Developing literacy and communication is a central focus of our school’s work. We aim to enable all of our pupils to be effective communicators at their own individual level, starting with a positive and consistent affirmation. With the support of Speech and Language therapists, we baseline our pupils skills using APEC bands and use targets to guide our focus on communication development. We use an inclusive communication approach; our youngsters are supported through accessible low/high tech communication strategies and resources such as Eye Gaze, PODD and PIXON boards. It is vital that our school community can communicate with one another, therefore Makaton is our chosen additional language. We have a clear focus on developing literacy for all pupils. Each BGE class plans a book study each term. We have a focus on functional and environmental print. Senior phase pupils are encouraged to generalise their literacy skills into work placements and through leadership roles. Literacy and communication skills are required across all areas of the curriculum, therefore we practice and apply skills throughout the school day in many contexts and encourage the same within the home.
We had a very special performance in school this morning thanks to M & M Theatrical Productions.
They enchanted us with their adaptation of the classic children’s novel ‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett and we loved having the opportunity to experience the wonder of a live theatre performance. After the show, some of the students also had the opportunity to meet the cast and explore the set.
Thank you M & M for putting on this wonderful show for us.
The beginning of summer is upon us! As we head into the final stretches of the school year, everyone should take time to reflect on the highs and lows of the year. What worked? What flopped? How can you improve for next year? What from your old job will you bring to your new one? What must you definitely leave behind?
However, when we take time to reflect on our year and take stock of how we’ve grown and changed, we are more able to acknowledge the gifts of this passage and harvest our own learning for the future.
On Tuesday, our Makaton Choir hosted some very special guests in school as part of a choir workshop organised by our Emmeline, our music therapist.
The two choirs that visited us were ‘The Kitty Choir’ from Kittybrewster Primary School and ‘Singing Hands’, an Aberdeen based BSL signing (British Sign Language) choir. We all had a wonderful afternoon sharing our different approaches to choir.
The Orchard Brae Makaton Choir performed “Happy” and “Summer Holiday”, Singing Hands performed “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” and “Give Me Sunshine” and The Kitty Choir performed “Sing”.
The three choirs then collaborated and sang our Makaton signed version of “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” alongside the BSL version. It was very interesting to see the differences and similarities between Makaton and BSL. We then rounded of the afternoon by all learning the Makaton signs for “Shotgun!”
Everyone had a wonderful afternoon and Scott, the hearing dog was a big hit with all of the pupils! It was wonderful to have the opportunity to share our learning and learn from others too.
Aberdeen City Libraries are launching a new initiative called ‘Aberdeen Reads’ over the summer holidays. The challenge runs right over the summer and replaces the reading challenge which has been promoted over recent years.
There are incentives to read at least 6 minutes every day, mini-challenges and an invitation for the whole family to join in.There are also a range of events taking place at libraries across the city (places must be booked in advance).
Furtherinformation can be found using the link below:
We have a new Makaton Word of the fortnight and our new focus is…NO/DON’T.
Negatives (words like ‘don’t’ and ‘no’) are an important part of language and our students benefit from these being modelled when learning to use negatives themselves. However, we do recognise that they can be tricky when used as part of behaviour management. Using ‘stop’ is often more effective in stopping unwanted behaviour. NO/DON’T can be used for lots of negatives or negations such as no, can’t, won’t, don’t, never and without.
As well as a sheet of activity ideas there is also an information sheet to support the implementation of this core word.
A video demonstrating the Makaton sign can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDkRI2C7IKA
All children in Room 11 have been participating in language and numeracy lessons and have been encouraged to use technology. Some children in our class use switch to operate a range of educational programmes, some use touch screen to navigate pages and the other ones are really good at using eye gaze to wider their experiences and develop communication skills.
One of the pupils in Room 13 found a poem, The Owl, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. As he was reading it and showing interest, the class followed up with some additional learning around owls. They have used mixed media to create some lovely art work. This has included natural materials and textures such as bark.
Follow us, Room 8, into an amazing journey through our world of rights along with Handa, from “Handa’s surprise” by Eileen Browne.
In the story, Handa, a girl from Kenya, took a surprise bowl of fruits on a journey to her friend Akeyo. Different animals pinched the fruits without Handa’s permission. There were many interesting animals and fruits to find out about, making the journey really fun. As Handa’s journey was about to end, a goat bumped into a tangerine tree, and filled up her empty bowl with tangerines. When she arrived at Akeyo’s village, that was a happy surprise for both Handa and Akeyo. Handa was amazed by the loss of the other fruits, and the presence of tangerines. There was a happy ending because Akeyo’s favourite fruit is tangerine and Handa brought them to him.
What made this story so wonderful was the beautiful describing words. It also introduced the theme of friendship and its importance, which is another positive asset to this story. The surprise at the end of the story added a comical twist that brought the happiness.
Altogether, this was a really engaging and entertaining book that was wonderful to listen to and made us smile. Furthermore, the book has given us the opportunity to learn about children’s rights, to explore and taste the fruits from Handa’s basket, and to speak about our uniqueness and importance.
However, our journey is not finished yet, so be ready for other adventures along with Handa and her friend, Akeyo.
We have a new Makaton sign of the fortnight starting today … HELP. Here is the link for a handy little video showing you how to sign not only help but also help me and help you. There is also an activity sheet with ideas to ‘help you’ use this sign. Happy signing🖐 🤚
Room 12 enjoyed a visit from multi-sensory storyteller, Ailie, of Flotsam and Jetsam. The story she shared with us was about a cat going to see a giant. As you can see from our faces, we were all entertained by the story and the range of props that supported our understanding and enjoyment.