Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Arms and Legs

Funny how sometimes a little plan is the best way to get more people involved! Our wee baby eyepet project is now getting a little larger… I’ve been picking up a few other schools and nurseries over the past week who also want to be involved. Fantastic. Funny also how sometimes a little bit of input can have long lasting impact. Ollie Bray visited around Aug/Sep to give a talk to people in the area about free web resurces etc, then Brian McLaren visited a couple of schools the other week. Those two visits are showing lots of impact in terms of emerging games based learning throughout the area.

I read something really nice on twitter last night. Unfortunately I can’t remember who posted the link … but I’m sure they will know who they were! I’m always interested to see how aspects of AiFL can be further extended and have  found thinking dice a great tool for schools to use in making questioning and interaction more effective. Previously work done by establishments around developing questions using De Bono’s six thinking hats has also been innovative. Anyway last night this link was posted on twitter. Fantastic resources developed by Big Hill Primary School around Pohl’s Thinkers Keys. Great activities which could be linked to any curricular area to promote thinking/questioning/creativity etc etc. An absolute gem. For those who are yet to understand why twitter is a great teaching resource – this is a super example.

For those who haven’t yet had a look the CfE parents toolkit is now up on the LTS site – great resource for helping explain CfE to parents. A huge amount of work done on this around putting together presentations, leaflets, explanations about CfE which schools  do not now need to develop

January 29, 2010 Posted by | education | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Holocaust Memorial 2010

Councillor Mary Smith and Councillor Jackie Burns in South Lanarkshire have been driving forces behind making the Holocaust Memorial Events in South Lanarkshire such high profile, important events every year. Young people across South Lanarkshire join together annually to make their voices heard in the hope that they can make a difference to society. 25000 young people in South Lanarkshire have been involved in memorial events this year. Quite remarkable. The key message is course that we remember victims and survivors of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides across the globe such as  in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, whilst at the same time using all our voices to speak out against discrimination and exclusion in our society.

In Rutherglen and Cambuslang, schools take part in various events, learning opportunities throughout the year and during Holocaust Memorial Day. Schools also take place in an annual Holocaust Meorial Event in the area. This year’s was held last night. Trinity HighSchool were this year’s hosts. An audience of around 400 invited guests attended. They browsed the art work on display from a range of our schools reflecting the theme, legacy of hope. These included anti-sectarianism projects, a reflection of the five senses viewed through the perspective of the Holocaust and photographic work from visits to Auschwitz by pupils. Those attending put very touching thoughts onto our tree of hope where they pledged their support in making a positive difference to our society.

Many of our local schools were involved in this year’s event – with young people from  Burnside, St Columbkille’s, St Mark’s, St Cadocs, Cairns, Westcoats, Calderwood, Loch and St Anthony’s Primaries and Cathkin, Stonleaw and Trinity High all performing. Each year due to the scale of the event different schools take part in presenting. The quality of the monologues, songs, presentations and dramas was superb. I found the reflections on their recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau by senior Trinity pupils particularly touching along with work performed around survivor monologues. The theme was legacy of hope and everyone commented on the joy of watching some of our younger children from local primaries oozing confidence and hope for the future whether reciting “Is there for honest poverty?” or singing “All you need is love”. Always a special evening, last night gave us all much to think about.

The picture below gives you an idea of the scale of response the local community gives in supporting this event.

The stage from the back of the street area

Some of the schools’ work beginning to be displayed prior to the event

Photos taken at Auschwitz during pupil visits were exhibited

January 28, 2010 Posted by | education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eyepet Excitement

Got a wee plot up my sleeve for a trial of eyepets in one of our standalone  nurseries. Looking forward to getting my hands on the eyepet when it arrives with the ps3s this weekend! Here’s a brief overview of our wee baby trial.


  • To raise awareness of games based learning approaches
  • To develop innovative contexts for an interdisciplinary focus
  • To enhance consultation approaches with children, parents/carers and staff related to planning learning experiences
  • To provide depth and breadth of learning in literacy, with a focus on emergent writing
  • To further develop partnership with parents/carers which impacts positively on children’s learning
  • To facilitate transition development work for pre-school children

 What we will do

  • The early years staff and home school partnership worker involved will be trained in the use of PS3 Eyepet
  • Consultation around a focus planner using Eyepet will be completed and documented (this will identify experiences related to literacy in particular emergent writing)
  • Evaluations, observation, assessment will be documented as an exemplar for future development work
  • Parent workshops will be organised by the home school partnership worker to look at the possibilities of games based learning in the home to enhance learning
  • Parent prompts will be developed around a variety of games based learning programmes
  • Early years advice and banks of ideas will be prepared to assist in future use of Eyepet
  • A follow up transition programme will be developed with a link primary school, using the Eyepet to ensure enhanced bridging across the stages
  • Dissemination of the project will take place at the area early years forum
  • All EY Area establishments will be invited to a GBL awareness raising session March 2010 with consolarium input

January 26, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT | , | Leave a comment

Games Based Learning

Brian McLaren from the consolarium visited two of our schools today to have a chat about ideas for taking forward interdisciplinary topic work with various off the shelf games as contexts for developing learning and activities. Visit the consolarium blog and national consolarium glow group (which the team are currently updating) where you’ll find more information. He was a great help and inspiration to the HTs and staff involved. Lots of good ideas generated. Loved watching the children in P2/3 having a look at the eyepet – their one is coming soon. Not sure who was most engaged the children or staff – lots of open mouths and excitement – particularly Mrs R and Mrs P (see pics below!). The eyepet will be used as a motivator for taking forward writing but with any interdisciplinary piece of work lots of other learning opportunties will be taken forward. The HT and I managed to scribble down an A4 sheet of paper off the top of our heads – once the children are consulted and involved the ideas will become endless. I always say it but when I see this kind of thing happening in a school it makes my job feel like the best in the world.

January 22, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , | Leave a comment


Out and about getting time to look at some of the interesting practice going on in the area today. Visited Calderwood Primary to meet the HT about a curriculum for excellence development work update in the school, by luck the Primary 3 class were doing something pretty neat! They have recently been completing an interdisciplinary topic related to puppets. Stonelaw pre school 3 year olds had come up from the nearby church to watch their puppet show. The children performed using the puppets they had designed to their audience and managed to hold their attention. Afterwards they showed the pre school children their displays, their puppets etc. I’ve put a few photos underneath of this and some other interesting aspects in this P3 class.

Things of particular note – the way they plan and consult together as a class before, during and after learning opportunities – you can see this for the puppet context and also their next interdisciplinary piece of work which will be in Egypt.. Lots of evidence of discussion of useful learning strategies around the room. Evidence of children setting their own individual targets. Child friendly CfE language so they can understand and articulate what CfE is about. (The next step in this would be to drill right down to the children around the language of eg what creativity means and looks like at their age, what are some of the key words in eg the literacy outcomes etc – the Head teacher is currently having a good look at this kind of work). Evidence of leadership roles across the class – with every child having a leadership role and using the language of this to explain why they are doing certain things – what is it that they are learning if they are the leader for organising the jotters, pencils etc in their group/team? Nice sensory spelling ideas displayed – but remember any such approach works well when the interaction of the teacher is such that these activities are challenging and not merely repetitious stations which are repeated daily.

Lots of interesting things and you can see the focus on learning and teaching and the reflection of  staff evident. Doing a puppet show was a great way to assess some of the skills and abilities the children had learned – could they adapt these when playing to a real audience? How did they react when explaing their work to younger children etc etc. All ties in nicely to Building the Curriculum 5. Good stuff all round!


CfE language, Spelling, Targets

Planning Interdisciplinary Topics – Consulting with children

January 21, 2010 Posted by | education, learning | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As Ithers See Us

Enjoyed a fashion show and design work show last night. It was held at the Scottish Museum For Rural Life in East Kilbride, which is a great venue and well worth a visit. They will be having a bumper crop of baby animals this Spring they tell me!

Anyway , the design project show was the culmination of an annual design project organised by the South Lanarkshire Cultural Co-ordinators Team. The theme behind it was “As Ithers See Us”. This session the secondaries involved were Stonelaw High, Larkhall Academy, Strathaven Academy and Calderside Academy. The showcase included Jewellery, Textiles and Film and animation work created by pupils with support from designers and film experts who worked with the pupils after school over a ten week period. Some great stuff on display, I particulalry enjoyed the film work and the fabulous headpieces/hats etc. More information can be had on this and other cultural co-ordinator activity in SLC by contacting the co-ordinators at any time.

