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!

Crew Turing have caught the baking bug!

This past week has been really crucial in Crew Turing’s academic development. Each member of my crew was really determined to do well in their upcoming assessments, particularly the spanish writing task that they all had to complete.

We decided to dedicate a couple of crew sessions to revision and preparation. We followed normal crew protocols, doing count up, sorting lunches, greeting each other, but with a slight twist. We did almost the entire check-in in spanish! Crew members then paired up to work on their revision or practice together, which was really well focused and so helpful that we decided to dedicate another crew session to this.

Another highlight of our crew sessions has been all the baked delights my crew members have bought in. Over the week, more and more members of my crew have surprised us with their delicious cookies, cakes and sweet treats – Alice’s chocolate orange cake was to die for! I put on an after school session where we did a bit of a crew bake-off so that we could maximise donations to Cery’s charity bake sale. I set them the challenge of going away, pairing up, picking a recipe and organising ingredients without my input. I’d like to thank parents again for supplying ingredients for that and allowing them to stay, we had a blast, and amazingly, were baked and de-gunged in just 1 hour!

This week, I’m hoping to capture the same crew spirit of bake-off in some reflections of how this week’s assessments have gone. While it’s great to give to charities and bake, it would be great to refocus on how we can make a more optimum use of our time outside of school in preparing for assessments. We had conversations about this on Tuesday, where most crew members admitted that they had not done quite as much extended study as they would have liked to feel confident in their performance. I’ve seen some magnificent ‘Explore Further’ work from other crews, and I’d love to see members of Crew Turing engaging with some of the great stuff that is on offer on their expedition sites. With three weeks to go until half term, this is the perfect time to look at how we can ‘wind-up’ as we put it here at XP East.

Yogi Crew

Last week Crew Turing have had their first student-led crew session, courtesy of Alice and Abi. The girls led a yoga demo, where they released muscle tension and practiced relaxation and enjoyed the scent of tea tree oil. Afterward, we circled up and discussed how we felt before and after doing a bit of yoga. Most people were feeling calmer and more ready for the day which was good to hear! We’re going to try and make it a monthly crew activity, because while it’s important to push yourself in school, it’s also equally important that we have those chances to wind down every once in a while. Particularly when we’d had a couple of difficult conversations regarding conduct, allowing ourselves the time for clarity and reflection was really helpful moving forward into this week.

Another crew activity that has been cherished from crew members is our quiet AR comfy reading sessions. Each member of crew has a habit of finding a little nook in my classroom to get engrossed in their books. As mentioned before, this is a great way to get smart, but it’s also chance to get a lost in a good book! I’ve set a 100 book challenge by summer, that we have to reach collectively – myself included. I want to hear less about fortnite during check-in and more about how much my crew enjoyed something they read at the weekend!

This week, we’ve got a session planned out by Torran, he’s putting on an Active Crew where we’ll be getting a badminton masterclass. C25 have a spanish assessment coming up on Friday too, so we’ll also be putting on a Crew Español to support their preparation for that. I’ve also had requests for art-based crew sessions, a competitive crew session against another crew, so watch this space!

How are Crew Turing getting smarter?

Crew Turing have focused this week on one particular HOWL- getting smart. We agreed that this was the most difficult HOWL to discuss, because some crew members saw this as a product of working hard. We thought about how we could go above and beyond as a crew to work on this, here are some of our ideas:

One focus that we’ve touched on quite a bit as a crew is how reading can positively impact our lives, making us smarter in the process. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s studies on the impact of education and reading shows that teenagers with a reading habit are more likely to get the top grades in GCSE exams. It has shown to improve vocabulary, spelling, and increase creativity in students. We spent a whole crew session recently making book recommendations, discussing our favourite books, and it was lovely to see how passionate everyone got about literature!

What really struck me was a genuine love for reading from each member of my crew. Mr Ryder covered my crew session on Tuesday during their accelerated reader session and he even felt that they were worthy of an entry on the praise form for being so engrossed in their books! While the research on reading and grades is a legitimate reason for me to promote it in crew, I’d hate to think that was the only reason we bothered reading. It does make us smart, but it is able to do so much more than that! A good book is a window into another world, it allows us to empathise and understand experiences that are beyond our own. I think the Harper Lee quote above summarises how transformational reading can be in terms of developing free thought. I can’t wait to do our next accelerated reader crew.

Another feature we’ve been looking at in crew to help us get smarter is having a bit of a handle on what’s going on in the news. This week has been monumental in our country’s history and whenever Brexit has been brought up in crew, there have been some really interesting insights on the matter. I left them with the following question, which again, Mr Ryder led on as I was out on training:

I was delighted to hear my crew had spent a whole 40 minutes deeply discussing issues such as the voting age, Brexit, what they thought about our leaders, and who deserved to have a say in such matters. Apparently there is consensus that the voting age needs lowering so that their voices can be heard. We’ll definitely be taking another look at major news stories next week and how they may affect us!

Crew Turing were uncharacteristically quiet when we circled up for Crew upon returning to school after two whole weeks off school. I was delighted to share news of our impressive HOWLs and grade averages for the last term and that five members of my crew have been flagged up for smashing their MEGs. 

New years are exciting, they give us a refreshing outlook on our goals and achievements this past year. C25 ended 2018 year on a high with that incredible celebration of learning, and they have a lot to be grateful for – a new school, new friends, a crew, success in their work and learning. We had a fantastic final week before Christmas, where we appreciated one another and threw a little Crew-smas party to commemorate the successes of our first 4 months here.

My crew worked their socks off last term and it paid off! However, that’s not to say we can’t spend a little time and energy into bettering ourselves, picking up new skills or achieving more.

We started off our discussions in crew on Monday by doing a whip-around, where crew shared resolutions that they were thinking of making for this year. Lewis is hoping to achieve his black belt, Dylan would like to complete his grade 3 in drums, Jess is working with a new horse at her stables, Callum hopes to finally beat Torran’s team in their league, Charlotte is working on her organisation. As a crew, we acknowledged that our PE kit checklist could improve considerably! The guiding question for this week in crew is ‘How can I hit the ground running this term?’

We spoke about how we cannot afford to be complacent at this point in the year despite being the top scoring crew in all three HOWLs on average. There’s reasons why we believe we’ve managed to achieve this. There is definitely a correlation between being the top of the attendance leaderboard for most the term, and scoring the highest HOWLs on average for the year group. But also, a lot of time, effort and reflection has gone into those grades too.

So we kicked off crew today asking what does ‘hitting the ground running’ actually mean?

We used a Carousel Brainstorm protocol in groups of 4 to decode what “hitting the ground running” looks like, feels like, and sounds like. I liked how my crew were responding to each others comments – someone wrote that it would ‘sound like’ silence, which we then concluded as a crew might not be the case, as long as discussion was on topic and at an appropriate time. My favourite of the bunch was the contribution that hitting the ground running makes you “feels like a champion”. We finished crew by rating our first couple of days back out of 4.5. There were no 4.5s just yet, but we’ve still got 2 days before we answer the guiding question and I have high hopes for an improvement, from what I heard this morning.

Callum perfectly summed up our discussions about returning to school, as he often does, with the ever so slightly clichéd but also magnificently optimistic “2019 is going to be our year”, I look forward to what 2019 has in store for us.

Teamwork is dream work

After an intense couple of weeks working on our Student Led Conferences, Crew Turing had a couple of morning sessions that helped remind us what Crew is all about! We had a slightly disastrous crew session at the end of last term – we couldn’t get the induction hobs to work to cook our pancakes, despite managing to finish the batter as a crew in just 10 minutes.

As promised, as soon as the SLC period was over, we sat down and had 2nd breakfast together. This marked a celebration of how wonderful all of the SLCs have been. I was immensely proud of my crew’s craftsmanship and quality in their speeches. We discussed the importance of spending quality time together and celebrating each other’s successes. We are really lucky to have the 45 minutes each day to enjoy the company of Crew!

I was delighted to see our de-gunge skills are improving too! Each crew member pitched in with the tidying, washing up and clearing down. Whilst sat in the cooking room, I was reminded of one of the first meals we shared on Outward Bound. We’d just encountered our first mountain, and had diverted our walk to accomodate for struggling Crew members. Despite this small set back there was no bitterness, everyone was still in good spirits, cracking jokes and being compassionate to one another. I think we grew quite a bit as a crew over those pitta breads and nutella sachets.

Spending the terms back in school, I’ve seen the notion of ‘crew’ develop deeper roots. Jess and Abi kindly supported Alice this week with her SLC speech, leaving her lovely post-its in her folder to cheer her up. I see crew members help each other in extended study, and I’ve received a crew presentation from Sami that showcases our highlights. All I can say is that we make a great team!

