Curriculum for Excellence

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

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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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.

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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

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.

2015_1221_0327

 

 

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

More than 12 million fall into UK digital skills gap

BBC report that More than 12 million fall into UK digital skills gap.

The report, from charity, Go On UK, lists five Basic Digital Skills, all of which involve online safety issues:

  • Managing information: find, manage and store digital information and content
  • Communicating: communicate, interact, collaborate, share and connect with others
  • Transacting: purchase and sell goods and services; organise your finances; register for and use digital government services
  • Problem-solving: increase independence and confidence by solving problems using digital tools and finding solutions
  • Creating: engage with communities and create basic digital content
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Maths in the Library: The Roald Dahl Maths Puzzle

Roald Dahl 2015 was a big event in the Joseph Wilson Library Resource Centre and this year the library got our Maths Department and our new S1s involved.

Most are incredulous when I say we have a maths puzzle in the library. Maths and the library? What an odd combination! But really it’s just another creative way of promoting literacy and getting another department within our school community to utilise the library and the librarian’s skills to meet the department’s literacy needs.

Mark Dorris, Principal Teacher of Maths commented,

The department was delighted to get involved in the Roald Dahl Maths Puzzle as it gave pupils the opportunity to develop their problem solving skills. Pupils worked as part of a team taking the information given to complete the task. The emphasis was not only on getting the correct answer but being able to explain in detail step by step how the puzzle was solved.

The puzzle was inspired by characters from the ‘The Twits’ and ‘James and the Giant Peach’ because these were the books being celebrated this year by the Roald Dahl Trust and our library.

To begin this activity, pupils were put into groups of five and asked to solve the puzzle as a team. Each group nominated a member from their group to read the puzzle aloud. On the table there was a copy of the puzzle, a bundle of scrap paper for possible answers (very important!), pens, pencils and a larger piece of paper for their final answer.

Both Cathy and myself, firstly began by reading the puzzle aloud to the group. We briefly discussed the books that had inspired the puzzle and then it was left to the group to work as a team to solve the problem. This year, I have been fortunate enough to have a group of Sixth Year pupils helping and because the group was large enough a senior pupil was assigned to each table. This allowed our new First Years to meet and work with some of senior pupils and hopefully inspired them. It also really shows the newest members of our school what a wonderful community we have here!

Both the teacher and librarians were also able to walk around the various tables and guide pupils when answering the question. Once the groups began finding the answer, they used larger poster paper to create a colourful and artistic solution sheet.

I was really pleased by how well the activity went and the fact that some of our Sixth Year pupils were involved. This was a useful and different approach to the activity but it worked well.

The sixth year pupils stated:

This was a very rewarding and enjoyable activity. It helped us show the new First Years, that the Sixth Years are an approachable and friendly bunch here at Taylor High.

I would definitely recommend this type of event to other librarians and encourage them to be fearless when it comes to being creative with what the library can offer their school community. Trust me, as someone who would naturally shy away from anything maths related, I would say please don’t worry. If I can do it, so can anyone!

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Reading Boot Camp 2015

At the beginning of the summer holidays, a group of North Lanarkshire School Librarians met for Reading Boot Camp, an opportunity to discuss pupils’ reading for enjoyment. This grew out of a discussion on our local forum about pupils selecting books that they recognised from television or film, having the stamina to read far enough into a book to care about what happened, and the assumption that all pupils knew how story works.

To get started, each person described their current work with fiction, detailing the year groups involved, how often they were involved, ideas that worked and issues that arose. Given all schools are different in pupil numbers, layout and staffing, naturally their respective Libraries will reflect those differences e.g. weekly or even fortnightly access to the Library is often impossible in larger schools.

These short introductions acted as jumping off points for wider discussions including:

  • the Librarian’s role in supporting the mechanics of learning to read;
  • Paired Reading: run by different groups in different schools (or not at all) including Support for Learning, Partnership Officers and Buddying schemes, with or without Librarian input;
  • splitting Library time between Information Literacy and Reading for Pleasure?
  • how to make reading ‘normal’ for more pupils?
  • supporting the number of readers that don’t tend to use the Library but buy their own books;
  • supporting the number of pupils who don’t know how to choose a book;
  • identifying the basics of stories – fairy tales, nursery rhymes, picture books etc;
  • helping pupils become more familiar with a wider range of writers, characters and stories – so many pupils only know stories made into films;
  • the role of audio books, and their respective issues with format, copyright etc;
  • trying something new vs re-reading old favourites;
  • making reading visible:  talking to pupils about own reading, encouraging staff to read along with class, Drop Everything and Read sessions (D.E.A.R.);
  • the value of reading aloud – could all lessons be introduced with a relevant reading?
  • the value of oral stortelling;
  • the value of ‘reading periods’;
  • dealing with the eternal shelf wanderers who will not settle with any book;
  • silence or quiet discussion with friends?
  • pupil concentration levels: books versus games;
  • encouraging pupils to think of themselves as readers;
  • whether books fit in a culture of instant gratification;
  • value of colour coding, genre layout, changes in stock layout?
  • the implicit criticism in what pupils ‘should be reading’ and what they’re comfortable with/capable of;
  • ‘laziness’ of capable readers;
  • value of competitive edge?
  • ideas from recent training days and articles.

It was clear that there are plenty of great initiatives taking place already, all deserving of a wider audience (and hopefully some will appear here soon!)

The first Reading Boot Camp sparked lots of ideas, provided a great deal to consider, and left all of the participants enthused and looking forward to the next meeting.

Categories: Books, Curriculum for Excellence, Literacy, Reading, Resources | Tags: | Leave a comment

Taylor High’s Carnegie Experience

Logo courtesy of CKG

Logo courtesy of CKG

This was the first time that Taylor High School had taken part in the Carnegie Medal Shadowing Scheme, I thought that it would be a fun way to encourage pupils to read a variety of books, engage in discussion, review and post online to the dedicated shadowing page on the Shadowing Site.

We had seven S3 girls meeting twice a week in the library. The discussions were very lively as their reading preferences varied immensely.

A colourful display promoted the 8 shortlisted books, the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme and all the free publicity material including posters, bookmarks and stickers.

We linked in with the school’s iPad initiative, the girls signed a contract whereby they were allowed to take the iPads home initially for the Easter holidays. This iPad pilot was so successful that the group were allowed to extend their contract until the end of May.

The books were downloaded onto the iPads providing the ability not only to read the books but electronically highlight certain paragraphs and passages. They also had the opportunity to discuss the books with each other before posting their reviews on the Group Page.

They enjoyed having access to their Group Page, they could post reviews, create blogs, chart their favourite Carnegie books, create videos. The group also entered the ‘Shadowing Competition for the Best Shadowing Group Magazine’ There is a chance to win tickets for 12 shadowers and 2 adults to attend the awards ceremony in London on 22nd June plus other prizes.

This was a pilot scheme so group feedback was very important. They loved having responsibility for the iPad and the downloaded books but most of them still preferred the hard copy to the e-book.

Our meetings took place in the library during their English periods, latterly this caused some tension as some within the group felt that they were missing important coursework. So we compromised, one English one other subject.

We were late setting up a group so the S3 girls were picked as they were all good readers. At the first meeting they all maintained that they would be able to read all the books within the allocated timescale. Due to the different types of genre and content within some of the books this was not possible. They recommended that future Shadowers should divide the books between themselves and that more time be set aside to achieve the aims of the project.

Every member enjoyed taking part in the pilot but suggested that next year we widen the group to include boys and girls of mixed reading ability

They predicted that the 2015 Carnegie Medal winners would be:

  1. Cuckoo Song                                      Frances Hardinge
  2. The Fastest Boy in the World        Elizabeth Laird
  3. Tinder                                                 Sally Gardner

 

Cathy  MacIntyre

Learning Resource Centre Manager

 

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Scran and the library

I have always been aware of SCRAN but I am, I must confess at times an infrequent user of this resource. I am sure there are many within the library world who are frequent users but alas not myself. However, all this has changed in the last few weeks and I am glad it has!This resource is a wonderful treasure trove of images suitable for the needs of any school library and department within a school. The difference this can make is massive and here are some of the reasons why;

It’s free

You don’t have to worry about copywrite (It’s important you always reference your source and it’s free because our authortiy kindly pays for it. A big help to any school library!)

It can jazz up any workbook/presentation you have

It will save you time

I recently designed and wrote a ‘General Election Research Quiz’ for S3 Modern Studies pupils and a S1 PSHE/English reflective writings piece called ‘Our journey at Taylor High’ inspired by the Scottish Book Trust’s writing campaign for Scottish Book Week 2015. On both occasions, I used SCRAN to add more character to the library learning booklets.

Orginally, I was stumped about how to make our learning booklets more engaging and interesting. I was at a loss and asked advice of a fellow North Lanarkshire librarian, who asked ‘Have you tried SCRAN’? Of course, why didn’t I think of this earlier?

To give my quiz an added dimension, I used an image of a lady either exiting or entering a polling station in the rain. The image fitted perfectly with the subject of the quiz. I also hope it inspired pupils to create some of the names they choose for their teams, particularly, ‘The Polling Stations’ or ‘Polling Cards.’

For the reflective writing piece, I decided to choose an image based around the keyword of ‘Journeys’. That is when the ideal image appeared, a road in the middle of nowhere that stretched into the distance. Again, I had found an image which symbolised this project and what I wanted our pupils to think about.

