Creativity

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.

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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

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

The Best Worst Christmas Jokes Ever

2015_1221_bestworstjokesOLHS pupils were invited to enter a competition to tell their best worst Christmas jokes, the ones that make you groan when you read them out of crackers. Extra credit was given for decorating their jokes.

Having asked four pupils to help colour in the banner – the letters were lightly pencilled in already – I was gobsmacked when they created a glorious Chrismassy artwork. So good in fact, that we’ll have to do the competition again next year so it can go back on display!

Anyone walking into the Library was asked for their opinion, so eventually there had to be two winning jokes.

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What is green, covered in tinsel and goes “ribbet ribbet?

A Mistle Toad? 

 

 

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How does a penguin build its house?

Igloos it together!

 

 

Here are the other entries. This was an extremely popular competition with new entries arriving every day and even some classes participating!

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Taylor High School’s Adventure into the World of Knitting

Written by Cathy MacIntyre

I am job-share librarian at Taylor High School, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire. We like to encourage our S1 and S2 students to come along to lunchtime clubs and we wanted something that could rival other clubs operating throughout the school. Various ideas were put forward, it would need to be something that would keep their attention and was fun.

One of my colleagues is a knitting expert and agreed to help me on my mission.

Before we invested in our knitting needles we had to make sure that our members were serious. At our first meeting 10 came along, 4 boys and 6 girls. Nobody knew how to knit, initially our aim was to knit small squares and to sew them into a blanket. We would raffle or auction it and donate the money to charity. Long term plan I hasten to add.

The club started in September 2015 and it caused quite a commotion once word spread throughout the school. Two more students wanted to join so more needles had to be bought. We decided to make 12 our maximum number.

Mrs Dickson (one of our classroom assistants), our knitting expert, came up with an idea to keep the group interested, before we began to make our blanket, let’s show the students how to knit covers for their mobile phones. She brought in some samples and the group thought that it was a great idea.

We started by showing the group how to cast on 30 stitches and start to knit plain garter stitch. Thursday lunchtime, 12.25-1.10pm and we had a thriving club with 12 enthusiastic members. By the time they had their lunch the actual time spent on knitting was 25 minutes.

Some of the students thought that their knitting would grow quickly but unfortunately many stitches were dropped and had to be found but then we decided just to leave the mistakes because as they improved they could look back and laugh.

We lost a few members along the way but as one left new members joined.

Our little club have now mastered the garter stitch in such a small period of time. Some of the group are now knitting at home, one of our boys was going to Paris Disneyland with his family and he was worried that his aunt would be cold so he knitted her a chunky scarf. It was incredible!

Any new members joining the club are made very welcome and are given encouragement and support by the founder members. Thus making knitting fun and enjoyable within this age-group.

It is now December and Taylor High school is busy preparing for the Christmas Show and for the Carol Service so a few of our members have got to go for rehearsals at lunchtime. Purl stitch has now been introduced and we have decided to extend the club to Friday lunchtime because the members have been so keen to master the art of knitting. Hopefully our little group will grow from strength to strength in the New Year.

 

 

 

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Clubs / Groups, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Health and Well-Being, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Happy Halloween

Just wanted to share a picture of my Halloween display. I have already had to replace some of the books so it must be working.

Halloween

Anyone else any pictures they want to share?

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Libraries in the Internet Age

https://www.commoncraft.com/free-video-libraries-internet-age

Useful video from Common Craft outlining the continuing value of Libraries in the Information or ‘Internet’ Age.

Common Craft have plenty of other videos explaining social media, internet safety, technology and using information.

I recommend the videos about wikipedia and zombies.

If you want to make your own videos using the Common Craft cut-outs, you can also join for a fee.

 

Categories: Advocacy, Communication, Creativity, Information Literacy, Resources, Social Media, Technology, Video clips, Websites | Tags: | Leave a comment

National Libraries Day 2015

Pupils and staff at Taylor High School, New Stevenston have been busy getting ready for National Libraries Day 2015 over the last couple of weeks. Our fabulous Art department and some of our S1/S2 pupils were asked to create and design murals for the library.

The idea originally came from one of the Scottish Book Trust’s projects for ‘Book Week Scotland 2014’. I then began thinking about how my school could incorporate this for National Libraries Day.

Firstly, I had a brief discussion with my colleagues in Art and gave each one a copy of the National Libraries Day logo for inspiration. I followed this up with an e-mail suggesting possible ideas. However, it was really my colleagues who had the most challenging task.

Mrs Devlin’s S2 class became involved and she stated;

“Like previous library activities my classes have taken part in, I was keen and so were my S2 class to illustrate all the fantastic and wonderful things that happen in our school library.”

I gave each teacher and their classes the freedom to choose how to create their mural but asked them to follow three simple rules. These included;

(1)It must promote the work of the library.
(2) The mural can be completed as a class assignment or during lunchtimes.
(3) It should be either A3 or A4 in size.

S1 and S2 classes took part in this activity during their Art periods and the final results were nothing short of amazing. Each mural’s interpretation of life at Taylor High School library differed.

One of our S2 pupils commented;

“The activity was fun and different, a twist on what we normally do in Art. I am proud that our class’s mural is on the wall outside the library.”

Each mural depicted different aspects of life in the library. One was a collage and the other was inspired by the comic book format and both offered a valuable insight into life in the school library and the role it plays in our school community.

Mrs Ferguson’s S1 Art class also took part. She commented;

“My class were really enthusiastic about this project and came up with some amazing ideas. Once the class began to discuss possible ideas for the mural, there was no stopping them. As a class, they decided to design a mural like a comic book but using fictional characters from Beatrix Potter stories and Roald Dahl books to tell our community about life at Taylor High school library. ”

These artistic creations would not have been a success without the support and enthusiasm of my colleagues. It was a huge compliment to the library, as the murals proved our pupils hold our school library in high regard.

Thanks to all the staff and pupils who took part in this wonderful project.

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Libraries | Leave a comment

John Muir and the S1/S2 Book Club

Over the last few weeks the S1/S2 Book Club have been reading all about John Muir. Pupils have been discovering all about the life and times of this environmentalist and creating a wonderful display for the library.

The Book Club have been using the book ‘John Muir: Earth – Planet Universe’ by Julie Bertagna and in particular the teaching resources created for this book. As a group, we examined John Muir’s timeline and his legacy. This raised many questions such as, defining who he was, discovering all about all the places he visited and finding all about the areas of land his trust now own.

The following week, the group took the ‘John Muir Quiz’ to find out if we were like the man himself. Good fun was had by all.

During the final two lunchtimes, one very artistic S2 pupil designed a tree trunk, while other members of the group were on the computers researching. The information they discovered was then placed on the template of a leaf and placed on the tree trunk design.

Thanks to the S1/S2Book Club for making this such a fun and successful activity.

Categories: Books, Clubs / Groups, Creativity, Health and Well-Being, Literacy, Reading | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Welcoming S1 pupils to the world of the library.

Every year when the new term begins the school is full of chatter from our S1s. Cathy (the other half of my role) and I try to design and organise as many fun but educational activities as possible.

This year we intend to celebrate as many national events as possible. These include celebrating Roald Dahl Day from the 8th September to the 12th September (a day was not enough for our plans), Halloween (my favourite), Scottish Book Week, Christmas, the Chinese New Year, National Libraries Day, World Book Day and anything else we can come up with.

Some of the events we organise are for the library only, while others get various departments across the school involved. Even our craft competitions get the staff involved. Recently, we ran our first craft competition. Pupils were asked to design and decorate their very own craft t-shirt to celebrate the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Many of our pupils were able to share stories about their experience of the games, be that from watching the television, going to the various sporting events, visiting Glasgow Green and even going to the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony. It was wonderful to get to know some of our new S1 pupils and there were also a number of familiar faces to welcome back.

