Category Archives: Head Teacher’s Blog

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

Maths Week 2018

Maths Week 2018The whole school has been buzzing with Maths activity this week as everyone took part in a house Outdoor Maths Challenge and a variety of activities in class, as well as a homework photo challenge for Scottish Maths Week. Everyone shared what they had done in assembly this morning and activities ranged from Maisie of Morningside made out of 2D shapes in P1 to a ‘build your own theme park’ budget challenge in P5. P7 had to apply their knowledge of Maths to real life situations and have discovered just how widely Maths is used in everyday situations. Mrs Flowers has assured us that she has already had some great entries for the ‘Extreme Maths’ homework photo competition and we’re all looking forward to seeing the rest next week! Maths Week continues in lots of places over the weekend so click here to find out what else you could get up to.

We’ve also had Parent Council this week and it was lovely to welcome some of our new Nursery and P1 parents. It was a packed agenda with discussion on a wide range of topics but food became a central theme (not just because we had some yummy homemade biscuits made by James and John) as we discussed our plans to have parents for lunch so they can try school lunches for themseles, the imminent arrival of our food recycling bin and full fat vs semi-skimmed milk. The next meeting is the AGM and all are very welcome.

P5 Play Champions began their training with Canongate Youth’s Play Rangers yesteday so we look forward to having more play experts in the playground! Our Loose Parts play continues to be very popular and it will be used much more at play and lunchtimes next week. P2 – P7 Pupil Council met for the first time today and received their first assignment…watch this space. We all had great fun doing a jumping photo for the display board! P1s will join us in January once they’ve fully settled into school routines.

Have a great weekend – don’t forget that it’s a bank holiday and there’s no school on Monday 17th September. School resumes as normal on Tuesday. It’ll be a busy one next week as we prepare for the Colony of Artists festival!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Meet the Teacher and Busy Bees!

We’ve all been ‘busy bees’ at Abbeyhill this week and we really enjoyed a visit from Gill Smith, one of the founders of the Colony of Artists festival and Iliyana Nedkova, Abbeyhill parent, our Curator in Residence and Colony of Artists committee member, at our assembly this morning. Gill and Iliyana presented prizes to winners and finalists of the Busy Bees art competition. Winners received a beautifully presented bundle of art materials each whilst finalists got a souvenir poster to display in their classroom.Busy Bees Look out for a trail of bees around Abbeyhill ahead of the upcoming Colony of Artists festival on 22 and 23 September!

On Tuesday afternoon, we had our annual Meet the Teacher event. We tried something slightly different this year with a small ‘marketplace’ event with a few of our community partners in the hall before a short welcome from myself and the teaching staff, followed by a chance to have a look rounmd classrooms and an informal chat between staff and parents. Feedback on the night was very positive so next year look out for more stalls and more time to speak to the partners who help to make Abbeyhill so special! A big thanks to Iliyana Nedkova (mentioned above), Simon Preston, Chair of our Parent Council, Russell McLarty, minister at Meadowbank Church and Scottish Storyteller and Gary Young from The Mindful Enterprise who came along on the evening and of course thanks to all the families who attended.

Next week it’s Scottish Maths Week and Mrs Flowers and Miss Macdonald have been busy preparing what looks to be a mathematically challenging but fun week of activities! Check back next week to find out how it went. It’s also Parent Council on Wednesday and I hope to see some new faces among the familiar ones!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

 

Cooking, art, sports and play!

On the one hand it’s hard to believe that August is over and September is here already (well, it will be tomorrow!) but on the other, the summer holidays already seem a lifetime ago. That’s what happens when we’re busy at Abbeyhill!

On Monday this week the staff began the job of clearing a room for our Cooking Classroom which will be in the infant building. Mrs Lansdown is choosing our kitchen equipment and we hope to order it next week. On Tuesday, Mrs Souness and I met with Simon, Chair of our Parent Council, to discuss plans for line painting on the football pitch and came up with some practical ideas for particular sports as well as some fun designs that might just appear around the playground…keep an eye out! On Wednesday I met with Katie Reynolds from the Collective Gallery to plan our programme for this year which will see the re-opening of the Collective Gallery after extensive re-development. We have been working with the Collective Gallery since 2014 and our current P7s have been involved in the re-development since they were in P3 so it will be a very special moment when the gallery opens. We’re really enjoying the ongoing relationship in partnership with Leith Walk Primary and it’s all a part of our wider Artists in Residence programme which will be formally celebrated at the Colony of Artists festival later this month (22 & 23 September). At assembly this morning, the P6 Play Rangers gave a presentation to the rest of the school about what they do and P5s will shortly begin their training to become Play Champions in the playground; well done to P6s who took part.

Next week we look forward to welcoming families for our Meet the Teacher event on Tuesday which will have a small ‘marketplace’, giving parents a chance to meet some of our community partners. See you there!

Sally Ketchin
Head Teacher

A very full first full week!

It’s been a very busy week at Abbeyhill! We have welcomed lots of new children into our Nursery and the Primary 1s have experienced their first full week of school. Everyone is settling into new routines brilliantly and the playground is full of lots of happy faces at break times! Miss Macdonald and Mr Andrew Hamilton are our new members of teaching staff and we’re all enjoying getting to know them.

We had an exciting P3-7 assembly this morning where we talked about how we’re making Abbeyhill more ‘awesome’. We’ve been watching Kid President on YouTube and talking about some of his key messages in his pep talk for teachers and students and we’re now all trying hard to make the world more awesome, look after each other and be present in the moment. I shared what I’ve been doing this week to make the school even better; I’ve met with parents who are being extremely generous with their time and skills to make our playground a fantastic place to be by painting murals and freshening up tired areas. I’ve had meetings with community partners about our Play Rangers and Play Champion training (thanks to Miss Stephen who leads on this), which will be rolled out to P5 this year, and begun the process of starting a ‘Chit Chat Club’ which will start after the October break with two Scottish Storytellers. In partnership with the Parent Council, I hope to organise a Parent Lunch where families can come and sample our school lunches and Mrs Lansdown and I will meet next week to plan what our Cooking Classroom will look like so that we can order our kitchen units.

All in all, it will be a busy but exciting year at Abbeyhill – keep watching this space!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher