Interim reports

Education Learning Log

HMIe visit

HMIe feedback after visit to Cathkin Community Nursery was very positive. The report will be published in the next few weeks when the gradings etc are all confirmed. In May they are holding an open doors cpd event for teachers, early years workers etc in SLC. At this event the nursery staff will be running a series of workshops on topics such as persona dolls, planning and of course the eyepet project. HMIe mentioned the fabulous work going on around the pets project and were impressed by the use of the eyepet as a stimulus/motivator which led to the focus. I’ve mentioned in previous posts how the mindmapping process and consultation with parents and children is carried out for a focus in the nursery. Some lovely learning experiences which are evidenced around the  nursery over the past few weeks linking in to pets – each group with key worker, hatching/nurturing/caring for an eyepet including the youngest children under 3! Caring for goldfish in playrooms, bringing in fish from fish counters on ice and investigating these, children’s drawings and paintings inspired by pet pictures by artists such as Monet and Andy Warhol, visits to Pet shops, visitors in to nursery linked to pets, photographs by children of their own pets and home links, use of video camera and digital camera by children in playroom, pet corner made and designed by children where they dress up as pets to be sold, use money etc etc, sensory area with linked activities, emergent writing and mark making at all areas in the nursery where the children record what they are doing, the list goes on. The key however is not really about the eyepet it is about  the opportunities provided for learning – like any fantastic practitioners they listen to the children, follow their interests and balance that with staff knowledge about outcomes and direction of learning needs, then use learning tools to make the learning experiences enjoyable, exciting and challenging. The eyepet has been a great tool which has lifted motivation, interest, enjoyment and added in fun. It has not however been used as a bit of tech for tech’s sake. Its been about learning! It  has also given a means of our being able to gather evidence of how they staff go about the planning, observation, evaluation process and this will be gathered, published and shared in various ways over the next few weeks. A truly inspiring place – and the question I would ask is – would I send my own child there? The answer is that I would fight to get them a place!

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March 27, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education | , , | 2 Comments

Games

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

 Observe:

Children and areas

Record this information

 Have a staff/team meeting:

Discuss the findings

Make decisions

Decide on a topic/focus

 Mindmap:

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

 Mindmap:

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

A new baby

My cats were most put out yesterday. As I become increasingly like the cat lady from the Simpson’s, for instance one of my cats enjoys being snuggled up in to me  a sort of  pashmina thing whilst I’m hoovering….. my cats seem to be becoming more human…This is sad but true as those who know me will testify. Yesterday they enjoyed the PS3 empty box for a wee while but they were not happy with me during the eyepet hatching. There’s been a lot of turning of their backs and evil glares since.

A new baby – Jack Sparrow Reid hatched out. I am learning how to play this you understand, so that I can do a wee spot of training in some of the area nurseries and infant classes. If it makes me squeal with delight then its pretty much a certainty that it’ll provide a great context for some of the youngsters in our area for great learning experiences. I will post up planning materials etc as we work on them. Hopefully we can video some of the experiences – I’m particularly keen to find a way of detailing how the planning and consultation with children is carried out, before during and after the focus.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | education, ICT | , , | Leave a comment

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

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.

Aims

  • 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