Titanic Project

This is OLHS’ successful submission for North Lanarkshire’s Excellence and Equity Awards 2017: Productive Partnerships – Purposeful Learning.

As a result of changes to SQA exams, staff at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, spotted an opportunity to provide an exciting programme of interdisciplinary experiences for some of our National 4 students. Our aim was to help pupils gain additional qualifications while expanding their life experiences and raising awareness of the options available to them on leaving school, all through focusing on the Titanic disaster.

We are now approaching the third year of this vibrant project which runs over three weeks of the SQA diet. The programme coordinators are PT Pupil Support, Lyn Zambonini, and Library Resource Centre Manager, Jennifer Macfadyen, but the project involves staff from across Our Lady’s High School, local businesses, voluntary groups and national organisations.

Following an initial introduction, the programme is split into four broad areas: ship building and design; life aboard the Titanic; the disaster itself; and the rediscovery of the wreck.

We were stunned to discover that the steel plates that built Titanic had actually come from the Colville Steelworks in Motherwell, making a wonderful connection with our local heritage. Pupils were lucky to experience Tata, now Liberty Steel, in the process of rolling the steel plates with a guided tour by staff at the plant, who also provided pupils with many stories of life at the steelworks and a thorough grounding in Health and Safety routines.

Although the Titanic was built in Belfast, we were able to take advantage of the Clyde’s vast experience in ship-building, visiting the Titan Crane at Clydebank, and the Denny Tank Museum at Dumbarton. Titan staff explained how riveting gangs worked, how the shipyards were a part of the community and how dangerous life was while the Denny Flotation Tank demonstrated the engineering expertise involved in designing and testing ships’ hulls. The group also discovered that Denny’s was even involved in testing some of Titanic’s lifeboats. This information became invaluable when learning about buoyancy with Science teachers back at OLHS, and designing their own hulls.

Pupils also learned more about some of the passengers and crew aboard and the different lives they led on a luxury liner depending on their class. English showed the films, A Night to Remember and Titanic, and compared the special effects and factual reliability of each. Our group were able to put their new-found knowledge into practice by working with Lifestyle Development staff to create a shipboard lunch for staff – although staff did not know until the last minute whether they would receive the 1st, 2nd or 3rd class treatment and dining experience.

To bring everything up to date we contacted Greenock Ocean Terminal who kindly arranged for us to have a tour of the Caribbean Princess. We used this experience as a focus on careers, bringing along our Careers Advisor, Miss Ruth Robertson from SDS to provide detailed advice. Seeing aboard a real cruise ship gave pupils a whole new way of looking at the world, and the numerous careers open to them. They were also keen to compare the Caribbean Princess to what they had already learned about ship design. They were definitely impressed by the safety regulations and the numbers of lifeboats.

Turning our attention to the disaster itself, Mr Walter Lee from the RNLI kindly came along to demonstrate what happened with the iceberg and graphically explain what would have happened to the Titanic’s passengers in the water, including the effects of hypothermia – he even brought along his own mini iceberg!

Other activities have included creating a map of the world demonstrating the Titanic’s route (Social Subjects); printing and poster making (Art and Design); trying out Morse code (Science); an afternoon swimming courtesy of NL Leisure (Lifestyle Development); building their own model Titanic (Social Subjects / Art); discussion of moral issues relating to women and children first and the treatment of 3rd class passengers (RE); further moral issues relating to the wreck arose following a screening of Ghosts of the Abyss: should the Titanic be raised? Should material be removed? Should the ship be left to rust to nothing? (English); and multi-lingual newspaper front pages (Modern Languages).

With so many stories being generated from the project, we wanted pupils to be able to record the aspects that were most important to them, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator, so we introduced the group to storyteller, Allison Galbraith, thanks to part-funding from the Scottish Book Trust. Allison demonstrated the art of storytelling, and guided the group through creating and recording their own stories, helping them to record their own voices for posterity. Allison started by introducing herself and just talking with the group, building pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to participate. Allison also demonstrated breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups before recording began, with further advice on presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite occasionally breaking into the giggles, every pupil managed to record their own work beautifully.

