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!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mrs Green for coming in and doing a session on careers with my crew! I can’t wait to build on the work she did helping my crew come up with careers they might be interested in or suited to based on the questionnaires they filled in. This week we’ll look further into some options and what they will need to do in terms of qualifications or work experience to enter certain industries or careers.
This week, my crew have been focusing on our position on the crew dashboards comparatively with other crews in E25. I’m delighted that we have almost no entries to the negative conduct form and that on the whole, extended study is handed in on time and equipment is organised amongst my crew.
There were two aspects of the dashboard that we acknowledged needed working on: praise form entries and our attendance. There were lots of bugs being passed about last term, even I ended up really poorly at one point! However, we’ve made an agreement that this term we focus on making marginal gains in terms of our attendance percentage as every day at school mattered.
We even did the maths, since our average attendance last term was just 90%, as a collective crew we’d miss out on over 100 days of school if we carried on like this! I’m already seeing a great improvement this week.
The issue of our praise form entries was something that we also needed to intervene in as a crew. We discussed how we could improve our number of entries on the praise form, and we decided to set a challenge. Daily, each member of my crew were to record how many times another crew member put their hand up and answered a question or posed a question to a teacher to help clarify their understanding. Here’s how they got on:
I’d like to massively appreciate Torran for his improvement from no entries on day 1 to 5 by day 3 and Dylan for increasing his to 13 on one day! Most of my crew really rose to the challenge and I, amongst others, noticed a real difference in sesion. We even went from the bottom scorers on the praise entries, to the 3rd crew in the year, making gains of +4.0 in our entry average. I’m going to carry this on next week until we reign supreme at the top of the crew dashboard, I’m determined that each marginal gain will have a huge impact on our comparative scores across the crews.
Another focus we’ll be looking towards as a crew this week is the general election and taking a wider look at the world around us. I’ve got us a subscription to National Geographic magazine which I’m going to make the focus of this week’s accelerated reader crew, I can’t wait to delve into important issues in our global community!
So this week in Crew we’ve been focusing on gratitude and appreciation. How can we be more grateful for the things we take for granted? How can we remind ourselves of all the positivity around us when there are so many negative images forced upon us each day? How can we use gratitude to shift our feelings from negative to positive?
We started with some appreciations, then looked at this meme and discussed what resonated with each of us in Crew?
It was really interesting that our discussion took us into a way of realising that actually even in really difficult, sad, troubling or depressing situations, gratitude and spending a moment to think about either the positives in an apparently negative situation, or even looking for the things we are grateful for can help to lift us into better spirits: more contentment and happiness.
We explored the language of “cultivating a shift” – how can we take control of our emotions and feelings, to not ignore them (it’s ok to be sad, feel down, have a tough day!) – but we can choose whether we let those emotions control our mind, or whether we want to try and shift our minds into a more positive state.
We can dwell on situations out of our control. For instance, Fin showed courage and talked about his bad knee, and how it prevents him from doing activities and being as physical as he’d like to be, but he realises there is little he can do about the situation.
We discussed how this could be really frustrating or depressing. But with a shift in thinking about what good has come out of his injury – what he has to be grateful about – he could see that his friends really step up and look after him when he’s in pain, rallying around him; his friendships are strengthened by his injury!
We ended the session by writing down as many things as possible on a post-it note that we are grateful for.
Try it at home? What are you grateful for today? Can you acknowledge the things that make us depressed or sad or down, and “cultivate a shift” towards using out emotional energy to be grateful and feel positive about what we DO have?
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!
Inspired by an activity run by Mrs Parker and Crew Finch last year, in Crew this week we spent some time talking about whether reading and watching the right sort of news can make us happier and trying to find examples of ‘happy news’ articles.
What characterised ‘happy news’?
- Was it something which made you smile or laugh?
- Was it about someone showing kindness towards others?
- Was it about enjoying others’ successes?
It could be all of these things and more. Here are some articles which brightened up our day; hopefully they will brighten yours too!
Smiling and ready to go!
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
What a fantastic start to the academic year for Crew Shackleton today. It was great to be back and see everyone again, and most of all see how keen (if not a little tired) everyone was to be back at school again.
Guiding question for the week:
How Crew are you?
Yesterday, as our Crew Challenge to help us consider the guiding question, we split up into random groups of 3, and undertook the challenge of protecting an egg as it was dropped from the top balcony of the school. All the groups had was:
- 3 marshmallows
- 10 cocktail sticks
- a small piece of pipe foam insulator
- 3m of tissue paper
- sticky tape
- a plastic bag
A really successful activity that allowed us to start to get back into working as a Crew and work towards answering out guiding question by the end of the week. We made some excellent observations and reflections on how well we managed to work together, or not so well in some cases, and promised to revisit the challenge later in the term with fewer materials and a harder set of rules for the challenge. To not only complete the challenge more successfully, but work better as Crew to do it.
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.