Not so great was getting stuck in a patch of snow in the carpark afterwards…However, as if by magic, the director and a team of councillors appeared and rescued me with a spade and much rocking of the car, and instructions on my gear and revving skills! Now rescuing me, in the dark,  in a snowbound car park, with snow trickling out the sky on a cold winter evening is above and beyond the call of duty for Education Directors and Councillors I would say, so I am very grateful if a touch embarassed by the whole event.

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year in Area

As always lots of interesting things already happening in the Rutherglen/Cambuslang Area. At the moment I’m involved in the preparation for two imminent HMIe inspections in the area. In the build up to an inspection the role of a QIO is to assist the establishment in their preparations. Mostly this includes help with things like the safeguarding proforma, assisting with anything related to writing up QI performance profiles self evaluation materials for the dialogue session, preparing evidence folders, making sure any support needed from other professionals is available etc. I’m finding that increasingly establishments are finding this is becoming more just part of their on going work here as they are all well advanced in developing their performance profile linked to the HGIOS Cat C QIs and showing the cycle between this top level self evaluation write up and their improvement plan. Hopefully as time goes on the 3 weeks prior to the visit will be less and less about pulling this stuff together with evidence as it will already be in place. One of the key things which I find is helping establishments is the great work done by the senior managers pupil support in the area and the specialist support teams in assisting with audits/paperwork related to aspects such as child protection and meeting learners needs. The systems and procedures in place are showing dividends in meeting needs effectively. The model in the area of having these managers working in co-location with quality personnel, support services, the Head of Area etc makes a huge difference to the speed of communication and support available as required.

The Holocaust memorial final preparation meeting took place today with the programme now fully in place. This willtake place in Trinity High with establishments from all the area learning communities involved. Its being overseen by the cultural co-ordinator in the area.

Final drafts of stage 1a early years early intervention materials are now in place and this is assisting in meeting needs appropriately for our youngest learners.

Good to see Brain McL from the consolarium getting in and about a couple of the schools soon (Loch and Calderwood) and further raising  the profile of games based learning.

Met with David Scott from University of West of Scotland yesterday to begin planning some community practice projects with Cathkin High and a local primary with some of his students. Its always great to work with David, he’s doing fantastic work down in Ayr with the students on the commercial music course. Previously he’d worked alongside a lot of pupils in my previous school doing recording work etc out of East Kilbride Arts Centre (soundscapes to e.g. WW2 poems, music for a drug awareness DVD, soundscapes to Italo Calvino fairytales, Scottish Indie song recording – our very own Langley CD!). To my delight I discovered yesterday that one of the classroom assistants (Alison Cassells) at this school, who was very talented, has gone on to take this degree and will be one of the students coming out on practice. Building capacity in action, thanks to David! She had been involved in lots of these projects in the school and is now further developing her expertise.

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pleasantly Plump

No longer pleasantly plump but officially porky! I’ve been reading about the consolarium team’s #wiifitweightlosschallenge on twitter. Decided to get myself organised for a fitter me in new year. Unfortunately it took me two evenings to find enough batteries in the flat for my wii to get going, however this gave me the chance to stock up on additional bouts of crisp and cheese binging prior to the weigh in, also stuffed in a few special puddings and chocolates. Now I’m not publishing my weight like some…However suffice to say I was still hanging in there on the overweight bit (just…) not yet into obese, so was mighty relieved! My plot is to to continue with the no smoking – I’m now several weeks in and the world smells a much brighter place. I’ve rejoined the gym at Hamilton Water Palace and will need to shift the blubber with bouts of that in addition to the wii fit. Not yet brave enought to get the no1 son to get me out running (that’ll come later when I’m less lardy, don’t want to scare people in the street). I plan to invest in a new bike at the end of the month as my previous one got stolen last year. The one bright light on the wii was I’m four years younger in wii fitness than my real age (which is of course still 21) and apparently a bit of a muscle builder! I will keep the blog updated with progress, pitfalls and weight loss (hopefully)

January 7, 2010 Posted by | Nonsense | , , | 2 Comments