Category Archives: Abbeyhill Ambassadors

Playing in the park!

On Monday after school, the teaching staff headed to Holyrood Park with Ranger Rob from the Education Centre to learn more about this incredible natural resource that’s right on our doorsteps and how it can be used to enhance our curriculum. A lot of tourists wondered why were walking around with blindfolds on and some ‘friendly’ rivalries were established for a team based ‘Nature’s Clock’ activity and we all came home buzzing with ideas.

P1 were out today for their 3rd Forest Schools Friday and there were huge smiles on their faces when they returned a little while ago! From all the different activities that they are doing it looks as though they should have gone with the teachers on Monday and trained them up!

(Disclaimer – these photos are from last Friday but I fully expect some nice muddy ones from today’s adventure!)

This week, I visited Buckstone Primary School with the Head Teachers from Ratho and Broomhouse Primaries. We regularly meet in this group, as do all other primary HTs in the city, to discuss our own school in relation to progress against a particular ‘How Good Is Our School?’ quality indicator. This time we each presented information about ‘Raising Attainment and Achievement’ (3.2) and it was interesting to hear the different approaches that we all take and what works best in each school. We all took a few ideas from each other and agreed that, as always, it was time well spent.

Spotlight on….the Listening Spot with Russell McLarty

On Wednesdays at lunchtime over the past few weeks I have started to be a ‘Listening Spot’ in the playground. The idea is to have someone from out-with the staff – a ‘friend’ of the school – able to listen to any concerns children may want to talk about. Over the past 2 years I have been keen to help Abbeyhill Primary in different ways and certainly willing to take on this role carrying my ‘Listening Spot’ big umbrella. It takes time to build up rapport, but even over a few weeks it has been good to have some useful conversations and give a bit of encouragement. Where some youngsters may find it difficult to share things which are worrying them the ‘Listening Spot’ may help.

Did you visit…?

Last weekend it was the 14th Colony of Artists festival and as always it was an absolutely amazing celebration of the rich artistic talent that lives in the Abbeyhill area. We are so lucky to be such an integral part of the festival as we have exhibited for 13 of those 14 years and it brings so much to who we are at Abbeyhill. Profuse thanks as always to our curator-in-residence Iliyana Nedkova as without her skill, expertise and organisation we would not be able to have the experiences that we do. Thanks must also go to Vlad Hasiu who worked incredibly hard alongside Iliyana in the run up and over the weekend to produce the exhibits in the school. Thanks to all the other parents, staff and volunteers who helped or visited to show their support over the weekend. If you weren’t able to make it don’t worry, we’ll be back next year!

Next week, P7 leave us for camp at Lagganlia and they are all very excited! Bets are on as to who will have the biggest suitcase and organisation skills are being put to the test as a few have admitted that they haven’t started packing…. I’ve recommended 3 times as many socks as they think they need so let’s see who comes home with dry feet next Friday! All P7 families will be able to follow their adventures through the private Twitter account that Mr Martin and Mr Hamilton have spoken about. Have fun P7!

Meanwhile, back at Abbeyhill the Nursery start their Forest Adventures, P5 have their second attempt(!) at attending the touch rugby tournament at Murrayfield, P4-7 Mindfulness starts again (the P7s will be getting plenty of practice in Lagganlia without their phones), the Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be recording new phone messages for the school phone line, a parental behaviour attitude survey will be sent out to families and I will be attending the Edinburgh Head Teacher’s Association (EPHTA) meeting with a focus on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce. We will also send out the link so that you can book your Parents’ Evening appointments for the end of the month. It’s so worthwhile to take the opportunity to discuss your child’s academic progress but if you can’t make either of the dates, please feel welcome to contact your child’s teacher to make an alternative appointment.

Phew! We’re all off for a rest over the weekend so we’re ready for another jam-packed week at Abbeyhill!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

 

We love the rain!

I hope you all enjoy reading your class newsletter if you receive school emails. Paper copies will also come out next week for those who don’t! It’s full of information about what has been happening in school since we started back in August. As you will read, everyone has been extremely busy and there is still plenty of excitement to come!  

We had our first outdoor wet break of the session on Monday and it was a new experience to be out in the rain, rather than cooped up indoors. Thank you to the families who have donated waterproof jackets that their children have outgrown as we needed quite a few spares for those of us who were unprepared! Thank you also to the parents who have taken the time to let me know that they think staying outdoors in (almost) all weathers is a positive thing. There certainly seemed to be less frayed tempers in the afternoon as we’d all had a dose of fresh air and enjoyed the delights of being outside in the rain – like jumping in puddles! PUDDLES.jpg

Spotlight on….P5 with Miss Howson

This term Primary 5 are exploring states of matter and substances as part of our introduction into chemistry! This started with an opportunity to make Ooblek (a non-newtonian fluid) which changes with force. We build on what we had learned in previous years, about solids, liquids, gases. We discussed how water is found naturally in all three states and reminded ourselves of the water cycle. We then began to deepen our understanding of how temperature changes the state of objects (how the addition or removal of heat leads to water/ice/steam). We began to look at how molecules in substances look (and you can see our photos of us being the molecules in a solid, liquid and gases state! We discussed how heat equals energy, so we break bonds and move more freely!

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This terms science topic is looking at substances and chemical mixtures. To introduce the idea of chemical mixtures (more than one component within an item) we used Chromatography. Each pupil was shown 2 ways to conduct the experiment, and then with a partner had to agree on what protocols and techniques they were going to use. It was brilliant to watch the class as young scientists, discussing how to get the best results. After some experimentation, the class were then allowed to change the experiment, opting to investigate if we had to use filter paper or if normal paper would work. We were astonished to find out kitchen roll works! It was brilliant to see the different colours in our inks – and we created a brilliant display to show this science off!

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If you would like to recreate this experiment at home you will need, a cup of water, a long piece of kitchen roll and some felt tipped pens. Draw a line a 5 cm from the bottom of your kitchen roll in felt tip. Place 3cm of kitchen roll (below the line) into water. Wait…. and watch the colours appear! Our young scientists can explain to you why!

We began to discuss the differences between mixtures and solutions this week, by watching Ms Howson make a picnic for herself – we all thought it was a little unfair! Into the first bowl she added: granola, dried apple bits, chocolate buttons, white chocolate buttons, and into the second bowl she added orange dilute and water. We were given a task, in groups discuss strategies we could use to separate the items in the bowls into their original items. It was a lot trickier to separate the orange juice! (and Ms Howson was very impressed when she saw people try filtration like the chromatography experiment!).

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We then watched The Great Picnic Mix-up and returned to our mixtures with our new knowledge and could discuss what was a mixture, and what was a solution – and how and why we could tell them apart.

With our new knowledge of solutions and mixtures it was time to make our own! We had four stations set around the room, each with a bowl, water and a bag of solute (different types of sugar and salts). To begin with we each went around the four stations in teams, trying to work out if our solute did dissolve, and how best to measure. We agreed on a sprinkle measure as a class. We were then given team captains and assigned a station – our task was to recreate the experiment, tallying each sprinkle to see the solubility of each solute. We worked hard as teams, sprinkling and tally marking trying to discover which solute would win!

After we had tidied up we discussed how we could improve the accuracy of our experiment (standardised measure, same temp water, same number of stirs. We agreed as a class we may return to this experiment later in the year and complete it in a more scientific way!

To recreate this science at home: you need a cup of water and a solute (salt, sugar (anything that would dissolve in the water). Our young scientists can explain why this works, what dissolving is, and why you cannot dissolve forever!

Report from the sidelines

Well done to our football team who did Abbeyhill proud at their first match last Saturday! There was some excellent football for our team and best of all, great teamwork. The parents and carers were great too at giving support and encouragement. Our opponents – Wardie – were all P7s and a well established team. They initially took a strong lead but in the second half Abbeyhill played some amazing football and pulled back to 5-7, the final score. We didn’t win but have lots to be proud of. Good luck in tomorrow’s match!

And finally….

Are you looking for things to do in the Leith and Abbeyhill area? The updated ‘at a Glance’ guides have just been published and will be shared with you next week. If you want to have a look now, please click here to access the website.

Next week, it will be all systems go as we gear up for our involvement in the Colony of Artists festival on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September, Russell McLarty will start his ‘Listening Spot’ on Wednesday in the playground and our Abbeyhill Ambassadors will be doing a bag pack at Sainsbury’s. Remember that school is closed for the September weekend on Monday 16th September but we resume as normal on Tuesday 17th. Have a lovely weekend!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

Looking ahead…

It may only be August but you have to be fast when it comes to the festive season and I’m delighted to announce that we’ll welcome M&M productions to Abbeyhill to perform ‘Dick Whittington’ in two separate showings for everyone from Nursery – P7! By going a little early we’ve secured the production at just £6 per child which is a fantastic price for a professional performance. Look out for more details coming out soon.

It’s Meet the Teacher next week and I look forward to welcoming as many of you as are able to come into school to meet some of our community partners as well as have a look round classrooms and have an informal chat with teaching staff. Please remember that this is not Parent’s Evening and if you would like an private conversation with your child’s teacher, you can arrange one at a different time. Parent’s Evening is next month and more information will come out about that shortly.

On Wednesday I met with Lynn Yeneka from Education Scotland who is keen for Abbeyhill to be involved in the pilot of a new STEM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which would see us working to achieve 5 different elements over a 3 year period. This could fit well with the work we are doing with Education Scotland and Mrs Lansdown on Gender Balance so please watch this space to find out more as the pilot unfolds.

Yesterday I met with Russell McLarty who treated us to a storytelling session in assembly on Monday before talking to P4-7 about Chit Chat Club which starts next week. Russell and I discussed plans for ‘Listening Walks’ which we hope to reveal more about and start in the next few weeks. Russell is also keen for Abbeyhill to take part in the Nativity Labyrinth event at Meadowbank Church again this year and, judging by the success of last year, I think it’s safe to say that everyone will be keen to go!

Meanwhile, it’s the Colony of Artists festival in just a few weeks and final preparations are well under way. Alice Myers was in school this week planning a photography treasure trail which looks really exciting! Please make sure you visit the festival (Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September) as there is always a fantastic atmosphere which gets better and better each year!

Spotlight on…Primary 3 with Mrs Flowers

P3 have just finished ‘Silly Billy’ by Anthony Browne. In the book, billy gets rid of his bedtime worries  by telling his worry dolls and popping them under his pillow. P3 made their own ‘Worry Monsters’ to take away any bedtime worries they might have.

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Well done P3, I think these would sell out in moments in the playground!

Have you read….

…your Scotland 4 Kids magazine?  There are loads of great articles this month including ‘Stop fighting’ (p6) and the WOW (What’s On Where) list for Edinburgh (p14-15). I’m going to be checking out the Batch Lady website www.thebatchlady.com for batch cooking inspiration which you might find useful coupled with ‘Not a sandwich in sight lunchbox savers’ on p6. Miss Macdonald will be interested in ‘Question Time’ (p8) which talks about modern day philosophy for children, something she has done a lot of with her classes. It also helps you to deal with the perpetual ‘why?’ question!

Next week is the Families Connect coffee and information session, Meet the Teacher, Parent Council, the first meeting of the newly appointed Abbeyhill Ambassadors AND I’ll be doing Outdoor Learning with P1 while Mr Hamilton and Mr Martin are on a ‘Play for Learning’ course. Check back on Friday to see how it all goes!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Mindful pretzels

Our first full week of term has certainly been full! New children have arrived each day to start Nursery, our P1s have done a week of full days, we’ve had our first assemblies of the session and our first trips are being planned. P5 are even rehearsing a play!

On Monday, we launched the concept of Abbeyhill Ambassadors which will amalgamate the roles of Pupil Council and House Captains. Our Ambassadors will be the first port of call for special responsibilities and everyone who has applied is excited at the prospect of doing even just some of the activities that Pupil Council carried out last year; they took part in Abbeyhill Decides with Simon Preston (Chair of our Parent Council), launched the 2045 climate agreement with MSPs, built a bug hotel with Graham Construction, met with Councillor Alison Dickie to talk about what makes Abbeyhill and Edinburgh a special place to be, took receipt of our Christmas bikes, inspired other schools with our campaign to ban plastic straws from the school AND did a #2minutestreetclean. Our 2019-20 Ambassadors are going to have their work cut out to top that! Successful Ambassadors will be announced in assembly on Monday so check back next week for further news.

We’ve started to use the ‘Yoga Pretzels’ resource to complement our Mindfulness programme which runs from P1-P7. Nursery have their own yoga teacher and yoga is starting to creep upwards through the school as well. The staff even had a few taster sessions at the end of last term!

Outdoor learning is being promoted more heavily this year with a focus on regular opportunities to learn outside, whether it be in our playground or slightly further afield. On Monday next week, the teaching staff are having their first development session of the year with Robert May, Holyrood Ranger where we’ll explore the vast array of experiences that can be provided at no cost just a stone’s throw from our back gate. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for some photos of the activities we’ll be trying out!

This week we even had our first (slightly) wet break outdoors with staff and children commenting that they preferred to be out in the rain and getting fresh air than being cooped up inside all day. We’re very lucky to have lots of natural shelter at Abbeyhill for the heavier downpours and we’re hoping to make it through the year without having to retreat indoors for anything less than severe weather.

See you next week with updates on everything mentioned above as well as the theme of the story from Russell McLarty at Monday’s assembly and information on a potential STEM project with Education Scotland!

 Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Welcome back!

It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been back for a few days as everyone at Abbeyhill has thrown themselves into new classes, new friendships and new challenges with great enthusiasm! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting our new P1s, new nursery starts and fresh faces that have popped up throughout the school. Our P7s have all come back in their red sweatshirts and I have a feeling that they’re going to do us proud over the course of the year as they take on various roles representing the school. We’ve also welcomed two new teachers, Ms Stamati (P6) and Mr Scott-Woodhouse (P2) as well as a new MA teaching student, Ms Graves (starting off in P7) and an EECLA student, Ms Nelson, who will spend the year in the Nursery.

We’ve got so much to look forward to this year that I was genuinely excited to come back to school. New community partnerships, new developments with existing ones, the Colony of Artists festival in a few weeks, our #NoIndoorBreaks and #AlwaysOutdoorLearning challenges and the launch of Abbeyhill Ambassadors to name but a few. Make sure you follow the website and the twitter account to keep up with us!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher