A Letter from the Trenches: Draft 2

Students in 7Explorer are working hard writing draft two of their letter from the trenches.

After reading teacher critique, listening to Callum read aloud draft one of his letter (which is amazing) and watching clips from Peter Jackson’s moving film ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ to inspire us even more, we are purple polishing to make our letters even better!


That’s how I described today’s Remembrance Day service at our school this morning.

The event acted as the ‘final product’ for the expedition ‘Over the top!’ (for parents who are new to XP East, every expedition has a final product that culminates in a Presentation of Learning in front of a wider audience).

In my closing remarks I emphasised that our Y7s have been with us for just 9 weeks.

That’s. 9. Weeks.

The people who witnessed today’s event (including myself) were staggered by what they saw: 45 minutes of 11 and 12 year olds reading extracts of their creative writing, reciting poetry, explaining military links from WW1 to modern day Science and performing scenes related to their work in Drama – in front of 250 people. The transitions and movements between the 20 plus segments during the service were all conducted by students. There was no one hidden behind the curtain whispering ‘NEXT!’ or ‘GIRLS YOU’RE UP’. They pulled it off due to the hours of preparation that went on throughout the week.

The event embodied the work of expeditionary learning – drawing on disciplines from different subjects and linking them together via a guiding question, combined with developing the character of students.

What I saw today was nothing short of exceptional.

Well done Year 7s and what a start to life at XP East!

E25 Explorer and Pioneer using ICT in Spanish

This week our E25 students started working on their second expedition in Spanish – my school. Eventually they will be able to express and justify positive and negative opinions about their subjects and teachers, and understand and give information about their school. Here they are using ICT to work independently and to self-assess against the session rubric.

A Service of Remembrance: Over the Top!

As part of our first expedition ‘Over the Top!’, E25 have been working hard learning about what life was like for soldiers during WW1. Our final product for the expedition is a little bit different – it isn’t taking place at the end of the expedition but rather in the middle and this is for a very good reason.

2018 represents 100 years since the end of WW1 and, so, we are asking students to host a Remembrance Day Service in school.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite parents, staff and visitors to join us remembering all the service men and women who gave their todays for our tomorrows.

The service will take place on Friday 9th November at 10:30am to 11:30am at XP East.

Refreshments will be available to purchase on the day from FXP who have kindly offered to support us.

We look forward to seeing you on November 9th.

A Letter from the Trenches

Phew!  It’s been a busy week for 7 Explorer in HUMAN.

At the start of the week, we read a selection of letters written by soldiers on the front line during World War One.  This was incredibly moving.  Ruby was moved to tears.

We noted some extremely perceptive notices, wonders and questions.

Today, after listening to a clip of one soldier’s letter, we made notes and then text-coded them in preparation for writing our own personal letters from the point of view of a serviceman.

So, next session, we will be planning our letter and then writing draft one over the holidays.

A Ghostly Reading!

A spooky thing was happening in 7Explorer on Friday!

As part of a close text study activity, focusing on our anchor text ‘War Horse’, 7Explorer took part in a new protocol: Ghost Read.

Students read the text and then whispered words and phrases that linked with the key question. It was spooookkkkyyyy!



Modelling in Maths?

This past week C25 have been tackling some really tricky maths problems, where they have been required to convert worded problems, to pictorial models, to mathematical calculations, to finally find an answer!

We’ve been required to multiply and divide integers (whole numbers) by fractions, and divide/multiply fractions by fractions, which many of us wanted to know how to do after our grapple! However, we have found using bar models has really helped.

The activity set out was a card sort, Where students had to find all 3 matching cards, and work out the answer at the end. Some superstars realised that there was more than one calculation that they could use to complete a problem. eg. 3 ÷ 1/3 would give me the same answer as 3 x 3, so as long as we multiplied/divided (depending on the inverse operation) by the reciprocal, we’d be able to work out our answers.

Once each pair had completed their activity, we then went on a bit of a gallery walk, and peer critiqued our work, making suggestions and corrections when we disagreed with other table’s answers. It was fantastic to hear students use our mathematical keywords, such as reciprocal, inverse operation, denominator and numerator in their answers. The collaboration on this task was really impressive, and I heard some fantastic discussions filled with mathematical reasoning.

I was especially impressed with students who used bar models to represent their solutions. This provided everyone with a really intuitive, visual representation of what 1/2 ÷ 1/4 looked like, and why the answer was 2!

Beautiful Poetry (Part One)

Sit back, take a deep breath and immerse yourself in powerful, emotive and beautiful World War One poetry written by 7 Explorer.


The Nobodies Dreams

Bang! Bang! Bombs and bullets boomed in this brutal battle.

I dreamt of when I had run along these valleys of hell,

ran along a field where once lived some lively cattle

and now lived the rotting dead, who had fallen.

Rotten bodies, bloody bodies, parts of bodies;                

They tortured me.

Heroic soldiers, now nobodies.                                      


The dead haunted me.                                           

I was trapped in my dreams,

dreams of watching in disgusted awe;

at rats eating bodies

eating right to the core.

Eating bodies of soldiers;

who were once heroic soldiers, now nobodies.


The immortal bombs, bullets and gas had but made me fall on one knee,

but listening to my comrades agonised screams

had tortured me,

within my deadly dreams.

Because they to were once heroic soldiers, and now nobodies.


I’ll be glad when I’m gone.

The dreams, they won’t torture me.

I’ll be free at last;

when I’m a heroic soldier, who’s turned to a nobody…

By Rosie


Land of the Forgotten Souls

Rising over the trench top,

A bomb detonated before my eyes,

The sound of bullets waving farewell

To millions of innocent souls pierced through me!

Falling to the ground, my body filled with sorrow,

I could smell the blood stained dust beside me,

Looking up, the sight of a million men

Yelling for help deafened me,

I was left, frozen in fear.


Bang! Alerted, I frantically rose above the haunted land,

The devastating sight of dead men

Beside me will never be forgotten,

Rushing back to the torturous trench, my heart was racing,

It was like a colony of ants treasuring their last breath,

The sight of hope started to fade,

It was my time,

My time to take my last breath.


Day after day, year after year, this story will never end,

Thousands of memories are buried under these valleys of hell,

However, millions are yet to come,

Happiness, peace and hope were buried under these forgotten souls

A very long time ago.

By Lilly



Poetry in Motion!

What an amazing and moving end to our school day!

7 Explorer shared their pieces of World War One poetry with the class.

To begin with, we practised reading our poems aloud with our partners to make sure our intonation and expression was suitable.

We then invited Mr. Ryder, our very own published poet, to join us. He could not believe the level of craftsmanship and quality he heard as we recited what we had written.

Absolutely stunning!

Read a selection of our poems in our next blog post.