Mr. Mitchell's Blog

May 8, 2012

My Blog Has Moved

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Please note that I have a new blog situated here:

March 7, 2012

Presentation Links

Links for the various presentations I am doing at The BETT Show:

The day the German Embassy popped in.
Year 4 link with a school in Australia

Project Blogs:
Well Done Blog A WONDERFUL place!!
Pandora Writing Blog – Inspired by Avatar
Kensuke’s Kingdom Writing Blog
The Island: 1 to 1 Tuition Writing Blog
Fern’s Blog: Fern decides to ‘use’ her audience
Abigail’s Blog: Recovering from a two brain tumours is a little easier says Abigail with a platform for her voice!
The ALL NEW Pandora Project Blog – Not finished as we are currently working on this!
Xander’s Blog – Using ONLY audio to inspire Alexander to write

Using Coveritlive in the classoom
Using Coveritlive outside the classroom!
Ask your audience who and where they are?
Voicethread to perform
Voicethread to peer assess
Voicethread to teacher asses – Teachers from all over the globe!
Using Audioboo to capture magic
Using Photopeach in Reception to engage parents
Binyameen’s writing being used by other teachers
Raja gets help from Guatamala with his Howler Monkey Project
Thomas puts his Art Portfolio online

My Year 6 pupils explain in their own words:

BBC Breakfast filmed live from Heathfield in 2011:

BBC Radio 5Live interviewed Thome, Miss Wiggans and Mr. Mitchell in 2011:

BBC NW filmed live from Heathfield in 2011 too:

February 24, 2012

A new dimension to my work

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It’s no secret that although I enjoyed my time as Acting Head teacher, I decided that the role wasn’t for me. I was too far removed from the learners so as a result at this time, I’m not interested in pursuing that position. However, so conscientious were my Governors, they asked how school could support my professional development if I wasn’t going to move towards Headship. It didn’t take me long to to ask my Governors for an agreement which would mean that I could accept some consultancy and speaking opportunities that I had previously had to turn down.

This proposal went through the correct channels and I am delighted to report that I am able to have a set number of days leave between now and the end of the school year to accept invitations to Keynote, hold workshops/training and accept other opportunities that might come my way.

So far, I have been booked for the following engagements:

7th March – Keynote Oxford University
10th March – Keynote NAACE conference Leicester
29th March – Keynote Norfolk ICT Conference
18th-19th April – Pelecon Spotlight Presentation Plymouth
14th June – National College Workshop on Blogging
19th-20th June – #140Conf Presentation New York
27th June – 1 day NLT Conf with Pie Corbett London
3rd July – Keynote with Pie Corbett SWGfL Conf Plymouth

If you are interested in working with me, please get in touch using the contact form linked at the top of this blog or email me:

February 22, 2012

Creating a ‘Well Done Blog’ to change a culture

Many of you reading this will know about the Well Done Blog I created back in September 2011. For those that don’t know about it, here’s some contextual information behind why I started it. After starting my Acting Headship in September 2011, I became aware very quickly that I was being visited by pupils which resulted in dealing with behavioural issues on a ratio of 10:1. That’s for every 10 pupils I was dealing with negative behaviour, I was visited by 1 pupil for positive behaviour.

I told the pupils in my 2nd assembly as Acting Head that I would blog about ANY child sent to me for positive things and challenged them to get sent to me! The results were and still are quite amazing. Within hours of that assembly, the ratio had completely reversed. Now it was 1:10 where for every one child that I was seeing for negative behaviour, I was seeing 10 pupils for positive behaviour. This was quite a culture shift and this took place over night. Even though I am no longer Acting Head teacher, I still maintain the well done blog and although I’m not in the position to run it as smoothly as I was, the pupils take much more of a hands on approach now. When I say hands on – they just ask me for my phone as they have already decided on the way to see me, how they would like to have their reason blogged about!

If your Headteacher or Principle can’t see the benefit of changing a culture at your school. Why not have a go yourself. It will only take a few moments of your playtime and lunchtimes but the impact you could have will leave you amazed!

It’s simple… With tools like:

Classdroid: which allows easy upload from an Android phone to your blog in only 4 taps on your screen.
Pixlr-o-Matic: Which take a little more time but allows you to add filters and frames to pictures taken on your phone.
Audioboo: This allows you to record audio and upload to be embedded. It is just beautifully simple!

Go on… I challenge you to have a go. It doesn’t matter what position you are in at your school, go and lead from it! The results will ASTONISH you!

