We all live in a Yellow Submarine…

In CDT this term we have been working with Mr Tough and Ms Armstrong to put together a fabulous 3D structure for display in the front reception hall on Open Day. This is going to take the form of a replica yellow submarine from the Beatles song of the same name.

We have been investigating the works of the Beatles in our ICT and Music lessons and through this work came up with the idea of making a Beatles Museum just like the one in Albert Dock, Liverpool. As the centre piece of this museum we voted to make a large model of the Yellow Submarine and we commenced construction of this during our CDT lessons. We have been taking photographs of our progress as we go along – from papier mache making through to frame design. We hope to display this evidence of our planning and activity for everyone to see when we open the school doors to the community in June.

In Music we have also been learning the words and tune so that we can also perform a rendition of Yellow Submarine in the associated school concert to be performed on the evening of Open Day…

Setonhill Farm trip…

On Tuesday October 6th, a small group of our pupils were invited by Mrs Nicoll (from HE) to visit her at Setonhill Farm, near Longniddry. In addition to the very lucky pupils chosen for this trip, Mr C from CDT, Mrs A from Science and Mrs B (that’s me!) were asked to become involved to ensure we made the most – from a cross-curricular point of view – of this wonderful opportunity. So much could be taken from the experience and rolled out into Home Economics, Science and CDT lessons for weeks to come and with the new S1 cohort undertaking the “East Lothian – Our Environment” course this session, this was too valuable an experience to turn down.

So, wellies in hand, woollie jumpers at the ready and faces bright with anticipation (and that was just Mr Cruickshank) we headed off in the school minibus to the farm. The weather forecast had not been great however, although the skies were leaden, no rain was actually to fall whilst we were out and about. We felt very happy and lucky in this regard.

Above is a beautiful photograph of Setonhill Farm. It shows how picturesque a setting we were being treated to. Mrs Nicoll met us at the driveway to the farm house, ready to get us started with one of the many tasks we were to be set during our visit. We were off to feed the hens and see if there were any eggs to collect!

At first the birds were not interested in the gaggle of Preston Lodge pupils desperate to chuck bread pieces at them. They stayed, wise old birds, in their wooden hutch and were doubtless having a good old hen chuckle at our expense. We coaxed and we cooed. We made embarrassing noises of encouragement. One of us even instructed the hens with a “Hey, yous! Come out!” But none of it worked and we were about to walk away when the inevitable happened…the feathered fiends deigned to grace us with their presence.

Out they strutted, splendid in their red and black and white finery.

We gladly took the chance to feed our feathered friends whilst one of our party checked their living quarters for signs of eggs. We were very pleased to find two warm brown shells…that we removed and stored for taking back to the farm house.

Our next job was to go round the garden orchard harvesting fruit from the trees. We were amazed at all the apples, pears and plums hanging from the branches above our heads. Some fruit was lying in the grass but often this was not edible – little furry or feathered creatures had obviously gotten to these before us.

We spent a fair while collecting the fruit from the canopy and were delighted when Mrs N said we could try a little of our produce…

Our next mission was to climb into a hilly field on the other side of the farmhouse to feed some very special animals – Mrs N’s gorgeous Zwarbtle Sheep! We were simply dumb struck at how these animals looked and felt. They were quite simply some of the loveliest animals we had met. Able to get into the field with them, we had a good pat of their brown springy fleece before feeding them with basins of sheep feed.

The sheep visit was then soon followed by a visit to meet Mrs N’s fabulous labrador dogs – one chocolate and one black – before we went off on an exciting forest walk to look for conkers, cones, leaves and twigs. We soon found we were not walking on a pathway…we were getting deeper and deeper into the undergrowth and had to be careful. Branches could ping back in our faces, tree roots could trip us up – there was even a badger’s set to get past. We didn’t want to fall into that and break an ankle! We felt as though we were Robin Hood in the Longniddry Wood…or Ant and Dec in the jungle. (We are sure at one point we heard Mr C shout, I am a Celebrity! Get me out of here!).

The walk was wonderful and we were disappointed to find out that we would soon have to be turning back towards the farm again – something about teachers having classes to teach (pah!). However, we were not finished yet and we were treated to a tour of the farm buildings and stores. We saw grain mountains, potato piles, cow sheds, tractors, ploughs, a vet’s enclosure and – best of all – the hay bales! We had great fun climbing up on top of these bundles of hay (and Mrs A had a fine time bouncing across from one to another, proving PTs don’t have to be square!).

We asked our pupils for feedback on how they felt the trip went. The expressions of excitement are too many to relay here, so we thought we’d end with a photograph that says it all!

(Back at the ranch we have used our collected apples and pears to make meals in our HE lessons and our Gardening lessons – and they tasted all the better for knowing we collected our own apples! We have used the cones and twigs for our 3D model of the Water Cycle in Science and we have spoken about the animals and plants we saw with our Science teachers. We are using the conkers we collected in CDT – drilling holes into them to make stringed conkers for the annual whole school conker competition. Now that’s what we call Cross Curricular!)

Shake, rattle and roll…

This week the children will complete their latest CDT project and will be bringing their handy work home with them. Parents may be best advised to go out and buy ear plugs in anticipation of this momentous occasion.

Each and every one of the students have made a fantastic wooden football rattle… and each and every rattle well and truly WORKS!

Good luck Mums and Dads – and well done kids!

Boxing clever!

In CDT at the moment the ELP pupils are working hard with Mr Cruickshank to make fantastic wooden tool boxes like the one pictured above.

This has involved a lot of careful planning, working with simple tools and thought about how to make the boxes both useful and easy on the eye. ELP parents should watch out for these fantastic pieces of work winging their way home at some point in the near future.

Your screwdrivers and tape measures need never go missing again! :o)

Bounty be going nuts in Social Studies!

Last week when we went shopping during our maths lesson, we were asked to find out the price of a coconut. We discovered that they cost 69p and we worked out how much change we might get from a £1 if we paid for it.

Mrs Binnie bought it with a £1 coin and brought it back to class – it was going to be part of our lesson for today in Social Studies…

This week we were introducing the concept of Fairtrade. We had already discovered through previous lessons that food was difficult to grow in Africa and other very hot places. We also had found out that food cost a lot of money in these countries and that is was scarce. We called this the “African Food Crisis”.

We have heard about and investigated the work of the Eden Project in Kenya – encouraging children to grow their own food at school in special school gardens – called the Garden for Life and looked at the information we found on the Oxfam website.

However, we were not sure what Fairtrade involved or was meant to do…but we discovered there was a sticker like this on our Scotmid coconut. This posed so many questions…

  • Why was our coconut called a Fairtrade coconut?
  • Where was it grown?
  • Why was it in Scotmid?

In addition to more fundamental questions such as…

  • What does a coconut look and feel like outside?
  • Is it a seed?
  • Where does it grow?
  • What is inside?
  • Why does it make a sound like my tummy when you shake it?

And most important of all…

  • Can we eat it? (Please?)

It was important that we thought about what we already knew – after all we know SO much as it is!

After an excited discussion we discovered that we already understood that

  • coconuts grow in hot places like Africa and the West Indies
  • coconuts grow on tall trees called Palm trees
  • that we had all seen a Palm tree when we had been somewhere hot on holiday
  • Bounty bars contained coconut
  • coconuts contained something that might be milk but also might be juice
  • coconuts were hard on the outside and difficult to open
  • we were going to need to enlist specialist help to open it

We decided that we might need to go along to CDT to get some help! You may be surprised to hear this – after all most people might want to go to Home Economics for assistance with food – but our students knew that they might need use a hammer or a saw to open up our coconut. So off to CDT we went!

One drill and one saw later we were left with a container of clear liquid (funny that, it didn’t look like milk ) and two half coconuts that were glistening white inside. Melissa took them in her hands and clapped them together, making a very convincing horse hoof sound suggesting we could make a drama prop or a musical instrument with the left over husks. Another suggestion that came out of the lesson was recycling the husks as bird feeders. These were both excellent ideas considering our theme this year of sustainable development, recycling and minimising waste!


We later discovered that in countries where coconuts grow, people recycle coconut husks for jewellery, containers and even furniture!

  A coconut lamp!

We all had a small sip of the coconut “milk”, having decided that is wasn’t really a milk after all…and, to be honest, none of the class particularly cared for it’s taste. We then each were given a taste of the fresh coconut flesh and everyone commented on how nice it was – and promptly asked for some more!

We concluded that it only tasted a little like the coconut in a Bounty Bar. Bounty bars are so sweet and full of added sugar that they can be a little bit sickly. This coconut was still sweet but certainly wasn’t full of too much sugar – and all the sugar that was there belonged to Mother Nature.

Whilst we enjoyed this healthy snack we came back to the issue of the Fairtrade sticker on the husk.

Why was this coconut Fairtrade?

What did it mean for us and the grower? We found out the following :

Fairtrade is about better prices and working conditions and fair


terms of trade for farmers and workers in countries like Kenya.


By asking companies to pay fair prices, Fairtrade does its best to


help the poorest farmers. It enables them to improve their position


and have more control over their lives.

We discussed where we have seen Fairtrade labels in our local shops and the range of products we have seen carrying the logo. Coffee, tea, bananas, coconuts….so many!

After the October break we will be going back to Scotmid to pay another visit. This time we will be looking out for more Fairtrade labels and making a list of all the foods that can be found under the Fairtrade sign.


Dib dib dib!

In CDT this term we are working on producing some wooden items for our gardening project.

Assisted by the expert hand and dreadful singing of Mr Cruickshank we have started a design project that has us making dibbers for the garden. Dibbers are used to make a small indent into the soil so that seeds or seedlings or bulbs can be planted easily. They will be very useful in the coming weeks as we have plans to pot up many bulbs in the autumn.

In the meantime, we will simply have to singalong with Cruickshank Karaoke!

A table fit for a king…fisher!


This term in CDT the children will be working on making bird tables and boxes for the school garden. This will continue to build on the skills they learned whilst making their jewellery boxes during the autumn term. They will practise using a limited number of hand tools in a supervised environment as they work towards completing this task – a project that will have an impact on the school ecosystem, is environmentally friendly and dovetails well with the work on birds that has been undertaken in Science.

The children have already made bird cake, bird feeders, bird drinking bottles and stands for the garden and these have been in operation, very successfully, hanging from bushes and trees. However, the bird tables and boxes will allow us to expand and vary how the birds can access the food we have made for them.

Pictures of the boxes will appear here in due course…

Jewellery boxes fit for Tiffany’s!

In the weeks between the October break and Christmas the pupils worked with Mr Cruickshank making wooden jewellery boxes for members of their families. The children put a lot of effort into crafting these lovely gifts – even taking the time to add gold or silver gilding as a finishing touch.

More boxes!

These are the boxes waiting to have the final touches of varnish and gold paint applied by the pupils. They look fabulous!

Our boxes




The Enhanced Learning Provision CDT program is delivered by Colin Cruikshank, CDT teacher, in the CDT department. It is delivered as a partially discreet course with additional support in class from an SfL teacher.

In the autumn term the pupils will cover a differentiated course, tailored to their motor skills, understanding and practical abilities. It will concentrate on the graphics component of the CDT curriculum.

This will include:

    • Size of type font
    • Colour of type font
    • Style of type font
    • Orientation of print
    • Borders
    • Coloured backgrounds
    • 3-D Shapes
    • Importing Images
    • Digital Photography