Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

Click on the image to link to the Royal Society website.

Our Lady’s have been selected as one of the judging panels for the Young People’s  Book Prize.

Our Lady’s has been awarded a free set of the shortlisted books which have now been pored over by pupils from different departments, checking them from the perspectives of design, marketing and information books. Groups reviewed every book and calculated an average score for each title. This involved a great deal of discussion and analysis as pupils discovered the value of not judging a book by its cover.

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As our analysis continued, we also discovered the value of this process for explaining careers connected tot he publishing and creative industries, demonstrating the large numbers involved in getting a book from idea to bookshelf.

Our volunteer judging panel will now check over the books in much more detail, preparing questions for authors and illustrators and creating our final submissions. If you would like further information or to volunteer for the judging panel please see Mrs Macfadyen in the Library.

 

Edinburgh Book Festival 2017

Mrs Macfadyen is organising a trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival on August 21st 2017. This is a fantastic trip to see three different authors of three very different novels, then hang about in the sunshine, eat ice creamand check out the huge book shop.

Canadian Sebastian de Castell‘s novel, Spellslingers is a dramatic tale of tricks, romance, magic and comedy.

Catherine Barter’s first novel, Troublemakers, includes unknown mothers, family secrets, terrible danger and discovering the truth. She will be appearing with Swedish Christoffer Carlsson who is a criminologist and author. Explore his world with his first young adult novel, October is the coldest month.

If interested please give your name to your English teacher or Mrs Macfadyen asap. Tickets cost £3 each plus cost of bus, but the Festival are also supplying a £3 book token for every pupil who visits.

Plus the ice cream and cakes are awesome.

Tinto Hill 2017

Lovely day for a walk – until they got to the top where is was just a wee bit colder than the 700m below.

S1 headed up Tinto Hill to raise funds for St Andrew’s Hospice today.  Well done everyone who took part.

Thanks to  Partnership Officer, Deborah King for all her hard work and organisation.

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Titanic Project 2017: messing about in the water

The Titanic Crew spent this morning completing their writing challenges, preparing materials for the display and ageing their crew and passenger biographies with teabags and coffee grains. We were surprised to discover that one of the biographies, which were part of the first day’s tasks, featured a baby boy who also appears in one of the pupil’s written reports. The crew also enjoyed a viewing of Ghosts in the Abyss with Mrs Jeffrey, and spent the afternoon at Wishaw Sports Centre, practising their swimming under the benevolent eyes of Mrs McNeish and Mrs Dynes.

Thursday was spent preparing all of the remaining materials produced during this year’s project for display, almost destroying the Library’s laminator (no names, but you know who you are!). The very last day of our three week Titanic Project saw the group head for Greenock and the Caribbean Princess with Miss Walmsley and Mr McGleish, where they toured a modern day cruise liner and learned about life and work on the ocean wave. Our thanks to Princess Cruises and Greenock Ocean Terminal for their kindness in allowing our pupils and staff aboard.

Tapestry Project

Professor Nigel Osborne and colleagues visited OLHS today to launch This place is our place, a project about Motherwell, past, present and future. The team are working with S1 pupils in Art and Design, Music and English to create poems, artwork and songs relating to their hometown.

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The next stage is for pupils to collect stories, images, sounds and mementos of life in Motherwell from their families that can be shared on the This place is our place website. Contributions are also welcomed from members of the public: please see the website for details.

This place is our place is part of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

Titanic Project: Liberty Steel

The Titanic crew visited Liberty Steel for a guided tour of the plant and to learn how slabs of steel are rolled and shaped into plates for ships, bridges and rigs.

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Titanic Project 2017: films and measurements

The Titanic Crew spent the morning watching the 1958 film, A Night to Remember, and compared it with the 1997 film, Titanic, that they were more familiar with. The pupils preferred the older film because it focused on the disaster. Throughout the film, our resident Titanic fanatic, PT English Mrs Millar, pointed out important events, areas of controversy and the background of various passengers.

The afternoon was spent with Miss Lees and Miss Wheeler from Maths who helped pupils to visualise the size of Titanic by comparing it with our school building. The crew took the trundle wheels around the yard for their measurements before working on their calculations. It turns out that the school could fit twice into the footprint of the Titanic!

 

Titanic Project 2017: posters, buoyancy and mapping

Start of Titanic Project week 2 and the Crew were working with Mr Weir from Art and Design creating Titanic posters in Photoshop (photos to follow). Next they learned about buoyancy and how enormous steel vessels stay afloat, making their own vessels with Mr Law in Science. Congratulations to the team of Omar and Conor whose boat was most successful.

In the afternoon, Miss Moir from Social Subjects worked with the class on a giant map showing the Titanic’s route from Belfast to disaster, adding information about each port of call and passenger nationalities.

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Titanic Project 2017: ferry to Mount Stuart House

The Titanic Crew headed for Mount Stuart House on Bute. They were a bit nervous as it was their first time on a ferry, but got their sea-legs quickly on a beautiful calm Firth of Clyde.

Our visit to the stunning Mount Stuart House allowed pupils to get an idea of the elegant and sophisticated surroundings that 1st class passengers would have enjoyed aboard the Titanic. Our thanks to Morven and all the staff at Mount Stuart.

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Excellence and Equity Awards 2017

School awards highlight positive initiatives

Excellence and Equity Awards 2017
Productive Partnerships – Purposeful Learning
Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell
Titanic Project

 As a result of changes to SQA exams, staff at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, spotted an opportunity to provide an exciting programme of interdisciplinary experiences for some of our National 4 students. Our aim was to help pupils gain additional qualifications while expanding their life experiences and raising awareness of the options available to them on leaving school, all through focusing on the Titanic disaster.

We are now approaching the third year of this vibrant project which runs over three weeks of the SQA diet. The programme coordinators are PT Pupil Support, Lyn Zambonini, and Library Resource Centre Manager, Jennifer Macfadyen and involves staff from across Our Lady’s High School, local businesses, voluntary groups and national organisations.

Following an initial introduction, the programme is split into four broad areas: ship building and design; life aboard the Titanic; the disaster itself; and the rediscovery of the wreck.

We were stunned to discover that the steel plates that built Titanic had actually come from the Colville Steelworks in Motherwell, making a wonderful connection with our local heritage. Pupils were lucky to experience Tata, now Liberty Steel, in the process of rolling the steel plates with a guided tour by staff at the plant, who also provided pupils with many stories of life at the steelworks and a thorough grounding in Health and Safety routines.

Although the Titanic was built in Belfast, we were able to take advantage of the Clyde’s vast experiences in ship-building, visiting the Titan Crane at Clydebank, and the Denny Tank Museum at Dumbarton. Titan staff explained how riveting gangs worked, how the shipyards were a part of the community and how dangerous life was while the Denny Flotation Tank demonstrated the engineering expertise involved in designing and testing ships’ hulls. The group also discovered that Denny’s was even involved in testing some of Titanic’s lifeboats. This information became invaluable when learning about buoyancy with Science teachers back at OLHS, and designing their own hulls.

Pupils also learned more about some of the passengers and crew aboard and the different lives they led on a luxury liner depending on their class. English showed the films, A Night to Remember and Titanic, and compared the special effects and reliability of each. Our group were able to put their new-found knowledge into practice by working with Lifestyle Development staff to create a shipboard lunch for staff – although staff did not know until the last minute whether they would receive the 1st, 2nd or 3rd class treatment and dining experience.

To bring everything up to date we contacted Greenock Ocean Terminal who kindly arranged for us to have a tour of the Caribbean Princess. We used this experience as a focus on careers, bringing along our Careers Advisor, Miss Ruth Robertson from SDS to provide detailed advice. Seeing aboard a real cruise ship gave pupils a whole new way of looking at the world, and the numerous careers open to them. They were also keen to compare the Caribbean Princess to what they had already learned about ship design. They were definitely impressed by the safety regulations and the numbers of lifeboats.

Turning our attention to the disaster itself, Mr Walter Lee from the RNLI kindly came along to demonstrate what happened with the iceberg and graphically explain what would have happened to the Titanic’s passengers in the water, including the effects of hypothermia – he even brought along his own mini iceberg!

Other activities have included creating a map of the world demonstrating the Titanic’s route (Social Subjects); printing and poster making (Art and Design); trying out Morse code (Science); an afternoon swimming courtesy of NL Leisure (Lifestyle Development); building their own model Titanic (Social Subjects / Art); discussion of moral issues relating to women and children first and the treatment of 3rd class passengers (RE); further moral issues relating to the wreck arose following a screening of Ghosts of the Abyss: should the Titanic be raised? Should material be removed? Should the ship be left to rust to nothing? (English); and multi-lingual newspaper front pages (Modern Languages).

With so many stories being generated from the project, we wanted pupils to be able to record the aspects that were most important to them, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator, so we introduced the group to storyteller, Allison Galbraith, thanks to part-funding from the Scottish Book Trust. Allison demonstrated the art of storytelling, and guided the group through creating and recording their own stories, helping them to record their own voices for posterity. Allison started by introducing herself and just talking with the group, building pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to participate. Allison also demonstrated breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups before recording began, with further advice on presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite occasionally breaking into the giggles, every pupil managed to record their own work beautifully.

Discussion with pupils led to an additional trip which saw us taking the ferry to Rothesay and the stunning Mount Stuart House. This mansion was completed in 1912, the same year as the Titanic disaster and thus pupils were not only able to experience actually travelling across water – a new experience for all of them – but to see luxurious interiors similar to those of the ship they’d been learning all about.

The Titanic Project continues to develop with partnerships emerging as various individuals and groups express an interest in participating. In 2016, our pupils were even able to join with St Brendan’s Primary as part of their anniversary visit to Belfast to see the Titanic Museum for themselves.

The Titanic Project has been a huge success over the last two years. We have seen the pupils blossom, gaining in confidence, pulling together as a team, and their ideas of what’s available to them in the future have expanded rapidly. Each year pupils have created an exhibition of their experiences which have been visited by classes from across OLHS and visitors to the school, leading to further discussions and expressions of interest. Last year all of the pupils involved achieved the SQA qualifications. “Local investigations” at SCQF level 4.

Feedback from pupils themselves has been outstanding:

”I thought it would be boring, but it was brilliant!”;

“I liked how we went on adventures and explored all the museums”;

“I seemed to get a better relationship with people that I hadn’t spoken to since primary”;

”I actually wanted to come to school!”

The Project continues to explore new ground and build new partnerships. Staff coordinators continue to collect materials, ideas and contacts and we look forward to its continuing success long into the future.

 

 

World Book Day doodles

S1 worked with their Art and Design teachers and Librarian, Mrs Macfadyen, to create doodles suitable for World Book Day book tokens.

As part of the project, we introduced pupils to the illustrator and Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, through an Authors Live video, in which he demonstrates his talent and discusses the value of doodling. Mrs Macfadyen also read to each class (including all the voices) while they worked on their own doodles, and the teaching staff shared their own sketchbooks to prove that doodling is going on all the time, and share its value as a way of relaxation.

Autism Awareness Week, 27th March – 2nd April

Autism Awareness Week for Schools takes place this year 27th March – 2nd April.  We had a really successful week last session and Mrs Maguire, P.T. Support for Learning and Liaison Leader with Bothwellpark High School, has been hard at work organising this year’s events. So far, these include a staff coffee morning, joint karaoke with Bothwellpark pupils, and a non-uniform day – Wear it Pink/Purple!

Pupils from Bothwellpark High School will also be heavily involved, participating in lessons in Sport and Recreation, Science and H.E. Bothwellpark pupils will also be going round classes collecting donations for the National Autistic Society and several of them will be delivering a short talk to RE classes, focusing on the role of their school.

Also as part of Autism Awareness Week, Jeanie McFarlane from Scottish Autism has very kindly offered to organise a twilight raising-awareness session.  Jeanie has been working regularly with some of our pupils and she is very aware of the issues that these pupils currently face in and around the school, and is happy to offer help and advice during the twilight session.

This course has been organised for Wednesday 29th March and will start at 3pm in the ASN base.

#pollitolhs

Dementia Friends

During sixth year, we have been given the opportunity to take part in various clubs and projects. The “Dementia Friends” project allowed us to get involved with the Motherwell FC Community Trust and was set up to help break the barrier between the older and younger generations in our local community. My peers and I completed a workshop with a dementia expert to help build our knowledge on the condition and train us for the sessions ahead.

We split into groups and decided on appropriate times for us to meet with our ‘Dementia Friend’ and had our first session with them in Ravens Court. The idea behind this project is mainly to brighten their day by chatting and interacting with them alongside creating a memory book for them to cherish. We completed various activities to help jog their memories about their lives when they were our age and we had a lot of fun hearing their stories.

I believe I speak on behalf of the other pupils who take part when I say that it is really beneficial experience. Not only are we making our older friends feel part of something special, we ourselves also feel good about giving back to our local community. I would thoroughly recommend taking part in this worthwhile and life affirming opportunity to anyone.

NLC Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships

Report from Miss Moir

Five pupils travelled to Airdrie Leisure Centre on Thursday to participate in the North Lanarkshire Secondary Schools Cross Country Championships. All pupils performed well and managed to battle through some tough weather conditions.

