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Crabble Mill Writing Project - The Film



Crabble Mill illustrates how web based applications including FlashMeeting and Making the News can be used in the primary classroom to raise standards and support project based learning.
Dover formed the background for a project to raise the literacy levels of reluctant writers in Year 5. This project was chosen to feature in The National Education Network Booklet distributed to schools nationwide.

Using ICT, study visits to the historic Crabble Mill together with meetings, blogs and video conferences with the prize-winning children?s author, Stewart Ross, the project created an exciting interactive approach that involved pupils writing and publishing their own stories as well as podcasts. These activities, supported by South East Grid for Learning, were carefully designed by Ian Coulson, ASK History Advisor, Phil Bracegirdle and the Hands On Team to include an assessment of the standard of pupil writing before the project began and to check pupils? National Curriculum levels again after the project.

The results were amazing, showing that the writing levels of three-quarters of the eighty-five children had increased and nearly half the group recorded an improvement of two-sub levels. The boys? results showed 73% of the forty-five boys improved their writing by one sub level and that 47% recorded a jump of two levels. Over three-quarters of the forty girls who took part in the project survey improved their writing by one sub-level whilst almost half recorded an increase of two levels.

The programme began with a day at Crabble Mill for all the schools. The challenge was introduced to the pupils and the teachers. Pupils also took part in eight short workshop activities. Then everyone was introduced to the children?s author Stewart Ross, who explained how to write a good story. The presentation kept the pupils spellbound and they left the day at the mill very enthusiastic about writing.

To help the children several ICT resources were provided. Most important was the microsite from South East Grid for Learning supported by Project Officer Chris Davison.
The site, which you are now reading, gave the project a means of communication with the teachers and a place for pupils to mount their work. A very wide range of support materials were published on the microsite, providing everyone with a single point of reference. By focussing on the blog and the microsite, the pupils could hone their work by seeking the views of Stewart and pupils in other schools.

During the three week Project Stewart was available to answer questions and review work in progress by using FlashMeeting,(Link below. Ian Coulson also used FlashMeeting to share his knowledge of the history of the mill with pupils. FlashMeeting records the videoconferences so children could go back to reinforce important points from both Stewart?s and Ian?s interviews.
A blog also allowed the young writers to question Stewart online and show him how they were progressing with their stories. Some members of the team made short visits to schools to support writing and help teachers and pupils master the technology. Children wrote their stories and published them on the excellent NEN Making the News site. Some children recorded their work as podcasts, whilst others added artwork, photographs and video but the main focus was on improving writing.

To give the children a deadline for the completion of the stories a Literacy Festival was planned. On Tuesday, 20th November 2007 nearly 150 children from twenty-five Kent primary schools attended the Crabble Mill Writing Festival at Crabble Corn Mill, Dover, where the children shared their own stories with pupils from other schools. At the end of the session all the children received a special "Crabble Mill Certificate" and had their photograph taken with Stewart Ross and Ian Coulson.

The Crabble Mill writing project highlighted three significant ways new technologies and web based applications can be used to help children edit and improve their story writing.

For helping to ensure this has been a very special and successful project the Planning Team would like to thank the following organisations, consultants, and specialist teachers for their help and support.
South East Grid for Learning, EIS Kent, the staff of Crabble Corn Mill, Stewart Ross - Project Author,
Keith Harcourt - Independent Consultant to EIS, as well as Kent Leading ICT Teachers and AST's, Karl Bentley, James Blomfield, Colette Cotton, Jason Dilling, Mark Warner, James Webber and Rob Sleight.


Crabble Mill Dover

Crabble Mill Dover