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!
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.
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!
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:
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:
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!
Each week since COVID-19 caused schools to close we’ve been having Crew over Google Hangouts. It’s been wonderful to see Crew and have a chat to them, despite not able to be all together. We’ve not yet managed a whole crew hangouts – our maximum being 10 out of 12 members getting involved at once so it’d be great if we can all reunite soon!
Our conversations have covered what we’ve each been up to since the lockdown, how we’re getting on with completing work and our highlights and lowlights of the week. It’s been lovely to hear that crew having been busy baking, going out walking, going on bike rides, watching Netflix (Tiger King generated a lot of conversation the other week!), chatting to each other on PS4 and trying not to go stir crazy!
One of my favourite sessions we’ve had was today when we shared photos of us as babies/toddlers. Thanks for sharing these Crew – what a cute bunch you were!
Can other students/staff guess which photo belongs to which Crew member? Email me your answers!
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.
Crew have started Accelerated Reader now. They have taken their STAR reader test and now Tuesdays in Crew are dedicated to reading and taking the AR quizzes.
Reading is so important for building vocabulary and stretching the imagination – as well as reading in Crew and during school hours, pupils should also be reading for 2 hours at home over the course of a week.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…the man who never reads lives only one.”
Today in Crew we had our ‘check-ins’ where the pupils spoke about what they had done at the weekend. It’s lovely to hear what an exciting and relaxing time crew had!
We then reflected on the last week – most importantly, looking at the praise sheet. I was filled with pride to see so many of Crew Parkinson being praised for the wonderful hard work they have done and the compassion they have shown in their lessons and around school.
Here’s some examples of how fantastic the pupils in Crew Parkinson are:
Kristian – “Kristian has been a superstar this week. I am forever catching him being kind, asking if I need little jobs doing, or for extra work in extended study. He tries really hard in maths which is what I like to see. Keep it up Kristian!”
Marcus – “Marcus has shown mature conduct when performing practicals in STEAM”
Dylan – “Dylan was nominated and voted for by his class to be put onto the praise sheet for consistently working hard in HUMs lessons and being kind”
Shanna – “Shanna has been nominated by her peers for her hard work in Drama”
Rosie – “Rosie stepped up to the role of Director for her role play group in X Block Drama, enhancing the flow of the piece and using thought tracking to add depth to the narrative”
Miss Hickson and I would like to say a huge thank you to our crew members for such an exciting game of dodgeball this morning during crew!
We spoke about the importance of showing the character trait of integrity during friendly games. Our crew members gave us specific examples of when what integrity looked like, for instance, if you were hit, you had to be honest about it.
Not only was it a lot of fun, it was a great way to start our day and get our 30 minutes of exercise! We can’t wait for the rematch…
Crew HHI (as we were known until now) have been busy deciding on our Crew name over the last week.
We started with about 25 suggestions of inspirational people, before narrowing it down to Charles Darwin, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg and Ben Parkinson.
The pupils then researched these 4 people and presented their argument for why we should vote for the person they wanted our Crew to be named after. Well done to all crew members who presented with confidence and clarity.
Then came our confidential vote – the moment of truth!
It was very close, with Parkinson winning by 1 vote.
So, why Ben Parkinson?
Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson is regarded as one of the most injured soldiers to survive the war in Afghanistan. In 2006 the vehicle he was in detonated an anti-tank mine, which caused Ben to have over 40 injuries. He suffered brain damage, which impacted his speech, and needed both legs amputated due to his injuries. It was thought he wouldn’t walk, talk or even survive his injuries but the sheer determination shown by Ben has meant that he has achieved this. Ben has been awarded an MBE and has taken part in a variety of challenges and charity work to raise awareness and gain support for other injured service personnel.
Our Crew have been learning about WW1 in their expedition ‘Over the Top’ and they have explored the qualities and characteristics associated with soldiers. Courage, determination, defying all odds, loyalty and compassion are all qualities shown by Ben and are characteristics valued by XP East. Therefore, the majority of the Crew felt Ben was the best inspirational person to name our Crew after, as he embodies the characteristics that we value as individuals and as a school.
He really is an inspiration to us all – and also a Donny lad!