Discussion with pupils led to an additional trip which saw us taking the ferry to Rothesay and the stunning Mount Stuart House. This mansion was completed in 1912, the same year as the Titanic disaster and thus pupils were not only able to experience actually travelling across water – a new experience for all of them – but to see luxurious interiors similar to those of the ship they’d been learning all about.

The Titanic Project continues to develop with partnerships emerging as various individuals and groups express an interest in participating. In 2016, our pupils were even able to join with St Brendan’s Primary as part of their anniversary visit to Belfast to see the Titanic Museum for themselves.

The Titanic Project has been a huge success over the last two years. We have seen the pupils blossom, gaining in confidence, pulling together as a team, and their ideas of what’s available to them in the future have expanded rapidly. Each year pupils have created an exhibition of their experiences which have been visited by classes from across OLHS and visitors to the school, leading to further discussions and expressions of interest. Last year all of the pupils involved achieved the SQA qualifications. “Local investigations” at SCQF level 4.

Feedback from pupils themselves has been outstanding:

”I thought it would be boring, but it was brilliant!”;

“I liked how we went on adventures and explored all the museums”;

“I seemed to get a better relationship with people that I hadn’t spoken to since primary”;

”I actually wanted to come to school!”

The Project continues to explore new ground and build new partnerships. Staff coordinators continue to collect materials, ideas and contacts and we look forward to its continuing success long into the future.

Categories: Books, Communication, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Developing the Young Workforce, Expressive Arts, Health and Well-Being, Interdisciplinary Learning, Investigations, Languages, Learning and Teaching, Literacy, Maps, Mathematics, Numeracy, Outdoor education, Posters, RE / Religious and Moral Education, Resources, Sciences, Social Studies, Storytelling | Tags: | Leave a comment

Cathy Cassidy and Cathy MacPhail

Cathy Cassidy has written a piece for SLA on the importance of school libraries. You can read the whole thing here:

http://www.sla.org.uk/blg-in-support-of-school-libraries.php

Meanwhile, there’s an article from Cathy MacPhail in Books from Scotland: ‘Every child deserves to see themselves, the people they are, reflected in a story

http://booksfromscotland.com/2017/01/working-class-heroes/#sthash.mnVewZXD.dpuf

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Open letter from Children’s Laureates

Current Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, along with the previous Laureates, has written an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education regarding school libraries in England and Wales.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/14/children-laureates-demand-uk-government-school-library-closures

 

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LRC Business Meeting 7th September 2016

We met at St Aidan’s High School for our first Business Meeting this year with a busy wee agenda catching up with the latest news and reviewing recent activities and events.  We were all agreed on the benefits of remaining current with the First Minister’s Reading Challenge for primary children, with several colleagues already signed up as interested parties. None of us were aware yet of any associated primaries who were involved.

We were all very impressed with the outline for Coatbridge High’s forthcoming Literacy Festival in October (which we’ll hopefully hear more about later) and discussed June’s Reading Boot Camp, SALS, Encounters, future CPD, recommended suppliers and our latest Library stories.

Future events included the Kids Lit Quiz 2016 (27th October) with Elizabeth Wein and Alex McCall as confirmed authors so far. New members are welcome to join the Calendar Group to help us plan out activities across the year.

And of course we all enjoyed exploring Marie’s beautiful Library.

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Australia: School Libraries: the heart of 21st century learning

Advocacy document for Australian teacher-librarians, the majority of which also applies to school librarians in Scotland.

School libraries: the heart of 21st century learning

Teacher librarians combine a command of 21st century pedagogies and curricula with expertise in information science: the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination, and protection of information.

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NLS comes to Glasgow

In autumn 2016 the National Library of Scotland will open its doors for the first time in Glasgow within a transformed Kelvin Hall.

http://www.nls.uk/using-the-library/kelvin-hall

More information here from NLS.

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Barry Hutchison

A pupil from Oban High School wrote to Barry Hutchison about her school library.

This is the letter and Barry’s reply.

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The 2016 Carnegie Shadowing Experience

There is never enough time to do everything you plan to do. I knew that I would struggle to persuade students to join the new Shadowing Group, everyone is so busy and pressure is on the students to finish assignments, portfolios, exams etc. I received the Carnegie publicity material, bought a set of the shortlisted books and proceeded to put up my Carnegie display in the centre of the library.

The Head of English told me that she had three girls interested in joining the Group, oh well I thought to myself we’ll just go with three, after all they say that it is the quality not the quantity that is important. As the day progressed I noticed a girl hovering around the display, I asked her if she would give some thought to joining our Group. Then at lunchtime a couple of boys came in, again drawn to the display, so I asked them and they said that they would come to the meeting to find out what it was all about. They spoke to two other friends and before I realised what had happened I had eight students in my little Group, four boys and four girls, perfect!

They worked so hard and really contributed to the meetings, the teachers supported us by allowing the students to attend the meetings. Two of the Group entered the ‘Journey’ writing competition, sadly they never won,books were read and the Shadowing Magazine was completed. I am so proud of their commitment to the Shadowing process and the Shadowing Magazinemagazine_preview 2 turned out so well!

Cathy MacIntyre

Learning Resource Centre Manager

Taylor High School

Categories: Book Awards, Magazines, Reading, School Librarians, Stuff and things | Leave a comment

Woodland Trust

Covenanter's Oak in Dalzell Estate - the oldest living thing in North Lanarkshire? Photo by byronv2 [Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0]

Covenanter’s Oak in Dalzell Estate – the oldest living thing in North Lanarkshire? Photo by byronv2 [Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0]

The Woodland Trust has a series of Education Resources, each one relevant to a particular woodland, but all full of ideas for learning outdoors applicable to any location. A bit annoying not to have all of the ideas together in one place, but undeniably useful to have information relevant to each place.

They also  run the Tree of the Year Competition, give away young packs of trees for planting, and do lots of good work to support and promote woods across the UK.  As you’d expect, they also provide detailed guides to trees – split into native and introduced (turns out Horse Chestnut trees are native to the Balkans!) – all sorts of woodland habitats and manage the Ancient Tree Inventory.

Over 50 woodlands are listed for North Lanarkshire, belonging to a variety of public and private owners, with directions for each and photos for most.

Worth considering as an addition to your catalogue.

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How do School Librarians promote employability?

Please share onwards.

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Taylor High pupils welcome Keith Gray on a balmy afternoon in April

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A select number of S3 students welcomed Keith Gray on a balmy Thursday afternoon to the library at Taylor High School. This visit had been anticipated for several months and when the day arrived the students didn’t actually know what to expect.

We had estimated approximately 20 students attending the session but 25 turned up on the day. This was a “Creative Writing Workshop” usually lasting 90 minutes but due to timing factors Keith had to condense it into a 60 minute slot. As you can see everything was going according to plan (or not!).

Keith had asked for a flip chart, paper and pens for the students. Each student had to write 3 things about themselves and then pass their paper on to the person beside them. This was carried out very sheepishly, then Keith encouraged them to build their story by asking them numerous questions and getting them to write down various words.

As the session progressed all the students became involved with what was happening and with what they were being asked to do. The time passed so quickly, eventually Keith asked some students to read parts of their story out loud and I was surprised at how willing the group were to do this. They were enthralled with the session to such an extent that some stayed behind to interview Keith for a school project.

Categories: Author visits, Authors, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Events, Literacy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How do School Librarians close the attainment gap in their schools?

Please share onwards.

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Manifesto for Libraries

cilips_democraticknowledgeCILIPS have produced a Manifesto for Libraries, highlighting “the incredible return on investment and impact on key policy areas that libraries offer”, covering public libraries, school libraries, digital skills and a national reading strategy.

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Libraries are important

Guest Blog by Larry Flanagan, General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) as part of the ‘Scotland’s Libraries: Inspiration for the Nation’ Campaign.

 

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World Book Day at St Aidan’s

Report from Marie McGough

The children’s author, Gillian Philip, visited St Aidan’s High recently as part of the school’s World Book Day celebrations. Gillian Philip’s book, Mysteries of Ravenstorm Island: The Lost Children, was one of the shortlisted titles at the recent Scottish Children’s Book Awards. An eager audience of 60 S1 pupils gathered, in the school library, to listen to Gillian talk of her enthusiasm for books, stories and writing. The main body of the presentation focused on myths, legends, and fairytales, and how we use them to tell modern stories from Dr Who to The Hunger Games. The presentation sparked a lively question and answer session much to Gillian’s delight.

Gillian Philip 022_40

A number of the author’s books were available to purchase and Gillian signed these while chatting with pupils. The S1 pupils thoroughly enjoyed Gillian Philip’s visit and a good time was had by all!

This author visit was partly funded by The Scottish Book Trust and organized by the school librarian, Miss McGough.

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Infotopia

Sharing from sln.

The March Infotopia newsletter is available online at

http://www.infotopia.info/newsletter.html

(also available as a PDF).

Infotopia is a monthly newsletter by retired teacher / librarian team of Carole and Michael Bell and worth a look.

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Autumn and winter at the S1/S2 Book Club.

Autumn and winter at the S1/S2 Book Club.

The S1/S2 Book Club has been running for a few months now but in order to keep pupils returning you need to keep the momentum, no easy feat! I thought I would tell others about my experience so far.

Poetry, Halloween and Non-fiction books

Week 8 was all about poetry and Halloween. This year the group focused on a poem, I came across for National Poetry Day called ‘Grampa’s Soup’ by Jackie Kay.  The theme was perfect for a lunchtime group – soup!  The poem was read aloud by various members of the group and pupils had to use a computer to find out what type of soup ‘Grampa’ had made using the list of ingredients given in the poem.  The group quickly found it was about Scotch broth, giving our pupils the chance to read something modern and Scottish.  Hopefully, they learned some new Scots words and learned about the ingredients in this traditional Scottish soup.  The poem was short and gave the group time to plan their Halloween costumes using a various non-fiction books (many belonged to our local public library).

Great fun was had by all and there was a wonderful atmosphere in the library as the group busied and immersed themselves in everything Halloween.

The Scottish Book Trust Awards

The last few weeks the members of this groups have been looking at the books shortlisted for the Scottish Book Trust Awards.  During week 11 we examined the Bookstart category.  Pupils got a chance to discuss their favourite storyline, illustrations and front covers, as a group and chose their favourite books in this category and reading these aloud.

Books included;

Wanted! Ralphy Rabbit, the Book Burglar’ by Emily MacKenzie

Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School’ by Simon Puttock

Never Tickle a Tiger’ by Pamela Butchart

The following week pupils got a chance to explore the books chosen in the 8 – 12 category. We particularly focused on ‘Ravenstorm Island’ by Gillian Philip.  This was the book that the majority of the group wanted to read and each group member read a page aloud.

Shadowing the Scottish Book Trust Awards was something I had ever tried with any of my lunchtime groups.

From this experience I find that shadowing all the books from the awards difficult with a lunchtime group, keeping their interest and ensuring that pupils return every week can be difficult with a lunchtime club. I think in future, I will still focus on the picture book category rather than the whole of the award. All that is left to do now is vote!

Plays

The last few weeks have been all about exploring a new type of genre, new to many and one I had forgotten about. We read and rehearsed the first scene from the play ‘Divided City’ by Theresa Breslin.

A wonderful colleague in the English Department kindly gave up some of her lunchtimes to help guide both myself and the group through this.

Firstly, she got the group to play ‘Murder’, as an opening game to get everyone talking and allowed our pupils to become very animated. This game involves someone being the murderer, the detective and the rest of the group being potential victims.  It all sounds very grim but the activity had quite the opposite effect.  Group members were all buzzing and enthused about this activity.

Once the group had warmed up their acting voices, we focused on recreating the opening scenes from ‘Divided City’.

