Scholastic at BETT 2012

Anthony Browne on the Scholastic stand in 2011

Anthony Browne on the Scholastic stand in 2011

Here we go again, BETT is just around the corner and Scholastic have been getting ready (almost since BETT 2011 ended!) for a big show.

We have kept the bits that you said you loved from last year (More resource demonstrations based on the needs you have in your classroom; TeachMeet Takeover and Hutch, our caricature artist is back again!).

We have changed a couple of other things – we are taking a selection of our resources that you can buy on the stand (thank you to @dawnhallybone among others for this suggestion) – to make this extra special, we are offering 20% off at the show!

In full… we are hosting 60 sessions on stand G40 to help you in the classroom. From Using real time digital assessments in the classroom, to Using favourite children’s books to structure your literacy teaching

Here’s what you can do on our stand:

  • take part in a demonstration of resources that can help you in the classroom
  • a chance to win Olympics resources worth £50 every half-an-hour
  • take a look at our latest resources, and try them out for yourself
  • watch and take part in a KidsMeet or TeachMeet
  • save 20% on all orders placed at the show
  • charge up your mobile phones while you have your caricature drawn
  • and most importantly enter our Treasure Hunt for a chance to win an iPad!
Scholastic Treasure Map

Scholastic Treasure Map

If you want to get ahead of the game, download the treasure map now – you can fill in the answers on the Scholastic web site.

My social networking presentation to the IPG

On Wednesday I gave a presentation to the Independent Publishers Guild Annual Conference on social networking. I followed Jon Reed who gave a very comprehensive look at ways in which publishers can use Twitter / Facebook and LinkedIn. It was great to catch up with Kate Wilson from Nosy Crow as well, and talk about how well her lovely new iPad and iPhone apps were going!

I spoke about increasing awareness of a brand through Social Networking.  The story: two years ago, the awareness of Scholastic amongst ICT Local Authority Advisors was 0% (this isn’t just me making progress look good, we had research done to confirm our fears!)… with the launch of Class PET not far away, I needed to increase that percentage slightly!

The things we did:

  • Set up the Class PET Twitter account (which recently turned into eScholasticUK), which is a good, although quite formal way of engaging on Twitter.
  • Sponsoring TeachMeets (which I hope we have done without being too commercial at all)
  • A larger, better BETT stand which has acted as a central place at BETT for people to meet – and by listening to teachers, ensuring we have things that teachers need on our stand!

All of the above, from an official perspective have helped to increase awareness of resources such, but not confined to ClassPET.

The other thing that has happened, which has almost happened by accident, has that by being myself on Twitter, and sticking to my mantra of ‘no selling’ I have found myself in a place where I have many good  and firm friends all over the country.  I have done things I never thought I would (running 10-miles with @ianaddison being one of them!).

The culmination of this was that I was able to conduct some research on Twitter (distributed by people other than me!) that showed that Scholastic was the best known publisher or provider of services to schools on Twitter (not as one Tweeter at the IPG conference heard, the best known brand on Twitter!).  There were some very lovely comments indeed, so to those who were so nice about me, thank you!  The presentation with the data is below, but if you want to see the original source data, check out this link.

Get Reddy for Fine events (with some Prue and Doherty!)

Anthony Browne at BETT

If you were on the Scholastic stand on the Saturday at BETT 2011, you’ll have seen the most amazing Anthony Browne stand up and talk Gorilla, the Shape Game and his inspirations for writing both. I was meant to be taking photos, and I struggled as I stood there wowed by it all. From the reaction of the people on the stand, you were wowed too!

After the wonderful reaction we had, we couldn’t stop there, so starting at the Education Show next Friday, we are beginning a series of five events with inspirational speakers and wonderful authors.   Here is the list of events, authors and what they’ll be talking about. We’re very excited, and I hope you will be too. Booking information is at the bottom of this post, so make sure you sign up soon as places are limited!!


18th April – Birmingham NEC (Scholastic Stand at the Education Show)

Anne Fine will be kicking off our roadshows at the Education Show. 1pm – don’t be late!


