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
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 email@example.com. I will be checking emails everyday and student work completion – if work is not being done, parents will be contacted.
On the 26/11/19, E25 will be taking part in a 5km sponsored walk or run. This will be part of their HUMAN expedition ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ and will take place during their PE session.
We will be raising money for the Conversation Club, a charity in Doncaster who supports asylum seekers and refugees. This charity is vital in creating a support network for people who have had to flee their country due to political and religious persecution.
Earlier in the expedition, we were lucky enough to be visited by a group of asylum seekers who are supported by the Conversation Club. It was lovely to see the students so engrossed in listening to the stories of each of the asylum seekers but also sharing a laugh with them too! The students were shocked by some of the reasons why our visitors had to flee, what would’ve happened to them if they had stayed and were moved by the stories of being separated from their family and the emotional impact this has. It was also interesting to hear how many misconceptions there are in society about asylum seekers and by speaking to our visitors we all learnt a lot about this.
We were pleased to hear our visitors enjoyed the experience of visiting our school as much as we enjoyed having them!
Asylum seekers have to live on only £37.75 a week and any support they receive from the Conversation Club is funded through charity and the kindness of volunteers. E25 and X25 will be taking part in this event (separately) so we have the potential to raise a lot for this charity. We will be taking part in other fundraising activities throughout this term to raise more money towards this cause. If each student can be sponsored £1 then it will be a massive help in reaching our target amount for the charity, but feel free give as little, or as much as you can.
Students were handed a sponsor form last week in crew but if they have lost it then they can ask myself or Miss Johnson for another one.
Without wanting to get political it is important to remember instead that these are people who just want to secure their safety. Our character traits of respect and compassion ring out in the students when they get involved with members of our community in this way and I am be proud to work with such mature and compassionate students at XP EAST.
Our 8 mile hike on Wednesday of this week took us through a beautiful area of the East Riding of Yorkshire, where we tested our map reading skills and had the opportunity to catch up more from the summer holidays. We stopped in the middle for a picnic lunch and were fortunate to have dry weather until the last hour of the day. Well done Crew Ali and E25 as a whole – we all made it and kept one another going right to the end.
Thursday was a change of pace, including abseiling off an 80ft high bridge on the Monsal Trail in Derbyshire and orienteering using clues generated by the outdoor adventure team. I’m so proud of all of our Crew members for encouraging one another through the abseil process; several of us were understandably nervous and for many this was the first time stepping over the side of something so high with only a couple of ropes to hold on to! That’s what makes us Crew – doing it together, cheering from the bottom of the ravine, coaching from the top of the bridge and having the courage to traverse the space in between. Many thanks to Crew Shackleton in particular for also supporting us during these activities, we aren’t just Crews, we are all members of XP East. Mr Brown made a great video which can be viewed on Crew Shackleton’s blog here.
And it wouldn’t be XP East if the week didn’t culminate in a Presentation of Learning, to which parents and carers were invited. We love sharing our reflections with a wider audience and the Guiding Question for the week had been ‘How Crew Are You?’ Crew Ali decided to focus their reflections on:
Our strengths as a Crew
Challenges we have faced
Challenges to overcome
We know we are not the ‘finished article’; in fact, every piece of beautiful work we do is created through drafting and redrafting, and we apply this principle to our own character development. We have achieved much as a Crew, but we have so much more we can do to be the best version of ourselves. We are going to rise to that challenge.
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” Muhammad Ali
The first day back has been a whirlwind, but I’m happy to say that Crew Ali have taken it in their stride and ‘hit the ground running’ as we like to say at XP East. We began our week as we always do, with a check-in to see how everyone was feeling after the summer holiday. It was an opportunity to share stories and experiences, but also to discuss how we had built our character and challenged ourselves during the time away from school.
We did a kit check to make sure we are ready for our hike and activity days later in the week, as Craftsmanship and Quality in preparation is really important; unfortunately not all of our Crew were fully prepared for the check, but this is definitely a learning point for next time, particularly as we begin the Duke of Edinburgh Award next year.
Today’s activities included building a VERY wobbly Tower of Power (build the tallest tower you can in 30 mins using only paper, string and sellotape! It didn’t stay standing but our debrief really helped us unpack what went well and what we could do better next time. Our ability to reflect is a strength of what we do at XP East and it is a skill we continually practice. The enthusiasm from the Crew in our afternoon’s inter-Crew Minute To Win It activities really set a great tone for the week.
Check out Miss Haughey’s video here:
It’s going to be a busy week, but we are going to have a great time in Crew!
Well, what a Sports Day! Crew Ali are delighted to share the news that our crew were the overall winners on our very first Sports Day at XP East. It was a tough day, with inter-crew rounders and football tournaments followed by track and field events at the fantastic Doncaster Keepmoat Stadium facilities.
The weather was great, the sense of community was palpable and today just felt like…Crew! I was particularly impressed with how all of our students across the school pulled together through the events where some individuals needed more support and encouragement. A huge thank you to all our parents and friends for helping our students to prepare and for your involvement this year. Our students are a credit to you all.
School starts on Tuesday 27th August where we will be embarking on a week of crew.
Throughout the week students are required to be at school at normal time (8:30am) but finish times will be slightly different depending on the schedule for the day. Students will require a pen, pencil and ruler this week and a kit list has been sent out for Wednesday and Thursday.
The week’s schedule will be as follows:
Tuesday – In school with a normal finish time of 3:15. There is no extended study in school this week.
Wednesday – Out of school on crew activities so students will need a backpack with a packed lunch, a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs. Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing. Please can students come to school in trainers, not their walking boots. We are expected to be back at school for around 5pm.
Thursday – Out of school on crew activities so students will need a backpack with a packed lunch, a bottle of water, hiking boots and waterproofs. Please check the kit list for further details of the required clothing. Please can students come to school in trainers with their walking boots in their bag. We are expected to be back at school for around 5pm.
Friday – Students will be in school all day. Their week will be completed with a Presentation of Learning commencing at 2:15pm which parents are invited to attend and support students as they answer their Guiding Question.
Please refer to these important docs and ensure you and your child are familiar with them.
The end of last week saw Crew Ali out in the sunshine doing Clean Up Crew, a weekly fixture which Crews sign up to do across XP and XP East. One of our core values is Stewardship and the principle that we ‘leave no trace‘. It’s really important to us that we all roll our sleeves up and get involved, and it’s amazing how much litter we found blowing in from outside the school grounds. This is something Eco Crew have identified as one of their areas to work on as we prepare to apply for our Bronze Award and Eco Reps Keisha, Aaron, Sami and Alice are leading on this.
Click here to visit the Eco Crew website and find out more.