Comic Strip Weekend Check in!

Crew check in is something that we do on a weekly basis on a Monday. It not only allows students to reflect on their weekend, but to allow others to have a window into how others spend their time. This Monday we created a ‘comic strip’ to depict the weekends spent by people without words. Here we can see Holly illustrating with her comic strip of how she has had a new member of the family; her new baby brother!

A mixed bag for Crew Young……

During the week when Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer, issued advice on screen usage time, Crew Young decided to keep an audit for 7 days to record their own use of technology. We started with a silent conversation protocol to consider: “what devices do I access?” and “my use of screen time? and next week we’ll blog the results.

Later during the week Crew Young visited Mr Smith’s Y8 Crew and Mrs Townson’s Y7 Crew to deliver a workshop on “The method of loci”. Feedback from staff and students was extremely positive!

What can I do this week to be kind to my future self?

Last week, Crew Turing’s guiding question was ‘What can I do this week to be kind to my future self?’

We often reference acts that support other members of our school’s community when we discuss my personal favourite of all the HOWLs, ‘being kind’, but this week we flipped it on its head a little and thought about being kind to ourselves. This week has been strange in that many of Crew Turing’s siblings and friends have been gearing up for half term, but as others are winding down for a week off, we’ll be winding up! I thought that it was important that we focused on wellbeing and making sure we ended this term on a high, after such a brilliant start to the new year.

When introduced to the guiding question, we popcorned some ideas of how we can be kind to ourselves. Keeping on top of organisation, such as extended study and school work was a recurring theme.

Sami was able to lead the way with this as he had spent the weekend creating this incredible model of the Finch household from To Kill a Mockingbird, that wasn’t due until the following Friday. Sami shared that he’d got this done in a timely manner so he had more time in the evenings that week. Others shared they would be doing similar by going to extended study after school to get their work out the way earlier in the week so they felt prepared by the end of the week. I’m delighted to share that we had another week of 100% homework hand-ins!

On Tuesday we had a socratic-style crew, where we debated whether all schools in the UK should provide healthy snacks for their students, inspired by current events of the previous week in the news. The debate was extremely fruitful (sorry, I couldn’t resist), there were even policy suggestions put forward by members of Crew Turing. Dylan and Callum devised a suggestion where rewards were given to those who opted for healthy snacks that week. At the end of the discussion, we reflected back on ‘being kind to ourselves’ and how our eating habits and hydration levels affected our mood and performance in school.

On Thursday, we split crew in two and circled up for a basketball competition! It definitely got our blood pumping and woke us up a little. Reece and others commented in debrief that it was a really nice way to start the day because he felt that he was able to burn off some of the excited energy that can be distracting later in the day. We circled up to reflect on how well both teams had done due to their familiarity with one another, and how this had improved communication during the games.

Finally, on both Tuesday and Friday, we did some AR and spoke a lot about progress with our books and even made an addition to our crew wall. We now have a reading chart up, with 100 spaces waiting to be filled by Crew Turing’s book recommendations. Our goal was to read 100 books by summer time, and also aim to read for half an hour before bed to wind down for a good night’s rest – another act of kindness that we have discussed. Tomorrow we’ll be starting to populate the chart with our reviews during crew time. I look forward to curating something that other members of XP East who pass through my classroom might feel inspired by!

As we come to the end of our current STEAM expedition, Y8 students will be visiting Leeds University on Wednesday 27th February.  The Health Sciences Outreach Team have organised an exciting day of workshops which will enable students to consolidate their learning and prepare their answer to the expedition’s guiding question: “Why am I me?”

The arrangements are as follows:

  • All students to arrive at school by 7.45am to ensure a prompt departure from school at 8.00am.
  • Students will need to bring a bottle of water and optional snack (no glass bottles or fizzy drinks or sweets.)
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for part of the day.)
  • Lunch will be provided free of charge for all students.
  • Students will return to school at approximately 3.15pm – although we will post updates on the website and social media.

In the interests of ensuring a prompt departure from, and return back, to school it is important that – as always – our students arrive on time on these fieldwork days.

Dylan Takes Crew Parkinson to Mount Olympus!

This week, Dylan ran a crew session on the Greek Gods, he wanted to share his passion with the rest of the Crew and I love hearing about crew’s interests! He explained to Crew about the Greek Gods and Mount Olympus, giving each crew member a God/Goddess to be. Once Crew had understood their character there was an activity where each Crew member had to design a palace for their god/goddess based on the qualities of the character. A game of pictionary was then played, where crew had to guess which god/goddess the palace belonged to based on the features of the drawing.

Dylan articulated his information about the Greek gods very well and he clearly put in a huge amount of effort in preparing for this session. He built upon his already existing communication, organisation and leadership skills to create a fantastic crew session enjoyed by all – a massive appreciation to Dylan!

7 Pioneer Explore Africa

Last week, 7 Pioneer began their second case study in the ‘Stand Up!’ expedition. We spent the beginning of the week getting to grips with the world – what is a continent? How many continents are there, where are they and what are they called? What’s a country?

This brought our attention to focus on the continent of Africa with its vibrant, diverse and wonderful physical and human geography features. This sets the context for case study 2 and 3 in our expedition. Students were in groups with different expert texts which focused on the 4 major biomes of Africa and their characteristics. Once the students had read their own expert text it was over to them to complete the notecatcher for each biome by teaching each other the information they had discovered.

Next up – human features! The students had a range of information about the different countries of Africa or of averages about the whole continent. Students soon realised the variety between the different countries and how there were many similarities and differences between the UK too. This was completed using a GoGoMo protocol – a personal favourite!

We then zoomed in on two countries in Africa, Nigeria and Somalia, by watching documentaries and news reports. The students learnt how Nigeria is the richest and most populated country in Africa and completed a notecatcher based on the different human features of the country. It was clear to see the inequalities between the multi-millionaires and the slum-dwellers of Lagos  We then compared this to Somalia, a country which faces the challenges of civil war, drought, famine, poverty and piracy – focusing on Mogadishu and the changes that it has undertaken in the last few decades. Students were asking really thought provoking questions about the countries, it’s been a fantastic week!

Y8 (E24) Presentation of Learning: “Why Me?”

As part of this term’s STEAM Expedition, “Why Me?”, Year 8 students have been studying genes, DNA, cells, reproduction and the theory of evolution in order to answer the guiding question “Why am I me?”

They are now ready to share their findings with you, and would like to invite you to join in with a series of practical activities on the following dates:

8 Pioneer: Tuesday 26th February, 4.30pm-5.30pm.

8 Explorer: Thursday 28th February, 4.30pm-5.30pm.

You’ll even find out how making a marshmallow critter helped us to learn more about ourselves!

We look forward to seeing you, and thank you for your continued support.

Whole Lotta Love for Crew Finch!

In a nod to Valentine’s Day, we have spent the week sharing some love!

On Monday, we had a “speed dating session” to find out more about each other.  Crew were set the challenge to find out more about each other in 45 second intervals, including what their favourite book was, what they were most proud of, and what advice they would give to someone to make them feel happier, reporting back to us all at the end of the session.

On Tuesday, we had a bit of a “self love” session, so we all had to think about what made us unique and special.  We’ve created a lovely display of peacocks, and I hope Crew will refer back to these when they feel like they need a bit of a confidence boost.

Thursday was all about sharing the love, so we made these little appreciation cards to hand out to friends or family.  I was particularly touched to receive my own little Valentine’s Day gift and message from Crew – they know the way to my heart is *always* through chocolate!

What a lovely way to spend the week, but we need to remember that showing appreciation to others and being kind to other people (and ourselves!) is not just for Valentine’s Day – it’s for life!

Much love from Crew Finch x

Zooming in on Africa!

This week has seen 7Explorer begin Case Study 2 which is entitled ‘Say It Ain’t So!’
As part of our introduction, we have been learning about the continents, oceans and countries of the world.
We then zoomed in on the country of Africa in order to set the context for this case study.

We spent time getting to know the four key biomes of Africa. To do this, each of us had to become an expert about one particular biome and make notes about its key features.

We then had to share our expert knowledge and teach others about our biome.

It was wonderful to hear the quality of discussion and teaching that was taking place between students.

At the end of the session, students had to ‘Press Save…’ and note down two features that they had learnt about each biome.

Shackleton Balloon Tower Challenge

What a fantastic session in Crew Shackleton this morning! With a focus on team working skills, teams of 3-4 were pitted against each other with a challenge to create the tallest unsupported balloon tower. No hands. No walls. No chairs.

The winners (aided by the collapse of taller towers) were Nikodem, Jacob and Zach’s tower.

A fantastic session with lots to unpack – so many strengths, and plenty of things to work on to become a stronger crew and more effective team members.

Well done Crew! Watch the video for a glimpse of the session.

Some wonderful ingenuity from Woody, furiously rubbing the balloons on his head to create extra static to hold them together.

Thank you to Mrs Parker for popping my balloons for me! That’s a challenge I’m not yet prepared to overcome.