What a 7 days…
The last 7 days have been absolutely crazy for me and HeathfieldCPS. Don’t get me wrong – in a good way!
I found out about 6 weeks ago that HeathfieldCPS had won the Toshiba ICT Redesign Award through the SSAT after a long process involving a judging/assessment day back in September. The application for the award was done in one evening and was just the truth about the story behind our blogging. This made it even more special as we did not put anything special on show for the judging day, we just got on with being HeathfieldCPS.
Last Thursday, myself, Dianne Spencer (Head) and Louise Holland (Reception class teacher) ventured off for the day down to the SSAT National Conference to experience the unknown! Little did we know that Heathfield was certainly not unknown! Over the last 12 months, HeathfieldCPS have gained a reputation as a forward thinking, IT literate school that have embraced the world of blogging and now reaping the rewards! Not rewards as in awards but rewards as in engaged, enthuse, engrossed pupils who are alive and active in their learning. The SSAT National Conference was possibly the friendliest place I had been to. Tony Parkin at one side of the hall, Andrea Carr at the other side, Len Daniels in one corner, Michael Shepherd in the other. Lee Glynn at one podium, Matt Woods at another, Daniel Pink speaking one minute, Dr Tanya Byrom speaking the other. The whole day was just sensational! Although all three of us were shattered by the time our 20 hour day was over, we had experienced one of the best professional experiences of our lives!
What finished the day off perfectly was actually going down onto the stage to collect the award on behalf of our pupils and staff. Quite possibly the proudest moment of my teaching career!
About 3 weeks ago, I found out that I had been selected as one of the 10 Microsoft Innovative Teacher National Award Winners. Again, something which I was absolutely shocked to be even considered for. This Award was for how I used the Blogtheworldcup project with my then, Year 5 pupils. This project was just what I was looking for in getting our Year 5 pupils (now Year 6 who you all know very well of course!) into blogging. It is hard to imagine that just 4 months ago, our current Year 6 pupils had not even seen a blog before.
Our Germany blog was a major success – not only because of the outside interest from around the globe but more importantly what it achieved with our very own pupils. We wanted the Germany blog to engage our Year 5 pupils in their learning, introduce them to a host of Web 2.0 resources, switch them onto the possibilities of blogging and get them excited about coming to school in preparation for Year 6. Blimey, did we tick those boxes? You only have to see what they are producing now on their own Year 6 Blog to see the impact that the Germany project had on them!
During October I completed a Virtual Classroom Tour that can be viewed or downloaded below:
On Monday 29th November, I shot straight from work with Ian Addison to head for Manchester for a Teachmeet style event being held in the Cloud bar in the Hilton Hotel. I was amazed and in awe of the presentations, and tried to present about the value of commenting on pupil blogs. The whole evening was such fun on a professional level and a personal level too. I won’t name all the lovely people I met as I would no doubt leave someone out. It was just a shame the evening had to end.
On Tuesday 30th November I was invited to attend the Microsoft Innovative Education Forum and be available to present my project to the attendees of this event and also get to take part in the event too. There was the small matter or 4 of the 10 winners would be going to Moscow in March to present their awards to a European panel of judges. Although I was disappointed to not make it to Moscow, the experience and recognition was just fantastic. The 4 winners who were selected to go thoroughly deserved their place. I can assure all the people reading this that I would have felt out of depth as the quality of the projects going to Moscow were just so high! Only one day can I aim to present like those 4 winners and think at that level of innovation as they did! Well done to all of you, I was honoured to be among you!
Now that the mad week is over, it is back to the REALLY important stuff: maximising potential! This is what I love, this is what I love, this is what I love!! Today, I arrived at work and late on in the day when I was feeling really tired, the #LWF iPad arrived! Just when I needed a pick up, a new exciting tool arrived. I know it’s only one iPad but watch this space… Mitchell not only has a new tool in his toolbox, he has new energy, commitment and drive to make this next year the best yet at Heathfield. I can’t wait to get stuck in!