Thursday, 16 July 2015

Next steps

Almost so I can step back and look at what I'm doing, and to share with those who are interested here's what I'm up to currently.

I'm also renaming my @modblog1 twitter account and promising myself I will stay on task/topic and message. Not sure what the new name will be yet, or if it will work.

Since I started Modblog (writing moderation blog) I have changed as a teacher and a person. I started the blog to help me get better at marking writing. I never planned to do anything else with it, or leave my school. All consequences were unplanned and unexpected and have enabled me to share the creative/child-centred/inventive/nurturing and innovative sides of my work ( and become confident enough to do so)

So since Easter 2013 I have:

  • learned how to deliver brilliant training sessions to teachers
  • kept teaching in the classroom every week
  • Gained an extremely deep understanding of early years education
  • made so many friends from different places/backgrounds
  • Developed the best Early Years intervention in the world (it is. I can't believe I would ever claim that about anything I've done but nothing I've seen - and I've seen it all- comes close in terms of impact.)
  • Experienced cheering crowds at my sessions in the USA
  • Learned a lot about the  business world. We are a lot wiser now.
  • Developed a simple process which impacts on writing outcomes for students of all ages.
  • Got an office to work in
  • Stopped worrying. about anything!
  • and many more things. I love what I do but travelling is hard and being away from family is hard and I lose things and leave things behind wherever I go. Despite my man bag. Which I lose.

Here are the things I'm up to now. 

I am continuing to work with the inspirational rock-solid genius David Andrews. He is Batman to my Robin, Delboy to my Rodney. Walter White to my Jessie Pinkman. He does well to put up with the endless ideas I have and projects I start. This is what's going on in the next school year.

1: Mr Andrews Online. We will continue to run training courses, school based CPD and classroom projects. Our work is largely based on our approach to ensure progress in writing. It's easy and highly effective and I use it special/primary/secondary schools. Dave and I invented the processes we use. Dave knows a lot about programming and the computing curriculum but we don't really offer training in that area ( unless you ask Dave very nicely). I have no interest in that side of things really (sorry!)

Our website is here:

2: Chatta. This is our early years intervention. Its what we do with staff working with children aged 2 to 5. Chatta is an app combined with a teaching process which is centred around play,discovery and exploration and accelerates progress in early language development. The impact is amazing and next year we will be introducing Chatta into more cities and regions. It is primarily used in pre-schools, nurseries, by childminders and in early years classrooms.

We don't have a Chatta website yet ( long story) but here is a video of me talking about it at a review meeting in Hull.

Keep an eye on:

3: Ed Store: This will be launching in September. It is currently being piloted by about 20 schools. We developed  this because we were asked to ( and are honoured to have been asked to), and we are frequently asked to share activity ideas and lesson plans with schools and teachers. The Ed Store provides high-impact projects in all curriculum areas ( Primary initially, some secondary at present and growing) along with video CPD ( play and pause for staff meetings/personal CPD), webinars and mass participation lesson demonstration activities ( more to follow on that). I have never felt "textbook" teaching brings out the best in teachers or students but I do know that teachers need resources that can rely on, that they can adapt and make their own which can act as a catalyst for the truly creative and connected teacher. The Ed Store resources are the best I've seen. It's a growing resource and already has 3,500 schools signed up as members. 

Website to be launched soon!

4: World Record Attempt

This is happening and has been authorised by Guinness World Records. We have the  rules and requirements. We have a Facebook page  ( please like!) we have thousands of students already signed up JOIN THEM and plans are moving forward quickly.

The World's Largest Online Language Lesson

The record involves David and I teaching classes around the world ( via video link) a unique and distinct method which can accelerate progress for all students at all levels. It is a 30 minute lesson with a short writing task at the end. Lesson plans and all resources will be provided for all participants. A tablet computer or laptop ( preferably 1 between 2, but we could get away with 1 between 3 or 4) is required.

Date to be confirmed but probably November.

The reason for this is primarily to share our classroom approach with the widest audience. Technology can make an impact on learning but nothing comes close to the way David and I use it, so we would like to create as much impact on learning for pupils as we can. An additional reason is to support charities which make an impact on opportunities and  aspirations for children. The impact of poverty on children and their educational development is huge and increasing. We are selecting and supporting  a small number of community charities who know how to make a difference. A further reason for our record is to celebrate the launch of the Ed Store. In challenging times, this resource will deliver outstanding outcomes in the classroom whilst saving time and money for schools. This is something we believe in and know there is value in.

So. In order to spread the word on the world record I am changing the twitter name of @modblog1, if I can work out how. I want the record to be a success and am committed to the value of what we are doing and why.

I can always be contacted at:

My new identity 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

iPad Summit, November 13/14 2014. Pre-summit post.

iPad Summit

Hopes and expectations:

I'm currently flying to Boston for the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit. I last attended the event when it was held in Atlanta last April.

A lot has changed for me since then. My last iPad Summit visit  had a lasting and significant impact on pretty much everything I do. I ended up attending the Atlanta conference  after successfully submitting a presentation  proposal which indirectly led to me leaving my teaching job to set up a consultancy business with David Andrews.

I learned so much in 2 days and made connections with people I continue to learn from. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to listen to and discuss ideas with teachers from so many different schools, states and countries as well as connect with thought leaders and pioneers such as Reshan Richards, Greg Kuloweic, Lisa Johnson and Michelle Cordy.

The key message that technology is a tool for teachers to use but learning and pupil progress must paramount is something I continue to find myself discussing a lot. There are still many teachers with suspicions and misconceptions about  classroom technology and still many school leaders who invest in technology without having a clear purpose for and desired outcome from its deployment. A teacher's main objectives remain the same with or without classroom technology - learning, progress, standards. At times tech demos from the rep from the tech store, or the worthy and widely respected SAMR model can become a distraction moving thinking subtly towards the technology and away from the learning. Teachers are right to be sceptical until they see something they can use in their work to make an impact on the job they do and the pupils they teach. Engagement is not enough.

I hope, over the next 2 days, to gain further insight into what is happening in schools around the world. What  is making the impact on students' learning and progress? What ideas, programmes and  process can  be scaled up to ensure the biggest impact for all pupils and teachers. Sometimes it can be frustrating to meet a brilliant teacher doing astonishing things with technology and when asked "Who else in your school is doing this?" being  told that there is limited whole-school take up and application. I know I'm in the right place, because I'm with the right people addressing the right  agenda. We want the same thing.

I like the iPad summit because it is about sharing. So many committed, creative and passionate educators coming together creates invaluable dialogue, collaboration and momentum. That's why I'm attending, I want to be part of that learning process. Here is my schedule for the next 2 days.


Revival and Redirection

I'm going to start using my blog again. It served its purpose for me and I stopped using it. Brief background to the blog is this:

As a teacher I felt I lacked confidence in my judgements at levelling pupils' writing.
The blog was my attempt at creating  my own CPD (quietly and privately) by asking fellow teachers  to help me with online writing moderation. It was a moderation blog (mod-blog) and it worked. I got my own training from the only true experts out there (people doing the same job as me happy to share, no point to prove or axe to grind)

I do think anyone and everyone in teaching can and should do this. Lots do! Something so simple like preparing a google form with a question and asking for responses. Daniel Harvey, a secondary teacher I have worked with in Birmingham did this recently. He created a form asking for practical classroom  technology ideas to share with his staff. He posted the link on twitter and asked a few people who have ed/tech followers for responses retweets. So simple.

Anyway, this blog has been dormant for a while now bit it's still there and it's still mine so I now feel like adding some posts to it. I'm sitting on a plane to Boston for the Ed Tech Teacher iPad summit trying to write a pre-summit blog. I hadn't been aware of wifi on a plane working when a device is in flight mode, but it works and as  I'm flying over Newfoundland I can wave at Canada and exchange tweets with my twitter teacher friend Rolland Chidiac. (@rchids)

Will see how far I get with the revival of my blog.


I didn't get any further as I struggled with password reset. It's now 4:48am and I can't get back to sleep ( jetlag?) so I will try to finish my pre-summit post.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Modblog 12

I forgot how much this blog helped me as a teacher. I started it after being involved in several writing moderation sessions with colleagues and realising that I didn't have the confidence, skill or depth of understanding to justify my judgements fairly and consistently.

I decided to post work on a blog and invite people to add their views and engage in discussion to help come to agreement. Do it yourself CPD really. I wanted to improve my skills in this area so I used a blog help me. I started the blog anonymously ( as I was exposing an area of weakness I suppose ) and looking back now, the blog did its job for me as it gave me confidence I was lacking, and helped me to learn from others to continue to improve my work.

After discussion with several colleagues I'm going to start posting pupils' writing  on the blog again.
All comments are welcome and helpful.

Modblog 12

This piece of writing was based on the game "Bike Baron" and explains how to be a daredevil motorbike stunt racer. ( use any levelling/assessment criteria you prefer)

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Modblog 11

 Modblog 11

This writing sample was submitted by a newly qualified teacher working in Year 1. Please feel free to add any comments, suggested assessment levels and questions. This process has been a big help to me as a teacher in terms of consistency and confidence in my own judgements. If you would like to share writing for moderation with other teachers ( anonymously unless you prefer otherwise) then please get in touch by emailing:

Year 1 writing: Typed up as written by the pupil

In the deep dark dark words. There is mistycle witches house whith a blue roof and vins all arownd it becose... it is aaa wwwitches howwwwse. There are luvle sparlkly shooting stars leeding up to the witchs house.
Please add votes/comments. The more people who get involved the better in terms of sharing views.  Use any assessment scheme which works for you!
The Criterion Scale is reprodeuced with kind permission from Ros Wilson. 


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Modblog 10

 Modblog 10

The aim of this blog is to allow teachers to develop skills in writing moderation and to add comments/votes to help find accurate writing levels. Hopefully it is a safe and productive place for people to practise levelling children's writing and engaging in discussion.

Using this blog has been the most worthwhile CPD experience I have had in 18 years as a teacher. I especially valued the discussion which took place about Modblog 5 
(written by my daughter, Evie) and since then I have felt so much more confident in my own judgements and more at ease with the necessary dialogue and challenge which is central to effective moderation. For their work and contributions I remain grateful for the personalised training given to me by Emma Dawson, Claire Bills, Pete Curtis, James Town, Rebecca Stacey and Ros Wilson. I haven't done too much with Modblog since then because the blog had done it's job, and made me much more confident in this area of my work.

I do hope that teachers are willing to send in samples of writing to me at to allow visitors to this blog to continue to engage in productive dialogue about children's writing.

The writing sample below was written by Hollie ( year 6) after a visit to Eden Camp Museum in North Yorkshire. Please add your comments/votes.

Criterion Scale: Level 3,4,5 ( reproduced with kind permission from Ros Wilson)

APP Writing Grids: Level 3/4  Level 4/5


Saturday, 6 October 2012

Modblog 9

Modblog 9

This piece of writing was designed to be a motivational speech aimed to encourage pupils to face challenges and reach their goals. The class have been looking at features of motivational speaking as part of a project linked with our local Children's University.

Motivational Speaker

The writer is 10 years old and is at the beginning of year 6. I have been impressed with his progress this term and feel his  potential is  some way beyond the level 3b he achieved in year 5. 

I am going to use the Criterion Scale ( used on this blog with kind permission from Ros Wilson) to try to find a level and hopefully highlight ways forward and next steps. I haven't done this yet ( before posting) because I want to do it as the first comment on the blog and then seen what other people have to contribute.

All comments are welcome and appreciated. This isn't something I have always found easy, particularly in moderation activities but using this blog has given me a lot of help.

 I think sometimes in moderation activites the most vocal members of the group can sway opinion (unintentionally) so perhaps valuable contributions to this blog could lead to a more accurate and considered moderation experience. 

I do hope readers of this are able to add comments in terms of providing an accurate levelled assessment of the writing
( it doesn't need to be with the Criterion Scale), and offer suggestions to take the writer forward. 

Thanks for visiting this site and for ( hopefully!) joining in.


NP denotes new paragraph- added by the writer
NP in middle added by writer. NP at top of page by teacher ( writer said it was obvious)
Criterion Scale Level 3

Criterion Scale Level 4