Talking the talk but what about the walk?

Posted in 100 Word Challenge

As you may know, I’m the founder of 100 Word Challenge. It is a weekly writing challenge for youngsters under 16. I set a prompt of a few words or a picture and they have 100 words to produce a creative piece of writing. This is posted on their class blog then linked to 100wc.net where a team of volunteers (Team 100) comment and support the writing.

It has had a huge impact on the standard of writing in some schools across the world as well as providing great motivation for some of our reluctant writers. Linking with blogging as it does, adds a kudos to it which really engages the children.

In previous years, the team of volunteers has come from a variety of places, mostly via tweets from me that persuaded and bullied folks to give up an hour a week. Each team member is given a set of guidelines and 10 numbers to comment on. The numbers are spread across a range of 1 to 2000 so to have 10 numbers to comment on would mean a huge response, well over the maximum the challenge has had. If you were to have 10 to do, they can easily be done in an hour. Volunteers do not have to be teachers or even connected to the schools.

As it has been shown that the comments are what makes the difference to the children, and, in an attempt to provide at least one comment per entry, when classes signed up this year they were asked to put forward the name of someone to join Team 100. The challenge is free to enter and can make such a difference, (in one case as much as 5 points score improvement in two terms), I don’t think it is too much to ask for one person to be prepared to give a little time to leave a supportive comment. Most schools have just one class entering 100WC which is one person per school!

I had assumed that most class teachers would automatically comment on their own classes entries so, on the form, it asks for someone other than the class teacher. There are still some classes who have yet to find someone and today, in response to another grumble from me, I received this from a class teacher:

‘ I know it is not supposed to the classroom teacher, but I am not sure any others will make that commitment at my school. ‘
I had to read it a couple of times and found myself feeling so sorry for this teacher, sad for the children and then angry! How many school visions and mission statements include a line about ‘all the children in our school’? How many espouse support and aspiration for all?
Now this is not a foot stamp because people don’t want to join my game. This attitude seems to explain why our positive wizards in school – you know the ones who take up new initiatives and ideas that schools thrive on – get so downhearted. Surely SLTs need to nurture these folks and not assume they will just get on with it. Schools are about community and initiatives like 100WC can help unite members of it. I do know that the school will gladly use any improvement taking part in the challenge brings to their results!

Am I really expecting too much that schools share in the encouragement of pupils? The joy of 100 Word Challenge is that it provides an extended audience from around the world. It appears that some schools are not prepared to back their words with actions and become part of that audience and that makes me very, very sad.

 

Brilliant resource – The Eat Happy Project!

Posted in Parent Matters, School Matters

The other day when I was doing my shopping in Tesco, I came across a group of primary children being encouraged to taste herbs. They were then moved along to bananas and later I could hear the assistant talking about potatoes!

I was intrigued and noticed ‘Farm to Fork Trail’ on the back of one of the high-vis tops the children were wearing so when I got home I did a bit of research. It turns out that Tesco have been quietly (well I’ve not heard about it!) running The Eat Happy Project. It’s aims are to make sure the next generation has a ‘healthier, happier relationship’ with food based experiencing where it comes from, how to cook it and how to make good decisions about eating.

Now that the school summer holidays are here they are running:

  • Cooking classes for 5-13 (split into 3 groups) see HERE for availability
  • Parent and Child Farm to Fork Trails – just ask in your local store

Once schools go back (I know you don’t want to think about it!) they can sign up for:

  • Farm to Fork Trails – in local stores
  • Farm to Fork Trails that visit local farms. Help can be provided towards transport costs
  • Online Field Trips - broadcast live from farms and factories across the globe, children can see behind the scenes to discover where the food on their food comes from, and chat to real growers and producers using Google+ Hangouts

I am told that there are lots of ideas and events in the pipeline for this project so do get involved. This is not a sponsored post. I just think it is a fabulous idea that needs lots of exposure to get as many families and children involved as possible!

Project 100

Posted in 100 Word Challenge, School News

Have you got a year 5 group showing worrying data as they go into year 6? Are you up for a simple challenge that can make a huge difference to their literacy work, especially creative writing?

I am looking for a school to work with me during the next academic year to research the impact 100 Word Challenge has on writing and motivation. We know it works and is having a huge impact but I want to put together some data to prove it!

If chosen, you will need to provide a class moving into Year 6 in September that data is showing they need a little something extra to move their standards in writing forwards. You will need to have a class blog and commitment to join a weekly writing project that takes a small amount of time.

100 Word Challenge is showing that by linking writing with simple  blogging and providing an audience through comments, the pupils have a purpose for their work. They not only want to write and do it better because of the comments but it has an impact on their motivation across the curriculum.

I can provide a free class blog and full support which can be training staff, working with the class and possible extension across the school if that is desired.

If you are interested in further details please email me at [email protected]

I NEED YOUR HELP!

Posted in 100 Word Challenge

The 100 Word Challenge is exploding! There have been on average 1300 entries each week producing over 30,000 since September. That means over 216,000 interactions with class blogs!

Check some of them out at 100wc.net

The key to the success lies in the comments left by Team 100. Comments extend the audience for our young writers. They are so motivated by people they do not know taking time to read their work then comment. Teachers report HUGE improvement in writing progress and motivation.

To achieve my aspiration of 3 /4 comments on each post I need a team of commentators of around 600. I have only 145! This means that many posts will not get one comment.

 I NEED YOUR HELP!

 It only takes an hour to read the maximum of 10 posts you are given as a member of Team 100. There are simple guidelines for you to follow and apart from giving you an experience of reading some wonderful writing, you can feel great at giving something back. These young writers are really making progress and you can be part of it.

 You don’t have to be a teacher or an IT whizz– just someone who has an hour and wants to help.

Please, please, please get in touch asap.

Leave your details in the comments below, fill out a contact form or tweet me @theheadsoffice.

You really will make a difference!

555cf3bb2a90fb0adee01fc85233b21d I NEED YOUR HELP!

Learning Links

Posted in Resource Centre

Here are all the links mentioned at  the recent meetings of teachers

Fantastic Class Bogs!

Worsborough Comon

Foundation, Athersley South – @blamehound

Worcester Secondary

The Ins and Outs – @Palmyteacher

Crumpsall Lane EYFS – @DrChips

Leopold Primary, Australia – @kathleen_morris

Blog Dipping

Help for Writing

100 Word Challenge

5 Sentence Challenge

Live Writing Using Cover-It-Live

Blogging Hints

Tim & Moby explain about blogs – @BrainPOP_UK

Children’s Thoughts

Teacher’s Thoughts

Blog provider

ed.gs  @edgsweb