Tag Archives: Colony of Artists

(The New) Normal Service Has Been Resumed!

….and we’re all very glad about it! The rain is lashing down as I write this and it feels that the ‘summer’ holidays are a distant memory already! Nevertheless, it’s been fantastic to welcome all of our staff and families back to school over the last few days and we’re all excited to start our first full week back together. Some of our families are observing a quarantine period after arriving home from abroad and we thank them for this. We’ve seen from Aberdeen and other places in England just how fragile our newly restored freedoms are and we all have to play our part to keep ourselves and our communities safe and healthy as we journey back towards a ‘normal’ life. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated several times already and set out clear information on what to do in the case of suspected symptoms appearing as well as what course of action we will take in school. This is designed to reassure and not to alarm anyone.

As well as welcoming everyone back, we’re also thinking of those who have moved on who didn’t get the send off that they were expecting, although we did our best to make things special given the circumstances! Good luck to Ms Stamati who starts a new teaching job in Greece next week, Ms El Sarrag who has retired from Abbeyhill, Ms Howson who secured a permanent post at Rowanfield school and all our P7s and leavers from other year groups who have started S1 or moved away from the area for new adventures. We will miss you! Goodbyes were counter-balanced with plenty of ‘Hellos’ though as we welcomed our new P1s and new pupils in other classes across the school – it’s lovely to bring you into the Abbeyhill community. Our new Nursery pupils will begin to settle in next week and we’re so excited to meet them too!

We were all pleased, and relieved, at how smoothly things went in general last week. There were a few hiccups as is to be expected when we changed (or abandoned) longstanding routines and there were last minute crises to keep us on our toes – such as essential paperwork for poor Mr McNeil not arriving in time for him to start with his class – but by and large we’ve resolved everything and the whole Abbeyhill community is pulling together brilliantly as always as we move forward. Mr McNeil is enjoying his first day in P3 today – phew!

Normally at this time of year we are sending out ‘Save the Date’ lists for all our key events from Meet the Teacher to our festive celebrations. I’m sure you will bear with us this term as changing guidance means that we can’t be certain what we’ll be able to offer and when although you can rest assured that we will find alternative ways to deliver events such as Parents’ Evening and the Nativity. I had a chat with Iliyana Nedkova, our Curator in Residence and P7 parents, about what Abbeyhill’s involvement in this year’s Colony of Artists Festival (19th & 20th September) might look like so watch this space for news on some exciting online exhibitions. Our whole school Art project ‘Bee Kind’, in line with our key values as well as the theme of the festival, should fit in beautifully and P4 have already made a strong start!

Bee Kind P4

Have a good week and as always, keep an eye on Scottish Government updates, the City of Edinburgh Council‘s website and social media accounts as well as NHS Inform for all the up to date information. You can keep in touch with us by phone or email, as well as our website and Twitter account. 

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Haggis-tastic!

Last night saw the third annual Parent Council Burns Supper and it was bigger and better than ever before! Thanks to our Parent Council Chair (who slaved over several hot stoves all day!) we ate a delicious meal of homemade roast cauliflower soup, traditional haggis, neeps and tatties, finished off with fruit and shortbread made by P1 in our Cooking Classroom – with all the cutlery presented in tartan cutlery holders handmade by P2. Tickets for dinner were sold out (as word has spread over the last few years) and we were delighted to welcome even more families for the ceilidh at 6pm. Before the dancing started, we were treated to performances of both traditional and contemporary Scots poems and songs by our very talented Abbeyhill pupils. We had had the dress rehearsal for this in school on Wednesday where every class from P1 – P7 prepared a performance piece with the highlights being P5’s enthusiastic rendering of ‘A Dug, A Dug!’ by Bill Keys and P6’s premiere of the song they helped to write as part of their involvement with the Burns and Beyond festival. £362 was raised for Parent Council funds and this will go towards the creation of our Outdoor Classroom which Mr Woodhouse is leading on. Well done everyone!

Speaking of which, P6 enjoyed their final event of the Burns and Beyond festival at the Assembly Rooms yesterday with pupils from Flora Stevenson’s, St Joseph’s and Corstorphine Primary Schools. The Bairns’ Burns Supper also included guests from the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and Culture United.

Live music was featured as well as Burns poetry, guest speakers, traditional Burns Supper food and the showcase of each school’s creative ideas. It ended with a mass ceilidh with music from a live band and instructors from Dancebase before it was time to head back to school. Everyone agreed that it was a fantastic experience which we were very lucky to be part of (thanks to Miss Stamati being quick off the mark with Abbeyhill’s application!)

P1-3 were lucky enough to enjoy a visit from Generation Science on Thursday and experienced their ‘Get Fizzy’ workshop where they learned about mixing liquids and solids with often surprising results! We definitely have a few budding scientists at Abbeyhill – well done everyone!

Generation Science is the schools touring programme from the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Each year, they run interactive science workshops in schools all over Scotland from January to May and we always enjoy getting fully involved. This year the Science Festival will run from 4th – 19th April so make a note in your diaries!

Earlier in the week, I attended a Leadership Conference at our local Drummond Community High School and heard from inspirational speakers on a range of topics including assessment, middle leadership and Lesson Study, a practice originating in Japanese schools where several teachers work together to develop teaching practice in an agreed target area. It’s something we’re very keen to try at Abbeyhill so it was useful to hear more about it. Most interestingly was the acknowledgement that our young people learning in schools today need to be taught to foster creativity, critical thinking, be able to collaborate and communicate in order to be able to take successful next steps when they leave school and that the age of needing to retain endless facts may be coming to an end.

This week also saw a new Artist in Residence, Anna Danikwicz start work with P4. Anna will work with the class for 7 weeks and is a sculptor, ceramicist and writer so we’re very excited to see what she develops with the class. All the work produced with our Artists in Residence will of course be available to be viewed by the public at the Colony of Artists festival later this year (19th & 20th September 2020). Next week, P6 will be continuing work with Holly McCulloch from the Collective Gallery who we have built up a sustained and productive relationship with over the last 5 years. Check back here to see what they get up to!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

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

 

 

Colony Community

Colony of Artists 2019 is upon us! The festival opens with previews this evening and doors open to the public across the Abbeyhill community tomorrow. Please come and visit us at Venue 39 and make sure you visit the Abbeyhill colonies to take in the atmosphere and all the hard work that goes into putting on this fabulous community arts festival every year. It sounds clichéd, but it really does get better every time!

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Listening Spot

Russell McLarty did his first Listening Spot on Wednesday and was a very popular figure with his umbrella in the playground! We’ll be getting feedback from children on how having the Listening Spot makes them feel so please watch this space to find out more.

Behaviour Attitude survey

I’ve been carrying out a Behaviour Attitude survey with children from P1-P7 to find out what they think is okay/not okay and how they feel about how the way we help them to sort things out when they have gone wrong. My next task is to share this with the rest of the school and design a survey for families to be able to carry out at home. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated so please watch out for this coming out next week.

Spotlight on… P1

In P1 we have started learning our sounds and what better way to learn ‘a’ than getting hands on and chopping up lots of a-a-apples. All of the children were given the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills by chopping up some delicious cooking apples before some of the children got their first taste of the cooking classroom. We stewed the apples with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract to give everyone a delicious reminder of their daily sound.

Have you read…Mental health tips

A fantastic new resource has been developed by The City of Edinburgh Council Health and Wellbeing team which has been shared with families today. Please make sure you take a moment to read the Mental Health ‘Top Tips for Children and Young People’ and ‘Top Tips for Parents and Carers’ which have been written by and with children and young people and give a strong insight into what matters to them today.

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Next week…  is a busy one for us as always with a visit to Buckstone Primary for me on Monday morning, a staff outdoor learning session, our first Families Connect session of the school year and much more. But first…Colony of Artists – see you there!

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