Tag Archives: Stay safe

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

 

From toilet rolls to surrealist art – welcome back!

Well done for making it to the end of the first week of the last term of the school year! This is usually one of my favourite times of the year as the days are long and usually warm(ish), there’s lots of excitement in school as we gear up for events such as Health Week, Sports Day, P7 transition, end of year celebrations and BBQs, and the added pressure of completing assessments, improvement plans and ideas for the new session makes the days fly by! All with the promise of a holiday and time to travel, see friends, family and relax on the horizon. This year of course feels more than a little different but it is incredible to see all the positivity that is radiating from our school community, from friends and neighbours checking on each other, online collaborations in ways we’d never previously have thought of and a heightened level of understanding for everyone’s own personal set of challenges.

This week our second batch of food parcels were delivered and thank you so much to the hero staff volunteers who collected them from Waverley Court (shame about that spilled milk on your car carpet Mrs Flowers, I’m sure the smell will disappear at some point) and delivered them to lots of Abbeyhill families. Some teachers were even able to take them to children in their own class which was lovely for everyone! Thankfully food stocks seem to have pretty much returned to normal in the shops but for some, finances are tight and it is important to remember Nicola Sturgeon’s message that no-one should have to worry about feeding their family. If you are struggling, you can get in touch with us as Abbeyhill is now a registered referrer for local foodbanks or you can call the national helpline on 0800 111 4000.

P6 managed to start their Artists-in-Residence project, despite lockdown, and produced some incredible pieces of surrealism art! You can keep up to date with the residency as it progresses through our Curator-in-Residence, Iliyana Nedkova’s, blog here.

I’ve enjoyed re-tweeting the Active Schools daily alphabet challenges and trying a few at home myself although it all came back to haunt me when Mrs Flowers challenged a few of us to try to match Mr Woodhouse’s toilet roll keepy uppy prowess. Safe to say it did not go well and I wish I’d been as clever as Ruaridh who attached string to his toilet roll to keep it in check! It’s so important to stay as active as possible, even if you can’t go out as this has a hugely positive impact on not just physical health but mental wellbeing as well. I did socially distant ‘Pavement Pilates’ with my neighbours on Monday which we’ve done for the last 3 weeks and it’s something I will miss when we all go back to school! Get outside if you can and soak up some of this lovely sunshine. If you can’t then throw open your windows and let some fresh air and birdsong in.

If you keep up with our Twitter feed (@AbbeyhillPS) you’ll have seen that our website has been updated with new resources that will hopefully be of use, from an offer of support to all families from Edinburgh Psychological Services, social stories, guides to helping your child understand the news and supports for families. They’re all grouped together for ease on our Coronavirus: Useful Documents & Links page.

All that remains is to announce our Secret Superstar for the week and as usual it’s a very difficult choice. However, it has to be Freddie for starting what turned out to be the funniest challenge of the week on Teams. Mrs Flowers will now forever be known as Spider Flowers!!  Have a lovely weekend whatever you do but remember to stay at home, stay safe and protect the NHS.

Sally Ketchin, Head Teacher

 

Busier than ever despite lockdown: Week 2

This week has been the second for all of us of juggling conflicting work schedules and parenting! I managed to ‘work’ and parent at the same time when my daughter and I logged into Mr Hamilton reading ‘Hairy Maclairy’ to P1 on Tuesday and it was lovely to see so many of the class! They had a very successful Show and Tell this morning to celebrate the end of term and they weren’t the only ones to be having a virtual meet up. P3, P4, P5 and P6 have also had a class catch up this week and although not everyone was able to be there, I know that the ones who made it really enjoyed seeing their teachers and friends. I’m sure the popularity of these virtual gatherings will grow as everyone begins to miss familiar faces more and more!

There has been so much going on online this week and it’s fantastic to see that it’s not just children who have been using Teams but parents too, with lots of you sharing tips and ideas for making it through the day with a smile on your face! I loved Mat’s ‘Survive’ mind map that was actually fairly similar to Lexi’s summer holidays one, just with less outdoor activity. It shows that Mat, and others I’m sure, is using this time to be mindful and use the time he has at home and with his family well.

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Mr Woodhouse very kindly picked up some home resource packs from our Hub school, Drummond, and took them to families who were self-isolating or otherwise unable to collect them – thank you Mr Woodhouse (although we all know he enjoyed the excuse to get out for a walk!). On the way, he spotted a message from Lili to Otis and Lenny so it’s great to see that you are using creative, practical ways to stay in touch and not just doing it online. It’s really important to let others know you are thinking of them so that everyone feels that little bit less isolated.

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It hasn’t just been Lili who’s been creative this week; Sara has made an incredible fairy garden with her dad, John has managed some impressive home gymnastics (complete with crash mat), Erin has created a very interesting PowerPoint about swans including beautiful photos that she took herself, Martina has been inspired by her native Spain to design an incredible poster about Semanta Santa and Mat and Emilia have done some beautiful art work and research on Picasso and Caravaggio respectively as part of P6’s art history project. Meanwhile, P7 as a whole seem to have been working impressively hard on their human body projects – well done P7! With all this creativity and kindness, its been hard to choose just one Secret Superstar and so this week we are going to have three! Well done to Otis, Belle and Rosie who are writing cards and letters (‘keep them very cheerful’ – Otis) to the Helen Wallace Trust Housing Association and Marionville Care Home to keep up the spirits of the residents. Well done to you all and to anyone else who has been inspired by their messages calling for helpers on Teams.

Although we’re officially on holiday from today, the teachers have been putting up plenty of ideas and resources to keep you busy if you are looking for something to do over the next few weeks although remember, it’s important to take a break too. The last few weeks have been mentally exhausting as we have come to terms with a temporary new way of life and started to learn lots of new skills so give yourself time to switch off. However, a few things that have really inspired me this week are….

The learning resources from The Palace of Holyroodhouse that some of your teachers might have posted into your Teams. I know lots of you are very interested in art and we’re a very creative school – our strong relationship with the annual Colony of Artists festival and our Artists in Residence programme proves that! So take a look at the resource if you want to learn more about Leonardo, explore the palace virtually, download some activity sheets or improve your interpretation of art!

I also loved the suggestion of creating a Kindness calendar  from the British Red Cross with suggestions such as checking in on neighbours in a safe way, calling or writing to a relative, doing something helpful for a friend or family member or simply following advice to stay at home to keep our communities safe and relieve pressure on the NHS and other vital services.

We’re on holiday next week but I’ll be posting some fantastic videos from Russell McLarty who is the local minister and a great friend to the school. He should have been at our Easter assembly but has recorded some wonderful stories for you instead which I’ll post in each class area during the course of the week.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, follow the government guidance and look forward to the day when we’re all together again.

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