Lynne Horn

My Argyll and Bute Glow Mentor blog.

Wikis in Action

May 17, 2009 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

It was my aim this year to make use of wikispaces.  For most of the year I have been using them as a place to put work for classes and have a wiki for each year group.

For my exam class the wiki was a great place to store games, links for various units and bits of advice on writing – the S4 wiki in particular was much used.

I have used the S1 wiki in a similar way, using it for example to put their vokis and films on learning être.  Up until this week I had always loaded the information myself, however I decided to let them make their own pages.  The first problem was having to vacate my classroom – I hadn’t intended to take all 25 to the library at once, however an exam had been put into my room so time for explanation was limited to about 5mins before we all set off.  They all had to join wikispaces – few of them knew their school email address (it’s quite long!), some were putting in usernames wikispaces wouldn’t accept etc etc.  However despite all this we succeed more or less.  The next step is to have them join wikispaces so that they can create pages and add more information to them.

My next step is to continue to develop the use of the wikis next year and see where it all leads!

Spiders, Flowers and Verbs

February 17, 2009 by · No Comments · ICT, languages


Chemistry teacher was somewhat stunned when S3 told her I kept a spider called Trevor in my classroom.  Every so often the original (plastic) Trevor disappears only to reappear months even years later from the darker corners of the classroom.  However he’s always been with me in one form or another to teach those verbs, whether by my wonderful(!) drawings on the boards, or on ppt and now on Smart Notebook.  Along with Trevor I also use flowers and once demonstrated we make a garden of verbs. Both Trevor and the flower are on this Notebook file – just use the “duster” to rub out and reveal the subjects and endings.


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Dr Who and the Dictionary

February 5, 2009 by · 6 Comments · ICT, languages


I created this Smart Notebook file to teach S1 dictionary skills tomorrow.  Pupils will play in teams, first team to find the correct definition of the word will come out and click the word they think is correct – if it is K9 will say “affirmative”, if not they will be “exterminated”.  With a spinning TARDIS and a flying Dalek to make the Smartboard truly interactive.  The file is above and hopefully all its sounds etc are still attached – help yourself if it’s of use.


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Sparkling in Stirling – HMiE/SCILT Conf

February 2, 2009 by · No Comments · Uncategorized

I was in Stirling last week for the HMiE/SCILT good practice conference – the day was fairly packed and by the end of it my brain was a bit overloaded, but here are some of the things I took from the day.

One thing that was mentioned several times was sharing learning intentions and AifL techniques in general – I thought this was quite obvious until I saw some writing these down as though it were a new concept.

I really liked the ideas from St Ninian’s for getting rid of dead time and vocabulary learning as well as improving speaking and writing, some ideas were

  • 5 a day – short challenges in a box ie name 5 fruits in French/write 5 sentences using il faut… – pupils take one as they come into room and do whilst teacher does register etc
  • Friends and Enemies – at beginning of topic pupils put all the vocab from topic into Enemies envelope, as they learn them they are moved to Friends envelope
  • Sparkle Words – words such as mais/aussi/parce que/cependant etc , these are written on black card in glitter pens and surrounded by gold stars etc – pupils know that using these words means extra marks/higher grades

I also enjoyed the presentation by Peter Anderson from Anderson High on Shetland.  This year I have done a lot of very structured lead up to writing and speaking to get the best out of my S4 class of mainly boys and it was good to get a few new ideas for this – the department in Anderson use a lot of structured grids to lead up to writing and speaking and already this week my S4 are using a similar grid as we prepare to write about school.

All in all a useful day and we are looking forward to getting our hands on all that glitter to brighten up our rooms!


January 17, 2009 by · 3 Comments · cooperative learning, ICT, languages

Haven’t blogged much since beginning of term so here goes…

I’ve been working on a unit about animals with S1 since we came back to school.  I discovered last year.  It is great for teaching reading skills – after demonstrating with Nile crocodile on the Smartboard, highlighters are wonderful for this – class divided into pairs with a print out of one of the other animals.  They hightlighted high frequency words and cognates – they were challenged to find at least 10 facts from the text, we also discussed that although our own general knowledge could aid comprehension, we had to check that anything we thought we knew was actually mentioned in the text.

The class coped with this well, delighted to be able to understand an authentic passage and almost all groups found the required 10 facts with one group coming up with an amazing 20 – facts covered everything from the gestation period of elephants and ostriches to how much meat lions eat in a day.  At the end of the period everyone went to have a look at everyone else’s facts and had to have three ready to tell me as their “ticket out the door”

It’s when I’m doing this kind of task that I’m reminded of the quote from HMiE “let’s do something fun today, let’s do something difficult”

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La vie en RDC (part 2)

December 31, 2008 by · No Comments · cooperative learning, cross curricular links, languages

Took me a bit longer to get to “tomorrow” than I’d thought, however as this is the end of the year it seems right to finish these posts about the work done on Life in the Congo with S1/2.

S1/2 have their RME taught through a rolling programme of one day conferences.  This year’s December conference was “Rich World, Poor World”.  This time S1/2 were prepared for the conference through the work they had done in French, so although the day followed a similar programme to previous years it meant that we could focus in on some of the work they had done. 

As always we started by looking at the distribution of wealth game – everyone is allocated to a continent + the world’s wealth (a box of celebrations) is divided up between them, so whilst North America and Europe get more than enough chocolates for their continent to share, Asia and Africa don’t get enough.  We then looked at Human Rights and used this to divide S1/2 into groups – everyone was given a human right which were on 8 different colours of paper, they then had 10 minutes to share their human right with every other colour, at the end of that time they divided into Rainbow Groups – one colour in every group.  We then looked at the human rights and the responsibilities which come with those.

To enure a bit of team work we then did a bit of team building – teams tie themselves up a knot by holding hands across a circle and then untangling themselves without letting go.  The RME teacher then uses this to talk about unbreaking the chain of debt, followed by looking at the Golden Rules – those rules in different religions which teach charity.  Pupils then wrote their suggestions for how to change the world onto strips of coloured paper, when stuck together they made paper chains for the dining room.

To end the morning we looked again at the Congo – I had asked S2 to find out what might link them to the Congo – one of the possible answers was coltan, a mineral mined there and used to make everything from mobile phones to playstations.  We rounded of the morning by watching a short film about the mining of coltan.

In the afternoon groups worked in 4 workshops – one groups wrote letters to MPs and MSPs on some of the issues they had looked at (and are delighted to have had a reply from local MP Alan Reid), one group worked in Art making Rich and Poor mobiles, another group worked on writing reflections and the last group looked at possible fundraising (in fact this last group has elected a committee and are planning The “C” Factor – a fund raising talent show to be held at the end of January.)  We ended with reflections on the day and pupils wrote what they would give to help – these are written onto green hands which are then put together to make a Christmas tree.

Back in French we finished anwering the questions we had started before – S1 have recorded their answers on video which hopefully will be made into a DVD.  S2 had also answered some of the more challenging questions from the pack – they chose 3 of their answers and wrote them on “baubles” which they then used to decorate a paper tree for display in the corridor.

This has been a fascinating and thought provoking project – both myself and classes have learned so much and for my part I know that I can’t go back to the more mundane topics of text book French, so for next term with S2 we’re taking on another big topic – Climate Change – watch this space!


La vie en RDC (part 1)

December 8, 2008 by · 1 Comment · cooperative learning, cross curricular links, ICT

At the SALT conference a few weeks ago I bought a fantastic new resource published by SCIAF (a bargain at just under £10.00).

I decided to use the resource with S1/2 and in discussion with RME we used it as a lead up to the S1/2 RME day on Rich World, Poor World and our 5th annual Equal Futures Day.

Classes started by having a discussion with their parents using these 3 questions

What do I already know about this topic?

What would I like to learn?

How will I share my learning?

We located the Congo on a map of Africa  using the Smart Notebook file I created – this meant we could also look for the other French speaking African countries.  Classes then started preparing their own answers to the familiar language questions in the pack – questions were printed onto card, the classes then wrote their own answers on the back and started to practise them.  In class we practised using cooperative techniques, in particular the appointment system (class make 4 appointments and then work with their appointment partner depending on the time called out).

During this time the classes also started to do a little research into the Congo and we put the information gathered onto a map. 

Once the class were confident in their own answers we listened to the answers given by Joseph and Aimée Joseph and Aimée and started to think about the similarities and differences between their lives and the lives of the children in the Congo.

Prior to the RME day we looked at Aimée’s blog posts to date, noticing first of all how quickly the posts went from everyday topics such as school to war.  Using the Smartboard to model the skills needed we looked first of all at the posts in French – they are not simple language, but working in groups all managed to get the gist of the post and then find the English translation from a selection given, groups then stuck post its on to the posts showing

anything similar to your life

anything different

anything surprising

anything shocking

Some of this involved a level of thinking I don’t often get with s1/2 in my subject where they tend to be looking at very familiar topics and language – one group worked out that it probably costs the same to pay for a child to go to school in the Congo as it costs them to buy lunches in a week, they discussed how teachers in Scotland are paid (by taxes) compared to their families having to pay the schools direct.  These were not always easy posts to read (“Tragically, it’s young girls and young women who are the main victims of the war in DRC. Young women between 14 and 25, are taken by force to be at the mercy of the militia. “) – S2 being slightly older were able to work out what that must mean, but it had to be explained to S1 and not so easy to explain to 11/12 year olds.  Once each group had added post its to their own blog entry they had a look at each others and added anything they noticed.

And so we moved onto the RME Day – more about that tomorrow.

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Carte de l’Afrique

November 20, 2008 by · No Comments · cross curricular links, ICT, languages


I’ve started working on the excellent resource “La vie en RDC” produced by SCIAF with S1/2 – so far we’ve been looking for some of the countries in Africa where French is either spoken or is the national language.  Using the map of Africa which is in the Smart Notebook gallery and the outlines of the countries there (which very conveniently fit onto the map) I’ve created this drag and drop map – when you drag the outline into place the name of the country will appear.   The file is a Smart Notebook 10 file.


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Quelle heure est-il Monsieur Loup?

November 19, 2008 by · 1 Comment · cooperative learning, ICT


Looking for interesting ideas to teach the time, Lisa suggested “What’s the time Mr Wolf?”, so I thought I’d give a virtual version ago – in fact it’s just snakes and ladders with wolves intead of counters.  S1 played in 4 teams, first time to bring me the time written down correctly got to roll the dice and move their wolf, but it could be used to practise the time in any way you want.  Did it motivate? – well, one girl who speaks little in class elbowed a couple of boys out of her way and nearly knocked me through the wall on her way to the board.

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A Little Time Travel

November 12, 2008 by · No Comments · ICT

I went to have a look at a video conference taking place today (some might say gate crashed!).  Thanks to the National Archive Museum, S4 were able to interview an soldier from the First World War.  Despite an initial problem with the link, it eventually worked and the class were really engaged in talking to the soldier.  I only caught a short part of the link, but I was very impressed by this use of technology to link students to the past.


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