‘Pobble’ … initially it meant nothing to me, this being partly due to my being a geographer and secondary teacher. Then I remembered of course ‘ he had no toes’ yes, Edward Lear’s nonsense rhyme came back to me courtesy of being a child myself once and a parent. The Pobble I refer to here is an online literacy writing resource formerly called LendMeYour Literacy. Well you can see the latter hardly trips off the tongue or catches your attention while Pobble … You can’t forget it.
As a Executive Principal over a group of schools which included primaries I knew ‘writing’ was the poor relation in skills terms for our young children. Read they could and indeed add up but write was a challenge both in terms of the physical skill, and let’s not get into when cursive should begin to be taught if ever, and the content. Descriptive , creative it was all hard. Yet children love to tell you about their experiences or stories. These days I visit schools and every primary classroom without fail is full of storytellers keen to engage you and reluctant to let you go. So why are one in eight 11 year olds leaving primary school unable to write to their expected level and what can we do to teach, inspire, support and motivate.
When I heard about Pobble I confess I was a bit sceptical. Not another initiative to introduce to our teachers. However, I keep coming back to it. If it works then we have to try. Pobble is the brain child of a group of teachers and they have developed it from their own practice and it’s simple as are all the best initiatives. Basically it’s an on line classroom wall where you up load children’s work. Suddenly they know that if they do good work carefully presented and with good vocabulary then they can become published authors. What pride and self esteem that brings and indeed motivation to reluctant writers. It’s has a global audience too with users they boast already in 100 countries. The children give feedback to each other and so learn via the on line wall. Different levels are grouped for comparison. So Pobble becomes a global interactive library of children’s writing. Success is great for learning and for teaching.
Surely this is the kind of innovation we all want to see in education. Teachers, the classroom professionals, coming up with ways to help children and colleagues raise standards. The professionals know best for sure and this it seems to me is a great example of teachers taking the initiative into their own brilliant hands. Well done. Let’s see more Pobbles. Good luck to them.