Week 14- Challenge On.

A short blog post from me this week as it has been a week of signing contracts, technology and competition here at Gracemount.

Extracted Lesson…

Due to the joys of setting up a new gadget, our extracted lesson this week shifted it’s focus from Health and Well Being to… “how do I do this again?” and “why isn’t mine working!”. I am very happy to say though, thanks to everyone helping each other and passing on their knowledge we now have all but two of our group set up with their Fitbits! The group are able to access their results from their Fitbit through the App which they have downloaded on both their phones and their iPads that they are allowed to use in registration.

Although the Fitbit’s main attraction is how many steps you have done a day (With the goal being 10,000 steps), the data you can receive does not just cover your physical health. Your App will give you information about:

  • Calories
  • Steps
  • Sleep (If you were restless, awake or sleeping it will tell you this)

Our group has also logged their weight and their height so the data is more specific to them. You can also record what you are eating and how much water you have drank that day. We are going to spend our time during these lessons to use them to their full potential and continue to ensure a holistic health is at the forefront of our programme.

Competition Time…

As I had previously said, now our Fitbits have arrived, our steps competition can begin! Each Friday morning during registration, I will be asking our group to check their Fitbit Apps and record on our notice board how many steps they have completed this week. This not only provides some health competition, but it challenges our pupils to try and get more steps than the week before and to set themselves targets for next week.

Here are our winners this week…

Congratulations Tee Jay, Bailley and Amie (who was photo shy, so Declan has kindly offered to step in) for a brilliant start to our competition! In 1st place we had a massive 40,000 steps this week, closely followed by 36,000 and 35,000. So well done to all. Hopefully this will be time to take the challenge on, and get going!


  • For the few left to come and get their Fitbits, a reminder that a parent/carer must come in to sign the contract before we can release them to you.
  • Next week it will be time to try out the workout setting on your Fitbit, so remember your PE kit and your Fitbit next Wednesday period 4!

Week 13- Fun with Fitbits

The Fitbits have finally arrived! We have had a fantastic week here getting our group set up with their iPad and Fitbits, and the enthusiasm we are getting towards them from the group is just brilliant… and long awaited!

Extracted Lesson…

This week’s lesson was a two part lesson. The first part was held in HFT with Miss B and this week the group were cooking… baked potatoes! I came down to some beautiful looking plates with fillings such as tuna mayo, beans, egg mayo and all accompanied by salad and cucumber. Again, thanks to Miss B’s pearls of wisdom, the skin was left ON the potato to provide a meal with more fibre. Like soup, a baked potato is great meal as it is budget-friendly, healthy, easy to make and you can mix up your flavours and fillings each time. Here are some possible fillings you could try on yours at home:

  1. Tuna Mayo
  2. Egg Mayo
  3. Cheese
  4. Beans
  5. Coronation Chicken
  6. Leftovers (Try your left over bolognaise, chilli, meats or veggies on top of your potato)

Image result for baked potato with tuna and salad

The second part of this weeks extracted lesson was getting our group set up with their iPads, Fitbit accounts and log in details. This was successful and we were good to go just in time for the launch night.

Launch Night…

To launch the Fitbits, we invited our group and their parents/carers along on Wednesday evening to the school. Our aim for this evening was to update the parents/carers about what we have been doing during our extracted lessons; reiterate what exactly our aims for this project are; and most importantly, get the consent forms signed and hand out the Fitbits!

Each pupil received their iPad (To be kept in the Health and Well Being room), their Fitbit, and a letter. They all received a goodie bag to take home which contained the ingredients and recipes to make a delicious stir fry! We are looking forward to hearing how they turned out.

We would like to thank the group and their parents/carers for making the effort to come along as it was great to hear from everyone their thoughts on the project so far. It was also a prime opportunity for us to help with any questions about setting up the Fitbits or about the group in general. We were thrilled with the turn out.

