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.

Showcasing talent in Crew Ali

This week we were fortunate to see some of the artwork Junia has been doing at home, as drawing is a passion of hers.  She uses a range of styles and particularly enjoys drawing and painting her favourite anime characters.  We discussed the craftsmanship and quality in her work and invited her to to lead a Crew session on drawing skills with Lacey, who is also a keen artist.  It also takes courage to share your work with others; well done Junia!

A Lilly Faith

A huge thank you to Faith and Lilly today for the student-led crew session. It was an excellent session, enjoyed by every one of us!

Read on below to find out what we did…

Check-In

We were asked to think of a song that portrays how we feel, with an explanation if possible, to share to the rest of the group. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was a popular choice, but there was an eclectic range within the crew.

Main Task

Everyone then took a piece of paper and some coloured pencils. Faith and Lilly had carefully selected a range of different styles of music, from classical to club classics, and played them to the crew. The objective: draw on your page whatever you feel inspired to draw from the different types of music.

Closing Circle

Finally, we were invited to to circle up around everyone’s artwork and do a Notice Wonder protocol. Lots of originality, including drawing images inspired by the music, such as a beach hut when listening to more tropical music; to a collection of shapes and squiggles that represented the feel and mood of the music.

It’s brilliant to the see the character growth of the students still in year 7 that have grown in confidence to be able to lead their own session and come up with such an excellent idea. Well done, Faith and Lilly.

Keeping our eyes on the prize

This week in Crew Turing, we have been building on the data analysis that we completed last week during crew. I asked that each member of my crew come up with 2 specific action points to work on between now and the next data drop, so we can work on our weaknesses and improve our standing in the crew league tables.

I have loved how well considered these targets have been. Each member of my crew have really honed in on what aspects of their school life they need to work on, be it through their grades or their HoWLs. Here are a few examples:

Ralph:

My actions points are keeping up productivity in lesson and keeping my extended study organised, I can use my fries post-it notes to remind me what deadlines or if I need to remember my kit the following day. I also need to remember to bring a ruler and pencil to class, because I always forget these 2 pieces of equipment.

Callum:

My action points are to let people talk in crew and don’t talk over them because in my data drop 2 my be kind in crew is a 2.8 and a 3.8 in the previous one.

My other action points is working hard in science because in November it was a 4.0, but now it is a 3.6 and I think I could use the explore further section of the website to push for excellence.

Lexi

My science grade went down by 0.5 and that could be because my homework wasn’t in on time and I wasn’t paying enough attention because I drift of a lot,  so my target is to stay on task and be tuned in. I will do this by trying to contribute at least twice, by either asking a question or answering one.

Lewis

In maths my action points are to work harder on be kind as my grade decreased. I will do this by working well in collaborative groups and staying focussed. I will also try to be more active in leston and try not to drift off. I will also work harder on my WH average and GS average as they stayed the same I will improve these by:

  • Contributing more in lesson even if I don’t think my answer is correct
  • Stay more focused on my work
  • Putting extra effort into my hegarty to consistently get 100%

Alice

My HUMs grade has gone up 0.7 but i’m slightly off my MEG by 0.1 To improve my grade in HUMs to achieve my MEG I will be more productive in lessons and use the expedition website more often to further my understanding of the topics we study.

I will be doing fortnightly check-ins with crew to make sure they are showing integrity and working hard to achieve the targets I have set them. I hope that as a group, we can all maintain that level of crew accountability and make each other proud by fine tuning and ironing out those targets.

During another crew session we were inspired by the words of Greta Thunberg, and her impassioned TED talk on climate change. I felt this was a really good example of a WAGOLL of their HUMAN final product and also was an issue that my crew are really passionate about.

It moved us on to a really interesting discussion about why nothing (or not enough) was being done about climate change?

In previous weeks in the news, Lexi pointed out that billions had been raised in the space of a week for Notre Dame Cathedral, yet the destruction of our planet was not attracting any attention despite calls from climate scientists and experts on the issue. Dylan built on this, pointing out how many of the victims of Grenfell are still homeless, where are the millions being raised for them and other victims of tragedy? We’re going to follow the climate stories over the next few weeks and also address what we might be able to do as a crew to contribute our bit, however small, to protecting our planet.

These last two weeks have also seen the birthdays of three members of Crew Turing: Lexi, Alice and Torran! We ended the week on a fully deserved high – eating cake!

Yoga-T to try it!

What a fantastic joint crew session this morning with Crew Shackleton and Crew Ali, trying out a bit of yoga in the morning to flex and focus the mind and the body.

A huge thanks to both crews for keeping an open mind and giving it their all, especially those who stepped outside of their comfort zone and set themselves a new challenge.

“Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Roy T. Bennett

We believe at XP East that it’s important to keep setting ourselves new goals and new challenges, however big or small it might seem.

For many students today, this was a new experience; for some, an opportunity to practise what they already do. And it’s fair to say each student will take something different from the experience.

But the world is full of many experiences, and if we’re up for it, we can make any one of them a new challenge and part of building the best version of ourselves we can.

And of course a big thank you to Mrs Townson for leading the session.

Well done all!

 

Crew Ali have had a busy couple of weeks, trying to get lots done around our days off for Easter.  We have checked in as a Crew this week by sharing what we have been up to over the holiday.

The data drop results have of course been at the forefront of our minds, as we analysed our HOWLs grades first of all and this is discussed in a previous blog post.  This week and last we have been focussing on individual subject grades, taking into account progress against MEGs in English, History, Geography, Science, Maths and Spanish.  Each Crew member has completed their own data record which we can use as a supporting document in our Student Led Conferences in June. We have used colour coding to help us see what progress we are making against MEGs.

It is really important to mention that we look at progress very much on an individual basis; two Crew members may have the same grade, but it is their Minimum Expected Grade which we measure against, rather than one another.  We’re very open about grades and it’s important we can celebrate and further challenge those that have met or even exceeded their MEGs and support those who are working towards theirs.  A student’s MEG will rarely change, but the content will become increasingly more difficult as they go through school, so even if you meet your MEG now, be prepared to keep working even harder to maintain that grade!

Each Crew member is also working on an individual pledge which they will focus on in the next three weeks leading up to our May holiday.

Zak: I pledge to achieve my MEG in at least one more subject.

Billy: I will maintain my Work Hard grades and increase some of them to at least a 4.0 by arriving on time and participating fully and mindfully in class.

Charlie: I pledge to keep trying my hardest in maths and stay focused on what is going on in the lesson. I will try to get more work done and do it to the best of my ability at all times.

We also saw a new side to one another when we did a ‘show and tell’ activity on Tuesday morning, including visits from Ruby’s budgie, Blue, and Caiden’s stick insect, Woody; a taster of one of Zak’s favourite albums by Billie Eilish; a photo of Charlie’s top of the league football team; Lacey’s new business venture making hair bands; Cerys’ family holiday album from a visit to Rome, as well as many more.

Decipher the Data Drop

I have been immensely impressed with my crew’s contribution to our school’s community during the week running up to the Easter bank holiday, considering lots of their friends and family are off! Here’s a snapshot of what’s gone on in crew over that period:

Abi brought in a phenomenal model of our solar system in to show us, that links in really nicely with the STEAM expedition, Escape Earth. Her craftsmanship and quality really blew me away, it’s great to see her going above and beyond to set an example of what a 4.0+ (in the excellence category) looks like! As part of our academic crew session and assessment prep for maths, we did a Kahoot competition, where quickfire questions were presented to crew as a race against the clock. They clearly knew their stuff, and I’d like to congratulate Jess for coming first in both rounds! On Thursday, we enjoyed a table tennis tournament with Crew Mandela. It was lovely to get appreciations from members of their crew at the end of the session on how respectful Crew Turing had been throughout.

I was also treated to many a culinary delights from numerous members of my crew, with Torran and Junia’s blueberry pancakes being very memorable.

The final activity we participated in as a crew before breaking up for almost a week off was an individual breakdown of their personal data. We spent a lot of time last week looking at our stats as a crew, but I thought it would be more meaningful if we assessed our progress against our HOWLs data from November to see if there had been gains or losses, and explore why that might be:

I gave them the following criteria for them to colour code their HOWLs, on whether they had gone up/down.

HOWL Progress Colour Codes:

  • – 1.0 or more = red
  • – 0.9 to – 0.5 = orange
  • – 0.4 to – 0.1 = yellow
  • stayed the same = no colour
  • + 0.1 to 0.4 = green
  • + 0.5 to 0.9 = blue
  • + 1.0 or above = purple

These codes match the criteria of how we colour code our spreadsheets and the charts we keep up across the school, to make it meaningful to my crew. We did this as a silent solo activity, some students noticed patterns and were able to decipher why their ‘work hard’ might have gone down ever so slightly, be it, they were contributing less in class, or maybe hadn’t been as diligent with their homework. There was also a lot of positives to take away from their stats too, such as Dylan’s, who had made huge progress in HUMAN after improving his productivity and concentration in session!

Each member of my crew annotated their thoughts on why they had been awarded the HoWLs they had received, while I floated around to discuss their progress individually. I was amazed to hear their thoughts about their learning and character development, and thought that we should seize this opportunity to set some further targets based on our findings.

I’ve left them with the task of over these next three days we have in crew, to set individualised targets which I will publish with next week’s blog post based on their data. Not only were they left with that to think about for extended study, they have also been sent home with these gorgeous easter bunnies that were kindly given to each member of crew by Torran, which he had handmade – what a great way to end the week!

What is Crew?

I could comment on the excellent work we’ve done around tracking HOWLs recently; or as a Crew nominating three students who have made excellent progress towards their pledges; or how we’ve recently resolved conflict through the power of circling up and discussing issues maturely and sensitively.

But when two students make an effort to give everyone an Easter egg and a bag of chocolates, followed by two special presentations to students who they think have worked particularly hard to overcome challenges, you know something is going right.

That is Crew.

A huge thank you to Denim and Thea who brought Easter eggs and chocolate for everyone today, unprompted and out of the goodness of their own hearts.

I was particularly blown away by their decision to reward Lucie and Zach for the hard work, progress towards their individual targets, and work around their HOWLs. Complete with signed mug!

We continue to face our challenges, our ups and downs, our need for some positive reinforcement of expectations, some motivation to get going, encouragement – that’s life!

But life is better when there is Crew.

After watching a viral video about how simple messages can quickly become distorted over time, we decided to give it a go ourselves. Take a look at our video below.

I particularly like Fin’s ability to dig like a dog, despite the fact he was supposed to be getting some eggs out of a cupboard!

We had a lot of fun doing this, but Shackleton picked out some really important messages that we learnt from this activity:

  1. Even simple messages can change in a very short space of time;
  2. The quality of the message can be affected by people’s ability and skill in communicating;
  3. As soon as we began to lose focus, the message changed and became unclear;
  4. Perception of the original message is vital – your viewpoint can change how you receive and deliver the message;
  5. Even unintentional mistakes cause significant changes.

This was particularly powerful as we’ve been discussing a lot about rumours in school recently. I think we got an important message from this: rumours are spread easily and change easily each time it gets passed on.

We found the best way to stop rumours is to stop talking about them.

Well done, Crew Shackleton. A fun activity with an important message, executed maturely.

HOW are Crew Ali doing in their HOWLs?

At XP East, not only are students given grades by their teachers which indicate how they are progressing relative to their Minimum Expected Grade (MEG), they are also graded on their Habits of Work and Learning (HOWLs).  Mr Portman has shared the league tables with us this week and students spent time in Community Meeting dissecting the data, drawing conclusions as to how much and why each Crew may have improved in their average HOWLs.

I’m proud to say Crew Ali are doing exceptionally well and are consistently high in the league tables, just as earlier in the year.  Since the last data drop we have made improvements overall and part of this is due to an increased awareness and working knowledge of how we can develop these Habits in and out of school.

This week Crew Ali have been digging into the data to consider how our HOWLs might have had an impact on our grades.  The table below gives you a flavour of where we are as a Crew.  Each column represents Work Hard, Get Smart or Be Kind in each of HUMAN (WHH, GSH, BKH), Maths (WHM, GSM, BKM) and Science (WHS, GSS, BKS):

The Crew data above has been sorted according to the total HOWLs average for each student, with our lowest average of 3.0 still within the ‘secure’ range expected of all students – well done Crew Ali!  We noticed that although we have some HOWLs which are below expectations, in the orange range, these are only slightly below and those students are determined to pull them up as we go forward, identifying what they need to do to improve.  Another Crew member compared this with the huge number of green or ‘excellent’ HOWL grades which have contributed to those students meeting or even significantly exceeding their MEGs.  Those who are struggling with their Work Hard, Get Smart of Be Kind HOWLs grades are being supported and we really do encourage dialogue between all members of the Crew as to how we can improve, regardless of where we are in our HOWLs learning journey.

Well done Crew Ali – I’m looking forward to more discussion and analysis in next week’s Academic Crew session!