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!

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.

 

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!

Over the past fortnight, I have been meeting on hangouts with my crew to discuss their academic progress, their take on what’s going on in the news, and to check in with what they’ve been up to!

Black lives matter

Last week, I spoke with Alice, Dylan and Lewis about the protests that had been taking place and their purpose. We spoke about the blackout Tuesday on social media, and whether or not posting a black square to social media was an effective way of campaigning for equality or whether there were more impactful ways of doing so. It was lovely to hear how thoughtfully they considered the issue and it was nice to gain their insights on the matter.

Working hard in lockdown

I’m immensely proud of the work record that members of my crew have maintained over these first 3 weeks back after the break. Reece, Lewis, Dylan Mollie and Abi have managed to keep their hand in rate above 90%, which is really impressive!

Another highlight worth mentioning, is the graft that Torran, Callum and Lexi have put in this week with academic crew check-ins. I’ve loved discussing electron configuration and getting my head around ions and atoms.

Green thumb

I’ve also loved seeing the work Torran has been putting into their allotment while we’ve been in lockdown, many members of my crew have been helping out in their gardens (including myself!) He’s been enjoying getting to train with his football team again, similarly Lexi was able to do a gymnastics training in an empty car park!

Last week, we also had a fun crew session where crew members had to draw a Pixar movie that we had to each guess, here’s Charlotte’s example of ‘Inside out’. Congrats to Dylan who won the game. I have wished my crew a nice long weekend (due to staff days) and told them to go and get some sun this weekend!

 

 

Overall, I’m delighted with the amount and quality of work completed in all subjects by Crew since the lockdown and school closure began in March. It’s been wonderful receiving emails from other teachers praising my Crew members’ work, and as their Hums teacher, seeing the fantastic work they’ve been doing in this subject too.

I know working from home can be tough without the structure of school, teachers, classmates and the resources available but I’m thrilled with how Crew have not let this phase them and are trying their best at home.

Last week really blew me away in Hums. Our current expedition ‘Wave After Wave’ focuses on Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ for the English aspect of the expedition. Students have been learning about the plot, characters and techniques Shakespeare uses in his play. One of the tasks for online learning this week was to write a descriptive piece of writing depicting Act 1 Scene 1 of The Tempest – students could decide on which format they wrote their descriptive writing in. We highlighted the need for powerful and interesting adjectives, verbs and adverbs as well as varied sentence structures and figurative language. Here’s some of Crew’s entries:

Ava:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aaron:

Marcus:

I also loved the answer Marcus wrote to the question about why Shakespeare would use a storm to open the play and what is significant about this. Here’s his response:

Florence:

Lacey:

I think it’s clear to see that although Crew are now working at home, they are still working hard and getting smart. It’s been fantastic to see the effort that they have put into their work. I know that by taking responsibility for their own learning and always trying their best to complete the work to a high standard at home, they will definitely hit the ground running when they return to school. KEEP UP THE BRILLIANT WORK!

 

May the fourth be with you…

This week has been a highly eventful week for Crew Turing, starting at the end of last week with Lexi’s birthday, followed by Alice and Torran’s on Monday. Each crew member has reportedly enjoyed their lock down birthdays despite not being able to see friends, we made sure to include some fun on our crew hangout.

With Alice and Torran’s birthday coinciding with May 4th, we did a Star Wars themed quiz on Kahoot! Congratulations to Lewis for winning top prize, with Ralph and Lewis in close second.

Academic crew: getting smart in lockdown

This week I have added a further ‘drop in’ non compulsory crew slot that I invited people to join for an academic crew. I was joined by multiple members of my crew, we shared a doc that we collaborated on to support one another with their learning. This week’s focus was hums, we built background knowledge about the new expedition, ‘Wave after Wave’. It was fascinating to learn about the Early Modern Period, I’d like to appreciate Molly, Reece and Lexi for reaching out, and for how well you worked together on this. It was almost as good as being back in school!

 

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: CALLUM ANDERSON

Callum has been (& always is, let’s be honest) a star in crew this week, he’s been cracking on especially hard while in school this week, and has received an e-postcard from Mr Pearson, for the high quality spanish work he’s producing. Not only this, on Thursday afternoon I recieved a heartwarming email from Mr Burke:

‘Bless Callum Ando! what a kid he is. He’s done right well with his maths. Such a nice lad!’

I love hearing about how my crew have been getting on. Keep it up Callum!

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: MOLLIE BUTLER

Another student who needs a mention in this blogpost is Mollie, for her frankly astounding work for HUMs on crime and punishment in the Elizabethan times, you are clearly working extremely hard Mollie. I loved reading your notes from the work set this week, you absolute superstar!!

Pupdates:

We ended the week with a bit of a daft crew session where we celebrated my dogs first birthday! I asked people with pups to bring them on hangout and we did a quiz on dogs.

I’d like to appreciate Coco (Ralph’s Pug, see picture below!), Rebel (Jess’ new puppy), Lewis and his pug Sid, Rufus (Dylan’s Labradoodle) & Mollie for sharing her pictures of her gorgeous Labs with me and making Iggy Pup’s quarantine birthday one to remember!

Important Updates for this week:

  • I’ll be hosting crew on Monday at 11:30AM, and Thursday at 2:00PM
  • I will also host another academic crew on Tuesday and Thursday to help my crew with any work, time tbc. This is a drop in session, they do not have to join!
  • I’d like them to complete a slide on the ‘Turing Memories’ slides I have shared for Thursday, or share pictures/email me with what they’ve been up to & I’ll add it to their slides
  • The students are on half term from Friday [2 weeks off!]

 

What are you looking forward to?

Our Crew check-in this week on our Google Hangout was “what are you most looking forward to when lockdown ends?” and we had some lovely answers!

  • Eating at McDonald’s came to mind for Marshall
  • I think all of us are looking forward to seeing family and friends
  • A number of the Crew are just excited at the thought of being in school (XP East is just that good!)
  • Cerys is really looking forward to ice skating – not something you can really practice from home!
  • Going to festivals – Zak has tickets to Leeds Festival in August and it is still happening as far as we’re aware…
  • What are you most looking forward to?

And what have we been getting up to, to pass the time when we’re not doing our school work?  Leoni has been doing mindfulness colouring, Zak is continuing with his basketball and Cerys with her baking – check out the cake below!

Charlie and Ruben have both shaved their heads to keep cool in the warmer weather and keep their hair under control – though we haven’t got photographs to share yet!

In recognition of his participation and commitment to Crew Hangouts every week, I also nominated Marshall for a mention on Mrs Poncia’s Associate Principal blog:

It’s also great to see several of the Crew going above and beyond in their learning, even when working remotely.  Special mentions in the last week or so go to:

  • Ruben for getting ahead on his HUMAN work and asking for even more before the new expedition started!
  • Cerys, Caiden, Leoni, Marshall and Zak for full completion of their HUMAN immersion.
  • Cerys, Charlie, Marshall, Ruben and Tom for going above and beyond in Maths on at least one occasion, in Cerys’ case, with every single task!
  • Billy, Leoni, Marshall and Ruben completing their STEAM tasks way ahead of this week’s deadline on 8th May.
  • Great completion rate across the Arts for Leoni and Cerys, again ahead of the deadline in Leoni’s case.
  • Zak, Ruby, Leoni, Lacey, Charlie and Cerys all receiving e-postcards from Mr Pearson in Spanish.

I’m really impressed that there are so many names of our Crew members mentioned by staff in a positive light in the various meetings we have each week.  Let’s make sure any deadlines we are behind on are caught up and that we keep helping one another to be successful despite the wait until you can all have a celebratory McDonald’s!