cake + custard + sunshine + a great set of HoWLs results = good times

Crew Turing have loved being outside during Monday’s crew sessions to do check in, catching 45 minutes of sun before we go back to session. Now that lockdown restrictions are lifting slightly the check-ins are far more interesting. Everyone seems cheerier now they’re able to see friends and family, and carry on with the sports they’re involved in.

We’ve also managed to get booked into the sports hall during crew a couple of weeks back, we enjoyed a rather competitive game of dodgeball. We mixed crew to random teams, and even Miss Narey and I played.

As mentioned in my previous post, as a crew we’ve been self-assessing HoWLs leading up to the actual data drop, which finally got released last week. We spent the crew session adding our updated HoWLs to our crew narrative, gains were made across the board. We then compared the new data with our previous crew targets that were made in November 2020. Those targets were:

– Improve extended study record as a crew, aiming for 95%+: we greened this target as this has massively improved thanks to daily reminders in crew and students working together to support each other on any work they’re unsure about

– Improve HoWLs in art and HUMAN, aiming for at least secure in all HoWLs grades: this is partially completed, as HoWLs in these subjects have gone up across the board, however we’ve not 100% met the ‘secure’ section of the rubric or above in these subjects. I’ve got to appreciate Dylan, Callum, Torran, Mollie and Sami for smashing these targets, some of whom even received HoWLs in the excellence category!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at where we can be making improvements using Crew Turing’s HoWL improvement project. Every student in my crew has identified a subject in which their HoWLs could do with some work. I then asked students to write a rationale explaining why they’d chosen that particular subject and a SMART target that another member of our crew could peer-asses them on.

I then gave each student someone to peer assess on a mini HoWL tracker. Every student gave at least a secure on the peer assessment, and knowing that someone was tracking engagement, meant that members of my crew really pushed themselves in those sessions to contribute and ask clarifying questions. I’m going to try this again in a few weeks to get snapshots of what is going on in sessions.

To celebrate our successes, Dylan treated us to homemade sponge cake with custard and Torran bought in a chocolate birthday cake. Not only this, Miss Narey who has been with us over the past few months prepared a quiz for us to enjoy! Big appreciations to those who made Friday’s crew session so fun, and congratulations to Mollie, Charlotte, Dylan, Callum, Sami and Jess for winning the quiz.

Passage presentations are in full swing!

Week One of Passage presentations is over!

I’ve been left speechless by the outstanding passage presentations we’ve had this week. The quality of reflections from the students in Crew on their character and academic growth since year 7 has been eye opening. They have spoken with such maturity and integrity that has made myself (and their families of course) so proud. I’ve been pleased to have been able to mark so many of the students as exceeding the standard – all the hard work has paid off! 

It’s not happened by accident though, the students have been busy preparing, redrafting and rehearsing for months. Here’s Florence practising her passage in Crew this morning – all students so far have been very professional in their presenting skills and are way beyond their years in their ability to speak to adults and a guest panelist they have never met before, it takes some real courage and I’m sure there’s not many 13/14 year olds out there who could do this.

For students in year 9 to be able to so confidently identify and present their strengths, weaknesses and how they overcome challenges to improve, not only academically but personally as well, is exceptional – and all in a national lockdown! I can’t praise them enough for the strength they have shown. I am so proud of them and I hope they all realise how brilliant they are – I’m excited to see the rest of Crew’s passage presentations next week!

Hi all,

Here is a rundown of some of the beautiful artwork that has been produced by our wonderful XP and XPE students during lockdown 3.0.

As a team, we have been blown away by the effort and resilience that our pupils are showing.

I hope you enjoy having a flick through their work as much as we have.

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We’re Back!

Crew Parkinson have had a wonderful return to school despite it being an online return rather than in person. The last time we were all together we were celebrating Christmas with each other, opening secret Santa gifts, listening to music and having a laugh as you can see below – it all seems so long ago now. I don’t think any of us thought that we’d be returning to school under lockdown number 3 and facing the next term online, but we’re making the most of it.

In terms of how they’ve been getting on – they’ve been absolute angels! Despite the challenges of online learning we’ve had nearly 100% attendance for every crew session and lesson for the last 3 weeks! Students are doing so well tackling their new expeditions online – I got an email through with this lovely praise for Ava from Miss Haughey, it’s great to see she’s smashing it in maths.

Students have also been doing really well in their live science lessons – here’s some of the scores from the quizzes set by Mr Said on Prokaryotes & Eukaryotes and specialised animal and plant cells. Great scores from Lacey, Bob, Rosie and Aaron! 

We’ve also been busy preparing for Passage over the last few weeks in crew, continuing the hard work students put in when we were at school. We’ve had to adapt a lot over the last weeks and Passage is included in this but I’m so proud of the quality reflections students have made on their time at XP East so far and how they have grown and changed since year 7. I’m sure they will be able to explain really articulately during their Passage presentation why they are ready to start their GCSEs – watch this space for updates over the coming weeks!

I’ve got a massive appreciation for a really impressive first couple of weeks of remote lessons, for the most part, attendance has been excellent. I have really enjoyed checking in with them in the morning, despite people not being up to much. Every single crew member made it to almost every session this week (X meaning ‘attended online’). I’ve loved to hear stories of crew members phoning each other with reminders to get up!

Crew News:

This week, on Tranquil Tuesday, rather than doing accelerated reader, I tasked my crew members to go on BBC News, or another reputable media outlet, and find a news story that interested them. After giving them some time to read the article, I then asked them to share a jist of the article they had been reading.

Callum shared an article that sparked his interest after checking he was allowed to read about football, the West Ham loss last week. He explained that to crew that this meant that they’d be playing Doncaster, and while he wasn’t so hopeful about celebrating a win, he was still excited to see the two teams play. Jess shared a really excellent article in relation to the Capitol riots this week, which highlighted the work of a Police Officer that had been trying to keep protestors out of the US Congress building. We had some other lovely stories, ranging from a Star Wars spin off from Lewis, to a heartwarming story from Alice about a group who had been helping locate missing dogs.

Thoughtful Thursday – an eye for an eye?

On Thoughtful Thursday, we looked into a story that had dominated the news this week, the story of Lisa Montgomery – the only female inmate on federal death row in the US who was executed on the 13th.

I asked my crew after we read the article together, whether they felt that Lisa deserved to be executed. Having looked into her background together, it was a difficult decision to make, and most felt that the case was far too complicated. There was a general consensus that she definitely deserved a life sentence, but that the death penalty was cruel considering her upbringing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a lighter note, we finalised the information on our Crew Narrative this week, which consolidates our crew’s data for the term. Each crew member has a pledge for their HoWLs, and their academic progress for the next term. It was really positive on the whole, we even came joint first in terms of our ‘Be Kind’ HoWL with Crew Ali. We’re definitely working on pushing more of our data in to the great/awesome categories though.

I felt that because of the fantastic work done in the first two weeks, as well as a really positive data sheet, we ended the final crew session of the week on a game of Among Us. It was lovely to hear everyone having a laugh to end the week on a high note, before a appreciation-filled community meeting.

 

Fight the Power!

The year 8 students across XP School and XP East are working towards part of their final product for the ”Fight the Power’ expedition. C26 have been learning about the power of protest, and the impact activists have had on the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. The goal is to commemorate this work, both in a plaque that will live proudly in Doncaster train station, and through works of art that we will be curating celebrating local activism across Donny, should we raise the funds.

Check out our crowdfunder here!

With only 19 days left to reach their crowdfunder goal, students will be pushing to make the final £800 over the coming weeks with their fundraising efforts. We have arranged raffle prizes, because our busking plans were unfortunately no longer feasible due to lockdown restrictions, but we’re not letting it stop us!

Students have recently had an expert visit from Olivia from Black Lives Matter Doncaster, who shared with the groups about the protests earlier this year. Her insights into structural racism and her experiences of micro-aggressions helped open up a dialogue in our school on difficult but deeply important topics.

I would like to thank her for the work she continues to do and we look forward to working with her in future.

Students also have a hangout / expert visit arranged this Friday morning, where they will be learning about the impact of the local Suffragette movement, and the impact Doncastrian suffragettes had on women’s rights across the UK.

We were shocked earlier in the expedition to learn that of the 500+ statues in the UK, only 80 were of historical women. We wanted to do something to address this imbalance, so we feel that commemorating the work of Doncastrian women’s rights activists is a great place to start.

Students will be coming round over the coming weeks to sell raffle tickets, prizes include

  1. A chocolate hamper (worth over £30)

  2. A McDonalds meal of your choice (+ McFlurry), delivered to you during dinner time

  3. A pass to skip the dinner queue for an entire week

We appreciate all donations, and ask that if you can continue to share this if you are unable to donate to hopefully spread the word!

C25: Out here in the fields

Our year 9 students were lucky enough to get out on fieldwork on the final week of term to complete work relating to their ‘Welcome to the machine’ expedition. Over the next seven weeks of the winter term, they will be working on their answer to the guiding question:

‘Do the benefits of industrialisation outweigh the costs?’

For their first STEAM case studies, students have been looking at conservation data, learning about how data can be collected and displayed using multiple representations. They have also been learning about specialisation and ecosystem management.

They visited The Hatfield Moors, our local nature reserve, to examine the extent of the fire damage from earlier this year. Students have been learning about the protected species that can be found at the site, particularly the adder, and how Natural England and the fire service prioritised safeguarding these species during the clear up operation.

While at the site, students conducted a series of sampling techniques, as well as collecting data on the wildlife. Sadly, due to slight delays in being able to visit the site, we weren’t able to spot any adders as they have likely gone into hibernation for the winter, however, students were still able to find other species key to maintaining and supporting the ecosystem at the wetland.

Students also conducted a number of tests on the site, in accordance with their two daily learning targets for the day:

1. I can estimate the population density of a species using random sampling techniques.

Students engaged in data collection of various parts of the site, using quadrats to provide increasingly accurate estimations of species numbers in the areas we sampled. We created a set of axes, used a random number generator to find coordinates to sample, and collected the data from those coordinates.

After collecting data in teams of three, we used all the data collected to calculate the predicted species number, based on scaling up the measurements to accommodate the size of the field. In debrief, due to a large range in answers, we went on to calculate the mean for those estimations, to create a more accurate estimation. We also discussed why using the random number generator was fundamental in keeping our research free from bias.

2. I can investigate the effects of abiotic factors using systematic sampling techniques.

Students then went on to conduct a series of pH tests on the wetlands, again using their quadrats placed along a transect, to link changes in species to abiotic factors of the wetlands. In debrief, we examined the data, looking for patterns relating to the abundance of the plant species and the abiotic factor recorded.

I’d also like to thank our very own Marshall Jones, for taking his time on the day and spare time to create this amazing vlog documenting the day:

I feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to make it out to the site given the current circumstances, and I really look forward to hear how the work the students have done on this series of case studies will inform their guiding question answers over the coming weeks.

Amazing oil pastel artwork from E26 Explorer

I wanted to share the beautiful work that E26 Explorer have been creating in their art sessions.

I have been really impressed with this group and they should be really proud of their work.

The examples below have been created by Rihanna Bunting, Layton Allen and Jacob Dawson.

Well done Explorer! Working hard and getting smart!

 

Glad to be back

I was absolutely delighted to welcome my crew back this week after a long few months of distance learning and the summer break. The change in all thirteen members of my crew that I’ve picked up on over the past week and a half has been astonishing – and I don’t just mean the fact that they’ve all shot up and I don’t recognise their broken voices!

We started back a couple of weeks ago sharing what we’d been up to during the break and making pledges about the sort of person we want to be in year 9. This is a really important year with passage and the Duke of Edinburgh award, so getting our priorities right in these first few weeks is vital. Everyone is excited about doing the outdoor element of the DofE award, as am I. We’ll be working on their first aid skills in coming Friday crew sessions.

Academic crew

We held our first academic crew of the year on Thursday this week. We fetched all workbooks from the short-lived year 8 year, and had a flick through them to discuss what we felt proud of and what elements of our work we wished to improve. There were a few comments about craftmanship and quality that we will be holding each other to account over the coming months, and a few people who noticed that they’d not put as much detail as others in certain activities, so pledged to be productive in their session time.

On the whole I was incredibly impressed with the quality of their work, and am excited to see what they’re capable of producing this year.

Notting Hill Carnival – Why’s it important we celebrate different cultures?

I’d like to appreciate Mrs Hannam for sharing the work she did on Notting Hill Carnival that should have taken place over the August bank holiday weekend. We learnt about the history of Carnival and discussed why these sorts of events and customs we celebrate that are similar. We also discussed historical issues surrounding the press and police involvement in Carnival celebrations, and how that may have influenced people’s perceptions of the celebration.

Birthday celebrations!

We ended crew this Friday with cake and co-op activities, to celebrate the many crew members birthdays that are in late August / early September. We reflected on the arrival of a new year 7 cohort and comparing it with our crew in year 7. We laughed about how sweet all the year 7 friendship-based appreciations were in the community meeting and how during the first few community meetings, I had to limit them to one appreciation each. If only they were still so keen!

It feels strange ending rounding the school year off with a google hangout before we break up for summer, but it’s been a very strange year for my crew. Having spent the last few months apart, aside from hangouts, I am really looking forward to my crew returning in September so we can properly celebrate the incredible work that they have completed in lockdown.

I know that technically we’re not tracking HOWLs this term, but if we were there would definitely be a few members of my crew that would be on track for a 4.5 for their ‘work hard’ habit. Shout out to Lewis and Reece for maintaining a work rate above 95%, and a huge congratulations to Mollie and Dylan for reaching 100% across their core subjects. I am so proud of how hard you’ve worked, and am excited to see this effort you’ve put into lockdown pay off in y11.

For this week’s crew session, I’d like to have a think about what my crew would like to achieve in Y9. I have recently been organising my google drive and came across this picture of my crew tackling their first mountain. Year nine is a monumental year, my crew will be starting their Duke of Edinburgh award, as well as selecting their option subject, and completing passage to prove their readiness for their GCSE exams. I’m going to be discussing what they might like to take for common mission, as well as asking they come up with a pledge to help them tackle the many mountains that this upcoming academic year will present.

Finally, academic crew stuff aside, I look forward to checking in on hangout this week with my crew and wishing them a lovely summer break. I hope they are able to enjoy some of the great outdoors, like we did in Wales, and reflect on how much they’ve grown as people since our first crew activity, pictured above.

I guess I’m checked out!