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My snow day online collaboration lessons/resources

I have been asked by a few people in my PLN on Twitter to write up my experiences of my first online ‘live’ lesson whilst the school was closed due to the snow. So here goes…

The threat of severe disruption led me to excavate (steal) peoples thoughts and ideas on what schools or teachers could offer in the way of using learning platforms or blogs to exploit learning opportunities whilst children are at home due to school closures. I set up a PrimaryPad and embedded this in my blog: Click here
I then went onto Twitter and asked my ever growing network of professional friends to visit and record their ideas. This request was swiftly retweeted across the globe leading to 40-50 visits from people I had never met from all over the world all willing to share some ideas! The ideas kept on coming and before long I also noticed 6 members of my own school staff reading and contributing too. This for me was a highlight as I could see they were impressed to see how Web 2.0 technology was being used. It was only at 11:30pm last night that I was on Twitter speaking to @HGJohn when he mentioned that I should look at Coveritlive as a method for delivering something like I was planning. I spent a good couple of hours after that using their testing feature. this allows you to run the software without actually publishing anything. I got to know the features very quickly and was impressed to say the least. I set up a session to begin at 9:30am the next day and was content enough to sleep!

First thing in the morning I texted the parents of the Year 6 children to inform them of the online lesson and the time it would start using: Teacher2 Parents (our texting service provider). With 30 minutes to go, there was already 10 pupils online waiting for the session to begin and this grew to 17 by the time it started. Not bad for a class of 30! I had told the children that this was a learning experience for me as well as them and so the journey began.

One of the many features that Coveritlive offers is the ability to run a poll. I set the poll to ask ‘How deep is the snow where you live?’ and set 6 options for answers. As children vote, these are then displayed as a percentage – A great numeracy link! We discussed what people had been up to over the break and even had a parent come online from work. She was able to post links of snowmen that her child had created! That to me was a sign of even more potential. Another activity we did was to think about what the newspapers would say about our school being closed but ‘virtually’ open. This sparked a number of responses that could be followed up in school or for real by contacting the press. We had done a big writing project using the world of Pandora from the hit film Avatar, see here and here. I wanted to see if I could play a video live online so I used the Youtube link and played the trailer for the film to all 20 particpants. This again made me understand the power of this tool.

During our discussions about what the children had been up to during the break, I directed them to our Reception class wallwisher that is about posting what you have been doing during the holidays. See their wallwisher here.

About 10 minutes from the end of the session I invited some of the teachers I know on Twitter to have a look at the session to see if it something they feel could be used in their school. The feedback was very positive. Although the content wasn’t sensationally advanced, this was a learning journey for myself mainly but also the pupils. I will ask them once we are re-open about their thoughts and how they think it could be used in the future.

After about 90 minutes I closed the ‘live’ session and although exhausted, I found the experience one of the most enlightening experiences of my professional career to date! I hope you can read this post and get something from it. Please direct people to this post and the replay of the resource which is just below. I’m thrilled to say that this is just the beginning of some very exciting times at Heathfield Primary School and I am very happy to be a part of it. Please take a few minutes to replay the ‘live’ session below:


Leave a comment
  1. ZoeRoss
    January 6, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    I think this is fantastic & I hope you were able to contact the local paper. I love Katie’s comment that the report should say, “School closed, however top teacher ( Mr Mitchell) set up a online classroom so children have fun!!!” Well done – I’m going to have a look and see if I can do one for my year 10 class – they’d love it!

  2. keylogger software
    January 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    To the OP: Can I use this for my school paper? I am working on this subject and your article would help me a lot.

  3. L Lewis
    January 6, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Well done it sounds like a very successful lesson.

  4. Mr Mitchell
    January 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Keylogger, what will it be used for? Can you give me some more info and would you link a copy if the paper when completed? Thanks for asking too!!

  5. Pam Thompson
    January 7, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    Wow! This has just blown me away. Who would have thought that kids on a “snow day” would choose to “attend” school? You are setting a great example of how we can engage and motivate our students using new technology? However, it’s not all about the technology is it? It’s also about being a “top teacher”! 🙂

    Well done! And top work year 6’s. I’m going to add your blog as a link on my class blog & my students can visit when we return to school later this month.

  6. Stewart Eisenbeis
    January 7, 2010 at 8:35 pm #

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  7. Mrs Spencer
    January 7, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    I am so proud of our Year 6 pupils! They have a fantastic attitude to learning and are such a positive role model for our younger pupils. I am sure it won’t be long before our Year 6’s are training our Infants in blogging.

  8. Karen Bosch
    January 7, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    What wonderful ideas! I think I need to tell my students that if it is a snowday to go to our class blog and do something similar!

  9. forex robot
    January 9, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    nice post. thanks.

  10. ELC
    January 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  11. Mr Mitchell
    January 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Thanks to everyone for your comments! It makes it worth while blogging about it when I know that people do find what is on here relevant and interested.

  12. 9
    January 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I enjoy seeing websites that understand the value of providing a prime resource for free. I truly loved reading your post. Thanks!

  13. Jeremy Maez
    January 16, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    Hello, it looks like your site is up and coming in the world.

  14. Ceola Cordenas
    January 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Nice!, found your blog on Ask.Glad I finally tried it out. Unsure if its my Opera browser,but sometimes when I visit your site, the fonts are really small? However, love your page and will be back.Bye


  1. uberVU - social comments - January 6, 2010

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by DeputyMitchell: OK, people have asked for a blog post on my snow closure online learning using blogs and Web 2.0 resources, here it is:

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    […] Perhaps most impressive of all, Heathfield have been running a live lesson for children via their blogsite using Coveritlive. It’s all the more remarkable when you consider that their blogsite only went live just before Christmas. To read David Mitchell’s blogpost about the experience, click here. […]

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