Three Cheers for Trees!

E25 have started their final expedition of Year 7 which is entitled ‘Three Cheers for Trees!’

At the end of immersion week, students were introduced to the name of the expedition and the guiding question: ‘Who Speaks for the Trees?’

7 Explorer started to investigate the geographical context of the expedition further today in HUMAN when they considered the world’s different climate zones and where the Amazon Rainforest is located.

Zooming in even further, students looked carefully at and analysed climate graphs and then constructed their own rainfall and temperate graphs to show the climate of a tropical rainforest.

It’s fair to say that the craftsmanship and quality of students’ work today was excellent!

Churchill Clean Up Crew!

As students of XP East School we know that we have a key role to play in the stewardship of our school and its surrounding area.  To ensure that our school grounds, both inside and out, are kept in top condition, each crew takes part in ‘Clean Up Crew’.

Last week, it was Crew Churchill’s turn so, armed with grabbers and gloves and dressed in our high-vis vests, we tackled the rubbish in Car Park 3.

We collected five bin bags full of rubbish, ranging from McDonald’s packaging, to nappies to car parts!

Churchill always work hard during Clean Up Crew and feel proud that they have had a role in keeping our environment clean and tidy.

Here are some tasters of the planning stages and the first drafts of our artwork for the product of our current STEAM expedition Escape Earth.

Can you guess what our product will be?

Click here to find out lots more about the product itself and the rationale behind it on our expedition website

Preparation is key – we researched the kinds of images we wanted to recreate, then used pencils and pens to plan shapes, colour schemes and patterns.

Practice makes perfect – we used water and dilute acrylic paints to explore how the paint moved across the page, as well as mixing colours and blending our own palettes, ready for us to paint our Final Products next week.

 

With three spontaneous rounds of applause for quality detailed oral responses, students working in twos to practise using the near future tense, and one student’s appreciation of the teacher it was 3-2-1 in E25/ Y7 Spanish today! Reaching excellence on the rubric required students to transfer knowledge of previously-learned material to a new context in order to link, develop and extend their spoken Spanish. Bravo!

E24 Y8 Spanish extended study reminder

Last week our E24 students were issued with a task sheet on shops in Spanish designed to help build the working vocabulary of over 2000 words tested at GCSE level. This work is due for submission on Friday this week. Spare copies will be provided tomorrow for students whose task sheet got wet and tore last Friday due to the inclement weather on the school visit.

Thank you,

Mr Pearson

In our STEAM lessons this week, Year 7 have been grappling with the concept of speed, distance and time.  We have been using constructivist principles of learning to develop understanding, by kicking the week off with a practical investigation outside, measuring the time and distance travelled when we walk fast or slow.

We then discussed the relationships we could see in our data and some data generated from the ‘Marbleympics’ 5m sprint.  We noticed that when the speed changes, the time and/or distance change and there is a direct relationship between this; ultimately we deduced the equation:

In today’s session Explorer were applying this by substituting our own data, with the challenge being to use the equation in unfamiliar contexts – check out Faith’s attempt at four of the challenge questions on the photos below!  The level of engagement in this task was excellent, and not only did I have a lot of verbal praise to give individuals, as well as the class as a whole, but we also had a spontaneous round of applause!  Zak was using purple pen to remind himself of how to improve his calculations next time, and Caiden and Sami got their heads together to see where they went wrong in their calculations and correct them.

We also tried out some new more flexible seating arrangements to support us in building our confidence; as we experiment we find we have different skills and qualities to offer one another in our problem solving and all students engaged really positively in the process.  I loved Marshall’s quote, particularly as he had rated his confidence at the beginning of the lesson as a 1 out of 3, but at the end of the lesson he said “this is a breeze now!”

Our learning focus this week has been to keep trying to get ‘unstuck’, even when we are grappling with something new or a concept we can’t quite get our head around; at XP East it’s all about getting to the top of the next ‘mountain’.  That’s why we have a new quote on the wall from Carl Sagan:

When you make the finding yourself, even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light, you’ll never forget it“.

Well, I think so anyway!

Yes – it’s student-led conference time, where our students get to share their learning and targets with their family.

Crew will spend the next couple of weeks preparing for their SLC, which involves reflecting on their learning and selecting the work that:

  • they are most proud
  • they could improve on, and
  • shows mastery in a particular subject.

Crew will also reflect on and discuss their HOWLs, extended study record and general conduct.

I have set my Crew an extra challenge this year of setting a Year 9 Pledge, to get them focussed on the year ahead and their Passage Presentation.

SLCs will commence week beginning 24th June and will run on selected days over the following 2 weeks.  An email with the booking link will be sent to parents before the end of this week.  Hopefully there will be a convenient time slot for you to book but if not, please email me on aparker@xpeast.org to discuss.

See you soon!

Crew Parkinson Science, Space and SLCs!

Last week we started with a bang! We’ve been thrown straight into our expeditions after the holiday and Crew have certainly stepped up.

We began the week with check-ins from the 2 week holiday – it was lovely hearing the great activities, social events and relaxation that crew members took part in during their time off.

On Tuesday we didn’t have a crew session – but don’t despair we spent the day at Jodrell Bank! This fieldwork was part of the ‘Escape Earth’ expedition and was a brilliant way to spend time with crew in a different setting. I loved hearing how enthusiastic and curious crew members were when discussing physics and asking questions about space. We took part in a number of workshops which revolved around Newton’s laws of motion and gravity, an inflatable planetarium and the constellations.

What a wonderful day!

(All video credits to Miss Haughey – definitely not my area of expertise!)

When we returned to school our crew sessions were then directed around the upcoming Student Led Conferences – students began to choose the pieces of work they are most proud of, found challenging and would like to improve to showcase during their SLCs. This is a great way for crew to reflect on their learning and understand their academic strengths and areas to improve on as well as their HOWLs.

More information will be released about SLCs shortly, so watch this space!

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.