Tag Archives: Outdoor Learning

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 

 

It’s all about our community

On Wednesday, Abbeyhill’s new football team went down to the Graham Construction site at Meadowbank to collect their fantastic new kit that has been sponsored by Graham. We didn’t quite have a full team but once we got back to school and everyone else saw the jackets, shorts, socks and shirts – all embossed with our school logo – there seemed to be a flurry of signups! Thank you again to Graham Construction for their generous sponsorship. Good luck to the team for their first match of the season which is tomorrow; you can follow their progress on twitter @FCPrimary

Yesterday we had our second Meet the Teacher Marketplace event. Following on from the success of last year, we invited some our community partners to come along so that families could have a chat to them and find out a bit more about what they are doing to help us deliver a rich and varied curriculum at Abbeyhill. Liz Hare represented our Artists in Residence programme and gave us a sneak preview of the ‘Abbeyhill through the Ages’ book which will be on sale at the Colony of Artists festival in a few weeks. Gary Young represented The Mindful Enterprise who will begin work with the P4s in a few weeks; training them in mindful techniques to support learning and relationships. P5-7 will have their refresher courses and P1-3 will start their sessions with Robin Harris from Young Minds Meditation shortly. And of course, we will continue our regular mindfulness and yoga assemblies! Gemma-Rose Lansdown came from Education Scotland to talk about our Gender Balance and Equality project and was of course a very familiar face to our P2s who were delighted to see her. Rosie Palmer represented the Palace of Holyrood House who we will partner with when their newly renovated Education Centre opens later this year. We will pilot their educations programmes and make suggestions for new ones. Mrs Flowers has a lot of ideas already! Last but not least, Robert May from the Holyrood Ranger Service came along to talk about the outdoor learning events and opportunities that we’re exploring right on our doorstep. Simon Preston, Chair of our Parent Council, gave a warm welcome to all families, new and existing, and reminded them about all the ways that they can be part of school life. Early feedback suggests that the event was enjoyed and valued by everyone.

Next week, P5 will be heading to the park as part of Archaeology month to learn about Celts and Romans so I look forward to sharing photos and news from what they get up to. Mr Hamilton will be sharing his learning from his course today, ‘Play for Learning’, which P1 are very excited about. With Mr Hamilton away, I’ve had the chance to spend the morning in P1 and we had a fantastic time in the playground making broomsticks inspired by Julia Donaldson’s ‘Room on the Broom’ as well as using Loose Parts Play with P3.

Our first class newsletter will also be shared on Friday so please keep an eye out for more news from Abbeyhill!

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Mindful pretzels

Our first full week of term has certainly been full! New children have arrived each day to start Nursery, our P1s have done a week of full days, we’ve had our first assemblies of the session and our first trips are being planned. P5 are even rehearsing a play!

On Monday, we launched the concept of Abbeyhill Ambassadors which will amalgamate the roles of Pupil Council and House Captains. Our Ambassadors will be the first port of call for special responsibilities and everyone who has applied is excited at the prospect of doing even just some of the activities that Pupil Council carried out last year; they took part in Abbeyhill Decides with Simon Preston (Chair of our Parent Council), launched the 2045 climate agreement with MSPs, built a bug hotel with Graham Construction, met with Councillor Alison Dickie to talk about what makes Abbeyhill and Edinburgh a special place to be, took receipt of our Christmas bikes, inspired other schools with our campaign to ban plastic straws from the school AND did a #2minutestreetclean. Our 2019-20 Ambassadors are going to have their work cut out to top that! Successful Ambassadors will be announced in assembly on Monday so check back next week for further news.

We’ve started to use the ‘Yoga Pretzels’ resource to complement our Mindfulness programme which runs from P1-P7. Nursery have their own yoga teacher and yoga is starting to creep upwards through the school as well. The staff even had a few taster sessions at the end of last term!

Outdoor learning is being promoted more heavily this year with a focus on regular opportunities to learn outside, whether it be in our playground or slightly further afield. On Monday next week, the teaching staff are having their first development session of the year with Robert May, Holyrood Ranger where we’ll explore the vast array of experiences that can be provided at no cost just a stone’s throw from our back gate. Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for some photos of the activities we’ll be trying out!

This week we even had our first (slightly) wet break outdoors with staff and children commenting that they preferred to be out in the rain and getting fresh air than being cooped up inside all day. We’re very lucky to have lots of natural shelter at Abbeyhill for the heavier downpours and we’re hoping to make it through the year without having to retreat indoors for anything less than severe weather.

See you next week with updates on everything mentioned above as well as the theme of the story from Russell McLarty at Monday’s assembly and information on a potential STEM project with Education Scotland!

 Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

Goodbye, good luck and happy holidays!

