The school highlight of my week has definitely been our Crew Google Hangout on Monday morning; whenever we have had time away (even just for the weekend!) I always find seeing our Crew members in our morning sessions sets me up for the day and reminds me of why I work at XP. The last few weeks of the ‘new normal’ have been anything but normal I think, but Crew Ali is doing well and I’m so proud to be their Crew Leader!
In our Google Hangout this week we just did a simple check-in to see how everyone was getting on with workload and the new ‘timetable’, as well as find out what they had been doing to fight the boredom that some of them were feeling, particularly with not being able to visit friends or family or leave the house for days out, etc.
I think it’s fair to say that most of us (me included) have found being away from the rhythm of daily Crew and carving out a routine at home a challenge. Many of us have more distractions at home and the lack of structure can be stressful for some; conversely, for others, in the first week that school was closed, the high expectations and volume of structured work on the timetable were overwhelming! We appreciate the work Mr Portman and the leadership team have put into taking student and parent concerns on board and creating a flexible but really clear and manageable overview to support students in engaging in their learning from home. I particularly love the scheduling of Common Mission time to enrich our students’ learning opportunities and give breadth to our existing offering. Remember that across the XP Trust we take a 3-dimensional approach to learning, which incorporates Academic Success, Beautiful Work, and Character Growth.
This week, in response to our check-ins, I challenged Crew Ali to think about their personal as well as academic development, by reflecting on the question: What will you do with the time you have available in lockdown? We had some ideas in the Crew session and they are spending this week planning goals for themselves and coming up with more ideas to make the most of their spare time around their academic studies. Here are some of the things our Crew members have been getting up to so far – why not try a few out yourself?
Watching a new series on Netflix with other family members – Ruby recommends ‘Locke and Key’
Learning a new instrument – Lacey’s family brought their piano down from the loft and they have been learning to play it
Lots of us have been keeping in touch with friends on Facetime or Houseparty
Exercise – several of the Crew have been doing the Joe Wicks workout each morning; Caiden has been cycling; Leoni has been playing football in the garden; Ruben has been walking his new puppy!
Cooking – Caiden has been making bread and homemade lemonade
Crafting – Marshall has been making salt dough handprints, then baking them ready to paint; he has also been drawing and playing console games with his dad
Mrs Townson has been writing a list of goals I want to achieve before my new baby arrives in June – then putting a plan in place to action them! One of these is to make time for myself each day – it can be difficult to do when you’re in a house with other people all the time, but is really important for your wellbeing.
Check out the resources on the XP Trust EMBRACE website to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. Encourage More, Be Resilient And Consider Everyone
We said goodbye to each other on Friday and we’re not sure when we will be back in school again. We’re in very uncertain times as a country right now but what really made me proud was how mature Crew has been over the last week. We had some very sincere discussions about how we were feeling about what is happening right now and it has been a pleasure to spend time with them.
Despite the seriousness of the situation and the sombre tone in Crew this week we have still managed to look on the positive side and come together as a Crew. It’s been great hearing how we’re going to check in and support each other during the school closure.
We don’t know when we’ll all be back together again but I can honestly say I’m going to miss my Crew. They never fail to bring a smile to my face (even when they’re driving me mad) and it’s great to spend another year with them – it’s strange thinking these could be the last photos of year 8 – but who knows? While we are all social distancing at home, I wish Crew and their families the very best and if you have any worries or questions, I’m only an email away.
Please continue with all your hard work at home and take responsibility for your academic development. Whilst it is important to continue with your school work, in these challenging times, it’s also important to keep a positive mindset and look after your wellbeing so keep time free to do what you enjoy (as long as you’re social distancing!).
It’s good to see some students already starting their online learning assignments. Here are the instructions on how to complete the work set. This was shared with students in lessons but those who were absent last week will have missed them. They must READ all the instructions on the slides/Google Classroom.
Currently on Google Classroom, there are 2 assignments set. Students need to complete the Geography one FIRST and then the English slides. They should submit the doc on Google classroom once they have got to the end of each slide.
What to complete and when
Each set of slides are broken down into ‘lessons’, students need to complete a minimum of a lesson a day or follow the ‘weekly planner’ timetable sent out my Mr Portman each week.
