Learning and Teaching Bulletin

An update from the Learning and Teaching group

Learning and Teaching

This bulletin aims to share good learning and teaching around Craigmount High School.

We had good feedback from the first revamped bulletin and as well as visitors from Craigmount we also had visitors from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Turnbridge Wells and India..

If you have anything you would like to share in next months bulletin just contact us (the L&T SIG) or share your ideas on the pedagooFriday board in the staffroom

Firstly, here's a bit of fun from the Modern Studies department (@CHSmodstuds)


Why would you want to contribute to the bulletin?

S1 - Growing salt crystals at home

Shona Wallace has a great bit of creative learning.

Students had been learning about making solutions, dissolving solutes, speeding up dissolving and saturated solutions.

During our lessons on speeding up, dissolving and making saturated solutions, I asked the class what they thought would happen if some of the water(solvent) evaporated from their saturated solutions. Some learners thought that both the salt and the water would evaporate whilst others thought that solid salt would form in the beaker and some learners weren’t sure.

To help answer the question, I set them the task of growing salt crystals at home using a saturated salt solution, a pencil, some string and a glass

After 2-3 weeks the learners brought either a picture of their salt crystals or the actual crystals themselves. Everyone brought an example of their work and some learners asked for an extension so they could grow even bigger crystals

Learners are now able to see first-hand that as water evaporates from the saturated solution, solid salt forms.

I asked a follow up question to apply knowledge in everyday life:

Can you think of a situation where evaporation might be used to extract salt?

“It can be used to separate salt from the sea to be used for many reasons, such as to be packaged for cooking reasons”

“to collect salt from the sea”

“In a big scale to take away or extract salt when they filter water in a water treatment place from the reservoirs etc.”

Student feedback to the task

Did you enjoy growing your crystals?

“ Yes”, “ I did and I didn’t” “It was creative doing something out of school”, “It was fun watching them grow each day” “Yes because it was fun to see how big they got” “I didn’t enjoy it as such but I still liked finding out what my crystals were like”

What have you learned from this activity about salt, solutions etc?

“What a solution is and how salt crystals form”

“It is better to dissolve salt in hot water”

“The water evaporates and leaves you with salt crystals”

“I learned that the sun evaporates the water but not the salt and leaves little crystals”

“I learned that if you put salt in hot water and try and dissolve it, it will dissolve quicker because the space expands”

“I have learned that the longer you leave your solution the bigger salt crystals you get”

“I now know a lot more about saturated solutions”

“This activity helped me understand by seeing it actually happen”

An Inspector Calls - Character Profile

Joe Higgins decided to get the students to carry out a character profile in English using this idea:

Having done a fair bit of individual work on the play itself: reading and making notes on characters. Students were put into groups to

  • prepare profiles of the main characters finding key quotes
  • summarising their interactactions with other characters and linking these to theme.

Students were given roles – illustrator, summariser, quote finder etc. and given a good amount of time to complete.

Surprisingly little guidance needed from myself once task had begun. As an extension I asked the students to cast current actors or celebrities in the role

The posters will be used for revision and some presentations on characters

Plenaries and metacognition

I very briefly introduced the idea of meta-cognition when speaking about the 4 phase lesson and the review. Rather than me speaking or writing about it, it’s much better to see things in action. It would be far more powerful to go and see how Denise and other members of the maths team now talk to students about their working, and about the thinking and strategies involved in solving problems.

We are currently putting together a bank of plenaries which are tried and tested with Craigmount Students – so please let us know if you have any favourites.

S3 Death Penalty timelines

Moira-Anne uses technology in RME

S3 have been studying the Death Penalty in RME and we are coming to the end of this topic. I thought creating a timeline might be a nice task to show how crime and punishment has changed over the years

  1. Working in groups discuss what you would like to find out, for example:

· A date from medieval Scotland?

· When the electric chair was invented?

· The last hanging in the UK?

2. Use your mobile devices to find out the dates.

(I checked that each group had at least one that’d work – sometimes there’s limited coverage in my room)

3. Illustrate your findings in a timeline (one per student).

My Evaluation

This is the first time I’d used phones for research in this way. Students were well engaged and enjoyed researching with their phones. The alternative for this task would have been to book a computer suite or the library; this way was much quicker and less hassle. We had a discussion about use of phones for research – students were keen to do more of it in classes, they are used to having them in their hands and behaved sensibly and appropriately.


Craigmount Learning Communities

Our Learning Communities will focus on Assessment for Learning (formative assessment) and other aspects of L&T and aim to support staff in developing these approaches. The main features of our Learning Communities are:

1. Personal goal setting
2. Access to supportive feedback
3. Regular Focused Discussion
4. Knowledge Sharing
5. Generating and sharing ideas

View our CLC page on L&T Website

Craigmount Learning Communities will meet once per month or twice per term, depending on the group. Please contact Stephen Rafferty or the leaders listed below if you would like to join a group or if you would like more information.

  • Stuart Ridland and Dave Polland Monday Lunch
  • Jude McKerracher and Catriona Inglis – Tuesday Lunch
  • Kat Cameron and Steve Raeburn Wednesday morning
  • Dave Sansom and Shona Wallace – Wednesday Lunch
  • Kristen Paton and Laura Savage – Thursday lunch