It’s great to see Everyone back this week and we are full steam ahead. I’m really impressed with everyones’ commitment to learning and crew NML (soon to be renamed, watch this space…) are really settling in well. The involvement level of our crew sessions are developing, with richer conversation as we grow to trust and respect each other, in the safe environment we have nurtured during our first half term. Already I have seen them grow emotionally in this short time. I’m very excited to see how we will develop further.
One of the topics we have been investigating has been poverty. The students have asked lots of questions and have been able to empathise with the situations many people find themselves in. Some discussion turned, driven by the children, to problem solving and looking at ways in which they could make the lives of people in poverty better and what they thought they could do instead. From batch cooking meals to up-cycling, free-cycling and food banks.
During our community meeting we discussed this further with other crews, using a silent conversation. This is where the students were able to read, question, discuss and annotate other students written responses to a text. The text detailed someones (an adult) personal experience of poverty. After unpicking the information the students made their own contributions before passing it on to the next group for their input. It was really encouraging to see that this was also where students gained a good understanding of what it was to be in poverty, as some students were unable to connect to this subject before this activity.
I have also been really impressed by how the students are taking all this, uncertainty and change, in their stride, having to wear face-masks around school and in the corridors. Many students holding others accountable showing fantastic integrity and respect, by reminding fellow students to wear their masks. If we all do the right thing then everyone will be safe. Definitely a community minded bunch. Well done guys, keep going you are doing amazing.
During this half term we will begin to understand how engaging in and taking ownership of our own learning can really make a difference. Being mindful of our choices and using the people and resources around us to help when we find things difficult and be a kind and considerate community member by helping others when we know what we are doing. Making sure we are the leaders of our own learning.
And finally this week we have seen the launch of our eagerly awaited reading scheme. Students have downloaded the App and now have access to a wide range of reading material based on their reading ability. ask them to give you a tour.
See you soon…
— Welcome Back!
We’ve been busy as ever this week in crew. Harry has been joining us on Google Hangouts from home for crew sessions in the morning!
As we come to the end of their first ever term at XP, I thought it would be good to reflect on their progress. We spoke about our HoWLs (Habits of Work and Learning) which are Work hard, Get smart and Be kind. It’s important for the students to reflect on these themselves so they can celebrate their successes as well as think about what they can do to improve. The students rated their HoWLs and we discussed our strengths and areas for improvement. Then they all wrote a pledge and we stuck them up on the wall. Being visible will help them stay accountable to their pledges and we can check their progress. Here they are on our crew wall:
As crew, we support each other because we can always go further together than alone. We spoke about what we can do to help each other with our pledges and HoWLs.
I think one of the most important things they can do to help each other is to be a good role model for others. We all have different strengths and this is great because it means they can all inspire each other in different ways!
This week I’d like to share some of the brilliant and beautiful work my crew has been doing in their lessons.
In HUMs they’ve been writing an essay about what makes a successful community. They picked out which values they thought were the most important; Oscar suggested equality and kindness and Owen suggested respect and determination.
Here’s a beautifully presented BBK created by Alysia all about the values needed in a community.
In maths they’ve been learning about place value and large numbers, visualising how large a billion really is and starting to think about wealth inequality. In science they’ve been learning about lab safety and experiments. In music they’ve been practicing singing the song ‘Times Like These’.
In art they’ve been creating positivity posters to decorate their classrooms. Some students have been learning how to use digital art apps on their devices while some used more traditional materials like pencils and pens. I love how colourful they all are with some great quotes and important values.
In Thursday’s community meeting we discussed what themes have been linking all our lessons and guessed how they might connect. The expedition guiding question was finally revealed…
‘How do we build a community?’
I can’t wait to see what they come up with. I know it’ll be fantastic. My crew are so kind and supportive to one another and they consistently work really hard.
I spent the beginning of the week working from home awaiting test results. I was overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback I received from all my staff crew who took lead whilst I wasn’t isn’t school.
It was great to come back into school Thursday and see all the crew again. We’ve had a great week reflecting on our progress as friends, building character values and most importantly loving what we do!
