Category Archives: Eco Group

Red Nose fever!

RND

By the end of last week we were red nose, deeley bopper and wristband crazy for Comic Relief. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to raise a whopping £400 for all the charities who benefit. Thanks also to our local Sainsbury’s who supported us and provided official RND tops for the staff! However, it was interesting to note David Attenborough’s words of warning about the encouragement of single use plastics, especially considering that RND fell on the same day as the second Students for Climate Change protest and next year we will consider whether Abbeyhill will be displaying painted red noses, rather than plastic ones, and donating the full amount to Comic Relief rather than the 50% which is currently received after the production and marketing costs for red noses and other merchandise are removed.

In other Abbeyhill news, we had a staff training session on Monday which was jointly run by both Mr Hamiltons and focussed on the evolving way we need to approach teaching internet safety. Some great new resources are coming out that will help children and adults to see all the opportunities that the virtual world can offer us, as well as the dangers. Just like the real world, it’s important to be able to look around and appreciate the amazing things you might see but also use common sense and have guidance on what to do when things go wrong. We’ll have information displayed for families this week when they come to visit us for Parents’ Evening.

On Thursday I took P4 for the day while Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald got stuck into the unenviable task of auditing our Maths resources. Mrs Flowers got very excited about all the things she found that had been hidden at the backs of the cupboards and by the end of the day they had planned an exciting Maths based family event for May so watch out for that when next term’s ‘Save the Date’ sheet comes out!

On Friday, we had a bumper awards assembly with certificates for everyone who took part in the fantastic Talent Show on 7th March as well as the introduction of the ‘Over and Above’ Award. A maximum of two children per class were nominated for this and had to have gone over and above in one or all of our school rules; Ready, Respectful, Responsible. With the grand prize of being allowed to sit on the chairs rather than the mats, it was all to play for and I think a lot of people will be upping their game this week! Well done to our first OAO winners. The Pupil Council also told everyone about how they had worked with Graham Construction to build a Bug Hotel in the wildlife garden. They explained how this had come about, told us about the building process and gave their top tips for keeping it (and all the bugs who come to stay) safe.

bug hotel 1.JPG

This week, as well as Parents’ Evening, we have trips to the Collective Gallery, ongoing engagement with professional artists in school as part of our Artists-In-Residence programme in preparation for the Colony of Artists in September, filiming will start for the ‘Power of Yet’ video, it’s World Poetry Day on Thursday, a familiar face will be popping in to advise me on how can begin to address gender balance at Abbeyhill (Mrs Lansdown!) and we have a special guest from Changeworks who is going to talk to us about our ongoing drive to reduce plastics. Phew! Check our next blog post to see how it all went!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mummies!

It’s Science, Technology, Engineering and MATHS really but P4 had such a great time at the Ancient Egyptians exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland yesterday that it had to be included in the title of the blog! They’ve been waiting for a long time for it and it brought learning to life following their detailed project earlier in the session. They were full of excitement when they got back from the museum with quite a few children saying that they wanted to go back to the museum this weekend for a second look!

mus.jpg

Primary 6 and 7 became STEM detectives (hence our blog title!) on Thursday in a day of activities involving code breaking, rocket building and car designing.  Each activity involved group work, creativity and excellent communication skills. It was great to see the Primary 6s and 7s working so well together throughout the day. Highlights included launching rockets in the playground and using eggs as crash test dummies. This was a thoroughly enjoyable day with the children representing our school very well. Watch this space for a STEM themed event for P4 and P5 very soon!

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If you follow the Pupil Council on Twitter @AbbeyhillPupilC then you may have spotted our post about Abbeyhill Decides, inspired by Leith Decides. Simon from Parent Council came along to help Pupil Council decide how to spend the money that the PC had raised at last month’s Burns Supper. They decided to split the money into 3 and give £120 to the Early, 1st and 2nd levels. Our P6 and P7 reps decided to spend the money on art and technology materials while our P2 and P3 reps are going to order some learning board games and puzzles to enhance their problem solving skills. P6 and P7 are going to help their Early Level buddies decide what to spend their money on so keep an eye on the blog for more information!

Fianlly, don’t forget to keep up to date with our Artists-in-Residence programme and read all about about our two new artists-in-residence. Zu has just started her comic book residency with P5 and Joanna is our environmental artist in residence in P1. Joanna will be working with our plastic straws in a new underwater project re: the plastic pollution in our oceans.

We also hope to bring Joanna’s highly celebrated plastic cups constellation light and sound installation to Abbeyhill; perhaps you recognise it if you saw her recent exhibition of this installation at Summerhall?

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Tickets are now on sale for the Parent Council Talent Show and it looks as though it’s going to be a brilliant event so make sure you get your.

Next week, Pupil Council reps are building a bug hotel with Graham Construction and P6 are going to Drummond CHS for breakfast and a treasure hunt so check back next week to see how everyone got on!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Drowning in plastic!

Drowning in plastic

(Yes, we did have lots of fun creating this photo!)

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that we were inspired as a school to start challenging the amount of plastic straws that we were getting through on a daily basis following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly topic back in September. You may remember that it all started when P4 brought a small pot of straws to our sharing assembly and told everyone that the way that they had decided to make a difference  was for the 6 children who took milk each day to pour it out into a cup, rather than use the cartons and straws. They then collected the straws in the pot (below). Those 6 straws per day added up surprisingly quickly and we were all shocked by how many they had collected in such a small space of time, from so few children.

milk straws

This is what 6 straws per day over just a few weeks looks like

We did some calculations and worked out that we could save arund 1,600 straws by the end of October (5 weeks) if we all followed P4’s example. So, each child who took milk was provided with a cup, cup washeruppers* were duly appointed in each class and we all began the challenge enthusiasically. By the end of the 5 weeks, we had in fact collected 2,312 straws (as we had forgotten to factor lunchtime milk into the original calculation) and we vowed not to go back to our old ways. It took a few weeks after that but I am delighted to announce that Abbeyhill is MAKING A DIFFERENCE to the environment as we have now got an agreement with the dairy who supply our milk (Muller) that they will give us large 6 pint jugs of milk, exactly as you would buy at the supermarket, instead of the little cartons. In the time it took to make that arrangement, the straws kept piling up and we had over 4,000 which helped us create our ‘Drowning in Plastic’ photo at the top of the page. Don’t worry, they are certainly not going to landfill as one of our artists-in-residence has grand plans for them. Come and see them as part of the Colony of Artists festival in September 2019!

We only have 70 children across the school who take milk every day and look how much plastic we’re stopping getting to landfill.  If you’re an Edinburgh school being supplied by Muller, why don’t you take up the Abbeyhill challenge and see if you can make a difference too?

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

*Mrs Ketchin’s made up word of the day

Taking the media by storm!

If you visited the Abbeyhill area last weekend, you can’t have missed the Colony of Artists festival! The whole area was abuzz with bunting signalling which houses were open to showcase a variety of art. I enjoyed a piano recital by two of our P1s, a dramatic reading of Maisie of Morningside (in tribute to Aileen Paterson who sadly passed away earlier this year) by our drama group and finally came up to school for the finale on Sunday; a poem by one of our parents, acompanied by another parent on bagpipes, a dance performace by our P1 and P2 dance club and a reading of a play. I even managed to sneak in a piece of cake at the pop up cafe as well as see all the work that’s been done by our children over the past year. Thank you so much to our Curator in Residence and P5 parent, Iliyana Nedkova, as our involvement couldn’t happen without her. A special thanks also to her very able assistant, Vlad Hasiu, P1 & 3 parent. Colony of Artists is over for another year but it seems to get even better each time so roll on September 2019!

If you watch STV News, then you might see our P5s tonight (or Monday)! Gordon Court sheltered housing have produced a book called ‘Remembering the Fifties’ and P5 have been working on a project with the Citadel Arts Group, interpreting stories from the book through art and dance. P5 presented their interpretations yesterday, following the book’s launch last week and it was all captured on camera for STV. If you’d like to read more about the book and the project please click here.IMG_0079

Our first week with no straws has gone well with all children now drinking from a reusable cup and P7 collecting all the unused straws. Ideas for spreading the word include sending all the straws back to the milk company at the end of our first month (Erin, P3) and sending a photo of all the straws collected to other schools to see if we can inspire them (Martyna, P5). Pupil Council are going to take on an environmental focus this year so it will be up to them to make the final decision – watch this space towards the end of October to see what we do!

P1 and 2 had very successful trips to the Gardener’s Cottage on London Road this week; check their pages and social media to see if they’ve shared any details. P2 told me all about the things they had tasted including edible flowers! These trips were all part of our food focus at Abbeyhill and our Cooking Classroom, which is taking shape. We’re very keen to reduce the amount of snacks that are high in sugar, salt and fat and we’ll be working with the Parent Council and Pupil Council on this project. Ideas so far include ‘trading in’ snacks for a healthier version at a school tuck shop and trying Royal High’s ‘snacks without packs’ drive. Staff have their thinking caps on at the moment but expect to hear more about this after the October holidays.

This time next week our P7s will be on their way home from camp; have fun at Lagganlia P7!!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

 

 

Making a Difference

This week we have finished our block of ‘Making a Difference’ assemblies but we’re far from finished making a difference! Each class was asked to come up with ways to make a difference together and every family was asked to think of ways they could help their community. Today in assembly we all heard brilliant stories of our children helping neighbours to tidy up their gardens after Storm Ali had wreaked havoc, walking a neighbour’s dog, giving unwanted toys to another child and taking a homeless person something to eat and drink. We talked about the fact that although those things feel small, they will have meant a great deal to the people involved and it may inspire them to do soemthing to make a difference themselves.

There are some brilliant plans afoot to make a difference in classes and some that have already got started. P2 have been collecting litter in the playground and after the weather we’ve had this week they have had their work cut out collecting bits that have blown in off the street! P7 are starting a break and lunchtime play programme from Monday which will run every lunchtime and Friday morning breaks. The P7s have a rota for who is on ‘play duty’ and the games will change each day. I think they’ll have to exercise crowd control on Monday! P1 have been looking at food waste and we’re hoping that our school food waste bin will arrive any day now, swiftly followed by our packaging bin.

P4 opened our eyes to the amount of plastic that we’re using with our daily milk and, despite only 6 children in the class having milk each day, they have collected a small bucket full of straws in the 3 weeks that we’ve been focussing on Making a Difference in assembly.milk straws

After assembly, I worked out that over the school year, P1-7 use an unbelievable 16,575 straws, all made of plastic and packaged in plastic. So, with P4, we’ve made a plan that from Monday we will use re-usable drinking cups in every class and collect the straws that we would have used. Thank you to Mr Forrest who found enough cups for everyone in a cupboard! Check back in a month to see how big the pile is and what our next steps are…

Don’t forget that this weekend is the Colony of Artists festival. The school is a venue and it’s looking fantastic! Please come and visit us as well as the rest of the artists who take part, including lots of Abbeyhill children! Check back next week for some fantastic photos.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher