Shackleton Lost At Sea

It’s been a brilliant half term for Crew Shackleton, but I think it’s fair to say, if you’re lost at sea with anyone from this crew, you’re in trouble.

Considering we’re named after a famous ocean explorer, we’ve got a bit of work to do.

That is according to the Lost at Sea activity we did this week where each person was given a list of 15 items they were able to salvage from a sinking ship. Items were ordered 1-15 in terms of their importance.

Once this was done individually, we worked in groups of 3-4 to decide on the best order using teamwork skills, communication and problem solving, with clear expectations about what this mean before the session started.

Our results were then compared to a panel of survival experts’ rankings to reveal how likely we were to survive.

Thankfully, most students would have survive. But only just.

And as for April and Faith…I think they’re still bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere!

The point, however, was working as a group to solve a problem. Some of our strengths were:

  • encouraging each other to contribute asking questions;
  • being respectful with each others’ ideas;
  • having some controlled fun;
  • Excellent time-keeping – everyone finished on-time.

Well done Crew Shackleton. A really enjoyable activity.

A big shout out to Faith and Lilly who circulated to help people with their maths when calculating their scores, and Nikodem who took it upon himself to help another crew member correct their mistakes.

And, Crew Shackleton, I agree. I don’t care whether it’s top of the list or not, Shark repellent is coming with me!

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.

Crew Shackleton – Now That’s Crew!

This week in Crew we’ve spent a lot of time supporting each other in a range of areas: we’ve looked closely at issues arising from extended study; evidence of great HOWLs in and around lessons; and offered the day-to-day support that we all need from time to time.

So I asked some of the Crew to share what it means to them.



Crew Shackleton has helped me a lot. This is because whenever I’m with my crew I feel like I can say anything and that they all have my back. It has helped me become a lot more confident in myself because whenever you say something, you know that you won’t be judged. We all work as a crew to help each other out. For example, if people need help in their academic studies, we can help them out and give them ways to be more organised.







Crew Shackleton has helped me because when I’m in crew I feel safe and they helped me get my confidence up onto higher levels. Since crew, I have been able to speak in a year community meeting and even in a whole school community meeting. Crew has also helped me with my confidence because I know I won’t be judged. Also when I have been with crew on a Monday we do a weekend check in, on Tuesday we do an extended study crew, on Wednesday we do a crew session where we could have a crew member leading our session, Thursday we normally do accelerated reader and finally, on Friday we do a community meeting crew and we discuss stands, appreciations and apologies. We have the best most caring crew and I am thankful that I am in this crew.



My crew (Crew Shackleton) has helped me from the beginning at XP East. For instance, at the start of the year I was struggling with my maths homework and crew gave me advice on how I could make progress and improve. We are all taking responsibility of each others’ actions and show courage in everything we do together. 







My crew have helped me out a lot with my academic studies such as getting my homework done I have now got 100% homework record. They have also helped with my growth mindset and how I work and speak. Our crew all help each other and all support and trust each other.

A great week for getting smart

We’ve talked a lot about the GET SMART element of our HOWLs in the last week: what it means, why we do it, and more importantly, where we are seeing it around school in our lessons too.

And I’m glad to report, Crew Shackleton are definitely getting smart!

One name that continued to pop up in crew (not to mention 8 appreciations by peers in the community meeting) was Denim. She’s made an amazing effort to go above and beyond since coming back after Christmas, extending her learning at home, and even making models of blood cells to share with her class. Voluntarily. Amazing!

Here she is taking Crew Shackleton through a presentation she’d prepared at home about the Great Depression, providing a bit of extra context to To Kill A Mockingbird:

Miss Hickson commented:

“In her own time, Denim has researched and created a powerpoint on the Great Depression. The work she has produced is of great quality and shows she cares about her learning and is taking responsibility for it. A very mature approach to improving her HOWLs and her understanding of the expedition. Fantastic!”

And it’s not just been Denim. A few students got a mention on the praise sheet for a variety of things:

Miss Haughey said, “Thea hit the ground running today, she’s been on fire in maths despite not being in this week. She was a pleasure to teach, she was more alert than others and was following my instruction really closely. Great stuff!”

Miss Haughey also commented on April’s work recently: “ALWAYS being kind to other members of her table. [She] provides great support in steering collaborative activities and makes sure everyone is involved. She is a mature voice when there is disagreement. She’s doing fab!”

A really positive week, and an amazing vibe about the work going on in and around lessons.

Keep it up Crew Shackleton!


Zach at the helm!

Zach showed courage this week to step out of his familiar zone and lead an entire Crew session.

His idea. His hard work. His success.

What started as a really simple idea about what we could do one morning as a Crew session, turned into an amazing session enjoyed by all of the Crew, with some excellent work produced as a result.

Zach: “Mr Brown, I’ve got an idea for a Crew. Could we do something where we all bring something in or draw something that represents us as a person so we can learn more about each other?”

Me: “Yeah. Do you want to do it?”

Zach: “Er. Okay!”

So a few days later, Zach came prepared with resources, an engaging greeting activity and a plan of the entire session, complete with protocols.

He even had a WAGOLL, which he’d worked hard on at home!

I’ve got to say, I was massively impressed with the attention to detail and enthusiasm he showed to produce the entire 45 minute session. He showed great leadership qualities and confidence – he never faltered! Like a rock!

And it would be remiss of me if I didn’t congratulate the Crew for their support towards Zach shown by their hard work and respect for the effort he’d put in. Although it is testament to the quality of the session that everyone was on task and thoroughly enjoyed the session.

Zach, great job!

Perhaps (dare I say it) a teacher in the making?

The only way is up!

What a start to 2019!

It’s been a fantastic week for Crew Shackleton. After a well-deserved break over Christmas, we’ve really come back with the determination to build on a fantastic first 2 terms.

But it started with a difficult conversion. We reviewed our HOWL grades from last term, and realised (to the shock of many, to be honest) that on average, as a crew, we were bottom of year 7 for EVERY section!

“Disappointed” and “embarrassed” were a couple of words I heard mumbled amongst drooping heads. UNTIL I pointed out that even though we were bottom, it was only just at the bottom, and all of our HOWLs were above 3.0.

“We’re working hard Crew, just not as hard as the other Crews!”

Actually, Lilly, Faith, Zach and Nikodem are all on the wall of fame for smashing their megs!

So we set about how we could build on the genuine successes of 2018, thinking about our guiding question for the week: How do I hit the ground running?

We kicked it all off with a silent discussion focussing on what ‘hitting the ground running’ sounds like, looks like, and feels like. And the response was fantastic. Our ability to pick apart how we can improve and reflect on our strengths, especially at such an early stage in their XP East academic career is fantastic.

I’m told:

“Fin’s hit the ground running because he’s constantly got his hand up to answer questions.”

“I think Woody’s hit the ground running because he’s really focusing on getting his head down and concentrating in lesson.”

“Lilly’s hit the ground running because she’s working so hard on her tennis outside of school and still is smashing her MEGs in lessons.”

“Some of us have had a tough week and still come in and get straight back to lessons, even if they don’t feel very well.”

So, will we bottom of the year 7 Crews when we next look at assessment data? Maybe, I don’t know (year 7 are pretty amazing right now). Will we be working our socks off to work harder, get smarter, and be kinder? Definitely, I have no doubt!

Great start Crew Shackleton!

Crew Shackleton Getting Smart

After a fantastic couple of weeks of SLCs, we decided that yes, we’re smart, but it would be even better if we were even SMARTER!

So we decided to do a silent discussion around what ‘Get Smart’ looks like, feels like, and sounds like.

Fin seemed to enjoy it.

Crew Shackleton ready to go with SLCs!

So Crew Shackleton are raring to go with their SLCs. We’ve done plenty of paired work, independent work, work with C24, work as a class…and generally just HARD work.


Here’s what they had to say on the matter:

Zach H: “I feel ecstatic and am looking forward to my SLC!”

Jacob: “I’m looking forward to my SLC because I have put a lot of hard work into it and I would like to see them to see what I have been up to in my academic studies AND HOWLs.”

Finley: “I feel excited because I haven’t done an SLC before and I’m excited to show my parents my work.”

Nikodem: “I am really looking forward to my SLC because I can’t wait to share my progress in learning.”

Lilly: “I am really excited and well prepared for my SLC. I can’t wait to share all my work. However, I am still a bit nervous.”

Zach M: “I am really ready because I feel that I’m really prepared and I’m really focussed on the work that I’m doing.”

Woody: “I feel good about it because I’m ready for anything.”

Thea: “I feel good about my SLC and I am excited to show my parents my work.”

Lucy-Mae: “I’m feeling organised but excited to share what I have done here to my mum.”

Denim: “I’m feeling organised and read to do my SLC. I’m excited to talk in front of my parents and share my work with them and share who I am as a learner.”

James: “I feel confident towards my SLC because I have prepared so much and worked really hard on it.”

Faith: “I am really well prepared and excited for my SLC. I can’t wait to present my beautiful work to my parents.”