A mission to get the world to blog together on 29 February will hopefully inspire scores of young writers
Heathfield Primary in Bolton has already gained an international reputation for encouraging its pupils to blog. Deputy head David Mitchell introduced classes to the idea in 2009, and since then they have been busy posting their writing online.
Mitchell - known to his thousands of Twitter followers as @DeputyMitchell - believes that giving pupils an audience outside the classroom makes them more enthusiastic about writing.
"I asked the children what it was about having an audience online and why they listened to them more than to me," Mitchell says. "One boy said `It's because they're real - you're not real, you're paid to help to us.'"
One problem Mitchell had noticed was that bloggers tended to give up if they did not gain many readers after the first few months. To tackle this, he developed a system where three other schools would team up with his, and each week one of the school's blogs would be the focus for all the children's attention, guaranteeing an audience and encouraging the writers in the spotlight to impress the rest.
Since then, this simple system, which he called Quadblogging, has taken off internationally and more than 40,000 pupils from 1,000 classes in 30 countries have formed groups to share their work.
Yet Mitchell still believes that too few teachers are making the most of blogging.
On 29 February, leap year day, Mitchell will be encouraging pupils, teachers and anyone else, anywhere in the world to write on the same blog. The blog will begin as soon as 29 February starts in Tonga and end 48 hours later when it reaches midnight in the Western Pacific.
Everyone will be able to add postings to the blog with a few clicks, Mitchell says, and he hopes the site will help to create a global picture of people's experiences that day. "Who will be the youngest? Or the oldest? Will there be any marriage proposals?"
The blog will be moderated by Mitchell and other teachers and volunteers, including, he hopes, some at schools outside the UK. Schools can get more information at: http:feb29th.net.
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