February 1, 2012

LWF Award Caption Competition

I was totally thrilled to be shortlisted for the Primary Innovator Learning Without Frontiers Award last Wednesday and totally shocked to actually win the award considering I was up agains Ian Addison and Chris Leach. I was talking to Merlin John to whom I owe credit for this picture and we both thought this would make a good caption competition. So… fire away!

Picture by Merlin John

January 29, 2012

Tim Rylands – His coffee drinking exploits!

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Whilst chatting on Twitter today, I mentioned a little tip that I picked up listening to Tim Rylands present at BMobLE in 2010.

Approached from his left, Tim took the Starbucks cup from Sarah’s hand, politely nodded and with a brief exchange of smiles Tim moved back to the centre of his stage. Tim wanted to find out more about the experiences from his captive audience and asked for some examples. Thirsty from his energetic style, Tim began to gently sip but kept absolute eye contact with the audience member. Continuing to sip from his coffee and nodding inquisitively Tim allowed the gentleman to expand and explore his own ideas for about 1 minute. Tim’s lips and his Starbucks coffee parted and the presentation and discussion moved on.

It was only a good 5 minutes after this, Tim turned his coffee upside down to reveal an empty and dry container. Tim explained how he kept positive eye contact and body language with the gentleman to allow time and opportunity for the gentleman to explore and elaborate on his own ideas without a single prompt from Tim.

It was a joy to watch and 140 characters would not have done Tim justice!

January 26, 2012

Learning with Tim Rylands

Qatar may be 4326.9 miles away from me, however, this didn’t come in the way of me joining 66 pupils at The Qatar Academy with Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild this morning. I was lucky enough to be able to Skype into their learning and see the magic taking place. Sarah even took me on a walk around the classroom to meet some of the students and teachers.

January 17, 2012

Nominated for two LWF12 Awards – Standing in the shadows of giants

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I first realised something was wrong when my phone started to ligrepeats repeatedly during lessons this morning. I was knee deep in pupil progress meetings from lunchtime but did see a message flagging up the news that I had beeshorter listed for the Primary Education innovator category and to an even bigger shock the special achievement award

You only have to visit the voting page here
to see the names included. I don’t know everyone but there are some Heroes of mine included in that list. I can honestly say that I am honoured to be included in that list of names and encourage you to vote and help celebrate some cracking work in education.

January 16, 2012 – A Global Blogging Project

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Last week I launched with the help from Peter Ford and John Sutton. After seeing first hand the power that an audience can have on pupils raising writing levels from 9% Level 5 to 60% Level 5 in 12 months. Not only that but impacting on progress, resulting in the last 2 Year 6 classes leaving Heathfield Primary School making on average 2 years progress each in their writing in just 12 months. I find myself on a mission to bring the power of audience to as many pupils as possible. is going to strip blogging down to a couple of clicks where anyone around the world can visit and blog within 2 minutes. As soon as the 29th February begins in Tonga, the blog will open and 48 hours later when February 29th finishes a few miles east it will close. The result will be documented in one place and will be a showcase of the power of audience.

This is a call for support… Can you help? If you have a blog, please feel free to display this little button on your blog somewhere:


The code for this button is here:

<a href=””><img src=”” border=”0″ alt=”Photobucket”></a> has a Facebook page that can be viewed here.

You can follow on Twitter here.

Do you know someone who could help? If so, please tell them about this project. If it gets just one teacher allowing their pupils to write to an audience then it will be worth it!

“The child’s tray is a hospice for writing” Bill Lord (Consultant)

We owe them more than that!

Through Twitter, there has been lots of support for this project. One very interesting development has been through discussions with @_imaginaryme who wondered what some teachers and pupils might blog about. About 24 hours later I got an email with some code in it:

How great is this? Keep an eye on this as more ideas will be added to help those that may want to blog on 29th Feb have something to give them some inspiration.

January 11, 2012

BETT Show 2012 London

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Seeing as though there are loads of hashtags including the official #BETT_Show tag, Coveritlive seemed like the bast place to collate them all for me:

January 4, 2012

Anthologize plugin to create the analogue of the digital!

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A few people who were present at the Silverstone Blogging Masterclass at the back end of 2011 saw the look in my eyes as Peter Ford was showcasing Anthologize.

Now this little plugin has AWESOME potential. My eyes were dripping with ideas as Peter showed how simple it was to produce a pdf booklet of various posts from a blog. In my first attempt after installing the plugin, I wanted to create a pdf of all the post Binyameen made last year as a ‘Year of Blogging’ by Binyameen. It took all of 3 minutes and here is the document below:

Present this bound document with a QR Code of his ‘tag’ on the front and you have the perfect leaver’s gift for a Year 6 pupils who is leaving Heathfield.

December 20, 2011

Don’t believe the hype!

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I Want To Believe The Hype I’ve been thinking about the whole topic of Twitter for some time. It’s a strange place, don’t get me wrong, Twitter has changed me on a professional level. Many of you will know that 3 years ago, I was trying to leave the profession but Heathfield and Twitter together changed me.

So… Twitter

Some boring facts for you:

I have about 5000 followers, I would guess roughly 3000 are UK teachers. In the UK there are 610,000 teachers, so as a result, roughly speaking, approximately 0.5% of UK teachers follow my predictable ramblings about audience, blogs and engagement.

For me, Twitter is a wonderful place where, for me, like-minded people collaborate, discuss and celebrate. There is indeed a lot of love out there, however, even more valuable than that, good honest feedback. Occasionally there are even highly entertaining heated discussions where disrupters test the quality of new /old ideas.

I do however feel that I need a reality check every now and then. 0.5% of teachers who on the whole have similar values to me is not a true reflection of what is out there. I received a phone call this week from a local school who had seen my name in Chris Quigley’s ‘Dangerous Curriculum’ and a reference to blogging. They phoned me up to ask me what on earth my name was doing in the back of this book and basically wanted to know ‘what on earth is this blogging thing?’ This illustrated to me that in the UK 99.5% of teachers or schools have NO IDEA what I or even you do. Are we the group of geeks who manage to find each other in this bubble just like new High School pupils tend to find there own in the first few weeks of High School? In our world of 0.5% we have influence, we have a voice and we have positive reinforcement. We rarely get challenge or challenging feedback!

When I decided not to go for the Headship at Heathfield, so many lovely people asked why, told me I’d be great at it and that I should reconsider. I found that really touching but equally interesting. There are a few of my followers that know what I am like as a leader. Many people on Twitter will rely on what I say about my leadership style but won’t have any other evidence to make a judgement from, this judgement will be formed from what I tweet or blog about.

I have been REALLY lucky! People like: Tony Parkin, Dughall McCormick, Jack Sloan, Tim Rylands, John Sutton, Andy Black, Paul Hynes, Julian Wood, John Bidder and Dianne Spencer plus MANY more have played pivotal parts in my development. Press attention for me, has been about being in the right place at the right time and my reputation has benefited massively from these fantastic moments – but I have been lucky!

My decision to not go for the Headship at Heathfield and Headship in general has been carefully considered. I have an uncontrollable desire to spread the power of an audience. As far as I can see, 99.5% of teachers have no idea about this incredible power. If that equates to 99.5% of pupils globally, then this is a feast for my soul!

There is so much work to do, for all of us… beware of the hype!

Picture: By Stallio

December 19, 2011

Google Presentation

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Embedded Spreadsheet

December 13, 2011

Talk about it first… Write about it later.

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Most of you reading this know what I’m about – Exposing pupils to global audience about sums me up. I’m pretty predictable, annoy many people with predictable tweets and speak exclusively about this subject at conferences. I’m convincing myself that I am a one trick pony here but to tell you the truth, I don’t care! I’m just going to keep on spouting the same words that GIVING YOUR PUPILS A GLOBAL AUDIENCE WORKS! It would have worked for me when I was at school and I have not met one pupil who doesn’t feel completely normal sharing their learning with the world.

Meet Alexander… Some of you will know Alexander from his class blog here or even from the well done blog here. Alex is a sensational talker, I love it when he comes and talks to me. He communicates above his years and his general knowledge is WAY above his years! When I audioboo’d Alexander on the well done blog, his eyes lit up, he knew who he was speaking to in a way that was different to when he was writing on the blog. With this in mind, I’m trying something out with Alexander (Xander to his friends and family.)

My cunning plan (which I’m sharing as I’d like you to see how it develops realtime) is to give Xander a platform for his voice – literally! This is not anything new, any teacher worth their salt knows how important talking in relation to writing is. I’m just trying the digital version incorporating my usual schpeel about audience. I’ve set him up a new blog called Xander’s World. This is his space where he will be challenging his audience to challenge him to speak about a subject – It can be absolutely anything. Xander will read the comments, choose which challenge to take up, head off and do some research and the outcome will be an informal Audioboo in Xander’s style. Eventually, Xander’s thoughts and ideas will stretch beyond this one dimensional approach, he’ll want to share ideas, diagrams, pictures and yes… eventually his writing.

I can’t wait to see how this develops. He’s a superstar – Follow Xander’s World and find out for yourself and see an oasis of wonderful learning unfold before your eyes!

December 11, 2011

What APPLAUSE means to my pupils…

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Self-Esteem and

My pupils came up with this last year but I didn’t get around to posting it.

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