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!

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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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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 and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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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.

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.