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!
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.
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!
It’s all too easy when we come back from a couple of weeks’ holiday to get swept up in the busy school days. We talk about hitting the ground running, but it is just as important to set aside quality time to relax together.
Crew Ali have been focussing on a bit of ‘time out’ in Crew this week, in two sessions where we let our creative juices flow and painted with watercolour paints. We played calming piano music in the background for one session and our Crew playlist for the second session. Both sessions were an opportunity become immersed in creating, without the pressure of a critique of our products. Some of us painted recognisable images, others experimented with colour and water techniques. There were even some potential Mother’s Day paintings in the pipeline!
Crew Ali just love being in the Sports Hall and having a go at a few teamwork activities. This week Tom took the lead, with some team games to challenge our speed and accuracy in jumping and running, as well as developing our throwing and catching skills.
In the latter part of the session we did a short mid-game debrief, in which we discussed the biggest challenge: some Crew members had become frustrated over different interpretations of the rules. We all acknowledge that sometimes we come across difficult moments in Crew and we got through it – with some clarification of Tom’s rules and an agreement to draw a line under it and move on, we got back to our game. Finally we finished with a good old game of football.
It’s always good to start the day with some physical activity – it definitely woke us all up!
Crew Young visited Crew Ali this week to teach them about the Method of Loci: a technique which could help us to recall lists or key facts in a particular sequence. Find out more about their preparation and practice here on the Crew Young blog.
Our Crew were engaged throughout and it was interesting to see how many of the words from the list we were able to recall after doing the exercise. Many thanks Crew Young for taking the time to work with us!
E25 students have also been using this method, also known as the Memory Palace, in STEAM sessions, to help them understand the sequence of organs in the digestive system.
Crew Ali have been expressing themselves in sign language recently, when Cerys taught us the British Sign Language alphabet in Student-Led Crew. We learnt how to sign each letter, practiced and practiced again, then took it in turns to spell out names of Crew members and had to guess who was being named. Taylor, Caiden and Marshall all successfully signed the names of some of their fellow Crew members before we moved on to learning numbers and practiced telling the Crew our ages (including Mrs Townson’s age – we share a lot in Crew!)
A Friday session involved using scrabble letters to create words which would stretch us and add to our vocabularies. We worked in mixed teams and swapped over after each round to ensure we worked with different people. In each round we had a time limit to create the longest words we could with the limited letters available on our table. Each team had to check their spellings and really think about how they could extend their words as far as possible.
I – N – D – E – P – E – N – D – E – N – T – L – Y was a clear winner but I have to say well done to the team who came up with T – O – W – N – S – O – N !
Crew Ali and Crew Parkinson had a great time competing against one another in a game of bench netball and I’m proud to say that Crew Ali won. In the debrief after our game, we considered what went well and what could be even better: the team spirit of both Crews meant they kept pushing to the end and cheering one another on; this was definitely a friendly match! Crew Ali had arrived first in the Sports Hall and had a bit of a warm up, so perhaps we could do this together next time, as well as perhaps mixing the teams up.
We have promised ourselves there will be a rematch soon!
Working Hard and Getting Smart results in beautiful work we can be proud of. Crew Ali spent a morning Crew session sharing examples of their favourite pieces, using rubrics to explain how they have achieved each grade and comparing their efforts with work they produced earlier in the year.
Charlie was particularly pleased with his HUMS task as his JOLT improvements had helped him to smash his MEG!
Leoni was proud of her Craftsmanship and Quality in Maths.
Lacey had worked really hard on her extended writing in HUMS and wanted to share with her Crew what Working Hard looked like for her.
Everyone in Crew Ali had something to share and the critique which came out of it was also helpful in suggesting areas where each of us could progress even further, in our classwork and HOWLs in general
I’m a very proud Crew Leader!