Pobble arrived at Kings’ School Al Barsha in 2016/17. It was available to our five Year 6 classes. We had been looking for a moderation tool to compare the writing that our children were doing with the writing of other Year 6s, especially those in the UK. Initially, Pobble was the perfect platform to support our teachers’ formative assessment judgements by connecting them with a wide community.
This year, 2017/18, we have started publishing work and using the children’s commenting functionality. We now have twelve classes regularly uploading writing to Pobble. From its early beginnings as a ‘teacher tool’, it has developed into a true celebration of children’s writing!
Each week, teachers select up to two pieces of work (we limit it to make it even more special) and this is celebrated after our Thursday ‘Wonder Write’. During the following week, the children who have been published are celebrated in our assembly and have the honour of wearing a Pobble lanyard for the week. The lanyard is a new addition for us at Kings’ and we have found that it prompts other teachers outside of Year 5 and 6 to ask the children about their writing.
When our children are published to Pobble, relatives (mostly back in the UK) are able to look at their work online. Many of our parents have told me how proud grandads and great-aunts have been to see their relatives’ work from 4000 miles away. What our children love more than anything else is seeing who else has seen their writing. They have even started comparing comments to see who has received a comment from the furthest away from Dubai!
Teachers continue to find WAGOLLs on Pobble, along with many other resources like Pobble 365. At Kings’, our children create their own success criteria for each genre based on WAGOLLs they find on Pobble. It has empowered them to plan and create imaginative, extended writing tasks which are then uploaded to Pobble – hopefully to be used as a WAGOLL by someone else!
Over the coming term, we are continuing to explore how Pobble can be best used at Kings’. We have enlisted the help of a Year 6 student leader to keep our new Pobble display up to date with the number of published authors, views and comments. Twitter has helped us to share and celebrate Pobble updates with our community, including other Dubai Pobble schools. Sharing our school Pobble page via our school Facebook page, on the other hand, is great for showcasing our writing with the rest of the school community.
Pobble has not only made our children’s writing ridiculously exciting, but it has also made our teachers’ lives ridiculously creative, fun, easy and inspiring.
Russell Smart is Assistant Headteacher at Kings’ School Al Barsha in Dubai, UAE.