Category Archives: Parents

Dancing bears and a Burns flashback!

The sun was shining this week as we handed out our final teaching packs of the term, and school session. It was lovely to see so many families, socially distanced of course, and it will be even better when we can have children back in the building in August. It seems very quiet when we are in there at the moment. Preparations are well underway for having everyone back with the number one priority being Health and Safety. Details will come out on Wednesday next week so that everyone knows which days their child will be attending as we begin to move back towards something resembling normality.

If you follow @CreateLearnEdin you may have seen the official Burns and Beyond videos which were posted this week. As you may remember, Ms Stamati and P6 worked incredibly hard and had a lot of fun as part of this project and it was lovely to watch the videos, see some familiar faces and hear some of our P6s speak so articulately about what they had enjoyed about the project. You can watch the short version of the video here or if you have a little longer (most of us do at the moment!) then the longer version is here. Well done to everyone who was involved (credit also to @burnsandbeyond and @UniqueEventsltd).

Someone else who has been busy creating fantastic experiences and sharing them on social media is our dance teacher in residence, Eleanor Robertson. Read all about how she has supported and encouraged Nursery children to take part in the Bear Hunt transition project in one of the latest blog posts on the Abbeyhill School Artists website and watch her brilliant dance video here. Mr Martin and the Nursery team have also been working really hard to engage the Nursery children who are moving up to P1 in August and everyone is joining in and sharing their experiences on Twitter which is fantastic to see. I made sure I left my label on when I was in school on Thursday…have you left yours yet?

Our Staff Superstar this week is the brilliant Mrs Pender who has developed new skills over the last few months, not just by finally getting onto WhatsApp but by working out how to use Teams and managing to join every P1 story session (sometimes sideways, occasionally upside down) which the children love. She’s also supported one of our Hubs and has taken a lot of time and made a huge effort to make the experience memorable and successful for the young person she’s supporting. Well done and thank you Mrs Pender! Checking out what everyone has been doing on Teams, Elis has done some very neat colouring by number, Otis, Duncan, Sara and Marlena had done some brilliant wok on the layers of ocean, John did some very funny nonsense poetry, Erin submitted some great work on collective nouns, Alma is a banana tree (really Alma?!), Zuzanna managed some Maths that would have had me reaching for the calculator and Luca in P7 did an amazing drawing as part of the P7 Moving On Up project which has taken place this week to replace the 3 day high school visit that they should have been. Well done and thank you to Mr Forde also for working tirelessly to encourage and support the P7s as they navigate this time which should have been packed with all our usual transition activities in school. Consider yourself a runner up Superstar winner Mr Forde! However, our Junior Superstars have to be the P6s who represented Abbeyhill so well in that Culture United ‘Burns and Beyond’ video so well done to Mat, Jasmine, Amelia, Cadha, Liam and Maya!!

This time next week the holidays will be upon us but there will be one more blog from me before we bid goodbye to the 2019-20 school session. It’s ended in a way none of us expected at the start but I very much hope that this time next year normality has been fully resumed and lockdown is all just a distant memory!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

Back to school – almost!

It’s been quite an up and down week as we have waited for news on what school will look like when we return in August. We got this information today and you can read Alistair Gaw’s letter here. Further details will be sent to families by the 24th June including which groups their children will be in and which days they will attend school. In school, we will spend the final two weeks of term preparing our classrooms and learning spaces with our reduced capacity and essential Health and Safety in mind as well as carrying out our final food parcel delivery and Hub volunteer sessions. I have no doubt that we will look back on this term as a strange one but one that has had lots of positives – new skills learned and hobbies started as well as lots of family time. However, we shouldn’t forget those for whom it has also been incredibly stressful – for people living alone, keyworkers separated from their families and those for whom extra family time is not the positive experience it is for some. Whether it’s a return to school or work, I know there will be plenty of people who are very glad that this situation may be coming to an end. Please continue to observe all Scottish Government advice and guidance as it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that we are only in Phase 1 of recovery and could easily slip back if everyone starts to bend the rules.

Our Staff Superstar this week is Mrs Lyall; she helped me out when I was in a Hub-staffing shaped jam and I was very grateful! It was lovely to be in the Hub this week and see so many children from different schools enjoying their time together, in socially distanced bubbles. I felt quite emotional when I saw the Abbeyhill pupils who attended – even if some were almost unrecognisable under their lockdown haircuts! It will just be lovely to see more familiar faces in August. While deciding who would be our Junior Superstars this week, it was lovely as always to see how busy everyone has been on Teams and on Twitter; the Nursery (and Mr Martin) are throwing themselves into the #BearHuntEdin transition project, Neive has done some great writing, Happy Birthday to Sara in P2 and well done to Duncan for tackling some tricky looking Maths! Georgia and Sophia ‘treated’ their dad to a makeover (it looked great, honestly), Eva has mastered the 12 times table and there was some healthy competition between Ola and Martina in ‘Wordshake’. Well done to P7 for getting started with their My World of Work profiles and top marks to Nate, Yasmine and Christina for being the first ones to work out the login! However our Junior Superstars are Freddie, Elsie and Harry for supporting their mum in the DARED challenge and running more than one 5k with her this week! They were also among a group who ran into (no pun intended) Mr Woodhouse when he was doing his own DARED run and jogged along with him for a bit to keep his spirits up! Mrs Souness was particularly impressed with the multiple 5ks so watch out Freddie and Elsie as she may have you coaching a running club when we go back! She might let Harry off…

DARED challenge

I also really enjoyed watching the ‘Meet the Teacher’ videos that each teacher posted into the channel of their class for next session. It’s not quite the same as being able to spend time together in real life but that will come soon enough! Copies of these will be emailed to families with no access to Teams next week.

Next week would normally see our P7s heading off on their 3 day visit to their new high schools which of course can’t happen this year. However, they will be taking part in the ‘Moving On Up’ transition project with different tasks to complete over the 3 days. Visit our P7 Transition 2020 page to find out about different activities, videos and ideas that Drummond has been sharing to welcome the P7s, as well as inviting P7 families to careers events and Parent Council meetings. I’m sure that the P7s will feel as prepared as they possibly can in August and that all nerves will have been forgotten by the end of their first week.

As well as our P7s missing their visit, they’ll miss their last Abbeyhill Taxi Day which is such a shame (maybe Drummond will let them go next year?!) but it was lovely to see this throwback to June 2019 posted on Twitter by @OutingTaxi earlier in the week. I didn’t realise they’d all grown up so much in the last year!

Abbeyhill Taxi Day 2 2019

I hope you get the chance to relax and enjoy the weekend even though it looks like it’s going to be a rainy one!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

Phase 1: Day 1

I’m sure you’ll be feeling a little lighter in the spirits as we begin Phase 1 on our journey to recovery. Please continue to abide by the rules as this is critical to ensuring that we continue to move in the right direction, back towards some semblance of normality. It would be disheartening to see multiple local groups placed back on lockdown when we’re all no doubt looking forward to meeting up with friends and family who live locally. If you’re in any doubt, check the guidance on the Scottish Government website. You can also refer to this fantastic visual produced by staff in North Lanarkshire Council on what Phase 1 means for everyone.

Phase 1 visual (North Lanarkshire Council)

Today I have emailed our whole school community with the latest guidance from the local authority and what this means for us at Abbeyhill.  I am working hard on potential models for pupils returning and what that might look like. I hope to begin to share these with the wider school community at some point next week.

This weekend we should have been looking forward to a Parent Council Summer Garden Party which has quickly become a very popular annual event! It’s always a lovely day with a brilliant, relaxed atmosphere and I look forward to next summer when (surely!) we can all be back together. However, just to cheer everyone up who thought that they wouldn’t get the chance to ‘Soak the Teacher’ with a bucket and sponges, Mrs Flowers persuaded us all to do a DIY version at home and the resulting video is fantastic! Head to your virtual classroom on Teams if you haven’t seen it yet – and remember, we’re waiting for videos from those home school teachers too! Well done to those that have let their ‘pupils’ loose with hoses, buckets and even the sea! If you haven’t done it yet then at least it’s shaping up to be a hot weekend, perfect for pouring a bucket of water over your head. Yet again, Mrs Flowers wins Staff Secret Superstar for such a brilliant effort – well done Mrs Flowers!

I’ve had a few nominations for Junior Secret Superstar this week and have spotted some great work on Teams as well; Edith has done some beautiful painting, lots of the P2s have been designing dinosaur eggs and making 3D models (I loved Filip’s diplodocus) Konan has done a good piece of imaginative writing (I like your weekend plans Konan!), Alma’s been teaching her class Spanish, Mat has designed a brilliant robot and the P7s continue to be very busy with technology assignments! However, our joint winners have to be Otis and Lenny; if you’re a regular reader you may remember that Otis won a while ago as he had been writing letters to his local care home but we have found out that he and Lenny have been doing it every single week of lockdown and those letters have been pinned to the walls of the care home and really cheering up the residents! Not just doing it once but doing it continually really deserves some recognition so well done Otis and Lenny, you’re this week’s Junior Secret Superstars!

Next week we’ll be distributing more food parcels and paper resource packs will be available on Thursday; please check your emails on Monday for more information. In the meantime, enjoy the fantastic weather over the weekend and enjoy seeing some friends and family if you can!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher 

 

 

Mr Woodhouse gets his steps in!

This week we’ve been working on making sure that we can ensure as many children are accessing learning as possible. Some children have their own devices and as much access to our online learning platforms as they need, some don’t have access to one at all. Others have to negotiate with siblings and a parent who also needs the device for work. Thankfully, staff were lucky enough to get access to school for a few hours this week and managed to make up packs for a significant proportion of the school (there may have been some good natured, socially distant argy-bargying over access to the photocopier) which can be collected from our Drummond Hub next week. It was lovely to get a tiny taste of normality by being in school  but of course it still felt very empty without our fantastic children there. We can’t wait until the day when we can have everyone under the same roof at the same time again – however far off that may be.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on our Twitter feed this week, you’ll have seen lots of Active Schools challenges; what will they do next week when they reach the end of the alphabet?! We’ve also posted details of the new Edinburgh Learns guidance with a version for parents as well as children. You can find copies on our Coronavirus: Useful Documents & Links page. We also shared a post from TES praising the overall approach that all Edinburgh Hubs have taken, allowing key workers to do what needs to be done in vital areas and singling out our cluster High School and local hub Drummond Community High for special mention. Well done to everyone who is working so hard in Drummond and every other Hub across the city and providing such a high level of care for the children of key workers.

It’s been tricky as usual to choose a Secret Superstar this week. Could it be Alma for logging in and getting on with her work from Spain? Or Mat who hasn’t missed a day of online learning since school closed? Sophia is extremely dedicated and also had a birthday she’ll never forget with her isolation birthday party – Happy Birthday Sophia! I hope your teddies and dolls enjoyed the party. Gregor showed great resilience as he battled with a Maths challenge for hours but his persistence paid off and he got there in the end, well done Gregor. John has been working his socks off and is looking forward to coming back to school for a rest by the looks of his photos! Unfortunately there can only be one winner and this week it’s a special one with our very first Secret Staff Superstar! As I said above, packs of work will be available to collect from Drummond next week but there will be no need for P2 families to make their own way there as Mr Woodhouse hand delivered every single pack for his class yesterday – what a hero! Well done and thank you Mr Woodhouse, your class all really appreciated the extra effort that you made.

Next week, it’s a short one as we have an staff only in-service day on Monday where Abbeyhill staff will be working virtually on activities created by Tom Sherrington to go through his companion book to Barak Rosenshine’s ‘Principles of Instruction’ which is the professional text we were working on before schools closed. There will be videos and worksheets to be completed before staff share their sections of work with each other and use it to evaluate their own teaching practice. On Friday, we are all off school for a bank holiday; hopefully the sun shines so we can responsibly enjoy some time outdoors. As always, take care, stay safe and stay healthy!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Busier than ever despite lockdown: Week 2

This week has been the second for all of us of juggling conflicting work schedules and parenting! I managed to ‘work’ and parent at the same time when my daughter and I logged into Mr Hamilton reading ‘Hairy Maclairy’ to P1 on Tuesday and it was lovely to see so many of the class! They had a very successful Show and Tell this morning to celebrate the end of term and they weren’t the only ones to be having a virtual meet up. P3, P4, P5 and P6 have also had a class catch up this week and although not everyone was able to be there, I know that the ones who made it really enjoyed seeing their teachers and friends. I’m sure the popularity of these virtual gatherings will grow as everyone begins to miss familiar faces more and more!

There has been so much going on online this week and it’s fantastic to see that it’s not just children who have been using Teams but parents too, with lots of you sharing tips and ideas for making it through the day with a smile on your face! I loved Mat’s ‘Survive’ mind map that was actually fairly similar to Lexi’s summer holidays one, just with less outdoor activity. It shows that Mat, and others I’m sure, is using this time to be mindful and use the time he has at home and with his family well.

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Mr Woodhouse very kindly picked up some home resource packs from our Hub school, Drummond, and took them to families who were self-isolating or otherwise unable to collect them – thank you Mr Woodhouse (although we all know he enjoyed the excuse to get out for a walk!). On the way, he spotted a message from Lili to Otis and Lenny so it’s great to see that you are using creative, practical ways to stay in touch and not just doing it online. It’s really important to let others know you are thinking of them so that everyone feels that little bit less isolated.

MicrosoftTeams-image

It hasn’t just been Lili who’s been creative this week; Sara has made an incredible fairy garden with her dad, John has managed some impressive home gymnastics (complete with crash mat), Erin has created a very interesting PowerPoint about swans including beautiful photos that she took herself, Martina has been inspired by her native Spain to design an incredible poster about Semanta Santa and Mat and Emilia have done some beautiful art work and research on Picasso and Caravaggio respectively as part of P6’s art history project. Meanwhile, P7 as a whole seem to have been working impressively hard on their human body projects – well done P7! With all this creativity and kindness, its been hard to choose just one Secret Superstar and so this week we are going to have three! Well done to Otis, Belle and Rosie who are writing cards and letters (‘keep them very cheerful’ – Otis) to the Helen Wallace Trust Housing Association and Marionville Care Home to keep up the spirits of the residents. Well done to you all and to anyone else who has been inspired by their messages calling for helpers on Teams.

Although we’re officially on holiday from today, the teachers have been putting up plenty of ideas and resources to keep you busy if you are looking for something to do over the next few weeks although remember, it’s important to take a break too. The last few weeks have been mentally exhausting as we have come to terms with a temporary new way of life and started to learn lots of new skills so give yourself time to switch off. However, a few things that have really inspired me this week are….

The learning resources from The Palace of Holyroodhouse that some of your teachers might have posted into your Teams. I know lots of you are very interested in art and we’re a very creative school – our strong relationship with the annual Colony of Artists festival and our Artists in Residence programme proves that! So take a look at the resource if you want to learn more about Leonardo, explore the palace virtually, download some activity sheets or improve your interpretation of art!

I also loved the suggestion of creating a Kindness calendar  from the British Red Cross with suggestions such as checking in on neighbours in a safe way, calling or writing to a relative, doing something helpful for a friend or family member or simply following advice to stay at home to keep our communities safe and relieve pressure on the NHS and other vital services.

We’re on holiday next week but I’ll be posting some fantastic videos from Russell McLarty who is the local minister and a great friend to the school. He should have been at our Easter assembly but has recorded some wonderful stories for you instead which I’ll post in each class area during the course of the week.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, follow the government guidance and look forward to the day when we’re all together again.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher