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.

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.

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.

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

Visiting authors: Martin Stewart and Alan Bissett

We were delighted to host two author visits on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th December in the Library with authors Alan Bissett and Martin Stewart.

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Almost 100 S3 pupils were treated to readings, question and answer sessions and Alan’s take on everything from favourite books to films to River City, which he writes for, and how he used memories of his childhood friends to create characters for his first novel. Martin, speaking to S2, explained his writing process, the difficulties of getting published, how to write with a bored dog and his inspiration from photographs. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the visits and learned a lot about writing for a living – perhaps we will see some more published authors from Our Lady’s in the future!

martinstewart

Thanks to both authors for giving up their valuable time, to Scottish Book Trust for co-funding the event and to Mrs Macfadyen for organising the visits.

Dyslexia Week Competition Winners

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Dyslexia Week competitions in the Library last week. It was incredibly difficult to choose the winners with so many fantastic entries. All of the money raised will help purchase additional resources for pupils with dyslexia in OLHS.

Colouring Winners
The judges liked these three because of the many additional images and information within the designs.

1st : Lucy Tougher-Mitchell

1st = Lucy Tougher-Mitchell

2nd= Alicja Balanda

2nd= Alicja Balanda

2= Steissy Laaneorg

2= Steissy Laaneorg

The winner is Lucy Tougher-Mitchell, with runners-up Alicja Balanda and Steissy Laaneorg. Lots of other great designs can be seen here.

What’s in the Box Competition

Pupils were asked to think about what could be inside an imaginary box.  The winner is Anna Cocozza, 1A, who won over the judges with her rainbow coloured labradors.

Dyslexia Awareness Week, 7th-12th November 2016

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Pupils in S1-S6 were involved in a variety of activities, all aimed at raising awareness of dyslexia.  The Support for Learning department hosted a coffee morning to mark the start of the week, assisted by S3 ASDAN class.  This was very well attended and £104 was raised, which will be used to purchase equipment that will assist dyslexic pupils across the curriculum.

The ICT group blogged about dyslexia on Wednesday and this information was added to our school website.

Staff and pupils were encouraged to wear Ellie’s Blue Ribbons all week, as these have become a well -recognised symbol of dyslexia awareness.  Staff also took part in a “Wear it Blue Day” on Tuesday.  Our school Twitter account also has a “twibbon” attached to it all week, in order to raise awareness amongst our Twitter followers.

Mrs Macfadyen, the school librarian, organised a colouring competition and “What’s in the Box?” contest for pupils in S1-S6.  The winners of both will have their work displayed on our school website.  Both these activities highlighted the hidden disability that dyslexia can often be, but also showed off the creative side of a dyslexic brain!

Pupils were given access to the Dyslexia Scotland website during PSHE lessons all week where they were shown powerpoints distributed by this organisation. The site’s “Theme for the Day” was also highlighted to pupils in the school bulletin.

This variety of activities all helped to raise awareness amongst staff and pupils of a learning issue that affects 1 in 10 of us.

Kids Lit Quiz 2016

Ten pupils from Our Lady’s took part in the West of Scotland heat of the Kids Lit Quiz at Our Lady’s High School, Cumbernauld. The teams were selected from volunteers who participated in the OLHS heats run by Librarian, Mrs Macfadyen.

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The Kids Lit Quiz is the work of former academic, Wayne Mills, who comes from New Zealand. Wayne wanted to acknowledge and motivate pupils’ reading in a competitive way, and now travels the world organising the Kids Lit Quiz in Hong Kong, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA and of course, the UK. He writes all of the questions himself which remain a closely guarded secret.

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OLHS entered two teams of pupils with two reserves, who practiced hard in the lead up to the quiz, checking their knowledge of children’s stories from nursery rhymes and fairy tales to the latest teen fiction and graphic novels. On the day, the teams answered ten rounds of questions and were even joint round winners on three occasions. Our eventual placings of 11th and 17th are a credit to all of their efforts in what was an extremely difficult quiz.

Our two teams, their reserves and Kids Lit Quiz creator, Wayne Mills.

Our two teams, their reserves and Kids Lit Quiz creator, Wayne Mills.

Many thanks to the pupils who took part:
S1: Chloe O’Neill, Sarah McDonald, Imogen McFadden, Cailin Smith, Laura Findlay
S2: Eva Winton, Olek Kyc, Finn Ross, Sophie Galloway, Erin Keating

With thanks naturally to our mascots, Brian the Brain and Angus the Ape.

Lanarkshire Family History Society

Senior pupils visited the Lanarkshire Family History Society Resource Centre recently to discuss joint working on a local history project. David O’Hara, Craig Thomas and Ross Walker were introduced to the Society’s research materials by Chairman, Bob Stewart, who brought out old newspapers, books and maps for our students to pore over. The group intend to focus in the first instance on former pupils who were involved in World War I.

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Our thanks to Bob Stewart and the Society for their kindness (and biscuits!) in offering their support for what was just the first of hopefully many many productive meetings.

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.

Edinburgh Book Festival

All pupils who signed up for the Edinburgh Book Festival trip on 29th August should pay their money now to Mrs Macfadyen.

The cost is now reduced to £6, thanks to the bus being paid for OLHS and a grant from the Festival. In addition, every young person visiting the Festival receives a £3 token to spend in the Festival bookshop.

If you want to find out more about the authors we are going to see, click here for the Festival website  or look up the individual authors.

Lisa Heathfield on Twitter: @LisaHeathfield

Katherine Howe’s website and Twitter: @katherinebhowe

Anne Cassidy’s website and Twitter: @annecassidy6

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 2016: Greenock Ocean Terminal and Caribbean Princess

Our interdisciplinary Titanic Project has so far covered science, art, history, geography, engineering, catering and storytelling. However, it’s not easy to give pupils an idea of the sort of luxury enjoyed by 1st class passengers aboard the Titanic.

We headed for Inverclyde to the Greenock Ocean Terminal, docking site for cruise ships in the west of Scotland. We could see the Caribbean Princess rising high above the terminal as we drove along from Port Glasgow, and couldn’t believe how tall it was! On arrival we were greeted by Terminal Manager, Craig Collins, who introduced us to the lovely Bruce and Fraser, our guides for the morning.

As you’ll see from the photos, we had a wonderful tour and couldn’t believe the size of this floating town. One or two of us even suffered a little bit of vertigo from the height! We had brought along our SDS Careers Adviser, Ruth Robertson, who answered pupils’ numerous questions about how they could live and work aboard one of these beauties.

This proved to be a wonderful opportunity for our pupils, who certainly left with their eyes opened to different possibilities available to them in the future. Our thanks to Princess Cruises for allowing us aboard, to Greenock Ocean Terminal manager, Craig Collins, for arranging everything on our behalf, and especially to Bruce and Fraser for being such excellent hosts, providing so much information and answering so many questions from so many enthusiastic teenagers.

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