A rather chocolatey update from Crew Turing

This week I’ve met with almost every member of Crew Turing to discuss the progress they’ve made on the SLC script. We’ve spent 20 minutes doing a read through and making little tweaks, focusing on the craftsmanship and quality of their scripts.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed catching up with my crew and taking 20-30 minutes out of our days to review and reflect on their work. I am so proud of their portfolios and the graft they are putting into the re-drafting process – their hard work is really paying off. Also, drinking 10 hot chocolates in the space of 5 days has got to be a highlight of my week, it must be said!

The thought of having to stand up in front of my Mum, Grandma and form teacher at just 11/12 years old to present my work in a conference that I was running seems impossibly daunting. Looking back through my old workbooks, I feel no attachment to any of the pieces I completed, it was just another task to be finished and handed in.

Knowing my crew, getting a preview of their beautiful work, and seeing the new-found confidence that 10 weeks here at XP East has given them, I anticipate this SLC period is going to be one of celebration and pride.

Parents & guardians, you’re in for a treat!

Crew Turing prepare for SLCs

It has been a busy couple of weeks since returning from half term for Crew Turing! We’ve returned rested, and ready to prepare for our student led conferences which will commence on Tuesday 27th November.

During our time off, Alan Turing hit the headlines – there has been speculation that he is likely to be the new face of the polymer £50 note! As a crew, we discussed why we believed he was the most worthy candidate, and we each took turns to vote for him on the Bank of England’s survey. You can vote too, here’s the link: https://app.keysurvey.co.uk/f/1348443/10fc/

I was delighted to hear of the many fantastic achievements from numerous members of Crew Turing over the past weeks. I’d like to congratulate Lexi for placing 4th in a national gymnastics competition and Jess for her horse riding achievements. Not only this, I was genuinely moved by the beautiful remembrance service that C25 held last week. Seeing you all develop and grow as people, standing up in front of a packed out audience and showing the courage you did was inspiring.

If your service was anything to go by, then the SLCs are going to be amazing! Judging from all the positive news I recieve from members of staff about my crew, having looked through their portfolios, and hearing the lovely appreciations that are made in community meetings, there is certainly lots to be discussed in terms of their progress in the first 10 weeks at XP East. The link to sign up is below if you have not done already:


We discuss our struggles or goals frequently in Crew, we acknowledge that here at XP East there is always room for development and improvement in our academic work, but also through thethe charac traits and HOWLs. In the upcoming two weeks, we’ll be populating our crew notice wall with personal targets which we will set in our SLCs. We will then hold each other to account once a week, during academic crew, where we will evidence the steps we are taking in order to achieve these targets.

Watch this space!


Checking in with Crew Turing

Firstly, I’d like to state a massive thank you to all members of Crew Turing that helped out with our Y6 Open Evening, you were fantastic! I was so impressed to see Sammi’s, Jess’, Callum’s, Dylan’s and Charlotte’s confidence in talking to parents and year 6s about their expedition. They have grown so much in their maturity and character just 6 weeks into school and I really appreciate them taking time out their evenings to help us out!

This week during crew we’ve had three separate focuses, one being stewardship, another being their WW1 expedition, and the final being a personal focus on their life so far.

Whilst at Outward Bound, we came across the protocols of “de-gunge” and “leave no trace”. We spoke this week about how important it is that we respect our environment and how we can adopt these same protocols in school, especially after our busy open evenings. This is why stewardship has been our first focus, we spent half a session clearing up after we had the year 6s visit. We discussed the value we felt in keeping our school tidy, and how it should not be left to other staff to sort it.

Another highlight from our sessions has been the time we spent dedicating to show and tell. Lewis brought in some real ammunition which we passed round and some members of the crew were able to identify. Callum and Alice showed us pictures from their weekend trips to War Museums, which was insightful and really interesting! Finally, Reece brought in his family’s medals and historical documentation, as well as some pictures, which we really enjoyed looking through. I love to see how engrossed we all are in our expeditions, and how we’re taking time at the weekends and evenings to do additional research!

Finally, this week we’re working on a piece of art work in our crew, where the students will create a ‘river of their life’. We discussed pivotal events in their lives, such as starting school, siblings being born, getting pets etc., which they have all been encouraged to add to their rivers. It’s opened up some really amazing discussions about where our crew members have lived (Oman and South Africa!) and what fantastic achievements they have made, be it sporting, academic, with their friendships or families.

Jess’ piece showed just how incredibly creative she is, she added a beautiful drawing of herself kayaking, which she also competes in during the weekends – I loved this little touch that made her river so personal.

I look forward to updating you with our final products!

Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!

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…