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.



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



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:

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



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:

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:



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.



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.


Secondary Department: Wk Beg 15th June

It’s been another busy week for our learners at home and once again we’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of what you’ve been doing. It’s lovely to hear that among the challenges we’re also having fun with our families and enjoying activity together, such as the Joe Wickes PE sessions. I wonder how many of us (adults) will come emerge from this fitter than when we started.

Now that our Google Classrooms are up and running it will hopefully be easier for you to share your learning experiences. If you would like to be on the website please share let us know when you share photographs with the teachers.

Here are a few snippets of what’s being going on over the last week.



We enjoy investigating and you’re never too old to learn through ‘play’. We made our own lava lamp and there have been experiments with colour – isn’t it amazing what you can do with Skittles? We have also made our own slime and dough.

If you’d like to try making your own ‘slime’, give this recipe a go and let us know how you get on:


Life Skills

Our work on life skills has continued at home and again it has been very heartening to hear how you’re getting on. Helping with making beds, hoovering, doing the dishes and supporting with meal preparation benefits the whole family.

We’ve enjoyed baking (honey biscuits) and have made fruit kebabs.

Let us know what you’ve done to help out at home this week. Have a good week whatever you do!



Secondary Update: Wk Beg 8th June

We’ve had some lovely days over the last week and it’s been good to see many of you enjoying your time outdoors. Please keep sharing your photographs with us by sending them to your Class Teachers Gmail accounts.

Learning Outdoors

A walk in the woods is good for our mental health and wellbeing, enjoying the peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of life in the city. It’s amazing what you can find!

The fine weather has also been great for gardeners and one thing many people celebrated this week was the reopening of our local garden centres.



Home learning can be lots of fun. What do you like doing best? This pupil loves science!


Life Skills

Our Howes Hoose pupils are continuing to spread their wings and show how much they’ve learned over their time in Orchard Brae. How happy does this young man look as he sets the table for a meal and cooks for himself!


We hope you all have a good week and look forward to seeing and hearing what you’ve been doing.

Secondary Update: Week Ending 29th May

Thanks to everyone that has shared photographs of their remote learning this week. It gives us all joy to see your photographs or hear how you’re getting on. We hope that you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sunshine. It looks like it’s going to be very warm so remember your suncream or protective clothing if you’re advantage of another spell of fine weather.

This week you’ve all been very busy! Here are some of the photos that have been shared …

Life Skills

Pupils from Howes Hoose have continued working on their life skills both indoors and out. It makes us very happy to see how you’re transferring your skills and becoming very independent at home.



One of our Room 14 pupils made a ladybird using playdough and a rock he found when out on a walk.

He also recreated his favourite scene from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This took a lot of time, making paper mache rocks and a spider’s body, and then painting the box to hold the scene. I’m sure you’ll agree it looks amazing!


Family Time

I know from staff as well as pupils that it can be tough just now trying to find creative ways to keep the family entertained. Please always remember that we’re all doing the best that we can! One family in particular have been going to great lengths to entertain themselves and even features on a TV series of Lockdown Diaries.



Our PE colleagues have shared some links for fitness videos you can try at home. Why not give them a go as a family? The feedback from one of our young people was that the whole family enjoyed lots of fun and laughter as a result.


Thank You!

Finally, thank you to Mortey and Sam from Aberdeen Bon Accord Rotary Club. They visited school this week, having been in contact to arrange a way of accessing the grounds to avoid being in contact with anyone, and very kindly cut our grass. It had been growing very long during the period of lockdown. This is very much appreciated by us all.





Google Classroom Survey

Thank you to everyone that has completed our Google Classroom survey for their child to date. If you have not already done so, we would be grateful if you would complete the form on Survey Monkey. This is to ensure that you have access to the necessary IT to enable your child to access it. Please click on the link below:

Please note this applies to Primary and Secondary pupils only.

Remote Learning in the Secondary Department

While we very much miss seeing our young people in person, it’s lovely to receive your e-mail updates sharing the learning that you’re doing in or around your homes. We hope you’re benefiting from the learning ideas our teachers are sending out. Please remember to let us know what’s going down well (or not) and if there’s anything you’d like more of. We’ll do our best to accommodate your individual needs.


Life Skills

Life skills is a big focus in the secondary curriculum and young people are encouraged to be as independent as possible. It’s great to hear that this is carrying on at home with support being offered in day-to-day activities around the home.


Leisure Time

Learning is important, but equally so is leisure and relaxation. Although we’re all adjusting to things, these are challenging times and it’s important for everyone in the family to take time to relax in whatever suits. Our mental health and wellbeing is very important at all times, but particularly just now.



Clap for Carers

Some of us have joined our families and neighbours in clapping and making lots of noise to show support for all the carers and keyworkers who continue to work in our hospitals and communities just now.


Enjoying the Outdoors

Naomi sent home a recipe for Dandelion Honey a couple of weeks ago. Dandelions can be the bane of your life if you’re a gardener, but this may let you see them in a different light. Give it a go and let us know how you get on!


Looking After Myself

It’s important to look after ourselves. Tempting as it is to stay in your PJs as there’s nothing to get dressed for, getting up, showered and dressed can make you feel so much better about things if you’re having a down day. It’s good to see our young people from Howes Hoose continuing to take pride in their appearance. We’re also taking care of our physical health and continuing our physiotherapy and MOVE work at home.


Have a good week and please share your photos with us (via our GMail accounts) if you’d like to feature on the website. I’m sure your friends would love to see you!


Secondary Update

We hope that you’re all doing well and surviving life in ‘lockdown’. Thank you for sending us updates from home and replying to our e-mails. We do enjoy hearing from you and are always happy to have feedback on what activities young people are enjoying at home in order that we can provide suitable resources and activities. Please remember that we’re here to support you and welcome contact; everyone is missing school!

Some of our families have been sharing some lovely photos from home. If you’d like us to share photographs on the website please let us know. These should be sent to your child’s class teacher via their G-Mail account.


The following website is worth a look as there are lots of fun sites for online learning and activity:

Keep in touch!