Secondary Assembly: 14th January

Tomorrow (14th January) we will be having our first Secondary Assembly of the New Year. Our assemblies have been virtual since our return after the initial lockdown due to having to restrict the numbers for gatherings and our young people have responded well to this.

Tomorrow we would like to invite both our remote learners and those staff and pupils in school to join us. If you have not yet signed up, please do so by accepting the invitation sent via Google Classroom. If you are having any issue, please contact the Class Teacher for further support.

The link will go ‘live’ in Assembly Classroom a few minutes before we start. I hope you can come along!

Countdown To Christmas

Orchard Brae Advent Calendar: Days 19 and 20

We hope that you are enjoying the Orchard Brae Advent Calendar and that today’s festive features get you into the spirit for a fun filled Christmas.

For Day 19, Ashgrove Nursery PM are delighted to share their wonderful Nativity outfits along with ‘Little Donkey’.

For Day 20, Room 15 bring you their own unique version of ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’.

It’s beginning to look like Christmas in Room 15!

Room 15 has been incorporating lots of festive activities recently (we definitely broke the no Christmas stuff before 1st December rule!).

We have spent a lot of time working on our expressive arts Christmas video, applying our communication, musical and dramatic skills (and having lots of fun).  Our class elf helped us to talk about “snow”!  We’ve finished the video this week and have really enjoyed watching it (on repeat, by popular demand!) and can’t wait to share it with you later this month.

This week we explored the ASDAN to decide how we want to decorate a room by creating our own Christmas tree – we each chose which decorations we wanted to add and glued them onto the tree, and it now adorns our classroom wall making the room feel a bit more festive!  Our story this week has been Stick Man, and we made our own Stick Man from playground resources as part of our outdoor education sessions.

Our Attention Autism sessions this week have also had a Christmas theme – the dancing Christmas tree has been a firm favourite, and it has been fabulous to see the engagement and spontaneous communication this has motivated our learners to share – “more”!  Our stage 4 activity today is making our Christmas cards.

Alongside lots of fun we equip our learners to better understand events around them and be able to communicate about them.  We have also continued to use the “special activity” symbol to continue to build our resilience to changes in routine, which can be many at this time of year.

As our next website post will be after the holidays, the team in Room 15 want to pass on our best wishes for a happy, safe and restful break to all – Merry Christmas!

Special Activity Exploration in Room 15

One of the learning aims we are exploring this term is building our resilience to changes in routine – this time of year has plenty of them! – as we use the symbol for “special activity” to reassure our learners that the changes are planned and can be something to look forward to.

We had a celebration of our class achievements at the end of term, with each of our learners choosing photographs to go into a presentation of what they have done.  Everyone took home a certificate and some of our learners were very proud of theirs!  A special mention must also go out to our class member who won the secondary department star of the month for her fabulous signing – well done!

Since returning from the October holidays we have been as busy as ever!

We have worked hard on our ASDANs, exploring team work and group work skills.  We worked in teams to build towers, and created a beautiful Halloween collaborative art project.  We had lots of fun decorating our pumpkin for Halloween as well as Halloween themed bucket time activities.

This week we have had lots of firework related activities – we made cheese straw bonfires in home economics, focused for lots of fireworks activities for bucket time, a cola mentos firework for our ASDAN science (causing a change) and for outdoor education we went out to search for sticks to build our own bonfire before watching fireworks.  As we build our familiarity with seasonal events we also build our resilience to routine variations and our capacity to communicate about them.

We’re looking forward to lots more “special activity” events this term!

Work Hard, Play Hard in Room 15

Room 15 have had an extremely busy first few weeks back at school, working hard on our communication skills throughout the day and skills for regulation as well as jumping into our ASDANs for this year. At the start of the year we had a mini project to pop together a wee video for our former drama specialist Sam, and we’re very proud of the finished result!  You can find the video here:

Our ASDANs have focused on the positive relationships we have at school and beyond.  At the start of term we explored who is in our class and being able to recognise them and communicating our relationship with them – friend or teacher.  We’ve revisited communicating how we feel, and this year we have begun to explore recognising emotions using zones of regulation as well as character portrayals from the film “Inside Out” (and some fabulous acting from the staff team!).  We’ve explored what a good friend is through role play, and it has been wonderful to hear some of our learners applying this outside of school too.  We’ve explored what rules we have in school and matched signs around the building to our own pictures, then practiced following these rules around the school.  We’ve shared messages with our own in-class mail system.

The secret to Room 15 though is how much work we sneak in pretending to be play!  We’ve been building our focused and shared attention skills as well as spontaneous communication with bucket time, and we’ve had bubble machines, talking birds, a flying snitch and skateboarding dogs emerge from the bucket so far this term!  We’ve revisited our road safety skills practicing crossing the road as independently as possible.  In role play sessions we’ve pretended we’re at the fairground and the theme park, using our communication systems to share our experiences.  We’ve used daily group games to enhance our communication and team-work skills as well as showing fantastic progress with several numeracy skills (one of our learners has learned to say a new number, another is telling time to the hour with minimal prompting).

Well done Class 15! 

Secondary Update: Wk Beg 29th June 2020

Welcome to the final week of term! We enjoyed the sunshine last week, perfect for our Virtual Sports Day activities, and there was lots of fun had by everyone that participated. We also had a range of activities ongoing through our Google Classrooms with remote learning taking place across the classes. If you’ve not yet engaged with Google Classroom but would like more information please contact the Class Teacher. Here are some of the fun activities from the last week.

 

Literacy

One of our classes read the story of the Rainbow Fish and produced some art work in response to the story.

 

Some other pupils have been reading the Picture News each week and completing a range of literacy activities connected with it. This week, the focus was on Zoos. One of our young people designed her own zoo. She also did some research into Sea Turtles and learned lots of interesting facts.

As we move into the summer holidays it would be good to see reading continue. Did you see the post on Friday about the Reading Challenge from Aberdeen City Libraries? It would be great to get involved with, either individually or as a family. Have a look for more information:

Aberdeen Reads: Join the Summer Reading Challenge

 

Science

It was hot last week and we had some appropriately timed Science activities in one of our classes. We painted with ice cubes!

 

Life Skills

We continued our Home Economics. One class made a Caterpillar Salad to practise using a knife for cutting.

Homemade ice lollies were also on the menu, perfect for the sunny days that we had!

If you’d like to try making your own lollies, have a go by following one of these recipes: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cnKNWjgH06Q8oRPPCOjZZIeXNxeNp_Vx/view?usp=sharing

We also continued our Life Skills around the home. It’s great to see so many young people becoming so independent!

 

Transitions

Looking ahead, we’ve been putting plans in place for transition of pupils to their new classes, staff sharing information with one another in virtual meetings where pupils are moving on. It may be that there are things about your child that have changed during the time at home. We’d be really grateful if you would share this with us – information such as any changes in likes or dislikes, motivators, sensory needs, communication or diet. These will be passed on to the new teachers.

Aberdeen Reads: Join the Summer Reading Challenge

Aberdeen City Libraries have announced an exciting new reading challenge for the summer. Starting tomorrow (27th June) and running until 29th August, everyone is welcome to register as an individual or family / group. Register for the challenge online: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=aw-pJD2_E02ip4k2nOs16xSlCSTRm75Nn6t-EpSexzdUN0kySlJWRlpJUEdRSEdZUlhLRTczUDZDTSQlQCN0PWcu

There are 9 reading related challenges and you can choose those that appeal. Full details of all the challenges are on the Aberdeen Reads website:

Click to access Aberdeen%20Reads%20final%20form.pdf

 

There is something for everyone!

 

Some ideas of how you might use the challenge are:

 

Places

Read some of your favourite stories that are set in other countries (real or imaginary). Two of my personal favourites are:

Where The Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak), a lovely picture book for younger readers, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (C S Lewis) for older readers.

 

Get Creative

Across the school we’ve seen lovely photos of our children and young people engaging in Life Skills and Arts & Crafts during our period of remote learning. Why not challenge yourself to bake or cook something new? You might find a no-cook recipe that will encourage even greater independence. Try a new craft project and make something useful, or use some of your old junk to create something inspired by a book. Lots of exciting crafty projects can be done using recycled materials and this helps our environment.

 

Ec0-Friendly

Use recycled materials to create a favourite character or a scene from one of your books. One young man from Room 14 did this previously, creating his favourite scene from Harry Potter.

 

Cover Versions

Some of our Secondary pupils enjoy the Harry Potter books. These are magical stories to escape into and are very enjoyable to read aloud. Why not compare the film and the book to find out which you like best? Horrid Henry is always a favourite and episodes can be watched on TV. Do you like the TV episode or the story best? Popular with many of our younger pupils is Disney Cars or any other Disney movie. Again, see what you like best – the film or the book. There are also lots of E-comics on the library website, including Disney.

 

Favourite Place

Try reading in different places and find out what your favourite place to read is. I like to read in the garden, particularly on a fine day.

 

Let us know how you get on and feel free to share with your teachers the stories that you have enjoyed.

 

 

 

Secondary Update: Wk Beg. 22nd June 2020

We had a very successful start to the use of our Google Classrooms last week with a large number of pupils getting involved and lots of positive feedback. Some of our Senior classes have very much enjoyed catching up on Google Meets and it’s been lovely for our staff to see you all ‘in person’ and chat with you as we’re all missing the social contact and communication that is such an integral part of what we do at Orchard Brae.

This week is our Virtual Sports Day for the whole school. Running for the whole week there are a range of activities for us to join in with and everyone is welcome to join in the fun. Please do share your photographs through the Virtual Sports Day ‘classroom’. Everyone that has signed up to Google will have an invitation waiting in their Gmail account if you’ve not already signed up to participate.

Over the last week we’ve engaged in a range of activities across the Department.

 

A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea

Barefoot Books are a favourite of many Orchard Brae pupils. Room 12 chose to base their learning around the Barefoot Book, ‘There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea’. Pupils enjoyed listening to the song and produced some amazing art work in response. It was lovely to hear how focused this young man was and how well he concentrated in order to hold his paintbrush and work on his pictures.

Here is the song if anyone wishes to watch and listen:

 

 

Life Skills

This week we tried making fruit smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to use up any extra fruit. We also made Father’s Day biscuits. I think one Dad is in for a very special treat. These look delicious!

 

 

Enjoying the Outdoors

It’s great to get outdoors and to see the sunshine. We have been exploring a range of outdoor spaces around our local areas. Have you managed to get out and about?

 

We hope you all have a good week. Keep the photos coming and have fun with our Sports Day activities!

Online Learning Survey

We’ve now been learning remotely for more weeks than we care to remember! This week is particularly exciting with the launch of our Google Classrooms (GSuite) and it’s great to see so many families getting involved with this.

As always, our aim is to support our children and young people as best we can, and we have a Leadership Group working together to focus on how do this as we move towards ‘blending learning’ from August. In order to support their work we’d really appreciate your thoughts on what we have offered so far, any issues or difficulties you’ve experienced, and what you would like to see as we move forward.

All feedback is welcome so please take a few minutes to share your views if you have not already done so. Thank you.

https://forms.gle/oparbBDTDzYbex8Z7