Tag Archive | transition

ePortfolios, Assessment and Transition Issues


Almost a year ago, I wrote a post about a CPD session I attended on Building the Curriculum 5 : A Framework for Assessment while I was on secondment.

At the time, I wrote:

……We looked at how we might put this in to practice and were given a scenario so that we could assess an aspect of Literacy. After some discussion we looked at emerging approaches to assessment .

These come with a ‘warning’ message:

However, in their day-to-day practice, practitioners would not be expected to document the assessment process for all learners in this kind of detail. It will be up to local authorities and establishments to decide how evidence of learning is to be captured, evaluated and used to inform next steps in learning and teaching.”

At the time, I thought that, as it’s just not possible to provide that much detail about each student’s learning without compromising learning and teaching time, might we end up going back to paying lip-service to assessment (PLP’s, Self-assessment, Peer-assessment, etc.)?

I wondered what would happen if students were allowed (encouraged/trusted/guided?) to assess their own learning via ePortfolios?

Now that I’m back in class and have set up (emerging?) ePortfolios using Glow Wikis , I’m keeping an eye out to see how the students in my class are using them. Although the children all set out to record their achievements inside and outside of school – as demonstrated introductory statemements (Anna’s is embedded below), assessing your own learning is more complex.

Yesterday at school, however, I had an interesting conversation with Mason.

We’d been doing some work on decimals and I gave them a small slip of paper home with some examples (not something I would normally do – but the ‘homework’ issue is for another blog post!).

Mason mentioned that his was on his ePortfolio. I was confused at the time, but I was pleasantly surprised when I had a look later to see how he’d used his (boring?) homework and his ePortfolio as a vehicle to self-assess his learning in maths.

I am good at maths and I am especially good at decimals. I just started decimals a couple of days ago and I am finding it really easy to understand.Here is my maths homework from today (5.5.11).


I took this picture with apple’s ipod touch 4th generation. I also enjoy doing adding. Out of adding,subtracting and dividing, adding would have to be my favourite. Fractions are my least favourite.My teacher,mrs.V told me and my class that decimals are easier than fractions.”

Thanks Mason – your ePortfolio post told me lots more about your understanding of decimals (and your ability/liking of photography) than your little slip of paper alone handed in on time would have done 🙂

Although, like Jaye ,I’ve seen blogs and wikis peter out in the past when children move from Primary School to Secondary, I’m hoping that they won’t ‘wither on the vine in Secondary School’ this time as Jaye predicts in her recent comment on here .

My fingers are crossed that the children understand the potential of their ePortfolios and use them ‘just because’ .. just like Mason did 🙂

ePortfolios and Transition Stages

My last post ended with a remark about what the future holds for for our class emerging ePortfolios. I was delighted that Jaye Richards took the time to write an indepth comment to the post shortly after reading it – it was Jaye, after all, who inadvertently led me to the concept of ePortfolios via twitter … and I’ve been sold on the idea ever since 🙂

 I made an attempt to reply to her comment but after reading her follow-up blog post on the subject and her thought-provoking accounts of her own experiences, I decided that another blog post on here was the best way to reply. She got me thinking about the stumbling blocks that have been encountered when children I’ve taught in the past have moved on to High School. I also went on a trip down memory lane this evening and experienced (again) some of the frustrations that Jaye talks about in her post.  I’ll quote from Maryam’s transition blog posts to try to demonstrate what I mean.

  • Towards the end of primary 7 at Carronshore, Maryam wrote on her blog” My favourite thing ever is English. I love reading and writing. They are the only two things that are important too me. I have been writing quite alot of posts about reading and writing, well i just love writing and stuff. …. I can’t wait to get to high school  to ask my English teacher for advice for getting really good ideas. “
  • In this blog post she describes the excitement as her entry to High School looms ever closer: “I can’t believe we have finished primary school already! Its a bit quick. Well we still have a couple of weeks left of school but it doesn’t feel like it. We are finally the oldest in Primary school but now we will be back to the youngest in high school. That’ll be a bit hard. I’m looking forward too all the new lessons there and making new friends and stuff. I just cab’t wait for tommorow.”
  • Maryam is now in 1st year at high school (last term):  “I thought i would go on my blog just for old times sake. High school has been SOOO weird. It’s like i have been there all my life and not been to primary school once, but i have not forgotten primary school, I MISS IT SO MUCH. We have been doing all sorts of stuff and we have had sooo much .. drama? I think that is the word for it. It has been so BIZZARE. I have just chosen my subjects before the easter holidays. It was kind of depressing.”
  •  Her final post on her blog was when she entered 2nd year (she’s already regretting her subject choice) “So yes, it has been almost a month of school and i am in second year. It is alot harder than i thought, well kind of. I did choose the subjects i wanted , [i still regret picking some of them]!”

Maryam’s posts dried up soon after this, but her experience of her transition to High School echo the thoughts in Jaye’s post  when she wrote:

 “my old school is now making children choose their examinable subjects two thirds of the way through S1 !!

If I had my way, they wouldn’t even get ‘distinct’ subjects until S3…”


Anyway – back to my post title! –  ePortfolios and Transition Stages.


I’m hoping that the ePortfolios might succeed where the blogs alone failed. Maybe if the children know that the purpose of them is to demonstrate progress in their learning journey, then the responsibility for the upkeep and the freedom to choose what is included would enhance the feeling of ownership. The wikis seem to accommodate the ‘growth’ aspect more than a blog (even with tagging, etc).

I love the way Kian has already set his pages up for Primary 7 and his transition to High School.  All the children choose their own layout and this one obviously made more sense to him.

I also really like his ‘Life Achievement’ section – others have used this phrase when referring to their ePortfolios. Check out Alyson’s ‘sticky’ post on her Glow Blog 🙂

Click on the loveheart to see my ePortfolio.I have all my achievements  inside and outside school!!!

(All my achievement through out my life) Fingers cross it works!!!

I also really like Andrew’s ePortfolio layout. He felt it was important to include a page with links to his favourite Glow Blog posts:

I have a blog as well as this ePortfolio. Click here to visit it. I am going to put some of my favourite blog posts in this section of my ePortfolio. So use the links in the banners below to view my best blog posts.

 christmas post.gif

 winter report.gif


max in the middle.gif

The children are already asking questions about what will happen to their Glow Blogs and Wikis when they move on to Primary 7 and then on to High School.

Ideally, I’d like to support them for one more year to continue to provide feedback …… but that’s not for me to decide 🙂 

Feedback is a very important ingredient if an ePortfolio is to succeed. It’s mostly oral in Primary, but the wikis have a comment facility that could be used by Secondary staff in S1 and beyond?

Too many questions still unanswered – time to publish 🙂

Glow Blogs and Wikis – A Closer Look

There’s been a lull on here of late because I’ve been taking time to observe what’s been happening with our individual class Glow Blogs  and Glow Wikis. I’m hoping that the process of writing this blog post will everything intp perspective 🙂

Our Individual Blogs

@cpsprimary6v usually update their Glow blogs from home, rather than at school. I think there are two main reasons for this:

  • We have two hours a week in our school computer suite – and the children need to share the 16 machines (it’s a class of 30) – we have been known to beg, steal and borrow it at other times, too, but there are so many exciting things to do there, that there is rarely time to put on blog posts :-). We have a computer in the class, but that’s usually taken up with other things such as AR Reading and Smartboard use
  • From the outset, I made the decision not to dictate how the children used their blogs. I’ve blogged before about the importance of a feeling of ownership if online spaces are to be sustainable. There have been lots of great posts made from home and we always share them in class. This has inspired others to write their own blog posts – and even just reading them out aloud has helped the writers and the listeners to think about how they might improve their writing. One very recent example for me of a feeling of ownership was when Mason chose to share his experience of travelling to Qatar to visit his dad  great 🙂

Our Individual Wikis

The growth of our Glow wikis has been slower. The children understood the blog ‘Online Diary’ concept but building an ePortfolio is much more complex and I’ve been taking a closer look to see what’s happening. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that there has been evidence of:

  • Gathering evidence of Learning and Achievement – For example, Robyn posted her Burns’ poetry comptetition entry and continued to update her Glow wiki from home. Have a look/listen – Robyn’s ePortfolio .

I was also very impressed last week when Andrew  suggested that he could add his thoughts about his love of books to his ePortfolio. He wrote:

“I have always loved reading and I have a card for the local library. At school we do a thing called AR Reading. It’s where you take a test at the start of the year and get given a level. You then choose a book from our school within that level and read it. Once you have read it you take a test about the book on a computer at school. You then print out a sheet showing your result. You have a big jotter where you record what books you have read and score you got on the tests. I am on the highest level for AR Reading, and I enjoy it.”

  • Showing evidence of how learning has progressed – reflecting on learning – Andrew  wrote about his attitude to maths and how he has “.. enjoyed maths from Primary 1 and have always tried hard in it. I find the work I do fun and I learn new things all the time. My favourite thing in math is long multiplication. My mum and dad taught me how to do long multiplication in P4. I can do most things I have been taught in math but there is a few things I could improve on. I mainly struggle on Rotational Symmetry, but I don’t think you will need to know that in life.”

            Charlotte also showed evidence of reflecting when she wrote about how she found it hard to work with someone else on a task – “Well at first we  could not agree on an idea but then we finally came to a compromise that we would combine both our ideas.”

What I’ve learned

I think allowing the children to use their Glow blogs and wikis in this way has provided me with evidence for assessment – I’ve seen a closer ‘snapshot’ of who they are. The children have shown evidence of achievements both inside and outside of school. Anna’s example is typical of an outside school achievement:

…..”We did our floor routine’s first. The judge would judge us on how slowly and neatly our routines were done. After that it was the volt. What I did was run, and then jump on a spring board, then land in squat jump onto the volt and then straight jump off. One of our coaches were compeeting. Then it was the award ceremony. It was team points. I kept saying to Alyson ‘ Were never going to win because we have 2 people and they have 3 or 4 ‘. In the award ceromony it was the 1-3 resuts, then 4-5 and then my one 6-7. I wasn’t even listening when the man called out the results because there was no chance we had one a medal because only the 3rd, 2nd and 1st got a medal. I heard the man say ‘Alyson’. It was then that I relised we had one a bronze medal! …”

… I’m already filling my head with more questions – I wonder what will happen to their ePortfolios in Primary 7 … and the S1 transition period. Hopefully they will survive as it’s the children themselves who are ‘in the driving seat’ 🙂



ePortfolio and Transition Opportunities

 I only have a few ‘secondment’ months left. I’ve really enjoyed the experience and I’ve learned loads from it, too – once I found my feet -:)

Although my remit is to provide ICT support to all stages, it’s been mainly primary schools that have approached me directly. As I come from the primary sector anyway, this didn’t really surprise me. I’ve always been keen, though, to become more involved with high schools. I think this may be because of the interest I have in the transition stages between the two sectors.

I’ve tended to teach children in the upper stages of primary and in the past have set up individual blogs for the children. Although these were well used at the time, they tended to disappear in to the ether when the children moved on to high school

When I wrote a blog post about  ePortfolios, a comment by Ray Tolley helped me understand what had happened to the various online spaces I had set up for children in the past.

Ray commented:

“Perhaps one important point missed so far is about longevity. Having taken the trouble to help pupils build up an e-Portfolio, what happens if there is no ‘portability’ to the Secondary school or beyond? I doubt that promises of ‘interoperability’ will really materialise in the next 10-15 years! I think that it is very important to invest in a system that is future-proofed. I feel that children will get very frustrated if they have to start from scratch all over again when they move on to another school.”

Since then, I’ve been toying around with an eportfolio experiment  and last week the children who are taking part went along to Nethermains Primary school to explain the concept to some peer primary 6s.

Yesterday I asked the Carronshore children if I could record some of their thoughts about their eportfolio experience so far:

Now that I’ve set up the ePortfolios for the P6 group at Nethermains primary, they are really enthusiastic. I’ve also met with their class teacher who seems very willing to take things forward. The children and their teacher are coming along to Carronshore next week so that they can learn some more ‘first hand tips from the original ‘guinea pigs’ 🙂

I’m also really pleased that I’m going along to the local High School tomorrow to meet with some S4 students who are interested in setting up their own eportfolios to reflect on their Art work.

I introduced the concept to the teachers in the Art department recently and just today one of them (Mrs C)  left a comment on the Carronshore Blog :

Hi Carronshore!

Just a quick comment to say well done on creating the fantastic artwork for the exhibition.  I think it looks fantastic and really like the tartan designs.

I teach Art and Design at Larbert HIgh School and we are really keen to start a blog with our Art classes.  I will continue to visit and encourage our pupils to have a look at your wonderful work also!

Keep up the good work!

She also left a comment on a post I’d written on the Carronshore blog about the eportfolio experiment :

 The pupils (and teachers!!) are really looking forward to Mrs Vass visiting us on Friday to hopefully help us set up  ePortfolios with some of our pupils.  I really enjoyed reading that so many pupils at Carronshore enjoy Art and we can’t wait to meet you when you move up to HIgh school!

I’m really looking forward to going along to the High School tomorrow to introduce the S4s to eportfolios – I’ll blog about it 🙂

Secondment Thoughts

Three quarters 

 I’m now three quarters of the way through my secondment as an ICT Curriculum Support Teacher (the title has been changed to ‘support teacher’ from ‘support officer’ recently – I think I prefer the new one). During this second half of the secondment, I’ve felt much more confident addressing adults during CPD sessions. This was one of the biggest challenges in the early days.

Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that I feel more comfortable in this role now is because I have more ownership over the courses and activities on offer. Although I was able to introduce some new CPD courses during the first year of the secondment (almost all of these were a direct result of being introduced to new websites and ideas via twitter, by the way!), many of the courses were inherited. This was mainly due to the timing of the interview, as it was necessary to have some courses in place before a candidate for the post was chosen. In fact, apart from the job of supporting staff in developing their school website and maintaining the Virtual Teacher Centre (both the pupil and the staff side), everything else has been designed by me – and I’ve really appreciated opportunity!

 As well as offering CPD courses on setting up and sustaining class blogs and raising awareness of free online tools to enhance learning and teaching, I’ve been involved in a number of interesting projects. One of these is an on-going pilot project with a group of children in a local primary school. I’ve set up ePortfolios for them, and in February I have a meeting with the Art Department in their feeder High School to discuss the possibility of developing this in to something that might help the primary/secondary transition stage. Hopefully, other departments will get involved as well. It’s very early days, but the eportfolios also have great potential for formative assessment, as well as self and peer assessment opportunities. Difficulties of setting up effective Personal Learning Plans may also be addressed. I do realise that, for this to work properly, it needs to be an Authority wide initiative. A long term strategy is required …. but it’s a start 🙂

Off On A Tangent!

….. just because it’s my blog and I can 🙂

It still amazes me that I’d scarcely heard of a blog until just over three years ago. I’ve written on here before about how I set off on a journey that would change my approach to learning and teaching. The journey also gave me the confidence to allow children to take more of a lead in their own learning. I’ve copied this brief summary from elsewhere on here:

  • First I created a Class Blog so that I could give the pupils an audience for their work
  • Very soon after creating the class blog, I realised that it was important to allow access to the children’s own work so I created a wikispace for the class to post their writing
  • This didn’t work well, because if we all logged on and edited the space at the same time, problems occured (a “someone else is editing this space” message)
  • I later discovered that Wikispaces will set up separate username and passwords for students if you email them the information required
  • Soon I wanted the children to have their own blogs, but still have control over how they were used. I learned that East Lothian could help me set up individual blogs .
  • The next session, I managed to safely set up individual blogs on my own ……  I found out about the ‘Gmail+’ trick. For example, If you have a yourname@gmail.com account, it’s possible to create lots of new blogs using that same e-mail address. You can do this by creating new blogs with a ‘yourname+student1@gmail’ , ‘yourname+student2@gmail’ etc.
  • One advantage is that, although the pupils have admin rights, the teacher can also login to the blogs at any time.
  • Another advantage is that any comments appear in the teacher’s gmail account – even although the children can moderate them, the teacher has a record of what has appeared
  • It’s quite easy to keep track of what is being posted on the children’s blogs by using ‘google reader’, or something similar

One thing I miss while on secondment is the relationships that are built up with children in your own class. So I was delighted, recently, when Anna contacted me on ths blog by leaving a comment on my last post. She’s now in second year at High School, and has decided that she would like to start using her blog again. It was a simple enough task to transfer it over to primaryblogger (where there’s loads of space and a guarantee of no ads). I’m really glad that she wants to do this, and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting one of my favourite blog posts. Anna wrote this in primary 7 (two years go) and it still makes me smile ….. and she kept her promise of writing her ‘thought of the day’ posts regularly. She also inspired others in the class (including me!) to keep their blogs going at the time: 

 “Well basically I’ve decided that I would like to have a future in blogging! I think that blogs are interesting and fun to write things on rather than writing something on paper. My thoughts for today are that blogs are a great way to learn, they are more interesting than doing something on  paper. When I’m older I think that I might do something to do with computers. I’m going to be starting a thing on my blog called thought of the day! Thought of the day is when I write a post about something I have realised, thought or discovered on that day.”

So thanks to Anna’s decision to take up blogging again, she has inspired me (just like before) to write a blog post. It always feels like work at the time, but it certainly helps – me anyway – to stay focussed 🙂 

ePortfolios and Assessment

When I first stumbled upon the idea of using ePortfolios, I wrote that this would be my new recommendation when teachers ask about giving children their own online space. Since then, I’ve spent a few afternoons (3 or maybe 4, I think?) trying to ‘sell’ the idea to to a few Primary 6 stage in Carronshore Primary School. I chose these particular children because I suspected that I’d be welcomed in the school – and I knew that they were already familiar with some of the online tools available to help them tell the story of their learning journey.

I worked with six children (3 girls and 3 boys). During my first visit I tried to explain the advantages of having an ePortfolio. However, researching lots of  published information is one thing – but how do you convey that to 9/10 year olds? After I’d spent some time trying to get the message over in a way I hoped they’d understand, I asked them to go off with one of the school’s mp3 players with a built in microphone and produce a welcome message for their (so far empty wiki shell) ePortfolio. The children were familiar with the voki site and were able to create their characters and then upload their own mp3 file.

Here’s Maryam’s voki – unfortunately voki.com was down at the time of writing this post, but I have a desktop version that I’ve uploaded elsewhere. I’ve learned to be prepared 🙂


 I was satisfied that they had grasped the general idea and during my next few visits we discussed and planned more aspects of the ePortfolios, such as what pages to include and what the content should look like.  But, of course, building an ePortfolio is a long process and we’ve barely scratched the surface …. but it is a start 🙂 I’ll put a page on the Carronshore blog with links to the ePortfolios.

Meanwhile here’s a link to Jaimey’s ePortfolio.


 eport post



 I’m pleased that the Art Department of the local High School are keen to be involved and have asked me along to their next departmental meeting to talk about the experiment. It would be great if the discussion area of the ePortfolios could have input from them (at the moment, it’s just the children themselves – and me).

I was also asked to go along to talk  to the L.A. Assessment Group today. I wasn’t sure what their knowledge was. I made a powerpoint presentation to try to show what I’ve learned about ePortfolios so far. I even tried to ‘wow’ them by uploading it to prezi as well 🙂

Here’s the presentation. I hope they ‘got’ it?

P7 to S1 Transition – Blue Sky Thinking

 Recently I came across a post on the ltscotland glow blog about a transition Glow group success. It was set up to give the primary 7 pupils the opportunity to liaise with the senior pupils at their local High School. I wonder if this is the same Glow group success that was shared at a MIICE conference I attended last session? At that conference, I heard about  Transition projects happening within Glow. As well as the one described here, there were others that linked Primary 7 and S1 pupils via a variety of curricular areas:

  •  S1 pupils read poems to the P7’s in Glow Meet and there was a question and answer session. The  teacher then provided a session on how to write poetry.
  • A High School maths dept. set monthly puzzles for the P7’s. This gave the teachers valuable insight into the levels that the P7’s were working at.
  • A P.E. dept. had a huge amount of questions asked about their subject and it gave them an insight as to how the P7’s were feeling.
  • The English Dept. gave the P7’s the task of writing a hallowe’en story. The feeder primary school children held back until the last minute to post their stories because they didn’t want their ideas to be ‘hijacked’.

Our local Authority has just recently signed up for GLOW, so it’s too early to be thinking about using it as a vehicle to support the changeover from primary to secondary. 

I have, however, been pondering the use of online spaces to aid the transition process in some curricular areas:

  •  The first one is a link between some Primary 6 children and the Art Department at their local High School. It’s hoped that senior pupils will be involved, too.


100_8099               100_8101

 Evelyn is going to showcase the children’s artwork on the blog, and we’re hoping that the primary 6 children will use the class blog and perhaps their online wiki spaces to discuss their artwork. The children in this particular class used these spaces last session with Cassie, their probationer teacher. The aim is to get feedback from High School in the form of comments.







  •  The second idea is to create a link with the same set of pupils and the maths department of the High School. I’m hoping to work with the class teacher,  another teacher who has recently been seconded to promote CfE and numeracy across the curriculum and a teacher from the High School maths department.


I intend to re-invent the Carronshore Maths blog  that I set up a while ago and the associated wikis. The Carronshore maths blog isn’t an edublogs supporter blog, though, so I’ll be moving it to primaryblogger to get rid of any adverts ….. and to get access to akismet spam blocker …. and get lots more space, too 🙂








I’ve made a ‘help slideshow’ of how to export blog data from edublogs to primaryblogger – it might be of help to someone …

View more presentations from carronshore.

Online Spaces – Portability and Longevity

online spaces

In a previous post a comment by Ray Tolley got me thinking about what happened to the various online spaces I had set up for Primary 7 stage children in the past.

Ray commented:

“Perhaps one important point missed so far is about longevity. Having taken the trouble to help pupils build up an e-Portfolio, what happens if there is no ‘portability’ to the Secondary school or beyond? I doubt that promises of ‘interoperability’ will really materialise in the next 10-15 years! I think that it is very important to invest in a system that is future-proofed. I feel that children will get very frustrated if they have to start from scratch all over again when they move on to another school.”

I’ve been revisiting some of the spaces I set up and contemplating primary/secondary ‘portability‘ and ‘longevity‘ issues mentioned in Ray’s comment. Stories of some missed opportunities are outlined below:

  • Portability Issue 1 – Jamie’s Story

Jamie was typical of most of the boys in the class that year. They seemed less motivated than the girls when it came to imaginative writing tasks. When they were given their own space in a wiki, however, and allowed some freedom as to the subject matter, Jamie demonstrated that he was actually very capable of writing a great imaginative story. I’ve copied some of his story here:

His face shone dark in the moonlight, while his coat lay torn slowly floating in between the reeds. His shirt was dirty and wet. The dark waters that lay behind him gave him the appearance of a demon or a dark shadowy creature moving in the night. His sheath was well padded and worn away because of constant usage, it had three diamonds encrusted in it. It had a gold rim and a thin copper lining wrapped around it. This lay on his back but it never wieghed him down as it was as light as a feather. He had black boots on and they were half-covered by his camouflage trousers.
He walked on at a normal pace when he heard a purring noise, after a while he ignored it and carried on his stroll. He heard it again. He was watching a certain bush knowing that there was a creature behind it because of all the wierd purring noises. the world stayed as still as a stick insect as they lay eyes on eachother there was more rustling then the beast came out, a tiger that was as orange as sunset heading speedily at Kai. In reaction Kai drew his sword from his sheath and took a deep slash at the tiger’s leftpaw then stabbed it twice roundabout the same place the tiger had gave in to the pain and there it lay dead……

Everyone in the class was full of praise for his effort. It turned out that he liked a particular type of story and had read lots of them. He also enjoyed writing them in a notebook that he carried around. His Laughing in the Face of Death story started a craze and soon the boys in the class began carrying their own notebooks where they wrote similar styles of stories. I remember hearing them comparing stories, as well as seeking and giving advice.

Soon after Jamie’s story appeared on his wiki, we had a visit from two High School teachers from the English Dept. I’m not sure of the original purpose of  their visit but at some point our HT had asked some of the pupils to share the class wikispace with them. They were impressed with Jamie’s attempt at story writing and had also heard about our primary stage ‘two stars and a wish’ assessment strategy and had left a comment for Jamie on his wiki space:

Star 1 ~ Fabulous use of imagery
Star 2 ~ Fantastic description
Wish ~ Develop the use of personification

… but that was the end of the High School teachers’ involvement. They had no idea of the ‘behind the scenes’  information I was privy to. On reflection, it would have been great if more had been made of that opportunity to bridge the gap between Primary 7 and S1.

  • Portability Issue 2 – High School Induction Days

In June each year, the Primary 7 pupils from our cluster spend three days getting to know their new High School. This is great for helping the transition to s1, and the children’s blog posts about their experience gave further insight into how they coped with adjusting to their new environment.

Lisa appeared to have no reservations at all! She wrote:

“I loved Larbert High, it has been one of my  best experiences. I made a lot of cool new friends……”

Tessie, however, wrote about her confusion over the lunchtime arrangements:

“….after that it was lunchtime. a confusing nightmare. we had to line up and put money on our card which was easy. but then we went to the hub *dinner hall* and we got told to get a drink. easy. but then if you went and said can i have a burger please she would say something about do you have a meal deal drink. and i was like what??? it was weird.”

Maryam was anxious from the outset:

“I was shaking in the back seat. My Mum gave me £2.50 for my dinner money. Then when we eventually got there I stepped out the car not knowing which way too go then I saw some other people walking by that were in my class so I just followed them.”

Last year on the three day visit, I gave the primary 7 pupils some of our mp3 players with built in microphones (they had been used to using these in class) and they interviewed some of the teachers and ‘buddies’. We shared these interviews once the children had came back from their visit. I’ve included one of them here – I have permission from all involved to share this online:


I wonder what potential blogging has for smoothing out the primary/secondary transition journey?

  • Longevity Issue 1 – Marc’s Blog

 Of all the primary 7 pupils, Marc was the most successful in keeping his blog going as he moved on to High School. In fact, in April 2008 he received a comment from David Gilmour:

David commented:

“Hi Marc, this is just to let you know that last month, April 08, your home page was the second most popular entry page on edubuzz.org, with 2571 visits.”
Marc obviously enjoyed his blog that had been set up for him in Primary 7, and he continued writing posts until Second Year at High School. His main love was for drama/singing/dancing (and probably still is!). He began receiving comments containing words of encouragement from like-minded people … comments such as:

“Hi Marc, i’m the drama teacher at Knox Academy, just wanted to wow and well done for doing your own theatre company, it’s very hard work but liking your name and what you are doing! keep me posted in your future projects! break a leg!”

… and:

Hi Marc – can you give me the details of the Flannan Isle play that you are doing. I will be doing a project with my class based on the mystery of the Flannan Isle and would be interested to know where I could get a copy of the play. Thanks

and …

I’m glad you like Wicked! one of my favourite musicals! if you haven’t seen it yet you must! i seen Idina and Kerry and now booking to see the new Elphaba. We just took S2 and S3 students to see it in London

These comments were from Drama teachers – not from Marc’s own school, but from schools in another Local Authority. Despite the popularity of Marc’s blog, no-one in his own school ever commented (and the chances are that no teachers there were even aware that he had his own blog). It’s been a wee while now since Marc last updated his blog, but it is worth mentioning that he regularly posted to it for two years after he left primary School.

  • Longevity Issue 2 – Kayleigh’s New Home

Marc wasn’t the only one that year who continued to post to his blog after he’d moved on to high School. A handful of others posted during their first year of High School. Danni was one of these … and it was amazing to see a comment on her last blog post from Kayleigh.

Gi Day Danni
sorry it’s a long time since i spoke last. Iv’e just been so busy at school. I came 4th in the school cross country and 18th in the interschool cross country leauge out of a 110 people the lap was about 3km. They after that we had our faction sports carival (there like the houses we used to have) am in beard which is blue. these are the individal avents i took part in : 100m sprit i came 3rd out of the 8 people i raised ,i came 4th in the 200m out of 8 people, i came 3rd in long jump my longest jump was 3.29m and the last of the these events was the 400m i came 4th out of 8 people. After that we went onto team avents this is what they were: my team got second in leaderball, we came 3rd in flag relay, tunnelball,zigzag realy and shuttle relay But sadly we came last in passball. I have done other this as well i will tell you about them some other time
have a good on
from your friend kayleigh

The comment was from Kayleigh, who’d left Carronshore half way through primary 7 to go and live in Australia. It was just fantastic to read her blog post to say that she’d arrived safely and was settling in to her new life ‘down under’. It was also wonderful that there were 15 comments on that post in reply. These included comments from:

  •  friends in her old Carronshore school
  • virtual friends she’d met via her Carronshore blog who live in another part of Australia
  • classroom assistants from carronshore
  • teachers from Carronshore
  • the HT from Carronshore!
  • a member of staff from another authority in Scotland

You can read Kayleigh’s post and comments here

Longevity and portability Issues  – Troubles with edublogs

The blog posts from the next group of Primary 7 bloggers didn’t have as much success when it came to either ‘portability’ or ‘longevity’ issues. Unfortunately just as these primary 7’s left primary school, edublogs began to have problems with bloggers logging on to their blogs. Passwords had stopped working and I looked for help on the edublogs forum – I discovered that others were also having difficulties accessing blogs.

I asked for advice:

I’m also very concerned that all the blogs I set up last session for my class now can’t be accessed by them. They were all added as users (admin status) but have now moved on to High School. If they try to log in, will they not gain access? Although I still monitor their blogs, I’ve no easy way of showing them a way around this new problem. Their blogs can be found at http://mvass.edublogs.org/examples-of-pupil-blogs/

Luke replied that I should ask the pupils to reset their own passwords … not straight forward in my case because I’d set up the blogs in such a way that I had given the pupils control over their own passwords … equal admin rights.

Hi Luke,

The students have their own blogs (set up with the gmail hack). I can reset their passwords because I know their usernames, but can’t then change the new passwords back to their own on because I don’t know what this was.

They’ve all moved on to High School now so i can’t even ask them!!

The blogs were set up in August 2007. I know that some used them just recently.

Because of the gmail hack set up I can access them with my own username and password as I also have admin rights to each of their blogs, but that doesn’t help them to gain access

The reply was:

Quite a sticky situation there. You could maybe add a contact form/note on your blog, asking students who can’t log in to contact you. You can then give them the new password. Other than that, maybe James might have a better idea.

This problem led to a lot of the primary 7’s being confused as to why they couldn’t access their blogs. I know this was happening because I was receiving ‘change password’ email requests – but I’d no way of getting the new passwords to the ‘High School’ pupils.

Ok, that was hard work writing this and it’s time to press the  publish button – but I’m thinking that there might be a way forward with some of these ‘portability’ and ‘longevity’ issues  ….. watch this space 🙂