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NLT Mitchell and Pie Look Conference

Welcome to the Live blog from the National Literacy Trust Conference.

Today, Pie Corbett and David Mitchell are presenting ‘Improving reading and writing through ICT’ from the Institute of Directors in London.

As you can see from the photo, the setting is inspirational. We are in the Wellington Suite and ready for a great day. We hope you leave inspired to try something new. I will be blogging this event live throughout the day so that delegates attending and other educators interested from around the world can see what has taken place throughout the day.

Pie Corbett Key Points:

It’s 28 years since Pie Corbett had his first BBC Computer. Technology should be used daily to engage pupils across the country. Images in the classroom can be a powerful vehicle for building up information and content and quite often undervalued in classrooms.

If teachers are not using shared writing, they are not teaching writing. It happens in Maths but 20% of teachers don’t do it in Literacy lessons. Many teachers sift through a unit and do shared writing on a Thursday in week 3 for 10 minutes BUT it should be done MUCH more often.

You can have all the ICT in the world but it won’t replace the teaching of writing. But give pupils a genuine audience and a sense of ‘working towards publishing our writing’ then pupils will work as hard as they possibly can.

Schools that do well have a solid reading spine throughout their school. Books are valued and throughout the school and pupils have access to a range of authors from Reception to Year 6.

Use of images:

As soon as images are used to warm up, you break the barriers down in the classroom. There are no words and images like these are great to provoke thinking. ‘What is this frog thinking about?’

Time to comment… What do you think this frog is thinking about?

Working with images, poems or stories are an experience where you can’t be wrong. To use questioning like ‘Tell me about…’ will help pupils be creative in their response to elements of an image.

‘What do you think has just happened?’
‘What do you think  is going to happen next?’

Images of doors and windows work very well as pupils can add their own ideas. If you are looking at an image of a face, you can use the spine of the picture -the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, neck and hair. Then branch out to a sweater that you imagine they are wearing etc.

Shared Writing:

Pie led a shared writing session where he used the class (audience) to develop writing, Julia Strong was used as a TA who was creating a word bank from the suggestions from the class:

Here are the flip charts from this morning so far:


Ideas from the room on how Coveritlive could be used in the classroom:

Coveritlive Session this afternoon:

June 27, 2012


Leave a comment
  1. Cherise Duxbury
    June 27, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    thanks for sharing this David, will be watching from Bolton and cannot wait to be inspired. Good Luck!

    • mitchell
      June 27, 2012 at 8:18 am #

      More than welcome to be involved in the Coveritlive later!

  2. Pie Corbett
    June 27, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    David Mitchell:

    Blogging advice – getting an audience for the blogs is essential – use twitter to encourage teachers and others to respond to the children’s blogs. Blogging is as much about the writing of the blog as it is about responding. It is like a form of conversation. Start a class twitter account – the challenge of writing powerful sentences within a limited space. Use local press and parents to generate an audience. Work hard at helping to generate an audience for the children.

    Tweet for information related to blogs, e.g. XXXXX is blogging and looking for information about howler monkeys – can anyone help? On occasions, this can generate a lot of interest and links.

    Seek possible links with schools in other countries so children can exchange information and respond to each other. Seeing that someone from another part of the world is showing interest can be really motivating.

    Powerful impact on children’s progress in writing – in year 6, SEN pupils making almost 3 years progress in one year. Average progress in year 6 is 2 years! But it is also life-changing for some children. Writing can become a ‘hobby’ for some children and give them a sense of self-esteem and purpose. They are writing about their OWN interests.

    Children writing chapter stories and the audience deciding which direction the story takes next, by voting. A sense of children increasingly gaining ownership and direction – really behaving like writers. Transformational.

    Children using QR codes to link from their own writing in their books – to the comments on the blog so the reader can see the while story. The multi-dimensional
    books – making writing cool.

    Quad-blogging – involves 70,000 children, 2000 classes and 35 countries. 100% free – sign up now. often 2 schools from UK with 2 schools from other parts of the world. Each week one school is in the limelight and the other 3 schools respond. So there is a guaranteed audience. Teaching children to respond – but also prepare their blogs to make them interesting for real readers.

    Blogging is a form of /community’ writing. It can be serious, emotional, witty – breaking down barriers.

    ‘Pass the blog’ is 52 teachers – the blog stays with you for one week and then gets passed on. Great idea as a way of dipping your toe in.

  3. Pie Corbett
    June 27, 2012 at 11:51 am #

    The ‘well done’ blog – a way of encouraging children – good work and efforts – to celebrate children’s work. Parents love this. A quick photo or film clip onto the blog. A quick way to celebrate and encourage.

    Voice threading – to perform – a simple way to publish children’s writing, performed aloud. The link is on David’s blog.

    Voice threading – for peer assessment – children can use the mouse to highlight and annotate each other’s writing. They talk about the writing as they annotate.

    Blogging projects – using the blog as a focal point for their writing – the modern alternative to putting a display up on a corridor wall! – to find out about your audience. The children like to know about their audience. It is a form of writing relationship and community.

    Blogging – a great way of helping children who have to be at home or live in isolated communities.

    Blogging is not just about writing and reading – it is about communicating and taking your place in the world community. Powerful stuff.

  4. Pie Corbett
    June 27, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Child’s view – ‘A comment from a teacher is not the same as a comment from the world!’

  5. Kayleigh Gundry
    June 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Thank you so much for a wonderful conference. I really enjoyed it and have already e-mailed coveritlive. Dominic and I have been talking about plans for blogging in the next academic year. Thank you for sharing your successes and allowing us to see coveritlive in action. I hope you had a safe journey home. Thanks once again, Kayleigh :o)

  6. Jane Federico
    June 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    Thank you for an inspiring day I’m ready to try out some ideas tomorrow using the National Gallery The Ambassadors portrait, for our Tudors blog. Thanks David for introducing me to the powerful world of blogging giving pupils a true voice. Thank you Pie for inspiring me to be more adventurous about creative writing. Great setting too

  7. Nicola Darling
    June 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and am already considering trying a cover it live session with my class (this week if I’m brave enough and can get my head around it or otherwise next week!) although I doubt I’ll be able to get to Pie standard for a while. I will be having discussions about our budget to see if we can sort out setting up blogs across the school; hopefully with Creative Blogs which look great. I don’t know that I fancy setting them up for everyone myself BUT with a bit of help I think it would be fantastic to do. One of my current class has already said “I think the whole school should blog” SO that will be my ammunition!!!

    It was brilliant to see the success you have had and this will definitely be adding further ammunition to my plea! It was fantastic to meet so many other like-minded people who aren’t scared to use ICT to move forward! Great! I’m still buzzing!

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