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.




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!


Secondary Update

School closure activities for Room 15 – Week Four

Thanks to Amanda for sharing her activities this week! Below are some ideas for families wanting to do “school” activities with their children – if any of these ideas look good to you, give them a go! Equally, if this isn’t what your child is needing just now please don’t put pressure on yourself or them to complete this. It’s also great to take more time on a previous week’s activities if your child is benefiting from those. Let me know if you have any particular learning requests for future weeks.

This week has LOTS of ideas – please don’t worry about fitting everything in, please do what works for you and your child.

Literacy – Theme park

This is an activity we do in class to work on communication skills without even realising it! You’ll need our theme park PowerPoint ( – please download for best use) and you might want to add to the experience with props at home – maybe a water spray for the water slide, use a garden swing for the pirate ship, you could even create your own rides – bubble boat ride? You choose! A wee video with how to do this activity is here How does this build communication skills? We can talk about:

· I like it!

· I don’t like it!

· Scary! / I’m scared!

· Exciting! / I’m excited!

· Faster!

· Slow down!

· Help!!!

· Let’s do it again! / Do it again?

· Do something different?

· More?

· What’s next?

· You choose a ride.

· Oops! You’re wet!

· Finished?

And many more!

Please remember that as we model with our child’s communication device (e.g. PODD, PIXON, TouchChat) that the device should not be taken away from the child.


Numeracy and mathematics – Applying money skills

For those who have been learning to recognise a coin, we’re going to apply that skill in two ways this week.

First – sorting. You’ll need two places to sort coins into, it might be two boxes, it might be two sheets of paper on a table or the floor, or it might be two cereal bowls – absolutely anything! More confident learners might work with lots of different coins, those building their confidence might work with two different coins to sort. Ask your child to sort the coins – the one they have been learning to recognise into one container, the other coin(s) into the other – you will probably need to show them what to do the first few times. Some learners who are not yet working at the level of recognising a coin might still choose to do this activity looking at “same” and “different”.

Second – add coin skills to the theme park activity (see literacy, above). Each ride costs the coin your child has been learning to recognise. Provide your child with a container (purse, food tub, envelope, anything!) with several coins. If your child has become very confident with recognising a coin you could put lots of different coins into the container, if your child is still learning to recognise their coin then perhaps just a few of the coin they are learning to recognise and a few of a very different looking coin. Ask your child to find the coin they are working on each time they want to access a theme park “ride”. If you’re wanting to expand this, you could have items for sale at the theme park – snacks, bubbles, light up toys – or you could add additional rides (there are some great videos online, just check them first so you know what to expect and there isn’t anything too scary!).

Alternative option (for learners not using coins): Let’s build a tower

Use any items you have at home for this – they don’t have to be building blocks! Using different items helps us to understand shapes and their properties – brick shapes are useful for towers, balls are not! We might count how many bricks we have, we might focus only on communicating “more” or “all gone” when it falls down.


Health and wellbeing – body parts & self-care

Body parts – will take you to some of the songs we use to practice finding body parts. Can you find the body parts mentioned in the song? Can you use your communication system to label body parts?

Self-care – What makes you happy? During a stressful time such as this, it’s even more important that we look after ourselves. Can we share with others what we would like to do? Can we communicate how we feel afterwards?

For physical movement this week, you might want to try some yoga ( – this one continues our theme park theme for this week).


Social studies – weather record or job role play

Weather – we looked at the weather in weeks one and two – let’s link it to our work on the season by keeping a note of the weather for a longer period (it can be more than a week if you’d like) to help us build our understanding of a season as a longer unit of time. You might record the weather with symbols, sensory resources (e.g. smooth / shiny materials for sunny, cotton wool clouds, sponge for rain, folded paper fan for wind) or with photographs of yourself in the different weathers. A simple chart and symbols can be found here: Can you use your communication device to share what the weather is today? Where is the sun? How long is the sun in the sky for?

Job role play – as part of our ASDAN work we have explored lots of different jobs through role play. I’m sharing with families some resources for role-playing a dentist, but you might prefer to role play a job that a friend or family member does (or has done in the past). Some learners will be learning what a dentist does, others might explore sensory resources such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash (if they won’t swallow it!), or mirrors to look at their teeth. Through this we get to experience different roles people in our communities have and how they can help us. Resources: dentist PowerPoint (download for best use) here: and Makaton signs about the dentist here:


Technology – cooking!

It’s been a while since we did any food technology, so this week I’m sharing a few ideas for easy recipes to try at home. These are symbol supported recipes – no quantities are mentioned, just the

actions, but I promise you can’t go too wrong! Your child might focus on one part of this activity – perhaps washing their hands, perhaps wearing an apron, perhaps mixing skills or knife skills, perhaps safety. If your child will get more from the activity by focussing on one element, please do spend time on that!

(I’m sharing several recipes so you can choose (or your child can choose) which one looks best, you don’t have to do all of them!)

Recipes: Coleslaw: Guacamole: Strawberry smoothie: Vegetable wedges:


Science – spring “treasure” hunt

Can you find each item from the worksheet ( )? For any you might not be able to find in or around your homes, fear not – I’ve put together a document with pictures of each item ( ). Equally you might have toy animals at home or perhaps you could use your art work this week?


Sensory play – flower ice

Freeze some flowers in ice and enjoy melting the ice together to get to the flowers and splashing in the water once the ice has melted!


Expressive Arts

Can you sing / sign along to “Bring Me Sunshine”? Can you dance along? Can you add your own music?

Spring art – can you choose one of the projects on the worksheet ( to try at home? (If you don’t have any paints at home, you might want to try an online recipe for making your own, or you can leave this option out)



Ramadan has recently started, so let’s explore things with links to Ramadan.

An interactive colouring activity can be found by logging in to TwinklGo ( ) and using the code PU7192.

Muslims often break their fast by eating dates – can you try a date (or other dried fruit such as raisins if you don’t have dates). Do you like it? Can you share the fruit out to your family?

(Note for health needs – dates are very healthy in many ways, but for anyone watching blood sugar you might want to check how dates fit into your diet plan!)


Sensory Story

In other news, one of our pupils has been having fun at home with his brother, making Sensory Stories. Here is one that they have given permission for us to share:

It’s lovely to see how creative everyone is being and the different ways we’re finding to pass time and have fun!