Maths Challenge 2017

Congratulations to our Maths Challenge winners in S1 and S2 this year. 16 pupils received an award, which is fantastic!

First Year

Congratulations to Divine Ofosuhene, who was Best in Year and won a Gold Award!

Rhianna Commerford won a Silver Award

Imogen McFadden, Daniel Mathieson, Kamil Balinski, Sophie Oates and Lara O’Hanlon all won Bronze.

Second Year

Congratulations to Paul Murphy, who was Best in Year and won a Gold Award!

Olek Kyc and Luke Robertson won Silver Awards

Mark Fitzpatrick, Philip  Meikle, Nikodem Szlagor, Emily  Macfarlane, Favour Azeez and Eilis McNally all won Bronze Awards

Your teachers are very proud of you!

A special thanks to Miss Lees who helped some of our maths superstars get challenge ready.

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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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.

 

 

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

Scottish Attainment Challenge

Our Lady’s High School is about to begin the Scottish Attainment Challenge. The programme for the first year of the Secondary Challenge aims to improve life and learning for all our young people in many ways, from improving attainment in numeracy and literacy, physical and mental health, to supporting parents and carers and building stronger communities. Through universal interventions – aimed at everyone – to interventions targeting specific groups, we hope to help our young people be as successful and happy as they can be.

The first intervention is the appointment of an Attainment Mentor to each secondary school. Our Attainment mentor is Geraldine McPhee who is looking forward to working with a small group of children to help us engage them more and support them.

We will also be creating an intensive reading recovery group for learners whose reading age is more than 2 years behind their chronological age -READ WRITE INC. as well as a reading fluency and confidence boost group for all learners with a reading age below their chronological age – RAPID PLUS and CHOOSE A PATH. Support for this will come from Mrs Patricia O’Neil and Mr Terry Cowan

Mrs Deborah King is going to assist with enhanced transitions. This work will focus on closing the poverty related attainment gap for targeted pupils. Finally, we are also involved in a project with Tapestry.  Professor Nigel Osbourne and his team are planning to support our school and Braidhurst High School, as well as all of the associated primary schools, in a community project.  The theme is likely to be Motherwell, Past, Present & Future.  All pupils in first year will be involved. We look forward to becoming involved in all of these exciting initiatives.

Staff in-service day 21st November

The whole staff spent an enjoyable and informative day on Monday sharing good practice across the school with a series of workshops. From Socratic Questioning to Literacy Profiling, from software demonstrations in SFL and Modern Languages to Political Literacy, from team building to Twitter, everyone came away with a really positive picture of all the innovative ways in which we are working to close the attainment gap and get the best out of all of our pupils in Our Lady’s High School.

Thanks to all staff who threw open their doors to others!

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 (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.

Rocket Science

Pupils in S1, S2 and S3 have been planting seeds from space. Packets of rocket seeds were sent to the International Space Station under the care of astronaut Tim Peake. Those seeds were then sent back to Earth and delivered to schools with another packet of rocket seeds from the Royal Horticultural Society. Schools only know that there is a blue packet and a red packet; we don’t know which seeds have been in space.

Pupils and staff will now measure the blue and red trays of seeds and identify any differences between them. Pupils suggested that the lack of gravity in space may have impacted on the growth of the seeds.

Rocket Science report from the BBC.

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Tartan Day 2014

Report from Mrs Connor

Pupils and staff celebrated St Andrew’s Day with a whole school “Tartan Day”. Pupils were allowed to come to school out of uniform and were asked to wear something tartan or Scottish. The school was very colourful with tartan kilts, trousers, tops, tammies etc on parade. They were asked to donate £1 to St Andrew’s Hospice for this privilege. The event was organised by Andrew House pupils and Mrs Connor.

As well as Tartan Day there were other events around the school including the sale of tartan bows and ribbons. A staff coffee morning took place at interval with Michael Clark (Andrew House Prefect) playing the bagpipes and Emma Kirkwood and Declan Murray from 1A singing Loch Lomond. During lunchtime a “Scots Corner” was set up, selling saltire cupcakes, tattoos and face painting. Again, all proceeds going to St Andrew’s Hospice. The Maths Department even got in on the act by delivering lessons on designing your own tartan. A great day was had by all.

The final total of money isn’t in yet but will be well over £500.

Maths Challenge

Report from Mrs Connor

The date of the national final of the Maths Challenge competition is approaching. A group of four pupils from S3/4 will be competing against approximately 50 other schools in Scotland who made it through to the grand final. This is the first time a team from Our Lady’s have made the final, which will be held in the Glasgow Science Centre on 19th November.

Representing Our Lady’s is Lewis Donnelly and Sophie Tougher-Mitchell from S4 and Magen McNulty and Michael McKenna from S3. Best of luck to them!

Burns Week 2013

Report from Miss McGhee

Burns week was celebrated with enthusiasm in Our Lady’s High. Many departments participated in activities celebrating the life and works of the Greatest Ever Scot. Pupils in Maths calculated the cost of hosting a Burns Supper, looking at food suppliers and ticket costs, etc. In the library, some of our pupils chose their favourite Scots words and phrases to create displays. The Modern Languages department looked at how Auld Lang Syne has become an unofficial anthem for us and then examined La Marseillaise, the French national anthem. The XL group were involved with Home Economics in preparing their own Burns Supper, where rousing renditions of ‘Address to a Haggis‘ were given before the meal was enjoyed. The English Department focused on Burns’ famous poem ‘To a Mouse‘ and pupils were able to write their own addresses to various creatures – and objects – of their choice.

The week culminated in a Burns Supper for S4, S5, S6 and staff.  Mr Mulrooney delivered the Selkirk Grace before pipers piped in the haggis, followed by an entertaining address from Mr Cairns. Attendees enjoyed a four course traditional Scottish meal before being entertained by various speakers and performers. Some of Burns’ famous love and political songs were sung by Mrs Clements and Joseph Smith and one of his most famous poems, Tam O’Shanter, was recited by Mrs King, Mr Law, Jake Dickson and Lorna Mitchell. An extremely entertaining (and brave!) Address to the Lassies was delivered by Jonathan MacLeod before revenge was taken by Romana Broughton with the caustic reply. Mrs Millar extoled Burns’ virtues in The Immortal Memory and the evening was superbly hosted by our resident double act, Matthew Dunn and Joe Smith.

FreeRice Challenge – final total!

Friday 22nd June

all of the rice has been counted and we are extremely proud to announce
that the staff and pupils of OLHS have raised

200, 850 grains of rice!!!!!

Online game to end hunger

Top scoring classes

1. 3S2
2. 4C2
3. 3A2
4. 3S1
5. 2M2
6. 5.3
7. 4A2
8. 4S2
9. 2C1
10. 3M1

Houses in order of rice raised (s1-4 only)

1. Sinclair
4. Columba
2. Andrew
3. Margaret

Year groups in order of rice raised

1. 3rd year
2. 4th year
3. 2nd year
4. 5th year
5. 6th year

Congratulations and thanks to all of the Tutor Groups that took part.