The week before Christmas was all about recording! This added an extra dimension to ‘Divided City’.   Two of our S5 pupils helped record and direct this production. Great fun and hilarity was had by all, even people outside the group wanted to take part. This really gave the group the acting bug and kept everyone coming back.  What a difference having your colleague and some of our senior pupils involved.

Watch out for more information on our Book Club activities in the New Year.

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Maths Puzzle for Scottish Book Week

 

This year for Scottish Book 2015 Week the library at Taylor High celebrated the week by running a maths puzzle with some of our S1 pupils.  The puzzle was inspired by ‘The Young James Bond Series’, particularly ‘Shoot to Kill’ by Steve Cole and the idea was taken from ‘Brain-Busting Puzzles Series’ by Sarah Khan.

Pupils were put into groups of five and we discussed as a group why James Bond had inspired something Scottish. This got us all talking about the film franchise and why this series might have been chosen.  Only one pupil was able answer what the connection was.  Of course, it was the fact that his father was Scottish and therefore that was our Scottish connection.

An S6 pupil kindly volunteered to read a chapter from the book, giving some of our S1 a chance to explore a book that they might not ordinarily read. It was great to have one of their peers reading aloud and helped set the scene.

The S6 pupils stated “I enjoyed the activity and it was great to read to younger pupils and share a book that they may not have thought about reading before. However, you need to be brave, it can be quite daunting reading aloud to a class.”

Pupils were asked to pretend they were a Secret Agent trying to find a pattern of numbers and letters that would tell them what city in the world their mission would be in. Pupils were asked to find a pattern of six numbers that appeared three times.  For some pupils, looking for six numbers proved rather challenging and so, pupils were asked to find just two of the numbers.  It was amazing, as soon as, pupils had to look for only two numbers the quicker they found the code for six.

Once pupils found the pattern of numbers, they then had to find the letters that were attached to the numbers to discover the city. The letters were all jumbled but pupils were given a sheet that had a mix of possible cities across the world and soon discovered the answer was Berlin.

The next part of the task involved using their geographic skills, as pupils were that asked to name the country that the city was in and about their flags. (For me, the real challenging area of the activity was naming the flag colours!)

To round the activity off, each table was asked to name their group, which included ‘The Book Lovers’ and ‘The Big Ones’.

This really was a great cross-curricular activity, as it involved numeracy, reading, language and geography skills. It gave pupils an opportunity to explore literature and the world of maths further.   It also promotes the values of Curriculum for Excellence, particularly confident individuals and successful learners.

Well done to all the S1s who took part and my maths colleagues who took the time to be involved. It really was great fun and pupils work is now being displayed.

Categories: Curriculum for Excellence, Events, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy, Mathematics, Numeracy, Reading, Stuff and things | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Safer Internet Day 2016

A collection of tweets and links for Safer Internet Day 2016.

As School Librarians, we spend a large proportion of our working lives showing young people how to discover, access and safely make use of information in all formats, so online safety is an integral part of our role. NLC schools might be on holiday, but ideally, our advice and influence continues to keep pupils safe online whether they’re in school or at home.

SQA supports Safer Internet Day 2016 – Courses available for young people in schools

UK Safer Internet Centre coordinate Safer Internet Day in the UK

UK Safer Internet Center – Education Packs contain plenty material including a collection of useful videos, including those below (which are ironically restricted via YouTube but available through Vimeo).

Play your part

Tamanna’s Story

Jessica’s Wish

Online quiz from the Open University: Are you a safe sharer?
Not sure I agree with all of their analyses. Watch before sharing onwards as this is aimed at adults.

Advice on passwords from Get Safe Online

Categories: Developing the Young Workforce, Health and Well-Being, Information Literacy, Learning and Teaching, Resources, Social Media, Technology, Twitter | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

What do Public Librarians and Library staff do?

An excellent list from 2011 of some of the tasks Librarians and Library staff get involved with.

https://laurensmith.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/what-do-public-librarians-and-library-staff-do/

Good starting point for us too.

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