Heather Reid delivering CPD for primary teachers


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, ICT, Learning & Teaching, New Learning, Science, video conferencing | Posted on January 7, 2013

Staff from 10 of our Dumfries & Galloway primary schools returned from their Christmas and New Year break to attend an excellent CPD event presented by former BBC weather presenter, Heather Reid. Heather (The Weather) led staff in stimulating, practical morning and afternoon sessions looking at weather related CfE Level 2 experiences and outcomes in science, numeracy, social subjects and a host of other possibilities for learning and teaching.









The morning session looked at the impact of weather on our world, and considered, for example, the difference between weather and climate. Heather’s presentation included many dramatic images of weather related events. Staff were highly engaged in water based experiments prepared by Heather and were amazed to see the results of their alchemy! Today’s CPD event was planned in preparation of each school receiving 2 video conference presentations from Heather in the coming weeks live direct and interactive from the Glasgow Science Centre.

CPD filming with Keir Bloomer and Gary Kildare


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Featured, HMIE, International Education, Learning & Teaching, New Learning | Posted on October 7, 2010

Gary Kildare and Kate Raeside in Gary's office

Gary Kildare and Kate Raeside in Gary's office

Keir prepares to ask Gary a few questions

Keir prepares to ask Gary a few questions

It’s a wet and windy October day for driving up from Dumfries to Edinburgh to meet Keir Bloomer for lunch and a chat before our appointment later in the afternoon with Gary Kildare. In the past few weeks we’ve made a start to the production of some short films to assist Dumfries & Galloway school staff in implementing ‘Curriculum for Excellence’.

Keir arranged for us to meet Gary Kildare (IBM Vice President, Human Resources, Europe, Americas, Asia Pacific) to capture on film Gary’s thoughts on the skills and attributes young people need to live, work and be successful in the 21st Century. Gary’s contribution to this CPD video for teachers is much appreciated and very significant, given his role as a leading figure in the global business world. We’ve already filmed Keir’s introduction to this ‘Skills’ video and will also include excerpts featuring school pupils demonstrating ‘higher order’ skills, such as problem solving and critical thinking.
It’s been a busy day, and this evening I fly to Birmingham for the ABRSM Course Leader and Mentor training weekend. Fortunately I managed to get a good sleep on the short flight down south!

Doctor Who


Posted by upbeat | Posted in Curriculum for Excellence | Posted on May 11, 2010

 In the early 1980s I played in ‘The Victors’,  a reggae / rock / gospel / blues band based in the south side of Glasgow. In 1982 we recorded a 10 track cassette album (no CDs in those days!) with the Falklands War  being played out on TV each evening. ‘Days in Arcadia’ was recorded in Park Lane Studios, Shawlands on the Sticky Music label and we duly performed to small gatherings around central Scotland for a year or so. I was a young teacher at King’s Park Secondary School at this time. Having survived as a probationer in Possilpark Secondary School and a stint in the rock band ‘Front Page News’, I was then enjoying both a pleasant work environment in King’s Park and a creative output with The Victors. My CPD (continuous professional development) at the time was the learning curve of liveIMG_6851 performance with the band, which I then translated into improvisatory work in the classroom for kids. The fact that I could play (on piano / synthesiser etc.) ‘pop music’ in the classroom and get kids involved in creating and inventing their own music meant they were engaged in a way I could never have achieved had I not had the experience of performing live on a regular basis. Relevance, challenge, enjoyment, participation, creativity, active learning……our music classes then reflected approaches now promoted in Curriculum for Excellence and the principles of curriculum design. This week I felt as though I’d stepped into an episode of Dr Who and been transported back to the 1980s. The Victors got together on Saturday for a reunion gig, having not performed together since 1982.

With guests Tom Morton (Radio Scotland) and Graeme Duffin (WetWetWet), both musical band buddies in 1983/84, we put on a gig at the ABC O2 venue in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. It went rather well, with a large audience spanning the years populated by band members’ grown-up children and 50-somethings passing themselves off as late-30s. What a night it was! IMG_6880The whole event reminded me how important my playing in a band developed so many transferable skills I took back into the classroom. In the late 1990s, I involved my S3 pupils at Castlemilk High School in a pop song writing project which led to recording a track with Sir George Martin in his Air Studios, London. IMG_6889And then, unbelievably, the Castlemilk kids performed their song live with a 60-piece orchestra in opening the Millenium Song Competition event in front of 3000 people at the Millenium Dome site in London. Successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens. All of them.IMG_6894IMG_6857





HD Video Conferencing in Primary Schools


Posted by upbeat | Posted in ICT, video conferencing | Posted on March 30, 2010

The weather today has been atrocious, with heavy falls of snow across Scotland. Dumfries & Galloway got off lightly, with wind and driving rain. And down at Drummore today, the waves crashed over onto the road (and my car) as I made my way to Scotland’s most south-westerly school.

An informal training session today in Drummore Primary School on their new High Definition Video Conference system.
An informal training session today in Drummore Primary on the new High Definition Video Conference system.

Today saw the installation of new HD video conference kit in Whithorn and Drummore Primary Schools. Tomorrow, other rurally isolated primary schools in Carsphairn and Kelloholm will receive their new systems. Young people in these schools will be able to receive instrumental music lessons on site over High Definition Video Conferencing. Teachers will be able to ‘attend’ twilight CPD sessions without leaving their schools; and schools are encouraged to use their new systems as a window on the world for a wide range of learning purposes. Already Whithorn Primary have specific plans to link with Georgetown Primary School in the Cayman Islands. Young people in Langholm Primary will soon be linking with peers on the remote island of St Helena in the South Atlantic. And secondary students in Douglas Ewart High School (Newton Stewart) are actively planning to hook up with fellow students in Lapland, in Finland’s most northerly secondary school.

School communities are only limited by their individual and collective imaginations as to what might be possible. Watch this space for some amazing local, national and international collaborations!

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