Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Thanks Agnes

I found a card in my pigeon hole this morning which tickled me with a quote from Ronald Reagan.

“You shouldn’t drink coffee at work. It keeps you awake in the afternoons.” Ronald Reagan.

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February 28, 2008 Posted by | Nonsense | 2 Comments

Proud Mum

Aaaw. I’m feeling proud tonight. My big boy Sean (he’s 21) works for a stock broker firm in Glasgow. He had some exams to sit a while ago and got invited to an awards ceremony in London yesterday held by the Securities and Investment Institute. He thought he was getting a certificate… Turns out it was in The Mansion house with the Lord Mayor of London. After a bit of probing by me he admitted he’d got the top score in one of exams and that this was an achievement awards ceremony. So he’s feeling chuffed, and I’m dead proud. He even got a little present in an envelope!
And…. my kitchen is nearly finished – I’ve only got two more days of eating pizza and chippies. I’m dreaming of steamed broccoli and other green things without grease…

PS read about TED 08

http://www.lunchoverip.com/.

http://technorati.com/tag/TED2008

You can also get asked the big questions or submit your own – a dinky widget and everything!

http://www.ideobigquestions.com/

February 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Privileged

Being a Head is a huge privilege and often we don’t shout that out loud enough. Moving into my QIO post I’m realising what a privilege this is too. To be able to visit establishments on a daily basis and look at what is going on in them is wonderful. I visited Cathkin Community Nursery today. I stayed for a good while and saw some exciting and innovative evidence of ongoing work.

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They have a sensory garden which the children designed and planned using mindmaps/floorbooks. Responsive Planning, pupil choice, real confidence in action!

 Loved the good news tree, which grows bigger throughout the session – different types of good news – little people who might have managed to sleep in their own bed the whole night, maybe they’ve got a new brother or sister. Huge opportunities for self expression, talking and listening, psd etc etc

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They had done huge amounts of work on diversity with their persona dolls.

Bronze, silver and gold health promotion awards have been achieved.

 Innovative planning methods- really listening to the children – for instance someone found a spider – a huge focus of work then followed covering every curricular area you could imagine, all child led.

Christopher told me all about his record of achievement, explaining how much his drawing had improved over the years from when he was a baby and next he goes to school in August.

It would need a visit to take it all in rather than me giving highlights in shorthand! Liz Mercer the Head of the establishment her Depute and staff are inspiring and have a very welcoming ethos and love to share their ideas.

Sometimes in my previous school I would be taken by surprise by something which made me cry with the joy of it. Last year’s most memorable greet was when Zac in P1 came round with a grin from ear to ear and said “Mrs Reid I can read!” A whole new world had just opened up to him overnight and he’d suddenly cracked the code. He wanted to read everything he could see and find.

Today it was the amount of work parents had been doing alongside the nursery which caught me unawares. I managed to stop myself from blubbing, but the chin was wobbling and my eyes watering – in their persona dolls room there were paintings done by a parent related to equality called “its a small world after all”. Then in the toilets which could have been dull and dismal a parent must have spent hours painting bright pictures. I’ve seen lots of murals like these before, but there was just something about what these parents had put into the work of themselves which I found very touching.

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Creativity, leadership, learning, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

AEDIPS

I attended the AEDIPS conference on Friday and Saturday. Lots of interesting things to digest – Co-operative learning approach by Chris Ward, David Cameron from Stirling talking about weans and excellence.

The thing that really stuck in my mind was Walter Hume and his after dinner speech where he mentioned –  life in 6 words.  The best ones, are available in book form now or have a look at the personal story projects here http://www.smithmag.net/ 

I remember talking about Hemmingway’s 6 word story when I was at school.

‘For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”

There are some funny, some sad little snippets in this book and on the website.What’s more fun than writing about ourselves, using a wee poetry form, whether it really makes a stab at an insight into life or just gets a cheap laugh?

I like the idea of getting the meaning of things down to a succinct explanation. We could do with a dose of the 6 word ethic in education. We get awful bogged down in indicators and priorities, plans and outcomes, hows and whats.

So what’s it really all about in a school? Anyone got a good six word sum up?

Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

February 24, 2008 Posted by | Creativity | , , , | 1 Comment

Pay Attention

The description of the following video on teachertube.com says

Since most of today’s students can appropriately be labeled as “Digital Learners”, why do so many teachers refuse to enter the digital age with their teaching practices?

But this is about what is at the heart of curriculum for excellence….

Have a look – great starting point for debate on just what teaching and learning means in the 21st century.

http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=40c570a322f1b0b65909&page=1&viewtype=&category=

February 21, 2008 Posted by | learning | 1 Comment

Leadership

Here’s a link to Don Ledingham’s blog where he has reproduced a great article on leadership

http://edubuzz.org/blogs/donsblog/2008/02/19/elements-of-leadership/

February 21, 2008 Posted by | leadership | Leave a comment

Cathkin Third year Biology

Cathkin High have a group of keen bloggers on Thursday lunch time. Last night their teacher Jaye Richards discovered my blog! I’ve been in my office here only a few days and as I’ve been involved in induction activities etc I hadn’t introduced myself properly to the school as I’m in the community wing. Now that I know my schools (one of which will be Cathkin High) I had planned to arrange a proper introductory visit. However after Jaye made contact I was able to go along to her class today and see her using glow with her third year biology class. If ever there was a reason for pushing blogging – there it is! Part of my role is to find examples of good practice and share it – its unlikely I would have got round to finding Jaye and her class for some time without a bit of blogging.

So into the computer base where the third years go every Thursday to use ICT within Biology. Some Australian visitors were also evident to look at what was happening and some of the ICT people from the EA. Jaye had already spent time over a few sessions as an early adopter, training the pupils in the use of their glow group etc.

So today taking the context of Australia the children were investigating population and how various organisms can affect it. They could read their news – which explained the learning intentions, then go to their glow group for biology where they could read documents explaining the tasks and activities. Pupils then used a variety of weblinks which had active tasks such as a food web activity, reading where some functional writing was produced, work on discussion points with the discussion group, developing graphs using excel. There was a lot going on.

Grant admitted he prefers the teacher telling him what to do first rather than it being on screen to read, but he said the activities were much better on glow as they were more active rather than a worksheet. Another pupil said that using glow freed up the teacher’s time to really help anyone who was struggling with an aspect of their learning.

What struck me was the enthusiasm of Jaye Richards and her commitment to use an available tool to improve her teaching. The using of that tool in itself was allowing her to really reflect on the outcomes of the lesson and how to meet the needs of the pupils. I was also really pleased to see how collaborative the work the pupils was doing became very quickly – they were helping each other, asking questions of each other, supporting etc.

This was not about J being a digital native or otherwise (maybe we can just stop using this nonsense term)- this was about good teaching – someone who was using the tools available to their best advantage.

February 21, 2008 Posted by | glow, learning | , , , | 7 Comments

A room with a bit of a view…

So I’ve been busily trying to get my room organised. I’m based in the old Cathkin High building – they’re going to move to their new build after the summer. So I’m covered in stickiness from making labels and sorting dividers and files. There had been no-one in the room for a while so it’s been given a good clean. I had grown accustomed to the brand new building where I was head so it’s a shock to the system to be back in an older building which isn’t so shiny and sparkly. It reminded me just what a difference the new builds are making to morale and how much the buildings must affect a child’s experience of learning. However, my room is nice and has been painted recently.

I’m suddenly amazed at what a big world there is of education in SLC! Based in a school, your workplace becomes your whole world! You’re aware that you’re part of a larger whole but you often forget the amount of activity to support you, that is going on in the council. Each place I visit is a hive of activity, whether an education establishment, learning community support office, ICS base, council HQ etc etc.

February 20, 2008 Posted by | learning | 2 Comments

A new team

Starting as part of the SLC new quality team this week has been really interesting. There’s a mixture of experience within the four of us who will make up the area part of the team – primary, secondary – different areas of interest and expertise. We’ve also been getting to know the others within the areas which we are allocated to. So I’ve been seeing the Rutherglen/Cambuslang head of area etc. Next week I’m hoping to get to meet the Heads of establishments at the Learning Community meetings and to get time to see the others who make up the team such as the pupil support manager, ICS co-ordinator etc.

We’ve had a good induction this week and are getting our heads round how we will carry out our remits with its emphasis on continuous improvement. It’s really exciting to be part of something new which we hope can make a difference to the experience of the young people involved in the establishments.

I think my biggest learning need at the moment is to really focus carefully on a few priorities. Often as HT I felt I could lose that focus as I tried to balance many things at once and at times spent too much energy on things which had little impact on teaching and learning. I needed to stop and refocus regularly and I think I’ll need to work even harder on that! I’m also feeling a need to learn sharply at the moment on many levels. In school I had a good idea of where I was, what might come up etc as I’d lived in schools for a long time. This new post is new at all levels for me. Thankfully there are many experienced people around me who I will need to learn from who are already willingly giving time to help me. The other thing I’m intent on doing is trying to work smarter – I have to find time to think and consider things. This blog helps that – its not so much the writing of it as the time I sit and just contemplate things when looking at the screen!

February 16, 2008 Posted by | leadership, learning | Leave a comment

Dublin, painting blues

On Friday I said goodbye to the children at Castlefield. I managed to keep my chin up and averted tearful blubbering. It was not just a sad day, it was also a new start – with acting posts, it gives others an opportunity to grow and develop. It made me feel good to know that the Acting DHT will be able to fulfill her potential during her acting time. I’m especially pleased that Caroline in P7 will be doing Acting PT2 and I hope she will now start to think about moving to a PT2 post permanently. And the Acting HT – well Shenagh’s just a bundle of energy and good sense too and everyone in the school will be just delighted to work for her.

I was touched by the lovely gifts I was given from all those at Castlefield, and I appreciated the thought behind all of them. The class cards which the children made with photos and drawings will be a great way of remembering what a happy time I had there.

At the weekend we all went off to Dublin to celebrate the imminent retiral of Barbara (not that she’s counting the days or anything…). I’m feeling shattered now but we had a good time. I’d better not go into details of what everyone got up to!

After all that excitement it’s back to earth with a bump as I get stuck in to painting in the bathroom and kitchen. It took me nearly 2 hours to choose paint – Homebase is a bit like the web these days. It’s hard to pin down just what you’re searching for and unfortunately there’s not a del.icio.us thing to help you pin down your paint choices. So kitchen or hard wearing matt or condensation averting bathroom covering, soft sheen or something special for wood and what about the radiator? I then had to decide on a colour – contrasting or neutrals? One coat or undercoat? It wore me out!! I came home, had a headache tablet and now plan a short nap. The painting can wait, in fact, I think I’ll just get a painting man in. I also stocked up on various cleaning fluids whilst there. But cleaning is a bit like painting – the finished thing is great, but the doing of it is a pain. So – nap with duvet on the couch and the joy of Doctors on  tv. These things pretty much make me smile on a long weekend.

February 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments