Learning at home
Learning has continued across West Lothian Schools during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
We have a rolling programme of sharing learning highlights from secondary schools that you will find below. Schools from across West Lothian will be sharing their experiences in the weeks to come.
Learning at Home - Monday 15 June
This week we receive updates from Bathgate Academy, James Young High School and Whitburn Academy.
Bathgate Academy continues to deliver interactive online lessons during this very different summer term. We continue to innovate and create on our digital learning platform and are learning new things every day. We were delighted to receive positive pupil feedback on their online learning experiences and have taken on board many of their constructive comments. Contact with parents remains a priority for us as we work together to engage our learners and provide the structure and routines that are needed. This example of parental feedback represents the large number of positive relationships we have enjoyed with parents over this term:
"I also wanted to reach out and tell you that I am extremely impressed by how Bathgate Academy have dealt with this. I can honestly say that BA stands out as exceptional. You and the teachers have done an amazing job keeping our kids engaged, educated and moving forward.
I am 'home working' and supporting my children with their learning and it is hard going on occasion. So I also want to specifically recognise the teachers who also have kids at home that they are home-schooling the same way, parents and myself are doing for our kids. I don't think enough people recognise that while the teachers are online supporting our children that their children are also at home and need support. For what it is worth, very well done and thanks to you and everyone who has made this as seamless as possible."
As our online learning and teaching continues, we are all missing the social interactions that occur every day in the physical school building. We put together a short video to share some of our own home learning experiences with our school community:
As well as sharing our own experiences of teaching during lockdown, we continue to make efforts to support our school community. Stationery and sanitary products continue to be provided to our local shops on a weekly basis and we have given out most of our netbooks to support our pupils with their online learning.
Learning and Teaching
As a staff team we have been working hard to improve all aspects of our online lessons and continue to learn in this digital environment. We have enjoyed meeting many of our new S1 pupils during their transition lessons and loved how enthusiastic they were with the activities we offered. We are going to have a closer look at what the English, CDT, HE, PE and Social Subjects departments have been up to since the last report.
S2 pupils have begun by looking at famous explorers to tie in with the theme of 'exploration' for our S2 integrated course. Pupils researched and put together a piece of work on a famous explorer and have been incredibly inventive in their submissions!
Higher history have been utilising pre-recorded lessons from Mrs Williamson to help them begin their course. Pupils have also been involved in collaborative learning via the teams 'Wikipage' app where each pupil is responsible for adding information about a particular part of a topic. Mrs Williamson has also been providing audio feedback to pupils on their work.
Higher Modern Studies
Pupils have utilised narrated lessons to help them explore the first unit of Social Inequality in the UK. Pupils have chosen to show their learning in a variety of ways such as through word documents, power points and mind maps and submitting through the glow forms function. This allows for feedback comments to be made on pieces of work through the form or teachers have also provided feedback through adding review comments to word documents submitted.
Craft, Design and Technology
S2 - S3 students have been learning how to research given themes and produce creative layouts from their research finding. The topics they have been covering are Scottish tourist attractions, issues within health, education and the environment, here are some examples of their work. They have been given regular feedback from their teachers on the Teams account or in their Class Notebooks using written or audio methods. Some students have also used their knowledge revision lessons to complete online escape rooms!
Our senior students have been working through a range of topics including orthographic drawings, desktop publishing, plastic materials, plastic processes, sketching skill builder, subject knowledge, and exam style questions. Below is just some of the work they have been producing using what they have learnt, more exemplary work can be found on our social media accounts.
Always a step ahead of the curve, the HE Department have been promoting their own model of 'blended learning' throughout the lockdown period. BGE Pupils have been encouraged to experiment with smoothie making and home baking of various kinds, as well as exploring aspects of healthy eating, nutrition and self-care more generally. Many pupils have posted the results of their culinary endeavours on the department twitter page (Home Economics BA - Twitter) and we have been very impressed with their efforts and 'have a go' mindset. Members of the department have also gained a considerable following on TikTok, uploading short 'instructional videos' of themselves preparing everything from pancakes to lentil and sweet potato soup. Using social media in this way has helped us to engage pupils in their learning despite the challenges posed by working from home.
Not to be usurped by Joe Wicks, our ever resourceful PE Department post regular fitness challenges for pupils to undertake to improve their strength and stamina. This week, National pupils have been taking part in a 'combined marathon', running and cycling the distance of 26.2 miles between them in their own gardens, backyards and neighbourhoods. If challenges such as this aren't enough, the department post daily workouts for pupils to try out and evaluate. These have become increasingly inventive over the last few weeks and have featured everything from garden furniture to rocks. A vacuum cleaner workout may well be imminent... The benefits of engaging in physical activity and exercise have been well documented, not least in terms of their effects on personal wellbeing. It is heartening to see so many of our pupils participating in these fitness challenges, especially during this period of national lockdown.
We continue to innovate, to meet the needs of our learners and we are using Teams and interactive learning to help ensure a smooth and fun P7 Transition which will make pupils feel part of their new school community albeit in an online virtual world. Key elements of 'normal' lessons continue: sharing of learning intentions and success criteria, interactive collaboration, fun paced tasks but also with the added need to introduce pupils to the department. We have developed an activity that focuses on 'Life after Lockdown' by introducing staff, having fun listening 'bingo' tasks and enabling S1s to introduce themselves to each other, and create a group story. It is virtual reassurance to P7s as they imagine life in their new classes and school.
As we embrace the challenge of returning to the physical building in August, one thing is for sure: we cannot wait to see our pupils back in Bathgate Academy!
Previous Home Learning updates:
Moving away from the traditional teaching set-up of the classroom has been a challenge, not just for pupils but also for teachers. In the last 11 weeks we have gone from teaching 30 plus pupils in the classroom, spending our lunchtimes and after school giving support to small groups, and making our way down corridors jam packed with students and staff alike, to working in our own homes and trying to provide a meaningful and interesting experience for all.
We have had to completely change the way we deliver materials, give feedback and provide support with very little notice. Here at Armadale Academy we are doing everything we can to provide a stimulating and progressive learning experience for pupils in all ages and stages while supporting parents. In order to do this, staff have completed a tremendous amount of professional learning in order to upskill themselves, and provide an increasingly engaging learning experience. The school has created a staff learning space where the more tech savvy have helped the rest of us gain confidence in recording lessons over power points, create SWAY documents where we can embed media clips and deliver online tutorials for our Senior Phase students to help give them feedback.
Staff in the school have embraced this new way of teaching and as we look forward to August, and a 'blended' mode of teaching, we are confident that every child in the school will be supported the best we can. If nothing else good comes of this whole lockdown, parents and carers can be assured that their children have teachers who are at least trying to catch up with the technical know-how of the younger generation!
One example of this can be seen in the delivery of our P7 transition. Led by our Head of House, Caroll Gordon, it has given our new S1s a chance to meet all the staff and get a taste of each subject area. Each week a different curricular area is leading on the activities and students have engaged brilliantly with the wide variety of tasks that have been set.
During our Maths and Technologies Primary 7 Transition week, all departments produced Sway presentations to give P7 pupils a flavour for the work that they will cover when they get to Armadale Academy in S1. We had a "Meet the Team" day where they were able to find information from all of the staff in the faculty. During their Maths day, pupils were challenged to find numbers that they use in their daily lives. This resulted in a number of very creative pictures and videos.
In CDT, learners were set the challenge of building something using whatever resources they had available to them. While some made models and built things out of Lego, others used Minecraft to create virtual buildings and give us a little tour. View the P7 Transition information
Our English and Languages department engaged the pupils by using quizzes and listening files to allow them to feel like they were interacting with staff that they haven't yet met in person. The result of this was some excellent examples of poetry for English and really accurate translation in Languages. Follow the links below to see some of the materials created.
Over the next few weeks the other curricular areas will continue to offer a high quality learning experience for all the P7s and we look forward to meeting them in person in August!
Further up the school we have also completely changed the way we are interacting with our learners. In music and dance, learners have been working on submitting assignments through TEAMS and using instructional videos on SWAY to help consolidate their skills. Modern Studies have also been using TEAMS to set assignments and give learners immediate feedback.
Our Modern Linguists have done a phenomenal job of recognising that, for languages, a simple instructional power point will not be enough. Learners need to actually hear the language they are studying and also have the reassuring familiarity of the voice of their teachers. To help learners progress they have created a video channel which has had really positive feedback from pupils. Here is a link to the Armadale Academy MFL video channel
This is the most prolific video channel of the school by far and its success is down to the teamwork in the subject area. The whole department have chipped in and created great content for the learners. They are also using audio feedback to help them with their pronunciation. The learners have been asked to upload their recording short passages in their Classnote. Teachers then upload back a transcript of what they are saying with highlighted words along with a recording of themselves going over those specific points so they can hear the perfect pronunciation along with encouragements.
Our S3 Art & Design pupils have been using their creativity to produce some outstanding observational drawings. The staff have then created a virtual exhibition to offer the pupils the opportunity to view each other's work as well as celebrating their own achievements.
View our Virtual Exhibition. If you are viewing this on your phone, then you will need to download the free app to view this exhibition.
Alternatively, if you cannot access our exhibition you can view photographs from the exhibition on this Sway presentation
In English, learners in our BGE have been involved in creating an online blog detailing their own experience of 'A Life in Quarantine'. In this, they have developed their skills of research, creative writing, listening, reading and even decoding strategies!
In the Senior Phase our English department have been starting the National 5 and Higher courses and offering online tutorials to give pupils an opportunity to ask questions, check their answers and check in with their teachers. Here are just a few of the fantastic answers we were given this week from pupils in Higher who were focusing on imagery.
Likewise, in Maths, teachers have been using a wide variety of resources to help pupils with their learning and make the change from traditional schooling to remote learning. Below are links to just some of the work that is being offered at National 5 Maths at the moment:
In Science, tutorials have been conducted where learners can watch the teacher demonstrate the correct way to work things out on a whiteboard as they listen along. They can ask questions by typing them or out loud if they are feeling brave enough.
Whatever the subject and whatever the level, staff at Armadale Academy are committed to providing learning and teaching at the highest possible level. These are unprecedented times and by remaining solution focused and determined to support the children and their families the best way we can, we will continue to learn as a staff and find answers to any problem this current lockdown may throw at us!
Broxburn Academy pupils have been hard at work in their Design and Technology Classes. Look below to see some of their highlights.
S2 Materials Investigation
Understanding surface developments.
Example of Video lesson.
Designing using surface developments
Example of Video lesson.
N5 Design and Manufacture - Developing research skills
Developing modelling and sketching skills
Example of Video lesson.
Higher Design and Manufacture
Analysing household products
Generating ideas for a handheld product
Example of Video lesson.
2 point perspective drawing
In our Career Management Skills classes our S3 pupils have been writing personal statements about their learning and adding this to their 'didbook.' This is part of the Course Choice CV to allow them to reflect and make more informed choices in S4.
Here's a link to just one example of our weekly Sway of pupils' work
The new Higher Media class has been learning about new terminology and the Key Aspects of analysing media texts over the past few weeks. The pupils have been learning about each new key aspect using SWAY, taking their own notes and working through examples and applying the key aspect to a text of their choice. They have also been tasked with producing their own adverts and short videos, applying the key aspects they have learned about. This has allowed them to develop editing skills and become familiar with new technology. In addition, they have also looked at exemplar pieces of work from other schools and have been asked to critique them using this new terminology. The pupils have been asked to present their work through a number of posts on Teams and have been commenting on the work of others to ask questions, apply their knowledge and consolidate understanding. These pupils are primarily S6s who will likely go on to college or university after school and so this type of tutorial style learning has allowed them to gain more independence in their learning and has helped to build confidence in sharing and discussing their work with others, something that is not usually done as comfortably in a classroom setting. Even after home learning this will continue as a teaching method as we can see the benefits it brings.
During these strange times, we are all having to adapt to different ways of working and the collaboration between staff at Linlithgow Academy has been outstanding as they support each other in the quest for new and exciting ways to deliver home learning.
The English Department have set a challenge for anyone associated with Linlithgow Academy ( or beyond if you fancy submitting a piece). Within a day of launching we received submissions from our pupils at our associated Primary schools, Academy teachers and an mysterious anonymous contributer who set our spines tingling.
Science are also getting creative and setting challenges through their Virtual Science Club. Pupils and staff have been sending in video clips of their home science experiments, all following health and safety guidelines!
Looking at how soap and fat interact.
You can follow along here: Linlithgow Academy Chemistry Twitter
where Miss Baxter talks through a live demo.
This links nicely to the current Covid19 situation and why soap works to defeat it!
More here if you are interested: Compound Interest Twitter
In AH History, the Polls on Teams Chat has been used to check out progress towards dissertation question selection
In Higher Physics, our pupils have been #homelearning about the standard model of particle physics. Ellen created these amazing 'quark cupcakes'! Each cupcake represents a different "hadron"- a particle made up of quarks. Each sweet is a different quark.
The Music Department have challenged S1 pupils to make Samba music with household materials
The Maths department have been very busy.
Last week over 70 pupils studying National 5 Mathematics joined us for a live Team call. They were treated to a live lesson, an opportunity to ask questions, and a sing along with Mrs Cunningham and Miss Brown. In addition to this, we have live chat sessions available weekly for senior National 5 pupils, Higher pupils and Advanced Higher pupils. For those who cannot make it we have started up our own You Tube site... stay tuned for video demonstrations.
Pupils in Mathematics are now being asked to submit their work through 'One Note' using 'Team Assignments'. Over time, this will build up to become a digital jotter which pupils can use to inform future learning. Staff in the department are excited about the potential this gives us to correct pupil work and provide meaningful feedback.
The learning doesn't stop with the teachers, one young mathematician turned teacher as an S3 pupil helped an S1 sibling complete some work. Post its were used to give helpful feedback demonstrating skill development and a learning culture.
Pupils in S1 Computing Science have been working on iDEA, the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award which is an international programme that develops digital, enterprise and employability skills. Focusing on Internet Safety, pupils are given online challenges to win 'badges' that provide a visual acknowledgement of their achievements. Each pupil has a Record of Achievement with a personal verification number to validate their learning with employers in the future.
Pupils in S2 Computing Science have been working on programming using Scratch. Many platformer games, such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong Country, show a side view of the action where the bottom of the screen is the ground and the character is shown from the side. These games have gravity: characters can jump up and then fall until they land on the ground. This week, pupils are being asked to write a basketball game that has gravity.
The Home Economics Department were trialling new skills too with a 'live' cook along by Mrs Malone from her own kitchen.
Over the lockdown period, Science pupils have been developing their skills of scientific enquiry and investigation. They have been working through a range of topics where they have been asked to plan and carry out experiments, collect and appropriately present their data then analyse, interpret and evaluate their methods. They have been asked to submit short reports to allow their teachers to provide feedback. Our young learners have been encouraged to be imaginative by using available house hold materials and outdoor spaces when planning their experiments. Their enthusiasm and creativity have been a joy! As well as written reports, teachers have received a wide range of submitted work; photos of experimental set ups, posters, models, drawings and PowerPoint presentations.
This investigative approach, as well as encouraging creativity, has ensured that our learners are continuing to progress through the Science curriculum developing their knowledge and understanding and also their literacy and numeracy skills.
While senior pupils have been continuing with their learning progressing through the content of their new courses, applying their skills and using a range of techniques being supported with video content made by the teachers, live class sessions and online simulations.
The BGE pupils of St Margaret's Academy have been working hard on a variety of enriching tasks during lockdown. From projects such as S1's, "A Person I Admire" and S2's, "Superhero Project" as well as keeping up with their language and literature work through the study of short stories and media. In the final weeks of the S3, pupils have concentrated on the skills they will need for the next phase of learning. In particular, pupils have been completing writing pieces which will form the basis of their folios; moreover, they have made a stellar effort as a year group in the study of Alan Spence's play, "Sailmaker". Well done to all of our young people on their dedication and tenacity in these difficult times!
Higher classes have been working on their set Scottish component - the poetry of Norman MacCaig, analysing two poems in depth so far and producing detailed annotations. Initial work on the Portfolio: Writing is underway, supported by exemplars and video guidance. At all levels, learners have also been engaging with work on the RUAE component of the course, working through the different types of questions. Helpful video guides are being produced to support pupils with their learning, alongside useful feedback from teachers on weekly assignments.
Advanced Higher students have produced letters of introduction to their teacher. Initial engagement with Unseen Textual Analysis is underway, as well as work on producing complex and sophisticated writing pieces, looking initially at past exemplars. Learners are also engaged in the process of selecting texts for their Dissertations, so that they can read these texts over the summer.
Another exciting development in the Department is that the brand new Higher Classical Studies course is now up-and-running! Students have been enthusiastically exploring religion and beliefs in the time of Classical Athens, comparing ancient festivals to modern festivals.
In RE we have looked at other world religions especially Islam and Buddhism. Some of the tasks when studying Buddhism was trying a short mindfulness exercise and reflecting on how it felt and drawing a Mandala. Pupils also researched the Buddhist Wesak Festival.
Here are some examples of the fantastic work that have been developed in Drama. Our pupils have been very creative at home. They have been designing and making costumes, masks and props while others have been writing scripts and submitting them as audio recordings. Pupils have also been watching a variety of live theatre online and evaluating the performances.
Over the last few weeks students in the DMG department have been working on a variety of different tasks. Videos have been created and uploaded to help S2 students develop their knowledge and skills of two point perspective sketching which will aid their communication skills when working through the design process to create innovative design solutions. Students in S3 have started to carry out research and develop design ideas for the Plexus partnership project. Students in S4 Design and Manufacture are enhancing their sketching skills to help them communicate their thoughts effectively through the use of graphics.
S3 have been working to the theme of plants and flowers and have been developing their drawing skills as well as handling materials as they blend and layer tone to create form and a 3D effect in the drawing. Coloured pencil has been used, again pupils are encouraged to layer and blend the colour to create a range of colours and tones.
Higher Photography have been given tasks earning how to apply compositional techniques to their photography practice to ensure they create strong images to look at.
As you can see from these drawings and photographs, they have been very successful at this.
S2 and S3 classes have been working on Group Performances. If pupils didn't have an instrument they were able to use a piano app on their phone to participate in the lesson. The S2 classes have been working on the song 'Dance Monkey', choosing their instrument, learning the music and playing in time with the backing track. The S3 classes have been working on the NHS Challenge 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.
Social subjects and Modern Languages
There has been a great deal of quality learning happening across the Social Subjects. Higher Geographers have been working on a research project relating to the Sahel in Africa. Our Business students have been busy learning about multinationals, the benefits of these and the impact on home and host countries. And in National 5 Modern Studies students have been studying the structure of the government and what each party stands for.
Meanwhile, S1-S3 Social Subjects have been busy too. Our S3 Historians have been expanding their knowledge of world history through a 'Meanwhile, Elsewhere' research project - from the Roaring Twenties to Russian History. S3 Business students have been creatively working on our 'A-Z Business challenge' and expanding their knowledge of local and global businesses.
In Modern Languages, S4 Spanish pupils have been expanding their prior knowledge of verbs. In S2, pupils are partaking in our popular 'Languages Lockdown Challenge' which allows pupils a choice of activity. This has included some research of famous faces, including the iconic Coco Chanel and facts about iconic landmarks including the Eiffel Tower.
Health and Wellbeing
S2 Health and Technology pupils have been working on a research project on a country of their choice whilst our S3 pupils have been working on Food Hygiene projects. Practical Cookery pupils have been focusing on cookery skills, techniques and processes whilst in Early Learning and Childcare learners are focusing on the different stages of pregnancy and how the baby develops. National HFT pupils have been researching the functions and sources of nutrients and using this knowledge to plan meals to meet the dietary needs of athletes, while Higher pupils have been learning about the need to reduce food waste and AH pupils have been exploring Novel Protein foods.
Dance pupils have been evaluating various pieces of choreography to 'guess the theme' and also doing some practical by learning some new Disney themed pieces. National PE pupils have been developing their understanding of the four factors; mental, emotional, social and physical.
NPA Sport and Fitness: Individual Sports pupils have been researching excellent leaders. Pupils made some fantastic PowerPoints outlining the skills and qualities required to be a great leader.
ICHS continue to place Health and Wellbeing at the centre of our approach as well as ensuring pupils have the technology they need to access learning. We continue to provide a variety of different supports that includes removing digital barriers the international theme programme (which was looking at Asian culture and cooking last week) and the ongoing P7 transition programme. Not only are our young people developing a high level of digital capability, so are our staff and the progress made in this area by our learning community is nothing short of incredible.
We have also been blown away by the generosity of staff and our community who have been donating new and unopened Lego sets for our local community, our pupil support and family link workers continue to be a friendly and welcome face within our community and the PE staff who continue to provide physical activity sessions in our key worker hubs and to the kitchen staff who are serving over 100 meals a day.
The school have issued various digital devices to our community and is doing everything in our power to eliminate barriers. This is being supported by our technical support phone calls to get you back up and running, as well as a YouTube channel (due to be launched this week) which gives you access to short how to videos for the most common issues we see when going onto calls or being requested via email or the class teams. This resource is open to all within our community.
The P7 transition has been a real success. Our future S1 have all had a PE bag, new school tie, house information sheet and a copy of the school transition handbook. The future S1 are now part of their house teams and have already had the head teachers logo challenge (to design a new logo for this new house), a literacy challenge and can look forward to stem, health and wellbeing and numeracy challenges in the coming weeks. There has also been a collection of friendly faces videos, reflections from our departing S6 and soon to be landing is the Invy Maps, video tour, and School Minecraft build that will allow groups of 20 pupils to explore a Minecrafted ICHS (built by our brilliant S2) using their Minecraft for education accounts. This has been a great experience and one that has really helped the new S1 to connect with the high school.
We continue to be blown away by the creativity, desire and flexibility our learning community show when learning with new digital tools. The staff and pupils had already been using Teams but have have now gone all out to learn and include Onenote as a central part of the learning experience. This step has really enhanced our provision and both staff and pupils continue to push the boundaries of what is possible to provide the best learning experience that we can. In fact, so engaged and motivated are pupils and staff that we are now seeing virtual work experiences taking place. The first one has already taken place and we will be seeing more pupils undertake these over the coming weeks.
But whilst we can give you lots of examples, we feel that the final word is best left to our pupils and parents:
"She was already watching a very useful extra hints and tips video that was pre-recorded by her teacher which I thought was fantastic to hear her actual teacher. She also seems to be on track with Art already with work being set and Art packs being offered by the school. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for being consistently excellent at what you do and being absolutely committed to your students at Inveralmond"
"The files have been easy to download and use. The tasks have all been explained very well and the instructions written have made sense and been easy to follow. The teachers are very quick at responding to questions or help and are very good at checking up on us to see how we are doing. It is also good now we are using OneNote rather than downloading files, this makes it easier for us to save our work"
Business Education have been creating instruction videos and embedding them into a sway for pupils to access via teams. They have also embedded forms for assessment purposes and knowledge checkers for pupils into the sways and tasks have been issued via assignments.
In Higher Administration, there are videos for pupils using PCs and Mac's so that learning is accessible for all regardless of the device that they are using.
Sway is a really nice way of presenting information where you can embed short quizzes and video clips and make the information quite interactive. The department have also included some voice recordings describing difficult areas or new areas to pupils. Pupils can also, where required, use the accessibility view which changes the layout into a more simplistic view. You can see an example of some Sways using the links below:
Our native Spanish speaker, Miss Cabezudo Rodríguez, created a private Youtube channel (called 'The Wee Blether Hoose') as part of her digital learning routine with her pupils (both BGE and Senior Phase). For every lesson she shares a video with her pupils where she explains the content and the tasks for the day (just like a normal lesson but shorter). She has also started to give them a weekly challenge, which for this week involved sharing a video of her dad (great cook!) making a Spanish omelette and challenged them to try to make this lovely recipe with their families. A great opportunity for parents to sit back and let their children cook for them!