In the S1 girls race Cavan Ryan finished strongly to take fourth place overall. Abigail Freel finished in 18th and Lauren Mullen Pentney crossed the line in 81st place.

Anton Scott did a great job representing the school in the S1 boys race, finishing in 52nd place overall.

In the S3 girls race Rachel Donnelly ran a fantastic race and came home in first place!

Congratulations to all pupils on a great performance!

BBC School Report 2017

BBC School Report provides an opportunity for pupils between 11-16 to experience a day in a newsroom, creating and reporting on the news. Groups can choose to report on the events of the day as they occur, build their own reports on a theme, or a mixture of both. Our Lady’s BBC School Report 2017 focused on the Transplant Games which are taking place in North Lanarkshire from 27th-30th July this year.

In advance of School Report Day on 16th March, pupils spent every Friday lunchtime in the Library selecting issues to investigate, improving their knowledge of organ transplants and making contact with relevant organisations and individuals who might be able to help them. As the day drew closer, pupils also volunteered time after school to learn about and practice sending requests for information, interview techniques, creating surveys and writing reports. Senior pupils involved worked on a storyboard for a video report.

One group of pupils set up an interview with heart transplant recipient, Mr Brian Gorman, who described his life before and after his operation. Mr Gorman explained that he did not know whose heart he had received but that he sent an update every five years to the donor’s family through the hospital to say thank you.

Another group interviewed the Chair of the North Lanarkshire games, Councillor Jim McCabe, who explained the reasons why North Lanarkshire was so keen to host the event and personal friends who had died because the wait for the transplant had been just too long for their bodies to cope.

Pupils were also keen to investigate attitudes to and knowledge of organ transplantation in school and created a survey for staff and pupils.

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On the day, pupils completed more surveys and also visited asked staff if they would like to share their reasons for carrying a donor card. The group created bullet points from all of their sources of information which became part of our School Report Ideas Wall. They collated the responses of the survey and designed posters to illustrate their data, which were combined with the storyboard and bullet points to create our video report. They wrote reports on all of their investigations. Throughout the day, pupils took photos of their colleagues and tweeted what they were up to. We even sent a photo of the dreich day outside to BBC Weather Watchers!

Naturally, with such a lot going on we had one or two issues, but the pupils were fantastic, and remained positive throughout, even when Mr Kerr and Mrs Macfadyen were tearing their hair out.

Our thanks to everyone in OLHS for their support, to Mr Gorman and Councillor McCabe for taking the time to come along to the school, and to everyone who responded to our e-mails and requests for help. We couldn’t have done it without you.

All of our BBC School Report work is available by clicking here.

Pi Day 2017

Report from Miss Lees

On Tuesday 14th March pupils and staff in the school celebrated Pi day. Pi jokes were added to the daily bulletin, the maths teachers wore a variety of Pi related clothing, Pi quizzes and colouring sheets were available from the library and Pi facts were added to the school twitter feed. S1 pupils all worked together in the Kamwokya room to create a colour coded paper chain that displayed the first 1000 digits of Pi. S2 had double fun, writing Pilish poems in English, where they had to use the digits of Pi as the word lengths in the poem. They then arrived at maths and made Pi Skylines, representing the digits visually as buildings. At lunchtime pupils could take part in a Pi recital. A closely fought battle ended with an amazing S1 Imogen McFadden reciting 109 digits from memory. Mr Drummond presented the winning pupil with a trophy and a Pi cookie. The S2 winner of the Pilish poetry also received a cookie as a prize. The staff were surprised and happy to find apple Pi(e)s delivered to their departments at lunchtime, courtesy of PT Maths Mr Drummond. Thanks to everyone who made the day such a success!

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Scottish Youth Parliament Elections 2017

Orla McDevitt and Nathan Donnelly were elected as your Motherwell and Wishaw Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament! Congratulations to the candidates, particularly our pupil Orla. We are so proud of your success.

Thank you to all of the young people who voted and the staff who helped throughout this process. #pollitolhs

Keith Cook and Sky Academy

Commonwealth medal winner, Keith Cook, has been working with pupils in our S1 Nurture Group to provide some fencing training and team-building activities.

The Sky Sports ‘Living for Sport’ programme aimed at developing ‘Mental Toughness, Hunger to achieve, People skills, Breaking barriers, Sport and life knowledge, and Planning for success.

This morning, the group moved rapidly from basic movements through balance, parrying and scoring.

Thank you to Mr McGurk for organising Keith’s visit.

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