6th April – The Lowry, Manchester

1pm to 3pm Anthony Reddy will talk about APP, and ensuring you fit it into your teaching without adding extra work, ensuring teachers are inspired and pupils motivated. This will be followed by some information about Class PET, then a chance to talk to Anthony, and play on PET.

4pm -6pm Berlie Doherty (author of Street Child) will talk about  ‘Using Real Books in the Classroom’.  We will then talk about Read & Respond Engage and then you can get a book signed by Berlie and take a closer look at Engage.

You can book for just one session or choose to attend both.


4th May – Sheffield

The same format as above, but with the following people talking!

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue will be talking about the teaching & learning cycle and motivating your pupils!

4pm-6pm  Berlie Doherty is up again!


12th May – Glasgow, Grand Central Hotel

The same format as above, but with the following people talking!

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue will be talking about the teaching & learning cycle and motivating your pupils!

4pm-6pm  We are delighted that Mairi Hedderwick (author of Katie Morag) will be coming along to talk to you about using real books in the classroom


24th May – York

We are finishing off this series of Roadshows  with:

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue

4pm to 6pm Anne Fine will be talking about using real books in the classroom.


To secure your seat and book a place call Lea Horner on 01993 893253 or email her at We do have limited spaces, so do get in quickly!


PS. If you can’t make these, we are looking to do more in the future, so leave a comment as to where you want the Roadshow to visit!


Don't conform… or obfuscate

Some people define insanity as doing the same thing as you have always done and expecting a different result each time.  Well, for me, launching new products, someone could have looked at me and committed me.  I seem to fall into the same trap…well no more!

I shall explain – this isn’t an advert – just self-reflection and honesty.

By now, I hope you know  I work for Scholastic Education.  The type of resource we are traditionally known for is teacher resources (typically A4, with or without a CD-ROM inside).  However, in the last couple of years we have been publishing other types of resource: reciprocal reading, non-fiction guided reading, digital resources such as Story Stage, Class PET and Read & Respond Engage.  Normally, when you launch new products into new areas that you don’t normally publish, you look at the competition, see what they are doing and copy them.

For example, Class PET.  We launched what is a fantastic digital resource as a subscription product.  Something that is the norm for that type of resource, and therefore, why wouldn’t we do this? We hadn’t counted on two things. One was that the market was changing when we launched.  What worked as the norm isn’t necessarily going to work in the future, and secondly, most importantly, it goes against what we do as a business.  (The closest thing Scholastic have to a subscription product are our magazines at £20-£40 a year – not hundreds of pounds a year.)  Therefore, our customers weren’t expecting to see subscription type product from a company that they usually purchase and own the resource from*.  So, we did the thing that most companies steer as far away from as possible: we changed.  We now offer Class PET and Read & Respond Engage as a one-time only purchase, just the same as if you bought a book**.

The part of selling books to schools that has always been clouded in obfuscation is that of guided reading.  Probably not the thing to say as an Educational Publisher!  Look at any publisher of guided reading books, and it seems that 23.6p is added on every time they add a couple of pages.  Well, this time, you can call the men with the white coats off…we are going against the crowd here.  Next month, we are launching a Guided Reading series that are the same price, whether they are for Pink band A, or Orange.  Whether they have four or twelve pages.

No more confusion, no more working out how much something is going to cost. Simple, clear pricing.

The lesson I have learned? To trust my instincts.

*note – our customers are very likely exactly the same as those of companies who do offer subscription products, it is the expectation that is different.

**there is a nominal annual Access and Update fee, but this is for a guarantee that the resource that will work with any future curriculum that is published.

My BETT – day by day… Saturday

I woke up with a spring in my step on Saturday. My feet barely hurt, the walk to the show seemed to take no time at all, and everything was just right. Is it a coincidence I had been at a TeachMeet the night before? Was I floating? Possibly!

Saturday is a good day to be a visitor at BETT. There are many fewer visitors, and much more time for you to talk to people on and off stands. It was for this reason I was a bit nervous about the number of people who would be around to hear Anthony Browne talk on our stand; but I shouldn’t have worried. The stand was at least six deep, with people sitting on the floor to hear him talk. We had over 100 people for over an hour listening to the Children’s Laureate talking about books, reading Gorilla and answering questions. He then went on to sign (and draw gorilla’s on) copies of Gorilla. He was such a nice man to talk to, and someone I have been a fan of for such a long time – I was ever-so-slightly star struck!

Anthony Browne was on our stand to launch Read & Respond Engage. I have never hidden what I think about Read & Respond – I believe it is by far the best resource that Scholastic, and other publishers have produced for teaching literacy in the classroom. It ensures that the classic children’s book is at the heart of every lesson, and that most importantly children develop a real love of reading through it. I am particularly excited about Engage, as it really does what it says on the tin. You can show videos, photographs; assign work to pupils to do in school or at home etc. etc. I don’t usually talk about resources we publish on my blog, but this time, I had to make an exception! If anyone wants to try it out, please let me know – you know where I am!

We hosted two more TeachMeet takeovers on Saturday, and again was delighted to meet even more people from Twitter!  Another highlight was Ian Addison standing up at the end of a Class PET presentation talking about how they use Class PET in their school, and what the children think about it.  As soon as I have video, I will post it here!  Needless to say, Ian was an incredibly natural presenter, presenting in the live Class PET, showing real results… I was really happy with the presentation, so thank you Ian!

In summary…BETT this year was by far the best show I have attended in all the years that I have been running exhibitions.  It was really interesting that after all of the hype over hardware for many years, it was the show for content (apparently publishers are now ‘content providers’!).  It was nice to see the amount of interest we got for products we have worked so hard on – including Class PET and Read & Respond Engage.

It was worth all of the sleepless nights; the attention to detail really paid off and we just have to think about what to do next year!

My BETT – day by day… Friday

I woke up on Friday morning thinking that I had only just closed my eyes.  The long walk to the show seemed longer than usual and my feet posted a petition for divorce. Then I realised I was only half way through, and decided to buck my ideas up, and found some Music to Wake  A Stand Up To…

The show was so busy on Friday that it was 3pm before I looked at my watch.  Everything seemed to go seamlessly – no technical hitches, everyone there when you needed them – almost as if we had planned it!

We did have some special guests on the stand. David Mitchell (@deputymitchell) brought six of his pupils from Heathfield CPS in Bolton onto our stand to do some experiments to help launch Scholastic Primary Science – a really nice new science scheme full of practical science experiments, ebooks and science APP.  The pupils, and staff were thoroughly professional all the time they were on our stand; and some of the pupils managed to get their charicatures done by our resident artist, Hutch.

It was also great to see Tom Sale and James Maloney who had made the long trip down from Blackpool and many other teachers who made the time to come and see us on the stand.  TeachMeet Takeover took off on Friday, many more presentations held compared to last year, and again we hosted two events on our stand.  Presentations by Alessio Bernardelli & Dan Roberts followed by Ian Addison were tremendous.  If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet before, you should – find out more here.

Friday night was TeachMeet BETT – something I had been looking forward to for a long time.  The evening was very professionally run by the Two Ians (@ianaddison and @iusher).  I was slightly disappointed in two or three of the presentations, two of them were adverts for the companies that stood up, and one pretty much bordered it!  There is a show floor for exhibitors to talk to teachers, the TeachMeet was a time for teachers to talk to teachers, it appeared that not everyone understood that.

I loved Dughall’s snow-day presentation, and Bill Lord’s reflections on @giraffeclass (a must-follow!), but the rest were just as good and the event was a real testament to the passion that was in that room.

TeachEat was brilliant. I had avoided it last year as I didn’t think that people would want someone from a company there, but the pizza was just what I needed at the end of a long, but fantastic day.

My BETT – day by day…Thursday

So Wednesday has come and gone, and Thursday is here.  This time last year, we were hopeful that things would get better, this year, we were hopeful that things would be as good as yesterday!  The good news is that the stand was busier from the outset all the way through the day.

One of the problems you have as an exhibitor, is the problem of making sure that the people who come on to the start of a presentation stay all the way through to the end.  One of the ideas that was had was to have a prize draw at the end of each presentation to ensure that people stayed around to listen.  Some call it bribery, I may agree.  Whatever you call it, it worked!  We really did have a lot of people taking part in a lot of presentations (14 per day!) and many people stayed to listen to more than one.

At this stage, I have to say a huge thank you to the presenters who, between them did 56 presentations, and there were only four of them!  They were Russ Payne, Tim Meek, Paul Naish and Paula Hubbard.  It is a testament to their professional presentations that we had such an amazing show.

We had been showing Read & Respond Engage a lot during the show, and we were getting many good responses from people, some saying that it was just what they needed and signing up there and then.  One visitor said that it was refreshing to see a digital resource that kept the children’s book  at the heart of the resource.  Another said it was the best thing they had seen at the show.

It was on Thursday that I met some people I have followed and respected for a very long time, Ewan McIntosh, John Davitt  and David Whyley.  It was nice for me not to be on stage for most of the day, so that I had the time to talk to these very inspirational people!  We were delighted to host two TeachMeet Takeover slots on Wednesday from Bev Evans and Kevin Mulryne. 🙂

Thursday night was Collaborate for Change at BETT night, and I went along to take the photos (yes, I was the annoying git hovering over you taking photos!).  It was really good to see a room full of teachers sharing ideas about the resources they use in the classroom.  It was also good to catch up with Ant from 2Simple (@2simpleant), Ian Addison (@ianaddison), Charlie Deane (@charliedeane) and many more!

The good news was that I got back to the hotel in time for food before the mayhem that was Friday!

My BETT – day by day…Wednesday

BETT is one of those shows that you think about for a long time.  We started planning BETT 2011 in February 2010, allowing ourselves time to have crazy ideas that keep us awake at night, and then distil them into common sense punchy ideas for the show.  For example, back in May we had the idea of a QR treasure hunt, and then in September I listened into a great presentation at the Scottish Learning Festival Teach Meet by Jennifer Harvey about setting up a QR treasure hunt which helped focus our minds.

BETT is also the worst time in the year for an exhibition – a week after you return from Christmas!  This year we also had the dreaded flu to contend with, which took out our exhibitions coordinator until the Monday after BETT!  Nevertheless, the stand on the Tuesday seemed to be ahead of the year before, and we even had time to do some presentation run throughs before we finished setting up at 8pm.

Wednesday morning started with me in Sainsbury’s buying my own body weight in Chocolate Eclairs (we had this idea that we should have a purple theme, and it was the only sweet that fitted the bill).  On the stand, we had a massive problem with the Internet connection.  For some reason, our brand new router decided that it didn’t want to do a full time job.  We didn’t really need the stress, but after a couple of hours it was back and we could start the show with everything working!

Wednesday was busy.  Compared to the Wednesday before, where it was so quiet we played spot the visitor, this year we were busy fro

m 10:30am to about 4:00pm.  We met so many excellent people on our stand it has been hard to remember them all – but needless to say that the show started with a bang!

The Wednesday evening was TedXOrenda.  Organised by Drew Buddie (@digitalmaverick), one of the most passionate and energetic people I know, it was a great start to the three day teacher-curated BETT.   I absolutely loved listening to the speakers – top of the list would be Naomi Jane (@missnaomijane)who gave a talk about the effect that teachers can, and do have on the lives and prospects of pupils.  Maybe it was because I could relate very closely to what she was discussing, or whether it was because she was such an assured public speaker, her words were incredibly inspirational.  I was delighted how well the Hexayurt programmes went down, a homage to the work of Vinay Gupta (@leashless).  Again, the compering by Bill Thompson was excellent, this Ted event is going from strength to strength!

Unfortunately, we got back to the hotel very late, too late for food, so I ended the day having eaten no more than breakfast.

#tmtakeover11 help required!

Due to mechanical error (printer breaking down), and local company error (not printing enough and running out of time) I could really do with some help to print the TeachMeet Takeover 2011 flyer.

The PDF is in my dropbox here.  I have managed to get 200 done, but I would think that every stand hosting would need a similar number.  Could I ask that everyone who can, prints as many as they can and brings them along to BETT?  The format is very simple, double sided A4 folded to A5.  If you can’t help, let me know and I will find another way around it!

While I am handing links out, here is the link to the PowerPoint with the TeachMeet Takeover logo on, for display on stands…

On both links, it is easier to right click, and ‘save target as…’

Thank you!