Monthly Archives: November 2007



just a little snippet !
We had one of those moments that make your job truly worthwhile today.Lee,Gary,Jamie,Ben and Craig had a go at hotseating today .They all sat on the hotseat and put themselves in the position of the person who bullies.The others asked questions and the boy in the hotseat had to respond from the point of view of the person who bullies.Lee was a truly EFFECTIVE CONTRIBUTOR in that he led the group sensibly and recorded questions and answers.It was great to see him being so responsible and mature. All the boys were SUCCESSFUL LEARNERS as they learned how to hotseat and work successfully in a group!

Food for thought?⤴


I have had an interesting day today! Fran Goodman and I were discussing the project and we both felt that the children were struggling slightly with this topic. After the initial excitement of being able to plan their own work we felt the children were less enthusiastic about following their plans. A lot of posters and graphs have been produced but not much else. So we talked to the children about it this afternoon. At first they said they were still keen .I pointed out that that they could be honest ! ‘Too much reading from books’ Nothing to make’ ‘Not enough to choose from’ We compared it to the topic last year ,The Romans, when they put on a display of knowledge.’That was miles better,we had lots to make and do,lots of areas to study.’ ‘More topic books and pictures to look at’ ‘Easier to think of things to do’ A clear message coming through about active learning?
WHAT NOW? The children felt this was a difficult topic to study in this way so we decided to finish what was already started and move on. There would be time to present work on Thursday. This is a learning curve and doesn’t always work out how you think! I know I thought it would work well,knowing the class from last year but they were not ‘ready’ to tackle the topic of bullying in this way. SO we are moving on to a science topic next week.(The children think this will be better!)Hoping this will be more suited to their needs at this time.

Personalisation and Choice – “Planet Seekers”⤴


Apologies for not keeping this site regularly updated! I am finding that I often sit down around 9pm with great intentions….the next thing I know, it’s midnight and I have been asleep for 3 hours!

Monday afternoons have now become our “Planet Seeker” afternoons in Primary 5/6. Part of the original forward plan for the topic of Space was to find out details about the planets. I decided to take a similar approach to that taken in Cockenzie. This time however I was at an advantage and knew the children before I began to work with them, I therefore made some changes to suit their needs.

Each child chose a planet that interested them, this was an informed decision and choices were made following a study of planets on the internet and in books. They then chose how they wanted to work; individually, with a partner or in groups. Forward plans were then made…again by the children. The children were given five key questions that they had to find the answers to and then chose five more questions to find answers to. They chose for all questions, how they were going to find the answers and how they were going to prove their learning and present it to Mission Control (the rest of the class and teachers).

The children have recently been taught how to create slideshows in ICT so it was interesting that many of them have chosen to use this newly aquired skill to present their information. Others are creating posters, doing a Drama or preparing a talk. Many children have responded to this challenge and are well on the way to being successful.

As before the challenge for me is to ensure that there remains a balance between direct teaching and active, discovery learning. So far however the children have generally been incredibly motivated and slide shows beyond my capabilities are being produced as proof of learning! This project is only a small part of the overall work on Space but it really is encouraging the children to choose topics and ways of learning that suit them.

Does this way of learning suit all ?⤴


I had a very interesting morning with 5G .This was the first REAL attempt at working on their own,following their plans and ideas. I thought (how presumtious of me !) they would be full of enthusiasm and raring to go.Don’t get me wrong,many of the children were but 2 or 3 struggled to get started.
* What do I have to do ?
* I don’t know what to do ?
were a few of the comments I got. I encouraged them to go back to their key questions and look at what they had decided to do . These children still wanted support to ensure they were doing the right thing. So, this was an example of direct teacher input to move their learning on. One or two others needed ‘encouragement’ to stay on task and to take responsibility for their own learning.After this discussion they seemed more confident to work more independently.
A lot of children carried out surveys asking questions about bullying and constructing bar graphs to show results.The main question being asked was ‘Do you think Bullying is fun?’ Lee asked this question to P6 and no one said they thought it was fun! Once he had drawn his graph he added a speech bubble with the question ‘ Were they all telling the truth?’ Other children were working on posters to present their work. We had a class discussion about standards of presentation and drew up a list of requirements that would present their work in the best light.They compiled a list of success criteria and stuck by it .They took a pride in their work and wanted it to look good.By the end of the morning progress had been made ! The work this morning made me think about the individual needs of children and how they can be met.Certainly one or two children still required a lot of teacher input to get started and stay on task but with this support and encouragement they too can become successful learners and confident individuals.It is all about finding the balance.

I have a dream…⤴


This morning we wrote a report about Martin Luther King Jr!! Nicole liked the story and so found it easy to do. Carly felt that by hearing the story and talking about it on Monday made her remember more facts. Katy found it interesting. Blair found it is good he wrote 3 pages! He then re read his work and checked he had everything I was looking for. His piece of writing was then peer assessed in a small group. He is very pleased with it.

In the afternoon they enjoyed hearing the story of The Fish That Could Wish by John Bush and Korky Paul. Mairi thought it was good because it linked to our project because Martin Luther King Jr had a wish. We then loved hearing about everyones dreams – some wanted to fly, some wanted animal cruelty stopped and some just wanted lots of sweets! We then thought about how we wanted to display our dream work.

Forward Plans!!!!!!!⤴


THE CHILDREN HAVE NOW CHOSEN 4 KEY QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER.They have completed their forward plans much quicker than I do ! Some found it difficult to think how they would prove their learning so it was appropriate to offer ideas.This morning they began the REAL WORK of researching.There were a lot of surveys being carried out and graphs drawn(meaningful links to maths) Posters were planned and designed.We laid some ground rules regarding presentation(links to literacy). The children set their own success criteria.The children are considering a Display of Knowledge to promote their work.