I never miss an opportunity to hear the great Tim Rylands (@timrylands) speak. His presentations are always jam packed with ideas to motivate and inspire learning. I have been very fortunate to hear Tim several times and each time the delegates leave the room with smiles on their faces and an expression of how to implement his ideas (as do I!) Tim is the WD40 to those rusty cog’s of learning (it is intended to be a compliment!) His seminar quickly became a participatory event where almost immediately we were standing, imitating parachuting down from above….what can I say? We were all doing it!!! Throughout, tools and links were given to direct us to the newest ideas that were in the main FREE (not to be sniffed out this day and age!) A very comprehensive list of tools for teacher’s toolkit. They are too many to list but as Mr R reminded us could be found through this link –https://bitly.com/bundles/mrwalkersmate/
Always a pleasure and always such a fruitful opportunity to loosen those rusty cogs!
Bowood Class and myself have been blogging merrily for just over three months now. We’ve also been part of a quad blogging project which has put us in touch with other schools around the country where we learn about what they are doing and comment. All in all, that’s a fair bit of blogging! So imagine my surprise to find out that a fifth of my class have been inspired enough to create their OWN blogs where they are regularly reflecting on theirs and others learning! This step has happened without prompting from me, they are simply hooked on the blogging bug!
This has made me think as to whether they are now ready to go one step closer to writing posts themselves without me giving them the lead or responding to the topic they are currently doing. At present they write their homework using the blog, comment on each others work and comments from visitors to the blog. So I am going to take their lead and give them more responsibility of how their blog is going to progress over the coming months.
I am continued to be blown away by the continued enthusiasm of the children wanting to write and comment on their class blog. I recently took part in an online discussion about the value of blogging in school. Many like minded teachers were involved and together the discussion proved a boost to improve mine and the children’s blog. Much excellent advice was given by (Microsoft Innovative Teacher National Winner 2010 )David Mitchell also known as @DeputyMitchell, as to what to include on your blog as well as how to get more visitors. One point I raised was that although we have a lot of visitors to the blog, not many actually leave comments, which is a shame as the children love to read them. Well, a few weeks passed and with much excitement on Twitter, David has begun to organise a project called Quad blogging. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss, so I contacted David and put my class forward. The way that Quad blogging works is that there are sets of four schools around the country (and the world it now seems). On a four week cycle, each school is the ‘focus school’ whereby the other three schools comment and respond to the work on the focus school’s blog. This not only gives an audience to the focus school but enables the children to blog, evaluate and comment on other children’s work and ideas, which impacts on the learning. I am very excited by the prospect as are the children.
This coming week the ‘idea now becomes the reality’ to quote David and Bowood Class (http://bowoodclass.wordpress.com) are the focus for our little happy band of Quad bloggers. The other three schools are: Abbotswood Junior School (http://3b3b3b.blogspot.com/) with Phil Bagge (@baggiepr), Blackfield Primary School (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Anna O’Sullivan (missosullivan) and Halam CE Primary School (http://mp1.halamschool.org) with Graham Cullen (@grahamcullen).
From recent tweets, we are all up for the challenge and no doubt this collaborative approach to learning and providing opportunities for dialogue between schools will be a rewarding experience for all concerned!