Phew, we’ve crossed the finish line! On our final run up it was busy of course (we don’t know any other way at Abbeyhill) with a final John Muir Award session for P5, trips to the Apple Store, the Meadows and bowling – not to mention Loose Parts Stay and Play and a firepit in the Nursery garden! P7 performed their Leaving Assembly to the school and to their families before celebratring in the evening with the annual BBQ and water fight. We also hosted the Scottish Government Education Council meeting on Tuesday; thanks to Amein and Rosa who did the Pupil Council proud as they showed John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, round Abbeyhill.

Today we were proud to wave our P7s off and wish them the very best of luck as they take their next steps in life. Their high schools are lucky to have them and we look forward to hearing about how they are getting on. Thank you to Leighann Dudley for piping them out; it’s always an emotional ending but makes the last few moments at primary school very special. Thank you as well to the Parent Council who gifted each P7 with a personalised Abbeyhill t-shirt which was presented to them as they left –  a few were being sported before they even left the grounds!

Despite not being a fan of being the centre of attention, we were able to persuade Mrs Macdougall to join the P7 procession as she retired today after 24 years at Abbeyhill. There have been lots of staff celebrations to mark the occasion and I know that she very much appreciates the kind words, goodbye hugs and gifts she received from families. We also said goodbye to Mr Marin and Miss Chmielecka who have been with us for a year on EECLA and MA teaching placements. We wish them all the very best and hope that whichever road they take, it leads back to Abbeyhill one day. Finally, we waved farewell to Miss Stephen who left us to move to Glasgow. Good luck Miss Stephen – you have made a massive impact at Abbeyhill and we will all miss you. You leave behind a Loose Parts Play legacy, not to mention the Shaky Hand Gang!

Next term, we’re very excited to explore some new community partnerships with Edinburgh University and Holyrood Palace, as well as to continue to strengthen and develop existing ones with Russell McLarty, The Mindful Enterprise, The Collective Gallery and the Holyrood Ranger Service to name but a few. When we get back, we’ll be gearing up for our annual involvement in the Colony of Artists festival which is the chance for all our pupils to present everything that they have done over the course of the year with our professional artists in residence, all organised by our Curator in Residence, Iliyana Nedkova. We’ll be starting our #NoIndoorBreaks challenge as well so make sure you add ‘waterproof coat’ to your back to school shopping list!

Whether you’re at home or abroad, I hope you have a happy and safe summer holiday and I look forward to seeing everyone when we resume in August. It’s been an amazing year filled with exciting new experiences and we can’t wait to do it all again!

Sally Ketchin                                                                                                                  Head Teacher

Good weather for ducks!

We’ve tried to put a positive spin on the somewhat dismal weather we’ve had this week and our outdoor activities have all gone ahead including Forest Adventures in Nursery, their trip to Weehailes and Woodland Wednesday in P1. We even had outdoor break in the rain yesterday and everyone thought it was worth getting a bit wet to have some fresh air! Next term, we are going to set ourselves the target of having no indoor breaks – unless the weather is really severe. We’ll need to be organised…spare socks at the ready!

Yesterday, some P4-7s enjoyed their second week of Chit Chat Club with Russell and Jan at Meadowbank Church.They all have their own favourite elements, some love the games, others enjoy hearing and telling their own stories and the food is proving to be very popular! Next week is the last session of the term but we hope to be able to continue next session.

On Monday, Primary 7 visited The Risk Factory where they were faced with a series of scenarios designed to test their decision making and team work skills. The class have been sworn to secrecy over what is involved so as not to spoil it for future visitors but they really impressed with their common sense thinking in what could potentially be real life situations. Even in trickier situations where they may have made the wrong choice, they were able to reflect upon it and talk about what they would do differently. Primary 7 were a credit to the school and represented Abbeyhill Primary brilliantly during their visit.

On Tuesday the whole school stood on Montrose Terrace and London Road to cheer on children from other Edinburgh schools taking part in the annual Taxi Outing. This is always an exciting day for everyone and as well as watching a variety of decorated taxis drive by, we were also lucky enough to gather a huge amount of sweets which we shared between the classes (whilst discussing the place of sweets in balanced diets of course). In amongst all this, we had to dodge the water balloons and water pistols being aimed at us. It was a fantastic morning with lots of happy (and slightly wet) faces all round. We hope the children in the taxis enjoyed their trip to Archerfield!

Next week, the countdown is truly on to the end of term (28th June) as the P7s head off to their respective high schools for their 3 day visits. For some, this is when reality sets in and there is usually a mixture of excitement and sadness when they return to school. Good luck P7, we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on.

We also have Parent Council on Wednesday so if you are an Abbeyhill family member, please feel welcome to come – even if you haven’t been to a meeting or event before. The Parent Council have worked so hard this year and given us many memorable moments so I look forward to thanking them on behalf of the Abbeyhill community.

We also have P1 Garden Games, a ‘Welcome’ meeting for new P1 parents, Councillor Alison Dickie visiting AND our second staff yoga session! Check back next week to see how we’ve got on.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher