Teachers' Tales

5 things schools do to maximise Pobble power


by Phil Amos
on February 28, 2016

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Over the first few weeks of 2016 I’ve worked with tens of schools in London and the South East to get them started on their Pobble journey. Having seen the impact of successful Pobble launches in these schools, I feel it is now a good time to share with all of you:

Countless schools are now getting 500+ views in their first week following launch, as well as multiple comments on each and every piece of work. We are hearing numerous stories of children standing up in celebration assemblies bursting with pride as they realise they are the published author for that week, or in some circumstances even doing ‘The Rocky’. This refers to a boy being so fulfilled by his recognition that as he stood up he started flexing his biceps muscles and turning around to his audience, basking in the glory!

At the other end of the confidence spectrum we are also really pleased to hear about the EAL and SEN children who stand up disbelieving that their work is good enough to be chosen! We can only imagine the positive energy and emotion children must experience from this, and let’s be honest, in an educational environment where testing and fear of failure is prevalent, Pobble shines a bright light where nothing else can reach!

So what are some of the most successful schools doing to maximise the impact of Pobble and ensure their children feel the Pobble vibe?

1. All classes publish on Pobble every week

It is essential that Pobble is used across school with each and every class publishing every week. Even if it’s only one piece of writing! This takes 5 minutes and we’re not sure that there are 5 minutes of time in a working week that will direct more positive energy towards a child. If there is, please do let us know.

By doing this, you will be constantly inspiring your young writers to try their best. That’s all they can do and that’s all we want and need them to do! It really isn’t rocket science!

2. The children’s achievements are celebrated

Once the writing is published shout about it… In fact scream, yell, wave your arms – go mad about it! Show them you care and are proud of them. Sadly, for some children they may not get enough of this in their lives and it doesn’t matter how ‘too cool for school’ they might think they are, as humans, we all love positive praise!

In assembly:

Make sure each week in assembly you have your school portfolio projected onto the biggest screen you have. Highlight and discuss the number of views, comments and likes, focusing on the growth. Pobble is all about literacy, but don’t shy away from asking some math questions: ‘So we had X amount of views last week, and this week we have Y. How many have we increased by?’ And, of course, don’t forget to also set a new target: ‘Let’s get another 300 views this week and 30 comments!’

Why not also click on 1 or 2 pieces if you have time to show individual examples of the published work. A school we spoke with recently have simply gone Pobble crazy, and they said that time is of course a consideration but to ensure that each and every child gets recognition they get all the published authors to stand up, come out to the front and get a sticker or a Pobble certificate.

On display:

To support all of this explicit recognition on a weekly basis ensure that you also set up a Pobble display which shows your stats and update this weekly. You could also have a laminated thought bubble which shows the thought of one of your published authors from that week! Have a quick look at our Pinterest boards for lots of good display ideas. And of course you can always refer to our free printable resource pack for some elements to get you started on your Pobble wall.

3. Commenting is embedded into classroom and whole school practice

Make sure you set up your pupils with their own pupil logins. Your Pobble teacher is on hand to help you manage this process. Once set up, get ready because the children will get seriously addicted to commenting on each other’s work and, of course, Pobble moderates all these comments for you!

Noting the links with IT here, it is advisable that you take an IT lesson to get the children started. An IT session also provides you the with time to hand out passcodes to the children. Once this is done it also gives you another celebration opportunity as once a week you could recognise the commenter of the week in class or in assembly.

Once children are up and running with logins the sky really is the limit. At the time of writing, Pobble is close to having 40,000 pieces of children’s writing on the platform so they will never be short of examples to comment on!

In the classroom:

Get laptops or tablets out and use ‘commenting on writing’ as a Guided Reading activity or maybe even as a morning starter if you are really organised!

In the club:

Set up a lunch time club and once a week get UKS2 Pobble Prefects (or alike!) to come to the club and comment on all work published that week from your school. This is an easy way to not only continue to develop children’s comprehension, assessment and feedback skills, but to also ensure that each and every piece of work your amazing teachers publish, not only has immediate comments from them and hopefully parents, but also from your own children.

In the community:

Build a network of schools with whom you will develop peer to peer assessment opportunities with via the Pobble platform. In the lunchtime club your children, following commenting on your own school’s writing from that week, browse the other schools’ portfolios and comment on theirs (and vice versa). Please contact your Pobble teacher to get them to introduce you to other Pobble schools wanting to develop peer assessment opportunities.

4. Parents are engaged with the initiative

Parent input is so important for the child. We heard a story a few weeks ago where a parent had made a comment on a child’s piece of work on Pobble, the teacher showed this to the class in the morning and the child could not take a smile off their face for the rest of the day; come the writing session, they did not want to stop!

To support this, what works really well is setting up a formal (or maybe informal!) parent meeting to tell them:

  1. About Pobble power and why your school has invested in it
  2. How they can navigate the platform
  3. How they can make a good comment as well as like a piece of work

Even if only 30 parents turn up, they will talk and soon all parents will be buzzing about Pobble! Your Pobble teacher would be more than happy to run such a session with parents at the end of a Pobble teaching day.

5. Finally, people outside the school community, for example authors, are involved in the exciting work that is published

Twitter and other online channels are an amazing way to further build your audience. More details can be found in a blog post that was written by Anna a while back. Below is a highlight from this:

Engage authors, artists, and celebrities

Start conversations about your school’s work with a wealth of fellow tweeters, including celebrities, famous authors and fellow educators. And, of course, don’t forget to mention @HeyPobble so we can retweet.

cressidacowell_tweet

Imagine the children’s reaction when they receive a comment from a teacher on the other side of the world or a famous author—an actual, real life celebrity author telling them they like their work. Talk about giving them reason to want to create more!

anthonyhorowitz_tweet


Ok, stop reading now and get on with it!

Only joking, and thank you for taking the time to read this article. On a more serious note, if you need any further support or advice please get in touch with your Pobble teacher who will be more than happy to help you put a plan of action together. We can help you set up the lunchtime club, run a parent meeting after school, and develop an action plan to help embed pupil logins and help you maximise ‘Pobble Power’.

We cannot wait to see more of your amazing young authors on Pobble soon. Happy Pobbling!

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