Interim reports

Education Learning Log

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

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

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