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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π Day is coming!

Pi Day is celebrated each year on March 14th (ie 3.14). This year, events in OLHS will include:

  • a π colouring competition (Library, lunchtimes, 50p to enter, Mon-Thur)
  • a π word quiz  (Library, lunchtimes, 50p to enter, Mon-Thur)
  • a π reciting competition (S1/2, Library lunchtime, Tuesday 14th March)
  • a whole day of activities in Maths, English, Modern Languages etc

Science: Fiction: Make: Believe

Recently the school entered a Scotland-wide creative writing competition for S2 pupils, organised by St Andrew’s University, called Science: Fiction: Make: Believe. Pupils were to write a 750 word creative piece about any Scottish scientist, alive or dead, or the impact of their discoveries or inventions. Through the collaboration of the English Department, Science Department and Library Resource Centre, all of our S2 pupils participatedwith staff selecting the work of Morgan Mackie (Alexander Fleming) and Andrew Ross (Dr Knox) as the two entries from Our Lady’s High School.

The judges have awarded Certificates of Commendation to both Morgan and Andrew, and they are invited to attend the award ceremony on the 4th March, at St. Andrews University School of Physics & Astronomy. A representative from the Royal Society of Edinburgh will present the prizes before an audience of pupils and their families who are warmly invited to the all-day event.

Well done, Andrew and Morgan! You can read their essays on our school website shortly.

ESU Debates – second round

Report from Mrs Millar

Congratulations to Grant Mackin and Christopher Wilson on their fantastic performance in Round 2 of the ESU School’s Mace Debating Competition. The boys were in fine form, opposing the motion: “This House would value economic growth over environmental protection.” Opponents were Uddingston Grammar, who were also hosts. In the end, after two excellent debates, Our Lady’s and The Wellington School won their places in the third round of this prestigious competition.

The motion for the next round is: “This House would abolish the House of Lords.”

Watch this space! #pollitolhs

Literacy across learning

S2 are working hard on a writing competition organised by St Andrew’s University. The aim of the competition is to put Art into STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Pupils have to link their Science and English learning by researching their favourite Scottish scientist and using the information to write a creative piece.

So far, we have been entertained by essays on Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Fleming and John Logie Baird. Mrs Millar, Mrs Sinclair, Mrs Macfadyen and Mr McKendrick will judge the essays and choose the best two to represent the school. The overall winner will receive a voucher for £50 and the four runners-up £25. Good luck everyone!

Meanwhile, all of S1 were presented with their Pocket Literacy Guide, kindly bought for them by the PTA. These handy books contain rules for punctuation, grammar and spelling, as well as hints for writing in different subject areas. We know that S1 will put these guides to good use in all their subjects.

Rachel Clinton visit

Report by Mrs Millar

The Advanced Higher English class had a treat last week when one of our former pupils, Rachel Clinton, visited our class and shared her insights into creative writing. Rachel is currently studying Professional Writing at City of Glasgow College, and has already performed readings of her work in public. We read and heard both her poetry, and a powerful interior monologue. The class – including teacher and Librarian – then took part in a writing exercise to see what we could achieve.

A massive thanks to Rachel for giving up her time; the class was impressed and very grateful!

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Google Expeditions

Pupils went exploring today through Google Expeditions, an app that allows classes to visit coral reefs, the Moon, the Grand Canyon, Rio de Janeiro, World War I trenches or the rainforest through Virtual Reality.

Over 200  pupils participated from departments including Social Subjects, English, Modern Languages, Science and Nurture. Staff were equally keen to try out the technology for themselves, so there was a steady stream of adults wandering around with the viewers too.

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Google Expeditions

On Friday the 25th of November the Social Subjects Faculty will have the privilege of hosting a team from Google Expeditions who facilitated Virtual Reality (VR) learning experiences for a number of our pupils. This unbelievable system allows those taking part to actually experience what it was like to be a soldier in the trenches during the First World War.

A number of different subject departments are involved: Social Subjects, English, Modern Languages, Science and Nurture. Over 200 of our young people will get the chance to be involved in a worthwhile and memorable experience. We hope it helps to bring their study of the First World War to life! #pollitolhs

Performing Arts / English London Trip

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Jeffrey

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The annual Performing Arts/English trip to London was an action packed weekend from start to finish. 29 pupils joined Mrs Smith, Miss McGhee, Mrs Jeffrey and Mr Bryans on Thursday at teatime and the fun didn’t stop until Sunday at midnight!

After collapsing exhausted on Thursday night from their journey, the group leapt into Friday action with visits to the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Covent Garden before enjoying a fantastic performance of Wicked. Saturday saw visits to Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye and the Christmas market- but nothing compared with the London Dungeon, which was so terrifying the group started saying the school prayer.

Sunday began with mass in Fulham, where the group was made very welcome by the Parish Priest and congregation before they hit the shops, including Harrods and Oxford Street. A tired but happy bunch returned to Motherwell at midnight on Sunday.

Edinburgh Book Festival 2016

A bus full of enthusiastic readers headed for the Edinburgh Internal Book Festival on Monday 29th August. Pupils came from S1-6, including the Advanced Higher English class who came along to pick up some tips for their creative writing.

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Our first session featured relatively new writers, Lisa Heathfield and Katherine Howe, who focused on how they had written their books and the research involved in getting the details correct. They had plenty of advice for aspiring writers and encouraged questions by giving away badges. Hands flew up from purple blazers!

Our second talk featured crime author, Anne Cassidy, who has published over forty books. She very quickly had the audience laughing as she explained all the ways that she had killed off her characters. Again OLHS pupils were keen to ask questions, including Conor who asked how Anne would kill him off if he appeared in one of her books. Anne made arrangements with him later on.

