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September 13, 2010

Evaluating our blogging at HeathfieldCPS

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 10:33 pm

I am wanting to evaluate our blogging quite urgently for matters that I will disclose in a few weeks. However, I REALLY need your help. I’m wanting to collect any thoughts/comments from anyone that has any feedback for us. Has anything we have done had any impact outside of HeathfieldCPS? This certainly is not an exercise I am doing just for the sake of it. Any comments made will not be authorised for public view so you can say what you like knowing this! If you want to have a look at some of the blogs here are some links:

Year 6 blog 2009 – 2010
Year 6 blog 2010 – 2011
Germany World Cup Blog
Year 5 blog 2010 – 2011
Year 4 blog 2009 – 2010
Year 4 blog 2010 – 2011
Year 2 blog 2009 – 2010
Year 2 blog 2010 – 2011
Reception Blog 2010
Reception Blog 2010 – 2011
Deputy Headteacher’s Blog
Headteacher’s Blog

Any comments would be really appreciated. I will explain all this in a few weeks but for now I just need your help!

Thanks you!

25 Comments

  1.   Diana Wyatt — September 20, 2010 @ 7:03 am    Reply

    The work you are doing at Heathfield with the blogs is amazing. It obviously takes a high level of commitment from you and your staff but this is what’s needed to bring learning into the 21st century.

  2.   Dughall — September 19, 2010 @ 9:07 pm    Reply

    David. I confess, I don’t read everything at Heathfield. I read nearly all of *your* posts because I see them flagged on Twitter. I no longer subscribe to blogs as my reader just got tangled with weeds and brambles and I just couldn’t keep on top of it any more. I tend to come across things via Twitter and the good stuff is usually retweeted enough that if I miss first time round, it’ll still appear in my radar.

    Having said that, I can honestly say that over the past year, I have certainly visited most (if not all) your class blogs and definitely pay more than an occasional visit to Dianne’s.

    So what do I make of all this? Well, it is nothing short of phenomenal. I mean it. You only have to listen to the voicethread of kids explaining why they blog or whisk through some class blogs to see the unbelievable richness. I wanted to say ‘richness of…’ but I’m struggling to qualify it. Content? But that is too broad. Think of those parents who have a unique, pleasure-giving window into their child’s life. Think of the ensuing conversations! It takes “What did you do at school today?” to another level altogether! What about the kids themselves? They have a fantastic, multimedia archive of some key experiences and learning opportunities.

    Why write? Why share? Those two questions were answered comprehensively by the Germany World cup blog alone! The biggest audience I had for my writing when I was in primary school was the teacher (in my book), other kids (if it went on the wall), my parents (if I took the book home). Your pupils have the world!

    I am conscious that I haven’t really answered your question about impact beyond Heathfield. How can I say except from a very personal perspective? It has impacted on me and Vicki (my OH) who occasionally gets a link sent or a view of my laptop when I’ve seen something particularly special. Vicki is now setting up one of John’s blogs for her own school. There are also the occasions (increasing in number) on which I am able to point schools/leaders/teachers to a school where exemplary blogging is taking place.

    I will continue to spread the word!

  3.   57mason — September 19, 2010 @ 8:05 pm    Reply

    great to see so many vibrant posts on the blogs, fantastic work, keep it up, given me lots of ideas for future blogs

  4.   Mr Langley — September 19, 2010 @ 8:04 pm    Reply

    The blogging at Heathfield has been engaging for children within the school – because these pupils have had a much wider audience their online work has been v high quality. It has also inspired other schools to get involved with online projects i.e. blogtheworldcup, coveritlive etc. The children and staff at Heathfield have also been invited to present at #bMobLe2011 Keep up the good work!

  5.   Emma Dawson — September 18, 2010 @ 7:46 pm    Reply

    I really enjoy reading all the Heathfield blogs and it’s one of the things that inspired me to start one with my own class as I could see how powerful they are for your children. We are now looking to set one up for each year group. It’s also great to see a deputy and HT from the same school blogging to see the shared vision but also it gives a good feel of how other schools operate.

  6.   Thomas pitts — September 16, 2010 @ 12:24 am    Reply

    I love this blog, all the Heathfield blogs. I enjoy seeing what can be done by schools using the Internet. If only we had facilities like yours! I’ve used a range of the ideas here with my class. Thanks for all the hard work!

  7.   Steven Horsley — September 15, 2010 @ 10:55 pm    Reply

    Hi David,

    I have only recently entered the world of Twitter and the like. I have discovered more in the last three weeks through the development of a PLN than I had in three years of trying to research independently.

    I am not working in school at the moment. At the moment I work for a doomed quango – and therefore I’m looking to go back into a school fairly soon. (Edit this bit out please!)

    From this new found knowledge I am already developing some key ideas that will support my application for a headship. One of the things that has really inspired me is Peter’s blog. It has been fascinating to watch his development as a writer in the last week, and to see the power that a blog can have in motivating a reluctant writer.