What a way to finish our week!
So we’re into week five and there’s exciting stuff happening all over the shop!
Year 7 have been introduced to their first expedition after three weeks of immersion. They’ve been looking into inequalities in society and tackling some REALLY difficult and thought provoking topics in Human. They’ve been also looking at inequalities in numbers and learning how to conceptualise a billion – and why billionaires shouldn’t exist…
In Art they have been creating positive posters to show their personality. Students were instructed to take ownership of their rooms by choosing how they wanted to decorate them and also what they like to see to make them smile!
In crew we’ve been talking about crew names and thinking about which qualities we want to represent us as Human beings. We’ve had some brilliant suggestions so far – some activists, writers, scientists, engineers, feminists and artists. So if you have any inspirational people that you want to teach your small humans about – now is the time!!! All suggestions welcome.
Watch this space.
What a whirlwind of a start to XP!!
I can honestly say that my mind has been blown over the last two weeks….. My first day of teaching at XP after moving from another school I met my crew – and we had the MOST fun filled and wonderful first few days as an excellent introduction to our new school!
We built spaghetti towers, talked about compassion, character traits and about how we felt about our places in the world. We played ‘Splat!’, did some fact finding about each other and generally had a brilliant time having real conversations as well as fun.
I’m super excited to be getting to know all of my new crew members over the coming five years – and we’ve already gotten to a brilliant start! We’ve played some great games over the first few days, and every day our crew sessions help us to learn more about and create connections with each other. We have a brilliant range of skills and personalities in our crew and I’m eagerly awaiting our discussions over the next term to come up with an inspiring name that suits us as people.
I’ve never worked at such a place as XP. I feel excited and proud to be able to be a part of such an incredibly unique and compassionate school. XP is a place where you can be unashamedly yourself.
I can’t wait to meet all of the parents of my crew… who we will call Crew KTA for now. But not for long…… Watch this space 🙂
An amazing start from crew NML, I’m so proud of how they have all come together and found a connection with each other. Through crew we have been looking at “getting to know you.” One of the things we have been looking at is diversity within our crew, through this we have seen similarities as well as differences and how we respect each others values, ideas, likes, dislikes, religions, hobbies and taste. Recognising that we can still be friends and help someone even if they don’t share the same ideals we do.
We’ve worked together to solve problems and discuss issues like if you were in a zombi apocalypse, which three people would you have – most of them would have a chef of some sort so that they could eat. and how to make the tallest spaghetti tower that will hold a marshmallow for 5 whole seconds.
We’ve talked about identity and finding your tribe and what is your superpower (something you are really good at) despite finding other things difficult, how do they see the world differently.
Understanding the values we need to have, such as Integrity, doing the right thing even when no-one is looking. Courage, to feel the fear and try anyway. Respect, to see things from another perspective and not judge others or make them feel bad if they don’t agree, has developed a good foundation for us to build a really strong group.
Lessons have also been really interesting with immersion giving them a little taster of what they will be diving in to with their case studies in the coming weeks.
Really exciting stuff. As this will be a new way of doing things to the children we have also talked about making mistakes being a really important part of the learning journey and if you don’t try how can you learn?
So in the wise words of Judy Hopps (Zootopia)
I am so incredibly proud of my new crew who have thrown themselves straight into life at XP. It’s strange to think most of us have only known each other for two weeks and we are already so close. They’ve settled in and bonded beautifully in crew and in lessons they’ve been working hard.
Check out this fab photo…
Our crew sessions this week have been about identity and diversity. We spoke about all the ways that people are diverse and they came up with loads of great ideas:
In our Friday afternoon crew session we watched some short videos on the theme of diversity and disabilities which sparked a sharing circle about our own stories. I was in awe of the courage shown by my crew when sharing things that were very personal. It was a real testament to the power of crew that we felt so safe and respected to be vulnerable. As a crew we are quite different in our personalities, looks, abilities/disabilities and it was lovely to celebrate these differences together.
Morgan said that crew feels like a family – I love that! We are building a real strong foundation to be able to rely on each other as we move on to new challenges.