ELP Burns Blog report by Ben and David…

The ELPs have been finding out about Robert Burns.

Robert Burns was born in 1759 on January 25th. He is Scotland’s most famous poet. He wrote famous poems such as “To a mouse” and “My love is like a red red rose”. His most famous song is “Auld Lang Syne” which is sung at New Year.

Here is a link to a short film about Burns. It only takes 3 minutes to watch so why not spend a little time learning something new about our most famous poet?


Ben and David

Working with dinosaurs…The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle

As part of our One Scotland look at the Lost World, written by Edinburgh author Arthur Conan Doyle, we will be taking aspects of this piece of work into a number of different subject areas.

Primarily we will be reading an abridged, differentiated version of the book courtesy of the UNESCO City of Literature 2009 – Edinburgh! Practising our reading skills will be an important part of this project.

In Science we will be looking at dinosaurs from a scientific point of view – investigating what scientists think they know about the lives of dinosaurs, where they lived, what they ate and how they perhaps disappeared from the planet. We will be looking at modern day survivors of the Jurassic era – how has the crocodile managed to hang around for so long, when other animals have gone?

In Gardening we will be finding out from the Botanic Gardens and other useful sources of information what sort of plants might have been growing when the dinosaurs roamed the planet. We can use this information to help us plan our own model of The Lost World. We want to make sure the greenery we use is appropriate to the time.

In Social Studies we will be looking more closely at the history of the dinosaur – the timelines some scientists have given to the various animals based on the fossilised remains that archeologists have found. We will become detectives in working out our own history of the dinosaur!

With Miss Strachan we will look more closely at the work of Arthur Conan Doyle – becoming detectives again, like his famous sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. We hope to visit some of the landmarks in Edinburgh where he was born, lived, studied or worked.

As part of our preparations for all of this work we have been undertaking research using books,experts, ICT and media broadcasts.

Mr McKay unwittingly became something of an “eye witness” for our pupils when he wandered into a history lesson this week. Asked by the children what he knew about dinosaurs, Mr McKay impressed us with tales of how dinosaurs lay and tend their eggs – explaining how baby dino gender is determined by egg temperature. Later on the same day the pupils could be heard innocently telling another member of staff that Mr McKay had been around with the dinosaurs…

We have sourced a number of fabulous items including the following link to a BBCi player programme first broadcast on February 19th. Please be aware there are time limits on accessing it. It would be fantastic if the children were to have the opportunity to watch this programme for themselves in the relaxation of their own homes. It is part of the Little Howard’s Big Questions series. The programme is called Could Dinosaurs Ever Come Back?


We hope that you all enjoy it.


Bards and tatties…

The area of Scotland known as Ayrshire is shown on the map above.

This week it is relevant across the nation – as we celebrate the birth of the National Bard, Robert Burns. Born in Alloway in Ayrshire on January 25th 1759, Burns grew up in hardship, working as a boy on the local farmland. His father was a “tenant farmer” (meaning he worked the land but did not own it) and the many children in the Burns family grew up not going to school as we know it but working hard in the fields. Much of his early teaching came from his father, but later on Burns was sent to Dalyrimple Parish School. However, this was only at times when the farm was not too busy – Burns was withdrawn from the school at harvest time to help bring in the crops.

Robert Burns’ association with farming and growing food is strong – he is often referred to as the Ploughman Poet or the Bard of Ayrshire.

Ayrshire itself is renowned for its potatoes and other farm produce. Go to any supermarket and you will find any of the following foods

  • Ayrshire bacon
  • Ayrshire milk
  • Ayrshire butter
  • Ayrshire cheddar
  • Ayrshire potatoes
  • Ayrshire lamb
  • Ayrshire beef

The land of the Ploughman Poet or the Bard of Ayrshire is very much the land of homegrown produce.

This week in ELP Gardening we will be looking at the foods of Ayrshire in celebration of Burns’ Night. How do they make up part of the Burns Supper? Where would they be grown and how would they be looked after?

Could we grow any of these products ourselves?

We will especially concentrate on two aspects of the Burns Supper – potatoes and neeps (turnips). Both root vegetables, we will find out what they grow from, where they grown and how the farmer tends them. We will ask important questions such as

  • what time of year do you plant potatoes and turnips
  • what do you actually need to plant? (seeds, bulbs, tubers?)
  • what temperatures and light do these plants need?
  • when are they harvested?
  • how can we grow some of our own?

We will also pop along to our school’s Home Economics department to see how they make up their vegetable bags for staff – all of the goodies that go inside these bags are home grown Scottish vegetables.

After making a list of the East Lothian grown foods in the vegetable bag we will try to find out how many of these foods are also grown in Burns Country.

Here’s a clue for starters!


ELP One Scotland 2009

This year the whole school project is One Scotland. This socially inclusive theme ties into the Scottish Executive’s One Scotland  campaign to raise awareness of and celebrate Scotland’s cultural diversity and identity. It also coincides with this year’s Homecoming Scotland initiative, marking the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth and appealing to the worldwide Scottish diaspora.

The ELP pupils will be heavily involved in this initiative.

Some of the ideas we have for the ELP pupils to contribute include:

  • playing a rendition of “Caledonia” on their keyboards
  • entering a Burns’ poetry competition with their own poem about a recent day out
  • learning some traditional Scottish food recipes, putting them into practise and selling their wares
  • finding out about the various people who have emigrated and integrated into Scottish society down a timeline illustrated nicely by the following link


We will also be involved in working with other school departments and pupils to contribute further arts, crafts, music and displays for our One Scotland Open Day in the last week of May.

Keep an eye out for updates on our own ELP One Scotland page so that you can find out a bit more about the things your son or daughter is doing towards this event.

Some hae meat…

This week in Social Studies we have been looking at the famous Selkirk Grace (above).

For most of the session we have been looking at Sustainable Development, growing our own food and the food crisis in certain poorer nations. In so many ways we felt that this simple Burns poem tied into our work on this subject.

We will be thinking about the “haves” and the “have nots” (or “hae nowts”?) in our own society as well as those further afield, in addition to considering who the “haves” and the “have nots” were in Burns’ time. We will also be trying to work out what he thought of them…

Cue “To a Louse”

O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress and gait would leave us,
And even devotion!