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.

Week beginning August 22nd 2011…

Welcome back to school – we hope you have all had a restful ssummer break and are refreshed and looking forward to the new session

New timetables have been issued and we are currently in the process of getting settled in. A couple of old faces have left whilst we welcome Ben to the class!

Keep your eye on this part of the schoool website in the coming weeks and months for news about your child’s work and activities in Preston Lodge…

The “If I had a dream” speech…

As part of our 1960s studies we have been investigating the US Civil Rights Movement led by Dr Martin Luther King Jnr. We listened to his world famous “I have  dream” speech and watched video footage of this momentous occasion in Washington in August, 1963. Many of the words in the speech were quite difficult to understand however we were in no doubt as to the ideas behind them.

As a class we decided to “translate” the speech into one that would be more easily understood in current times and by most people. Line by line we went through it and discussed what we thought the original words stood for. We were given the challenge of putting things into our own words. At the bottom of this post you will find our own version – “If I had a dream…”

“If I had a dream…”

I have a dream that one day this nation will respect everyone no matter their colour.

I have a dream that one day people might forgive.

I have a dream that one day everyone will have fairness and freedom.

I have a dream that people will be judged on what they do and not how they look.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day black and white kids will play together.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day everything will be fair.

This is our hope…

With this faith we will be able to live side by side one day.

This will be the day when we are all free and equal.


From 14th century Scottish foot soldiers to Jorvik vikings in 24 hours!

This week has seen some of our ELP pupils make some time travelling moves that Dr Who would be proud of! On Monday all of our ELP pupils went back in time to become foot soldiers or knights in Robert the Bruce’s army at the Battle of Bannockburn (see Sir Dale of Prestonpans above as evidence). On Tuesday our Senior ELPs (S3 students) then went even further back in time courtesy of British Rail (no jokes please) to become Viking warriors in the settlement of Jorvik – York to you or I.

Everyone had a fantastic time on Monday. The weather was perfect, the journey a pleasant drive through the countryside courtesy of George and the visit to the centre itself a joy to be involved in. All of the pupils participating were fully engaged with first the re-enactment video and then the interactive session with our special guide, Mark. We were able to don chain mail and extraordinary armour and helmets. Some tried out maces and swords and axes (all blunt!) whilst others got to grips with Welsh bows or crossbows.

Even the supporting members of staff got in on the act!

  Is this one of Bruce’s men – or is it an extra from the Sound of Music? We can’t be certain! Sister Janis or Sir Cullen of the Pans? You decide…

On Tuesday, our Senior pupils made a very early start on their journey to England. A dawn meeting at Prestonpans train station was followed by a train journey south past lighthouses, Lindisfarne from our RME lessons, the Angel of the North, St James Park and many other interesting sights.

  Steven is tired after an early start but enjoys his train trip.

On arrival in York the group headed for the National Railway Museum to have a look at all of the interesting trains. We got on board the Japanese Bullet train only to find that our heads were hitting the top of the doorways on the way in and out. We had a nose at the Royal Train and wondered at the fancy crest on the front of the engine. We found a train with a mailbox on the side and a grand engine called the Duchess of Hamilton – one that made Dr Voge jealous of us when we came back!


The Royal Train and two engines that look like they belong with Thomas the Tank Engine!

After a hearty lunch we headed to the Jorvik Centre – our main destination for the day. The whole idea behind this trip was to consolidate and elaborate the Social Subjects curriculum undertaken this session on the Vikings. We went back in time on a scratch and sniff tour of the settlement of Jorvik. We found fishermen and leather workers, woodsmen and amber craftsmen. We came across rotting carcasses in the streets, scuttling rats in our path and groups of dogs running wild. We watched people barter and tend evening fires, saw inside and outside thatched buildings and evening came across a rather constipated Viking on the loo – that’s when the scratch and sniff went into overdrive. But the boys will undoubtedly remember it for some time to come…

 After the Jorvik Centre we then set off round the rest of the city…

Next stop was the beautiful and impressive minster. Unfortunately, it was closed to the public but we were able to wander round the gardens and some of the courtyards associated with the cathedral.


We also had an interesting walk along part of the old city walls and discovered a range of fascinating things as we went.


Finally we headed towards the famous Shambles…

     The famous Shambles

We headed back to Prestonpans happy but tired after a long day. However, we are delighted we were given this opportunity to take the students so far afield to experience this fantastic day out. We not only consolidated and elaborated on our curricular work this session but we also had a lovely time sharing experiences outside the classroom. A big thank you to all who made this possible.

Now we’re off for a lie down in a darkened room… 😉

Week beginning May 3rd 2010…

This week is a shorter than normal week due to the Bank Holiday we all enjoyed on Monday but we are not going to be lounging around for the remainder of the week – there is so much to learn and take part in!


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.  

ELP Science

This week in ELP Science our Junior ELPs are making marshmallows grow so big Augustus Gloop’s eyes would bulge! As part of our weather station monitoring we have been making simple assessments of air pressure using home made barometers. We use air pressure as a basic way to predict if the weather is going to be “fair or foul”. However, understanding why air pressure can be used in this manner is difficult enough for the smartest of the smart to understand and we wanted to give the pupils some sense of what “air pressure” was and how it affects things in everyday life. Enter stage left a bag of yummy marshmallows and a vacuum pump!

Marshmallows are interesting objects – they are solid objects but they are very, very squishy. We can shape them and reshape them very easily by pressing with our fingers – a bit like the sponges we use in the bath! Comparing them to a table made it very clear that marshmallows must be made up differently inside and we soon worked out that (like the sponge) they have lots of pockets of air inside which allow us to squeeze them so readily…

But why do they keep their shape under normal conditions and what would happen if we changed the air pressure round about them? Miss Pique kindly sourced us a fancy vacuum pump that would quickly suck all the air out of the flask we put a marshmallow into. As soon as we switched on the pump, the marshmallow appeared to begin to grow  as if by magic…and grow and grow until cracks appeared on the surface of the mallow and it had more than trebled in size! Why was this? What had happened to the air pressure to make this strange thing occur? After a couple of minutes we asked what would happen when the pump was switched off and air pressure return to normal…challenging any misconceptions that somehow the mallow may have gotten bigger because more matter had been added.

We then switched off the vacuum pump to find out for ourselves. The mallows pinged back to their normal size immediately and looked almost the same as they did at the beginning – only a little cracked and tired looking with stretch marks!


This week we are working hard on finishing our Venezian masks for the exhibition included in the Whole School Project on Italy…


In PE we have been doing some athletics alongside our practical set classmates – the better weather is a great opportunity to get outside and have some fresh air!

How green is our garden?



In the coming week in ELP Gardening we will be looking to become even greener than our lush Science Garden or our pretty little SFL Garden. As we encourage the pupils to think across the curriculum, we will be looking at recycling, its impact in everyday life both round the school and in our school gardens.

We will be concentrating on one aspect of recycling – composting – however we will not be overlooking some of the recycling we have undertaken in the past during our Gardening course. It will soon be time to collect leaves, conkers, fir cones and the like from the leaf litter on the ground and we can use all of these again in the coming months to make Christmas decorations, leaf pictures and rubbings and have fun playing conkers with Mr Cruickshank!

The attached file at the top of the page will be used in conjunction with a number of resources after we establish what prior knowledge the pupils actually have of composting and recycling. We never cease to be amazed at the amount of information the students can offer in their own words using personal experiences or observations as their reference point. We dont doubt for one moment that anything will be different when it comes to making the most of the waste in our homes and gardens.

Our plan is to set up our own composter somewhere in our science garden plot, where we can recycle the following kinds of everyday waste…

  • shredded paper  
  • cotton and wool materials
  • tea bags
  • old plants
  • dead leaves
  • tops of perennial weeds
  • grass
  • eggshells
  • a compost bin with a lid
  • old plant waste
  • kitchen waste
  • soil


If anyone is interested in helping out in this project or simply offering advice to our budding gardeners please let us know.


Life in The Office by Amy

This week GOSSIP GIRL brings you all the inside news from the school office…courtesy of Mrs Pow.

Gossip Girl -How long have you been at Preston Lodge?

Mrs P – I have been here a long time. Nine years! I started here in 2000 the new millenium.

