Jamie Grossmith is the Lead Practitioner and SLE at Belmont Community Primary School in Grantham. After enthusiastically taking part in our first TeachingLive session and sharing the results through his Twitter account, Jamie has written the following guest blog post explaining how he used TeachingLive to get the best out of his pupils.
Following my involvement with the first two teaching live broadcasts I thought I would share my experiences, in order for colleagues to make the most of the live writing sessions with David and Pie. At the current time I am teaching 15 children in a Y6 bubble and have been doing so, for 6 weeks.
A little preparation pays dividends!
I have found it is really useful to “tune the children in” prior to the live session. Before session 2 (on dragons) we;
Looked at images of dragons
Read a couple of dragon poems
Played short extracts of film involving dragons so they could see, hear and build a mental image of them moving.
Explored and gathered “dragon vocabulary” in Writer’s Toolboxes.
We began this in class, but the children continued with this at home and over lunch time because they were so excited and motivated. During the session with Pie, they were able to draw on their ideas to help shape the writing that took place. As Pie says “You can’t create out of nothing!”
Be as nimble as a ferret!
During the session with Pie and David, the teacher must be involved!
Remind the children to use the ideas/images/vocabulary they have gathered.
Orally model the appropriate sentence structures you expect them to use.
Help children to shape and extend their ideas prior to writing, through oral rehearsal.
Encourage children to “Magpie” and extend/develop ideas they hear or see on the screen. In no other lesson will children experience such a rich exchange of ideas and language, so make the most of what is cascading around you!
Emphasise the purpose and audience aspect of the writing session. I have found after the initial excitement of wanting to be first to post ideas or sentences, children realise that if anyone in the world can read their work, they try to be more focused on the quality of what they write!
Use a flip chart to record Pie’s teaching points. These can be referred to in subsequent sessions and are useful not only for the children, but also the teacher. This is really great CPD, so I would encourage teachers to capture Pie’s hints and tips.
Once the session is over, the children will be buzzing with ideas, so it is worthwhile reflecting on the session. Consider what they have learned? Give them opportunities to share their work with their peers. Spend time using David’s “Quality Comments” checklist to respond to a few. My children love asking questions about each other’s writing, so this works perfectly as a feedback opportunity.
Following the live session (Session 1), I plan 4 teaching sessions for the children. These have been my English sessions for the remainder of the week.
At the start of each session we play one or both of the games again. This builds up speed, creativity and memory! Time is given for ideas to be gathered in Writer’s Toolboxes. Children have been known to come in with ideas from home to support this. Girls’ names beginning with “X” can prove difficult for children and teachers alike! The focus always remains on fast, creative responses but silliness is allowed!
Session 2: Involves re-reading the Padlet and Jotcast entries. There are so many amazing ideas that these in themselves are an incredible resource. We “Magpie” ideas we like and add these into our Writer’s Toolboxes. I model how to respond to some of these ideas using the “Quality Comments” checklist and then encourage the children to do the same. We then take a couple and edit and improve them to show this aspect of the writing process. The children then have time to write/edit their own, using their ideas and the images used earlier.
Session 3: In this session, we revisit Pie’s model text for the blogging challenge and draw out the text and language features. “Boxing up” the model in the usual way provides the necessary structure to support less confident writers. Children then write their own versions.
Session 4: This is our editing and improving session. Using the “Quality Comments” checklist, we begin the session with children reading out their writing from the previous session. We then respond using the 3 points and children edit and improve as necessary. I then check everyone’s written work before they are allowed to blog on the website. I feel in the early stages this is important as it emphasises the importance of the writing being the children’s best work. If they know they can’t blog until it is checked, basic grammar, punctuation and spelling errors miraculously disappear!
I also intend for the children to respond to the blogs of others using the checklist, once we have this simple structure embedded further.
Session 5: This is our final session. Children finish writing and editing their work and are then shown how to create an audio Padlet. I have found that once 2/3 children know what to do, they can be the “experts in the room” and work with others to get this done. Encouraging the children to listen back to themselves reading aloud has often led to extra re-editing, before a more polished performance is recorded.
I hope this is useful to those of you beginning on your blogging journey. Until Lockdown, I had never “Zoomed” or “blogged” but have always loved teaching writing! I know that the possibilities that this way of working provides is endless and will inspire many children and teachers all over the world. I am looking forward to being part of this exciting journey in September. We have been sharing each stage of our journey @EmporiumBelmont and will keep adding to this in the new school year.