Interim reports

Education Learning Log


The Early Years Forum in our area meet every 6 weeks or so. Its very much a drop in session, sometimes with them doing some work together, listening to someone talk etc. Brain McLaren from the consolarium came along last night with some playstation, Wiis, Nintendo DS stuff etc.

Have a look at their recently updated Glow group, which is looking quite nifty. As always the eyepet stole the show with the early years people!

Cathkin Community Nursery are working away with their eyepets and developing a focus around the theme pets.

The following outlines the key steps in planning a focus used at Cathkin Community Nursery

Consulting the Children Using a Mindmapping The Process

Listen to:

Children’s buzzwords

Record this information


Children and areas

Record this information

 Have a staff/team meeting:

Discuss the findings

Make decisions

Decide on a topic/focus


Ask the children key questions – What? Who? When? Where? Why?

Children’s ideas and thoughts are recorded (these are recorded on mini mindmaps which are displayed with all other planning materials on the together we learn wall)

 Develop planned experiences:

Learning intention and outcomes are identified

Planned experiences are offered to the children


Record children’s learning

 Topic Evaluation

Staff and children evaluate the topic together

 The Together We Learn Board

Planning is displayed on “The Together We Learn Board”

The mini mindmaps are written up after discussing the children’s thoughts and ideas with them

 The buzzwords for this topic were around “Pets”

The eyepet is used as a motivating activity within the focus context and is discussed with the children at the mini mindmap stage

 The “Sunshine Board” is there with post its for parents to add ideas. These are written up into curricular areas and dated. See below – ideas from parents



Read about  Cathkin Community Nursery and others doing mini music makers here

 SLCTV are in Calderwood Primary today filming some of the recent Burns Competition Winners, so it all looks very exciting downstairs today! Later on they are hosting a small retiral tea for some of the senior education staff who are leaving SLC over the next few weeks. Lorraine Bell, Jessie McPerson and May Boyd. We’re all looking forward to catching up and wishing them luck in the next stage of their lives.

March 16, 2010 Posted by | education, learning, planning, teaching | , , , | Leave a comment

Parents as Partners Consulting Children

The staff at Cathkin Community Nursery are in the middle of planning and carrying out activities around the focus “Pets”. To add a bit of excitement to this context they are using the eyepet. We’re going to collect this planning so other establishments can see how the nursery goes about planning with the children, parents and all involved in the children’s lives. In May the nursery is holding an Open Doors Event which will have 8 workshops run by staff. It will be open to Early Years establishments and early stage primaries in the Rutherglen, Cambuslang and East Kilbride areas. This follows on from successful work done in EK schools trying out open doors events.

Couple of photos below show some of the planning under way. At the nursery they use a mindmap approach to planning – they listen and observe and list “buzzwords” that the children are talking about. The staff team come together talk about the buzzwords and discuss possible focus ideas and outcomes. Children work with staff to develop a mindmap of the kind of things they would like to learn, find out about, try etc. You can also see  the materials which go up on the wall so that parents can add in ideas and thoughts about the focus.

Asking for ideas from parents about the pet focus….

Information about the children’s pets from parents……

Ideas from parents about the pet focus on the sunshine display board……..

Wee bit closer….

Mindmaps written up after discussion with groups of children around the focus pets and the eyepet

The initial mindmaps are going off to Brian McLaren at the consolarium and he’ll put them up on the glow group somewhere in the future.

Saw this in Oakwood House Nursery this week. They are working on ways to record the children self and peer assessing their work. The children using individual self assessment cards and the staff record discussions with the children around learning experiensces using this format. Currently writing a follow through report on their HMIe visit a year ago. Lots of really great work going on in the partnership establishment!

Enjoyed a visit to Little Pets partner nursery who ran a health day recently – great to see them inviting down local primary 1s to visit. Good transition work going on.

Really enjoyed attending the HMIe dialogue session at the end of the visit to Calderwood primary on Friday. It has been a really positive week for the school, staff, parents and children. Well done everyone there. Looking forward to reading the report when it is published.

Enjoying learning new things. I have some additions to my remit and I’m having a great time getting my teeth into them. Have a strategic ICT role and am spending time with the IT Business manager learning about all things ICT, just great fun getting to grips with the whole picture. Also taking on primary staffing work and again loving getting my teeth into new aspects of work in the education department. Have had an invite to the official opening of one of the schools I work with – Loch Primary. They are awaiting the publication of their follow through HMIe report. The initial visit was carried out around two years ago and the HT had just taken up appointment at that time. Really pleased with the outcome of this too – and can’t wait to see it published. Amazing work done by the staff in the school. Big thumbs up all round to the impact HMIe have had working together with these and other establishments in the area!

Busy week ahead, particularly looking forward to class visits at Hallside Primary.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT, learning, Parent Consultations, planning, teaching | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AiFL questioning

Neat little fans made by the Depute at Westburn Nursery. She took Blooms taxonomy and the starter questions which are within this blog from various sources and put them into an easy to manipulate format for the staff at the nursery. They hook these on to their badge lanyards and they are great reminders during the day and at planning sessions. Equally useful for older children to use themselves in group discussions/feedback sessions etc etc.

Add these to thinking dice, beach ball question prompts etc to raise the profile of these techniques or refresh AiFL work. Sometimes the cheaper option like these fans work just as well. Its not hard to use the kind of ideas infant and early years staff have used for years to push eg great questioning further – an old football with sticky white labels on it with question starters written in pen, throw it round group – the sticker your thumb lands on when catching is the question to be answered etc.

Good meeting with Brian McLaren from the consolarium the other day, and he enjoyed having a little tour of some of the establishments in the area. Looking forward to gathering in the evidence of the hard work Cathkin Community Nursery are about to start using eyepet as a context for learning. We will publish all that material here and pass it on to the consolarium

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, teaching | , , , , | 3 Comments

Parents as Partners, Learning, Thinking

SLC hold an annual parents as partners conference. This session’s was held on Monday. It was well attended with parent forum and council reps from across the authority’s establishments. The key themes were Curriculum for Excellence and where we are in SLC –  with talks from the Depute Director and also from a secondary Head who told the story of his school’s journey with CfE. There was a workshop session when those attending looked at possible new CfE reporting to parent formats, adding their thoughts to this development process. Great singing from John Ogilvie High pupils added a special touch to the evening.

Some really nice ideas seen when visiting Calderwood Primary. Great example of planning an interdisciplinary topic from P6 below. Classes are working on developing CfE via interdisc topics. They have done a similar piece of work to our early years forum who are in the midst of breaking down the key elements of a focus/topic planner. If the key elements are right then the paper planner will follow. But its the getting right of all the steps within planning first that important. This primary 6 example  shows great work on consulting with children.

Our EY area focus planning has decided the following are the key elements which are needed in focus planning (equally very similar 3-18!)

List of Key Elements within a Focus Planner

  • Consultation with Children Prior to Focus Planning – (What do we already know, what would we like to know and how can we learn about these aspects)
  • Consultation with Children During the Focus Planning (A response to developing interests, aspects which are assisting motivations and relevance of activities to planned experience and outcome development)
  • Consultation with parents/carers and partners
  • CfE Health and Wellbeing Indicators – Safe Healthy Active Nurtured Respected Responsible Included
  • CfE Principles – Personalisation and Choice Challenge and Enjoyment Depth Coherence Relevance Breadth Progression
  • Specific CfE experiences and outcomes – NB these can be linked to the annual Improvement Plan to ensure implementation is not overwhelming
  • List of Resources and possible activities discussed as a team after consulting with children. This would include outdoor play activities, external visitors, community involvement in the focus, enterprising activities etc
  • AiFL strategies to be used
  • Evaluation of focus by staff involved – as related to children’s development/learning in the planned experiences and outcomes
  • Children’s Evaluation of their learning
  • CfE four capacities in full – so evaluation of experiences and outcomes can show progression toward development of four capacities

Calderwood alongside other schools in the area have been working together for a number of years looking at AiFl with a focus on peronal learning planning. This can be increasingly seen in practice throughout the school. Couple of pictures below demonstrate just some of the things on the go

So there area some really nice ideas here – individual targets in different headings, targets which are current and targets achieved moved to different parts of wall etc Lots of other examples within the school –  from their plp booklets, to evaluations of specific topics (what we have learned etc)

 One of the things I’m really delighted to see in Calderwood and in other schools round about (I have to mention Loch here too!) is the increasing focus on the language of CfE with the children – they need to understand what it means to be a successful learner etc at their age and stage. This shows up mostly from talking to the children. Loch for instance have children plastered up with “ask me badges” – you may see a child who has been a successful contributor and the idea is you ask them why – the children love this. Great for home school partnership/dialogue too. Below is another great idea from Calderwood which I’m seeing in other places too – group reminders in the middle of tables re CfE language (along much the same lines as a VCOP pyramid)

Down in the infant department the children were really enthusiastic to show me their enchanted forest area. A couple of weeks ago this area was bare – awaiting the children to develop it. Some lovely work going on

They had also bought in the thinking dice which are a favourite of mine! This further developing of questioning skills can be seen embedding further across the area as AiFl becomes a more natural part of the learning and teaching process. The HT is developing booklets, ideas for activities etc around the thinking dice and blooms taxonomy. Great question starters can be found pretty easily by a spot of googling. Some below pochled from various sources

Question Cards Question Starters – these could be cut out and laminated for all staff.


(Recalling information – Recognising, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding)

 What do you know about….?

Can you find out about…?

Where does it say…?

Who is it about…?

Who did it….?

What is it called…..?

How many…..?

What types of….are there…..?

Can you remember….?

What happened after….?

Who was it that….?

Can you list…?

Where is….?


(Explaining ideas or concepts, Interpreting, summarising, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining)

 What do you understand…?

Why do you think….?

Can you give a reason for/explain….?

Can you explain why/how/what/when…?

Why did….?

Why does….?

How is….feeling….?

Which is….. and why…..?


(Using information in another familiar situation, Implementing, carrying out, using, executing)


Can you explain why/how/which….?

What would you have done…?

What do you think will happen/would have happened next…? What makes you think….?

What would you use for….?

How would you use….?

How would you organise….?

Why is …. an example of….?

How could ….. be improved….?

How could this….be made even better?
How would you deal with….?

What would be an example of…?

What ideas show….?

Can you explain in your own words…?

What is meant by….?

What is the main idea of…?


(Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships, Comparing, organising, deconstructing, interrogating, finding)

 How would you group/sort/order….?

Can you work out the parts/structure/bits of….?

How can you show the differences/similarities of….?

What patterns can you find….?

What can you tell about…. Because of….?

What is important/not important about….?

Why would someone else think that….?

What would you say to a person who said…?

What are some of the problems….?

What caused…?

How does…. Compare with…..?


Justifying a decision or course of action, Checking, hypothesising, experimenting, judging


How successful was…?

How would you rate…?

What do you think of….?

What makes…. great/good/not so good?

What went well/didn’t go well…..?

What did you find out….?

What would you suggest…?
How would you….?

What us the most important….?

Do you agree or disagree with….why?

How would you choose…..?

If you could change one thing about….what would it be?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of….?


Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things – Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing.

 Can you think of a better way to….?

What would you have done if….?

How would you do this better next time…?

How would you change this… to…?

Could you invent/design a new way to….?

What could you do to improve….?

What would you sort out/take away….?

Are there any ways you could….?

How many ways could you….?

Can you solve….?

How would you find out….?





November 27, 2009 Posted by | education, teaching | , , , , | Leave a comment

JTE in action

There are some days it just hits me between the eyes that I’ve got the best job in the world. Today was a hard one getting up, Wednesday, feeling kind of sleepy mid week and then I get to work and I see why I come to work every day. I was doing a PDR today in a nursery and didn’t expect either of the sniffly, happy, weepy moments that hit me. Cathkin Community Nursery showed me their ongoing planning whiteboard where they are reviewing their vision, values and aims. Using the word ENABLE to write their vision they are then colour coding the related CfE links and the aims (written as outcomes) which they are developing ready to work out actions to put in their improvement plan. They also told me about the 200 places parents in the area have applied for with their awards for all grant for parental courses at SLC college. On the playroom walls they are colour coding photograph backgrounds with a specific colour for CfE principles. They had rewritten the AIFL triangle for their own establishment so all staff felt ownership of what they were doing. Then in pops Rachel with her individualised learning story media show – with all the photos and evidence for one child showing their learning progression. WOW! I could write much more but go see it! Then off for a surprise treat at Trinity High, where they are currently in the midst of a cross curricular week with all departments involved. The theme is The Scottish Nation. Starting with an assembly on the Monday, pupils made choice to study within curricular areas, went off with a fabulous quiz to complete over the week, where they were getting input in departments but also having to do study research in their own time. They also have to complete ongoing research material as the topic is worked through. The planning and thought going into this was wonderful. What was coming out straight away was the additional element of engagement and enjoyment which was being tackled in looking at the curriculum in this way. They too are delving deep into their vision and values. One impressive piece of work is how they are evaluating the school using the charter for catholic schools. The evaluation looks at the distinctive features in Trinity High and signposts areas for further development. For anyone in any school whether denominational or non-denominational this piece of work is a great example of excellent practice in self evaluation. And what comes across in both establishments is the commitment of the staff, the joy of improving things for the young people and the understanding of how much of a difference they can make in the life of these youngsters – sparking that golden nugget in them of lifelong learning. The other thing which is clear in both is the desire to build capacity in all those involved within their school – the good school in the good society. And the best thing about my job? I get to see stuff like this every day!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Creativity, education, teaching | , , , | 2 Comments


A new glow group is now up and running which Con Morris from LTS has been working on with Jim Reid and May Boyd from SLC. It’s looking good, and as it takes off will become a useful place for sharing practice and CPD experiences.

Thanks to help from Caroline I’ve managed to embed some video in the area glow group and Jaye helped with setting up a calendar. I’m all pleased with doing this! This is a glow drop which might be useful for those now moving forward with glow – lots of links to what’s being said

It’s a long weekend and I’m glad of some time to gather my thoughts. A couple of those HMIe boxes have landed in our schools over the past weeks and I’m sure the staff there are even more glad of the time off.

Karl Fischer mentioned Darren Draper’s site and I found his sharing of this bit from Carl Glickman’s book thought provoking. I have to agree this should be compulsory reading for all us teachers!

May 3, 2008 Posted by | education, glow, ICT, learning, teaching | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Family time

Last session we introduced “Tea with the teacher” in p1. This is a weekly drop in and chat session every Friday with the P1 teacher. This session P2 have taken this on to weekly maths family time when a group of parents come to watch maths in P2 weekly. Next week we have our second P3-7 family time of the session. Parents/carers will come in during the afternoon on Friday to visit classes, watch teaching and see what the children have done for their Scots Book Studies. It’s also St Andrew’s day so we’ll be doing related activities when we have our visitors.

This is breaking down barriers between home and school. A real community of learning has to be open and welcome visitors/carers in to see what’s happening. It’s always interesting to see how work like this pans out overtime. I’ll be keeping an eye on how this develops and impacts on relationships.

The children are collecting backpacks and the contents for Malawi at the moment. The contents of these are always very touching, children often give up very treasured possessions for others less fortunate. Last time we had favourite teddies and books sent in because they were so special to the child. We have a gran who collected over 60 shoeboxes of donations last time. This is real citizenship in action. A favourite thought of mine at the moment is service and duty and how  this is about a state of mind where we aim to be selfless and to give/serve unconditionally. Sometimes in schools we can learn so much about this from little things our children and others around us do.

November 24, 2007 Posted by | learning, Parent Consultations, Scots, teaching, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment