Tag Archives: Head Teacher’s blog

Bake Off meets Abbeyhill

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It was one of those surreal moments that happens when you work in a school when on Monday I went from completing paperwork in my office to watching P7 run around Calton Hill, wrapped in foil blankets, creating performance art with headpieces fashioned from plastic packaging. And that’s when Prue Leith walked past. I’m not sure what she thought was going on (and I’m still not even sure) but I’m convinced she enjoyed the ‘showstopper’ performance of George Ezra’s ‘Shotgun’ by 2 of our most enthusiastic artistes. P7 were on the hill as part of our ongoing collaboration with the Collective Gallery and as a class, they have had a special role in the redevelopment of the site since they were in P3. If you haven’t been up recently, you will discover a regenerated site with a gallery, monuments, cafe, restaurant and incredible panoramic views of Edinburgh, Fife and the Pentland Hills.

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Back at school, we had a visit from Angela Mitchell from Changeworks who had been inspired by our decision to ditch plastic straws following our ‘Make a Difference’ assembly project back in September 2018. She helped us work out which plastics it’s okay to use and which we need to stop. Luckily, we’re already on the road to being as plastic free as possible and Angela gave us even more motivation to be Zero Waste Heroes by following the most important of the 3 Rs which is to REDUCE. She was pleased to hear that Abbeyhill will definitely be a plastic red nose free zone for Comic Relief 2021 (and we’ll work out an alternative if there is any single use plastic on offer for Sport Relief in 2020).

On Monday, Mrs Lyall and Mrs El Sarrag ran their last ‘Families Connect’ session and a very special visitor came to present the certificates – Hearts Captain Christophe Berra! Even the most diehard Hibs fans were a little starstruck and Mrs Lyall was in heaven! Christophe was there as the programme is run through Save the Children who are partnered with Hearts FC. Thank you to all the families who came each week, we hope that you enjoyed it and took some useful information home. Well done to the winning family who will be going to the zoo!

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On Wednesday, we had 10 Croatian Head Teachers visit every class and then meet with me to discuss curricular reform. The Croatian education system is undergoing a radical change and moving to a child centred curriculum that will be similar to the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and it was fascinating to compare and contrast our experiences in school.

We also had Parents’ Evening this week and thank you to all of the parents who took time to come and visit us on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s great to catch up and let you know about all the great things that your children are doing in school and it’s also a chance to hear about all the great things that they’re doing at home!

To round off the week, P4 and P6 held a craft fair as part of their Virgin Money ‘Grow a Fiver’ project. They each had £5 to buy materials and create something to sell with all profits going to camp (P6) or to buy more craft materials (P4). Scented candles, bows/bowties, mint lip balm, badges and wildflower seeds have been magically produced, with only one glue gun related injury (don’t worry, it was only Mrs Flowers). At an early count, nearly £300 had been raised by P4 alone so well done and thank you to everyone who supported them!

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So all in all, it’s been another busy but successful week at Abbeyhill. Check in next week to hear all about P6’s trip to Edinburgh Castle and my re-scheduled meeting with Mrs Lansdown! But the big question will be….have the newborn chicks that have hatched in the Nursery week survived a weekend of chicksitting at Mrs Ketchin’s house?! Fingers crossed!

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!

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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

Be Kind to Others

That’s the message from our latest block of ‘Building Resilience’ work which we launch with an assembly and then develop into classroom and family activities. We used the book ‘Have You Filled A Bucket Today?’ by Carol McCloud to explore the idea of giving kindness in order to receive it. We watched a great video on YouTube about the idea of a kindness boomerang as well and as you’ll see from P2’s work below, this idea really helped everyone to understand the concept. Each class made different interpretations of how to show kindness and it was inspiring to hear them all at our ‘sharing’ assembly this morning.

On Tuesday it was Safer Internet Day so P6 and 7 had a visit from PC Karen Maguire to talk about the importance of internet safety, especially with social media, and how every online action can have a real life consequence. Please have a chat with your child and make sure you know what they’re up to online!

P7 enjoyed a second visit to McDonald Road Library where they returned their books and chose new ones. They took part in a ‘book scavenger hunt’ in the library and had to follow clues to find particular books. Everyone took part enthusiastically and P7 are looking forward to strengthening this important local link with their next visit.

A small group of P7s also ran a mini bake sale for P4-7 with all the proceeds going to Cancer Research; well done to all the P7s who took part and thank you to the families who supported this.

I hope that you all have a lovely February break and come back raring to go for the second half of the Spring term. Coming up when we return is a P6 & 7 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) day and P4 are going to the National Museum to see the Ancient Egyptians exhibition. Read more about this in our newsletter which went home today! Parent Council Talent Show rehearsals will also start and it’s not long until the big day….

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Stay cosy!

I hope you’re wrapped up warmly as the weather has taken a decidedly chilly turn! Please take care over the weekend but be sure to get out and enjoy frosty Edinburgh at the same time. We’ve been busy in school as always with highlights including P7 and P2 visited the residents at Trust Housing Association on Montrose Terrace to perform some Scots songs and poems. The residents thoroughly enjoyed our visit, particularly joining in ‘O Flower of Scotland’ at the end. It was great to see the P2s and P7s performing so confidently to an appreciative audience. We look forward to returning soon for a follow up visit.

P7s have also been running the Healthy Tuck shop which is proving to be very popular. This runs Tuesday – Thursday with a variety of healthy snacks on offer. Favourites this week have been the strawberry and blueberry cups! Next week, P7 will do a snack-swap event so look out for more details when we come back to school on Monday. On Tuesday, there will a small bake sale for P4-7 which has also been organised by P7, with all funds going to Cancer Research UK. Cakes will cost between 20p and £1 and the P7s will talk about this further in assembly on Monday.

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On Wednesday, Mr Martin held a meeting with P6 parents to discuss their trip to Lagganlia in September when they will be in P7. It was a good opportunity for parents to ask any questions and find out a bit more about the activities that the children will do while they’re at Lagganlia. Everyone is excited already! Please check your emails or schoolbags next week for more information if you were unable to attend the meeting.

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Next week, it’s Safer Internet Day on Tuesday 5th February. We’ll be using this opportunity to have conversations across school on what a great place the internet is, but what dangers can also lurk there. If this is a subject that causes headaches in your house and you’d like to get a bit more information before chatting to your child, have a look on the Safer Internet Day website. There are areas of the site that you could look at with your child, including this Safer Internet quiz which is all about consent in a digital world.

Please remember that next Friday (8th February) we break up for the February half term. School and Nursery resume as normal on Monday 18th February.

Kind regards,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley…

Happy Burns Day from all of us at Abbeyhill! Thankfully, none of our plans have gone ‘agley’ (awry) and we enjoyed a fantastic Burns Supper and ceilidh last night which was organised and run by our brilliant Parent Council. Thank you so much to everyone who worked so hard to make it such a success; I’m delighted that it was supported by the Abbeyhill community and was a complete sell out! Our new Cooking Classroom was used to prepare a lot of the food (check Twitter for photos) and everyone enjoyed their soup, haggis and shortbread.

In assembly today, every class performed a Scottish poem to celebrate Burns and did themselves proud. Thank you to the parents who have been helping them to practise all week!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher