As a former school leader and Pobble founder, I am often asked by schools about initiatives that schools can introduce alongside Pobble to make writing even more exciting for their pupils, but also as a support for school leaders looking to monitor writing progress.
When we first started Pobble we used to visit schools at the beginning of their Pobble journey and in time developed a writing day to support the launch of the platform. Reflecting on these days, they were a great way of bringing the school together to develop a collective love of writing. We learnt a lot about the writing process from these whole school writing days, so much so that I now advise schools that I work closely with to plan in termly whole school writing days. These schools see maximum writing impact! So how do they work?
The most important part of these days is that all children are writing together and exploring the same theme across the school. Prepare for the day by building excitement around your chosen theme. Many schools launch the day with an exciting, interactive whole school assembly. I fondly remember visiting schools, pre-covid, to deliver a writing day linked to time travel... I launched the day with a series of intriguing prompts and props including a mysterious box and pocket watch. I then toured the school, visiting each class to support the children to write their own magical time travel stories.
As the days began to develop, we realised that by providing the staff with the ready-made lessons to deliver, and the power to edit these lessons where needed, we could use these days as an opportunity to really see what writing looked like across every year group. This wasn't about the teacher delivering the best lesson (they were all differentiated by us), it really was about showcasing writing from each class.
The main focus continues to be an exciting day of writing for the children, a day that pupils and staff alike can look forward to, enjoy and truly engage with the writing process. The added benefit is being able to use the day to create great displays to show writing progression and also for SLT to continue to get a feel for how writing looks across the school.
A big part of a whole school writing day for the pupils is that many of them are chosen to become published authors at the end. As many of you make know, Pobble passionately believes in providing an audience and purpose for children's writing. We do this on our writing days by celebrating pupils that have tried really hard during the day or produced something exceptional. We then photograph the work and publish it onto the school's Pobble page where it's celebrated not only with their school but with our whole Pobble community! If you're looking to publish writing from your school, you can find out more about Pobble publishing here.
It was while photographing and uploading work from the day to Pobble that discussions began to turn to comparing work from different classes, within minutes we had lined up samples of work from across all year groups and began to look at the progression. The school leaders were able to identify quickly a bit of a lull in Year 4 and know exactly where to focus additional support.
To support your writing discussions, when work is uploaded to Pobble, it is also stored in evidence banks and can even be used to support writing assessment with our new online moderation tool.
The great news is that although Pobble no longer visits schools to deliver these days we now showcase lessons and activities that can be used for these whole school events in our Lesson Content section. Some schools choose to use the same Pobble 365 picture and story starter across every class. If you've never used Pobble 365 it's an inspiring daily image, ideal for getting those creative juices flowing. Each image comes with a pre-written story starter and a number of supporting activities.
Many schools use our theme-based lessons, which are differentiated 6 times. They include a series of warm-up activities, a writing checklist and then the main writing task to run these days. Some schools have found these presentations so useful that they have even extended them to a writing week!You can see all these lessons on our new curriculum maps.
Remember to really inspire and motivate your pupils, always choose a group of pupils at the end of the day to become published authors.
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