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.

Tinto Hill climb, 23rd May 2017

S1 pupils are climbing Tinto Hill on 23rd May to raise funds for St Andrew’s Hospice. All pupils must return their consent form and £3 to their Pupil Support Teacher. Anyone who has not returned their consent form cannot attend the trip.

A reminder to everyone to wear appropriate clothes and bring a pack lunch.

Pupils should meet in the Zone as soon as the bell rings in the morning.

Good luck!

Titanic Project 2017: Loch Lomond

The Titanic crew had a brilliant visit to the island of Inchcailloch on Loch Lomond. The day started quite cold and grey but warmed up by lunchtime and we even had a peek of blue sky before the end of the day.

As we cruised across the loch, the tour guide introduced the history and wildlife of the area including nesting ospreys, crannogs, ruined castles and stately homes. Inchcailloch itself is a beautiful wee island, with masses of bluebells in every direction. After a picnic lunch, the group set off to explore, discovering an ancient chapel and burial ground and enjoying the beautiful woodlands, with strange looking tree stumps.

Back on the boat back to Luss, the group are comfortable boarding; our crew are becoming seasoned travellers on land or water!  On the return journey, they are already reviewing their 5th year subjects and planning how they can persuade staff that another trip to Inchcailloch is an essential part of the curriculum.

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Read more about Inchcailloch here.

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: 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.

 

 

Higher Geography Fieldtrip

Report by Ms Moir

The Higher Geography class visited Glasgow on Monday 20th March to conduct fieldwork for their assignment. The class visited the suburbs, the inner city area and the city centre to carry out their work. Pupils completed traffic surveys, recorded different land uses in the areas and conducted questionnaires to the public. Pupils are now working hard in class to process these reuslts and analyse them for their assignment. Every pupil did a fantastic job of representing the school and thoroughly enjoyed their day out!

Our Lady’s visit to Liberty Steel

Special Report by Ciaran Hendry S2

On the 25th of January 2017, two Our Lady’s High school Go4SET teams visited, “Liberty Steel”, a steel processing plant in Motherwell.  We walked from school to the site where we were greeted by our mentor, Chris Gourley. We listened to an interesting talk about the health and safety aspects of the workplace and then had a fun quiz. One of the best parts was when we played games that taught us the importance of organisation, efficiency and specification in the workplace. After all our briefings we enjoyed an excellent lunch provided by our hosts.  We then got ready to go on the highly anticipated tour of the plant.

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Team Elite

Wearing high visibility vests, hard hats and earplugs, we witnessed steel being heated to 1000°C.  Our guide showed us the famous water tower and of course inside the steelworks. He showed us the interesting process from when the steel is delivered by train to when it’s heated in gas pits, then flattened out between huge rollers before finally having water thrown over the steel plates, giving off a magnificent amount of water vapour. We saw red and even yellow hot slabs of steel carried by large cranes to different parts of the plant.  Even after cooling, the flattened metal plate was incredibly hot.   We also spent time in the control room where the operators made sure the plate was the right size with the help of computers.

Team Enigma

After a question and answer session it was time to return to school. We were all given memory cards encased in steel as a keepsake of our visit.  Overall the experience was informative and very enjoyable and, will aid our learning in so many ways.

Thanks go to Chris and all the staff at Liberty Steel for their help and advice.

Champions League Trip: Manchester City vs Celtic

48 pupils and 4 members of staff travelled to Manchester on Tuesday 6th December to watch the Celtic v Manchester City Champions League fixture at the Etihad Stadium.  We arrived an hour before kick- off; pupils and staff soaked up the atmosphere by listening to bands that were playing and buying souvenirs in the superstore. We were seated in the Colin Bell stand, brilliant seats which gave a full view of the Etihad. The game, which finished 1-1, was evenly matched with both teams having chances.

After having breakfast on Wednesday morning we filed onto the bus which took us to Old Trafford, home of Manchester United FC.  We were given a chance to wander round the museum where we learned about the history of the club and then we were given a guided tour of the stadium, including the Alex Ferguson stand, the press room, changing rooms, players’ tunnel and the dugout.  Both pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and the pupils, as always, were a credit to Our Lady’s High School.

Advanced Higher research

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Macfadyen

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A group of S6 Advanced Higher pupils from a variety of subjects visited Glasgow University Library yesterday, accompanied by Mrs Macfadyen and Mrs Millar. After a quick guide to facilities on offer students were let loose to explore this fantastic resource area for themselves. Some opted to rummage around on the History floor, others bathed in the beauty of Shakespeare on the English floor, others found out about resources for studying music, politics and even Italian.

Pupils were  impressed not just by the quantity of books available for perusal, but also by the various study and relaxation facilities on offer, and left the Library with lists of books that they wanted to investigate further.

These S6 students now have reference access to the university library for the rest of the academic year – we hope the surroundings will make their studying more enjoyable!

Our thanks to the staff at the Glasgow University Library for making their facilities available to our pupils.

Performing Arts / English London Trip

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Jeffrey

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

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

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

Politics Week at Summerlee

S3 Modern Studies pupils visited Summerlee on 18th December as part of UK Parliament Week. They were addressed by Phil Boswell MP, Elaine Smith MSP, Councillor Michael McPake and Professor Kirstie Blair from Strathclyde University, as well as exploring the exhibits throughout the museum, and taking part in a mock election for the Scottish Parliament and in the EU Referendum.

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Pupils pointed out to Mrs Macfadyen that cameras were not allowed in polling stations, but graciously agreed to allow shots without faces in view.

#pollitolhs

Fashion trip to London

The Home Economics and Art Department have a shared topic of fashion design and so they organised a joint trip to the Victoria and Albert museum in London to see two special exhibitions: Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear and You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970.

As part of their time in London pupils also had the opportunity to visit the London Eye and the restaurant Planet Hollywood.

Real Madrid

The proposed Porto Trip is moving to Madrid, which is a good bit cheaper and will allow pupils access to Real Madrid’s training Ground and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

A £50 deposit to secure your place is due to Mrs McNeish by Friday 25th November. Payment cards will be issued then too. Payments will be taken at interval in the Nurture room. Thank you.

S1 Panto Visit

All first year pupils are invited to attend a trip to the pantomime in Glasgow on Tuesday 20th December during the school day. The show is in the SECC and stars Marti Pellow as Aladdin.  The cost will be £18 and this will cover both the cost of the ticket and return coach travel. Letters with further information will be distributed by your Pupil Support Teachers next week. Payment to be made by 22nd September to secure your place.

Champions League: Manchester City vs Celtic

Our Lady’s High School is planning an overnight trip on Tuesday 6th December to watch the Manchester City vs Celtic Champions League fixture and visit Old Trafford for a Stadium Tour.  The trip will be open to second to sixth year pupils. The cost will be £160.

Please note this is a school excursion and football strips may not be worn throughout the whole trip. The tickets are in the Colin Bell Stand which is where the Manchester City fans will be seated.

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.

Summer School 2016

Report from Mrs King

The annual summer school at Our Lady’s High School took place on August 8th with twenty new first year pupils and four senior pupils enjoying four days of activities. The summer school allows the young people to become more familiar with the secondary school setting and to meet some of the school staff before the new term begins. Being more confident and self-assured at the start of secondary school gives the S1 pupils a positive step towards a successful transition from primary school.

The S1 pupils took part in team building with the Partnership Staff on the first morning followed by a workshop of pottery with Ms Steinert where the pupils made clay hedgehogs in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, the pupils learned to play the ukulele with Mr McVeigh followed by a session on how to create scars and bruises using special effects make up with Kirsty McCabe.

On Wednesday, the pupils were treated to some Science experiments with Mr Law from Physics and after lunch, Mrs Smith from Performing Arts gave the pupils an opportunity to practice their voice and acting skills.

Each day, the pupils gathered to have lunch together and to make new friends and meet various teaching staff

On the final day, the entire group, Ms McDonald, Ms King and Mr Smith had a successful day trip to Blair Drummond Safari Park where they enjoyed seeing all the animals, especially the sea-lion show, and had some free time to explore the park.