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September 16, 2011

It’s happening again…

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One thing I love about blogging is the power it has to change lives. We haven’t been back from the summer break 2 weeks yet and blogging has already impacted one young boy in Year 4 at Heathfield Primary School.

Kai was first spotted helping out on a display whilst at our after school club. Here’s what he had to say about why he was sent to Mr. Mitchell:

Kai has been sent to Mr. Mitchell, listen to why here: (mp3)

I had never seen a child smile so much after this was placed onto the well done blog.

A little under a week later, Miss Wiggans noticed that Kai was reading each night and his Mum was recording this in his reading diary. This was something that Kai really didn’t enjoy last year and something he admitted to struggling with but he was really trying to impress and get back onto the well done blog. Miss Wiggans sent Kai back to me on Thursday and he had this to say:

Kai didn”t used to like reading, listen to him now! (mp3)

This is when the magic happened. A combination of blogging and Twitter resulted in Julie McCulloch (Head of Primary Marketing at Pearsons) offering Kai the opportunity to review books for Pearsons. I went up to his classroom this afternoon, brought him to the front of the class and explained what happened. He had the BIGGEST grin on his face!

About 30 minutes later, Kai arrived at my office and told me that he hadn’t really understoof what I was talking about but did now and sad that he was ‘honoured’ and ‘proud’.

This is why I do my job! In what other profession do you get to weave magic into the lives of people and create change in such a magical way?

September 6, 2011

My 1st Assembly as Acting Headteacher

It was great to watch the faces of the children as they entered the hall with this being displayed on a 12ft screen. There were well over 100 messages from all over the globe welcoming our pupils back to school. You can read them below:

Twitter widget error

As HeathfieldCPS has had a complete makeover over the summer break, I asked 6 children why Heathfield is such a great school. Here’s what they said:

What”s great about Heathfield Primary School? I asked 6 pupils in my Assembly, listen to them here: (mp3)

I couldn’t agree more!

August 31, 2011

My Challenge – A New Chapter

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Some of you may know that from tomorrow, I’ll be Acting Headteacher at Heathfield Primary School. The scariest thing at the minute is not knowing what I don’t know. My priority for the next few days is making sure that Heathfield is ready. We have had MAJOR works in school during the break and most of the school is still in a mess. Experience tells me that this will not be a problem – things always come together!

My challenge set by the Governors is to not just settle the ship, but move the school forward in what could be only 4 months as Acting Head. We will be continuing our blogging projects for each class, introduce Assertive Mentoring and ensuring that progress of each child in each class is the most important factor on a daily basis, in fact lesson by lesson. We will make Assertive Mentoring catch any pupil who may be making less progress than desired quickly and our intervention will make a difference and help close the gap for this pupil.

Our pupils are excited! They are excited because we have hard working staff and we make very good use of technology in particular blogging to engage our pupils. You will see how our blogs develop over the coming week and months. One very challenging task I have set for myself is as Headteacher, I’m going to blog EVERY single pupil that comes to me with good news. This blog will be maintained by John Mclear’s Classdroid Android App which allows an Android phone to directly load pictures to a blog in just 5 simple clicks on the device and grade them too.

Click here to visit the new ‘Well Done Blog’

August 16, 2011

Protected: Cloudlearn Documents

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July 7, 2011

QuadBlogging has moved!

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QuadBlogging has move to a purpose built blog:

You can visit Quadblogging and register for free here.

June 30, 2011

Quadblogging logo/banner design competition

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The all new QuadBlogging site needs you!

The QuadBlogging site is looking for a number of banners that represent what QuadBlogging is about – An audience either local or global. The banners must be: 940 × 198 pixels and saved in jpeg format.

Please send any banners to: mitchteach@btinternet.com and you’ll begin to see them appear on the new QuadBlogging site shortly once it has gone live.

June 28, 2011

Quadblogging preparation

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Thank you to ALL the people that got involved in QuadBlogging over the last 6 months. Judging by activity on Twitter, it seems to have been a huge success. Thank you also to all the people who fed back to me on ways in which it could be improved.

Quadblogging is getting ready for a re-launch in September where we expect numbers of 200 upwards to be taking part. With this in mind, Quadblogging will have its own blog where all the information will be. What I am after are some cracking quotes to use on this new blog from people who have used Quadblogging and have seen the impact. Please fill in the short from below if you can help.
Thanks


 

June 20, 2011

Teachmeet Bolton Announcement

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It is with HUGE regret that I have to inform everyone that Teachmeet Bolton has to be postponed!

As most of you will know, 30th June is now going to be a mass strike day in the public sector with most unions calling for strike action. Although the strike will not directly affect TMBolton, I have to think of the Heathfield community. We can’t close the school to our pupils and then at 4pm open the school up for teachers to hold a CPD celebration event.

A new Wiki will be online shortly for a new date in the Autumn term.

I’d just like to thank all the people who pledged to present and attend. I really hope we can emulate this in the Autumn Term.

Thank you.

June 16, 2011

BMobLe Presentation

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Sprogs with Blogs: The impact of blogging in the Primary Classroom

June 9, 2011

My day with Russell Prue!

On Friday 25th May 2011 I was lucky enough to have entertained Russell Prue and his Anderton Tiger Radio Road show at Heathfield Primary School. The aim of the day was to prepare and hold a ‘Live’ radio show from 2pm – 3pm that day which would champion the impact of blogging at HeathfieldCPS. When I first heard about Radio in school, I immediately thought that this was possibly outdated.

HOW WRONG COULD I HAVE BEEN?

Russell brought in his equipment, I was already picking my jaw up from the floor! Double touch sensitive screens, full digital set up, ‘On Air’ glass screen lights. Within 30 minutes a live feed was going out from school on a loop advertising the show later that day. Russell sat me down and we talked through what the show might look like, how many pupils could be involved, what would be discussed and other staff that could be involved too! It was shaping up to be an awesome event and one which not only the pupils were getting excited about!

Tweets were flying around the Twittersphere and texts were being sent home making sure that as many people were able to tune in at 2pm as possible. The first part the pupils were involved in were creating a ‘jingle’ for the show. A selection of pupils from Key Stage 2 were selected and the jingle was complete and included in the already ‘Live’ radio loop.

After tucking into a hearty sandwich at lunchtime, we were able to begin getting the pupils introduced to the kit and the rules of broadcasting. I know from watching the pupils when the BBC1 Live crew came to Heathfield that this was very exciting for the pupils. To watch an expert demonstrate the technology before them in person was one of their highlights from the whole day. Just before 2pm, we assembled the pupils in a green room where they were able to listen to the show and bang on 2pm, Russell took to the waves and I instantly saw how Russell was designed to do what he was doing. With the ease of a seasoned professional, the show began with a short interview with myself about how blogging began at Heathfield. After a music break (Take That) the real stars of the show took to the mics. Listening to the pupils talk so openly about how blogging had impacted their learning was possible one of the proudest moments in my teaching career. We were the rudely interrupted by a text from the tour manager of Take That who had picked up on a tweet. He just wanted to wish us well and thanked us for our great taste in music!

The pupils took over the show as they were grilled by Russell. Please visit Russell’s website here to listen to the podcast.

Before this day, I thought ‘School Radio’ was something that was outdated – How wrong was I? This tool to aid speaking, presenting, planning, writing and organisational skills is something I am going to look into further.

My advice – Get in contact with Russell at AndertonTiger.com and see what he can do for you

May 26, 2011

Google Document publishing to html embed

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I’m not sure if this is new or just whether I have not seen it before, however, it might prove quite useful for many different purposes.

As some of you know, I’m now working with 10 Year 5 pupils who are currently Level 2-3 in Maths and Literacy. Part of my initial drive (obviously) is multiplication facts and related division facts. I have a little system that I use that seems to get the pupils motivated. I run a Champions’ League. Each child chooses a name for their team. Every few days they complete a speed table and have up to 12 minutes to complete it. If they complete it they record the time taken, if they have spaces left at the end, they record how many spaces they have left after 12 minutes. The pupils get points based on whether they beat their previous record (5 points), in addition, they are awarded 3 points for beating the targets set by me! This is all recorded in a league on a Google Spreadsheet.

This league then displays the current position of progress being made at the level of that child. I asked the pupils if they wanted this displayed on their blog and EVERY pupil was really keen to see it publicly displayed. Here’s the clever bit…

If you click on the ‘share’ option in the top right of the page and select ‘publish as a web page’, you can then change the selection from ‘web page’ to ‘html to embed in a page’. Make sure that ‘Automatically republish when changes are made’ box is checked, embed the code and if you tweak the size down to 210 x 300 you can display a google document that will update automatically in a text widget on your blog.

See this link to see their league table as it stand in a text widget on their blog!

This may have been around for a while but it is the first time I have seen it!

Assertive Mentoring…

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Today I was very lucky to hear Peter Boddy (Head of Red Hall Primary School, Darlington) speak about the impact his school has seen using Assertive Mentoring. I’ll leave you to research Assertive Mentoring yourself if it sounds of interest to you. However, it was in the first session this morning that he addressed ‘typical’ patterns of uneven progress throughout KS2 in Reading, Writing and Maths. I have no data to back his claims up but he presented ‘typical’ progress as something that might look like this:

Year 3 – 1 point progress (0.5 sub level)
Year 4 – 2 points progress (1 sub level)
Year 5 – 3 points progress (1.5 sub level)
Year 6 – 6 points progress( 3 sub levels)
**Not the Heathfield picture by the way! But a ‘typical’ picture presented by Peter**

He questioned why this was. He questioned why a Year 6 teacher can do this and whether it was because the Year 6 teacher knew how much hinged on the results. He challenged us to think about how much emphasis is placed on the end of Key Stage 2 SATs. The fact that the Head, Senior Leadership Team, Governors, SIP, OFSTED, local community and parents all scrutinise these results with a fine tooth comb, make judgements, decisions on action and place you in a league table make Year 6 a stressful place to be. What Peter asked us was if the Year 3,4 and 5 teachers knew that their results would be scrutinised in the same way, would progress be different? Would teachers in these year groups who were having limited impact reflect more about strategies in their classroom? Now I have no idea if this ‘typical’ picture is a ‘typical’ picture like Peter claimed, however, I am interested in your thoughts/views on this.

Discuss…

May 16, 2011

Aurasma App

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I was pointed to this App (Aurasma) by Dughall McCormick and Simon Widdowson last night and I have not been able to put it down since then! You are able to attach a video to a real picture of something and when you scan your camera… You know, I can’t really explain it very well, here’s a very quick 1 minute video that demonstrates it!

What’s even better is that once you have created one, you can share it so that others can see it too. Aurasma are planning to make sharing easier as at the moment, you have to text or email the link before they can see yours.

I think this has HUGE potential!

May 14, 2011

Plymouth Early Years Conference 13th May 2011

I was honoured to be invited down to University of Plymouth to deliver a keynote and 3 workshops to the 3rd Year students as part of their Early Years Conference.

This conference was the brainchild of Lecturer Pete Yeomans (@ethinking) and with the help of some of his Year 4 students, the University hosted a conference for their students where they were asked to create their own itinerary using an online booking website. Whilst talking to Peter Yeomans, it was clear that his aim was to give his students an authentic conference experience. Did he deliver? Well just take a look at the #earlyyears hashtag for yourself! (Thanks to @JCBarrington for capturing it!)

My brief was to deliver 3 x 45 minute workshops on e-Safety and Safeguarding and a 1 hour keynote about the impact of blogging at Heathfield Primary School in Bolton. I was keen to bring as much discussion into the workshops as possible as I was as much interested to hear the views of the students. I was going into that workshop as much as a learner as they were! I’m REALLY pleased to report that all 3 workshops were very different, areas of discussion took each workshop off in a different direction. It was fantastic to see so many students encouraged to tweet their thoughts, questions and feedback about the different sessions of the day. As a result, I was able to receive some feedback and also see what had been going on in the other sessions too. My Prezi for the workshops although used just for my reference can be viewed here:

It was a great pleasure to have lunch with Prof. Steve Wheeler. I have read his work for quite a while now and it was great to sit and talk for an hour with someone who I’d be complimenting myself if I said we were on the same wavelength. I really hope to work with Steve one day! Please take a moment to read his thoughts on the day here.

After my third workshop, it was a quick dash with Pete over to the main lecture theatre which was a converted Church and a wonderful venue. There was a real buzz in the air as people were arriving and it’s a testament to the quality of both students and lecturers that these future teachers were piling into the theatre, each person adding to the air of expectation. I can’t remember much from the hour to be honest, but the theme I hope that came across was showing what the pupils can do with an audience! Some links I made reference to were:

Heathfield Year 6 Project Blogs:

Fern’s Story Blog
Raja’s Book Blog
The Sandwich Project Blog
Pandora (Avatar) Inspired Writing Project Blog
Germany World Cup Blog

Heathfield Class Blogs:

Year 6 Blog
Year 4 Blog
Year 2 Blog
Reception Class blog

However, we were joined by some of my pupils during the last 15 minutes through Coveritlive which was great. They were the stars of the whole keynote as it was after all, about them and their achievements over 15 months.

It was a shame that I had to leave immediately after I finished speaking as I would have loved to have stayed and chatted through things or answered any questions. It was a mad dash back over to Exeter Airport and got my flight just in time.

I’d like to thank Pete Yeomans for pulling out the stops to get me down to Plymouth, it was obvious that he is highly respected by his students. I’d also like to pay tribute to the students as their contributions to the discussions and the questions they asked proved that our profession is in VERY safe hands!

I can’t wait to return!

May 13, 2011

e-Safety and Safeguarding Prezi

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