Our winners of the craft competition came from both S1 and S2. A member of our PE department chose the most creative.

Well done to all involved. We are really looking forward to meeting some new faces.

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Health and Well-Being | Tags: , | Leave a comment

World Cup fever comes to Taylor High School library

I arrived at Taylor High School at an awkward time, the exams were in full swing, the library was being used for the exams and the weather was beautiful so the students, understandably, wanted to be outside rather than visit the library.

Who was this new person working Thursday and Friday instead of Mrs Leslie.
So I thought to myself how can I make an impact before the Summer Holidays?

Once every four years the whole nation becomes involved in the excitement and anticipation of the World Cup. It doesn’t matter whether Scotland is involved as most of us enjoy the opportunity to see the best teams in the world play teams from lesser known countries. Waiting in anticipation to see who will win the coveted cup.

This also gives the library the opportunity to show the staff and pupils of the school that we are followers of ‘the beautiful game’ too!

The FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 Fixture Poster was the focal point of our World Cup display in the library supported by football books and general books about Brazil. A big thanks to those of you who entered into the spirit and filled in the daily scores on our behalf. Well done!
In order to add a little of our own competitiveness we decided to hold a few World Cup related competitions.

Football colouring-in-sheets, World Cup 2014 Qualifiers word search and World Cup Trivia Challenge.
Well done to everyone for supporting our World Cup extravaganza! I was very pleased with the success of our project and hope to have many more throughout the new academic year!

by C. McIntyre

Categories: Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, School Librarians | Leave a comment

This Land is Mine

Might be useful for debate, RE, Social Subjects.

Shared with permission.

NB Vimeo is not blocked in NLC schools.

Categories: Creativity, Health and Well-Being, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy, RE / Religious and Moral Education, Resources, Social Studies, Storytelling, Video clips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Home’ Project, the Library and English

Back in March, I e-mailed our newest English teacher to see if they would be interested in taking part in a library writing activity. They were extremely positive and suggested their S2 class take part in such a project. Great! An opportunity to work with our S2s.

Pupils were asked to write a letter discussing the places, people, pets, buildings, community or fun activities important to them, reminding them of ‘Home’. The class were also asked to write approximately 500 words. One pupil stated he wanted to keep writing, while others saw this as a challenge. However, our pupils have never been afraid of expressing themselves. Pupils choose to share various memories from their Gran’s house, to their own home or their favourite summer holiday. The class were also given the chance to elect a member of staff to write to.

Miss Murphy stated,
‘I was really pleased by the response of my S2 class, as they were all genuinely pleased to be selected for this trial project with the library. It was wonderful to see all the personalities in class come forward.
My class all worked well together, were very hard working and showed a united front when completing this activity. This project gave my pupils the confidence to discuss and write about a subject that is important to them.’

Orginally, I thought about putting the class pieces on the library wall. However, this idea was not as popular as I would have liked because of the subject matter. At first I was really disappointed but not accepting defeat, I began thinking about possible ways to promote the work this class had undertaken without embarrassing them. It would be a waste not to display at least some of our pupils’ fabulous achievements!
For help with this, I spoke to their teacher. She kindly asked the class who would be willing for their work to be displayed in the library and how they felt about being entered into the Scottish Book Trust’s national literacy competition for the rest of Scotland and the world to see.
The response was encouraging with four pupils coming forward to have their letters displayed in the library. I was really pleased that this would not be a wasted opportunity and would give our pupils the recognition for their work they deserved. Like previous personal writing activities I have co-ordinated, it was really lovely to read about what a special community we have here at Taylor.

One of our pupils stated,
‘I thoroughly enjoyed this project as it gave me a chance to share my memories with different people. I also enjoyed the fact that I had to write five hundred words. I believe that this project was a great success and I would love to do it again.”

Many thanks to Miss Murphy who took part in this project and to the S2 pupils who kindly permitted their work to be displayed and submitted to the SBT’s ‘Home project.

Categories: Communication, Competitions, Creativity, Daily life, Events, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

John Muir – the graphic novel

On Friday, I was given twenty copies of John Muir, Earth – Planet, Universe via a friendly PT.

According to the John Muir Trust, every secondary school in Scotland should receive the books, but it can also be downloaded as a PDF from the Scottish Booktrust, where there’s also a quiz, teaching notes and information about author, Julie Bertagna, and illustrator, William Goldsmith. There’s even a survey to complete online to discover how alike your class is to John Muir.

Categories: Books, Creativity, Graphic novels, Reading | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

S3 Mind Mapping Skills

This year at Taylor High School, as Librarian I have been keen to embark on an Information Literacy course with our middle school. Many of my current projects are with the lower school and I really wanted the library to be involved in more activities and projects with other departments and year groups.

Orginally, I had planned to work with our fourth years but since this activity was going to be taking place before their exam period, I thought against it. I then began to think of our third year pupils and how this tool could help them with their future exams. Pupils were given two mind map activities to complete during a 40 minute period. One mind map focused on themselves, while the other focused on a subject they were studying. The subject chosen to mind map was ultimately picked by pupils. Mind maps included Biology, Art, P.E, Maths and English.

In order to complete these exercises, PSHE classes were split into two groups of fifteen to accommodate everyone in the library, with half the class coming one period and the other half during the next.

It was interesting to see what our S3 pupils knew about mind mapping and also gave me some great ideas for future projects. Feedback has been encouraging with a number of useful suggestions being made. Some pupils said they enjoyed having a choice for the last activity, while others suggested working as a group to create a mind map.

I’m really looking forward to developing this course further next session and believe that this tool can help our exams candidates plan.

Many thanks to our S3 PSHE pupils and staff and the head of S3 for being involved.

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Burns Competition Winners

To commemorate the birthday of Robert Burns S1 pupils took part in a competition to celebrate the Scots language and the work of Robert Burns.

As an introduction to the use of Scots in poetry the classes watched a short film of Dundonian poet, Mark Thomson, discussing his use of Scots and the Dundonian dialect in his poetry. This was followed by listening to an emotive rendition of Auld Lang Syne sung by Paolo Nutini with Phil Cunningham on mandolin.

Each S1 class was divided into groups and asked to translate Scots words into English, note down interesting and expressive Scots words and create sentences using those words. The next task was to translate an extract from, To a Mouse. To finish the competition a pupil from each group took to the floor to recite, A Man’s a Man for A’ That.

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The competition winners were a group from class 1H1. This group came up with an interesting selection of Scots words and used them to create humourous sentences. As a prize they each selected a book from a selection of current fiction titles.

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Book Week Scotland at Taylor High School

Anna Leslie at Taylor High School, New Stevenson, has published an article on the Scottish Book Trust website.

You can read Anna’s article about her Book Week Scotland activities here.

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National Poetry Day 2013

How quickly the years do pass!!!!  National Poetry Day again – a great opportunity to get your pupils thinking about poetry.  I tried a couple really quick activities with my book groups this year.  First of all using the poetry match up activity from the NPD website and then using raindrop and cloud/puddle templates, I asked the book groups to think of as many words as they could related to the theme of Water.  On the raindrops they could write one word but on the clouds and puddles they had to think of three linked words, it took a while for some of the pupils to get into it and some only thought of one or two words but others were in their element asking for extra templates as they thought of more and more obscure links! (Sushi – was one!)  The end result was our National Poetry Day Tsunami!

!NPD13

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Kingdom

For some ideas on how to put software into action to create something spectacular, have a look at Kingdom.

This is an outstanding piece of work by a teacher and a group of pupils at Porchester Junior School using a variety of online tools to create a whole world, its people, history and geography.

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What to do with edited stock? Part 2

The book domino wars heat up!

First Seattle, with 2131 in June 2013:

Closely followed by Cape Town in August.

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What to do with edited stock? Part 1

Categories: Books, Creativity, Video clips | Tags: | Leave a comment

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