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.

 

 

BSL classes

The Support for Learning base was filled on Thursday with enthusiastic BSL learners, both staff and pupils. We were introduced to our tutors Ian Galloway and Rachael Griffiths from Lanarkshire Deaf Club, and interpreter Helen Pennan, who will work with us over the next ten weeks. Our first task was to learn the finger spelling alphabet, then introduce ourselves and finger spell our names. Individuals were put on the spot when we had to perform our tasks in front of the whole class- quite nerve-wracking!

We were then given a homework pack- the first of many, we were informed- to learn for next session. Everyone contributed enthusiastically and we can’t wait for our next BSL session.

Many thanks to our new teachers!

Titanic Project 2016: Rothesay!

The Titanic Project crew headed for Rothesay and the beautiful Mount Stuart on a glorious day bursting with sunshine. For most pupils it was their first time on a ferry and they headed outside right away to watch the ship leaving Wemyss Bay.

After the essential photocalls and exploring the ship, they settled down to watch the scenery go past and ask how this would compare with their upcoming trip to Belfast.

Mount Stuart is a stunning mansion which gives an excellent impression of how opulent the interiors would have been on the Titanic. The group were enthusiastic about the grounds, but the luxury of the house really grabbed their attention, with carvings and beautiful details everywhere. Education Officer, Morven, kindly acted as our guide through the chapel, dining room, drawing room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite pupil concerns, Mrs Macfadyen was able to tear herself away from the Library (with its first folio Shakespeare, and its ladder!) and Mrs Zambonini stopped sighing over the chandeliers, so that they were able to see the balcony and the swimming pool! Back in Rothesay we had time for ice-cream and a quick peak at the marina before the ferry returned us to the mainland with a rather sleepy crew.

Our thanks to all at Mount Stuart and to Halls Coaches for a wonderful visit at such short notice.

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Titanic Project 2016 : Storyteller

Professional storyteller, Allison Galbraith, returned to OLHS to help the Titanic Group record their stories. Each pupil chose a different aspect of the Titanic to focus on, from the ‘women and children first’ policy, to the lifeboats, to the role of the wireless operator. Allison had previously visited to introduce herself and build pupils’ confidence in speaking before a stranger at the beginning of the project. Each person was invited to share a little about their name and family background until everyone was at their ease. As a result, although pupils were nervous about recording, they were keen to know when Allison would be returning.

Allison started the group off with some breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups, including tongue twisters and jaw massage, before we settled on the comfy seats to record the pupils’ work. Allison provided additional advice on reading speed, pausing and presentation as we worked through the stories. Despite the dangers of breaking into the giggles, every pupil recorded their own work beautifully.

Titanic Project Week 1

Our Titanic Project pupils spent a week investigating facts about the ship and ship-building. They worked with storyteller, Allison Galbraith, to learn what makes a decent story, and visited the Titan Crane at Clydebank and the Denny Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Science Department demonstrated buoyancy and helped pupils investigate floating (see below) and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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From Mr Law

The Science Department asked pupils to design a ship so that it wouldn’t sink.

The Groups did very well.  There were some excellent designs and some nervous and excited participants during the second phase of the challenge when designers add mass to the boats to see when they sink.

Results :

  • Johann & Harry: 1,200g
  • Nicole & Natalie: 2,000g
  • Gary & Dean: 2,000g
  • Zac, Shannon & Sammi:  2,800g

Forfeit for the others is that they have to refer to the winners as Captain for the rest of the day.

Christmas Fair 2014

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Our wonderful Christmas Fair took place on Saturday 29th November. Pupils in the Personal Development and Enterprise classes were responsible for turning our Zone from a dining room onto a magical festive fair, complete with Santa, bouncy castle and a whole range of fabulous gifts, prizes and good things to eat. Our Lady’s is particularly grateful for donations from families and school supporters.

The event itself ran like clockwork the following day and was busy throughout with staff and pupils grabbing the best bargains in the Zone before settling down for a chat with a cuppa.

Stalls were run by staff, pupils, parents and local businesses and included lucky dip, face painting, nail painting, make-up, raffle, tombola, toy tombola, bouncy castle, Santa’s Grotto, Ready Steady Bake, Christmas Cakes, Gingerbread Houses, Christmas Decorations, sweet stalls, Slush Company, hair accessories, school scarves, and home made cards.

Many thanks to everyone involved including the staff who organised and ran stalls on the day, all of the pupils who set up the Zone, manouvred furniture and sold like hardened sales staff, all of the parents, carers, pupils and friends of Our Lady’s who came along on the day and helped us raise a clear profit of £1020.84.

Pupils involved:

Patrycki Brodaski, Jade Collins, Nicola Dollochin, Courtney Elliot, Ciaran Harvie, Kyla McPherson, Lauri Miller, Agnes Ngolo, Toni Paterson, Scott Paton, Ilona Reynolds, Grant Riddell, Kirpal Singh, Liam Stobie, Barbara Ross, Michael Lewis, Hannah Eadie, Chloe Brown, Rebecca Cairney, Patryck Chentkienlz, Kireel Greer, Cailtin Hoey, Natalie Jadach,
Jon Jo Kane, Danielle Lawley, Ceri Ann McLaren, Gabrielle McPherson, Vicktoria Pulchalska, Keira-Jade Slavin, Amy Swan, Anna Wawrzynczak, Bea Uppal, Nichaela Gibbons, Wiktoria Heba

Duke of Edinburgh Update

Report from Mrs King

Nineteen pupils completed their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh practice walk in the Pentland Hills in Edinburgh on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd October. They camped in the scout camp at Bonally with many other groups of young people. The weather was terrific during the day but the temperature dropped considerably during the night.

The pupils will be going to the Campsie Hills this week for their assessed walk and will spend the next 6 months working on the other three sections of the award.

Read the thoughts of the weary-footed warriors of the hills on their practice walk by clicking on Replies below.

Banter at Break

Report from Mrs Zambonini

The Personal Development class would like to thank everyone for attending their coffee morning at which they raised £117.

Some of the money has been donated to the charity “Little Princess Trust” – this is a charity who make real hair wigs for young people going through chemotherapy – for which Megan Burns is going to donate her own hair. The rest of their money will be used as working capital for their enterprise activity.

A special thanks also to everyone who donated raffle prizes and to Mrs Evans for donating her lovely home baking!

Pupil evaluation

On Tuesday 9th September the 5th and 6th year Personal Development class held a coffee morning to the staff of Our Lady’s High School to raise money for the Little Princess Trust that makes wigs for girls that can’t grow their own hair. We also raised money for our Enterprise projects.

We not only just held a coffee morning, we baked the cakes, advertised, made and sold tickets so every member of staff knew we were having one.

First of all, we had to decide the date, what food to make, visit Mrs Sinclair to ask if it was ok to have one. Then we had to make and sell tickets to the staff, order the stock, ask for raffle prizes, make the food and then finally hold the coffee morning.

I think the whole thing was a success even though there was a few bowls smashed and arguments we still managed to pull it off in the end. The only thing I wished we done better was talked more on the actual day because everyone was running around hectic and there was a few arguments because someone was where they shouldn’t have been. But after all the hard work we pulled through in the end.

Servant Leadership Programme

2014_0826_leadershipFifteen pupils and two staff took part in the Servant Leadership Programme run by the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge.

Over two days, including an overnight stay, the group worked with Michael Canning to learn more about team building, being organised and the skills and qualities required not only to be a leader, but more importantly, to be a leader that provides a service to others.

All those who attended agreed that it was an outstanding event, with emotional highs and howls of laughter interspersed with silent contemplation and candlelit prayers.

Report from Katie Anne Hunter

Last Monday and Tuesday, 25/26th of August, 15 of us new 6th year joined an overnight retreat to the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge for a Servant Leadership Course which was to try make us the best leaders we can be in our new roles as House Captains and Prefects.

Monday was started off with a few icebreakers which got everyone loosened up for the day’s activities and also made people feel a bit more comfortable. Our day after this was filled with team building activities, personal reflections and also filled with drinking a lot of tea and eating a lot of good food.

After our day we had Night Prayer which was a very different experience for everyone. We were all grouped up in fours and in these fours, in a mini huddle, Fr Paddy came around and blessed us all which was quite an overwhelming experience for us all as well as being different. The best part of it however was the fact we got to do it in our jammies!

The Tuesday began with another good meal and little did we know, it was going to be an incredibly emotional day. Michael showed us some videos about people helping one another which got a few people started but then when he asked us to write a letter to someone who means a lot to us and who also inspire us and tell them why we chose them, everyone had to really dig deep into their feelings which shed a tear or 50 especially for the girls. It was truly emotional but we all felt very uplifted after it as we began to realise how lucky we are to have these people in our lives.

After our emotional day and our short journey of Servant Leadership, we had our final mass which brought us all together for the last time. Before the mass, Fr Tom asked us in our school groups to come up with some ideas which we could take back to our schools and give some of the things we learned at this retreat back to the schools. These lists got read out at mass and this was to conclude our visit.

We all had a fantastic time and when asked what we do to improve it, we all said maybe add another day! None of us expected to enjoy it as much as we did but all of us said that we were so glad to be a part of it.