org.uk.

Composing Music Survey

To help us better support composing music in the classroom, Education Scotland would like to invite practitioners to participate in a very short survey which will help direct us towards developing appropriate support materials. This consultation will also take into account feedback from our learning blog and inform next steps for the working group.

The survey should only take a few minutes and we appreciate you taking the time to respond.

The survey will close on Friday 9th May

We look forward to hearing from you.

Click here to take survey

The Society of William Wallace – competition for Glasgow schools

Calling all schools in Glasgow City Council! The Society of William Wallace has been successful in securing a new Wallace Monument at the esplanade of Glasgow Cathedral. The monument will be erected in June of this year. We would like to invite pupils to write a short poem which will be inscribed on the monument. The poem must be 20 words or less and should consider the contribution of William Wallace.

This competition will run from 1 May to 14 June for all schools in Glasgow City Council. We are encouraging all schools to run their own competition and send the winning entry from each school to this address: surge2gether@ntlworld.com by no later than 14 June.

Entries will be judged by a prestigious panel and the winner announced on 30 June.

John Muir – teaching resources

John Muir Education Pack – This resource aims to help teachers understand outdoor learning opportunities, and give confidence to use outdoor spaces for teaching a wide range of experiences and outcomes. The pack for Second Level encourages structured learning in the outdoors, along with a deeper understanding of John Muir’s writings and philosophies. The pack can be used flexibility as stand-alone activities to cover certain aspects of the topic or as activities leading into each other as a programme of learning. The Second Level pack can help with an introduction to the John Muir Award. John Muir Education Pack – Second Level

The pack has been created by The Rural Connect Project which is all about reconnecting local communities to the rural environment through community engagement events, workshops and online resources www.ruralconnectwestlothian.co.uk.

Outdoor Learning Resource Guide – This new Outdoor Learning Resource Guide summarises the many benefits of Outdoor Learning, and contains useful information and website links for further information.
http://www.jmt.org/assets/john%20muir%20award/downloads/resourceguideoutdoorlearning.pdf

John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe – A graphic novel based upon the life of John Muir has been produced by the Scottish Book Trust with free copies going to every secondary school in Scotland. It’s also available for anyone, anywhere to download as a PDF version. Teaching support notes and pupil activities also accompany the book. John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe brings Muir’s story to life in a new way, and is intended to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the natural environment and the importance of protecting wild places.
http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/learning/teachers-librarians/teaching-resources-cpd/john-muir

New John Muir Way website – Find out everything you need to know about the UK’s newest long distance route, by visiting the new website. There are maps and information for each of the ten sections of the 133 mile route, which runs between Helensburgh in the West and Dunbar on the East. http://johnmuirway.org/

Outdoor Learning online support

For information, resources, support, key organisations and national guidelines on taking learning outdoors click on the link below to access the Education Scotland outdoor learning online resource:

Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online resource

Key documents available on this resource include:

  • Outdoor Learning 3-18: Self-evaluation resource – this resource is specifically designed to support teachers and educators in pre-school centres and primary, special and secondary schools and Community Learning and Development (CLD) to evaluate the potential of their work to help children and young people learn outdoors.

A downloadable word document highlighting all these links is available here: Education Scotland Outdoor Learning online support materials

International Jazz Day

International Jazz Day, established by UNESCO in 2012, is celebrated around the world on April 30th. As Glasgow is a UNESCO city of Music, it is appropriate to mention that Glasgow Jazz Festival launches the 2014 programme on this date followed by a concert by Award winning band, New Focus, at the Old Fruitmarket.

In order to encourage youth participation and awareness, this year’s celebration includes a “Take 5” initiative. Inspired by the famous 1959 hit Take 5, composed by Paul Desmond and made famous by Dave Brubeck, teachers from all around the world are encouraged to “Take 5” (five minutes) to share the positive lessons of jazz music in their classrooms.

There are a number of resources which have been produced and can be accessed on the International Jazz Day website:

http://jazzday.com/educational-resources/

Alongside this is a Jazz Educators guide which contains suggested lesson ideas, links and lesson plans:

http://jazzday.com/media/docs/IJD-Educator_Guide.pdf

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

To be part of the ‘Take 5’ initiative, participants are asked to register here.

£2.5m funding for Scottish science centres

Scottish science centres are to benefit from an extra £2.5m in funding.

Glasgow Science Centre is to get the largest share of the Scottish government funding, at £962,680. Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh will receive £899,090, Dundee Science Centre £332,220 and Satrosphere in Aberdeen £246,010.

The combined total includes £110,000 towards subsidising school transport costs, and a further £100,000 will be shared by the four centres for community events.

The popularity of the science centres has increased since last year with almost 645,000 more people visiting the four centres in the past 12 months.

The funding package will allow each centre to invest in hands-on exhibits and activities and use their experience to help improve the confidence of primary teachers in delivering physics, engineering and technology.

Dundee Science Centre has announced plans for use of its share of the funding, with the “Ice Station Antarctica” exhibit due to open this summer. This is a major exhibition from the Natural History Museum and will be seen outside of London for the first time.

The new “Scotland’s Time Lords” galleries will open at Our Dynamic Earth this month, bringing to life the impact scientists have had since the Scottish Enlightenment.

The Octavia Hill Awards 2014

This year, the Octavia Hill Awards are looking for heroes who have helped children and young adults connect with the outdoors and wildlife – passing on their own experience, enthusiasm and love of nature. As many studies have shown, such connections with nature (even, or especially, in towns and cities) are essential for our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Nominate your wild hero

Examples could include:

  • A teacher who makes a special effort to inspire their pupils to love and understand nature through outdoor classes.
  • An individual or organisation that has fought a campaign to save outdoor space to play in.
  • A conservation volunteer who gives up free time to take children and parents on field trips.
  • A national organisation that promotes the importance of children’s connection with nature.
  • An individual who teaches children outdoor skills, such as foraging, den-building, camping and birdwatching.

The closing date for nominations is midnight 31 May.

Further information can be accessed here:

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355831141395/ or

http://www.countryfile.com/octaviahill



Game on Scotland – Social Studies Learning Zone

The Queens Baton left Buckingham Palace on 9 October 2013 containing the royal message. Since then it has been through Asia, Oceania, Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

On Tuesday 29th April, it will be in Ottawa, Canada before making the final leg of its journey through Europe and back to Scotland to arrive here on 14 June. It will spend 40 days visiting communities in all 32 local authority areas. The 288 day relay will conclude on the 23 July when the baton is delivered back to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal message will be read at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Accompanying the baton to all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth has been Scottish adventurer and BBC broadcaster, Mark Beaumont. In conjunction with BBC Commonwealth Class, Mark will join us on Glow from Ottawa to tell us about this amazing journey and learners can ask him questions about his adventure at 2pm on Tuesday 29th April.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV!

Skills Fusion – VFX film careers outreach programme.

Skills Fusion is a VFX film careers outreach programme. Funded by Creative Skillset (http://www.creativeskillset.org/) , the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Industries, its aim is to highlight the skills shortage that the UK film industry faces in this sector and the opportunities, particularly in the more technical specialist roles that rely on strong educational foundations in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), and computer science subjects, available to students.

Young people concentrating on these areas very often do not know, or realise that rewarding careers based on STEM subjects are possible in the creative industries, nor that many of computer generated imagery (CGI), that they see on the big screen, have been created here in the UK and not Hollywood. 

It is recognised through the landmark report published by NESTA – The Next Gen Report – http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/next-gen, that there is a knowledge gap between the classroom and jobs, and that without an intervention such as Skills Fusion, the UK film industry will not be able to maintain its position as a leading country to do business in the global marketplace.

The intention of Skills Fusion through its resources, attending conferences, working with schools, participating in career fairs, engaging STEM orientated school clubs and cascading information through career advisor networks, that it can inspire and spark that initial interest to potentially fully fledged careers, career paths, which they might not have otherwise considered.

If you would be interested in copies of the specially commissioned careers resource or have opportunities for someone to come to your school to talk about Skills Fusion, participate in an event/teachers CPD session or present a film careers talk to students, please get in touch with yen.yau@intofilm.org (Talent Development Manager, Into Film)

‘How am I preparing for the exams?’ A learner’s perspective

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘There are so many different methods people can use to revise for their exams; I have chosen the best method for my learning.

I try and split up my nights after school into hopefully 3-4 different subjects, spending about an hour on each or so. I have 5 higher subjects altogether and so the ones I miss that night I will do the next day during school in a free period. To start my revision, I base my studies on the theory of the subject. For example for Higher Biology at the moment, I’m using the textbook to write out notes on each of the sub-topics and also concentrating on the topics I struggle with. Once I have completed these notes I move on to practising past papers.

