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Mars, LAC and LCoP – Term 1 Reflection

A time for reflection…

The Research

The Secondary Schools’ Literacy Initiative (SSLI)

The Visit

So, we had our visit from Dr Noeline Wright.  Memorable andunforgettable that Dr Wright visited us and augmented our understanding of the SSLI research. We have video and audio of our discussion.

The S1 Mars Report

And we had at House Time (we have adopted a ‘vertical house system’ for our tutor forms S1 – S6) activity which ran for a fortnight, although was originally scheduled to be formally enacted for one week and then undertaken by pupils in the second week.  We hopsted that with four subject teachers could present Mars from their particular subject’s perspective: RME, the morals and ethics of spending trillions on space research; History, The Space Race and its legacy; English, film and textual imaginings around Mars and the solar system; Science, the facts and figures associated with previous and the current Mars Curiosity Rover.

We did attempt to introduce De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats.

The LCoP

Some of the members have been at the school for a considerable time – many of whom were there at just those right times when, as a student teacher and probationer, I needed some vital advice, feedback on that dilemma – and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t awed in some way.

Much positive and negative feedback was provided as ‘minutes’ of each LCoP meeting.  In summary:


  • It was a chance for practitioners of different disciplines to meet up and discuss pedagogical issues.
  • The Mars Curiosity Rover proved to be a relevant and current scientific event under investigation by our pupils and the media – perhaps for longer than expected.
  • S1 pupils were excited about the project.
  • Artistic, technical and literacy was being showcased – as was the ability to meet a deadline.
  • Pupils were already aware of the importance of Literacy – this re-iterated the fact, delivering a whole-school exercise.
  • This was the first time that Literacy – as ‘a responsibility of all’ – was given the high priority it requires, and primarily of its inextricable link with successful learning.


  • Too little time in which to undertake all activities during 20-minute House Time.
  • Too much information.
  • Many pupils ‘cut and paste’ (something I think that we are increasingly more aware of in light of the ubiquity of digital information).
  • Concern was raised about how often staff are supposed to assess literacy in a subject – there is little time to mark for content let alone literacy.
  • Cognizance should be taken for the participation from other year groups (although I personally had S2 and S4 pupils providing peer-support, for which they gained a ‘House Merit’).


The Way Ahead

A whole-school Correction Code which will be laminated and on display in every classroom in the school

Collegiate Peer-Assessment Activity planned for November 19th (the next collegiate meeting) and will allow non-English subject teachers to be  part of a supportive LCoP and led by a Key Person (KP) drawn from Modern languages or the English Department.  Small, supportive and interdisciplinary with a focus on a subset of the Writing Es and Os of under ‘Literacy’.

The LCoPs are to foster and nurture interdisciplinary tasks that can be constructed and ‘sand-boxed’  during House Time; allowing smaller-scale projects that minimise negative impact on both teacher’s confidence and curriculum progress.

4 Collegiate Meetings have been afforded and ring-fenced by senior management – a commitment to LAC has to be demonstrated by SMT, and the SSLI research asserts the dependency on successful LAC progress as being linked with CPD.

Strategy for greater links with associated primary schools already underway, with peer-reading to be constructed, and Big Writing to continue beyond Primary and into S1.  VCOP, Correction Code and Literacy  Es and Os should be the focus.

Sharing of House Time Mars Activity with associated Secondary English Departments.  Positives and negatives that have been identified will not only help our future adoption of similar whole-school House Time tasks, but also the dissemination of this interdisciplinary task fosters closer relations with associated authority schools, and should assist in resource creation and moderation.


LAC Information Sheet

LCOPs-Version 3-Anon

LAC Marking-3

correction code POSTER

Mars Glow Blog


October 1, 2012 - Posted by | Assessment, collaborative learning, CPD, Curriculum for Excellence, education, Formative Assessment, Interdisciplinary Learning, Literacy, Literacy Across the Curriculum, Research, Science

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