As I previously stated, we have had a lot of excitement already in the first two days towards the Fitbits. As I was leaving school yesterday, I had one member of the group shout to me “Miss! Miss! I’ve hit 10,000 steps!”. As well as this, I found out this morning that someone in our group had hit 25,000 steps yesterday, with another on 18,000. The brilliance of this is not only in the steps, but the determination and enthusiasm that frames it. I can already feel this is going to be a competitive few months…


  • For anyone that has not yet received their Fitbit, we need a parent or carer to come into school and sign your contract at the office before we can give you one. Thank you.



Week 12- Bootcamp!

Week 12 is here, and is seeing us into March. The mornings are brighter and the nights are getting lighter – which means it is time to get moving! This week’s extracted lesson was held in PE where the group took part in a bootcamp with Miss C.


To continue to encourage our group to work together and break away from their usual peer groups for a lesson, we continued to use a Cooperative Learning approach throughout our lesson.

Firstly, the group were each given a piece of a jigsaw and were required to find the 2 other parts of it to make up a group. There were 4 jigsaws in total. The jigsaws the group made up were all pictures related to a holistic view of health, and from this the new groups made up their team names: The Water Group, Food Fight, Mental Health and The Runners.

From this, the pupils were each given a role in their teams such as: motivator, scribe reporter and equipment manager. (The pictures above show one team with their finished jigsaw and the scribes writing up their team names)

Now, it was bootcamp time! First, we did a trio workout which relied on everyone taking part for it to work. The first person performed a cardio exercise (e.g.side steps with a tuck jump or lunges and sprint) while the second person performed a strength exercise (e.g squat with bag or plank) and the third person rested. Once person 1 has returned, everyone moves up and takes on a new role. We did this twice for 4 minutes each time. I was extremely impressed to see the most amount of pupils taking part AND engaged so far throughout our programme.

Our next team activity was a race with human obstacles…

Lastly, we did some squat jumps and high fives, plank high fives and sit up high fives as a team. Again, our teams worked together brilliantly on this.

The beauty of a team bootcamp (which is framed nicely by Cooperative Learning) is the individual accountability within the team. If one person decided to not do it, there was an impact on the team and so everyone made the effort to take part fully. Our group were teamed with people they may not usually work with, but the encouragement, effort and determination displayed by our group would have not given this away.

As we are trying to encourage our group to do physical activity outside of school, below I have attached two links for exercise videos that can be watched on YouTube and completed at home:

Joe Wicks Beginner HIIT Workout:

Fitness Blender Fun Low Impact Cardio:




  • As mentioned in the previous blog post (more information in “Dates for your Diary” section), there is a parents/carers night Wednesday 8th March to receive your Fitbit.
  • If you haven’t already, we have asked our group to please download “Fitbit Charge 2” App onto their phone so we can set up on Wednesday during the extracted lesson.



Week 11-Pineapples and Fitbits

Welcome back after a week off for the February break!

This week our blog will be discussing this week’s extracted lesson in HFT and will be providing you all some exciting updates.

Roles and Responsibilities…

Our breakfast club is still busy busy with lots of faces every morning. As we have a core group that are coming every morning, we are now going to start introducing roles into the group in order to keep our breakfast club tidy. These roles will include washing dishes, drying, wiping tables, putting milk etc back in the fridge and replenishing our box. We really hope this will allow our group to take ownership and leadership of their breakfast club. They should be proud of it because after all – it’s the people that make the party.

It’s all about BALANCE…

Our cooking period is becoming more and more popular with our group. They are enjoying the challenge of cooking new things, learning about their diet and working in their table groups. Not only is these periods working on their cooking skills but on skills such as responsibility and leadership, focus and concentration, sharing and positive relationships. This week’s lesson had our group making Pineapple Upside Down Cake, and from conversation in registration the following day – it appeared to have gone down very well!

Our focus in this group in regards to diet is a healthy diet. This does not mean we want our kids to be eating an avocado for breakfast, quinoa and lettuce for lunch and white fish for dinner. It’s about balance. This is what we want to be advocating to our group. Somewhere in between an avocado for breakfast or a tube of Pringles for breakfast. Health. We want our group to understand that it is ok to eat a packet of crisps or have a cake, but it is also important that is consumed as treat, not a meal.

The NHS suggest that children should be educated about food, and as a general rule should try and include the following in their daily diet:

  • at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables
  • meals based on starchy foods, such as potatoes, bread, pasta and rice – choose wholegrain varieties when possible
  • some milk and dairy products – choose low-fat options where you can
  • some foods that are good sources of protein, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and lentils.

However- if it is time for a treat (for it to work, healthy living has to be fun too), I have attached the recipe our group followed for their Pineapple upside down cake below for you to try at home:



The Fitbits have arrived!!!!!! Hallelujah!!

To launch this exciting time, we are holding a Parents/Carers Evening on Wednesday 8th March at 6.30pm. We invite you all to come in together with our group for them to get given their Fitbits and be provided with the necessary help to get set up. Letters home regarding this will be issued to the group next week. This will also be a fantastic opportunity to ask any questions regarding the group or just to have a chat with us, the parents/carers and the pupils about how it has been going.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Fact of the Week

“Children are more likely to keep to a healthy lifestyle if it’s made fun for them.” (NHS, 2015)

Week 10-Time to Gym

The reccomended daily amount of exercise per day is 60 minutes for a child. From discussion with our group and individuals, we can see this is not being reached. Apart from a walk/cycle to school and PE twice a week, this group – as a whole- are getting limited amount of time being physically active. Through our extracted lessons, we are trying to encourage our group to try new activities that they can enjoy outwith school and ultimately, lifelong.

A Tour of the Leisure Centre…

This week, Mr M took our group for a tour of Gracemount Leisure Centre. On this tour they were able to see the facilities on offer such as the swimming pool, spaces for exercise classes and the gym. As part of the tour, each pupil was provided with a voucher for a free gym and swim at the leisure centre to be used up until July 2017. Yes, the gym and pool can be a daunting place. However, not only are they both a fantastic form of exercise, but it can be adapted to suit many preferences. For example, swimming can be a social occasion where you go to play with friends, jumping in and playing games OR it can be an individual activity used for lengths and fitness as it is a great total-body workout. Similarly, our group can visit the gym together where they can have an induction and experience different types of exercise within it OR they can go alone, plug in their favourite playlist and work hard by themselves.Everyone is different!

Our aim is that these vouchers are used in the February break – we have encouraged our group to take a “Gym Selfie” when they are there to put up on our wall and celebrate our group being brave and trying something new! We already have a group of 3 planning a trip together.

If the gym is something our group enjoys (I understand it will not be everyone), we have offered a night after school where the group can stay and use the gym facilities in school. Here, we can help them even more to find something in the gym environment that challenges and suits them as an individual.

Celebrating Success…

I wanted to take a section of the blog this week to say a massive congratulations to one of the pupils in our group. This pupil recently took part in our school’s Expressive Arts Show, where he blew everyone away with his amazing singing voice. He sang a song called “Scars To Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara, accompanied on guitar by a former pupil, and it was outstanding. I know he has already had a lot of support and congratulations throughout the school, and we are incredibly proud of him for being so brave and taking to the stage!

Happy Holidays!

We hope everyone has a lovely, healthy week off and we look forward to seeing our group returning. Hopefully presented with a Fitbit on their arrival!!


Week 9- Positive Relationships

This week, our extracted lesson was held in PE. We wanted to look at continuing to develop positive relationships within our group, and this week we used physical activity as a vehicle for this. The Mental Health Foundation (2017) state that:

“The relationships we form as children and young people are predictors of our future mental health and wellbeing. They remain important throughout our life. In terms of physical health, the quality of our relationships is as critical as not smoking and is more important than eating well or exercising.”

I feel this is an extremely important message to send out to our young people and although we cannot force positive relationships, we can certainly facilitate an environment for them to develop.

A Race to Create Art…

As our focus was on positive relationships this week, we chose to adopt a cooperative learning model to try and get our young people working in new groups and working together to achieve an end goal, while still staying individually accountable for their own learning.

