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September 28, 2010

Risk Free Writing.

Filed under: Uncategorized @ 11:31 pm
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I just love writing with children. I don’t seem to be too bad at it either which is a good job because there are plenty of areas of my teaching I really wish to improve. My attitude to writing is – Just write! It doesn’t matter what about, it doesn’t matter how good it is, it just doesn’t matter – just write! Pupils hopefully come to learn with me and feel like then can let go and write, make tonnes of mistakes but there will be something that is good! Something to celebrate, yet, something to work on. As a class/group we peer asses, celebrate, annotate, highlight, create targets and we love to write.

Please take a moment to look at some examples form my Year 6 class: Year 6 Blog

I believe that writing must be a ‘real’ experience, an experience that you are connected with. Whether it is for your teacher, a friend, a blog or Santa, it needs to be real and for an audience.

This is why I LOVE blogging. Each pupil has an opportunity to be an author and a publisher. How else would an 11 year old get 1000′s of views on their writing? What other resource would a child cry with joy because a teacher from St. Albans wanted to publish their work on a Year 8 website and use their writing to launch their project? What other tool would bring 23 out of 30 Year 6 pupils out of 2ft of snow in their gardens to a virtual lesson when school is closed? What other tool would see a class of streetwise Year 6 pupils spontaneously applause when a child gets their first comment?

How electric is that? How fantastic is that? Our Year 6 pupils last year couldn’t get into school quick enough and wanted to stay behind at the end of the day. They wanted to experience online live lessons EVERY week in their evenings!

Pupils wanted to write, they wanted to publish, they wanted to show off what they were learning. They listened, they spoke…they wrote!

2010-2011 is all about embedding at HeathfieldCPS. We have an amazing group of pupils. One of my biggest fears about starting this term was whether we would be able to get that amount of excitement generate about writing and blogging. Our new Year 6 are just chomping at the bit. Our new Year 5 are building on a sensational year of blogging last year. They are developing their own ideas for their blog and presenting them to me and our Year 5 teacher each week. Our Reception Blog is becoming an online account of learning experiences that parents and look at with pride. Our Year 2 teacher, who I know won’t mind me saying this had possibly the biggest barriers to overcome with blogging asked me this week if she could have her own teacher blog to document all the ‘magical’ moments that happen to her in school! How GREAT is that? Our Year 4 teacher is full of energy and enthusiasm, willing to ‘have a go’ at anything! Our new Year 3 NQT (who has enough on his plate) is developing a focus for his blog with the guidance of other staff. Our Year 6 teacher is always trying to think of ways in which the blog can be used in lessons or from home. Our Year 1 teacher is also documenting learning each week. However, most importantly, a Headteacher that ‘gets it’!

Our blogs are really beginning to show learning at all levels at Heathfield, they are embedding, they are becoming a normal part of exciting learning for the pupils, they are becoming an exciting tool in which teachers can enthuse their pupils and engage them in all aspects of the curriculum.

Above all, each night, dozens of pupils are rushing home and…writing!

8 Comments

  1.   Jan Webb — September 29, 2010 @ 10:53 pm    Reply

    Putting writing online doesn’t have to be a final product but can be part of the formative process, the learning process (to continue on from comment number 6!). I completely agree with Mr Mitchell’s sentiments that sometimes it is important to let the creative juices flow, whilst at others it is time to worry about the more technical aspects of spelling, punctuation and grammar. I think any opportunity for pupils to write for an authentic audience, in an authentic context, about authentic experiences is invaluable! Love reading the blogs!

  2.   Peter Stockwell — September 29, 2010 @ 7:11 pm    Reply

    I am sure you tell your pupils that they must get their spelling, puntuation and grammar correct before they put their writing online. Those who can’t seem to gravitate towards Yahoo Answers.

    •   Mr Mitchell — September 29, 2010 @ 8:24 pm    Reply

      Not all the time! The pupils log on from home and post their own writing without me editing it. They do their best and that is good enough for me.

    •   Mr Mitchell — September 29, 2010 @ 8:36 pm    Reply

      Just to be clear too, we’re talking about 9-11 year olds!

  3.   DianneSpencer — September 29, 2010 @ 5:20 pm    Reply

    This is one of the most inspirational blog posts I’ve read for ages. The learning journey that our staff are making is only partly about the “blogging”. What really inspires me about this blog post is the description of the capacity of the staff at Heathfieldcps.net to work and learn together sharing a strong and clear vision for pupil engagement and enjoyment.

  4.   Binyameen — September 29, 2010 @ 9:50 am    Reply

    I enjoy writing too ( well not too much).Thanks Mr Mitchell for this inspiring peice of post.

  5.   Fern — September 29, 2010 @ 9:47 am    Reply

    Thats really true all Mr. Mitchell says it just right and he might love working with him, but I bet you that we like working with him more !! :)

  6.   Mr Leach — September 29, 2010 @ 7:37 am    Reply

    An inspiring post, I’m already beginning to experience the joy and excitement children get when they receive comments on their work. I have started sharing examples of work through our blog and have been asking children to evaluate their own work by leaving comments themselves. A very powerful tool that I hope to get the rest of the school involved in.

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