Archive of: December, 2019

Archive

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introTextThe importance of sleep
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Let Them Sleep!

We all sleep. It is a function of living that, like breathing, we take for granted, a lifeblood of automaticity. Some of us have the fortune of being ‘good’ sleepers, “Enjoying the honey heavy dew of slumber" as Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar. For many others, however, a dread of a shifting circadian rhythm, when the cycle of light begins to refocus to the dark and sleep beckons.

There seems to be a growing spotlight around the importance of sleep in education, and indeed, in society in general. The best-selling book “Why we Sleep? ”by Professor Matthew Walker of UC Berkeley, California, has helped focus a narrative in the popular press and social media on the serious adverse effects of sleep deprivation as well as the benefits of sleep as our ‘superpower.’

There is of course no doubting the benefits of nature’s gentle nurse that is sleep. But. What is sleep? Why do we need to sleep? And why is sleep so important to our well-being and to pupils and teachers in our schools?

The question of ‘what is sleep?’ is closely aligned to ‘why we sleep?’. Although we are certainly less aware of our surroundings, sleep is not a passive process of being completely unconscious. Indeed, at specific times, such as REM sleep, we are “more awake” in certain brain areas than our waking state. During a typical night’s sleep, we may go through 4-6 sleep cycles, each lasting roughly 90-100 minutes per cycle. Within these cycles, we have 4 stages of non-REM sleep and one of REM sleep. If this all represents a simple overview of what sleep is, why do we therefore have a self-regulating need to sleep?

There is no single answer to this very complex question. A restoration theory, essentially, all the stuff we've burned up during the day, we restore, we replace, we rebuild during the night, is a very plausible response. But not on its own. It's fashionable at the moment because what's been shown is that within the brain, a whole raft of genes have been shown to be turned on only during sleep, and those genes are associated with restoration and metabolic pathways. So, there's good evidence for the whole restoration hypothesis.

rightColBody

Clearly that has massive implications for us as a school community. We need teachers and pupils to feel energy levels are being restored, otherwise the process of learning and teaching is greatly inhibited. But. This process of learning is also greatly influenced by another theory of why we sleep- information consolidation theory.

What we know is that, if after you've tried to learn a task, and you sleep-deprive individuals, the ability to learn that task heavily diminishes. However, it's not just the laying down of a memory and recalling it. What's turned out to be really exciting is that our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by a night of sleep. In fact, it's been estimated to give us a threefold advantage (Foster, 2013).

Sleeping at night enhances our creativity. And what seems to be going on is that, in the brain, those neural connections that are important, those synaptic connections that are important, are linked and strengthened, while those that are less important tend to fade away and be less important. Layer this over the repeated interactions that occur in our classrooms on minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month on month, year on year timeframes.

Sleep and learning are connected bed fellows of well-being- sleep becomes not only important in the lives of pupils and teachers as learners, but critical.

Sleep really is the low hanging fruit of well-being in our communities of schools.

Wishing all the staff and pupils a lovely Christmas holiday, filled with sleep!

Mrs S MacKenzie

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perch_introTextThe importance of sleep
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Let Them Sleep!

We all sleep. It is a function of living that, like breathing, we take for granted, a lifeblood of automaticity. Some of us have the fortune of being ‘good’ sleepers, “Enjoying the honey heavy dew of slumber" as Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar. For many others, however, a dread of a shifting circadian rhythm, when the cycle of light begins to refocus to the dark and sleep beckons.

There seems to be a growing spotlight around the importance of sleep in education, and indeed, in society in general. The best-selling book “Why we Sleep? ”by Professor Matthew Walker of UC Berkeley, California, has helped focus a narrative in the popular press and social media on the serious adverse effects of sleep deprivation as well as the benefits of sleep as our ‘superpower.’

There is of course no doubting the benefits of nature’s gentle nurse that is sleep. But. What is sleep? Why do we need to sleep? And why is sleep so important to our well-being and to pupils and teachers in our schools?

The question of ‘what is sleep?’ is closely aligned to ‘why we sleep?’. Although we are certainly less aware of our surroundings, sleep is not a passive process of being completely unconscious. Indeed, at specific times, such as REM sleep, we are “more awake” in certain brain areas than our waking state. During a typical night’s sleep, we may go through 4-6 sleep cycles, each lasting roughly 90-100 minutes per cycle. Within these cycles, we have 4 stages of non-REM sleep and one of REM sleep. If this all represents a simple overview of what sleep is, why do we therefore have a self-regulating need to sleep?

There is no single answer to this very complex question. A restoration theory, essentially, all the stuff we've burned up during the day, we restore, we replace, we rebuild during the night, is a very plausible response. But not on its own. It's fashionable at the moment because what's been shown is that within the brain, a whole raft of genes have been shown to be turned on only during sleep, and those genes are associated with restoration and metabolic pathways. So, there's good evidence for the whole restoration hypothesis.

perch_rightColBody

Clearly that has massive implications for us as a school community. We need teachers and pupils to feel energy levels are being restored, otherwise the process of learning and teaching is greatly inhibited. But. This process of learning is also greatly influenced by another theory of why we sleep- information consolidation theory.

What we know is that, if after you've tried to learn a task, and you sleep-deprive individuals, the ability to learn that task heavily diminishes. However, it's not just the laying down of a memory and recalling it. What's turned out to be really exciting is that our ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems is hugely enhanced by a night of sleep. In fact, it's been estimated to give us a threefold advantage (Foster, 2013).

Sleeping at night enhances our creativity. And what seems to be going on is that, in the brain, those neural connections that are important, those synaptic connections that are important, are linked and strengthened, while those that are less important tend to fade away and be less important. Layer this over the repeated interactions that occur in our classrooms on minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month on month, year on year timeframes.

Sleep and learning are connected bed fellows of well-being- sleep becomes not only important in the lives of pupils and teachers as learners, but critical.

Sleep really is the low hanging fruit of well-being in our communities of schools.

Wishing all the staff and pupils a lovely Christmas holiday, filled with sleep!

Mrs S MacKenzie

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Cargilfield

Sleep well!

The importance of sleep

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Teachers have to respond to a variety of parental concerns as part and parcel of their duty of care towards their children. One of the most concerns we hear is parents worrying that their child isn’t being sufficiently challenged, and one of the most common areas where parents have this perception is with reading as part of homework. When we send readers home it is for a variety of reasons. Firstly we want the children to practice words and sound patterns as we cover them in class. But we also gently increase the difficulty – just ever so slightly! – to move them on in their reading. Parents instinctively understand this, so it is not surprising that when a book appears to be easier, or even a book they have had before, that they might wonder why. Is my child still making progress? Why does the teacher feel they need to read this again? Even the children protest loudly, “I’ve read this before!” 

We use different levels of books at different times to suit different purposes. For example, we use ‘easier’ books in order to promote skills such as fluency and expression. The need to laboriously decode words is removed because the book is well within the child’s comfort zone reading wise. This enables the child to concentrate on developing the other skills (in this case, fluency and expression) without being hindered by a slightly difficult book. It is also worth bearing in mind that the children may be still working on the sight words that would enable them then to confidently access the readers of the next stage of the reading scheme. This is essential to enable successful progress in this area, and build a confident reader. I hope this helps you to understand our methodology in using various readers to teach reading. 

DS

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Teachers have to respond to a variety of parental concerns as part and parcel of their duty of care towards their children. One of the most concerns we hear is parents worrying that their child isn’t being sufficiently challenged, and one of the most common areas where parents have this perception is with reading as part of homework. When we send readers home it is for a variety of reasons. Firstly we want the children to practice words and sound patterns as we cover them in class. But we also gently increase the difficulty – just ever so slightly! – to move them on in their reading. Parents instinctively understand this, so it is not surprising that when a book appears to be easier, or even a book they have had before, that they might wonder why. Is my child still making progress? Why does the teacher feel they need to read this again? Even the children protest loudly, “I’ve read this before!” 

We use different levels of books at different times to suit different purposes. For example, we use ‘easier’ books in order to promote skills such as fluency and expression. The need to laboriously decode words is removed because the book is well within the child’s comfort zone reading wise. This enables the child to concentrate on developing the other skills (in this case, fluency and expression) without being hindered by a slightly difficult book. It is also worth bearing in mind that the children may be still working on the sight words that would enable them then to confidently access the readers of the next stage of the reading scheme. This is essential to enable successful progress in this area, and build a confident reader. I hope this helps you to understand our methodology in using various readers to teach reading. 

DS

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Cargilfield

Progress in Reading

Becoming a confident reader

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The highlight of our topic on rivers is, without doubt, white water rafting on the River Tay:

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However, a close second best is the construction of papier mâché models. We start with cardboard and lots of tape:
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Before moving onto the slimy stuff:

FDBE7BDF 19B3 41CD 9CB0 C35EE5BB6860

Once the model has hardened, the river course is painted and labelled (here is one the current F8’s prepared earlier):

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There are a couple of great aspects to this project. Firstly, it is great to hear the children chatting about “Where the source should be,” or “Why don’t we have a tributary joining the main river channel here?”. This really helps them understand the new terms and normalizes the vocabulary into their conversations. 

Secondly, it is a great chance to teach the children about the 4 C’s of education:

  •   Creativity
  •   Communication
  •   Critical Thinking
  •   Collaboration

These are widely accepted as crucial skills for children to be learning to compete and thrive in a competitive, ever-changing global workplace. This fun, engaging project gives the opportunity to talk to the children about what the four C’s are and what each term means. It allows them to learn how important it is to share ideas, listen to each other and to work together to reach a shared conclusion they can all be proud of.

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The highlight of our topic on rivers is, without doubt, white water rafting on the River Tay:

83AED52B 5945 4D29 95B1 505C6F4EEE60


C22745C2 E48E 4CB6 AAC8 D1B8C783CBFE

However, a close second best is the construction of papier mâché models. We start with cardboard and lots of tape:
ACF3CAB8 BBD2 493C 98D6 DAE49345B7EF

Before moving onto the slimy stuff:

FDBE7BDF 19B3 41CD 9CB0 C35EE5BB6860

Once the model has hardened, the river course is painted and labelled (here is one the current F8’s prepared earlier):

ECC4F899 F484 4434 8F85 89E82A4AC809

There are a couple of great aspects to this project. Firstly, it is great to hear the children chatting about “Where the source should be,” or “Why don’t we have a tributary joining the main river channel here?”. This really helps them understand the new terms and normalizes the vocabulary into their conversations. 

Secondly, it is a great chance to teach the children about the 4 C’s of education:

  •   Creativity
  •   Communication
  •   Critical Thinking
  •   Collaboration

These are widely accepted as crucial skills for children to be learning to compete and thrive in a competitive, ever-changing global workplace. This fun, engaging project gives the opportunity to talk to the children about what the four C’s are and what each term means. It allows them to learn how important it is to share ideas, listen to each other and to work together to reach a shared conclusion they can all be proud of.

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Cargilfield

Form 5 Geography

Study of River Basins

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Cargilfield where everyday is an adventure

Welcome to Cargilfield! We hope this short film gives you a glimpse of what life is like for the girls and boys at our school. We would love to welcome you in person to tour Cargilfield and explain more fully exactly what makes a Cargilfield education so special and so different. Please get in touch with Fiona Craig, our Registrar if you would like to find out more; her email address is [email protected] or you can telephone her on 0131 336 2207.

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