Interim reports

Education Learning Log

Rich task update

We held our Learning Community’s Malawi rich task meeting tonight.

The outline of the Malawi rich task has been completed. The teachers used the handy blank publisher template from Argyll and Bute to write this up. Tonight, we all looked at how to set up a wordpress blog so fingers crossed we’ll soon have some blogging networks going on amongst our pupils in the eight different primaries. At the next meeting we will all agree how we are going to do the first mindmap/brainstorm piece of work in January with all the classes and agree the pre assessment format for the children. So far we’ve got a lot done (that’s the royal we..). What I should say is that this group of teachers have got a lot done!

Everyone has gone off tonight with some shared good ideas – thinking about sharing the criteria for the task, using various ways of doing this, peer and self assessment ideas etc. We’re looking forward to seeing materials Mossneuk are bringing back the next time related to sharing writing learning intentions.

If anyone is working on this too then just get in touch – the more sharing the better, is my motto! Sharing and learning from each other is the best way to learn! We’ve got on much faster because of what Argyll and Bute have shared on their website. It’s certainly made our task much easier to plan.

Prior to this meeting I had been at the lead officer network in the afternoon where we were sharing with each other what we are all doing and discussing action research. I met a visitor from New Zealand’s Education ministry who is over doing some research here for a couple of months. It turned out she is the New Zealand visitor coming to see us in a week with our HMIe district inspector to complete our HMIe process. This is to do the moderation of the Local Authority report on our action plan.

We are also having 5 visitors from Norway’s education service a few days after that. We are inundated with visitors since we moved to our brand new building and you’d think by now that we would be accustomed to working in our new environment. But I have to say that I pinch myself everyday as I still can’t beleive we work in such a beautiful building! So I’d show it off to people every day given the chance as we’re all so proud of it!

Tomorrow we are celebrating St Andrew’s day with various activities in class. In the afternoon parents and carers are invited to “family time” where they can wander and discuss with the children the work they have been doing on Scots Language. The books we have used for these book studies are , Katy’s Coo, Katy Morag and the Birthday, Scots FairyTales, Planet Perjink, Planet Fankle, Hercules Bampots and Heroes and Kidnappit. Some of our after school Scots singing group performed with other schools at Cathkin High last week and they will be singing to our visitors.

And somewhere as if by magic, Christmas has suddenly come upon us. We’ve been getting all glittery and sparkly, singing the nativity songs, sticking things together, making crafts for our fair  – the usual things that make Christmas so Christmasy in our school. I admit though that the nativity scenery making was weighing heavily on me until I went to the local craft shop and discovered these fab 50 foot long polythene sheets with stars and nativity back drops on them! Fantastic and then as the best plan in a while we recycled last week’s Anderson shelter into a stable! A roll of brown corrugated card and recycled oil drums can go a long way in our school!

November 29, 2007 Posted by | learning, Malawi, Rich tasks, Scots | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

P7 Exhibition

The P7 teachers from our Learning Community had a day together last week to get to grips with planning the rich task they will be doing within class next term. They will be using Malawi as their background context. After a lot of thought they all agreed that writing is something they would like more time to work in depth with the children. So they have written a rich task which will allow the children to develop their writing skills. Their idea is that the children will produce written work over the period of the rich task – a booklet which incorporates a variety of writing related to myths/legends/writing in Malawi which the children have developed. They’ve produced this on the  template available from Argyll and Bute. Work has still to be done on this, they will meet again in December to look at how they will work with the children on more detailed planning and also how to set up their class blogs for the project. Then they will have weekly network support meetings during the duration of the task. It sounds very exciting.

Our P7 teacher has been working with her class on a WWII exhibition next week. They have taken over various bits of the school to display their topic work – writing, posters, art/technology etc and have invited in parents etc to see what they have been working on. They have made up great powerpoints on different aspects of the war and tell me they are going to make an air raid shelter somewhere in the cloakroom… The teacher is on her knees but she’s done some fantastic work on this!

We’ve been working on our attainment targets, and working out where we need to give additional support to our children. Last session we began trying out some prediction software and this has really allowed us to get to grips with individual attainment targets. Staff meet with me to discuss this etc. I’m hoping that what we are doing will help us challenge our children more. Where we have previously really concentrated on our headline figures eg A at P3, B at P4 etc and have been doing well there, we are now moving to challenging attainment results at higher levels to really challenge capable children who are not quite hanging on to the most able group. These are the children we need to push and give more support to now. This is encouraging and shows added value teaching. We have been lucky enough to get a Scotland Reads Volunteer and hope to use her to help us with this support for children. – Still can’t get this link to show up on sidebar though! It’s kind of annoying….

Despite my inability to use wordpress properly… RM are writing a case study about our ICT use at school. I’m so proud of the progress the staff have made in this area.

ICT in P3 more ICT p3 P3 ICT work.

November 18, 2007 Posted by | learning | , , | Leave a comment

Rich Tasks and Wee Gardens

Our learning community are about to further develop rich tasks. One group are taking forward a P3 rich task and the group I’m working with are looking at a P6/7 one. One of the teachers involved in the P6/7 task has just returned from study leave to Malawi so it made sense to develop something which could use her expertise and develop links with her link school in Malawi. We were kind of swimming in the dark a bit with where to go first with this – we’ve got the funding in place for development work and for staff from the schools involved to spend time working together, but where to start?

So it was fantastic to discover at the Scottish Learning Festival that Argyll and Bute council have developed a suite of 24 rich tasks based on the Australian model, all linked in to ACfE. What a great starting point for anyone looking to develop work in this area.

I’m hoping to have a spending spree in the Garden Centre this weekend. I loved Don Ledingham’s idea of permission to learn cards for the adults in school and  our p1 teacher and nursery teacher are going for it with a bit of risk taking. They’ve joined up for play every Monday afternoon and are using numeracy as a backdrop theme for work in developing our garden. So I’ve been sent off with a shopping list – seed potatoes, compost wormery, bulbs, herbs, fruit trees – the school fund is going to take a whack! Wiggly wigglers have great wiggly resources for school gardening.

My latest amazon parcel came the other day with a few books I’ve been meaning to read. Everything is Miscellaneous, David Weinberger, Wikinomics Don Tapscott, The Starfish and The Spider Brafman and Beckstrom. Looking forward to sitting down and reading this September weekend. And when I’m not out and about or reading I’ve been loving this for jumping about and snacking on all sorts of stuff…

We’re waiting on freeby dance mats from RM after doing them a wee favour at their presentation at the Learning Festival and I’ve been reading with interest the consolarium blog on LTScotland. I don’t know how many parents come to see me and say my son/daughter never reads at home but when you ask about console use they’re reading a lot of complex stuff and learning all the time, but do we take this into account at school? I doubt it.

September 22, 2007 Posted by | Rich tasks | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment