Posts Tagged With: Taylor High School

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

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.

Categories: Book groups, Literacy, Reading | Tags: | Leave a comment

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

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

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!

Categories: Mathematics, Numeracy | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Summer School Workshop in the Library

August in the library means Summer School. A library workshop has become a regular feature of this fabulous programme of activities for some of our new S1s.

Great! This was an excellent chance to work with my job sharing partner, something that is rare because we have no cross over days. It would also mean we actually got the opportunity to speak and work with one another, instead of working via email, phone or notes left in the librarian’s notebook. A welcome change for both of us.

I had previously ran craft activities as part of summer school but this was the first year I had thought about designing a quiz, a book character quiz. It was something fun my job sharing partner and I could work on together.

Pupils were split into groups of five and asked to choose a name for their team but pupils were understandably nervous. That’s when Cathy came up with the idea of pupils in the group each suggesting a word and that word would form part of the team name. (Obviously, it had to be something pleasant but that is never really an issue with our pupils!) This caused much hilarity and chat.

It was a great group of pupils with lots of conversations about reading, summer holidays and looking forward to starting high school. We discussed memorable books from primary school, reading out loud and comic books.

Quiz team names included, The Yoda Book Club, Quiz Destroyers (pencils on fire), Dogs Play Football and Haribo Scooby Doo Club. Some of our S6 pupils were on hand to help pupils answer a few of the questions, take videos and pictures of the activity.

To finish the group were asked to create a monster that lives in the library for our walls. Creations were colourful and fun was had by all, even our S6s! This was a great way to get everyone talking and making our future pupils feel at ease about starting a new school and joining our wonderful school community.

Ian MacFarlane, Home Partnership Officer who organised Summer School commented;

“As part of my Summer School at Taylor High School, both Librarians in our Library Resource Centre organised a workshop for 2 groups of 10 P7 pupils making the transition to Taylor High School.   The Library Quiz Workshop provided the pupils with an opportunity to work cooperatively in teams whilst giving them a sense of what the Library Resource Centre can offer them when they begin Secondary School.

The feedback from the pupils was very positive in relation to the workshop itself and the delivery methods of the Librarians. I personally would like to thank Anna and Cathy for their hard work in putting on such a successful aspect of the Summer Programme.”

I hope the quiz is something we can develop in future and many thanks to Ian McFarlane, Home Partnership Officer for allowing the library to be part if this wonderful programme.

Categories: Arts and Crafts, Reading | 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

 

Categories: Curriculum for Excellence, Librarians, Literacy, School Librarians | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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.

Categories: Daily life, Social Studies, Technology | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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 Libraries Day 2015

Taylor High School Library was featured on the National Libraries Day website about our work with the Art and Design Department. Can’t believe we missed it, check it out!

http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/2015/02/murals-for-the-school-library-at-taylor-high/

Categories: Advocacy | 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

Staff Reading Confessions at Taylor HS

Check out an article on the Scottish Book Trust website about a recent project at Taylor High School for World Book Day. Librarian, Anna Leslie, organised a series of Reading Confessions, with pupils interrogating teachers about their preferences.

http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/teachers-librarians/2015/02/staff-reading-confessions-at-taylor-high-school

The article was also featured on the ‘Save Scottish School Libraries’ Facebook page.

Categories: Advocacy, Reading | Tags: , , , | 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

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

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.

Categories: Creativity, Information Literacy, Literacy | Tags: , | Leave a comment

World Book Day 2014 at Taylor High School

One school community’s take on World Book Day 2014

Taylor High School staff and pupils have been very busy designing book covers for our World Book Day 2014 competition.  Various departments, individual teachers and lunchtime clubs were involved in this wonderfully fun and artistic event.  Pupils from across S1-S3 helped to brighten our already colourful corridors with their designs.

Designs for book covers either had to relate to their teacher’s subject, school or something they were studying.  It was a great way to get the whole school community involved in celebrating literature and promoting literacy.

It was clear from the outset that running this type of activity would take some thought and planning.  In order to get staff as passionate about this idea as myself, it was going to take more than an email.  By simply visiting various departments and speaking to staff, the activity began to take shape.  However, I did send one final email at the beginning of World Book Day week to finalise everything.

Some teachers undertook this activity as a group project, while others got pupils to individually create a poster to become one design.  The response from both staff and pupils was great, as various departments got involved in this event.

The Art Department involved three of their S1 classes.  Their commitment to this project was amazing and this really made both teacher and librarian proud.  The focus of their design was ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Each class had a different interpretation of this classic book.

The Maths Department took a different approach when creating a book cover for the Murderous Maths series.  One S3 class created a display by putting posters around their class door, while another class covered their door in their own personalised paper books to celebrate this book series.

A number of our lunchtime clubs were also involved, including the S1 Around the World Club, my own S1 Book Club and the S1 Euro Club.  Books included ‘The Demon Dentist’ by David Walliams and ‘Toro, Toro’ by Michael Morpurgo.

Similarly, the English Department also created some amazing book covers with their S2 classes to celebrate ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak , ‘Catching Fire’ by Suzanne Collins, ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ by Roald Dahl, the Harry Potter series and Tam O’Shanter by Robert Burns.

There were three winning categories all picked by our lovely office staff.  These included, the most creative, colourful and eco-friendly.  However, as the designs were extremely good, I decided to choose another winner but asked our headteacher to choose.  I was really glad that the final decision was not left up to myself.

An S3 Maths class won the most creative, an S1 Art class won the most colourful and an S1 Social Subjects class won the most eco-friendly and an S2 English class won the headteacher’s choice.

Well done and thanks to all staff and pupils who took part in this event.  It was really wonderful to see how enthusiastic and industrious everyone was.

Look at the Scottish Book Trust Website to read a fuller account of our World Book Day event.

Categories: Authors, Books, Competitions, Curriculum for Excellence, Illustrators, Literacy, Stuff and things | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Treasures @ Taylor

Recently at Taylor High School, New Stevenston, myself, the Social Subjects Department and S1 pupils were involved in a creative writing workshop that focused the theme of ‘Treasure’.  This was part of the Library’s programme of activities to celebrate Scottish Book Week 2013.

S1 pupils were asked to write and design a postcard from their ‘Most treasured place in Scotland.’   This was inspired by the Scottish Book Trust’s free book called ‘Treasure’.  A similar event was run by both departments last year.  However, this year there was a new twist to the workshop with pupils choosing a member of staff to write their postcard to.

This event was extremely successful with many pupils taking their postcards home to complete. Pupils’ feedback has been very encouraging.  It was also very inspiring to see pupils’ positive view of the world around them.

As a result, I wrote an article to promote the work of staff and pupils, which was posted on the Scottish Book Trust website.

It was also posted on a blog called ‘Storify’.

Well done to all the pupils and staff involved.

Categories: Learning and Teaching, Librarians, Literacy, Social Studies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

SCILT

The following article was sent to SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, who published it in their Summer 2012 Newsletter.

The Modern Languages Department and the Librarian at Taylor High, New Stevenston, have been celebrating languages, particularly Spanish, in a number of ways over the last year.

Both departments have created a Spanish Dictionary Mission for all S1s. Pupils learn how to use a bilingual dictionary, learn new words in Spanish as well as using words they have been learning in class, and learn how to create a Mind-Map. A variety of different questions are asked in both Spanish and English to enable pupils to use both sections of the dictionary. Once pupils have completed this activity they get an opportunity to decorate their Mind-Map and the most creative are then displayed in the Modern Languages corridor.

Together with the class teacher, the Librarian helps pupils use a Spanish Dictionary. This gives S1s one of their first opportunities to use a Spanish Dictionary. This exercise increases pupils’ confidence when using a bilingual dictionary and in the Spanish language.

The S1 Euro Club also runs every Thursday at lunchtime from 1pm – 1:45pm and we explore a variety of topics such as European foods and leisure activities. Exploring various leisure activities has been an enjoyable experience for pupils as they have learned how to play boules, table football and games on the Wii, particularly a Maracas game. Pupils have to keep time with the music by pretending to play these musical instruments. By researching different leisure activities pupils have learned to build resilience and confidence by participating in a wide range of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute to the wider community.

Categories: Curriculum for Excellence, Expressive Arts, Languages | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Cathy MacPhail visit to Taylor High School Library

Some S2 pupils had the pleasure of hearing Cathy Macphail discuss her work on Tuesday.  Pupils really enjoyed hearing what Cathy had to say about her books and life as a writer.  It was a really enjoyable experience for both pupils and staff.

Pupils also got an opportunity to buy some of her work and get their books signed.  We hope to have Cathy back again soon.

Categories: Author visits | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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