After discussion with the parent council last year regarding homework we have been undertaking consultations with parents, pupils and staff to gather views. Homework has been in the news lately and it was important to us to consider the views of all stakeholders before making decisions. The consultation showed that a majority of parents and pupils think that homework is important and they would like this to still be assigned. The feed back showed that P4-P7 parents would like more project based tasks that could be completed over a longer period of time. Miss Clark's class and Mrs Green's class have been piloting a homework grid for their classes and we have seen some fantastic homework projects for their WW2 topic (photos of projects are in 'school events' page). Feedback from P1-3 parents showed parents would like more information on how to complete tasks and build skills with their children. We will continue to develop our approach to homework and thank you to all of the parents for taking part in the consultation. (Please see the photos below for collated consultation responses.)
This week we talked about how what we say and do can effect how other people feel. We watched this video book called 'How Full is Your Bucket?' (click to watch the video) and discovered that when we say nice things to others they feel good and we feel good too! We talked about simple things we could do at school to help fill other people's buckets and chose a few simple things we could try. This week we are going to try to give compliments, help in the class and around the school, be polite and encourage others. I'm sure we will have lots of full buckets this week!
This week we were looking at the different key words in our school vision - happy, caring, safe, nurturing, respectful, confident, motivated and responsible. We worked in multi-stage groups with Primary 7 leaders to think about one of these words and what they would look like and sound like at school. We will be working more on these in our upcoming assemblies.
October 7th 2016
This week our focus was on giving our views about homework. We worked in our mixed learning groups lead by P7 pupils to discuss and record our ideas. Most of us think that homework is really important especially reading and spelling. We also had some ideas of how to improve homework:
give homework that we can do on the computer/ipad, give French/Spanish/Art/Topic homework, give a choice of tasks, give more time to complete homework, give homework projects and many more! Most surprising was that lots of pupils thought we should have more homework!!
30th September 2016
This week we had a singing assembly! We loved singing the Fischy music songs and teaching our new P1s the actions! Thank you Mrs McMillan!
16th September 2016
This week we worked in mixed groups to give our opinions for a survey. P7s supported their P1/2 learning buddies and P6 lead our mixed stage learning groups.
The survey we did was on bullying. Here are some of the results:
* almost all of the pupils are happy at school
* about half of the pupils think bulling is a little problem at school
* most pupils reported that they haven't been bullied at school
* most pupils felt bullying is dealt with well or very well by the school
* almost all pupils knew who to talk to if they had been bullied
As a school we will continue working hard to support children in making best behaviour choices.
9th September 2016
Don't worry, Katie did make it out of the learning pit! She discovered that you need to stop and reflect on your work to see what you are doing well and what you can improve. Once you know what you need to work on you can start climbing out of the learning pit...success!
This week Mojo learned what it means that your 'brain is like a muscle'. He learned that just trying harder won't grow your brain you have to look at challenges in a different way and try different strategies so you learn what works and what doesn't.
Here are some questions that you can use at home to support your child(ren) to develop a growth mindset:
1. What can we say to ourselves to keep going when we are facing a challenge?
2. What kind of attitude do you have when you face something challenging?
2nd September 2016
This week Mojo discovered that having a growth mindset doesn't mean you are going to be great at everything, it means enjoying a challenge and learning something new even if you aren't completely successful at it.
Katie discovered that there is something called a 'learning dip'. When she started out learning something new it was exciting! But as things got a bit difficult and a bit challenging she wanted to give up. We think that if she has a growth mindset and tries a new strategy or asks for help she will start climbing up out of the dip and growing her brain!
Here are some questions you can ask at home to help support a growth mindset:
1) What does it feel like when something is too challenging? Is it wrong that we feel this way?
2) What kind of attitude should we take on when facing a challenge, and why is that important?
We also celebrated a variety of pupils' achievements - Thomas for walking 10km for the Beatson charity and raising over £700! Olivia for competing at the Cowal games for Highland dancing! Finlay for participating in a conversation on BBC radio 4. And Sean for seeing a friend in need and doing something simple, asking him to sit with him at lunch, to help him feel better. We also talked about how achievements don't necessarily mean winning a medal or trophy. It's about working hard for something and being proud of your efforts.
This week at assembly we continued learning about Growth Mindset. We learned about how our brain works and how it gets stronger. We also learned about the power of YET! I can't do it....YET!
Here are some questions you can ask at home to encourage a Growth Mindset:
* What new challenge would you like to tackle next?
* What new thing did you do today to help grow your neutrons?
We also celebrated pupils success at the annual Horticultural Show art fair.
Well done all!
We have started off this term reviewing what having a 'Growth Mindset' means. At assembly we watched some videos about Mojo and Katie who have been explaining what to do when we meet a challenge or find something difficult. Mojo discovered that having to figure things out makes our brains stronger. If we just give up when we meet a challenge our brains get lazy. That's why mistakes are so good...they help our brain GROW!
Here are some questions you can ask at home to encourage a growth mindset:
* What was the biggest challenge you faced today? (Let your child ask you that question too!)
* What would you do differently if something similar happened tomorrow?
* How does it make you feel when you make a mistake?
* What can you do so you don't feel discouraged when you make a mistake?
Interested in finding out more about Growth Mindset?
This week at assembly we talked about kindness. We learned that showing kindness towards others can help us be happier, more relaxed and even do better at school.
To show the impact of negative words we started with two apples. One of the apples we said unkind things to like 'You're an ugly apple' and dropped it. The other apple we just left alone. At the end of assembly we took both apples which looked the same on the outside and cut into them. The apple that was left alone was just as an apple should be, creamy coloured. The apple that we said unkind things to looked shiny and red on the outside but on the inside it was smushed and bruised. Hannah said "that's like when you say unkind things to people you can't tell by looking at the outside but on the inside they are hurting". Then we looked at what other children in the world are doing to be kind to others and that gave us lots of ideas for little acts of kindness we could do. Mrs McAdam gave us a kindness challenge to write an anonymous kindness note to someone in the school to share kindness and spread positivity. The children took to the challenge with vigor and have been very busy writing kindness notes here are a few that were spotted:
Over the last two weeks the pupils have been discussing 'Creative Thinking' at assembly. We have been learning that our brain can get smarter and better at tasks by thinking 'outside of the box'. Some of the things we discussed with our groups were:
* If there were no nails in the world, how would we build houses?
* What would we do if all of the refrigerators stopped working?
* How many uses for a paperclip could you think of?
We learned that sometimes our first idea isn't always our best idea.
At assembly this week children were invited up to squeeze some toothpaste from a tube and share an unkind word they had heard someone say to another person at school. (The toothpaste represented the unkind words.) After lots of sharing there wasn’t any toothpaste left to squeeze out of the tube. Then Mrs. McAdam asked for someone to put the toothpaste back in the tube and was met by lots of surprised faces for that was an incredible task! We discussed that this was like trying to take back unkind words, once they are out there sometimes just saying sorry doesn’t make it better. The children also brainstormed lots of kind things to say at school to make a positive difference.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. – Dalai Lama
* giving best effort
* trying your best even when things get difficult
* learning from things that don't go as planned
* using feedback for improvement
* learning from others who do well
We watched this video (The Dot) about a little girl who changes her way of thinking and finds an 'I can' attitude.
Remembrance Day Assembly
This morning, the Primary 7 class took over the school assembly to help the rest of the school reflect upon the significance of Remembrance Day. They had researched and learnt about World War One, the origins of Remembrance day and why the Poppy is used as a symbol if remembrance.
The whole school sat in rapt attention as the P7s delivered their assembly.
We remember the sacrifices soldiers made in the Great War and other conflicts.
We remember what they fought and died for.
We hope for wisdom from politicians and leaders so that no lives are lost in vain.
We hope for world peace and an end to war.
We will remember them.
Throughout the school year, we seek opportunities to raise money for charities. This is obviously great for the charities in question. In the past year, we have raised money for Breast Cancer Charities, Comic Relief, The British Heart Foundation, Children in Need and we have also sent 99 gift boxes to people in need in Europe and Asia via the Blytheswood Appeal.
But our involvement with charities goes deeper than helping others. By planning events and raising money, the children at our school are learning vital skills and attitudes.
All pupils at our school get a chance to become more confident children with leadership and teamwork skills who are members of a happy and vibrant community. They take responsibility for the world around them, are learning to be resilient in the face of adversity and are developing experience at solving problems. This is no small thing, and I for one am humbled by their efforts and the generous contributions of parents, family members and friends.
Our next fundraiser is in aid of Save the Children and takes place on Friday 12th December. Pupils and staff are invited to wear a Christmas themed jumper to school and make a donation to the charity. If pupils have a Christmassy or wintery jumper, they can wear it, or else get creative and decorate an old jumper to make it Christmassy.
Watch this space of photographs of staff and children getting festive!
J. Helbert 23rd October 2014
We had a visit yesterday from Innes Paterson, the local area Active Schools Coordinator. He met with me to complete the assessment tool for Sport Scotland's School Sport Awards. The tool made us reflect about the amount and quality of P.E. taught at all stages of the school and other opportunities for physical activity and sport that we offer the children.
One of the areas of outstanding strength was the level of participation in extra-curricular sports by pupils from the school with over 80% of children regularly accessing after school sports clubs either here at the school, or at the Joint Campus in Lochgilphead.
The assessment tool also helped us to formulate a plan for getting even better and next year we will strive for Gold. The immediate next step for our school is to create a School Sports Council that will be made up of members of staff, pupils and parent volunteers. The Council would meet once or twice a term to create and carry out a plan for further improving Sport provision at Ardrishaig Primary School. If you are a parent, local sports volunteer or coach, or if you are a member of a local sports club, and you would be interested in joining the School Sports Council, please call or email the school.
The School Sports Award is just the latest recognition of school-wide achievement. Alongside Eco Schools' awarding a fifth Green Flag to the school and the Level 3 Health Promoting School Award and recent praise from our Local Area Education Officer about the education we provide to all pupils, we are pleased and proud to be giving the young people who attend our school a well-rounded educational experience.
Tomorrow is the final day of the summer term. Pupils have brought home their learning logs and parents have attended Parents' Evening. Assessments have been completed and projects are coming to an end. It often used to feel that the August-October period of the school year was a time for gently settling in to the new term, and this is important. However, it is increasingly the case that staff and pupils hit the ground running at the start of the new school year and not a single minute of learning time is wasted. This takes dedicated hard work from pupils and staff and I am, once again, in awe of all the people who learn and teach at Ardrishaig Primary School and the support we get from parents, community members and friends. To you all I say thank you and wish you a very happy October Holiday.
There is a staff In Service training day on Wednesday 22nd October and school opens to pupils again on Thursday 23rd.
J. Helbert 9th October 2014
At my assemblies this term, I have been talking to the children about our School Values. They are:
This week I used the story, Pink by Lynne Rickards to illustrate the importance of inclusion.
Inclusion means making others feel that they belong; including them regardless of what makes us different.
In the story, Patrick the Penguin wakes up one day to find he has turned pink. At first he is worried because he is different to all the other penguins and he is teased in school for being different. Patrick leaves the South Pole to go in search of other pink birds and joins a flamingo colony in Africa. There he finds that, other than his colour, he has nothing else in common with the flamingoes and he decides to go home. Back home he is now celebrated by his friends and loved because of his uniqueness.
This is a story with many levels. With the younger children, I was able to talk about it being ok for boys to like or wear pink. With the older children we discussed issues of race and ethnicity.
The key message with all the children, though was that we are all unique yet we have one identity that binds us - we all belong to the community of Ardrishaig Primary School. We all have the right to be included regardless of our ability level, gender, race, beliefs or physical appearance and we all have a duty to make everybody else at the school feel included.
Children have a way of hitting the nail right on the head and getting the point home much better than I can. One of the younger children in the school pointed out to me that, "You're from Liverpool and we still love you!"
These are the times that I am reminded of how blessed I am to work with the young people of Ardrishaig.
Our next assembly will be on Monday where we will be celebrating the wide range of achievements of our young people and staff.
3rd October 2014
Welcome to the New Website
Last term we had some problems with our website and decided to go ahead and get a new one. Over the summer holidays staff at school and at Primary Site worked to put together this site.
We hope you like it - you can find term dates, latest news and information about classes and school clubs. It will be updated and added to as we go through the term and we will use our Facebook page to keep you posted.
J. Helbert 21/9/14
Hello and welcome to my brand new blog.
It has been a frenetic start to the term as we have had to work around the builders who are currently working on our new Pre-Five Unit. Most of the internal work in the school is now complete and we have new flooring and freshly painted walls in the open areas. Coupled with the new lighting that went into classes last term, the place feels wonderfully bright and spacious.
There has been some disruption, for which I apologise. There were boxes piled in the open area on the first day, a mix up over where to line up (we are still waiting for the new Primary 1 entrance to be useable) and there is still some storage furniture and new sinks to arrive. However, I am immensely proud of the work that went into getting the school ready to open last week. Support staff, teachers, cleaners, Kitchen staff, builders, decorators and a host of others worked round the clock and for that I am truly thankful.
Now that we have children here, the place feels great. Everyone has come back to school with a smile on their lips and that is enough to make even me smile.
J. Helbert 18/8/14
Achievement, Confidence, Responsibility, Citizenship, Happiness and Inclusion