Science Club has just launched this week on Teams. It is lead by our senior Science Club Leaders and supported by Mr Elliott and the Science teachers. Leaders are setting the junior pupils weekly at-home Science and Engineering challenges to encourage them to continue developing their practical skills during remote learning. This week's challenge is "Crystallisation using Sugar".
Meanwhile students in Home Economics were set a challenge to cook for their 'local hero'.
And here are some photos of the results.....
The PE department's latest challenge has been extended to all students and staff. This time, they are challenging us to walk/run/cycle/skoot/skate a minimum of 3 km each day. Evidence is uploaded by participants each day onto a Teams page, with each person's running total recorded. At the end of the 30 days, efforts will be recognised on our social media pages and the school website. Participants will also be recognised with one of the following awards
Platinum: You covered at least 3km per day on all 30 days.
Gold: You covered at least 3km per day for between 25-29 of the 30 days.
Silver: You covered at least 3km per day for between 20-24 of the 30 days.
Bronze: You covered at least 3km per day for between 15-19 of the 30 days.
It's amazing how motivated we can be with a bit of peer pressure!
Music & Performing Arts
New S2 - Fabulous work completing the StK Musical Me podcast using Soundtrap. Pupils have been creating a script, jingle and editing songs to be included in a podcast that describes their 5 favourite songs.
New S3 - phenomenal effort from the new S3 music and music tech classes. Pupils have been identifying the instruments they will use for performing and one special mention to Oliver Plenderleith who has composed a piano piece that Oliver will record for us to share when he is happy with the final product.
S2 S.O.S - great engagement as pupils look at skills they have been developing throughout the week in all their lessons and are working with a digital buddy on the skill of collaboration (in lockdown? That's amazing!) by making an StK Desert Island Picks podcast- using the skills they have developed in music to do this.
In preparation for Higher and Advanced Higher Courses, all senior pupils in Social Subjects are working with Eton College to develop and improve their research skills. There has been excellent engagement with pupils learning new methods of researching and how to reference effectively. They are even learning how to deal with procrastination which can be an issue when undertaking a large research project. Igor in S5 said: "I learned great skills, and actually use one of the resources for research now - Zotero. I think that it is a brilliant tool."
Modern Studies pupils have been using Padlet - an online post it note board - to contribute to our "Question of the week". We've seen lots of great evaluation of our question "Are the government right to be sending English schools back on 1st June?" A controversial issue on which our pupils are definitely divided.
Through video conferencing and sharing docs they have gone through a revision of skills and they had to complete the question below. I have attached one of the responses.
Also most of the class have been participating the Open University essay writing course with some of them already completing it and getting their letter of participation. They are using this to complete an assignment due at the end of the month.
All the team in Pupil Support have had a busy couple of weeks since our last update adapting to the new phase of learning, PSE classes, attendance and welcoming the P7's to the St Kent's community.
The PSE classes have been actively engaging in the different tasks the Pupil Support Team have been setting. The first of which was asking our pupils to write a letter to the P7's welcoming them to St Kent's and offering some reassurances to some worries our P7's may have about coming to high school. We have tweeted some more of these examples on our Student Support Twitter page too!
We also set the challenge of PSE bingo with a focus on Health and Wellbeing. We encouraged our pupils to set themselves 9 challenges of their own choice and try to accomplish them during a week. Even the Pupil Support team got involved and created a video. This ranged from learning to tie a Windsor knot tie, to washing the car, ironing, celebrating the work key workers are doing and learning a tik tok dance. Again have a look at our twitter page @stksupport
Our current challenge is looking at Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing. Pupils start at the bottom of the pyramid and work their way all the way to the top, each step providing some challenge to our young people. We look forward to hearing from them next week in PSE on how they got on!
The wider Pupil Support team have been busy phoning home of our new P7's to welcome them to the St Kent's community. This week began our first live Q & A session with our P7's asking really good questions to help ease some of their worries about coming to St Kent's. Miss Lawlor and Mrs Boyd have been busy preparing packs for the new S1's, giving them information about the House and class they will be in when they come to St Kent's. Next week begins our first house assemblies with the P7's along with their transition timetable which will be done through Teams.
The teachers, support staff and parents of West Calder High School continue to work in close partnership to ensure that children's well-being, learning and sense of community are at the heart of what we are trying to collectively achieve. Over the past four weeks, we have made significant progress in ensuring that all young people have access to the necessary resources, technology and support to enable them to engage in home learning and we continue to work on a case by case basis to provide maximum support where necessary. Our support team continues to innovate and explore different approaches to helping children and families, this has included virtual drop-in surgeries for parents in the evening, resources being made available at local supermarkets and delivering IT equipment and materials to families who are currently shielding. As the headteacher, I am proud of our collective efforts in trying to ensure that young people are not disadvantaged by this current crisis, and I continue to be amazed by the effort, commitment and dedication of our entire school community. If you want to find out more about what we have been doing then you can find us on Facebook and twitter, I would recommend having a look the weekly well-being challenges including masterchef and beat the teacher, Good luck!
Below is a sample of some of the learning that our young people have been involved in.
Science update from the Head of department, Callum Paterson.
Our S2 Scientists have been continuing their BGE experience focusing on Chemical Reactions and running kitchen chemistry experiment, where possible, to investigate different factors that affect the speed of chemical reactions. S3 pupils have begun to study their chosen discrete sciences. Our Biologists are looking at Cell structure and the function of different cells organelles and our Chemists have been looking at Atomic structure creating models of the atom out of any materials they had available to hand (picture below).
In Physics, our young people have been looking at Waves and Radiation.
Our senior school pupils have begun working on their National 5 and Higher courses and are adjusting well to the swap to virtual environment, attending virtual lessons on various topics and completing tasks using a digital jotter.
All pupils should be commended for their hard work and commitment and have continued to show enthusiasm in the pursuits of scientific knowledge
ONLINE LEARNING IN THE HUMANITIES FACULTY
In S2 Social Studies pupils having been studying a thematic unit about Explorers, learning about explorers from both the past and present. Having read about each journey, pupils have been thinking about the legacy these people have left behind and considering what qualities an individual needs to become an explorer. Pupils are given the opportunity to work alongside the teacher or to work at their own pace with fast finisher tasks to challenge themselves and some have been very creative, filming themselves going on an adventure around their home using their imagination to find wild animals. Perhaps this will inspire them to become the explorers of the future!!
Over the past few weeks S2 pupils have been completing outdoor challenges as part of their John Muir Award. Some of these tasks have included creating their name out of objects found outside, creating campaign posters/songs/poems about being a responsible dog owner and also researching about local Environmental and Conservation projects taking place within West Lothian.
Both S2 and S3 RME pupils have been very busy over the past few weeks learning about two fascinating world religions - Sikhism and Hinduism - finding out about the people and their beliefs. One of the lessons centred around pupils creating their own Rangoli patterns - which is a great mindfulness activity! Here is some of their art work:
You can read more on RME - Sikhism & Hinduism
Online lessons in Geography have been delivered to mirror the learning experiences that the young people at WCHS received prior to lockdown. Mrs Rennie has been keen to continue to use the set routines established in class to offer a consistent and effective learning experience. Each lesson follows a starter, main activity and end of the lesson plenary complimented by online packages such as OneNote. Highlights have included fun Kahoot quizzes!
In S3 History pupils have been learning about World War I and the experience of Scottish soldiers on the Western Front. Each week pupils have prepared their notes before the online session and have been working on a range of historical skills. Pupils have been submitting a range of home learning tasks from to creating a newspaper article on the outbreak of war writing a letter from the trenches.
S5/6 Modern Studies students have been examining economic inequalities through accessing a range of online articles, including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, to identify the extent of inequality in Scotland and the UK. Higher Politics students have been learning about the political spectrum and considered their own views on a range of political and social issues. As part of this they completed the online Political Compass task to identify where they lie on the political spectrum. Their results were uploaded onto OneNote.
We continue to work very hard during this time and it is great to see our staff and students engaging incredibly well together. Our online confidence is building, what we are achieving together is fantastic to experience and we are seeing more creativity within our online lessons and a mindset amongst learners and staff to both experiment and try new ways of teaching and learning, maybe not thought to be possible only a few weeks ago!
We are delighted with the positive feedback we are receiving from parents and pupils about our online learning provision and our wellbeing checks. We take on board all feedback and continue to innovate and implement new ideas. Thank you to our 4 local shops in Bathgate, Boghall and Blackburn who we stock each week with free stationery packs and sanitary packs. This is being used extensively and we will continue doing this for the foreseeable future.
Also thank you to our cluster P7 pupils and families who have taken part in our online new S1 transition assemblies. More information on our upcoming transition events can be viewed below:
In this article we are placing a spotlight on our Maths & Technology, Science and Modern Languages Faculties.
Business, Computing and Maths Faculty
In the Business, Computing and Maths Faculty we have been working hard to engage pupils with lots of different online materials and methods.
In the BGE classes pupils have been working on a theme park project called Academy Towers. They have been designing their own logos for their theme park and creating posters/newsletters to advertise their park.
Our Senior Phase Retail class has used the FutureLearn website to access a retailing digital skills course. This course allows pupils to gain an insight into how the digital platform has created new ways for retailers and customers to connect. The course is offered as an extension task which challenges pupils knowledge throughout via tests and upon completion pupils are certificated for their achievement.
Our S3 Admin pupils have been learning about different forms of payment cards. We have used Glow forms to test understanding. We also incorporated our IT skills and designed a new smart card for Bathgate Academy (our personal favourite is below!).
National Admin have been working on the communication in administration unit. As pupils are using different forms of hardware and versions of software we have had fun/stress trying to help each other find different tools. Some pupils have been helpful and have uploaded videos to help others. Screen recordings on PowerPoint have been a massive help, especially with the IT element of the course!
S3 pupils have been using CodeCombat which introduces them to a text-based programming language in a game environment where they are able to move from level to level and take assessments along the way.
Some Maths classes have been working on grouping like terms - drawing a number line helped with subtracting negative numbers. The class also drew out zero pairs from their knowledge of algebra tiles as another way to help them with their learning at home. This was all supported by staff using visualisers to display work in real time
Transum is also being used as work can be easily differentiated. If more complex examples are practiced, Transum has a little window for working being typed in and is a self-checking website which is great for the pupils. Pupils with questions are gaining confidence in posting and joining small meeting on Teams to address their questions.
A range of Maths classes, from BGE to Higher, have been using MyMaths to assign work through lessons with worked examples and continuous practice as they move through topics. It can also be used to track progress and engagement. Pupils are given an instant summative score and formative feedback can be given by the teacher later.
Screen video recording, powerpoint video and audio recording, the use of Class notebook for sharing materials and interacting with pupils, and the use of Glow Forms & Teams Assignments are also being developed at pace to support pupil learning online.
Science are using class notebook to provide a page for each student each week. The page is distributed to every students folder in the class notes and then they write the answers to the tasks on that page which makes it much easier to give feedback. There are also PPT's provided alongside the lessons with voice recordings explaining the tasks and also videos that can show practical work that can help understanding.
Science teachers are giving individual feedback to every student who completes/uploads their work to class notebook with strengths and next steps and providing the students with success criteria to be able to complete research tasks to the best of their ability.
We are trying to get the learning as close as possible to the classroom so we are setting the senior phase students starter/plenary exercise within in our new lesson plan template. The use of videos has been integral to the students learning as well as using pre-recorded PPT's and doing video calls and using the collaboration space to work together.
The department have even started a youtube channel for the National 5 Chemistry course
The Modern Languages Department continues to allocate specific improvement and reflection time to writing linked to the DIRT Feedback key. The Class Notebook function in Teams is proving effective in allowing learners to revisit, review and improve their work.
ML staff have also continued to use game-based learning platforms such as Kahoot and Gimkit as formative assessment tools. The reports that are generated allow staff to monitor learner progress and address any gaps in their knowledge and understanding. Plus, our learners seem to enjoy getting competitive!
Check out what's been going on at the James Young High School in their weekly newsletter
Read all about how staff at Whitburn Academy have been working on their transition process for both current and new pupils.
1. Twitter page @wacp7transition
We have a Twitter page @wacp7transition which we be uploading content to. Over the next 6 -8 weeks we will have clips from all SLT, Heads of House, Learning Support and Heads of Faculties/ Faculty Leaders speaking to the P7's, introducing themselves and their faculties. There is also a virtual tour of the school on Twitter now. There will also be links to the school website where there will be some transition work for each faculty/ subject for pupils to engage with.
Any announcements or updates on transition will also be posted on twitter.
Sway presentations covering a range of topics, which it will be helpful for pupils to know, are posted on Twitter. The first presentation is a general intro to the school 'Places in our School'. We will drip feed these onto Twitter and school website so that pupils, parents/ carers are not overwhelmed with too much info at the same time.
2. Virtual Tour of school
We have shown all the key areas of the school plus a few specialised classrooms in our virtual tour video.
3. School Website
For those not on Twitter there will be a P7 Transitions section to the school website consisting of all the transition work offered by faculties plus anything that goes onto Twitter.
4. Transition Booklet
A comprehensive introduction to Whitburn Academy is offered through the Transition Booklet. All P7 pupils will receive one of these in the next few days via their primaries. To support the pupils with this booklet our House Team will work with the P7's and their teacher via Teams for 30-40 minutes each week, guiding them through the booklet and answer questions etc. An answer booklet will be sent to all primaries so that they can also help pupils.
4. Enhanced Transition
Much of the content covered during the Enhanced Transition days is covered in the booklet. However, it is beneficial to work with the identified group from each school discretely, so each primary school has set up an Enhanced Transition Team page which includes identified pupils, our ASN teachers and the primary school's ASN teacher. Our ASN teachers, along with the primary ASN teacher, lead the pupils through the booklet at a slower pace if required and amend the input to suit the pupils' needs.
Our ASN teachers are also making calls home to the pupils identified for Enhanced Transition to speak with parents and carers to reduce anxiety and offer support.
Here is our first Sway presentation
Virtual Tour of school
Here is our virtual tour of the school- Click the link below:
Introduction to the school by our Headteacher
Over the last month and a half, both staff and students have had to adapt to our new 'normal' and are delighted that everyone has risen to this challenge. As a school, we are providing online lessons on Microsoft Teams where we issue instructions, upload new and progressive work, and mark assignments so we can provide our learners with as much feedback as possible. We are all learning more about how we can progress our IT skills on a daily basis to make lessons engaging and we are trying to be as creative as we can to find solutions to the difficult situation we find ourselves in.
Life in the time of Quarantine - School Blog
While all subjects have been producing progression for learners in the material that we have been providing on Teams and in the paper packs, we also felt that it might be beneficial for students to have an outlet to explore what is happening in their lives just now.
To do that, one of our English teachers, Mr Williams, has created a brilliant set of resources, which take pupils through the process of diary writing, research skills, creative writing, cryptography, art and IT. All BGE pupils now have access to an online blog called 'Life in the time of Quarantine' where they can upload their thoughts and feelings at the same time as completing some cross curricular work. Miss Lyon, one of our computing teachers, has provided the IT know how to allow pupils to access this and we hope this will allow learners to reflect on these very strange times in the months and years to come.
In Art & Design, our S2 pupils have been looking at Pop Art for their first project, using their colour theory knowledge to create bright images. For their second project they were looking at ways to communicate positive messages to others through visual communication. Pupils selected a positive quote to inspire people and then added drawings to represent the message they were trying to create. This project allowed them to think about how art can be used to connect and share positive messages with others. They applied their colour knowledge and understanding of composition to create a bold image, taking inspiration from the current rainbow drawings and were encouraged to consider ways of sharing their work with others through window displays.
One of our 3rd year French students wrote a critique of the film 'Le Nouveau' that we watched in class prior lockdown. She then built up her vocabulary following comprehension exercises on the films for the last three weeks to eventually deliver an essay in perfect French using her recently acquired knowledge.
In Home Economics Miss Divers has had some good response on her 'baking the rainbow' challenge. This linked to a national challenge where learners are encouraged to use edible foraged foods, like dandelions, nettles, wild garlic etc. Here are some of their efforts.
In Social Studies at Armadale Academy students in Higher Modern Studies have been preparing for their new courses. We are running Higher Politics for the first time. Students were asked to research the different political parties in the UK, their leaders and policies.
Students in National 5 Modern Studies were asked to research a Modern Studies topic of their choice from the current Coronavirus pandemic / the Dec 2019 UK election or forthcoming US Presidential Elections scheduled for November 2020. The standard of work that students have produced has been of a high quality as can be seen here.
Students in Geography have also been preparing for their new courses. N5 students have been preparing for Higher by completing a climate change research task. S3 have been consolidating their understanding of disease by researching one of the diseases covered in the topic and another one of their choice.
During the summer term we would normally have all of the current P7s up visiting the school to find their way around, get comfortable with their surroundings, meet their teachers and make new friends. Obviously we are looking at a very different scenario this year but some of our current S1 pupils have been putting together a guide to help reassure them that moving to the Academy will be a positive experience!
Helping our community
Armadale Academy has long prided itself on being at the heart of the community and we are trying our best to support that community as best we can in these very challenging times. Despite the school closure, we are working hard with our Family Support Worker and our local ASDA store to provide food for families who might be finding it hard to do their full weekly shop.
The food that we bought was brought back to the school and our fantastic pupil support workers helped us pack it all up and deliver it to families who are either completely self-isolating or cannot pick it up from the school itself. We hope that these food parcels ease the difficulty much of our community is facing at this time and we will continue to help in any way we can in the weeks to come.
Rights Respecting Schools
Even though the school is closed, teachers are still working hard to provide not only online teaching and learning for our amazing students, but also to keep improving our school community so that when we do get back in the building we can hit the ground running.
In 2019 Armadale Academy achieved their Bronze Award under the newly designed UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. This award confirmed that we are committed to raising awareness of the UNICEF Rights of the Child and have plans in place to ensure pupils in Armadale Academy are learning about rights, through rights and for rights. This means that we want to ensure all members of our school community understand what the rights are and how they work. The implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child promotes respect, increased pupil voice in the running of the school, promotion of active learning and involvement in extra-curricular activities. We also want to become ambassadors of rights where we raise awareness in the local community and help other children around the world to access their rights.
Broxburn Academy has embraced the home learning agenda with gusto using GLOW Teams and Show My Homework.
The PSE and English departments were charged with making sure that our young people had their usernames and passwords before 'lockdown' came into being. This meant that large numbers of young people were able to access the work that our highly committed staff provided and have continued to provide.
Many pieces of work submitted by young people are showcased in our weekly 'Broxburn Academy's Virtual Learning Newsletter' which is posted on the school website, the school app, the school Twitter account and tagged with #erlBrox, our hashtag that young people on the 'Creating Our Vision' dreamed up: it stands for 'empowering respectful learners at Broxburn.' The newsletter is created in a GLOW Sway format and has featured a whole range work. For example, there have been PowerPoints from modern language classes that capture research into francophone towns and Spanish-speaking cities. In science, young people have been devising experiments to carry out at home that enhance their learning about how cells and the body work. Music pupils have been experimenting with making their own instruments. There have been examples from the higher photography class of stunning professional-level images and artwork from the higher expressive unit that is really imaginative and pushing boundaries. The drama department are encouraging pupils to give their critique of films and to explore the processes of cinematic creation. Departments are encouraging young people to find ways of learning that help them put information into their long-term memories and there are numerous ways that they have come up with both using old-style paper approaches but also exploring resources online. Our Robert Russell Room pupils have devised their own version of 'Pac Man' and a skills-based project called the Creative Cardboard Challenge. Our Career Management Skills classes have been working on preparing themselves online for their future careers. Perhaps the most remarkable achievement was from one of our T5 pupils who managed to bake a cake at home - how did he manage to get flour in 'lockdown?' Clearly some procurement skills demonstrated!
Staff have been learning, too, and the science department now have a YouTube channel for their resources to be shared. It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTN_ny1Ix64a60fc5s26RcA
Our Design, Manufacture and Graphics department have been using Loom to record video lessons, which is allowing pupils to maintain and enhance their practical skills. N5 Graphics used them to develop their orthographic sketching ability. N5 Design and manufacture young people are designing a table for their home environment and are about to manufacture sketch models from old cereal boxes and the Higher Design and Manufacture class have been analysing everyday products found in the home and are beginning to realise how much thought goes into products that we take for granted. The new S2 are also about to embark on a design challenge to investigate how many ways an egg can be held up using card.
The guidance department have mastered the subtleties of video editing putting together the staff's farewell to the S6. It brought a tear to our eyes.
Finally, the staff responded warmly to the video that one of our S6 house captains produced to express her thoughts about her experience at Broxburn Academy and all the barriers that she has overcome, thanking us for our support.
These new ways of learning and communicating are impacting on so many levels and in so many ways.
At St Margaret's Academy pupils have been engaging with their learning in a range of ways through Teams. They have adapted well to this change in learning style and have been keen to share their learning. As a school they have been celebrating learning by publishing a weekly showcase, spotlighting different departments each week, on the school website. All year groups have been having live assemblies run by staff to keep in touch with what is happening and to allow everyone to come together. Here are just some examples learning over the last few weeks:
S1 and S2 Science pupils have been developing their experimental skills by completing practical at home. We have seen bridges built, catapults constructed and pendulums swung!
Pupils have started to work on their Idea Award during STEM time, and we are looking forward to presenting certificates to celebrate this once they are complete. S3 pupils have been sharing their understanding of Science using forms quizzes to enable them to receive feedback from their teachers.
Pupils have been working on a range of engaging learning tasks in their online work with their English teachers. Pupils have engaged with the topic of "People We Admire", with reading, listening and writing about people for example, Captain Tom Moore. Work on advertising and the thrilling short story "Uneasy Homecoming" has proved popular, with pupils guided by short videos produced by teachers. It's fair to say that pupils and staff have risen to the challenge of distance learning, developing our digital literacy skills alongside our English learning.
S1 and S2 in Social Subjects have been conducting their own investigations into a country of their choice by researching many historical, political and geographical aspects. They have been using a variety of digital methods to present their information including Word, PowerPoint and sharing images of the work they have been completing at home.
In S3 History have been exploring and investigating the key reasons why immigrants moved to Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries and the impact this has had on us today.
Pupils in Geography completed a research project which involved them comparing the levels of development between two countries using graphs and data. They have also been making use of the BBC and YouTube documentaries as aspects of their digital learning.
Modern Studies pupils have been developing their detective skills and became part of St Margaret's PD by using a variety of different media sources to investigate a murder! They have been building a case to solve the murder using the evidence provided in the form of 'interviews, phone calls and CCTV videos'.
Health and Food Technology
To encourage and promote personalisation as choice during home learning, Higher HFT pupils were set a Points Challenge. Pupils chose a range of tasks to add up to 28 points that would enable them to consolidate their learning. One of our S5 pupils created this:
S1 pupils have been working on their Foods Around the World projects which require pupils to research a country of their choice and complete a variety of activities. As you can see below we've had some super pieces of written work submitted alongside mouth- watering dishes!
S1 have been working on a space project where they have been exploring Virgin Galactic and competitor SPACEX's range of services and marketing. S1 have then designed their own holiday in space brochure for an intergalactic adventure.
S2 have been working on their entrepreneurial challenge creating a healthy alternative to fizzy juice. Pupils have had to think about what tasty natural ingredients they would like to include and produce a power-point pitch for their product. Pupils have continued with their entrepreneurial learning by creating a facts power-point on their chosen entrepreneur focusing on ethical business.
S3 Business classes have been working on the Researching a Business Unit. Pupils are developing their research skills through investigating a business of their choice. They will be focusing on the delivery of Customer Care by their chosen organisation. They have been creating questionnaires on survey monkey and analysing the data they collect. They have been discussing their findings, providing solutions to any customer care issues highlighted. The end product will be a power-point presentation demonstrating their presenting and research skills.
Within the PE department pupils have been busy carrying out a variety of different tasks such as fitness workouts, yoga, mindfulness and research tasks. Pupils have been completing Wellbeing diaries to help them plan and structure their week. They have also been looking at examples of how to be respectful and responsible when taking part in sport and PE lessons. Pupils have then created presentations from their findings.
The S3 Dance pupils have been researching how to stay safe when participating in dance. They collated the information gathered into a presentation.
The staff and pupils at Linlithgow Academy have adapted well to their new learning environment. We are delighted to share some of the high-quality work being submitted.
In S1, Geography students have been busy completing their Biomes project. After studying the Desert Biome in class pupils picked their own Biome to investigate. They have learned about how plants, animals and people have adapted to live in their chosen Biome and researched the reasons behind the climate and location of their biome. A small taster of some of the fantastic work Jenna, Molly and Ethan in S1 have produced.
S3 Geography pupils have been busy designing their own Sustainable Houses of the future. This has finished off their sustainable cities topic where pupils were learning all about how cities across the world are transforming in a bid to become more sustainable!
Pupils used Minecraft to design a Sustainable House of the Future:
Pupils in S1 & S3 in Home Economics have been developing their knowledge and understanding of 'Foods Around the World' by completing a project on their own chosen country. In this project pupils have challenged themselves to research foods and cultures out with Scotland while creating a colourful project. Some pupils also showcased their culinary skills by cooking dishes from their chosen country. Furthermore, pupils in all years have been tweeting in tasty recipes they have been making at home and, also on Teams sharing their recipes with others in their class. Mrs Malone has been busy in her kitchen making cook along videos which have been going town a treat with pupils, parents, carers and staff!!
Art and Design pupils have been completing pieces at home and sending in their artwork
Additionally, pupils have been busy making animations
Meanwhile in History, Freya in S2 developed a board game on the Haitian revolution for her S2 project on Researching Revolutions which she played with her brother. Here's her description of the game:
"The Lego people are the characters, the one with the cape is Napoleon Bonepart and the white characters represent the French Government and landowners. The black character is Toussaint Louvature, and the yellow (I ran out of black heads) are the slaves. You may need to zoom in to read the spaces. In the how to play it says yellow cards, these are the picture cards. To make the game I researched, painted the cardboard, typed out and printed all the spaces and cards, stuck them down and created the characters. I realise there wouldn't have been women in the French government or fighting but they could be Land-Ladies.
In Higher and Advanced Higher History, pupils were given a series of 5 different note taking methods, explained with examples and an article for reading. They then used that style of notetaking, either on the historical article or (if they felt it suited their future studies better) on their own choice of reading.
In Languages pupils have been completing BGE project work which has involved:
- S1/2 French and Spanish: Making revision booklets and researching facts on France/Spain
- S3 French: Designing uniform and downtime clothes for key workers
- S3 Spanish: Researching a sportsperson, detailing their kit/what they wear and writing about their town.
- S1-3: Spanish and French recipes to try at home.
- S4-6 have been continuing to develop language skills, using materials we have posted to classes on SMHW.
Pupils in English have written lovely pieces of poetry from pupils who were inspired by some pieces written by Carol Ann Duffy. The examples below come from students from S3 and S5.
Two Metres Apart
Family and friends from a distance,
Hugs and kisses in the air,
Constant feeling of fear,
Two metres apart at all times.
People risking their lives,
Living out of a suitcase,
No one near you,
2 metres apart at all times.
Too scared to go outside,
2 metres apart at all times.
Little food in shops,
Struggle to find toilet paper,
2 metres apart at all times.
2 metres apart at all time!........
Inveralmond is a community school and throughout the challenges this pandemic has presented we have worked hard to keep this and the health and wellbeing of our community at the centre of our approach.
Prior to the lockdown over 100 devices were shared with our learners, assemblies were held to explain the potential impacts and how the school is going to support our young people and most importantly, how we would keep in contact with them.
The school has also had local businesses coming onboard to support our community work with Tesco in Bathgate donating £100 of food towards our "American Learning Challenge", to let families build their own American style burgers and to Workflow for the donation of Basketball hoops and Basketballs so that families can engage in some enjoyable outdoor activity during the lockdown.
This supportive and caring approach is not only for our community but also for the front-line workers as the school has joined the efforts to produce and deliver PPE for the stars in front line caring roles. So far, over 2000 pieces of equipment has been produced that is helping to keep our friends and community safe.
The school is also engaging directly with future pupils through its transition programme. This programme is delivering welcome packs, that include key information, school ties and information booklets but it is also delivering a friendly face and making connections that is bringing reassurance and confidence to our pupils and their families.
Learning continues to progress with pupils moving onto the next challenges in their learning on Microsoft Teams. School staff have been updating their skills daily because they want to deliver the best and most engaging lessons possible and pupils are responding brilliantly with high levels of engagement across all year groups.
Not only does the curriculum continue to deliver, staff are also innovating and are being creative in how they deliver the curriculum in a different way. The Virtual Science club and Literacy Shorts resources are designed and delivered in a way that is easily accessible, updatable and ensures easy interaction on any device. Ensuring flexibility and adaptability across platforms is one of the guiding principles of our learning and teaching approaches and using the Microsoft platforms has really helped us to do this. This flexibility is one that the school have been continually reinforcing by not running a typical school day online. Providing clear deadlines for work completion has been done so flexibility is given to learners and staff to manage their learning and life in a way that reflects and supports their specific circumstances.
Headteacher, Mrs Suzie Young said "I am always so proud to be the Headteacher of Inveralmond Community High School but particularly now! The staff cannot do enough and the sense of community spirit has been amazing. The involvement from school staff and different agencies has made sure that we can keep health and wellbeing at the centre of our approach"
The home learning programme at West Calder High School has provided pupils with a wide range of different learning experiences through a variety of different contexts.
Teachers have been amazed at the ability of our young people to adapt to the virtual learning environment and in some instances support the teachers with some if the technical aspects of the virtual classroom.
With such a significant change in such a short time frame, pupils have demonstrated a level of adaptability and resilience that has to be acknowledged and celebrated.
The new WCEdx platform has recently been launched and this provides young people with access to a wide range of online courses which provide additional learning opportunities and the change to gain certificates and wider achievements in order to bridge the gap between academic achievement and life in the real world.
Other highlights over the past 3 weeks of online learning have included the PE department offering a range of activities for pupils to choose from including yoga, High Intensity Interval training and dance workouts, tasked with completing physical challenges and a post evaluation. Young people are completing fitness journals and recording their progress physically, mentally and emotionally by discussing how they feel before, during and after each activity.
In English, S1 pupils have been making a herculean effort whilst learning about Greek Myths, a combination of reading stories and completing a variety of tasks and challenges. So far they have learned about Pandora's Box, Echo and Narcissus, and Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds.
Pupils have also been designing their own Greek Myth themed board games for the young people to share their learning and enjoy playing with their families during the lockdown.
In S2, pupils have been preparing persuasive pieces of writing in the style of the BBC television show 'Room 101'. Pupils have been loving to hate a whole variety of modern conveniences such as pickled onions, self-service checkouts, wearing shoes without socks, paper cuts, txt spk and (rather bizarrely) hot chocolate! They'll be using language techniques to convince their readers to banish these controversial items from the world... forever.
Both year groups will also be composing letters to send to residents in our local care homes who will have been missing having visitors since isolation began. In Humanities students have been taking part in activities to recognise Earth Day, the world's largest environmental movement.
The school will continue to push the boundaries of online learning, and will continue to work with all of our partners and providers to ensure that every young person has the provision they require to make the most of their home learning experience. Undoubtedly, this is a challenging time for everyone but it is testament to the dedication and commitment of teachers, support staff, parents and most importantly our young people who are making the most of this situation.
The wider school community has pulled together over this period as pupils and staff work on developing individual skills and helping each one another.
Senior phase students have been honing their skills in preparation for their next phase of learning by undertaking a Spotlight on Skills fortnight. During this time they are using online platforms like EtonX, Futurelearn, Fender Play and Rosetta Stone to develop independent learning skills, critical thinking abilities and time management as well as their subject specific abilities. Based on Skills Development Scotland's meta skills, this fortnight provides the senior school with access to outstanding opportunities to develop the skill set they need for their next stages in life, learning and work.
In Music classes, students have been completing a research project based around Scottish Musicians and work has started on creating podcasts with S1 and S2 classes.
Meanwhile, BGE Social Subjects have used everything from PowerPoint to Tik Tok to show off their Social Subjects skills. Malcolm in S1 has been keeping track with a Lockdown Diary - maybe it'll become a historical artefact one day? Mrs MacLauchlan's class completed some excellent PowerPoints on health around the world while Miss Ramsay's class impressed by completing their 60 second news briefs on Tik Tok. Maybe the teachers might be persuaded to join the craze??
Senior phase students have been extending their critical thinking skills as well as their knowledge and understanding by engaging in podcasts. They chose from a variety of podcasts such as Ways to Change the World, Dan Snow's History Hit and Simple Politics to engage in their learning in new ways.
S1 Developing Young Workforce classes have been working on a new unit 'Learn a New Skill' each week they will be given a skill to learn and by the end of the unit, they will have recorded evidence including pictures/videos etc. to help them create a PowerPoint presentation to showcase learning that has taken place and the skills they have gained.
This week, S1 were given the resources and information needed to learn a few basics in British Sign Language (BSL). Pupils undertook the tasks to learn the manual alphabet and how to sign their own name. Links and further resources were given to pupil to further their own independent learning online.
Other highlights include Health and Food students cooking and baking at home and sharing their results with staff and classmates.
Also, S1-2 Art students have been using the Google Arts app and developing their Critical and Literacy Skills by becoming Art Critics.
Staff have been making daily calls to ensure that pupils remain engaged and simply have someone else to talk to during this challenging time. It has been fantastic to hear the reaction of pupils and it is truly making the difference for these learners.
The team have been delivering netbooks and mindfulness packs to students whilst following social distancing guidelines to ensure that all pupils have access to any tools they need.
The school fully embraces the principles of Nurture and that has been no different during these challenging times and has set up a 'virtual room' using Microsoft Teams. Nurture Groups are thriving online and students have eagerly participated from home.
The work has centred around finding strategies to cope with change and maintaining cherished relationships. So far, there have been 1338 replies from staff and students in the main group and the response from the pupils has been overwhelmingly positive. Teams meet daily through video call in in addition to pupils having their own group sessions with Nurture Teachers. Daily wellbeing challenges are completed, as we make each other smile and try to find new ways to stay compassionate and connected through these tricky times.
Teachers and students at Deans have continued to work incredibly well together. The creativity on both accounts in making the most of the learning tools around them and turning the current unusual circumstances into positive learning experiences have been impressive and the examples below are just a sample of what has been taking place.
Mr Dibdin from the Home Economics department has been videoing cooking lessons from his kitchen at home, including his singing of the happy birthday song as he washes hands. So no excuses for your child not helping you out in the kitchen!
S3 biology the pupils have been learning about human impact on the environment, including working on a 'biome in a box' project in which the students construct their own biome. They incorporated this into their daily outdoor exercise, taking photos of the plant life around them and explaining their findings to one another.
In Modern Languages, S2 German students joined in with students from other schools to compete in an inter-schools Kahoot competition whilst Higher students used news articles from Germany to research the impact of the Corona Virus.
In English, some S1 classes have been using Audible Stories and Nearpod to teach class novels. They've listened to a chapter and then completed tasks in the Nearpod lesson - some are open-ended written answers, some are quizzes and some are collaborative "Post-It notes" where they can all see each others' answers.
Pupils in PE have been set daily challenges on their Teams pages and on social media, helping to keep activity levels and motivation high, with the staff demonstrating their own skills (some stronger than others!). Students have been
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Some students have been doing their own fitness sessions from home and sending in their key stats such as heart rate, duration and intensity.
Pupils complete an online Form whenever they do exercise to tell us what they have been up to. These Forms have shown the impact of exercise on mental and emotional wellbeing as well as the physical benefits of staying active as pupils rate their mood out of 5 before and after exercise.
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Tasks and advice to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students have also been added. Mrs Emmett created a mindfulness session on video that students can join in with from the school website. Our school counselling service, YourSpace, have continued to work with our young people, offering a digital support service, whilst a support powerpoint has added to the school website and there are daily updates on twitter and the school app etc about different supports that can be accessed.
At Bathgate Academy staff have responded calmly and creatively to the challenges of teaching 'remotely' and many innovative approaches have been used to engage pupils in an online learning environment.
There has been a great emphasis in creating a classroom environment with teachers holding conference calls with pupils allowing them to speak to staff directly and ask questions about their learning. This is working especially well in English and with ASD pupils.
In the Music department online quizzes have been undertaken during timed conditions, to energise the learning environment and Maths teachers are scheduling work with fixed submission dates and asking pupils to paste photos of their written work into pages created within Class Notebook. They are using Multiple Choice forms and awarding points per question which allows teachers to provide feedback.
In S1 Science, pupils and their families have been challenged to test the link between smell and taste by holding their noses whilst eating an onion and an apple. Will they taste a difference? Pupils are upcycling their blue bin materials to make water wheels which harness the power of energy. Being at home has its advantages to making learning relevant.
The school has also ensured that the pupil's health and wellbeing is catered for through daily PE challenges, Art challenges, more cookery at home options and weekly wellbeing checks.
Meanwhile staff at the James Young High School have created a Virtual School using Glow and Microsoft Teams where students can access their learning at anytime, anywhere and on any device.
In CDT teachers have created video clips to support students in their learning and can review work completed as it is uploaded through the assignment hand in function.
The school's History students have been researching dangers in the trenches and make posters about them. They have produced some impressive work as seen below:
Science students have been carrying our research into the Rock Cycle and have produced some creative visualisations of it for their teacher.
They have also been completing online assessment activities in S2 where the questions are automatically marked and feedback and a score are given to the students immediately.
In Modern Languages students have continued to use a wide range of games based learning to learn their vocabulary and have been using the feedback facilities on Teams to understand areas of strength and next steps in learning.
A few examples are shown in the following pictures:
At Whitburn Academy teachers have also been using tools such as Microsoft Teams to allow pupils as much of a chance as possible to communicate with staff and talk through their work with both pupils and teachers able to provide each other with valuable feedback.
Technology deployed by the school has also given pupils independence to conduct their own learning independently.
Pupils have been undertaking virtual experiments in Science. Using Microsoft Teams, pupils have been able to watch experiments from links posted by their teacher. They then work independently through a series of tasks in order to write-up the virtual experiment, much in the way they would in class. They are able to post their work for feedback at each stage and ask questions if they need to.
Use of video screen casting has also been vital in allowing teachers to carry out live classroom lessons. Pupils have been able to check-in with teachers who can deliver the online lesson via video-link. The video conference tool allows teachers to use on online whiteboard to show 'worked examples' and pupils can work through these while getting feedback. The screen-casting tool means that the teacher can cast whatever help or resources pupils need in real time.
Teachers can also create different channels on Microsoft Teams. In one example Mr Tibbetts (English) created three channels on a page:
- "Ready to Work", a channel to register and read instructions each day;
- "Check my Work", a channel for pupils to post work in-progress for feedback;
- "I Need Help!", a channel for pupils to ask questions.
Pupils are never more than one click away from a dedicated channel, and can to take ownership of their learning, and work together on problems.