SLC prep

Crew Finch have been ‘on it’ all week preparing for their SLCs.  Parents should have received an email inviting you to attend, but here’s a link to the booking form, just incase you missed it:

Crew Finch SLC Sign-Up.

This week we have chosen the work we want to discuss and focussed on reflecting on our progress and the areas in which we need to improve, selecting work from HUMS, STEAM, Maths and Spanish.  Today, Tom and Ali shared their work for students to critique.  

Next week, we will be moving onto preparing our scripts and setting our academic targets.

Although we are using Crew time to prepare, students are expected to work on this in their own time too.  I have set up a Google Classroom with all the resources they need to prepare.

Hitting the ground running!

First week back and we have hit the ground running in Crew, as we begin to prepare for our first Student Led Conference of Year 8.  We have spent this week reflecting on last year’s SLCs, talking about what worked will and how we can improve with our “even better ifs…”

The next two weeks will be pretty much dedicated to SLCs: making sure our portfolios are up to date, selecting the work we want to showcase, preparing our scripts and creating an action plan with our academic and personal targets.

It’s pretty intense and Crew will be working hard to prepare.  They have demanded biscuits to keep them going and I’m happy to oblige!

Invites with a link to the online booking form will be sent out early next week via email.  SLCs are your child’s opportunity to discuss their learning and progress with you, and we do count on your full support.  If you can’t make any of the dates offered, please get in touch.

Meanwhile, I took a photo of this quote Mr Portman used as a discussion point in our community meeting yesterday:

I’m going to keep on referring back to this quote in Crew over the next few weeks, as I’m sure some students will have moments of self doubt when it comes to reflecting on and talking about their work, and setting themselves targets for growth.  I can see the potential in each and every one of my Crew; I just hope they can see it, too!

The power of a compliment

The power of Crew was demonstrated again this week when we all circled up to help one of our Crew with a specific task – to make her feel better about herself.

A member of our Crew is really struggling to see her worth at the moment and finds it difficult to find anything good to say about herself, nor does she believe she is worthy of having nice things said to her. In her own words, she looks in the mirror everyday and doesn’t like what she sees… (this was quite hard for me to hear and I sent a silent apology to my 13-year old self who definitely had the same thoughts all those years ago!)

So, our task was simple: for everyone of us to pay her a compliment.  One that didn’t focus on her physical appearance and to make her realise that she truly is beautiful on the inside, where it matters the most.

This was such an easy thing to do; not one member of Crew had to think too hard about what they wanted to say because we see the positives in this person every single day.  We complimented her intelligence, her kindness and the “fire in her belly” which makes her strong and brave!

Was she comfortable with the compliments? No.  Did she leave Crew with a smile on her face? Yes.

We’ve got a way to go, but hopefully she’ll smile about herself more often.

We all pledged to try and accept compliments with a simple “thank you” from now on, and to believe in them, rather than mistrusting the intentions of the person saying it!

Academic Check-in

Last week, we had our first Academic Crew session, where all students were invited to present the work they’re most proud of to the rest of the Crew.  This was a lovely way for us to celebrate our Crew’s hard work, but to also offer some peer critique on the work shown.  This really helped Aden who was able to edit his HUMS work and make it even better!

Our Academic Crew Check-ins will happen every other week, with a different focus every session.  As a Crew Leader, it keeps me up to date with how my Crew are doing in lessons (which is really useful for SLCs), we can review their work together and set SMART targets for any improvements required.  These sessions are also a really good support network for those of us who may be struggling a bit in session.

We are having a Maths Masterclass next time – I don’t know about the rest of Crew, but I’ll certainly benefit from that 🙂

Student Led Crew – Megan and Nicole

Eating jelly with chopsticks? Wrapping up students in toilet roll? It can only be Student Led Crew!

Big thanks to Megan and Nicole who organised today’s session, which was around the theme of Craftsmanship and Quality.  They set up different stations where we all had to think hard and carefully about the task, which included making a Mummy out of toilet roll, eating jelly with chopsticks, and drawing.  The best team from each station won a prize.

Well done everyone – Noah and Ali deservedly won the Mummy task!  Not one piece of toilet roll was ripped!  It was a lot a fun, but the serious message was to prove what you can achieve when you truly focus and spend quality time completing a task, rather than rushing.

Beautiful work from Noah!

Before we did our weekly pledge check-in, I shared some absolutely amazing work with the Crew, written by our very own Noah!

Just read the opening paragraph from Noah’s Humanities work, the task being to “use descriptive writing to capture a snapshot of Doncaster’s cultural heritage”:

Early, on a bright, warm, summer’s day, the sun shone down, radiating onto the St James’ Swimming Baths, waiting in anticipation for it’s doors to open, enticing families of all shapes and sizes, to an exciting place where joyful memories are made. The building stood proud and tall, with two, stone, brown beams at either side of the magnificent entrance, looking as good as new, yet being there for many years holding the towering rooftop up.

And it just gets better!

Next week the whole Crew will be sharing and discussing the piece of work they are most proud of to date (from Y8).  I can’t wait to celebrate our Crew’s achievements so far.

I’m also pleased to report, following on from our Crew Pledges from las week, punctuality has improved with just 2 lates this week – but that is obviously two too many!  Let’s get to zero lates next week 🙂

Crew Takeover – Ali and Noah

As part of our crew takeover, me and Noah led a crew session based on integrity. We played some music and passed a chocolate bar round, similar to pass the parcel, when the music stopped a crew member had to eat the chocolate as fast as they could. A catch was that they had to eat it with a knife and fork, which made it even more challenging!

This was linked to integrity because there was a prize involved for whoever ate the most chocolate. Crew needed to show integrity to admit if they had eaten the amount they said they had.

Well done to our big winner, Dakota, who ate a whopping thirteen pieces!

Blog post by Ali and Noah 🙂

STAR Reading Tests

Just look at that focus!

Crew Finch did their STAR reading test – a once-a-term reading assessment to track progress on our Accelerated Reader programme.  We dedicate one Crew session to reading every week, on top of the 30 minutes daily allocated during lesson time.  We also expect students to read for at least 30 minutes at home.

Reading for pleasure is so important for academic growth – you can read why here in this previous blog post.

Our Crew Pledges

All individual members of our Crew have made Year 8 pledges, and we check-in on these every week just to make sure we’re all on track and offer support if we need to.

However, we have decided that we perhaps need to think of some Crew pledges that we will *all* be held accountable for.

We know that our punctuality is an issue, with a disappointing and, quite frankly, unacceptable 6 lates this week alone!  This is definitely something our Crew needs to improve on.  So, our first Crew Finch pledge is:

We pledge to get to school on time, every day.

We are quite a sociable crew, but this can sometimes disrupt our Crew sessions because we often all talk over each other, or don’t show one another respect (i.e. by not fully listening and talking off topic.) . Therefore, our second Crew Finch pledge is:

We pledge to participate fully and mindfully in all Crew activities, and be respectful to everyone in the Circle.

We will all aspire to keep to these pledges and will make sure that all of Crew Finch pull together to achieve these.  After all, we are Crew!

Me at my best

Today in Crew we focussed on ‘Acceptance’ and, more specifically, being happy with who you are as a person.  The quote above was used as a discussion point: what if we spoke to other people the way we spoke about ourselves?

It’s not always easy to focus to what we are good at, but we’re all pretty good at telling ourselves (and others) what we’re bad at!

So for this morning’s task we all had to share the following information with our Crew, to show “Me at my Best”:

  • I felt proud of myself when…
  • I am good at many things, including…
  • I am special because…

Not an easy task, but we all managed to be kind to ourselves and focus on what’s right with us, rather than what’s wrong.  As I said to my Crew, I’m special because I’m perfectly imperfect and we should all embrace that 🙂

We will be exploring how to be happy with ourselves some more over the next few weeks.  After all, we should all make more of an effort to become our own best friend!