    The blogs and ‘live’ feel of the information is very powerful in my opinion. It has the potential to give parents and children an immediate way of sharing in the learning journey, and with the dedication of a teacher who is prepared to moderate responses during the evening you attain something special. Learning without walls is the phrase that comes to mind.

    I have a question about how this is acheived where a member of staff does not have the same inclination to support the learning in this way? Contractually it is difficult to oblige a member of staff to do something like this beyond the school day – they would have a very good argument that it would not be a reasonable request from a headteacher.

    Building a network of teachers and colleagues that are willing to look at the children’s work and give up some of their time provides one solution, and this is where I am learning fast about the power of a PLN through Twitter.

    One remaining question would be in relation to safeguarding, which we have tweeped (correct phrase?) about last weekend. There are some Headteacher colleagues who only see danger in blogging and comments from a PLN, and they continue to express these concerns when the comments only appear live after being moderated. Their argument centers on the fact that a moderator has no knowledge of whether the commentor has a CRB check or not (and that’s another argument!!) – I have three currently.

    Anyway, a bit of a ramble. Good luck with your work. When I do get a Headship I hope that you will be one of my sources of information fro developing and revolutionising the way that ICT is done within the school.

    Kind regards,

    Steven

  8.   Alex Wilson — September 15, 2010 @ 2:20 pm    Reply

    The blogs have been a real eye-opener and inspiration for me. I stumbled across the blogs through twitter and ukedchat and just didn’t realise what could be done with blogging. My class now have the beginnings of their own blog and I’m on a steep learning curve about how to manage it – looking at your blogs have shown me what can be done, so I’ve been busy ‘borrowing’ ideas ;-) and hopefully will start to get things moving in the right direction this year.
    Cheers!
    Alex

  9.   Jill Murphy — September 15, 2010 @ 9:30 am    Reply

    I visited your blog a few times to learn about the use of blogs in primary schools and to decide whether to set one up for the learning network I was working in. We made contact with John Sutton and we are in discussions with 6 secondary schools in Liverpool about how we can use a blog to share community information.

  10.   Caron kerr — September 15, 2010 @ 1:07 am    Reply

    What a wonderful and exciting learning experience this is! I have so enjoyed it all. The poems have made me smile and also brought a tear to my eye. It has been wonderful to look at the photographs and read about the students experiences.

    I am already thinking of how we could do something similiar in our school and I was wondering if any of you would like to share your experiences, thoughts or lifes with our own students.

    Perhaps a blogging exchange kind of like blog penfriends or even better school blogging twinning!

    Let me know your thought on this but whatever the outcome I am going to direct my students here !

    Well done on an inspiring project!!!

  11.   Jenny — September 14, 2010 @ 10:09 pm    Reply

    I think that the whole school approach to blogging is a fantastic way of highlighting the sense of community that your school has. From the class blogs, I get a sense that the pupils enjoy and engage with their learning, even beyond year 6.
    The staff blogs not only model good practice but they engage with professional development and as a parent I would love to read something similar.
    Devotion and dedication coupled with pupil enjoyment and engagement must make for an excellent ethos in your school.

    Jenny (Fife, Scotland)

  12.   Tim Rylands — September 14, 2010 @ 10:05 pm    Reply

    In short, consistent, dynamic, creative, encouraging, valued and valuable. An example to many.
    To get responses and comments from all around the world (some of them official) is powerful for any young writer.
    When writing is cherished, as the blog articles on Heathfield are, it must have a very positive effect on confidence, and motivation.

  13.   Zoe — September 14, 2010 @ 9:53 pm    Reply

    Love the blogs! Great vehicles for so much learning! I really like the pupil reflections on first days, key events and memorable moments. These blogs are a document of learning, an expansive abd unique example of high order thinking (and action) and great opportunities to blur the boundaries between home and school, between different subjects and between different year groups. I am working with a large secondary school to encourage just this kind of reflection on learning and I will recommend they take an explore of this site. Great stuff-keep it going!

  14.   Nikki — September 14, 2010 @ 9:00 pm    Reply

    Your blogs inspired me to set one up for my class! It’s currently working really well for us so thank you very much! I’ve also got lots of great ideas for content from you and been really pleased to see how well your pupils have responded to writing for an audience.

  15.   Rachel Orr — September 14, 2010 @ 8:07 pm    Reply

    A copy of ‘Teach Primary’ landed on my desk today. I was very excited about the article on writing by Pie Corbett about dragons. Pie is coming to my school in October to talk about improving writing with my staff. There were 13 articles all about how to promote reading and then………………….

    I came upon a double page all about the World Cup and inparticular, blogging about the World Cup. I read on with haste and came across a paragraph written by Mr Mitchell regarding the blogging the children in school had contributed to whilst representing Germany as their team. I recall having an amazing evening joining in with the running commentary during a live football match. The speed at which I had to read and type most certainly kept me on my toes.

    I shared the article with my staff tonight and felt very privileged to report, ‘I was part of that night!’

    Coming from the North East of England, the children in my school have very strong affilliations to both Newcastle and Sunderland football teams. I mentioned my joining in a live blog in front of the TV when Germany played – they were suitably impressed. I too was most definitely impressed at the level of writing fit for purpose. Well done Heathfield!!!!

  16.   Kevin McLaughlin — September 14, 2010 @ 7:46 pm    Reply

    I have found the World cup blog and your own blog, mrmitchell, to be highly motivating and inspirational this year. The world cup blog was a brilliant example of collaborative blogging on a world wide scale with many other users throughout the world commenting on the work done by Mr Mitchell’s class. It inspired my own class to push their blogging skills further during the World Cup.
    Mr Mitchell’s own blog has contiuously inspired my thinking and helped me put into practice teaching and learning styles and methods with my own class. I have also used parts of his blog with other staff during training sessions as examples of excellent practice.

  17.   theheadsoffice — September 14, 2010 @ 9:39 am    Reply

    Loved the World Cup theme with year 6. now getting into the lower school. Theri blogs give a great feel to the work & the children’s enthusiasm to it. Being able to pop in means that I (& parents) can have instant access rather than waiting for paretns evenings etc.

  18.   ictast — September 14, 2010 @ 9:35 am    Reply

    I often check your blogs to see what is going on in Years 5 and 6. My class enjoyed the World Cup blog and it inspired some great learning from that world event. So thank you.

  19.   Lucy — September 14, 2010 @ 8:32 am    Reply

    I have really enjoyed dipping in and out of the various Heathfield blogs, from the Headteachers to the different year groups. I have found great ideas to think about, and lots to show other teachers who are thinking about getting into blogging with their classes. I don’t think this is much of an evaluation, rather a comment on your blogs. Hope this helps and carry on with this fascinating work.

  20.   Nick Jackson — September 14, 2010 @ 8:12 am    Reply

    I always refer to your site and indeed show it to PGCE students when running lectures at university on use of ICT, Web 2.0 etc. I have also shown this to other teachers and senior management in schools to demonstrate the power of student voice, the way in which a blog can enhance parental communication and the way in which a blog can up the profile of a school internationally, nationally and locally

  21.   Kim Pericles — September 14, 2010 @ 2:25 am    Reply

    PS Thank you!

    PPS Sorry the comment was so long :-0

  22.   Kim Pericles — September 14, 2010 @ 2:25 am    Reply

    Hello David,
    Your Heathfield Yr 6 blog had a huge impact on myself, my intern teacher and my class at the beginning of this year. Let me explain….

    I was at a Professional Development conference late in 2009 when I heard about VCOP and Big Writing from some teachers from England who are now teaching here in Australia.The ideas presented sounded too good to be true, and my Stage 3 team (years 5 & 6) thought that we would have a try, beginning this year (early 2010). We bought the book, read up on it over the holidays and tried to put it in place in our classrooms starting in February/March.

    I was lucky, I had a Master of Teaching intern teacher working with me and she took on the actual teaching of lessons around VCOP. It was around this time that I heard about the great things you were doing with Voicethread and VCOP on your blog. It gave myself and my teachers a chance to “see” real examples of working with VCOP in the classroom.

    My class loved listening to what the students from your class were doing – they were amazed that students the same age were doing much the same things they were doing from so far away!

    The Heathfield blog made a huge difference to many people down here in Sydney Australia: My teachers and intern got to see a real class doing VCOP, we all benefitted from the examples of web2.0 connectivity, we used examples we saw in our own teaching. My class were spurred on to improve their work using some of the vocab, connectives and openers they were introduced to by the Heathfield kids.

    Altogether, the Heathfield blog and especially David Mitchell made a remarkable, practical and motivating difference to us – at least 3 classes and 4 teachers down here in Sydney Australia! We look forward to whatever you get up to next :-)

    Kim Pericles
    Assistant Principal
    Belmore South PS

    http://www.kpericles.edublogs.org

  23.   Steve Philp — September 13, 2010 @ 10:49 pm    Reply

    I only started reading the blogs at the end of the Summer term so I have to say that the impact of their actual content was minimal, however I was so impressed by the way you were doing the blogging and the many contacts you had made around the world that I wanted some of it for my own school. Although I’ve not seen any actual data it was clear to me that the blogging had had a major impact on both the children’s motivation to write and their actual skill – they were writing for a real audience.

  24.   Jane Woods — September 13, 2010 @ 10:46 pm    Reply

    I shared the links to your school blog with ITT students at MMU today. It is great that they can follow what is happening in a dynamic and forward thinking school that uses technology in an inspirational way to support children’s learning. Keep up the good work!

  25.   Katie Hague — September 13, 2010 @ 10:42 pm    Reply

    It’s been great, I’ve shared photopeach with loads of schools, and think that this has shown how blogging doesn’t have to be text. Blogs on a theme are much more manageable and accessible to staff so have suggested this too! Think the range of blogs has showcased how everyone can do one without too much work.

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