Category Archives: Primary 2

We’ve been on a (virtual) trip!

Yesterday we got the news that we’ve been waiting for and Scotland’s route map out of lockdown and back towards some sort of normality was shared by the Government. For a copy of the full publication, go to the Scottish Government website or you can download a copy from our School Closure: Useful Documents & Links page. Staff should be able to start back at school some time next month in order to prepare for pupils returning in August. At this time, we don’t know exactly what that will look like but will keep families fully informed as more information and guidance is shared with us. Lots of you will have questions and possibly concerns and today I tweeted a link to Parentclub‘s latest supportive information on what this first phase of recovery might mean for you and your family.

Earlier in the week I also tweeted a link to Iliyana Nedkova’s blog. Illie is our Curator in Residence and blogged about her determination to champion the right to art and culture for every child at Abbeyhill Primary School through our artists-in-residence programme even during global pandemic and lockdown, announcing that the Artists in Residence are joining the Cultural Learning Alliance – the collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to art and culture. Read more about how this programme has been spreading the wonder of contemporary art to every pupil and teacher in and outside the classroom for the last 7 years here.

Over on Teams it’s been a busy week as usual with lots of virtual fun at Abbeyhill’s own version of the National Portrait Gallery (thank you Mrs Flowers); classes got a welcome surprise when they logged in to find that they were ‘going on a trip’! Lots of hilarity ensued as everyone toured the gallery, admiring photos of staff as children and trying to work out who was who. If you know our staff, can you guess at these two photos below?

Portrait Gallery

The Nursery started their transition project, based on ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen. Did you spot any bears while out on your walks this week? Keep up with #EdinBearHunt on Twitter to see how the adventure unfolds! Lots of learners across the school took part in Edinburgh’s Sumdog competition and it was great to see that P2 took to it with enthusiasm – hopefully enough of the class will join in to qualify next time! I also really loved Archie’s video of him completing Mr Woodhouse’s drawing challenge – can you draw yourself blindfolded? It was a great attempt Archie so you’re our Secret Superstar this week! Ms Macdonald has been doing a great job of supporting everyone with Maths (I love her times tables flowers!) as well as teaching P5 and Ms Howson has posted some creative ideas to improve reading skills (watch TV with the subtitles, now that I can do). Ms Stamati continues to be busy keeping P6 busy from home in Greece and Mr Forde and I have ‘met’ with high school guidance staff to discuss P7 transition and are planning to use citywide resources to support our learners who need a little extra help with the idea of moving on. P7 have been making use of the channel that Mr Forde has set up to ask questions about high school and it’s a very supportive environment so well done Mr Forde, you’re our Secret Staff Superstar of the week! Our wellbeing survey has gone out again and I would encourage all our learners to complete it so we can help with any areas you’re finding challenging at the moment.

Please remember, although the weather is forecast to be reasonably nice over the weekend (no Thursday scorchers again though, more’s the pity!) we are still in lockdown. Phase 1 of recovery will hopefully start on Thursday 28th May but please keep in touch with the news and Scottish Government announcements. Twitter is a great way to do this if you’re short on time.

Have a good weekend and I look forward to next week when there will be a class newsletter attached to my ’roundup’ email on Monday. It’s shaping up to be just as full as usual which is fantastic to see!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Lockdown: Week 8 – and some of us are going on a bear hunt!

There has been lots going on as usual this week and we’ve been busy on Teams and Twitter. Opportunities we’ve tweeted about that are not to be missed include the invitation to sign up to Sustrans ‘Outside In’ newsletter for 4 weeks of fun ideas to get everyone moving; click here to find out more and sign up. We posted links from Mrs Mash and Jan Lee Brown who are well known to our children who love storytelling ‘Chit Chat’ Club and who are both running daily story and song sessions on Facebook. Click on their names to find out how to take part! of course today is School Uniform Day! Staff have had lots of fun preparing bitmojis and photos of themselves in school clothes (some even in uniform!) which Mrs Flowers put into an interactive classroom before inviting pupils to send in their own photos to add to the gallery! It’s been really lovely to see everyone joining in and having fun – what a nice way to end the week. And after all that hard work, Mrs Flowers is the deserved winner of Secret Staff Superstar this week – well done Mrs Flowers!

Of course, it hasn’t all been fun and games and we also posted a link to our website with information for key workers whose children are struggling with our current normal. If this sounds like something that’s relevant to you, head to our School Closure: Useful Documents and Links page for the latest advice from the British Psychological Society.

It’s also been busy on Teams with lots to keep everyone occupied. Apart from seeing everyone’s uniform photos, I’ve enjoyed Archie’s video about his lockdown experiences that he made for his Auntie who is a teacher in South Africa, Gregor’s enthusiasm for the Sumdog challenge has brought a smile to my face (I can just imagine your reaction when the website froze Gregor!), Mr Forde has started a very supportive thread about transition to high school where the P7s are posting the questions are important to them. Our Secret Superstar of the week has to be Maya who made a really touching video about how much she misses school – we miss you all too!

Like all schools we’re trying to keep connected with our families and ensure that everyone stays informed as far as possible; unfortunately we can’t answer all questions (no, we don’t know when schools will re-open and like everyone will have to wait for news from the government) but what we do know we share. This week we’ve contacted families with information on the new Sumdog competition that’s just opened for Edinburgh; this is a great way to get kids excited about Maths and doing something interactive every day. We’ve also made sure that some of our families know that another food parcel will be coming their way next week and I once again thank the staff who are collecting and distributing them once a fortnight. It is very much appreciated. Nursery pre-schooler families have received initial information on the city-wide transition project based on Michael Rosen’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ and P7 families can expect some news next week on what transition will look like for them. I may or may not have been on the phone earlier to a company lining up a special gift for them all to mark their last days at Abbeyhill….watch this space.

On Monday next week staff and pupils won’t need to login as we are all looking forward to our final bank holiday of the session for Victoria Day (18th May). Did you know Victoria Day was started in 1845 in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday but is now also celebrated as the official birthday of the Queen of Canada? The things you learn on lockdown!

Have a lovely weekend. Stay home, stay safe.

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

 

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much…great Teams-work Abbeyhill!

Week 1 of home-schooling is done! It’s been absolutely fantastic to see so much brilliant work going on online in our Microsoft Teams and to still have lots of positive contact with families through Twitter, email and phone calls. None of us knows how long this situation will last so try to stay positive and take each day one at a time. We will get through this and will hopefully have found out more about ourselves and the little things that we value in our normal, everyday lives when they resume.

You would be forgiven for thinking that there won’t be anything to feature on the blog with school being closed but that’s far from the truth! I’ve been so impressed at the quality of work going on online and it’s been lovely to see the interactions between children, teachers and parents each day. That’s one positive that we can take away already; we’ve been forced to explore a new way of working and I know that we’re developing skills that we’ll take back to school and continue to build on when this is over. Everyone seems to be busy getting creative this week and I’ve seen a fantastic garden collage in P1, a particularly beautiful rainbow in P3 (done carefully with pipe cleaners to spread extra joy around the community), some home-made bird feeders in P5 and one extra special use of technology that has to earn Eva the SECRET SUPERSTAR award of the week for really making me look twice! She used Google 3D animals to make it look as though she  had wild creatures in her house and I admit it had me squinting at my laptop trying to work out whether they were real or not! Well done Eva, I will definitely be having a go at that this weekend!

Other special mentions go to Elis who is learning the new skill of knitting, Ruaridh for designing and making a very sturdy looking rocket, very entertaining book reviews from P4, baking in P6 and World War 2 fact files in P7. P6 even had their very own video conference, hosted by Ms Stamati, and it sounds like it was a lot of fun and a great chance for everyone to see their friends.

Of course, it hasn’t all been fun and games and everyone has been working incredibly hard to ensure that all children have access to educational materials whether it’s online or on paper. So many new systems have had to be set up so quickly and despite barely leaving the house, most of the staff say they’re still exhausted by the end of the day. I’m sure all the parents are as well. I certainly am as Mr Ketchin and I juggle work with parenting a toddler who asks to go Nursery several times a day! However, well done to all the teachers, parents and children who have mastered Teams this week and a very special thank you to Mr Martin, Mr Hamilton, Mr Woodhouse and Mrs Flowers who went to our hub school, Drummond Community High, this morning in preparation for the children of Category 1 workers coming in. Ms Macdonald will join them on Monday as we expect our Category 2 and 3 parents whose work is essential to also use this service. Thank you to you all (although I know they were glad of an excuse to get out and got to work really). A huge thank you as well to Mr Woodhouse, Mr Hamilton, Mrs Lyall, Mrs Peters and Mrs Watt who delivered food parcels to some of our families this afternoon (and a special thank you to Miss Wilson who was on her way but was told the team had it covered!). Plenty more staff are willing to help if demand gets higher as food deliveries are made every two weeks and lots of parents have also emailed to say that they are willing to help as well – it really is much appreciated.

On my very limited time out of the house this week I have noticed that everyone is being so much nicer to each other. There seems to be much more of an appreciation for our fellow human beings, especially those working tirelessly to ensure that some normality prevails. 8pm last night was a very emotional moment as nearly a million people across the UK opened their doors and windows to applaud all our fantastic NHS workers and all I can hope is that this spirit of appreciation and kindness continues long after normal service is resumed across the country. As it will be.

Whatever you are doing this weekend, please stay safe, observe the emergency laws that are in place and keep your loved ones healthy. Take care.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher