Small steps, moving together…

It’s been awhile since my last post so I thought a wee update was in order!

In the past couple of months, we’ve had a lot going on around Roslin, but also around Midlothian.

  • In March we had visitors from all around the UK come and visit Midlothian and Roslin was one of the schools they could visit. If you’ve read Kerry Dolan’s summary of that day, you’ll know it was very successful! At Roslin, we were very nervous – we feel we are still so early on in our journey that we didn’t know if our work so far would really stand out. We were wrong. It was wonderful to have visitors speaking to the pupils and staff and the feedback we received reflected all of the effort staff and pupils have invested. I was quite proud that day, of both our school and our authority.
  • We are continuing to develop our work on learner dispositions. Our upcoming CAT session in May will look at what teachers have developed in terms of ideas for implementing Guy’s work and how we will use that to start next session. An interesting thought from Carol Dweck recently (as mentioned by James Nottingham this week) is that perhaps we need to be thinking about ‘good learning’ instead of a ‘good learner’….food for thought:) At our CAT session, we will be spending time looking at what some of the other schools in Midlothian have been doing in relation to learner dispositions and using their ideas to help move us forward.
  • Our Learning Council have been carrying out observations across the school, with a particular focus on feedback, learning intentions and success criteria. This directly relates to the areas in which teachers were trying to improve. The Council have their own special stickers that they can give pupils that show they found ‘evidence of good learning’ or ‘evidence of fantastic effort’. We will use their notes at our CAT session to help us improve further.
  • May is the month of self-evaluation for most schools and Roslin is no different. The SMT have already been working on how we will successfully incorporate the National Improvement Framework, HGIOS 4 and the visible learning school matrix into our self-evaluation. We’ve also spent time thinking about how our next improvement plan will reflect our visible learning culture. I would really like to see/hear how other schools have approached that! At a time of year when the energy levels are starting to dip, these are the things we need to focus our energy on to ensure progress and improvement are at the forefront of our thinking.
  • Our cluster of schools will be meeting in June to decide action plans for all of our working parties for next session. Visible Learning will be a key focus of that – with a main priority being the transition to high school and how we link the work we have been doing.
  • We finally found time for Kat Mathers to share her very thorough notes from the Visible Learning Conference. It was a great staff dialogue and it was so great to see people going away and trying things out the next day. There was a definite buzz following that meeting! One of Kat’s most important messages from the conference was how important the teacher is and the quality of our practice. This aligns itself so well to how we have approached VL at Roslin – continually trying to get better at being better.
  • It’s also the report writing season – I have noticed a huge difference from last year to this year in how I write my reports. The language I am using is different and the way in which I describe the pupils as learners has greatly improved.
  • This week in Midlothian, we were lucky to have James Nottingham join us to share his work on Challenging Learning and the Learning Pit. It came at the right time as I think we were all needing to understand this idea more clearly and learn how to approach challenge more effectively with our pupils. I took a lot away from my time observing James and from his talk to all of my colleagues. What I like the most is that what I’ve taken away, I can try on Monday – immediate impact from quality research and sharing of knowledge. He talked about finding the balance between WHAT and HOW to learn and the need for a deliberate focus on how to learn. He discussed the importance of creating opportunities for cognitive conflict and how we need to move away from getting them to ignore one side of the argument. James is so easy to listen to and I know so many people left his session yesterday feeling inspired and in the pit about the pit!

It will be a busy last 8 weeks of term and I look forward to updating you on our next steps. I cannot speak highly enough of how much the power of blogging and Twitter has impacted on not only my own practice, but those around me. The importance of sharing and helping each other move forward should not be underestimated!

Thanks for reading:)

Evidence of progress at Roslin

Last week we held our annual Pupil Conference where every child in the school has an opportunity for their voice to be heard. If you’ve not read about our conference last year, this is something I learned about whilst working at Hawthornden Primary a few years ago.

The conference is centred around key questions that all relate to our School Improvement Plan. Children work in their houses, in small groups, to answer and provide evidence for each of the questions. An adult helps lead the group and this year it was fantastic to have six parents from our Parent Council come and join us. We use a carousel technique to get an idea of what the majority agree or disagree with. Adults are under strict instructions to not give any help answering the questions – if they don’t know, then we need to know that!

Our key questions this year were:

  1. How do you use your maths and numeracy skills in other areas of the curriculum?
  2. How are pupils supported in this school?
  3. What is skimming? What is scanning? How have you used these skills in your learning?
  4. What makes a good listener? What makes a good speaker/talker? Describe some opportunities where you have used these skills.
  5. What makes a good learner?

As mentioned, these all related to specific aspects of our improvement plan and the information gathered at the conference will be used to help inform the next plan. Every child having a voice is quite powerful!

My focus, in particular, was the good learner question. I was so curious to see what would come of asking this question. I didn’t need to look at the responses though – several members of staff came to me straight away and said, what a difference Andrea, big improvements! And they were right. The last time we asked that question to our pupils was Dec 2014 and no one had even mentioned visible learning. We are now just over a year down the road and there has been a marked change in their responses.

I wasn’t sure of the best way to present this change and then remembered ear-marking a page in ‘Visible Learning into Action – International Case Studies of Impact’. Within Hodge Hill’s case study, there is an example of how they showed the different responses within their videos when children were asked the same question. Page 166 if you have the book – check it out:) I’ve compared the two times we asked this question of our learners – you can see it here: conferencecompare

We now need to build on this and further develop our work on learner dispositions – which is exactly what staff are working on as mentioned in a previous post. We also look forward to welcoming visitors to our school on Friday as part of our #vlnetworkUK Midlothian event:)

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Reflecting and next steps…

One of our staff members, Kat Mathers, was lucky enough to attend the recent World Visible Learning Conference in London. To say she was excited would be a huge understatement! I asked her to write a brief reflective statement regarding her two days at the conference and these were her thoughts:

There were many themes that emerged over our two days in London; deep learning, independence and self-regulation, thinking skills, learner dispositions and metacognition, to name a few. But the overriding theme for me, was the importance of the teacher in making learning visible.  Indeed John Hattie informed us that ‘collective teacher efficacy’ is now the influence with the most positive effect on learning.  Hattie argued that it is the teacher, more than the curriculum, teaching, school and student that makes the difference.  This view was supported, over and over, by the presenters at the conference, including in evidence from case studies.  Visible learning requires a committed, well informed, evidence-based, reflexive and collaborative profession.  In short, we need teachers who believe in their impact, know it and act on it.

I would imagine many of our fellow Midlothian colleagues would agree with Kat but also have taken away their own impressions and ideas. By the end of day one, she had already sent me a text saying how proud she was of Roslin. What a lovely feeling that was! We are so lucky to be working within an authority where we can all engage in professional dialogue related to visible learning and Kat said this was evident at the conference as well, seeing as many schools are embarking on their journey alone. I think our VLNetworkUK will be getting stronger!

Following on from our In-Service day in January, where we revisited the importance of learning intentions and success criteria, staff received a summary document of all the major points they identified within the research. I can see this on display now in some classes and is a great way of reminding us of our responsibility to get these key parts of learning right.

Last week, across the school, staff took part in trio peer observations. Learning intentions and success criteria were a primary focus, however the dialogue that ensued from all trios was reflective in all aspects of the teaching observed. In working closely with our EPS colleague, we are now looking at what the impact of this experience will be. It’s great that teachers found it an enjoyable experience and learned something from each other, but what will the long term impact be? We are looking to incorporate mindframes into this trio observation process and be able to share with each other how we’ve developed over time.

Staff are working in groups this term, to plan how we will go about teaching the learner dispositions as outlined by Claxton. This is supported by the evidence we have and is a clear next step. I’m looking forward to seeing what each group pulls together. In the meantime, our Learning Council are working on delivering a shared language of learning across the school. We want to ensure pupils and staff in every class are engaging with similar learning phrases and key words. Do all pupils understand ‘reflection’? Do all pupils understand ‘success criteria’? Learning intention, success criteria, assessment, feedback, reflection, next steps, peer, mistakes, traffic lighting, mindset and learning pit are all terms we feel are critical in understanding the learning process. Context and plenary are also on the list! So our Learning Council are currently thinking of the best way to emphasize and highlight these key terms.

Our most recent Visible Learner Survey has highlighted feedback as an area for development. Instead of launching straight away into work on improving this, we want to gather more evidence to support our thoughts. Our management team are going to carry out focus groups over the next few weeks and our EPS colleague will be doing class observations. Once these have been completed we will be better placed to decide how to go about developing our use of feedback.

Throughout this whole process we have been actively using our Evidence Into Action plan and referring back to our baseline and aspirational statements. Personally, it has been a huge help in keeping me on track and with purpose. Looking forward to what comes next…

A new year and the journey continues..

Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had an enjoyable and restful holiday and are looking forward to the year ahead.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog post as we have been allowing time for sharing practice, professional dialogue and embedding the work we have done thus far. It’s been great hearing staff talk about the dialogue that is taking place within their classes now and wanting to continue this work on visible learning.

Before Christmas, we worked together as a staff to look at the most recent evidence gathered and what it was telling us. Hawthornden had done something similar, so taking their lead, I asked staff to reflect on the strengths that came out of the evidence, the areas we need to improve and what our next steps should be. Two of the main pieces of evidence that were used were the Visible Learner survey that all pupils completed, as well as the Relational Trust survey. It was really encouraging for us all to see how the learning we have developed so far has had an impact. We were all in agreement that our next step across the whole school is to make it much clearer to pupils, what makes a good learner.

Around the same time as this, the headteacher and myself attended Day 2 of the Evidence into Action course. We were really pleased with what we were able to accomplish that day and valued the professional dialogue with other schools. From that session we have created a clear action plan based on evidence and research. We also are beginning to see how we can ensure VL is woven through our School Improvement Plan next session.

That led us very nicely into today’s In-Service session where we had two main areas to focus on.

The first was learning intentions and success criteria. Yes, we know what they are and when they should be used, but are we doing it effectively? No was the easy answer. It was time for a refresher!  So, pairs were given different sections of Shirley Clarke’s work (from 2 books) and were asked to highlight the main points. They were to then spend the last 5 minutes identifying 2 or 3 key points that should be shared. We had a good discussion about how this was an area we all needed a bit of revising in! We are going to use those key points now to create a document we can all have to hand, that acts as a wee reminder of What A Good One Looks Like:)

We then moved on to the bulk of today’s session which was looking at what research has shown to be the qualities of a good learner. For this we turned to the work of Guy Claxton.

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We started with the above mind map task. This was a key question that Claxton asks in his texts and was one I felt was valuable to answer before looking at his work on Building Learning Power. It was interesting to see which ones came up in the 4 Rs.

I spoke to staff about how easy it is sometimes for us to resort back to what we know works best. We know it works, we know it’s been done, we know it will take less time. So I shared with them the points Claxton makes about why it is so important for children to leave school with a better understanding of their skills and how they can use them. When you read through these reasons, you are reminded of the different world these children are growing up in and the importance of us making a change to our practice.

Tables then worked together to match each of the learning capacities to one of the four learner dispositions. Staff found this tricky – in a good way! It was a valuable use of time to just have teachers talking about these capacities as discreet skills. I then shared with the staff some of the ‘Quick Wins’ written by Claxton for those who were keen to get away and try something straight away.

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So the big question was, how are we going to transfer this research into our learning context here at Roslin? How will we lead this? How can we ensure the pupils here will get the most from what we have learned here? Staff felt strongly about moving slowly and moving together. It’s kind of been our mantra since day one and seems to be working. Time to reflect on the research and think it over for themselves was what staff wanted and then move forward. It would be so easy for staff to say, just tell us what to do and we will do it. It’s great to work with a team who value their own understanding of the research and are willing to put the time in to do so.

So, staff are going to work in teams, as we did before, each one taking a different learning disposition and break down each of the capacities within it to provide suggestions and ideas of how to teach these skills to children. We will then bring this work together and reflect on each team’s effort and deliver it across the whole school. This method worked really well in our establishment phase and we have seen the long term impact of that effort in our everyday teaching. We will keep you posted on our developments!

Learning Walks at Roslin

Hope everyone has had a great week – hard to believe it’s only 7 weeks until the Christmas holidays! At Roslin, things are going well – though having a full moon and Halloween in the same week, made for an interesting few days:) In terms of VL, we are continuing to gather evidence in preparation for our Evidence into Action Day Two workshop. We held another school working party meeting this week and I shared our gathering plan with the staff. We had an interesting conversation about effect sizes as I showed them some of what we have gathered thus far. We looked at the results of our Relational Trust survey where we had 22 out of 28 responses. We identified clear strengths and were able to discuss how we can improve one or two of the areas. On a personal level, it was great to share the results of my teacher feedback survey. A few of the teachers are now interested in doing it themselves and that is what I hoping to achieve! The teachers are noticing more and more within their class, how pupil dialogue is changing and have asked for a jotter to be put in the staffroom so that they can record it. Each of these are small pieces of evidence, but help create the bigger picture of how we are developing.

A few people have asked me about the Learning Walk we held last week. Quite a few schools do Learning Walks, with similar formats, but I thought I would write a quick post to let you know how ours went. The information below has come from Mrs Wilson’s summary document of the week.

The SMT, class teachers, learning assistants and Learning Council went on a series of learning walks and shared classroom experiences, in nursery to P7, over the course of the week. The purpose was to gather evidence of where we are in our Visible Learning journey. Evidence was gathered through: direct observation of displays and resources accessible to pupils, discussion with pupils and LAs, direct observation of teaching and direct observation of areas outwith the classroom (corridors, halls, office etc). Evidence was recorded using photographs, notes (using a VL master sheet as a moderation tool), a master sheet for observing shared classroom experiences, notes from jotter moderation and talking to pupils. Class teachers and SMT met at the end to identify examples of best practice and agree on recommended next steps. One of the most important pieces of feedback that came out of our staff reflection was that teachers noticed the progression of VL across the school. It’s clear that staff are beginning to integrate VL into their daily practice more and more and are doing so at the appropriate level for their learners.

Some examples of the evidence recorded in nursery to P7 were: nursery planning and policy folders reflect VL research, visual displays of ‘what are we learning’, floor planning books, using post-it notes for pupil dialogue on displays, changing your mindset phrases, questions cube, effort scales, thinking about learning question cards, reflection/metacognition words, visual timetables, LI and SC on display, brain work, peer feedback phrases and development, artwork in relation to brains, mindsets, mistakes and VL reading.

Evidence outside the classroom/across the school was: school improvement plan on display for all, quality indicators, HGIOS quotes, VL mind maps, professional reading resources, reading books for children connected to VL and wider achievements of pupils across the school.

When the Learning Council came together to reflect on what they had observed, their comments were:

  • they recognised the differences in how each class are looking at things
  • stated that it was now important that we integrate these key concepts of VL into our everyday learning
  • ‘the school is using VL as a strategy for all subjects in school’
  • ‘you can use the strategies in everyday life’
  • ‘growth mindset helps us not to give up’
  • ‘the learning pit is a series of events in learning’
  • ‘learning feels very different now’
  • ‘it is a major change’
  • ‘it allows you to take on challenges’
  • ‘it has had a big impact in a good way’

I was lucky enough to observe P3 in action as they were applying their understanding of food chains to a cooperative learning task. Sitting and watching a pupil of that age turn to another pupil and say, ‘why don’t you have another attempt at that, you’ll get it, keep trying’ was just lovely to experience. I know it’s small, but we’ve only been at this a short time and to see dialogue like that taking place, just makes us very proud!

We are now working on prioritising our next steps and look forward to the next part of this adventure!

 

All right stop, collaborate and listen….

 

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Now that we are on our October holiday, I have a bit of time to sit and reflect on everything that has been going on at Roslin and around Midlothian.

As the newest mindframe – I collaborate – is shared across Twitter, I can’t help but be impressed and proud of all the work that is happening across our authority. In the past month, so many more schools have started blogs and Twitter accounts, individual teachers are joining Twitter and examples of pupil work and dialogue are being shared. ASGs (Associated Schools Groups) are starting to meet regularly and school working parties are getting underway. Collaboration is starting to become a real strength here in Midlothian – yes, there’s more to be done, but we’ve made a good start.

At Roslin, things have been busy as per usual! Following our last post, Jo Wilson (HT) and I attended the Evidence into Action Day 1 workshop. I had  been a bit worried before this day came – would the work we’ve done so far be irrelevant? Would our next steps be clear? Would we leave more confused than when we started? But our minds were put at ease. We left with a clear evidence gathering plan and confidence that our work thus far was a huge stepping stone in getting us to this point. Laura did a great job taking us through everything. We even managed to have a go at effect sizes – not bad for one day! Jo and I made good use of having the time to process our thoughts and have a focussed dialogue, something that is so rare in your average day at school.

We are working closely with our EPS colleague in our evidence gathering, as well as the Learning Council, made up of pupils from across the school. Miss Brown (EPS), myself and the HT met to review our evidence gathering plan and reflect on our school matrix traffic lights. From that meeting, we set a clear plan for gathering evidence between day one and day two of the workshops. We were careful to ensure this plan was feasible and realistic. I’m already interested to see what all of this information will tell us and how we will move forward.

Some of our evidence gathering has begun already. Our relational trust survey for all staff (not just teachers) has been completed and the Senior Management Team will spend time looking that over and then all staff will get a chance to read the results. We’ve had a go at effect sizes for a standardised test that is common in schools. At the Day 1 workshop we were introduced to alternative ways of working with effect sizes, such as rubrics. My stage partner and myself are giving this a bash in our writing unit this term to see if we can determine effect sizes. It was important to get started on this straight away, in order to allow enough time for progress to be measured. One of the areas we wanted to gather evidence in was under the Inspired and Passionate Teacher section – to what extent do Roslin teachers exhibit the characteristics of an inspired and passionate teacher? The Teacher Survey is a good tool for this but I can see how that might be quite daunting to some teachers. So, I’ve volunteered to do it with my class first so that I can share with the rest of the staff what I got out of it and how I hope to set goals for myself. My class did the Survey Monkey last week and boy have I learned a lot! Some of it made me very proud and some of the comments really made me think! I’m looking forward to sharing that with staff and encourage others to have a go.

At our recent parent consultation evening, we had a chance to share some of our visible learning work. Our Learning Council were the hosts and they were available to lead parents/carers through the evidence we had available:

  • Our work on the brain, mindsets and making mistakes was on display
  • a reading corner was set up with books such as I Can’t Do This, Rosie Revere the Engineer, Beautiful Oops etc
  • evidence gathered from parents at consultation evenings in March
  • our nursery context explained
  • evidence gathered from all pupils thus far
  • our EPS spotlight documents

Over the next two weeks we have an ASG visible learning meeting, a school working party meeting and a whole school Learning Walk focussed on visible learning (staff and pupils involved).

Finally, Jo and I had an opportunity to visit Bader Primary School (find the connection to David Walliams’ new book!). The staff and pupils were very welcoming and as we weren’t the only visitors there that day, collaboration was at the forefront. As you spoke to the children of Bader Primary, it was clear that they had a very good understanding of where they were in their learning and what tools were available to them. What I liked, and what I will be sharing with staff here, is similar to what I saw at Hodge Hill – that in each classroom, the ethos and learning culture of the school was clear but each was presented in their own way. It wasn’t the same poster or display in each room, every teacher and class had adapted the concepts to suit them and the learners. I also liked how display space in the classroom was for developing learning and display space outside the class was for celebrating learning. That is something I would like to see more of here at Roslin. Simon was a great host at Bader and ever the teacher, let us lead our own learning for the day. Jo and I are very appreciative to Simon and the rest of the school for allowing us to observe their journey thus far.

 

Another step in the right direction…

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Over the past few weeks at Roslin, we have been investing a lot of time into building some visible learning foundations across the school. Whilst this is important for the children, this journey is as much for us, the staff. We are surrounded by discussions regarding standardised testing, attainment pressures, workload, lack of supply, two new school buildings on the way – and more. However, in true Roslin fashion, we are trying to ensure our focus remains on what is important – the pupils.

On Friday, we had a CAT session where we began by reflecting on the work that has taken place over the past few weeks. It was important for the working party to get some feedback from everyone to help us identify our next steps. It was great to hear that the frameworks we had created to help staff get started had been useful and the books that have been purchased were well used. Staff commented how effective it is when we are all working on something together across the whole school – it stimulates dialogue, not only amongst the staff but with the children as well. We discussed the impact we have seen thus far and noticed that the message of ‘yet’ has been one of the most powerful. We also recognised the need for reading your class effectively, to ensure you are delivering these ideas at the right level and at the right time. I have been blown away by the amount of work done across the school over these past few weeks and thanked the teachers for their hard work and effort. This led us well into our forward planning dialogue where we are having a go at more focused, purposeful planning, allowing the freedom for teachers to manage their own folders more effectively because as we know, one size does not fit all;)

Our EPS colleague, Miss Brown, visited us twice this week and is an active member of helping us on our VL journey. First she observed P1 in an effort to get an understanding of the kind of mindsets they are coming into school with. Next, a visit to P7 where the pupils were being introduced to the Learning Pit. Once we got over the hurdle of deciphering my Canadian accent and that it was PIT and not PET we were well on our way;) We had a great discussion at the end about how easy it was for them to identify with the facing a challenge, being in the pit and achieving success phases. It was the having a go and solving the problem phases that we will develop a better understanding of as we move through our daily learning. This is essential to becoming an assessment capable learner. Miss Brown also met with the Learning Council this week – our previously known Pupil Council (long story). It was so nice to see the genuine buzz as she returned from their session together! They had a great discussion around sharing learning across the school and how we could go about doing that with our families. What was encouraging was that the vocabulary and ideas the children were using were all in reference to the work that has been done in these few weeks around the brain, mindset and mistakes. They are quick to identify who at home has a fixed mindset! We have some good next steps identified for this council and will be using our upcoming parent consultation evening to begin the sharing process.

We’ve now jumped into the pit, so to speak. We’re having a go and attempting to challenge both our own practice and the mindset of staff and pupils. I am fully expecting to have a lost and confused moment (or two!) in the not too distant future but take comfort in the fact that I work with a team who will work together to find different strategies that work for us. It helps seeing all that is shared across the authority, and also the UK. Mrs. Wilson and I are soon going to visit Simon Feasey and his school, Bader Primary, along with other members of the VL network across the UK. Their blogs, reading recommendations and tweets have certainly helped me focus on what is important in this journey and have given some great ideas!

What is important now is that we continue to develop, continue to evaluate impact. How do we do that? I have no idea. As I attend day one of the Evidence Into Action course in a couple of weeks, I look forward to learning about how we can take our evidence forward. What we CAN do now is engage our pupils with this learning dialogue, help them understand strategies for getting out of the Learning Pit and understand how their own mindset can play a key role in their success.

Follow us on Twitter to see examples of the work that is going around the school or to share some of your own work:)

Making connections, strengthening pathways…

What a great week it has been here at Roslin. Yes, we’ve had the usual challenges of the first full week back at school – tired children, challenging behaviour, conflicting timetables and more importantly, a lack of biscuits in the staffroom. However, even with those challenges, we’ve managed to carry out the first step in our visible learning plan for this session.

As mentioned in previous posts, we recognise the importance of children being able to discuss how they learn and what is going on in their brain as it is happening. This then connects to mindsets and also, making mistakes. It is with that in mind, that we planned the first three weeks of term around those concepts in an effort to lay the ground work for learning throughout the session. This is as much for the teachers as well – we need to lay this groundwork in our own minds so that we are constantly referring back to it in our daily practice. At a previous visible learning practitioner meeting, I remember Peter McNaughton saying that visible learning was like the ocean bed, very calm and stable. Everything else in education were the tidal waves above it, constantly changing and moving about – with the sea bed, visible learning, remaining in tact. I might not have paraphrased that exactly right, but you see the point;)

We’ve been in the position before where just ‘telling’ children about learning doesn’t work. We did a lot of great work around metacognition and most children were able to tell you what different skills you could use whilst learning. But there was a connection missing. Visible learning is helping us make that connection.

Across the whole school this week, we have been learning about the brain. I took some pupils from each class on Friday morning to get an idea of what they had done in class, but also to see what the impact of that learning had been. The only exception was P4, who were far too busy with their teacher (our NQT), using their whole classroom to consolidate their learning by making a brain and were connecting neurons all over the place – who was I to interrupt that?!

From my discussion with the pupils, there was a clear progression of learning from the infants up to the top end of the school. Children were able to tell me about different activities they had done to learn about the brain and what key vocabulary or ideas they had come away with. I asked them why they thought we were learning about the brain in school and why it was important. There were many responses but some included:

‘because we are trying to be better learners’

‘so our pathways get stronger’

‘because if you only do easy things then your brain won’t grow’

‘if you quit too soon, the neurons won’t connect’

From my conversation with these pupils, I was happy that not only were they learning about the brain itself, but how it was connected to learning.

There was a real buzz across the school this week and staff have commented they’ve really enjoyed seeing what other classes are doing, but mostly that it’s nice having a whole school focus when you’re beginning a journey. It was easy to link into our weekly singing session with the whole school and some of our work is up in the hall already. We are all set to go for next week, where children and staff will be looking at mindsets.

If you’re interested in seeing what some of us used to help us get started this week, I’ve attached the link below. Nothing major, but has certainly given a starting point. Thank you:)

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And we’re off….

Hello all and welcome back to another session! For those who had holidays in the summer, I hope you had a lovely time and are relaxed and ready to go:)

What a start it has been here at Roslin! Our first In-Service Day was a busy one – Mrs Wilson, our headteacher, set the tone of the day with a lovely welcome back message and sharing of information about the new schools being built. A significant part of her session was the change in our behaviour system. Our current system isn’t as successful as we would like and we knew changes needed to be made. Instead of switching to something totally different, we have moved to a very simple system. The idea behind this is that as we continue developing visible learning, how our learners view their behaviour will most likely change. The idea that your learning and behaviour are so closely linked will hopefully strengthen and we will need to modify our systems accordingly.

Following this, I spent some time reminding staff where we are in our journey and how it has been evidenced. I shared some thoughts on what I thought the conference might do for us and what we could perhaps expect on the day. My biggest message to staff was the importance of recognising that the conference was a statement – a statement of intent by Midlothian – and that the onus is now on us to develop and challenge our learners. This isn’t just something people are reading about and ‘having a go’ at, it’s something that we all need to invest and surround ourselves with. We then discussed our plans for the first few weeks of term and shared resources that may be of use.

The second In-Service Day was our turn at the Visible Learning Conference. A jam-packed day but one that was worthwhile. Miss Dolan’s blog has given a good summary of the day so take a look there for more details! I felt very reassured as I listened throughout the day because so much of what I was hearing were messages and steps that we have been doing in Roslin. A lot of staff mentioned how glad they were that we had started our journey, otherwise they may have felt overwhelmed! We came away with some great ideas:)

It was a pleasure to finally meet Katie Walton, author of I Can’t Do This. She had such lovely things to say about the work that Midlothian are doing with mindsets and was so pleased to be able to share her work with so many like-minded people.

And now the session has begun. I am teaching P7 again this year and am looking forward to all that brings. Like most teachers, we spent time this week discussing the idea of being a team and how we can best work together. At P7, I feel that talking about ‘rules’ is not appropriate – they all know to keep hands and feet to themselves etc. Instead we spoke of expectations – what do I expect of them and what do they expect of me. I gave each pupil some post-it notes and they added to each list. What has very clearly come out at the top of both lists is – have a growth mindset. I asked them if I could change their wording to ‘continue to develop a growth mindset’ and they were find with that:)  We agreed that if we can all work hard to surpass these expectations, we will have created an excellent learning environment.

So what’s next at Roslin? An interesting few weeks ahead that I look forward to blogging about. We’ve got our first ASG visible learning meeting next week where the goal is to further clarify our driver diagram. Our own school working party will be setting their remit over the next few weeks and reflecting on our visible learning establishment phase.

Chat to you all soon!