I hope that many of my future projects in the library and my learning booklets will further benefit from this free online resource. Time to get my thinking cap on! Many thanks to the Modern Studies, English and PSHE Department.

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S1 French Café

Anything food related, although granted the foods are ‘plastic’ artefacts, is right up my street. I had previously tried this activity with my ‘S1 Around the World Club’ last year and it was a huge hit. I decided to try and re-create a similar project with some S1 French pupils.
With the support of the Principal Teacher of Modern Languages, Lynn Kerr and my colleague Katarina Henderson we were able to enhance this learning activity, taking her S1 class on a French café journey before the library activity, was completed.

Various S1 classes came to the library in small groups over a period of weeks to take part in the activity (this was a trial project). Pupils sat at a table with a list of four or five words in French and asked to translate the words from French to English using i-pads. On another table there was a large selection of imitation French breakfast/café favourites. As a group and individually, pupils were asked to translate and locate the correct artefact.

At first pupils struggled to use the application, as many of the French words did not have a literal translation. However, it gave pupils an insight into why it is important to investigate words further. With closer attention they soon found the translations they needed. To complete the activity, pupils were then asked to place the French word at the correct artefact.

This was another opportunity for our pupils to use an online dictionary and come to the library for a very different, challenging type of learning activity. However, for myself, it has been a wonderful experience and one which I hope my job sharing partner and I will continue. I hope we keep developing our little ‘bibliothèque’.

Many thanks to Lynn Kerr, Principal Teacher of Modern Languages and the Modern Languages Department, particularly Katarina Henderson.

Categories: Curriculum for Excellence, Languages | Tags: , | Leave a comment

National Digital Learning Week 2015 article on Glow

Last week there was a letter in my tray from one of our DHT’s from Education Scotland about their initiative called ‘National Digital Learning Week 2015’. This particular event celebrated the use of technology in schools. What better way than promoting the work librarians make to their school community than a Wiki on Glow? As librarians, we use technology every day, so I thought, why not promote this very fact?

Have a look.

https://digilearn.wikis.glowscotland.org.uk/Spanish+Dictionary+Mission+and+iPads+at+Taylor+High

Categories: Advocacy, Languages, Literacy, School Librarians, Technologies | Tags: , | 1 Comment

World Book Day Award

wobod wobodwin

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Stormscapes

Excellent videos of storm clouds gathering in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. Fantastic for weather investigations.

Both available on Vimeo, Copyright Nicolaus Wegner/lightALIVE Photography. Reposted with permission.

Categories: Social Studies, Video clips | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

S1 love food project and the librarian

I suppose it seems like an odd choice for a librarian to be involved in a project about food. You might ask yourself, where is the connection between libraries and a department that specialises in everything textile, food and balanced diet related? Well, the common denominators are literacy, personal writing and the media. I have always been keen to establish a project with the Home Economics department but was at a bit of loss on how to achieve this. However, not being afraid of a challenge, I began to think of possible ways to run such a project.

The idea for this activity came due to a discussion I had with the Principle Teacher of Home Economics, Scott Russell, and reading various cooking magazines. I then began to think of possible questions to ask our pupils and finally came up with a personal writing project that would get everyone talking about and celebrating food.

Scott said

‘Running a literacy project is a vital part of the S1 Home Economics course. I believe it is important to highlight the importance of going to the library for research, so what better way than trialling a project like this.’

As a result, the writing activity called ‘S1 Love food’ was created. Great! A writing activity that would promote the library, the librarian and the work we do within our community!

Pupils were asked to design a newspaper/magazine article using a template already made for them using ‘ComicLife’. (It is hoped to give pupils the opportunity to use this package in future.)
The main purpose of this project however, was to provide pupils with the opportunity to learn about the layout of a newspaper article, celebrate food and highlighting the importance of their school library in their learning.

Pupils were asked to complete a brainstorming activity for homework with the final article being recreated in either class or the library. The following questions were asked;

1 What is your favourite thing to cook? (It could be something you have made this year in Home Economics.)

2 What are the main ingredients?

3 Where is your favourite place to eat?

4 Who do you go with?

5 What is your ultimate meal and why?

By working collaboratively, both departments really enhanced this project, I had not previously included the brainstorming step in my original plans. However, this gave pupils the chance to note down key ideas before writing their article. The response from pupils was encouraging. Many pupils stated they enjoyed creating a name for their newspaper/magazine.

Well done to all the S1 pupils who took part and contributed to this project. I would also like to thank Scott Russell, Principle teacher of Home Economics and Louise Hamilton, Home Economics teacher for being involved with this fantastic activity. I hope that this is an event that can be developed further in the coming years.

Categories: Curriculum for Excellence, Literacy, Magazines, Stuff and things | 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

Mac Barnett: Why a good book is a secret door (TED Talk)

Categories: Authors, Literacy, Picture books, Storytelling, Video clips | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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