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!

 

 

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!]

 

A week of highlights for Crew Turing

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.

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What will 2020 bring?

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!

Marginal gains in Crew Turing

 

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!

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!

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.

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.