Day four of my Ukedtravels saw a visit to Maidstone to see Brunswick House Primary school and @mbrayford for the day. Michelle was kind enough to host me for the whole day and I had an excellent time watching classes and talking about how she uses her class blogs. I also spent the afternoon with her code club group as they grappled with Scratch.
Brunswick House have one blog per year group, much as we do at my school. They use these blogs to showcase work for their parent body and for the students to complete activities such as the 100 word challenge.
Unlike any of the other schools I have visited though, Michelle has a group of student helpers called Digital Leaders who assist her to maintain the blogs. These students are chosen on the basis of an interview, coming from year 2 upwards and each take responsibility for different year groups. So that when a teacher has some work to display or a post she knows would be suitable for her blog they call on the student leader for help.
I thought this was a really good way of harnessing students to assist teachers, although Michelle also admitted that it did sometimes allow the teachers to get away without learning how to administer their own blogs. In a busy school though I could certainly see the advantages of this. It was obviously also a great way of creating useful student leaders, who learned new digital skills and performed a useful service for the school. These students are also part of a wider network called the digital leaders network which links schools and digital leaders together, which also seemed an excellent way of linking like minded students.
I have not used Scratch yet this year and watching her students use both it and an IPad app called Hopscotch was a timely reminder of it. Michelle uses task cards from a website she had joined called code club. A UK based group promoting coding for students. The projects looked interesting ad easy for students to follow. And are a resource I would like to get hold of for my classroom.
All in all it was an interesting and valuable visit. Thank you Brunswick House school, for hosting me and giving me a delicious school dinner of Fish cakes, beans and chips reminiscent of my childhood.