Crew Turing’s 2019 Challenge

This year started on such a positive for Crew Turing after ending the year on a high. We are seeking to further our self improvement this coming year as my crew recognise they are no longer the youngest in the school and will be stepping up to the plate as role models for E26.

One student who had fantastic news to share with crew who I’d really like to spotlight in this post is our very own Lexi, who has made impressive amounts of progress in her gymnastics training since starting at XP East a year ago. She has continuously moved up into more advanced classes and is competing regularly. Check out her skills:

I love it when members of crew bring in items to crew for us to celebrate! Another member of crew whose achievements we’ve loved hearing about is Torran, who is currently top of his football league and who has scored in the past few games.

One item we really reflected on rebooting was reading now we’re all back from summer. It was heartening to hear that so many of my crew had enjoyed books over the holidays – Jessie deserves a special mention for reading 8+ during the break! We know there is a correlation between grades and reading, but more importantly, it’s so important to invest time in reading for your wellbeing.

 

My crew stated that they want to up the stakes for the reading challenge this year. I hoped all 13 of us would read 100 books be December 2019 – I personally have read 16 so far! They suggested various ideas for prizes or competitions for those who were reading. I have taken their ideas into account and have ordered these badges. Anyone in my crew, or beyond for that matter, who reads 8 books between now and Christmas break will earn themselves a Lifetime Book Lovers Club Member enamel pin. I will also take the book length into consideration, but I’d love to hand a few of these out come December time.

To track our progress some members of my crew have created goodreads accounts, where they can review books they have read, track their reading progress, and set themselves targets. This website is also fantastic for book recommendations, lots of students were able to find curated lists of books they’d like based on genres they enjoyed.

I’ve ordered 5 badges for now, let’s see how many I’ll be handing out!

E25’s first day back

While students up and down the country will be returning back to classes next week, XP East’s E25 returned on Tuesday to embark on a week long expedition, allowing them to re-immerse themselves in our school’s culture. Mr Brown kicked off the day with a community meeting centred on the incredible achievements of X21’s GCSE results. The underlying theme we noticed in the reasons for their success was crew, so we moved on to our guiding question for the week:

How crew are you?

Five weeks is a long time off, we had a lot of catching up to do in morning check in. Spending the first day back is fundamental, it allows time for us to familiarise ourselves with the support network we have built last year. We reviewed what had worked so well in the first year, and what we were going to do this year moving forward.

In session 2, we got stuck in with a crew challenge, where we had to build a tower from straws and other materials that would stand unassisted for a whole minute. Sadly, no crew managed it (it is very tricky to execute!) but the conversations that were had afterwards were reflective and really allowed students to unpack their role in the activity.

We often use the phrase ‘no pilots, no passengers’ to ensure that every person in crew is guaranteed a role. Listening to my crew analyse points where they may have taken over too much or when they were passive shows how much they’ve grown since year 7. We took the reflections from the tower session into the inter-crew competitions.

We spent the afternoon in the sports hall completing mini challenges as crews. I noticed a real difference in how well my crew cooperated in this session from the tower session. Students were giving others pointers and tips. I saw students encouraging others, sharing water, offering help with degunge. This afternoon, while it was fun, was also really valuable in reestablishing what crew is all about.

Some admitted to feeling nervous or worried about what challenges might lie ahead in year 8, with them no longer being the youngest in the school. We’ll tackle them together this year as crew. What was pretty lovely about that first day though, is that during check out, every member of crew said they had a really great first day back. Can’t wait to hear their reflections on ‘how crew’ they are on Friday!

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.

E25 will be holding the Presentation of Learning for their current expedition ‘Three Cheers for Trees!’ on Thursday 18th July at 5.30pm.

Students have been working extremely hard throughout their expedition and this will be an opportunity for them to share their learning with parents, carers and visitors.

We will also have a surprise to share with you at the end of the evening – the grand revealing of our final product!

We look forward to seeing you!

Image result for the lorax

Student led conference

Over the past couple of weeks, crew Turing have been getting their resources prepared for the student led conferences. This will be my crew’s second presentation meeting between them, myself and their parents. I’m anticipating that a further six months at the school will really improve the standard, and I am expecting them to be excellent.

I’m incredibly impressed to see so many members of my crew attend the after school SLC preparation sessions and come to meet me in their spare time to continue uplevelling their scripts. The Thursday sessions have been a great opportunity to get some detailed feedback from myself, plus we’ve ended each session on a high and have dedicated 20 minutes to team games, which have been a lot of fun!

Other than this, each students had a 1 to 1 meeting where we have gone through their academic grades and HOWL scores from data drop 3 and enjoyed hot chocolates. I’m delighted to see so many members of my crew smashing MEGs and making significant gains on their HOWLs from the last data drop.

This week, I’ll be preparing a full data set that my crew can take home with them, and I’ll also be organising targets that will carry over to year 8.

Yesterday during community meeting Mrs Poncia asked X25 about their highlight of the week, and I amongst other members of my crew struggled to pick! We have just six weeks left of this academic year, it is wild to think how quickly my crew’s first year at high school has passed and how much we’ve crammed into 2018-2019.

Both staff and students are winding up to the grand finale of the STEAM and Human expeditions, where they will be working on final products and preparing to share their learning in a presentation of learning. In STEAM, they are continuing on with ‘Escape Earth’ and yesterday their new Human expedition was announced.

On Tuesday X25 visited the Jodrell Bank Space Observatory, which is home to the UK’s largest radio telescope and the 3rd largest in Europe! Each student was immersed in workshops and classes that allowed them to discover elements of our universe, experience Newton’s Laws, and watch real accounts of the astronauts that visit the Space Station. I’ve uploaded the video file above, check out the incredible resources and facilities that we had access to!

We will be taking the lessons we learned from the specialists back into school to help answer the expeditions guiding question:

“Should humans leave Earth?”

With growing reports of the danger that climate change poses, and the scientific advancements in the technology that could allow us to potentially re-locate our species to another planet, X25 will be concluding what they think the future for our species and our home will be. I can’t wait to hear their responses.

I chose the backing track for the video from an album I really love by a band called Public Service Broadcasting, I was struck by this line that was originally part of a JFK speech from 1962:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things
Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

I’m taking this particular message back to crew this week. We will be encountering difficulty over the next six weeks with deadlines. We will be setting up Student Led Conferences over the coming weeks, to reflect on and review this years work. We will be finalising products and developing our presentations of learning. It may be the last few weeks, but as per every other day we spend at XP East, I hope that each of my 12 crew members recognises that despite this work being hard, it is also extremely important, and that working hard, getting smart and being kind is fundamental if we are to achieve.

Keeping our eyes on the prize

This week in Crew Turing, we have been building on the data analysis that we completed last week during crew. I asked that each member of my crew come up with 2 specific action points to work on between now and the next data drop, so we can work on our weaknesses and improve our standing in the crew league tables.

I have loved how well considered these targets have been. Each member of my crew have really honed in on what aspects of their school life they need to work on, be it through their grades or their HoWLs. Here are a few examples:

Ralph:

My actions points are keeping up productivity in lesson and keeping my extended study organised, I can use my fries post-it notes to remind me what deadlines or if I need to remember my kit the following day. I also need to remember to bring a ruler and pencil to class, because I always forget these 2 pieces of equipment.

Callum:

My action points are to let people talk in crew and don’t talk over them because in my data drop 2 my be kind in crew is a 2.8 and a 3.8 in the previous one.

My other action points is working hard in science because in November it was a 4.0, but now it is a 3.6 and I think I could use the explore further section of the website to push for excellence.

Lexi

My science grade went down by 0.5 and that could be because my homework wasn’t in on time and I wasn’t paying enough attention because I drift of a lot,  so my target is to stay on task and be tuned in. I will do this by trying to contribute at least twice, by either asking a question or answering one.

Lewis

In maths my action points are to work harder on be kind as my grade decreased. I will do this by working well in collaborative groups and staying focussed. I will also try to be more active in leston and try not to drift off. I will also work harder on my WH average and GS average as they stayed the same I will improve these by:

  • Contributing more in lesson even if I don’t think my answer is correct
  • Stay more focused on my work
  • Putting extra effort into my hegarty to consistently get 100%

Alice

My HUMs grade has gone up 0.7 but i’m slightly off my MEG by 0.1 To improve my grade in HUMs to achieve my MEG I will be more productive in lessons and use the expedition website more often to further my understanding of the topics we study.

I will be doing fortnightly check-ins with crew to make sure they are showing integrity and working hard to achieve the targets I have set them. I hope that as a group, we can all maintain that level of crew accountability and make each other proud by fine tuning and ironing out those targets.

During another crew session we were inspired by the words of Greta Thunberg, and her impassioned TED talk on climate change. I felt this was a really good example of a WAGOLL of their HUMAN final product and also was an issue that my crew are really passionate about.

It moved us on to a really interesting discussion about why nothing (or not enough) was being done about climate change?

In previous weeks in the news, Lexi pointed out that billions had been raised in the space of a week for Notre Dame Cathedral, yet the destruction of our planet was not attracting any attention despite calls from climate scientists and experts on the issue. Dylan built on this, pointing out how many of the victims of Grenfell are still homeless, where are the millions being raised for them and other victims of tragedy? We’re going to follow the climate stories over the next few weeks and also address what we might be able to do as a crew to contribute our bit, however small, to protecting our planet.

These last two weeks have also seen the birthdays of three members of Crew Turing: Lexi, Alice and Torran! We ended the week on a fully deserved high – eating cake!

Decipher the Data Drop

I have been immensely impressed with my crew’s contribution to our school’s community during the week running up to the Easter bank holiday, considering lots of their friends and family are off! Here’s a snapshot of what’s gone on in crew over that period:

Abi brought in a phenomenal model of our solar system in to show us, that links in really nicely with the STEAM expedition, Escape Earth. Her craftsmanship and quality really blew me away, it’s great to see her going above and beyond to set an example of what a 4.0+ (in the excellence category) looks like! As part of our academic crew session and assessment prep for maths, we did a Kahoot competition, where quickfire questions were presented to crew as a race against the clock. They clearly knew their stuff, and I’d like to congratulate Jess for coming first in both rounds! On Thursday, we enjoyed a table tennis tournament with Crew Mandela. It was lovely to get appreciations from members of their crew at the end of the session on how respectful Crew Turing had been throughout.

I was also treated to many a culinary delights from numerous members of my crew, with Torran and Junia’s blueberry pancakes being very memorable.

The final activity we participated in as a crew before breaking up for almost a week off was an individual breakdown of their personal data. We spent a lot of time last week looking at our stats as a crew, but I thought it would be more meaningful if we assessed our progress against our HOWLs data from November to see if there had been gains or losses, and explore why that might be:

I gave them the following criteria for them to colour code their HOWLs, on whether they had gone up/down.

HOWL Progress Colour Codes:

  • – 1.0 or more = red
  • – 0.9 to – 0.5 = orange
  • – 0.4 to – 0.1 = yellow
  • stayed the same = no colour
  • + 0.1 to 0.4 = green
  • + 0.5 to 0.9 = blue
  • + 1.0 or above = purple

These codes match the criteria of how we colour code our spreadsheets and the charts we keep up across the school, to make it meaningful to my crew. We did this as a silent solo activity, some students noticed patterns and were able to decipher why their ‘work hard’ might have gone down ever so slightly, be it, they were contributing less in class, or maybe hadn’t been as diligent with their homework. There was also a lot of positives to take away from their stats too, such as Dylan’s, who had made huge progress in HUMAN after improving his productivity and concentration in session!

Each member of my crew annotated their thoughts on why they had been awarded the HoWLs they had received, while I floated around to discuss their progress individually. I was amazed to hear their thoughts about their learning and character development, and thought that we should seize this opportunity to set some further targets based on our findings.

I’ve left them with the task of over these next three days we have in crew, to set individualised targets which I will publish with next week’s blog post based on their data. Not only were they left with that to think about for extended study, they have also been sent home with these gorgeous easter bunnies that were kindly given to each member of crew by Torran, which he had handmade – what a great way to end the week!

#Winning!

I’ve really struggled deciding what makes the cut in terms of our crew blog after a week of highlights during crew and in session. After all the banter between Callum and Torran, I’d be doing them a disservice not to congratulate Torran and his team for winning the league! I was also delighted to hear that Lexi had achieved her goal of performing her back flip during her floor routine! I love starting the week celebrating our crew’s successes, and luckily for me, there have been many causes for celebration this week!

A definite highlight was the wonderful presentation of learning from C25’s STEAM expedition. I was blown away by my crew member’s hard work, and how they articulated their learning to me as I passed through the lab. It is wonderful to see them stepping up to the challenge, answering tricky questions and doing so in a really mature and professional manner.

This week, we have been analyzing the data of our subject grades and HOWLs. I was worried that the last data set for my crew had been so high we would struggle to top it, but it seems that we haven’t lost momentum. We are top of the leaderboard across all year groups for the be kind and work hard HOWLS, which is wonderful news. For get smart however, we’re in 3rd place (bearing in mind that we have had to compare digits in the hundredths in order for us to calculate the year 7 average)! It really got me thinking about how we can support one another in getting smarter.

Those three criteria have been the focus for our learning, and will be until the next data drop. I decided to set a little extra extended study last weekend, to get my crew to go above and beyond, and do some ‘explore further’ work that was related to their expedition but not something they had necessarily learned about in lesson, as a way of my crew taking responsibility for their learning. I encouraged them to use their expedition sites that have been set up by their teachers to support them with this. They were then asked to feedback to us in the form of a mini masterclass. Here’s some of their findings:

Lexi, Charlotte, Abi, Callum and Sami did some research into slavery in America, looking into Harriet Jacob’s account of her experience as a slave in the 1800s and famous slave traders. It was fascinating to hear her account and how she’d escaped the deep south and wrote a book detailing her mistreatment. Alice expanded our spanish vocabulary with some mythical creatures she had been researching that weekend – I am determined to somehow drop ‘unicorn/llama’ into conversation on my next trip to Spain!

Reece took us through the specialised cells in the body, and ran an activity where each pair had to identify and act as those cells in accordance to their roles. Lewis and Dylan had prepared fantastic slides on the anatomy of the digestive system and the role various organs had to play in processing food. Torran did a brilliant interactive maths recap of conversion, which included mini-whiteboard questions, and Dylan even printed a questionnaire for us to complete at the end of his session!

I’m sending my crew home with another small and optional piece of extended learning tonight, to try a little digital detoxing this weekend. I want them to try and spend a little bit of additional time that they may spend on devices doing some reading, some ‘explore further’ work, cooking or getting out now the weather is nicer! We’re going to debrief on Monday to see how it goes, myself included!

 

How do we best learn?

It’s safe to say that Crew Turing had all missed one another after enjoying a restful couple of weeks off! We started the week with pancakes, after I promised we’d make them on pancake day, having failed to realise we weren’t in school. As per usual, everyone pitched in with preparing and de-gungeing, and were ready to hit the ground running in session 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A significant deadline that we decided to dedicate time to last week was the STEAM assessment. We used Tuesday’s crew to revise some of the content that would appear on the assessment. I was delighted to see so many members of my crew had already made great progress with this, and they had been working at home and in extended study by using the expedition site and all the other amazing resources Mrs Townsend had provided. However, revision is one of those often difficult tasks to execute well, so I decided to direct my crew to look into how we learned. During the session on Tuesday, we examined the following:

Now, I am not suggesting this pyramid and the percentages it is suggesting are totally accurate, however, it was a great way of getting crew to think about how they learned best. We were particularly interested in being able to retain knowledge and be able to recall it. What we see above rang true to crew members, we are more likely to remember something if we have been participating in the learning, and if we can teach someone else, then we have definitely learned it!

It was fantastic to see Reece putting this into practice by drawing specialised cells on mini-whiteboards for others to identify during extended study on Wednesday night. I advised all my crew that as long as you remain on-task, revising with someone else can really improve retention.

I set my crew the challenge of going away and doing some ‘explore further’ work that they need to prepare and share with crew this week. The topic is chosen by them, and I’ve advised they use the expedition sites to help them decide if they are unsure on what they would like to research. They are to prepare a no more than 5 minute master class for crew on what they have learned, which should not be something they have already done in class, but related to what they have been doing. I’ve had some amazing suggestions for topics so far – Alice is building her spanish vocabulary and Callum and Charlotte are researching case studies of slave traders. I can’t wait to hear what they have to share!