Tag Archives: Outdoor Learning

Back in the swing of things

The holidays already seem a distant memory as we complete our first week back at school. Thank you to all the families and staff who continue to comply with our Covid safety measures; there is no doubt that the ‘new normal’ has just become ‘normal’ although we all look to weekly updates from the Scottish Government with anticipation as changes to restrictions are made throughout the UK.

There have been a wide range of activities going on in school this week from mini palaces in P1B, inspired by their visit to The Palace of Holyrood House at the end of last term, to mime in drama for the P5s. Mr Hamilton made a challenging ‘cleaning up’ situation for himself in P3 but the space art that was created was worth it! P2 have started ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ as their new class novel and were inspired to start building crocodile traps in the playground with the loose parts play equipment (hopefully they don’t actually catch one). Meanwhile, P7 have been putting their woodwork skills to good use while making frames to create a gallery of Abbeyhill Calendar covers and artwork – well done P7! An ‘Artists in Residence’ project has begun in P4 and the Abbeyhill Ambassadors have been set a Kindness challenge…watch this space for more news in the coming weeks.

The family update that was sent today included information on universal free meals being extended to P5, national entitlement travel cards for 5-21 year olds, Active Schools, drama and two Warn and Inform letters which are also available on this website.

Next week we’ll be gearing up for Burns with lots of practise for our online Burns’ recital which we’re all looking forward to.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Festive fun at Abbeyhill!

Our final week of term is upon us! Despite tightening restrictions around the new variant of Covid which all parents were emailed about on Friday, we are still managing to have plenty of festive fun!

Everyone has been busy enjoying the festive season right across the school, from baking to planning a Christmas menu on a set budget, making Christmas decorations and using woodwork skills to create sustainable Christmas trees. Well done everyone!

Christmas Jumper Day

Thank you to everyone who donated to our Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle Christmas Jumper Boutique, which ended up being more a Christmas Jumper Day giveaway as everyone took the ‘re-use’ message to heart which was fantastic. The Christmas Disco Daily Mile was a sight to behold!

Parties

Christmas parties are going ahead but in classes rather than larger groups; this measure was already in place before warnings about the Omicron variant. Next week we will be extra vigilant with our existing safety measures including the wearing of face masks and coverings, hand sanitising and not having any face to face meetings. Further measures to reduce the risk of Omicron cases will include no indoors mixing of classes for any significant length of time and no non-essential professionals in the school. Although the news of lengthy periods of self-isolation for any households with a positive case is worrying as we approach a holiday that is traditionally spent with friends and family, we would urge families to remain calm and stay safe as they have been doing. We will get through this as a school community as always.

Please remember that our term ends for Nursery – P7 on Friday 17th December between 1155 and 1205, depending on which class your child is in.

Have a lovely weekend,

Sally

Fire(pit) in the playground!

Don’t worry, I was assured it was completely safe and all the risk assessments were in place. P7 are having a fantastic time this morning cooking apples with cinnamon as well as bananas with chocolate (delicious, thank you for mine P7!) in the fire pit, which they been taught how to safely light. This experience is part of their weekly Friday Outdoor Learning sessions which are proving to be so beneficial in terms of learning as well as physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

We had an exciting online assembly yesterday where this year’s Abbeyhill Ambassadors were announced. Each class from P1-5 has 2 Ambassadors each and P6 & 7 have 4 as they take on the dual role of Ambassador and Vice/house Captains. Our first meeting is next week so watch this space to hear more about the projects they will work on this session. They will include creating a child-friendly version of our School Renewal Plan as well as a special interest project which the Ambassadors themselves will choose. They will also be tasked with gathering and sharing the views of their class on lots of different aspects of school life so they will be kept extremely busy!

We had interviews for a member of staff in the Nursery; congratulations to Miss Barclay who was successful and will now remain with us on a permanent basis. We also interviewed for a Breakfast Club Assistant and will be delighted to welcome Miss Page as soon as her paperwork is complete.

Well done to everyone who took part in the Colony of Artists festival last weekend, whether it was visiting exhibits in gardens or viewing virtual galleries. Thank you so much to Dave Pratt and Iliyana Nedkova who decorated our windows with our artwork as part of the festival – they look beautiful!

Our Nursery and class newsletters were sent home today by email so please check your inboxes for those. Another NHS Warn and Inform letter was also sent home and is on this website under the Covid-19 tab.

Best wishes,

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Wilderness Explorers

The Nursery took a trip to the Highlands on Wednesday…oh no wait a minute, it was Holyrood Park! You could be forgiven for making the mistake from the photos though. They managed to find a spot where the sights and sounds of the surrounding city melted away and they could have been far away from Edinburgh. Mr Martin explains more about their day below…

“With the sun shining as we left the Nursery and headed over to Holyrood Park, we were already deciding what we would be doing on our adventures; felled tress were to become horses, boats and trains and (inspired by P1) we were going to use sticks to make spiders webs.

Whilst exploring the park, we used ropes to help each other climb, jumped on the ‘bouncy grass’, relaxed on our hammock and swung on the rope swing. Forest Adventures is such a fantastic experience for our children whose enthusiasm shone throughout the day – so much so we didn’t notice the clouds which had appeared as we headed back to Nursery ”

They were lucky to be joined by a special visitor, Leslie Evans, who is the Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government. She came to see the excellent outdoor learning practice our nursery engages in and they were delighted to have her along for part of their Forest Adventures. Leslie was impressed with how well the children worked together,  using their imagination and creativity as they engaged with the local environment.

 

Coming soon!

We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be running Homework/Literacy Sessions in partnership with Lifelong Learning. It’s no secret that, as with all professions, teaching and teaching techniques are constantly evolving so if you’re ever left thinking “This isn’t how they did it when I was at school” and out of your depth when it comes to helping with school work or any other literacy activity, please feel welcome to come along! 

It’s impossible to get a time to suit everyone so if you are interested but unable to come due to the time, please let us know for future events.

Spotlight on….P7

The P7s have started an extended art project based at the Palace of Holyrood House and being run by the Education team there. This project will give the children free access to the Queen’s Gallery where they will be using their extraordinary collection of Leonardo da Vinci sketches as a stimulus for developing their own skills and creating sketch books.

The course started with a marbling workshop where the children made their own  unique book covers which will form the cover of their sketch books. Check our twitter feed @AbbeyhillPS next week for photos as the detailed work begins!

And finally, please keep an eye out on this blog as well as the Parent Council Facebook page and Twitter feed @AbbeyhillPC for some very exciting outdoor learning news at Abbeyhill. The Parent Council have worked tirelessly to secure funding to bring something special to our playground and got some very good news this week. Mr Woodhouse and Mr Hamilton have also been involved and we expect to see some exciting additions to our learning spaces before the end of the school year is out. Watch this space!

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Next week I am looking forward to taking part in a South East Improvement Collaborative ‘think piece’ on Evolving Systems Thinking whilst back at school, P7 will be travelling to The Crags Centre to represent Abbeyhill at the Edinburgh Primary Schools Sports Association Basketball tournament, P6 will be going to Dynamic Earth for the Space Showcase and the rest of Abbeyhill will be thinking about the holidays – whilst continuing to work hard of course. Please don’t forget that we break up for half term on Friday 7th February and resume as usual on Monday 17th February.

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