Gossip Girl – Do you ever get to ring the bell?

Mrs P – Only privileged people get to ring the bell! I am not important enough to ring the bell unfortunately. However i sometimes ring the doorbell if that counts. Sometimes they let me in and other times they don’t. We always let you in though because you are very important. Your so important you probably could ring the school bell!

Gossip Girl – Can you tell us what you do when we catch you on the computer?

Mrs P – Im in charge of the school register. I put in all the lates. I phone parents if their children are off and we dont know. Sometimes the pupils are actually in school and have not come to the office to get a late line and I spend lots of time chasing round after them.

Gossip Girl – Do you like working in the office?

Mrs P –It is just wonderful! Time just flies past because it is all go go go. There is never a dull moment as it is different every day.

Gossip Girl – What times do you work?

Mrs P – I start at 8am and finish at 4pm.

Gossip Girl – Do you have to make Mr Clark cups of tea and take him cake?

Mrs P – I am the Tea Lady of Preston Lodge! I make tea for everyone. Making the tea is more important than doing the registers! Staff and visitors get my tea but especially Mr Clark. If I tell you something promise you wont tell anyone else? I will get into big trouble! Mr Clark loves cake and chocolate biscuits. And he really really loves home baking. But that is our secret okay? 


Gossip Girl – Are you free?

Mrs P –  I am ALWAYS FREE for you! x

Footnote: Mrs P noted that Mr C from CDT was allowed a picture of Cheryl C on his interview page. Much as she loves Ricky Gervais she asked if it were possible if she could have a photograph of Robbie W, even though he has nothing to do with The Office. So here for you Mrs P, a token picture of Mr Williams for all the wrong (right) reasons!

Super S1 scientific analysts clean up the water from the Forth…



Last week in Junior ELP Science we learned all about the properties of water that were related to the measurement of temperature and the specific temperatures that water froze (turned into ice) and boiled (turned into steam). We discovered that water freezes at 0 degrees C and that it boils at 100 degrees C. We also were able to give everyday examples of these things happening (ice cubes in a freezer, snow on the ground, kettles boiling). We got experience using a thermometer and we made a big effort to learn that special word so that we could use it in everyday life.

This week our experiments are going to take us down to the River Forth…where we can compare salty seawater with water from the taps in the school and our homes. What differences will there be? How can we make measurements of these differences? And could we turn seawater into water more ready for drinking or washing?

After an introductory chat about what we already knew about water from the sea we discovered that we were already to express in our own words that it was

  • dirty
  • yucky
  • smelly
  • sicky

With a bit of further questioning, using specific past experiences and AifL techniques to support the assessment of prior knowledge, we were also able to ascertain that the water in the River Forth is SALTY.  

Our lessons this week would go on to concentrate on the saltiness and dirtiness of the water from the Forth.

Using the sheets attached at the top of this page we further explored the world of sea water and salt. We first watched a video about salty water and discovered that people can take the salt out of it! This was a difficult thing to imagine – after all salt seems to “fade away” or disappear in water when we add it, doesn’t it?

Using the examples we saw on the video we discussed how we might get salt from water in the River Forth. Mr Kidd had collected a bottle of sea water from behind Cockenzie Power Station and we had a good look at it while we thought about the job in hand.

The water from Cockenzie was colourless and clear like tap water but there were one or two important differences. One of these was obvious immediately to everyone. There were “black bits” floating in the bottle! (Yuck!) Less obvious was the fact the water was salty but we decided this must be the case because of past experiences some of us had had paddling in the sea. But how could we prove it? And could we make the water cleaner as well as unsalted?

Referring to what had been done on the video and using the techniques described in the worksheets we set about trying to make fresh water from salty water.

This was good fun, though we had to be careful when boiling the hot sea water – as we were about to find out that sea water can spit!

We boiled the water until all of it disappeared as steam into the air. We were left with a white powder that looked suspiciously like table salt. We got some table salt to do a visual comparison. Then Mr Evans appeared with a box that looked a little like this…


Inside it was proper Prestonpans Sea Salt – and it looked exactly like ours!

We then discovered that in the past the River Forth around this area was responsible for all of the salt used in Edinburgh and its surrounds. Edinburgh’s salt came from pans at Prestoun. Today it is known as ‘Prestonpans’ as a reminder of how salt was produced in the past. Prestonpans, of course, is where our school is and where many of us have lived for all our lives. The salt was also imported to other faraway places such as Scandinavia and the Baltic.

Here is a mural of Prestonpans Saltworks.

This was the last ever saltworks in Scotland. It was on the seashore, and originally, like many others, made salt by evaporating seawater in large iron pans. Latterly the pan was used for refining rock salt, which ended in about 1959.

This view shows the front of the works, which was demolished in 1978. The buildings seen here were probably warehouses. The works was used for packaging salt until the early 1970s. Many of your parents may have been born about that time but your grandparents may remember the salt works – why not ask them?

We had great fun discovering that we could take salt out of sea water and through filtering (see “Dirty water” file) , we could take out lots of the dirt. By the end of these lessons we were proper water scientists – but we were all fully fledged Panners in every sense of the word!


We measure up health wise!

This week in senior ELP Science we have been having a health MOT. Last week we found out how doctors, nurses and other people can make measurements of our health and what technology they can use to do it. This week we have had a go at playing doctors and nurses.

The instruments we were provided with included:

  • sphygmomanometer
  • thermometer (digital, glass and heat sensitive strips)
  • skinfold calipers
  • scales
  • simple peak flow meter
  • hand grip meter
  • metre rule stand

Once we had time to practise using these pieces of equipment, we then used the kit to measure the following:

  • blood pressure
  • temperature
  • skin fold
  • weight
  • lung flow
  • hand and forearm strength (grip)
  • height

Some of the measurements were easier to make than others – after all we have everyday practice of measuring things such as weight, height and temperature. We also needed to make more than one reading with some measurements. We do this because sometimes the equipment can vary, sometimes our skill in using the equipment can vary and sometimes we just get “odd results”. The sphygmomanometer certainly gave us a difficult time in telling us there were “ERRORS” in its operation or our use of it…and sometimes it simply gave readings that would make you think we were dead! It is therefore very important to take a few readings and make a judgement or calculation as to what a “sensible” result looks like.

For example, with the sphygmomanometer we tried to take three readings for each pupil’s blood pressure.

If all three readings were the same or similar we could maybe have more faith in them. If all three readings were very different we might have to investigate why before we trusted them. Maybe the battery was low and causing funny readings? Maybe we had moved our wrist inside the measuring cuff during the reading? Maybe we were simply a bit exciteable one time and then calmer the next time we took a reading? So many judgements and decisions to be made – like real scientists or doctors!  Some measurements we were more confident of our ability to make a reading and trust it – like when we measured our height. It was far easier to be sure of what height we all were because your height doesnt change in a short period of time and the equipment we can use is very reliable and does not have many things that can make it “go wrong”. The biggest factor in getting a correct height measurement is us!

We discovered during our experiments that the human body, when healthy, likes to be at around 37 degrees centigrade. We found out that air flow from the lungs and volume of air in the lungs can be affected by what kind of things we do or conditions we may have. (Michael Phelps will have fab lungs because of all the swimming he does whilst somebody with asthma might have below average flow and capacity). However, best of all we were delighted to find out that we were all pretty fit and healthy. Some of us were taller, some heavier, some stronger and some with more hot air to exhale…but all of us showed signs of being healthy and happy people mostly within the normal range for our age and gender.

Now isn’t THAT good news?!


Coming soon on ELP Blog…

Blog Planning!


Using a mind map we have been planning the next few ELP blogs. We have decided who we would LIKE to interview and then asked them ever so politely if they would do us the honour of speaking to ELP columnist, Gossip Girl.


Coming to a school website near you in the next few weeks…


·       Gossip Girl interviews Mrs Pow from the Office to find out if Ricky Gervais actually works there…

·       Steven brings you more information about school veggie bags

·       Dale will report back about the fantastic S2 trip to Lagganlia last term

·       Gossip Girl will bring you all the Senior school goss courtesy of an “insider” Prefect called Sophie…

·       Dale will tell us all about school rugby and hopefully get some brilliant quotes from the PE Dept

·       Steven will bring news of Dr Voge’s fish


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