Whenever the students see a red ‘TASK’ symbol which looks like the one below they need to complete the activity on their doc.
On the docs, work needs to have the layout of:
Students need to write in Quicksand font, size 12.
If you have any questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be checking emails everyday and student work completion – if work is not being done, parents will be contacted.
I’d like to say a huge thank you for all parents and family members who attended my crew’s SLC over the past 2 weeks. The stakes rose this year as I introduced the pass/fail element. Thankfully and as expected, all my crew have passed! To prepare for their SLC, I gave them a quiz on what they thought they’d got in the most recent data drop, hoping that they would remember their most recent grades and HOWLs scores that I’d shared in crew. When they self-marked the following day, each crew member wasn’t far off their actual scores.
Hot chocolates were well deserved since my crew were highest in all 3 HOWL categories for the year group. We noticed that we were also 2nd from top for ‘be kind’ in the entire school, and that in the year 8 group, we were considerably ahead of other crews for get smart and work hard.
We also held our second student led crew this past week, Mollie and Torran prepared a football drill session. I told them I needed it to be well planned and structured so that everyone had a role and there was a clear goal for the session. They prepared 4 drills, including a warm up, passing drill, piggy in the middle activity that helped people develop their tackling skills and we finished on a short game. Roll on this coming sports day – my goal for crew is to try not to come last again!
I have asked a couple more students to prepare a session in the coming weeks, Sami has already pitched an idea to me that sounds really exciting. Finally, we doubled up with crew Parkinson on Friday to look at an important topic: sleep hygiene. We read this article and jotted down any surprising facts about sleep and the effects a lack of it had on our health.
Students were shocked about the links good sleep had with weight and appetite, dementia, cancers and performance during sports and everyday activities. We also watched a snippet of a National Geographic documentaryon how sleep can improve retention if we get a good 9hrs after a revision session. I’m challenging my crew to aim for 8-9hrs every day this week!
This week was kicked off with the most moving presentation of learning that I’ve experienced so far at XP East, with the preview of the ‘Should I stay or should I go’ documentary at Cast theatre. I remember a few weeks ago having a conversation with crew about whether the UK should welcome refugees and asylum seekers. There was a real mixed bag of responses.
Crew Turing have just reunited for their first week of crew in 2020 after a joyous 2 weeks off celebrating Christmas and getting some well deserved rest! We started check-in on Monday by sharing any new year’s resolutions that we had thought of. Some included
Lexi wants to gain confidence in gymnastics so she can accomplish more
Reece would like to learn certain skills with his surfing that he wasn’t able to master last summer
Many students wanted to improve their organisation – making sure they had their equipment and homework was completed on time
Lots of us spoke about increasing time for reading
I invested in a crew calendar to help with the resolution of improving our organisation. In the coming weeks, we will have SLCs to prep for, a HUMs presentation of learning, and various other deadlines to meet. Crew agreed that by tracking this we’d be much better prepared for what we’ve got coming up so we can hold each other (including myself) to account.
On Wednesday, we ate breakfast together in the student kitchen and created a ‘Crew To-do list” for the student led conference preparation, which included dates for when work needed to be completed by. It was nice to refresh ourselves of the whole process and what we would need to do. We agreed that rather than doing SLC prep in crew every day, that this time some of the work would be set as extended study. I trust that my crew can work well independently on these tasks now they’re a whole year wiser, and I can’t wait for them to share their expeditionary work with me.
I’m going to be putting on Monday night sessions where students can come and work in my room (A04) to get scripts completed.
We ended the week with a little inter-crew competition of capture the flag. I loved how my crew discussed their defensive strategies and were working as a team to fend off the other crew. It was also lovely to get a bit of fresh air and get our blood pumping after an exhausting first week back!
The Year 8 STEAM presentation of learnings will be held on:
Pioneer: Wednesday 18th December, 5-6PM at XP East
Explorer: Thursday 19th December 5-6PM at XP East
The students look forward to sharing the work they’ve been studying in the STEAM expedition, where they have been working towards the guiding question “What is the state of the nation’s health and what should we do about it?”
We welcome you to invite family and friends to the event, sign in will begin at 4:45PM on both nights. We also ask that students remain in school from 3:15PM until the event, if there’s an issue with this don’t hesitate to drop me an email: email@example.com