Now updated for the 2015/16 academic year. 

Year 6- this page is intended for the people who look after you- it gives them lots of information about year 6 and our class class website and hopefully answers some common questions- please make sure they have seen it :)

About this website.

I aim to have a  ‘transparent’ classroom – I want parents and carers to be able to see what is going on in the wonderful world of Year 6  and to be involved as much as possible in their child’s education.   Mrhandley.co.uk acts as a portal for a variety of things which will help ‘open up’ our classroom.

Over the past five years,  this website has grown and developed to meet the needs of each class, and I am sure it will evolve again this year- it is the class website, not my own.

Needless to say, the website has been extremely successful, and is often used by others as a good example of a class website, and I have been asked to present (with children) on it’s use at national conferences etc.   The website is a valuable part of our class and it enables us to provide many different opportunities.

All of this is of course, optional, but I do hope you will encourage your child to join in. I do not expect every parent or child to visit the site every week.  But it is here for you and your child to use as much or as little as you like. Children without internet access will not be disadvantaged, and all information placed on-line will be available in printed form, and opportunities to share work are also  provided within school.

Providing Year 6 with a global audience.

An audience is vital for writing- how often do we, as adults, sit and write and expect only one person to read it?   Yet this is what we traditionally ask children to do in school every single day.

This website provides a valuable (global) audience for writing and other things  which children choose to share, as well as some of the ‘work’ in school.    Through the links and reputation which have been built up over the past 3 years, people visit the website and will occasionally leave comments on posts, and children  in Year 6 will  generally comment regularly on each others work too.   Since the website launched 5 years ago, it has had over  1.6 million visits showing the real size of the children’s audience!

Of course, all this is done in a way that is safe- and full details about e-safety is later on in this page.

Children really enjoy sharing their work on-line, and are excited by writing for a larger audience,  and I hope you will encourage your child to take part.  It has been proven that children who actively take part in class websites and blogs, make accelerated progress,  especially in English, they also often become more confident, and have a greater sense of self belief in their work.  This has definitely been observable over the past few years.

But who is our audience?

The vast majority of our visitors are  teachers, pupils at other schools (who also have a website/blog) or parents.  This is often reciprocated- I will comment on other children’s work from around the world, and through the year we will also build up links as class with other ‘blogging’ classes.

Every single comment which is not by someone in 5H or their parent is seen by me and approved before it becomes visible to anyone else.  This helps to ensure the website is safe (more on e-safety below) and comments are constructive- but it is worthwhile saying that in the past 3 years I have only ever felt I could not approve one comment.

How do children share work?

Children will log in using their own username and password which will be given to them at school.   Only the current Year 6 can post.

Is work seen before it appears on-line?

All the childrens’ work (posts) are approved by me before they appear on-line.  This  means I can keep the website safe, by monitoring what content is added.   I will approve the vast majority of posts- if I don’t for any reason, I will always talk to the child at school about why.

There is no need to worry about the ‘quality’ of work, or that people will ‘compare’ children- people who comment on the site understand that this is the work of 10 and 11 year olds, and all comments are always positive, and will sometimes offer areas to make the post even better.

But there’s more…

Here are just some of the other things this website will be used for:-

  • Each week, normally on a Sunday, I will post to the ‘this week’ page, which will give a brief overview of our plans for the week, what we are aiming to cover in our lessons, as well as any special events etc.  This is written primarily for the children of Year 6  but has also proved useful/interesting reading for parents too!
  • At various points through the year, I will also update the ‘for parents’ page with some activities/ideas to help re-enforce and support the skills your child is learning in school at home- which is (understandably) a common request by parents.  These will primarily be in relation to our Maths and English based work, but occasionally there will be ideas to support our theme work as well.  The length of these suggestions will vary and there will also be some ‘bank’ suggestions to support key areas such as spellings and mental maths skills.   These are always additional to the home learning sent home each week.
  • Information for the children, links etc are also posted regularly, as is information specific to any extra curricular clubs etc.
  • Photo slideshow videos are posted, normally  in the password protected area, which provide a window into the work of Year 6.  More information on e-safety is below.

Joining in!

I like to encourage parents and the child’s wider family to comment on posts- both from their own child, and others- this helps provide an ‘instant’ audience.

You can also  comment on anything on this site- including posts by me to ask questions etc.

To comment just  click on the ‘click here to leave a comment’ link at the  top and bottom of any ‘post’ and scroll down to the bottom of the next page that loads.

You will need to enter your name and e-mail address (the e-mail addresses are not published!).   Please make sure you do not comment with your full surname- this helps make sure that children’s full names cannot be identified from the website.    It is usually very helpful if you put your name in the form of “Bob (Mark’s Dad)”.   I am sure that you will work to maintain the positive ethos of this website by keeping all comments on children’s work positive and constructive.

Keeping children safe. 

E-safety is of paramount importance to me- below are just some of the many safeguards that are in place to ensure that the website is a safe, secure and valuable learning environment.   These safeguards mean that this website is significantly safer than most the sites, especially social networking and social gaming sites, that your child may spend time on, and provides a safe environment for them.

Here are some of the things I do to keep this site safe:-

  • All children will agree to a set of website safety rules at the start of term.
  • No last names are used on the website- children comment and post using their first name and last initial.
  • If we upload photos from school, no names are provided alongside photos or videos of a single child- if names are needed or included for any reason, this will be placed behind a password, which only people in Year 6 know (and therefore can give to people they want to see the video/photo).  You can choose to post photos etc from home if you wish.
  • Comments are encouraged, but only comments from the children  appear without first being moderated. All other comments are manually moderated (checked) by myself to ensure they are appropriate, sensible and constructive. Comments are sometimes left by other teachers (from around the world) on work etc- I am always able to verify the identity of these teachers before comments appear publicly, and most of these comments come from a ‘quad blogging’ scheme I am involved in (meaning I also comment on some other schools work/posts).  Any other comments that cannot be verified to be a teacher or relation/friend of the child will never be approved.   [It’s worthwhile to say that in the past, this has never happened- comments have always been from children, parents, family and other teachers/people involved in education].
  • Whilst e-mail addresses are asked for when commenting, these are not published and are only used to track commenters  and identify them.  Your child is welcome to use your e-mail address, their school e-mail or indeed any e-mail address.
  • E-Safety is very much of the forefront of my teaching, and regular e-safety sessions are delivered in school.

Please also do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.

Many thanks again for visiting the site and I look forward to working with you over the coming year,

Mr Handley :-)