Pie Corbett Masterclass

The pupils in Year 5 at Leamore Primary School are all set to work alongside one the biggest names in Primary Literacy (Pie Corbett) tomorrow morning. What’s even better is that the BBC are coming along to film and document the impact of blogging on Literacy.


‘Improving Literacy Through New Technology’ – 5th July with Pie Corbett and DeputyMitchell


I had been rather excited about this conference since its conception earlier in 2013. I have hosted a number of conferences with Pie Corbett over the last 18 months with each one offering a unique learning experience for me. Throughout my life, Literacy has been a battle, a battle which at school I kept on losing. There’s something about understanding failure that ignites a passion, a passion shared by one Pie Corbett. Pie and I agreed little over a year ago, that we would begin a journey together. This journey has since become a mission to not only improve the teaching of writing, but showcase methods and tools we feel should be an entitlement for ALL children. This conference at The Palace hotel in Manchester hosted our latest efforts to do just that!

Pie spoke with experience and wisdom about the teaching of writing, then he led a scintillating shared writing session using the delegates – as he would children in class. The results (below) were astonishing:

‘Drifting snow powdered the dark, desolate forest, smothering the silent earth like a polar bear’s coat. Bernard peered out of the window from his little stone hut, wondering if he would ever see his father’s familiar face again! The full moon stared through the skeletal trees like a knowing eye. At that moment, he heard the rhythmic beating of wings. Scanning the skies, Bernard could just make out a scaly shadow. Was it the dragon?’

What was rather special about this conference was the collaboration going on beyond the conference. 6000 pupils across the UK (including a school in New Zealand) were registered on this blog poised to use the results of the shared writing in lessons. Once 11am arrived and the shared writing session was complete, the prompt was uploaded and children from all over the UK got stuck in using this writing as prompt to develop.

I thoroughly enjoyed delivering my part of the morning showcasing the journey my learners went on over the last 4 years. It’s powerful stuff and the real life examples of the impact the use of blogging and Web2.0 tools I used hopefully challenged delegates to try some new tools or to take a risk and try something different.

After lunch, it was time to showcase one of the most powerful Web2.0 tools out there as far as I’m concerned – Coveritlive. I have used Coveritlive for nearly 4 years now. Here are a few examples of how I have used it with my pupils.

Coveritive is a tool that allows you to open an interactive window inside a blog post. Through this window, you can share audio, images, video and chat simultaneously with any body viewing that particular blog post. When pupils are on one side and a ‘Literacy Expert’ on the other, this is the result:

You onlyhave to scroll through to see the impact such targeted formative assessment is having on these pupils. Thanks to Cherise Duxbury’s class for taking part!

I runded off the conference showcasing a couple of examples of Voicethreads that I had used. During the conference, we had taken a close look at the teaching of writing, however, it’s what to do with it that is important too. Here are a couple of Voicethreads that show this quite powerfully:

This Voicethread shows the potential use as a tool to perform writing:

This Voicethread shows the potential for peer assessment:

This conference felt good, it felt right and the children working behind the scenes on these two blogs:

Project Blog
Backup Project Blog

Please visit the blogs and add comments if you can spare a couple of minutes.


Gloucestershire Heads’ Conference 2013

I was invited to Keynote the annual Gloucester Heads’ Conference at Cheltenham Racecourse alongside inspirational Tim Rylands and one of my heroes Roger Black OBE.

My good friends Tim Rylands and Sarah Neild not only opened the event with a scintillating presentation as only Tim could present, but showcased a vast array of free tools to help inspire and engage learners in the process of writing.

Tim’s blog is one of the very best around and worth subscribing to as Tim and Sarah blog a fantastic link each day!

After lunch, I was on stage to share the power of audience and the impact on standards linked to the use of blogging and Web2.0 tools used to engage learners in the writing process. Real tales from the classroom detailing the impact of comments from across the globe went down really well not to mention the impact on standards – Well, I was presenting to Headteachers!

It’s not often you get to meet a genuine hero of yours but not only did I get to meet Roger Black OBE, I spent an enthralling 75 minutes listening to his insights into his life being a world class athlete. The story from when he was 18 to the present day and the stories behind decisions he made were truly inspiring to listen to. Thank you Roger for sharing a wonderful presentation about the complex nature and the science behind achievement and success. Some words that stuck in my mind:

“If you need something, you are capable of doing what is necessary to achieve what you needed.”

“The fear of failure is the single biggest thing that stands between people and their dreams.”

“Synergy is special, surrounding yourself with people who have the same dream can be the single biggest factor in achieving your dreams.”
Roger Black OBE.


Heather Garth Primary School – Barnsley

Heather Garth Primary School in Barnsley have been blogging for a few months now after I visited the school earlier in the year to present blogging and some Web2.0 tools. My brief on this visit was to work with Year 3 and Year 5 during the morning and work with parents during the afternoon. I hadn’t been asked to work with parents at all up to now so this, was a stroke of genius by Ann Wise (Headteacher) as she knows just how important the partnership is between school and parents. 20 parents spent the afternoon with me as they heard first hand: the power of audience, then received a guided tour of the blogs, how to log in, how to comment and an overview of e-safety. The parents were totally engaged, enthusiastic and gave the school some great feedback on the session.

Here’s a short Animoto from the work with Year 5 this morning…

You can see more of the work we collaborated on by visiting Heather Garth Blogs and selecting Year 3 and Year 5 blogs.