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!

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!

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.

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.

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!


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!

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?

Crew Ali: seeing through each others’ eyes

Last week Crew Ali spent time really thinking about our conduct norms in Crew and dug down into what we expect from one another in Crew sessions; we asked, how do others see us and how might our conduct affect others?   This is particularly the case where jokes are concerned, as we don’t all share the same sense of humour!  Our discussions encompassed the HOWLs and tied in closely with what we see in lessons.

On Friday we really had to focus on our Crew conduct principles, playing a challenge game with blindfolds on, which required trust, clear communication and organisation.  Some challenges were harder than others, including getting into yoga poses, writing the answers to mathematical equations and drawing a route for a ship through shark infested waters – all with a blindfold on and only your Crew mates to guide and instruct you!

Earlier in the week, some Crew members had been courageous in sharing some personal experiences; in response, the Crew really rallied together and worked to see the situation through the eyes of their Crew mate.  They decided to support their Crew member by putting together a fundraising proposal for charities supporting a cause close to their heart.  Keep an eye out for more news in the future as to charity events we are planning.

I am also pleased to announce that Leoni and Taylor will be training to be Crew Bloggers tomorrow morning; we look forward to seeing their first published posts, viewing Crew through their eyes, in the coming weeks!

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!