• 21.04.2011

    This is the fourth and final guest post in our Digitalk series, where we ask teachers to showcase their class blogs. The aim is to promote blogging in school as an incredible tool to improve literacy, confidence, connections & ICT skills.

    School: Heathfield Primary School
    Teacher:
    Mr David Mitchell (@DeputyMitchell)
    Class blog: You can follow all the Heathfield blogs on http://heathfieldcps.net but you might want to specifically check out http://y62011.heathfieldcps.net ; http://sandwich.heathfieldcps.net ; http://pandora.heathfieldcps.net and http://walkabout.heathfieldcps.net

    I have never been more excited about learning than I am right now.

    Blogging and the world of Web2.0 tools has revitalised my teaching, my enthusiasm and my dedication to the pupils I teach and the staff I lead.

    You should see the effect blogging has had on my pupils at Heathfield Community Primary School. I have been blogging with my pupils for 16 months now and in that time I have seen tough Year 6 pupils that were switched off from education become excitable enthusiastic learners who are now passionate about learning and their role within it.

    The BBC recently reported live from Heathfield Primary School in an article highlighting our success with blogging. They mentioned that Heathfield had “stumbled upon this tool”.  As indeed we had.

    Dianne Spencer (our Headteacher) had sent me on a fact finding mission to Chorlton Park Primary School in Manchester through the SSAT to see what tools other schools were using.

    It was there that I was charged by Jack Sloan and John Sutton to question two things about my teaching:

    1. how I chose the tools I used
    2. when I chose to use them

    A seemingly simple challenge, but one that created pins and needles in my mind –  I knew what I wanted but also knew that blogging was a tool that took a while to develop.

    Writing was, and still is, an area that Heathfield were working to improve. This time 12 months ago, we were not only trying to raise levels of achievement, we were desperately trying to build the enthusiasm and engagement levels of our Year 6 pupils.

    Teachers are competing against the PS3, XBox Live and other forms of home entertainment, but I knew that if this was done right, blogging could make writing cool. It was also clear that a motivation for the pupils would be an audience – something blogging could provide like no other.

    12 months on, the engagement levels are something we are so proud of. Our pupils are switched on, excited, engaged and take above expected levels of responsibility for their own learning.

    So in just 12 months, how have we got where we have?

    People often associate ‘Heathfield Primary School’ with ‘Blogging’. I’m sorry but I have to insist that there is so much more to it that just having a blog.

    Every class blog at Heathfield is different – with it’s own colour, character, and charisma, driven by it’s authors.

    It may be a truism but in every school every teacher has a different understanding and competency with ICT. Introducing blogging to other members of staff was carefully thought through. It’s a credit to our teachers that ALL blogging training was done in teachers’ own time on a one to one basis at the pace set by the teachers.

    Within a couple of months, the then Year 6 blog (old Year 6 Blog) had about 10,000 hits and comments were coming in from around the globe. However, not all the children were as excited as others and even to this day, blogging hasn’t transformed the lives of every learner at Heathfield. There is still work to be done but each child in each class has that opportunity to showcase their learning to a global audience.

    This audience have been instrumental in impacting learning for so many. It was lovely to take some current Year 6 pupils to the BETT Show in January to present a seminar about blogging. How great must it have been for Binyameen and Raja to be stopped repeatedly in the main arena and asked to be interviewed or just to shake the hands of their readers?

    Our learners are global learners. Our learners are now authors. Authors who have (by my calculations) an audience of 500,000+ and 3000 comments from over 120 countries since September 2010. Our current year 6 were our first year group to know something pretty special was going to happen them this year. Why? They had watched with dropped jaws as the previous year 6 pupils transformed before their eyes.

    Our current year 6 differ massively from the previous year 6. These guys just want to write, create and show off to their audience. I ask them to blog their learning and ‘consider their audience’ – and if they forget, their audience tells them!

    Heathfield have been blessed by quite substantial media coverage too, though inevitably  the media sometimes doesn’t always give credit to what blogging really is.

    For me, blogging is a tool, that when used at the right time in the right moment can transform lives of learners. I would like Heathfield to be seen as a ‘roofless school’. Anyone visiting one of our blogs can see deep inside the school and absorb the wonderful rich learning is taking place each day.

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  • 23 Responses

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    • » Heathfield pupils feature on Brainpop Digitalk Blog Heathfield's Year 6 Blog Says:

      [...] to blog about why blogging is great. Each of the 4 digitalk blog posts have all been different. Here is the post that I did. As part of this post both BrainPop and I thought it was only fitting for the pupils to have a [...]

    • Saleha Says:

      I was amazed. All the animations are great. I was also featured in it with my friend Carys. :)

    • Carys Says:

      WOW!! This animation is AMAZING!!! I loved it. I was involved in it (the third one)!! It was really cool!!!

    • Binyameen Says:

      WOW, what an animation. It was great! I really liked the humour that went into that animation, and just to let you know, I was one of the children who was in it. I was the character at the beginning floating in space on the right hand side. After watching that video, I thought it was hilarious and really funny. I think that you did a great job on that animation.
      Now, our blog is a hit to everyone. We very much appreciate the work that you’ve gone through to make this animation. Our Year 6 Blog fantastic to work on as we get loads and loads of hits every day from all around the world. So what I’m trying to say is that I really like blogging and that I hope that you like it too.

    • Mohammed Says:

      Wow! It was clever how you put our thoughts into an animation. It was fun watching the animation and I hope we can do it again.

    • Murron Says:

      This was really funny and we all here really enjoyed it, it was really clever how you did this putting it all together and Thank you and also Well done!

    • Ellie Says:

      This is realy cool, to see nearly all my class on here. It is good how it has been animated. Although I was not on this, I love blogging it is fun. You can write about anything, and tell the world what your doing.

    • John Says:

      Wow!!! This is sooooooooooooooo funny, What an animation. This cool & clever, I hope I could be involved in the next one, I’m loooving the website guys, and pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee keep it up!!!! I hope we could do it again. I also wish that we (Year 6 pupils) could make our own of this, so what do you think guys???
      Thanks,
      John
      P.S It was really funny & Hilarious

    • Maryam Says:

      I thint it was really to see my friends on the animations, and I think they were amazing! I really like blogging just like many people here, and I think its a really good experience for many children around the world. I consider blogging as a hoobie now, and think if schools arent doing blogging they should. :D

    • Thomas Says:

      Thanck you to all people at brain pop. I am really happy to be in this vidio, as I do a lot of animating at home. I hope every one els is as happy as me.

    • Thomas Says:

      Thanck you to all people at brain pop. I am really happy to be in this vidio, because I do a lot of animating at home. I hope every one els is as happy as me.

    • Liam Says:

      Thank you for making this wonderful video of us, I really enjoyed watching it, and seeing the funny animations you have put in it.

    • Raja Says:

      I think that was really GOOD! The humour in it was hilarious, and I like it when one super hero says it builds your character and flexed out his muscles. You have made everything perfectly, and you made all the background noises seem like they were supposed to happen. You have done a PHENOMENAL job! Thanks!

    • Carys Says:

      Thanks Tim and Moby for commenting on the video. It was great to be involved in it. Great animation. LOVED IT!!

    • Maryam Says:

      Thankyou so much Tim & Moby, also Mr.Mitchell showed your animation to the school today in assembely,and they all loved it! :D

    • Murron Says:

      Thank you so much for doing this. Today Mr Mitchell showed it to the whole school! It was funny :)

    • Raja Says:

      1 hour ago we had shown the whole school the video, and they enjoyed it. I hope you make more things that are a success!

    • Binyameen Says:

      Hi Tim and Moby, we’ve shown the animated video to the school and they loved it! They laughed and laughed and thought it was very funny. Once again thank you very much for your time into making the fantastic video.

    • Ellie Says:

      Thank you very much for doing this for our class. Mr.Mitchell showed everybody in assembly, and they really enjoyed watching and listening to this.

    • Emma Rutherford Says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your learning. My grade 3/4′s and I, here in Melbourne are just beginning to learn about blogging and we are so excited and inspired.
      We are really enjoying looking at other sites for ideas. We would love it if you would visit our blog http://erutherford.global2.vic.edu.au/ and perhaps offer us some feedback or some handy hints, or even enter our ‘name the monkey’ contest.
      Thank you, and congratulations on all your brilliant work.
      Mrs. Rutherford

    • Class Blogging as a Classroom Window to the World « ICT for Teaching & Learning in Falkirk Primary Schools Says:

      [...] Brainpop has created a blog post with videos where schools explain why to start a class blog, and where you can hear pupils explain what it’s meant for them to have a class blog, in terms of their levels of engagement with their own learning. [...]

    • BrainPOP UK | The Top 6 Highlights of 2011 | POPtalk Says:

      [...] blogging to their schools. The culmination was a class from Heathfield primary who’s pupils recorded 4 audio interviews that we then animated for [...]

    • Terry Says:

      Interesting post – kudos. I felt your blog post is highly engrossing. I look forward to discover more in the near future.

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