Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Visiting Hallside Primary

I had a great day today visiting Hallside Primary. I spent time in several classrooms and saw lots of interesting and exciting learning and teaching going on. The children are a real joy – listening really well and showing great pride in their school. The whole school has a super ethos and learning buzz about it. Lots of highlights – super language being used in p4, great fun learning fractions outside with P7, a wee bit scary in the dark learning about light and dark in p3 but they kept an eye on me to stop me being too spooked….lots of active maths, glow pages and ict in P2 and P1 left me just bursting with excitement – the teachers were doing all sorts of exciting storyline things with them to introduce mapping. A few pictures below give a little taster of some of the great stuff going on in Hallside!

Runaround fractions – problem solving right into the warp and weave of the day. Energetic p7s engaged fully in a bit of fun that was pretty hard and needed lots of thinking!

Think about it facts highlight just some of the very good work done in Hallside on global citizenship

A shared vision.


A focus on health and wellbeing. A health update newsletter.

P1 getting ready to hear about the letter left in their room by the Crumpoles…. Lovely storylines in practice.

Learning from nurseries! Using floorbooks.

You follow a map to find Crumpoletown and then you discover a bit of the Crumpoles daily newspaper….There’s been a fire and the Crumpoles have gone (but its ok they had smoke detectors no-one was injured). New plans afoot by p1 to rebuild house for the Cumpoles.

Here’s a colourful, spikey Crumpole

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March 10, 2010 Posted by | Creativity, education, learning | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Learning

Just a wee thought here, in my sad QIO way I get quite excited by standards and quality reports, improvement plans and the like because I think they are great tools for focusing attention on improvement in terms of the impact on children’s learning and meeting their needs. So again in a sad wee QIO way I stuck our recently completed area Standards and Quality report into wordle.net and nearly cheered when a big huge word came out in the middle after adding about 50 pages of text.

The word was LEARNING….

September 4, 2009 Posted by | education | , , | 2 Comments

Lighting Up Learning

Jaye Richards from Cathkin High has now published her research project which looks at Glow and learning and teaching. It can be found here

http://www.gtcs.org.uk/Research_/TeacherResearcherProgramme/TeacherResearcherReports/will_the_lights_stay_on.asp

Here is the GTC summary ”

Summary

Despite huge investment in school ICT over recent years, there have been relatively few, if any, reports of the substantial transformation of teaching and learning expected by governments as a result of this funding. GLOW, the Scottish School’s Digital Network is the latest of these costly initiatives.

This research study tracked four S3 classes working through the same modules as part of the standard grade Biology course. Results were tested using summative instruments of assessment comprising topic-specific questions from past standard grade Biology papers, and an end of year exam. One class, after two modules taught without it, studied one module using ICT timetabled for one of three lessons each week over one school term, with a mixture of independent and collaborative learning tasks reinforcing the learning objectives for that week, delivered using the GLOW virtual learning environment.

Results for this class with the same pupils and the same teacher showed a mean increase of 32.27% for the GLOW vs. non-GLOW modules. The attainment of this class on the non-GLOW modules was consistent and significantly below the best of the four classes. However, on the GLOW module, it was better by 14.69% than the mean of the other three classes. Further examination of the results showed that the weaker students benefited at least as much as their more able classmates.

The report discusses the challenges of embedding ICT into subject curricula and makes suggestions for a model of good practice. This use of ICT could facilitate a partial move away from a predominantly subject based focus in teaching to the more applied approach as advocated by a Curriculum for Excellence.”

Have a look at John Connells blog to read his comments on Jaye’s report http://www.johnconnell.co.uk/blog/?p=932. He says it much better than I could!

Caroline Gibson who has taken up a secondment as a Glow mentor in SLC has just returned from a LECT visit in Malawi. Her blog is worth looking at to find out how this went

http://carolinegibson.wordpress.com/

August 17, 2008 Posted by | glow, learning | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enterprising Calderwood Primary

Calderwood Primary are always very keen to take forward enterprise activities and do so very well. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to their art exhibition today. Opened by a local artist, there were framed artworks on display from all stages. It was all very impressive and there was a great turnout of parents snapping up the art work.

I had another coaching session the other day and again I am finding the experience of being coached and also that of coaching very worthwhile. One of the things which is interesting me is the depth of trust that I feel towards my coach and how quickly that has been built. It is a different kind of relationship with a colleague than those I have had before and a very powerful one. If this approach was embedded in all our practice we would be moving very much towards the kind of collegiate/sharing and empowering model which could affect real change and improvement in our schools.

This along with the space I now have for reflection at work is a learning experience which I’m finding very useful. Its also making me realise just how much time I have always spent crisis managing and whirring to keep up. There’s an enormous need for us all to stop and really think about the why of what we do in our daily lives in education at every level. This is becoming more and more apparent as I visit establishments and see the amount of activity and work that is going on everywhere. It’s how we harness all of that energy to make an impact that’s the killer question. How much of what we are doing every day is just for the completion of tasks so we can move onto the next one? How much of it is making a positive difference to the lives of the children in our care?

 

May 28, 2008 Posted by | learning, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

This and That

I had an interesting outing with a Polish neighbour, to New Lanark at the weekend. We met out the back garden one day recently. I don’t speak Polish or Italian, she doesn’t speak French or much English yet as she’s just learning. So we did one of those pigeon Euro talk things for the day – there seemed to be smatterings of nearly everything with a bit of Latin thrown in for good measure, a notepad and drawings were involved and a Polish/English dictionary. What always amazes me in these situations is how much we can still learn about one another despite language barriers.

At work I’m starting to really enjoy my job and feel I am understanding my role better. This has been quite a difficult adjustment in some ways for me, as not only is it a completely new job but its also very different from being in one school. There’s also the question of autonomy. As HT I had a degree of autonomy within the school setting and freedom to be creative within boundaries. This role also has a degree of autonomy (I can create my own diary for instance) but strangely also less in some ways too – as the tasks I am carrying out are ringfenced and more specific perhaps than the ones I was carrying out as HT. For instance to write a pre-inspection report is something where there’s a set way of writing it, a format already set up – the autonomy comes in how I speak to people in the school, how I look for evidence etc. There is a specific deadline. As an HT something like raising attainment in reading might include a step like implementing a new reading scheme with specific teaching strategies – that can be a very creative task with lots of ways of approaching it and different answers which come out of it. It can also be a very lengthy task with changes occuring over many years and re-adjustments. So there have been lots of adjustments needed in my pace, approach and thinking about how I do things and why.

As part of this role I’m discovering the importance of getting better at asking the right questions at the right time of people, to support and challenge. I was asking the question today of some staff of just how they would measure the impact of a health week of events in a primary school. The attitude to health by the children seems perhaps easiest to look at first with possibly some form of personal learning log of the week with personal targets and comments/evaluations etc. It seemed more difficult to measure  the fitness side – you have to pin down an outcome very carefully as to what you hope the children can show as an improvement after a week. Is it possible to show an outcome after a week? Would it be better to revisit their fitness levels after a longer period of time to see if the week continued to have an impact? What measurements of fitness would it be sensible to use? And so it went on.

So I’m feeling I’m doing a lot of soul searching and personal development of my management and leadership skills.

 

May 6, 2008 Posted by | leadership, learning | , , | Leave a comment

More on the coaching

Further to today’s coaching session. I am genuinely amazed at how helpful and empowering I am finding this process. From the point of view of me coaching someone else I find it a time when I can really listen and take time to hear what is being said – the amount I personally learn when listening to someone else in a similar kind of role is fascinating, as is really having the time to watch someone’s thought processes as they reflect. It’s very much a two way learning process, although I’m the listener. Maybe it’s just the seeing how someone moves through the thinking process in a more heightened way.

When I am being coached I find myself thinking hard and being amazed at what’s in my own head when I concentrate and can’t believe what some carefully worded questions pull out of me. I wish I’d come to this field of learning earlier.

Today I came away again with a clear idea in my head of my current progress and where I intend to focus next in my role. I’m finding the clarity it gives me extremely useful. I also feel very energised after a session as the fogginess of my thinking processes becomes clearer through discussion

This is a transformational development for me which is hitting me unexpectedly. Someone at the intitial training said they were finding it life changing. I think that now I’m actually moving through the coaching process itself I would have to agree. I’m also finding it remarkable how quickly it is affecting my thinking.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | Coaching | , | Leave a comment

Cleaning!

I’ve been doing lots of clearing out recently. Clearing out old files, setting up new ones etc. It seems to have been endless over the last couple of years. Moving to a new school building last session was another big clear out event.Today I was giving a hand in a nursery and we were binning  out of date things in the office.

I couldn’t begin to count the amount of bin bags, skips and bins I’ve filled with colleagues over my career. What worries me is that as you go through boxes and files the enormous amount of work done over the years becomes clear – it might be the folders and folders of programmes of study produced and which are now out of date, the materials for outdated ICT software, the endless publications on various curricular areas with advice, the development plans, schemes, parent prompts etc etc etc. The question which keeps coming back to me is how much impact has this volume of work had on children’s learning and on how we teach? How much has been achieved by completing all these tasks? Were these things about improvement or just development for no reasoned purpose? Where is the measurement of what was accomplished? If this pile of stuff had made an impact would it not still be in use in some small part? How did we get to the point where improvement has been pushed into a corner where it fights against this huge institution of development which seems at times to have little real purpose.

John Connell was blogging about the crossroads we are at and I agree wholeheartedly with him. We are at a crossroads right now, where if we don’t make a huge paradigm shift, our educational establishments will become increasingly outdated and irrelevant.

But looking at the volume of advice and materials produced over just four or five years in this one office, from within and outwith the establishment, just put this into even more stark perspective for me – has this stuff made enough of a difference? Was this industrious way of working and producing stuff the right thing to do? Where is the impact evident of all this work on the children? How has it skilled us up to be better at learning and teaching? This approach to improving can’t go on in this way, but are we in any way learning from this?

John’s right I think that we, as teachers and as leaders at all levels, feed off each other in our conservatism of approach. And I think we all have to take some responsibility for where we have taken ourselves in terms of improving education, we all made these reams of paper, programmes, documents….I certainly did and still keep trying to do it!! Somehow doing this allowed us to continue our conservative approach to change and legitimises our complaints about the way education is, because it stops improvement dead in its tracks. It comes back to my moans about unpacking CfE – is this burgeoning industry getting in the way of trying to do CfE?

Until we all make the shift from this production and completion of development tasks to talking and learning from and with each other, about learning and teaching and the experiences of children, we’re snookered. That’s the huge shift needed first and that’s where those people using web 2.0 collaborative tools of all sorts are starting to make a real shift in their whole way of being a person never mind a teacher, because what they are doing is building valid communities of learning .

April 16, 2008 Posted by | learning | | 1 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