Writing notes, I find is the best way for my revision but it is different from others. It is also very important to practise past papers, and get used to the techniques you require to understand the questions. Past Papers also help you find points you might have forgotten about or struggle with, which I then refer back to my school notes, textbook or the online Scholar site. Scholar is very useful as an online resource; it supplies each student with the revision material for each subject and goes into detail on subjects that are usually found to be difficult. It also gives you examples and questions to work on. Working through Scholar it also gives you a topic test, where you can see how well you have progressed and also what else has to be worked on. I have also started my revision quite a bit before the exam as each subject’s capacity is large and it’s important to revise each as thoroughly as the other. ‘

Pupil (S5 Higher)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

Also see other blog posts by parents and learners:
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another Learner’s perspective (S4)
Parent (S4 pupil)
Parent (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)

RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards

The RSPB Nature of Scotland Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate excellence, innovation and outstanding achievement in Scottish nature conservation. The Youth & Education Award celebrates a school or youth group who can demonstrate how they have made a real difference to the conservation and sustainability of Scotland’s wildlife and habitats.

This could be through fundraising for a conservation-related project, a school grounds development, partnership working or best practice in hands-on delivery of learning for sustainability, connecting young people to the natural world.

The awards are now open for entries.

Click here for further information: http://www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/natureofscotland

Sustrans – The Big Street Survey

Sustrans, the British charity which promotes sustainable transport, has developed a learning and teaching resource for P6-7 and S1-3 called The Big Street Survey. It is designed to get pupils thinking and learning about their local environments, how they make them feel and how they can go about developing a manifesto for changing their streets and making them healthier and safer places.

A series of free downloadable resources can be viewed here:

http://www.sustrans.org.uk/change-your-travel/children-and-families/schools/big-street-survey

These resources deliver various Experiences & Outcomes across Health & Wellbeing, Social Studies, Expressive Arts, Literacy and Numeracy.

GLOW TV – Meet the Engineer – Roma Agrawal

Meet Roma Agrawal
Date: 25th April
Time: 9:30 – 10.30am
Sign up here:
http://bit.ly/leaderswardforstem

 

 Roma Agrawal (www.romatheengineer.com) , an Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, will be talking to students about her career and her role in designing bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her eight year career.  She will then take questions from the students in the studio and logged in on GLOW TV. 

Roma Agrawal is being interviewed to encourage students to engage with The Leaders Award for STEM (www.leadersaward.com).

The Leaders Award for STEM

Roma Agrawal , an Associate Structural Engineer at WSP, will be talking to students about her career and her role in designing bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her eight year career. She will then take questions from the students in the studio and logged in on Glow TV. Roma Agrawal is being interviewed to encourage students to engage with The Leaders Award for STEM

Join us in Glow TV on Friday 25th April at 9.30am.

Learning Technologies in Argyll & Bute Council

Over the last year the learning technologies team in Argyll and Bute have been providing additional exciting, computer science related learning opportunities for young people at primary level.

The long-term goal of this project is to capture the imagination of young people, to showcase what can be created and inspire through technology.

Before commencing this project we were very aware that our young people had excellent ICT skills and made very good use of technology.  However, this project is about equipping young people at primary level with skills and knowledge to turn computing ideas into concepts, improve their understanding of how technologies work and gain some understanding of the concepts involved in computer programming. 

We feel that this project is important to the economy of Argyll and Bute, particularly as we want to offer our young people as much choice as possible in where they live and work.  We feel that the technology sector provides a number of remote working and company start up opportunities.  Additionally we are very aware that almost every field of employment now relies on technology, and our challenge is to prepare young people for jobs that may not even exist yet.

Our team has so far supported approximately 50 primary schools by providing expertise to assist them in commencing a computer programming related project.  We work with each school on an individual basis and the projects vary depending on the schools learning outcomes, expertise and available equipment. 

Our approach has been to offer centrally hosted CPD sessions for staff whilst working directly with pupils in schools.  We feel that technology related learning provides excellent pupil led and peer learning opportunities.  It is however interesting to note that in the majority of cases the pupils’ knowledge of technology quickly overtakes that of the teachers.  Subsequently, we are seeing teachers taking up more of a facilitator role in technology related learning. 

An important part of this project was to establish a loan bank of equipment.  This has given our team the opportunity to showcase a variety of technologies whilst allowing us to loan schools suitable equipment.  In addition this provides the school with an opportunity to try out various technologies before committing to a purchase. 

The two most popular activities in our schools so far are Kodu and Lego Wedo.   However schools have also being using Raspberry Pi, Lego Mindstorms, Scratch, PicoBoard for Scratch, LiveCode and .net gadgeteer.  

We have been very much encouraged by the enthusiasm and passion our young people exhibit towards technology.  We have found that about 97% of the young people have fully engaged with activities such as Kodu and have shown a real desire to learn the basics of computer programming. 

This project has provided a number of opportunities for the young people of Argyll and Bute to share their learning and skills.  We have seen pupils presenting and demonstrating technology projects at workshops.  Some of these young people have stated that as a result of this they feel more confident in using technology but also as individuals too.  In addition to this we have a number of schools establishing lunchtime, afterschool computing clubs and some schools appointing pupil ICT mentors.

The next step for this project is to implement a pupil self-evaluation framework in order that we can better measure the impact of learning computer programming in primary schools.

‘How am I supporting my child through her exams?’ A Parent’s perspective

As this year’s NQ exams approach we continue our series of posts by parents and learners.

‘At the moment I am trying to be patient with my child as I know she is under a great deal of pressure, so I am also trying to shield her a bit from unnecessary distractions or extra demands on her time, ie if she is actively revising I won’t ask her to complete her chores within the household.

I am trying to almost cocoon her a bit from the noise and bustle of a busy house where she has older and younger siblings getting on with their lives. We have rearranged her room and provided a desk so she doesn’t have to study at the kitchen table (which is a nuisance for everyone) and has a place to leave her materials undisturbed. I am encouraging her younger sister, with whom she shares a bedroom, to play in other rooms to give her a bit of peace. I am fortunate to have the space to do this.

Similarly I am keeping an eye on her diet and sleep patterns to ensure she is getting enough to eat and drink and is not over tired. I will continue to do this until the end of the exams and will up the ante considerably in the days leading up to them. I encourage her to take a break from her desk to watch TV or go out with friends to keep her from overworking.

My dad bought her some specimen papers from SQA for a few of her subjects, Maths, Chemistry and Physics which have helped her become more familiar with the new type of questioning involved in the N5 papers. She has been provided with some revision booklets etc for some subjects from school but this has been very patchy. I have been web surfing to find any extra resources to plug gaps. The new revision guides from the NPFS will be very helpful in the next few weeks providing extra examples of questions for the N5 question papers.

I am trying to keep calm myself and not get worked up if she becomes anxious or stressed.I know that I have to provide support as she needs it and to suit her…’

Parent (S4 pupil)

More posts:
Parent’s perspective (National 4/5 boy & Higher girl)
Learner’s perspective (S4)
Another learner’s perspective (S4)

Take a look at the Parentzone website which has a guide to helping your child prepare for exams, with links to revision aids and specimen papers.

British Academy Schools Languages Award 2014

Over £8000 to be won! BASLA Alert! Calling all secondary, supplementary and FE languages teachers!

£4000 will be awarded to TWO language learning projects in Scottish secondary, supplementary schools or FE colleges via the British Academy Schools Language Award (BASLA) this Autumn.

If your establishment has plans in place or is already involved in an imaginative language learning project which is improving uptake in languages in the Senior Phase and beyond, then you could be in with a chance of winning. British Academy Schools Language Awards

All winning projects are then considered in the UK category. The overall UK winner will double their money, walking away with £8000 and the title of British Academy Schools Languages Award Winner 2014.

The deadline for applications is 30th June 2014.

SCILT is hosting a Glow Meet to provide key information and helpful insights to BASLA success. Anne Breivik, one of the BASLA judging panel will explain how to write a dazzling submission. Gillian Campbell-Thow, Education Support Officer for Modern Languages at Glasgow City Council and co-leader of one of the two Scottish winning projects in BASLA 2013, will share details of the very successful ‘Parliamo Glasgow’ venture.

This Glow Meet takes place on Monday 12th May at 4pm and will be recorded and made available to view in Watch Again. Sign up and find out more.

Arable Farming

Join us as we take an in depth look at how food is produced. This food journey will look at arable farming and the process that oats, barley and wheat take to get from the field to the plate. We will cover what grows where and why, what the grains look like, how they are collected and what they are made into.

We will also look at potatoes and how they get from the ground to the plate and provide an insight into the dairy industry.

This Glow TV event aimed at upper primary pupils will include background information on all the topic areas together with suggestions of some activities to be used in the classroom.

Sign up and join us on Monday 12th May at 1.30pm in Glow TV.

Divided City by Theresa Breslin: New Musical Version for Primary Schools

Join Theresa Breslin and Elly Goodman of the Citizens Theatre as they offer a unique insight into the history of bringing this iconic book to the stage. Pupils and teachers will get the chance to ask Theresa and Elly questions about the play and the book and to find out more about this ground-breaking project.

The Citizens Theatre has now staged three large scale musical theatre productions of Theresa Breslin’s Divided City, adapted for the stage by Martin Travers with an original score and songs by Claire McKenzie.

Featuring a cast of 45 secondary pupils this show was staged twice at the Citizens Theatre in 2011 and 2012, in South Lanarkshire in 2013 and Derry as part of the City of Culture 2013.

A new abridged (50 minutes) version of Divided City has since been developed specifically for upper primary school pupils.

In 2014/ 2015 the Citizens Theatre will be working in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council with 22 casts from 44 primary schools (one denominational and one non-denominational primary 7 class working together each time) across North Lanarkshire. Over 1200 children will take part in the productions.

Theresa Breslin is the critically acclaimed author of over thirty books for children and young adults whose work has appeared on television and radio and is read world-wide in many languages. She won the Carnegie Medal, the UK’s most prestigious award for children’s literature, for Whispers in the Graveyard, her compelling novel about a dyslexic boy. Other bestsellers include Spy for the Queen of Scots and Remembrance, a tale of youth in WW1. Ghost Soldier, a story set in the Borders during WW1 and suitable for mid-range readers, is to be published in August 2014.

Divided City, one of her most popular books, tells of two boys, one Celtic fan, one Rangers fan, and how they are brought together by an attack on a young asylum seeker. The fast-paced story explores themes of racism and sectarianism and shows, in a positive and humorous way, the power of friendship to overcome these prejudices.

Divided City has been shortlisted for 10 different children’s book awards winning two outright.

Sign up and join us in Glow TV on Monday 28th April at 11am.

Kodu Cup Scotland 2014

The Kodu Kup is open to anyone from a Scottish school aged between seven and fourteen. Children must be entered as a team of three, forming a mini “game studio”.

Follow @KoduKup on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KoduKup) to receive regular updates, including dates of free training sessions!

You can download Kodu Game Lab and other useful resources from the Microsoft Partners in Learning website www.pil-network.com. Project Spark can be downloaded from Project Spark

There will be three winning teams in both Primary Secondary sectors. All 6 winning teams will receive a Kinect device, plus a copy of the official Kodu for kids book and a wireless XBOX360 controller with PC USB wireless receiver for their School.

One overall winner will be selected and they will receive the Scottish Kodu Kup and an invitation to present their game to a panel of judges from the games industry at Microsoft Headquarters in Reading. The winners of each category in the UK final will each receive a Surface RT tablet and one overall winning team will take home the UK Kodu Kup! Download more information about the Kodu Cup Scotland 2014

Creative Conversation – Responding to the Challenges of Welfare Reform

Date: Monday 28 April 2014
Venue: Endeavour House, 1 Greenmarket, Dundee, DD1 4QB
Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Education Scotland is hosting a series of short ‘Creative Conversations’ on key areas of policy reform impacting on Community Learning and Development (CLD) partners. The next in the series will focus on the role of CLD in welfare reform.

The aims of the day are to:
•    consider how CLD can contribute to making welfare reform happen smoothly
•    focus on how CLD might mitigate potentially negative outcomes for learners and communities
•    share examples of effective practice
•    encourage professional discussion.

The session will consist of four short inputs by practitioners exploring key aspects of welfare reform, with plenty of time for discussion. Rather than provide a comprehensive overview of welfare reform, it will focus on the role for CLD in this area.

We are pleased to have inputs looking at:
•    The way in which one local authority (Dundee) has organised itself for welfare reform
•    A CLD approach to developing employability skills
•    A Citizens Advice Bureau perspective
•    A critical thinking resource for learners around welfare reform.

The event is free to attend and a light lunch will be provided.

Places are limited so to reserve yours please contact: margaret.mcguinness@educationscotland.gov.uk (0141 282 5064).

Learning for Sustainability Conversation Days

Learning for Sustainability – the report of the One Planet Schools working group – was published in December 2012. It set an ambitious agenda to embed Learning for Sustainability in every school in Scotland in an approach that encompasses learning and teaching, professional development, leadership, ethos, buildings and grounds.

Learning for Sustainability enables a school and its wider community to build the values, attitudes, knowledge, skills and confidence to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society.  Scotland’s schools are already strong on the themes that are included within Learning for Sustainability – outdoor learning, global citizenship, sustainable development education, and on respecting the rights of the child.  However, the Government believes that schools that are able to bring all of these important themes together into a coherent whole school approach will significantly improve experiences and outcomes for learners.

The Scottish Government has initiated a Learning for Sustainability Implementation Group to bring together the key partners with responsibilities for the actions identified in the Learning for Sustainability report.  The aim of the group is to create the conditions for, and help and support schools and teachers to embrace Learning for Sustainability.

The Implementation Group recognises the significant expertise, commitment and contribution of Scotland’s Learning for Sustainability community and is committed to working in partnership with them and with other national groups with an interest in and a responsibility for aspects of Learning for Sustainability.

One of the key mechanisms to facilitate this partnership working will be a series of Conversation Days which will provide an open forum for individuals, partner organisations and networks to contribute to and collaboratively develop the work of the Implementation Group. 

The Group has identified two initial themes that it would like to hold conversation days on, in May 2014.  These are described below.  The Group hopes that all those with an interest will be able to attend and participate in discussions on the day to help shape their work under these themes. These days are open to anyone with an interest to attend although there will be a limit on numbers due to venues.  We expect they will be of most interest to: teachers, young people, education authorities, national education agencies, parent organisations and third sector organisations within the LfS community.

An Education Scotland update on the progress that has been made against the Learning for Sustainability recommendations has been attached for your information.

Conversation Day 1 – Career-long professional learning and development of briefing

9:30am to 3:30pm, Thurs 15th May 2014 (Menzies Hotel, Glasgow)

The need for more Career-Long Professional Learning (CLPL) in LfS is a theme that runs throughout the Learning for Sustainability Report with Recommendation 2.1 specifically stating the need for a coordinated national strategy for Learning for Sustainability CLPL.  The purpose of this Conversation Day is to initiate the development of this strategy and the development of a Learning for Sustainability briefing for schools.  The briefing will clearly communicate key messages about Learning for Sustainability and its relevance to the new GTCS Professional Standards, to schools, education authorities and the wider education community.  The Implementation Group recognise that there are already many stakeholders providing CLPL on different aspects of LfS and there are also many organisations with an interest in and expertise about how schools can take LfS forward and aims to bring all those interests together in this Conversation Day.   The Group hopes that the Conversation Day will develop support for LfS and a momentum for its implementation in schools.

Conversation day 2 – school building and grounds

20th May 2014 (Edinburgh)

The development of sustainable school estates as part of a whole school approach was identified as a key theme in the Learning for Sustainability report which called for all school buildings, grounds and policies to support Learning for Sustainability.  The aim of this Conversation Day is to bring together those responsible for and with an interest in school buildings and grounds to discuss how best to implement the recommendations made in the Learning for Sustainability Report and to identify the elements of a supporting action plan.  This day will be of particular interest to those involved in and responsible for managing existing school estates, including managing energy efficiency, building new schools and creating green spaces for outdoor learning and play within schools.  The day will be chaired by Gordon McKinlay of Renfrewshire Council, on behalf of ADES.

Register

You can register your interest by emailing Jennifer.Moore@educationscotland.gov.uk for the  15th  May event, and Jeff.Quinn@scotland.gsi.gov.uk for the 20th May event.

Each Conversation day will include a discussion on specific next steps within each theme, including whether longer-term working groups need to be established to take work forward.  We expect that there will be themes and issues that are common to all three days and the Group is interested in the common themes that emerge across all three as well as the specific issues that are discussed.  A record will be created for each day and made available through the Learning for Sustainability website.