The Festival sponsors kindly provided book tokens for each pupil which were quickly snapped up to buy books and get them signed by the authors, providing further opportunities to ask yet more questions. We also  wandered around the gardens and book shop, ate ice-cream and generally chilled out in the beautiful sunshine.

Photography Club

Members of the Photography Club are selecting their five favourite pictures taken over the last year. Over the last few months, pupils have tried out macro photography on fossils, flowers and fruit and veg, learned about working with models and making shadow images, and practised a variety of Photoshop techniques to transform their images. The Club’s  favourite photographs will be printed and displayed in the school.2016_0330_9515_15

Reading Trail comes to an end

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In the last week of the Reading Trail, pupils in S1 English classes had the opportunity to review and assess each others’ work. Pupils used their checklists to decide whether each mind-map met the required criteria and assigned marks accordingly. Staff reviewed pupil assessments and added ‘Magic Marks’ for outstanding examples of work – and to suggest when pupils were being just a wee bit too strict! Each pupil should have three mind-maps based on work completed in the Library (Tam O’Shanter, picture books and graphic novels), along with the books they read in their own time since January. 2016_0330_9509

BBC School Report 2016

March 10th was BBC Schools Report Day 2016 and OLHS participated for the first time. Our plan was to investigate the steelworks in Lanarkshire and pupils worked hard in the Library over many lunchtimes and after school to collate enough material for the big day.

Our journalists split into two sections: the production team investigated sound recording, video recording, editing, direction and photography; researchers investigated copyright free images, the history of steel-making and collected information. Pupils conducted staff interviews, completed a school survey and practiced using the software in advance of March 10th.

Unfortunately (but very realistically), some of this material was unavailable on the day, so we had to come up with a modified plan. Pupils quickly decided to create ‘A day in the life of Our Lady’s’ and set off to talk to staff and find out what was taking place that Thursday. On their return they set to work to edit the video.

Meanwhile, our other student journalists worked steadily to make the interviews available through transcripts, wrote up their research on steel-making, environmental issues and “The Steelman” statue. Olek created a weather report which was tweeted by the BBC Weather Watchers.

By the end of the school day, we had fourteen extremely tired journalists (and two exhausted staff). We all learned a great deal about the issues and difficulties of making news on a daily basis and have a BBC School Report to be proud of.  Congratulations to everyone involved.

Journalists: Rahel Agyiwaah (S4), Fatemeh Assar (S2), Alicja Balanda (S1), Louise Dynes (S2), Piroska Horvath (S4), Holly Irving (S1), Erin Keating (S1), Olek Kyc (S1), Dominic Leary (S1), Suzanne Ntambwe (S4), David Nugent (S2), Finn Ross (S1), Mary-Kate Ross (S4), Angela Sewell (S4), Wiktor Witkowski (S2).

Thanks to Mr Kerr (English) and Mrs Macfadyen (Librarian) for all their support.

You can peruse our BBC School Report material here.

S2 Great Writing Challenge

S2 pupils working on the Great Writing Challenge have been hit by the latest element of chaos: to use the SCRAN website to find a face with a story behind it. Pupils had to imagine what the story behind the face was and use it to add a new character into their on-going story.

SCRAN is a database of material from museums and archives across Scotland and the UK providing access to almost half a million resources.

Food for Thought Fridays

sciaflogoLast year, the English Department raised almost £400 for SCIAF during Lent by asking people to trade in their Friday lunch money for a slice of bread, cheese or jam, chased down with a glass of water. The English Department is keen to follow on from last year’s success with the help of Mr McHugh and Miss McMahon in RE.

The first Food for Thought Friday took place last week, and has already raised £30. All staff and pupils are welcome to join in on Friday lunchtimes, swap their cash for grub, and enjoy some musical entertainment courtesy of staff and pupils.

Great Writing Challenge – Yay YA+

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Yay! YA+ is a teen fiction book festival, organised and managed by Kirkland Ciccone. It was held for the first time last year at Cumbernauld Theatre (see our report here), and now it’s back for a second helping!

Yay 2016 will take place on 21st April 2016, and Mrs Macfadyen managed to bag 15 places for OLHS.

Trying to decide who gets to go was impossible, so we have decided to use our Yay! YA+ tickets as prizes for our S2 Great Writing Challenge. All of 2nd year are participating in this creative writing / research challenge as part of their English work with the Library.

Winners will be selected for their attention to detail, imagination, vocabulary, and the effort they put into their writing and research. Nominees will be suggested by English Department staff and final seelction of the lucky 15 will be by Librarian, Mrs Macfadyen, PT English, Mrs Millar and a guest judge.

Great Writing Challenge: Chaos Bomb #2

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S2 pupils working through the Great Writing Challenge faced their second Chaos Bomb when they were asked to investigate a wild location which would put one of their characters into danger.

We discussed the various kinds of danger that a character might face, including extreme weather, lack of oxygen, animals, deep water and heights, before classes descended upon the books to begin their research.

For some pupils, this was a relatively easy task as they had already planned an accident as part of their plot, but others had to apply more thought to expand their original ideas.

Staff also reminded pupils that it was perfectly acceptable writing practice to alter their plots to include new working, characters and settings, manoeuvring the various elements to make the best overall piece of writing.

Battlefields of World War I

Four senior pupils volunteered their time to talk to S3 English about their experiences on the Battlefields Trip. Philip Quither, Ross Walker, Liam McCafferty and Grant Mackin provided an excellent illustrated guide through the life of a soldier on the Western Front, with photographs of France and Belgium both now and during the First World War.

This talk will be of enormous benefit to 3rd year pupils when they begin studying poetry of World War I.