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Archive for the category “sixth form developments”

WORK EXPERIENCE SUCCESS

We have secured yet another work experience placement for one of our sixth form girls from St Dominic’s! What a success. The sources of these new connections have been through contacts from my Business for Breakfast meetings and also through parental contacts. We are focusing on employability skills and making sure that the girls have had sufficient work experience opportunities to enhance their CVs for university applications or job applications. Here is a taste of the links we have secured for our girls and the placements they have gone ahead and secured themselves as a consequence:

Two girls have enjoyed opportunities through Steve Cranston of Lilac Media. One girl went for work experience in October half term and the next one has booked herself in for when we break up from school in July.

Alan Griffiths the Group MD of Mail Solutions Limited has agreed to offer two of our girls work experience placements at the Telford site this summer. They are currently negotiating the weeks of their placement directly.

Carl Croft of Croft Architecture took one of our girls for an amazing work experience opportunity back in October. She has gained confidence and insight by arranging this experience and returned to school with some amazing plans and drawings as testament to this fantastic experience.

Our latest connection is with Lesley of The Brand Warehouse in Stafford. One of our girls is currently arranging some experience there in the next couple of weeks whilst she is on study leave! What a dedicated student!

We have been delighted by how willing and supportive business owners are in providing such fantastic opportunities for young people. We hope that our girls continue to secure exciting opportunities for themselves in the future!

DEADLINES, DEADLINES, DEADLINES!

It was a busy week at St Dominic’s last week. The deadline for all of the coursework was looming: GCSE English Language and Literature, AS and A2 Media, AS and A2 English Literature. It was a hectic week! However, I am pleased to report that it was all successfully completed and sent to the relevant moderators on time….sigh of relief you might think?!?! However, coupled with the coursework deadlines were the final lessons prior to the examinations in all of the above subjects. The GCSE and A Level examinations began in earnest today therefore the Year 11 and 12 girls left for study leave on Friday. The Media AS examination is tomorrow and the English Literature the day after that. I have had some one-to-one sessions with certain girls today to support their final preparations for the examinations. This has lead me to reflect on the nature of their learning. Some pupils naturally learn superficial details of the texts they are studying. This type of candidate tends to know the specification well and tend to be informed about grade boundaries and past paper questions. In contrast, other types of learners probe and delve deeply into the subject/topic/text and try to plan/ practice all of the types of questions that may come up in the examination. They need reassurance that they will be able to answer the questions whereas the others may need prompting to work productively.

 The deep learners who strive for knowledge are often concerned about the nature of the examination and whether they will be able to answer a question. I thought these pictures from our honeymoon boat trip in El Gouna captured both types perfectly. I wonder how many dolphins I will have tomorrow? More to the point am I a dolphin skimming the surface?

SIXTH FORM UNIFORM……..

http://www.stdominicsschool.co.uk/page_viewer.asp?page=Uniform+&pid=59

This link shows the current uniform for the sixth form girls at St Dominic’s at the moment….however – change is near!!!!

The sixth form girls have trialled “Dress Down Friday” since September 2011. This involved the girls wearing their own clothes on to see how they would respond to more freedom in term of attire next year. The girls have been really mature  about this privilege: they have enjoyed the freedom of choosing their own clothes yet still shown a sense of responsiblity. The girl have had an awareness of how they should present themselves to the younger girls as role models and also a conception of how they would like to portray themselves to the wider community. The two Deputy Head Girls came up with some rules for how the girls should look and these have been sensibly adhered to. Consequently we are planning to relax the uniform rules to allow “Business suits” next year. I have drafted a policy this morning ready for discussion with the new Head in my next meeting on Thursday. I am looking forward to more of this policy development and changes over the coming months as I further establish myself in my Head of sixth form role alongside the new Head and his vision for the sixth form….should be interesting…..

End of the YE road….

The journey of YE Tempo came to an end just before the Easter break….. The girls were impressive at the Presentation Evening and scored well in the various categories! Overall it was an excellent night and good to see their hard work come to fruition! I’m not sure if I have copied the link from twitter properly……

The final countdown on a watch from @TempoYe with all of the competitors! Good luck @StDominicsHSG pic.twitter.com/TXoP10d8

Now the girls are solely on the route into their exams! Talking of journeys I have just returned from my honeymoon myself! Looking forward to embarking on the new term at school with a new Headmaster at the helm! All of this talk of arcs and journeys reminds me of the navigational connotations of web logs = blogs!!!

Buckingham taught in Brewood!!!

On Sunday morning I read Chapter 6 from Buckingham’s book “Beyond Technology”. This chapter is entitled “Playing to learn? Rethinking the educational potential of Computer Games”. The content referred to media writers on the use of games such as Marc Prensky and James Paul Gee. I found this interesting and useful despite not being overly familiar with games personally.

On Monday morning, a girl in my Year 12 media class did a presentation on creative audiences using games as a medium. Imagine the surprise of her and my group when I recounted some of the things I had learned the previous day! There they were thinking that I was a novice and not familiar with this area…suddenly I began discussing Prensky and Gee with the group. The presenters face paled and she asked me if she had been remiss in not mentioning Prensky and Gee. I reassured her that she had done an excellent job and that it was only my reading for this  module that had enabled me to encounter these writers!!!

I am trying to get onto Chapter 7 “That’s Edutainment” but by the time all of my school work is done and I finally get to read it my eyes seem to fail me….no reflection on Buckingham – more a reflection on how much Easter is needed in this teaching whirlwind!

We have sixth form parents evening this Thursday night which is obviously busy for me in my new role. I am taking three girls to see an MD of a company tomorrow who previously did a presentation for us in school. Hopefully one of them may secure paid work experience during the summer….

I attended a fantastic event last Thursday night with three key representatives from “Tempo” in Ironbridge. It was through a business contact from “Start up Shropshire” called Fay Easton. She led the informative and engaging session which the girls were privileged to attend. The feedback and advice the girls received was invaluable! They are now moving towards their company presentation evening. They submitted seven signed copies of their company report ahead of the deadline last Friday and were therefore very pleased with themselves. Now they are onto the last leg of the competition which is the presentation night. The trade fayre event was marked out of 100 as is the company report. The final 100 marks are available next Wednesday night and they need to make sure their content and delivery is as dynamic as possible. The girls already know that they have some stiff competition from the Trade Fayre so are eagerly preparing their speech. I will keep you posted of their progress as we move towards the big event!!!!

Open day…..

A lovely dry Saturday morning for open day at St Dominic’s HSG. We have had a very busy morning with 30 tours. Yesterday was a very busy day with 15 tours on working open day so a successful session.
The Young Enterprise girls are working hard on their company report which is due in at the end of next week. They are also thinking ahead to their presentation evening in two and a half weeks! Busy girls!
There have been mixed feelings about the AS and A2 results by students and staff alike. The results came out on Thursday and we would like decisions about summer entries by Monday. This has required intensive discussions with some pupils and given them a great deal to think about over the weekend!
However despite the subject commitments, YE pressures and decisions about the next exam series there was a wonderful atmosphere in the “pink room” today!
I have a speaking and listening moderation visit on Wednesday so will turn my attention to the GCSE English Language specification tomorrow….

TEMPO HAVE MADE GOOD USE OF THEIR TIME!!! (NO PUN INTENDED!)

Friday was a hectic day at school! The girls are building up towards the big trade fayre next Saturday 3rd March. To this end, they filmed another video with Steve Cranston from @lilac media. The first film was an advert which aimed to show the watches in different contexts with different users. In contrast, this second advert is setting a challenge to the audience to(hopefully)  make them respond and interact. Overall the girls are doing really well and need to make every second count this week as they make their final preparations for the big event!

Similarly, I have been making good use of my time this weekend (tempo time!) I have finished reading “Media Convergence” which I really got into and found sections that really resonated with me. The discussion of “Julie and Julia” On P.95 was interesting as I had mentioned that in a previous blog…..(I’ve still yet to see “Contagion” though) In particular, the best two chapters for me to use in my classroom teaching were: Chapters 2 and 5.

Chapter 2 “Convergent Media Industries” will be so useful when I move onto teaching Institutions in two weeks time to my AS Media group. I thought the case studies on News Corporation, Google and the BBC were really illuminating and can see myself using this material with them in class. Similarly Chapter 5 “Creative Audiences” is great for bringing our study of audience right up to date. We have obviously looked at the history of audience theory from the early days of the “uses and gratifications” models right up to the present day “produsers”. I feel this Chapter is an excellent overview of many of the ideas and discussions involved in my module on film theory last year: I have been reflecting on how much of the knowledge gained from that unit has filtered through into my teaching this term….

Another aspect I have been reflecting on with that particular AS group is my intended use of blogging next year with the practical production element of their course. This is worth 50% and we constantly emphasise to the girls the importance of logging the process down in the exercise books provided for this task. The idea is that they will have plenty of research material and also a log of their processes to refer to. This is vital for the reflection stage of the evaluation. After reading the Bragg article, this is an obvious area we could use blogging in next year. I liked the five part sequence that Bragg used as did Fish in her blog (Thanks Fish for alerting me to what I had missed on moodle! Much appreciated!)

Another area in sixth form we are trying to incorporate blogging into is the reflection of sixth form life. I will be talking to the Head Girl and the recently returned work experience girls to see how we could make this work…..

I embarked on Buckingham again (after that previous disastrous attempt in Asda) and to my relief found it very readable and informative. I am currently half way through at P.93 focusing on “The Digital Divide” and finding this text really useful. The first Chapter on BETT was interesting as this is something that John mentioned to us in London on our first meeting back in January….I have tweeted a colleague from my Breakfast Meeting about this and am sure we will further discuss this when I see him at the Breakfast meeting on Tuesday. In fact, much of the text resonated with me after a talk that this contact Phil Oakley @OutserveWeb did to my girls for enrichment earlier in the school year. He encouraged the girls not to be anxious about the use of social media and instead to focus on using this participatory media to represent themselves in a positive way.

The Buckingham article from the MacArthur series relates to many of the ideas in the book and I found this useful to try to embed some of these new ideas in my thoughts. I especially liked the five approaches to thinking about identity. I know need to decide whether I am Goffman or Giddens or A. N. Other……

Successful return to school!

A busy week at school! The returning girls had some really good feedback on their work experience placements. So impressive in fact that one has been offered paid employment during the third year of her sandwich course degree at university! Success! We have now been allocated a work experience board in the main reception of the school!
I need now to do some statistics and analysis of how we have managed to place our girls so successfully. A high percentage of the leads have been derived from the Business meetings I have been attending since September. These breakfast meetings are fortnightly and have proved invaluable in two ways. Firstly in generating work experience contacts and leads. Secondly in recruiting external speakers to come into school and do enrichment talks.
This is my first post from my phone! Progress…..

“Lord of the Flies” reflections…..

Preparations for teaching my scheme of work on “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding led me to some serious reflections on parallel situations in contemporary life at sixth form in my school…….

Imagine if the setting of the island without any adults was actually our sixth form building: would the washing up get done?

Imagine if the contest for leadership between Ralph and Jack in the novel was actually the current contest for leadership of the Young Enterprise team: who would win? The reliable chief character? Or the brave hunter type? These questions about personality and the dynamics of leadership within a group of young people are universal and pertinent irrespective of gender and time.

It is interesting to watch our girls as they undertake the January examinations: some girls rise to the challenge effectively and without nerves, others find the examinations daunting and need a great deal of support and encouragement.

Anyway enough musings from me – time to pass the symbol of the conch on and look at what others have had to say in their blogs…..

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