Manor Primary School in Reading joined one of my first Cluster Blogging projects back in November 2014. In this guest post, Pete Jeffreys outlines progress so far in this informative post which includes his end of Year 1 report.
Manor Primary School
What we’ve learned from a year of class blogging
Way back in the summer of 2014, we signed up to join other schools in our area to launch a class blogging project. At that time, we had heard of a few examples of this working well in other places but hadn’t yet got an idea about how this would work for us. Nevertheless as a school we fully embraced class blogging from the autumn term and haven’t looked back.
From the start, David worked with us to setup a simple online survey for a selection of children to take part in at the beginning of the project. We chose a selection of pupil premium children from every class across the school and they took part in the survey anonymously. We then largely forgot about these results until a year later when the same children took the same survey again – giving us a baseline, followed by a line in the sand a year later.
The results have proved very interesting reading! What started off as a quick analysis between a few of us involved in the project quickly grew as we got more and more intrigued by what we were finding. This has evolved into a 25 page report for our governors – which we’re happy to share HERE..
As well as capturing children’s responses, we’re proud that we’ve also got the input of some parents and staff to support what we’ve been doing and help us plan what needs to happen next to extend the impact of class blogging even further.
We need to do more to share examples of great blogging within school. Our Digital Leaders are just starting to award weekly Blogging Awards to a class or child of their choice – to recognise active class blogs with active visitors, interesting posters, and helpful commenters, among other categories!
We also need to spend some snippets of staff meetings to share examples of how to use class blogging and tweeting. We’ve already shared thoughts on how to plan for blogging, how to be a Tweeting Teacher, thoughts about how blogging changes through the school and what should be on a blog. We’ve kept on top of our help sheets for staff on a range of topics – including blogging, tweeting and other useful skills. In partnership with subject coordinators we’ve used our blogging platform to evidence learning across a wide range of subjects too. We hope that by sharing more examples of using blogs well, teachers across the school will be able to pick up ideas from each other to share good practice.
We are also keen to do more to engage parents through our blogs. Some examples of what some of our parents are missing out on at the moment…
- In our Nursery and Foundation classes, parents are increasingly engaged by using the Tapestry for online learning journeys. Alongside this, Blackbird class are working to use their blog to showcase whole-class activities.
- In Key Stage 1, Eagle Class have been using their class blog particularly to support their creative curriculum subjects. Some of this has been through adults showing off some great examples of children’s work, and some has been through children writing on the blog themselves. The children particularly love to get comments back from other people to know that their work is being appreciated by a wider audience!
- In Year 3-4, the teachers in Falcon Class and Heron Class have seen children growing their confidence through contributing their own writing to the blog. Sometimes this is related to school work, and sometimes it’s focused on what they’re doing at home. Some children sometimes choose to present their final piece of writing in a unit (a “Big Write”) using the blog rather than writing on paper.
- We are very fortunate in our school that we has an SEN resource unit which supports children with moderate learning needs. Their Goldfinch Class blog is a lovely celebration of the progress these children make, and they love to know about all of their international visitors who come to see them. A great example of how a teacher can engage with the wider teaching audience through Twitter.
- In Year 5-6, our slowest blog to get started was Kingfisher Class which has only really picked up the pace since September. The secret for this class was the teacher seeing how motivated his children can be if they can take control and shape the direction of their blog.
Some blogs are experimenting with the “subscribe by email” feature to give parents a weekly digest, we’re also keeping a closer eye on class Twitter accounts to share their content through the school Twitter account and Facebook page. We also occasionally text out links to class blog posts to let parents know what else is there. These all tend to result in more parents visiting, but they’re still not keen to leave comments. We’d be keen to hear what’s worked well for others!
As we’re now well into our second year of the project, there are still plenty of ideas bubbling around and some great examples of using the blogs within lessons. We look forward to looking back on the whole two year project later this November!
Manor Primary School