Getting ready for the National Qualifications – another learner’s perspective

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘The countdown to the exams has really begun. All that teachers are talking about now is revision, revision, revision. Some teachers are making classes a bit fun by doing quizzes and games to go through the topics and I like that.

At home I am trying to do a bit extra every night. It is hard to fit everything in and so I have made a timetable which has helped my time management a bit. I get stressed when I can’t fit it all in. I know I have to have some free time too and I am trying to get the balance right. I don’t really like all this studying so I am finding it quite hard to motivate myself.

I have some specimen papers for the subjects I find the most difficult and they have helped my studying quite a bit. They really helped me prepare for the prelims too. I am going to start using the revision pages from NPFS too now.

As I am doing N5 music I try to play my violin most days for a change of focus. I have already completed the music practical exam which gave me a little sneak preview into the tension that overcomes you when entering the exam hall. This is my first ever sitting of exams so this part of it frightens me a little.

I have been going to supported study three times a week after school and some subjects have lunch time revision classes too.  I am going to go to Easter School during the Spring Break.

The exams still feel a wee bit away but I know that nearer the time I will have to prioritise a bit for the next exam.

I will be glad when they are all over….’

Pupil (S4)

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

Getting ready for the National Qualifications – a learner’s perspective

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘How am I preparing for my exams?

‘I am in S4 and this is the first year that I have had to cope with preparing for exams and up until now I have been trying to keep up with the course work and units which seem to have all come at the same time.

Now I am starting to revise for the actual exams.  Some of my teachers are running supported study classes after school.  This is good as it lets me ask the teacher some of the stuff I have not quite picked up yet.  I am studying at home but I still need to fit in all of my other activities – football training, table tennis and playing the X-box.  Doing these other things takes my mind off too much studying.  At times my head feels as if it will burst.  A set of drums might help!

I am going away at Easter and I will be taking as many books as I can carry.  I will have to find time before going out to study.  I want to practice with the specimen papers and questions, and look over my course notes.  For some subjects, the books and notes are better than the question papers.  I still have time when I come back.

I am not stressed one little bit but even if I was taking a penalty in the World Cup I wouldn’t be stressed.’

S4 pupil

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

Getting ready for the National Qualifications – a parent’s perspective

In the run-up to this year’s NQ exams we asked some young people how they are preparing for them and some parents how they are supporting their children through them. Over the next few weeks we’ll share their thoughts with you via this Learning Blog.

‘Motivating a National 4/5 boy and a Higher girl has thrown up two different sets of problems. The boy, typical of his age, has better things to do. The girl motivated, determined, single-minded, all these things apply, as well as studying has a part time job and believe it or not has a boyfriend, whom she makes study with her.

Leading the boy and persuading him to work has been at times a trial. I have had to side with him in his attitude and make him believe I was just the same and how much more difficult it was to get on in life, to a certain extent true. The biggest mistake was to compare him with his sister, he totally rebelled. The answer was to become his buddy and slowly it is starting to work and I hope to get a pleasant surprise when the brown envelope comes in.

The girl doing Highers is very motivated but has had the occasional confidence drop off. ‘I never get an A’, she says. Then we do a mock exam and in comes a good result. At Parents night she tells her Physics teacher I am no good at this subject and has to be reminded she got top marks in Standard Grade and is leading the class in all the results so far. The point I make is she is smart but the confidence drops off very easily at times and needs boosted, lots of dairy milk chocolate does it. I have had to provide Chemistry tuition at home for her, as during the first term there was no teacher and a lot of the basics had been missing for Higher. This did not help her confidence but we have turned it around.

The key to dealing with both of them is support, support and remembering they are kids.’

Parent (National 4/5 boy and Higher girl)

(Take a look at the Parentzone website which has information and advice for parents and carers who have children sitting exams in the coming weeks. )

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder- A free event for Educational Professionals
4 CPD credits awarded
16th June 2014, Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ

It is anticipated that this event will attract large numbers so please book early to be guaranteed a place.

Please return your completed registration form by either post or email to:

Post: RCPCH, 12 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JE

Email: Lorna.porter@rcpch.ac.uk

For further information contact Lorna at the email address above or on 0131 247 3657Agenda and booking form FASD 16 June 2014

Place will be allocated and confirmed on receipt of booking form.