Our Fabulous School Library.

By: Kasia K.

Our School library has lots of books, for all age groups. It has a junior section,  teen section and senior section. Anyone is welcome during lunchtime but not on Fridays. Ever since I came to High School, the only place I’ve been sitting in is the library. The books are amazing and I find myself reading them quickly. I thought to myself that I’d share my passion in books by telling people about the book, but not spoil it at the same time. I tried making some of my friends come to the library, yet some of them think it’s boring, but I think it’s amazing! Books tell so much, information, real story or even a made up story. I love reading books about adventures, horror books or really anything that catches my eye. When I was a bit younger I LOVED Jacqueline Wilson and I have all her books. Growing up, her books had gone a little bit to the side for me and I found my new taste in Zombie, Horror or adventure books. (Mixed in with some romance)

Our school library, and the librarian have inspired me to start my own book, and do adventures. Sometimes my imagination takes me away, and I find myself making up my own story and scenarios in my head, I even sometimes go home and write it down & draw some pictures. My dream is to become an author at a young age, not because I’m going to get paid, but because I want to share my imagination with young children and people older than me.

Books are amazing and we should all notice how much they tell, either it is by pictures, or by words.

I hope I have encouraged you to read more books, books are healthy!

Challenge X

2nd year English classes are taking on Challenge X, a project created by school librarians from across North Lanarkshire (including our own Mrs Macfadyen). Pupils choose one of ten challenges and design a task for themselves to achieve it, simultaneously gaining experience in software and research techniques, and gaining wider general knowledge.


Challenge X encourages use of the school library for expert advice in how to complete their challenges and to gather further information. Pupils are also asked to read a book connected with their challenge in some way.

So far, pupils have chosen to create a model of the Battle of Bannockburn, investigate the history of their own names, learn some simple sentences in UK sign language, design presentations on the exploits of Iron Man and draw posters on everything from a trip to Australia through Scottish food to investigating the longest haired people in the world.

Following their own interests, pupils will continue to gain skills in research and presentation that will be put to good use across the curriculum, particularly with the Added Value Units required for Nationals.

Book Group

Report from Mrs Maguire

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The Book Group meets every Wednesday in the XL room.  So far, we have 14 members.  Pupils are paired with a staff member and they meet on a weekly basis.  The idea is basically to encourage reluctant readers to engage with literature.  We are also trying to increase the pupils’ self-confidence through reading aloud.  The resources come from the Education Resource Service and at the moment we have Reaction boxes containing texts by Michael Morpurgo.  As a reward, the group is attending the cinema on Tuesday, 18th December.

Reading Trail Winners

Five pupils accompanied Mrs Macfadyen and Mrs Mitchell to Borders on Friday as winners of the S1 Reading Trail.

The group (Rhys Bevan, Jay McMahon, Ross McQuade, Nadia Warnock, Colette Wilson) vanished amongst the shelves from the minute they entered the store and spent a happy morning discovering and exploring books on lots of different topics.

At lunchtime, everyone toured the Fort to decide where to have lunch before agreeing on Pizza Hut (which was back where they had started, naturally) where the staff made a fuss of them, which the pupils quite enjoyed.

During their walk, the group also spent ten minutes petting a puppy, which turned out to be a trainee guide dog called Venice, and building an appetite on the monkey bars in the park.

After lunch, the whole group returned to the bookshop to spend the remainder of their money, and choose a book for themselves. This involved some serious decision making, mind-changing, walking back and forth between authors and trying to remember what already existed in the LRC back at the school. Eventually everybody was happy (and relieved that they remained within budget), collected their bags and headed back to the school.

The staff were delighted that the pupils had so much fun, which was summed up by the demands that the Reading Trail be run again next year.

Reading Trail Winners

Reading Trail winners from each class, holding their team labels.

Reading Trail winners from each class, holding their team labels.

The S1 classes have selected their winners. Many congratulations to the five pupils who were voted for by the others in each class for their hard work and effort.

  • Ross McQuade
  • Jay McMahon
  • Colette Wilson
  • Rhys Bevan
  • Nadia Warnock

Each class was asked to vote for three pupils who had consistently worked hard and tried their best, in their reading, in their mind-map analysis of the books they had read, and in their behaviour.

Every pupil examined the work of the whole class before selecting three colleagues to vote for (secretly). In most cases, every pupil received at least one vote, and the results were incredibly close.

The five pupils will take part in a book buying away day with Mrs Macfadyen and a member of the English department.

The winning 1st year class has still to be decided.

Oisin McGann

3rd year pupils enjoyed a visit last Friday  from Irish author, Oisin McGann.  Oisin soon had the audience giggling helplessly as he explained how teenagers lose the ability to put their arms up and can only raise them to their shoulders.

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He then explained how he is inspired by everyday things:  hair sticking up at the back of your head, or an unusual face. He seems to have left OLHS with plenty of inspiration!

He left us with a fantastic illustration from his latest book, Strangled Silence (which also has cool black pages).

Many thanks to Scottish Book Trust and Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour for bringing Oisin to OLHS .

Catalyst Award 2009

Every year, the Catalyst Teen Book Award is voted for by pupils in 3rd and 4th year in North Lanarkshire. The shortlist was announced at New Stevenson Library as follows:

Garry Kilworth – The Hundred-Towered City
Garry Kilworth says –
I´m very excited and more than pleased to be on such a prestigious shortlist and in such excellent company. I shall look forward to my visit to Scotland with great enthusiasm. Although I’ve visited Scotland on many occasions, and love it, I don´t remember spending a lot of time in Lanarkshire. My childhood holidays were spent on a farm in Perthshire and those early experiences form several passages in my books. Looking forward to some new ones.

Helena Pielichaty – Accidental Friends
Helena Pielichaty says –
I am absolutely delighted to be on this wonderful shortlist. It shows what fine taste the people of North Lanarkshire have. Accidental Friends is a very important book for me and it’s an enormous boost to know it’s been singled out in this way. I think this award is very special as it is the teenagers themselves who will be voting.

Simon Morden – The Lost Art
Simon Morden says –
I am, of course, delighted and surprised to be shortlisted for the Catalyst award. To find myself in such exalted company is an honour. To know I got there by being chosen by readers is humbling. Being on the Catalyst shortlist is both a huge encouragement and a stern challenge – since writers never stop writing, I realise I have to try and make the next book better than the last one.

Theresa Breslin – Nostradamus Prophecy
Theresa Breslin says –
I’m absolutely thrilled to be selected for the shortlist for this terrific award voted for by the pupils of North Lanarkshire. It’s amazing feeling for your book to be chosen as a contender from among the many thousands of titles published each year. I’m looking forward to visiting the schools, chatting to the pupils, librarians and teachers, and all the excitement of the award ceremony.

All of the books are available from Mrs Macfadyen in the LRC.

The main awards ceremony will take place October 8th in the Motherwell Concert Hall.

Reading Trail Update

The 1st year Reading Trail is now at its halfway mark, with Team Supreme taking the lead, although The Thompson Terrors are close behind. The figures change with every Period as more books and mind-maps are completed and more feet added to the wall.

How many feet does your class have?

How many feet does your class have?

Each pupil has set themselves a target for a number of books to read before Easter, completing a mindmap for each book, and adding a foot to their class trail to mark that achievement. From this point on, the competition becomes more intense as classes leapfrog each other on a daily basis.

All five classes have now recorded more than twenty completed books, with many more pupils insisting that they have almost finished theirs. The final class winners will be selected not just on the number, but more importantly, the quality of their work, which so far this year, is extremely impressive.

  • 22 Mitchell Crew: 29
  • HYT: 30
  • Team Sneddon: 25
  • Team Supreme: 40
  • Thompson Terrors: 34

Reading Trail

1st year pupils have started this year’s  Reading Trail, a collaboration between the English Department and the Library Resource Centre.

The aim of the Reading Trail is to encourage a more positive attitude towards reading and pupils are rewarded for effort, perhaps by reading before going to sleep at night, or not giving up on a book too quickly. There is also a competitive edge, between classes and between individual pupils within classes;  prizes are awarded for effort and achievement, and judged by both staff and pupils.

Pupils are asked to complete a brief mindmap for every book they complete, and then add a footprint to the class “trail” in the Library Resource Centre.

The Reading Trail will run from now until Easter and parents can help by ensuring the children have an opportunity to read for a short while every day, and that they have something to read with them.

Kids Lit Quiz 2008

A group of 2nd year pupils took to the hills to take part in the 2008 West of Scotland heat of the Kids Lit Quiz. The quiz is the brainchild of New Zealander, Wayne Mills, who created it to allow children who love reading a chance to compete based on their own knowledge.

The team, Courtney Allan, Michael Allan, Connor Healy and Erin Reid,  was selected from a group of S2 volunteers, who took part in quizzes during lunchtime in the LRC.

Along with library mascot, Angus the Ape, they travelled to Kilsyth Academy to take on another 34 teams, the largest ever number of entries. On the way to the competition, they tested each other with lots of questions, and were stunned when some of the same questions actually turned up in the quiz itself!

The group worked exceptionally well as a team, and received a book each for their determination and hard work. 

Words Festival

The Words Festival takes place across North Lanarkshire from 30th September – 11th October. The focus is on books and writers with a huge number of authors ascending to North Lanarkshire libraries and schools.

Highlights for OLHS include the arrival of award winning authors Anthony McGowan, who will be speaking to AH English about the process of creative writing, and Berlie Doherty who will be addressing a group of 3rd year pupils. Ms Doherty will be discussing her book, Abela: the girl who saw lions, which has been shortlisted for the North Lanarkshire Catalyst Book Award. In addition, Mrs Mitchell’s 3rd year class will be attending the Catalyst Awards on 9th October, where our AH English class are helping out as guides and dedicated microphone holders.

The Catalyst Awards finalists are:
Zenith by Julie Bertagna
Abela: The Girl who saw Lions by Berlie Doherty
The Beast Within by Catherine MacPhail
From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma

Other events of interest include graphic novelist, Mark Millar at Airdrie Town Hall on Saturday October 4th and Joan Lingard, who will be speaking at Wishaw Library on Saturday 11th October.

The complete programme is available from Mrs Macfadyen in the LRC or online here.

Kids Lit Quiz

A team of four feisty 2nd year pupils (and Mrs Macfadyen) descended on Kilsyth High School this afternoon to participate in the Kids Lit Quiz 2007.

This is an annual international event for young people who enjoy reading, created and organised by quizmaster, Wayne Mills from New Zealand.

Over ten rounds, the teams try to answer 100 questions, with prizes for teams, individuals and even the audience between each rounds.

This year, one of the teams was made up of four authors, who (perhaps not surprisingly) got the highest score, and spent a great deal of time signing books and having photos taken. The overall winner of the heat was Bannerman High from Ballieston, who have now been invited to the UK final in Newcastle.

The OLHS team came 14th, but thoroughly enjoyed their day, as you’ll see from their comments below.

Reading Trail

Each year, classes taking part in the Reading Trail vote for the pupils who worked the hardest. While the LRC Manager and English teachers discuss with pupils possible reasons for voting for a particular person – making an effort, reading more difficult books – the actual voting is entirely over to the pupils themselves.

The reward is a trip to a bookshop, where the chosen few have the responsibility of helping to spend the LRC budget. They also have snacks and lunch and can choose a book for themselves.

While the trip is a lot of fun, there’s a great deal of work involved as well. Pupils have a set budget and have to choose materials to suit everyone. When you’re choosing from a collection of thousands, it’s not so easy.

For the first time since we started this competition, the vote winners were all girls, and they went on their trip to the Fort recently, accompanied by Ms Sneddon and Mrs Macfadyen. As usual, we started with tea/coffee/hot chocolate while discussing the types of material the girls were looking for. By lunchtime we had ended up with a massive collection of books and were happy to take a break for lunch. 

We were ready to be more selective in the afternoon, but were interrupted by a fire alarm so we all left the shop and went for a walk to keep warm. At this stage, Ms Sneddon revealed that her father and brothers were responsible for the metal structure on top of the Fort – now renamed Sneddon Towers. 

When we returned to the shop, we got down to work, adding up our final totals, discussing the benefits of buying paperbacks or hardback books and trying to identify books for themselves. Then we returned to OLHS, not forgetting to wave to The Heavy Horse on the way.

 The books have now been delivered to the school and are being impatiently waited for while being processed.

Catalyst Awards 2007

A group of 3rd year pupils went along to the Catalyst Teenage Book Award today. We were also very lucky to have some plucky 6th years, prepared to plunge into the audience with microphones, regardless of their personal safety.

The eventual winner was Anthony MacGowan, with his book “Henry Tumour” (which is fab!), and so far I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about the event.

You can leave comments about Catalyst here.

The 6th year pupils. from the Advanced Higher English class, were especially enthralled with Melvin Burgess, who they now refer to as Unkie Melvis (!)