Firstly, our group was split into teams of 4 at random. They introduced themselves to the group by telling their team one thing they thought was good about their health and wellbeing, and one thing they’d like to work on. Following this, the team were allocated roles such as: time keeper, equipment manager, motivator and reporter. The teams task was to recreate the poster below on their own poster paper. The team who recreated the poster most accurately won.


To recreate the poster, one by one when their numbers were shouted, one member of the team would use different movements (Running, Skipping, Sidestepping) to get to the poster above where they would have 10 seconds to memorise as much as they could. They then had to return to their team and relay this information. Pupils could decide who drew, who memorised and organised based on their team’s strengths and weaknesses. The pupils worked extremely well together on this, not only was every single pupil engaged and involved, but there was the added bonus of a few rosy faces at the end! Two of the finished articles are below…

The pupils were pleased with their final posters- and so they should be! From the feedback we asked for from the pupils, it appeared the majority of them found it fun, and felt they learned better working with new people and as a team. For a lot of the pupils in this group, this was a challenge. Speaking to people, working with people and discussing ideas with people can be daunting for them, and so we were thrilled with the response.

Exercise Diaries…

This week we have also started exercise diaries with our group. On this diary they will record what exercise they do each day and for how long they do it for. They will record this under the heading “Vigorous” or “Moderate” activity. We hope we can use this information to compare to a future exercise diary after we have the Fitbits in use.

Fact of the Week…

“Higher rates of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety have been associated with loneliness, isolation and social rejection during adolescence.”

Mental Health Foundation, 2017



Week 8- Cooking up a Storm

This week our extracted lesson was based with Miss B in HE. And our group impressed us with their fine cooking skills…

Luscious Lentil Soup

Following on from last week’s theme of healthy eating, this week our group took to the kitchen and put on their aprons. The groups task this week was to make their own pot of lentil soup. Soup is a fantastic option for lunches or dinners as it is quick and easy to make, super cheap, and can be stored in the fridge and put in a flask for lunch. It is also a far healthier option compared to the beloved meal deal.

Firstly, our group collected all the ingredients needed and chopped up all their veggies. Miss B’s top tip here was to keep the carrot skin on. Lots of people tend to peel the carrot, but this is where all the goodness and fibre is – why get rid of it!

Having chatted to the pupils and watched them as they were cooking, I was impressed with how carefully they followed the recipe and with the ease that they did this. For some, this was their first time cooking soup, and others had done this before. They also appeared to enjoy cooking, and we would really encourage them to go away and try this recipe again at home. I have attached the recipe below…


Below are some more photos from our lesson…

I was extremely jealous of the finished product, it smelt and looked amazing! I’m pleased to say that they most of them took the soup away and ate it for their lunch (they were lucky to have this cooking lesson the period before lunch). The feedback the next day was also very positive and we hope this is a positive step in the right direction!


 For those that are maybe not so keen on lentil soup, or perhaps fancy something different, I have attached some easy soup recipes below for our group to try at home:

Sweet Potato and Carrot: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/roasted-sweet-potato-carrot-soup

Tomato Soup: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5100/rich-tomato-soup-with-pesto

Minestrone Soup: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3456/minestrone-in-minutes


  • Bring PE kit for Wednesday as we will be doing some more fitness-type activity
  • Notice board has been updated with photos, have a look if you can find yourself!

Fact of the Week

“The skin of a carrot is the best bit for you, as it contains the most fibre. To add more goodness to your cooking, avoid peeling it!”




Week 7- A Trip to Tesco

Week 7 has arrived and this week, we took a trip to Tesco…

Every Little Helps…

One aspect we are looking closely at within our group is healthy eating. As we could see from our food diary entries at the start of the project, healthy eating and a balanced diet is something we as a group needed to work on. Although there is a school canteen available, at lunch our pupils often choose to buy their lunch from the local Tesco. Most commonly, they tend to go for the famous “meal deal”. A meal deal in Tesco consists of your choice of sandwich, pasta, salad or baguette; a snack such as crisps, chocolate, mini cakes or fruit and a drink all for £3, hence it is a popular option.

Although there are healthier options within this, the average meal deal tends to have more calorific value than a Big Mac and Fries from McDonalds. To bring this to our groups attention, we took them on a trip to Tesco. On this trip we asked them to purchase a meal deal of their choice. After the purchase was made we took our bags of goodies back down to school…

As you can see in the above photos, the main choices were sandwiches, crisps and a fizzy drink. The next step was we asked our pupils to gather their lunch together and fill in the below sheet, using data from their lunch:


As you can see, this meal deal totalled up at 784 calories. To put this in perspective, a McDonalds burger and fries totals up at 696 calories. One of our pupils was most shocked at the amount of sugar in her Dr Pepper – 27 grams!


What we want to get our pupils thinking about is what small changes they could make to their lunch that would impact their health in a positive way. Some examples included: buying water instead of a fizzy drink; choosing the “healthy living” sandwich options and opting for a bag of fruit instead of a bag of Monster Munch. At the end of the year, using the knowledge they have developed we hope to go again and see a difference in their meal deal choice. In S1, often our meal choices are dictated at home (Breakfast already bought in, tea decided earlier) but lunch is something our pupils do have control of. Small changes can make all the difference.


  • Same as the week before regarding Fitbits and Parents/Carers Night
  • Notice Board will be updated next week with photos

Fact of the Week

“A Tesco Meal Deal contains more calories than a McDonalds Big Mac and Fries!”

Week 6- Welcome Back!

Welcome back! Happy new year to all.

Breakfast Club…

The cereal has been flowing so far this week, with lots of faces arriving bright and early. For a quite a few of our young people, the breakfast club has become part of their daily routine. The health benefits of eating a good breakfast are endless so it is important that the service is being well used. Not only are our young people fuelling their day with a good breakfast and staying hydrated, the club is becoming a great social opportunity for our group (and a few others). They are able to come in, listen to the radio or the news and catch up on the important things (like their “streaks” on Snapchat or who is now going out with who). Joking aside, having a safe and enjoyable place to go in the morning can help set our young people up with a positive start for the day ahead.

Jab, Cross and Hook…

This week, our group had their extracted lesson based in PE. In these lessons we are trying to focus on fitness orientated activities. The aim of each PE based lesson is to do different types of activities in the hope that every young person will find something they enjoy in order to continue to do this activity in their own time and hopefully will find some lifelong enjoyment in physical activity. This week our focus was boxing!

For some of our pupils, this was a daunting thought and we had some unsure faces. For others, their inner Rocky Balboa was about to come out. We focused on pad work in pairs learning three types of punch (jab, uppercut and hook) and added in sequences for them to perform in their pairs. Confidence is still something we, as a group, need to improve on as well as the willingness to try new things and take part in physical activity. However, the cooperation between the group has certainly improved and was apparent in the pair work throughout this lesson.


As well as the activity, we also try and provoke discussion around health and fitness within these lessons. This week I was incredibly impressed that all but 1 in our group answered this following question with “no”: “Is health and fitness the same thing?”

Following this, we had a great discussion with the leading question being – “well if they are not the same thing, what is the difference?”. The pupils were fast to offer answers such as “health means good sleep too”, and “It is to do with the mind and how you feel”. I thought this was excellent. If the understanding of health itself is there, we have a fantastic platform to keep building on.


  • Fitbits are ordered and on the way
  • A welcome evening for the parents will be organised soon following the arrival of the Fitbits

Fact of the Week…

“Exercising regularly can help boost your immune system, and can help you not get ill as often”


Week 5- Merry Christmas!

Just a quick and last post of 2016.

HWB Bake Off… 

As it was the last week before Christmas, for our extracted lesson this week we had a not-so-healthy Christmas inspired bake off. Miss B helped our group make some fabulous Christmas pudding chocolate crispie cakes! There’s a mouth full! Our group are really starting to work better together which really showed in this lesson.

And the the winner is…


Thank you to our group for being so patient! This week our sample Fitbits arrived so we were able to get everyone measured for a Fitbit in the hope of them all arriving in January. Looking forward to the step competitions beginning!


Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year from us all! See you in 2017…