Room 14 have been doing some fun Science experiments in class recently. We have been learning about how we can mix two things to make something new! We took turns to mix baking soda with vinegar to inflate a rubber glove. Everyone enjoyed giving high fives to each other hands! Nobody liked the smell of the vinegar but it was worth it for the fun!
In October we made eco bird feeders, by coating pine cones in bird seed. It was a sticky job and took a lot of concentration. The next day we hung some in the school playground and took the rest to hang up at the duck pond. We then gave the leftover bird seed to the ducks.
This has been a busy term in Room 15, with lots of new experiences!
We have lots of fun with messy learning in Room 15. In our Secondary Department, all S1-S3 pupils complete the ASDAN New Horizons course – we have begun with building our communication of key information about ourselves. We have hidden under blankets and revealed ourselves when our name is called (activating a switch talker to announce “I’m here!”), we have practiced our Makaton signs for our names (and those of our friends) and (best of all!) located our photos in sensory resources and written our names in mixed media.
We’ve also introduced bucket time to Room 15. This activity looks to build focused attention – and it seems we’re more focused the messier it gets! We have used bucket time to build our spontaneous communication too – ready, steady and … “go!”
We have been using intensive interaction to build our communication skills in a variety of different contexts – we’re speaking and using more signs since the start of the year already!
We have been working a lot on life skills, particularly road safety. We use our eyes and ears to look out for traffic, and use our communication devices to say when to stop and when to go.
We have also begun to explore using talking mats to share our thoughts about our day – what we liked, what we didn’t like, and what we’re not sure about. On the whole, we’re liking our school day!
The pupils from Howes Hoose successfully completed their final expedition for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. They spent 2 days at Wiston Lodge set in the beautiful countryside beside Biggar, staying in log cabins which were warm and comfortable. Just what they needed after spending lots of time outdoors in the lovely Scottish Summer weather! There was also a kitchen cabin where the young people prepared their own breakfast and packed lunches, and this cabin was used to chill in their PJs with a hot chocolate before bed.
All the pupils participated fully in all the activities despite the cold and damp weather. They cooked a meal for themselves outside on the first night and walked over 4 kilometres through the hills the following day. Thankfully the torrential rain forecast passed by and, although not sunny, it was dry. Everyone, especially Al, our D of E Assessor, was pleased with the way the pupils all worked as a team, helping each other over fences and gates, guarding against cows and generally keeping each other going. It was a brilliant trip.
Pupils and staff also enjoyed some outdoor activity around the Lodge, walking the trails and practising their route finding skills using the landmarks we’d seen. The second day saw us treated to a cooked dinner, with breakfast in the Lodge at the end of our stay.
The completion of the expedition, added to the other sections of the Duke of Edinburgh programme –fundraising, volunteering and learning a physical skill – means that all the “Howes Hoose Heroes” have now achieved the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award. Huge congratulations to them all and a special thank you to the PSA staff and Toby from D of E who supported them throughout the training and expeditions.
On Friday 3rd of May our merry band set off from Kingswells to walk back to school, a distance of 6km. We were expecting the weather to be wild and interesting with a touch of hail. As it turned out the weather was more than kind and we had an absolutely fabulous day. The hail did come but only once we were safely back at base with a nice cup of tea! The whole class were amazing, not one grumble, no sore feet and everyone managed to cook themselves a tasty lunch although Barry’s pudding of Mars Bar followed by half a tin of sweetcorn might not be to everyone’s taste! A huge thank you to Toby from Duke of Edinburgh for supporting us and a very huge well done to all the pupils (and staff) in Howes Hoose for their achievement. Next stop Wiston Lodge on the 12th-14th June for the final push towards our Bronze Award.
In Room 16 we have been working on our John Muir Award all year. This focuses on Outdoor Education.
In order to achieve our Bronze Award, we have to do 4 days work in our chosen outdoor space. We chose our playground, as we felt it was a bit bare and it was readily accessible to us.
Our plan was to blur the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Here’s what we’ve done so far:
- Learned about the Scotsman John Muir and his work protecting natural spaces in North America.
- Explored our playground in different seasons and from different perspectives.
- Planted lots of bulbs, seeds and seedlings in science lessons.
- Planted flowers.
- Experimented with flowers in science lessons
- Used natural and recycled materials in craft projects.
- Been for lots of walks in the local community, to the shops, duck pond, parks and outdoor fitness area.
- Fed the birds (ducks, robins and sparrows) at the local duck pond.
- Decorated milk bottle plant pots for house plants in our classroom, which the pupils look after.
- Made a sound sculpture with pots and pans in the playground, for pupils to play with.
- Hung up a large thermometer in the playground for everyone to use.
But we are not quite finished yet. We are in the process of making some more interactive and noisy sculptures for the playground.
We would like everyone to be able to enjoy using the outdoor spaces in school more, so here’s hoping for some dry weather!
In Room 18 we are always out and about! Now that we’re in the Senior Phase of learning we are developing independence and life skills in everything we do. Our day begins with Breakfast Club, our alternative to Circle Time, catching up and chatting about the day ahead. Later we’re out and about doing different things – recycling, work experience around school, shopping and enterprise activities to name but a few.
On Tuesday we were delighted to see our first ever Duke of Edinburgh Award winners receive their Certificates at the Aberdeen City Award Ceremony. These young adults have now all left school however it was a pleasure to catch up with them and see how the confidence gained by completing their Bronze Award has supported them as they have moved on from school life.
We have another group of 6 S5 and S6 pupils working hard to complete their Bronze Award this year, culminating in their Excursion section at Whiston Lodge. They are all making excellent progress with their Skills and Volunteering Sections and enjoying all the practice sessions that will support them to complete their Excursion.
Some of the pupils in room 17 and 18 have been working on a variety of HE units. They have been focusing on cleaning skills and food preparation tasks. We are planning to post some of the recipes that are being used in HE so that they can be used at home.
Howes Hoose have been working on increasing their independence in the kitchen, working on food preparation skills and using electrical equipment safely. They have been using these skills to run their soup making business, with the profits going towards the residential and Duke of Edinburgh trips that they will be attending in the Summer term.