Discovering our ancestors in ELP ICT…

In ELP ICT this term, the pupils have been investigating their family lineage and undertaking a project that is allowing them to develop and use a wide range of computing skills whilst finding out a little more about where they come from.

We began the initial work by watching a clip from a BBC iPlayer episode of Who Do You Think You Are? In this episode famous childrens’ author, JK Rowling, explored her own family background and allowed our young people to have a simple discussion around the topic and disclose to the group what they already knew about family trees.

Our next task was to make a start on our own family tree building! Each pupil was given a basic template to take home and get parental support in completing the basic building blocks of their own ancestral line. Each family group completed a skeleton tree with details on grandparents name and dates of birth – and great grandparents if this information was to hand. Some families were also able to provide information about a further generation back.

This information was going to be used by each pupil to input data into an online family tree generator. Each student created their own online account using their school email address. Those who needed support to do this were assisted by an adult. Then data was entered into their respective trees and saved for use later on in this process.

Our next task was to find out more about our names. First of all we used online heraldry and ancestry sites to search for each of our respective surnames. We found out –

  • what our surname meant
  • where it came from
  • what its distribution in the UK was in 1880
  • whether it had a coat of arms, a clan, a tartan or a motto

Each pupil generated a MS Word document to record this information.

We then moved on to looking at first names. Each pupil was set homework to find out why they were given the name they have. They were to pay particular attention to –

  • whether they were named after a relative
  • whether they were named after someone famous
  • whether they were simply given the name because it was nice
  • whether they were given the name for any other pertinent reason

We soon discovered that our youngsters have a wide range of reasons for their first names being what they are! Two were named after someone famous, two were named after relatives and one got their name because their mum just liked it.

We also spent time using online resources to find out about the origin of each of the names. We looked for

  • country of origin
  • whether it has different forms in different languages
  • whether there was any other information about the evolution of the name
  • what the name means

Again, pupils used MS Word to create a document containing all of this important information. We had lots of fun finding out about the origins of our names – one of us has a name meaning “lion”, another has a name meaning “king” and someone else has a name meaning “stretch of water”. We also discovered the name Fiona means “ogre from Shrek”…or something like that 😉

Our next task was to look at family coats of arms in a little more detail. Each pupil was asked to find out what components there were in their respective coat of arms. They were then asked to use this information in conjunction with information about their own interests and background to create a more modern coat of arms for themselves! Using an online software template to build our own coat of arms, each pupil came up with a colourful and meaningful emblem for themselves. They included

  • a coat of arms with a Tardis, Darth Vader, Irish emblems and green flashes
  • a coat of arms with a Playstation, a cat, Hearts badge and a hill
  • a coat of arms with X Factor symbols, musical connotations and a meadow
  • a coat of arms with a hammer, a Playstation and a television

Each coat of arms was then transformed using appropriate colours – if the name had Irish origins, for example, the pupils opted for green chevrons or flashes. We then stored them for inclusion in our final family tree…

This week the pupils are going to start digging a little deeper into their family histories. Using information we have about great grandparents and other relatives born or alive before 1911, we will be using the online resource to look further back into our family history. We will be trying to use birth records, census records, marriage records and death records to establish

  • where our ancestors lived
  • who they lived with
  • what they did for a living
  • what they were called

We will use this information to extend our current trees and create a better picture of where we came from… 


Aiming to ELP on Friday with Red Nose Day Bake Sale…

On Friday 15th March, the ELP pupils will be selling Red Nose baking to raise money for Comic Relief. We will be coming round classes during Period 2 and hoping to sell lots of goodies in aid of the charity. Having a Bake Sale is one of the 7 activities you can do to raise money. Why not check out the Comic Relief website for more information about how to do something funny for money?

We hope you will ELP our efforts by buying something from us on Friday – please bring lots of change to school!

In the meantime, here’s One Direction to help explain a little more!

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

ELP Whole School Project contribution boxes clever…

The ELP pupils will, as always be contributing to the work being done to make our annual Open Day the success it always is through our Whole School Project, London 2012.

We will be using a number of curricular areas to celebrate the success of our former pupil, Josh Taylor, in qualifying to represent Team GB at the London Olympics. Our plans include:

  • building “Josh’s Gym” – a 3D lifesize version of a boxing gym kitted out with suitable equipment thanks to collaboration with our excellent PE teachers
  • using boxing vocabulary in English to create written pieces about Josh’s participation at the Olympics for display at Open Day
  • creating a computer-based presentation to be used as our backdrop in our ICT lessons
  • learning about healthy hearts, lungs, diet and muscles in our ELP Science lessons and comparing Josh with other boxers such as David Haye – who would have the bigger reach, heart and weight? What difference would that make?
  • learning about the role sport and self defence lessons might have in boosting our mental health as well as our physical health in our ELP Health lessons.

We are certainly going to be boxing clever for this year’s Whole School Project contribution thanks to Josh and his wonderful news!


Keeping ourselves safe…online!

In Health and ICT recently we have been working on a joint project which hopes to help us make good choices when trying to keep ourselves safe online.

Using the excellent resources provided by CEOP endorsed “Think u Know”, we have been exploring what can go wrong and how we can prevent this happening to us.

We have been using the series “Hector Protector” to work through some scenarios that can arise where our personal details may be shared with people we ought not to share them with – and deciding for ourselves who we know might legally need our private information and who we should not give it to.

We have learned about the problems that can arise through interactive online gaming with a story of Lee and Kim and, for the older pupils, we have also been negotiating the pitfalls of social networking sites. A very good video showing the dangers of the likes of Facebook has helped us have very mature debate and discussion around this.

The above link takes you to the site we have been predominantly using – it might be a good idea for your to take some time to familiarise yourself with some of the videos and materials so that you can also discuss this at home with your child.

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…

Cooking information…free and easy!

In ELP ICT this week we are continuing our look at sources and types of information. We have recently been looking at information sources in our daily school life and have concentrated on important life skills  aspects of this including safety, time management and negotiating essential processes such as using a recipe to cook a simple meal and finding out how much it is to  post a letter at the Post Office, then doing so.  At all times we have been referring to use of ICT in these activities – then comparing this with using more traditional or alternative sources of information. Above is one such case.

Last week we sourced a recipe for brownies from the internet, from the school recipe book and also from a Morrisons supermarket recipe card. In undertaking this research of information sources we have discovered that Post Offices, shops and libraries are good places to access free information. Whether it be leaflets on Edinburgh Castle opening times, pamphlets about postage rates or recipe cards, there is a lot of cost free information in everyday places.

We have been collecting the free recipe cards (above) from the various supermarkets to enable us to make a simple evaluation of why they might be useful, what makes them interesting and whether they are easy to use or not. We quite like the Morrisons ones because they are colourful, you can see what the food looks like and the writing content is minimal and simple.  

Our next challenge is to take one of these recipes and turn the words into reality…by cooking a meal described in one of them!

Information, information, information…

This week in ICT we have been looking at getting information from different resources and sources. We tend to always want to use the internet to get information and this is all well and good a lot of the time – especially in ICT! However, there are a lot of instances where we might need  or want to use alternative sources of information.

Mrs B found a lot of interesting leaflets during the school holiday for us to look at, read and scan for important information like price of entry, opening times, seasonal opening hours and attraction information. These included leaflets for Edinburgh Castle, Deep Sea World, John Muir’s Birthplace, Amazonia and many more local attractions. We each chose three leaflets each and had to explain what attracted us to them. Then we were given the task of finding:

  • the entry price for a child
  • the entry price for a family
  • the opening times at the weekend

Some of the leaflets were great and contained all of this information. Others did not. We then had to consider other forms of communication to access the missing information – including the use of the internet.

The other activity we asked to do this week was to write an email to Mrs Hoban in Dubai. We all wrote our own short email independently on our personal white boards and then typed them up into Word before attaching them to an email bound for Dubai…we await the reply with baited breath!

Our leaflet about Edinburgh Castle.

Steven chose this as one of his options. He found out it opens at 9.30am in the morning and closes at 6pm at night during the summer months. Dale chose to find out the times and prices for Deep Sea World but unfortunately their leaflet did not contain this information. He had to go onto Google to find this out. Amy chose the leaflet for Amazonia. It was the best leaflet for this information and Amy was able to find all of the prices and times she needed to access without any difficulty.

We will continue to do more of this kind of work in ICT to overlap with work being undertaken by Mrs Thomson on factual texts in English.


Easter Egg Survey Eggstravaganza!


Today in ICT we undertook a special Easter related task that enabled us to practise our social skills, collect simple raw data and record it. Our mission was to conduct a simple survey in the school to find out which Easter egg is Preston Lodge’s favourite…

We used Google Image to find photos of different types of eggs that we thought would appeal to a range of people. They included:

  • a Buttons Egg
  • a Creme Egg
  • a Lindt Egg with bunnies
  • an Easter Cake Egg
  • a chocolate rabbit

We put a picture of each type of egg onto an A4 sheet by copying and pasting each one into Word. Then we used word to make a simple table to record our data in. We printed off both sheets and put them on a clipboard.

Our survey involved approaching random members of staff and students ensuring we didnt ask too many men, too many women, too many young people or too many old people. We also made sure we asked people with different types of jobs so that our survey would be “fair”.

We were surprised by our results!

  • Not one person wanted the chocolate bunny (awww!)
  • Only Mandy wanted the cake
  • Mrs Pike was alone in wanting a Creme Egg
  • Everyone else chose the Lindt egg or the Buttons Egg
  • All the people who chose Lindt eggs were women
  • All the people who chose Buttons eggs were men

We are going to use some of this information when we come back to show this information in different ways – simple charts with pictorial keys will be used to represent this. However, in the meantime as promised, we can exclusively reveal that Preston Lodge’s top Easter Egg choice would be…

A LINDT EASTER EGG (with lots of little eggs and a bunny thrown in for good measure…)


Preston Lodge Bafta vote decided by survey…

This week in ICT we thought we could combine some important computing skills we have acquired recently with an interest in all of the news about Oscars and Baftas…

Last weekend saw a number of performers, films and production staff win awards for their work over the last year. The BAFTAS (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) were presented to such popular films as Up, Avatar and The Hurt Locker. As part of our weekly chat about things going on in the outside world, the pupils began discussing who they thought should have won a BAFTA – and why.

Amy thought Hannah Montana the Movie should win Best Film as “it was a good story with lots of great songs”.

Steven thought that Up should win best animation because “it was really funny and it made me laugh!”

Dale hadn’t seen the film he thought might win something (Invictus) but said he thought it would because it was a film with lots of action and he “liked action films and it has God (Morgan Freeman) and Bourne (Matt Damon) in it”. Dale suggested his favourite film that he had seen in 2009 had been X Men – Origins

We wondered what kind of films other people in Preston Lodge might like? In the last few weeks we have been practising collecting data, interacting with people and using information from surveys to analyse other information at life in Preston Lodge. We have conducted an Emotions Survey and thought we could perhaps do something similar to ascertain what film might win a  PLACE? <Preston Lodge Award for Creativity and  Entertainment>

We decided to short list 7 films for consideration. They did not all have to be 2009/10 films but they did have to come from a variety of  “genres” (style of movie).

These would include action, comedy, animation, romance, drama and musical.

We used YouTube to help us find appropriate trailers (always remembering that the film chosen had to be no more than a “12” rating) to watch and analyse ourselves before coming up with our final shortlist. We made sure we included our own nominations as well.

The final selection was as follows:

  • “Up” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated animation comedy nominated by Steven because it is his favourite
  • “Hannah Montana the Movie” – a Disney Channel award winning musical teen film just because
  • “X men – origins” – an action movie nominated by Dale because it is his favourite
  • “Invictus” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated drama nominated by Dale and Mrs B
  • “Titanic” – an Oscar winning romance nominated by Amy because she thought the ladies in the office would like it
  • “Slumdog Millionaire” – an Oscar and BAFTA winning drama nominated by Dale because he thought a lot of people liked it
  • “Avatar” – a BAFTA winning and Oscar nominated animation nominated by Steven because he wants to see it and lots of people have been to see it.

Randomly selected staff were accosted in corridors, classrooms, offices and car parks  and (as long as they were not busy with something too important to be interrupted) asked the vital question:

“Which one of these movies is the most attractive to you?”

Here are some of the completely unidentifiable responses we got from staff when they gave us their in-confidence responses…

  • An anonymous  random male member of staff who teaches music insisted that “it had to be Hannah Montana!”
  • An unnamed female member of staff who makes coffee in the staff room declared “it has to be Leonardo and Kate!”
  • A random HE teacher living next door to Mr Cruickshanks room exclaimed “I haven’t seen it but that doesn’t matter does it? Jai ho”.
  • An anonymous PT CDT living near Miss Angus said “I don’t think much of that Jai ho thing. Can I choose one I haven’t seen too?” and went for Invictus.
  • An unnamed male SfL auxiliary who wears a beanie hat said “Go girlfriend! It has to be Miley!”
  • An anonymous male PE teacher who definitely isn’t Mr Sellwood said “OH MY GOODNESS!! DID MR BISHOP AND STUART REALLY GO FOR HANNAH MONTANA? DEAR ME!”

Once our survey had been completed we brought the results back to the classroom and put the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. We had headings for each film and then totalled up the number of votes for each one.

With 40% of the overall vote the winner of the PLACE 2010 for Best Film was SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

In second place equal with 20% each of the overall vote came “AVATAR” and “HANNAH MONTANA”.

In fourth place equal with 5% each of the overall vote came “X MEN ORIGINS”, “INVICTUS”,  “TITANIC” and “UP”.

We plotted these results as a chart to display on our Blog Wall and to use as a visual aid in the coming weeks when we give a short talk about what we did in our survey and how we got the final results.