Last week we highlighted a number of challenges and partnerships enjoyed by our students outside school.
This week I’d like to share some of the opportunities available in school, especially in the Learning Commons.
Ms Buckler who took up her post as Director of the Learning Commons and Teacher of Computing in September has shared this report with me.
The Learning Commons is more than just a library for our students; not only is there an extensive choice of popular books to take out, we have a suite of over 50 chrome books that the students are free to use, alongside our six iMacs. We are very flexible with what the students can do and you will often find students completing homework alongside those who are taking the time to relax a little.
We have recently relaunched Code Club; a nationwide initiative to get more people to code. Currently students can come to a beginner session on Mondays to learn scratch or a more advanced session on Fridays to look at starting with the Python language.
The Learning Commons is also a hub for competitions and so far this year we have entered teams for the RNEC Challenge, Subsea UK, Lego Mindstorms at Wrigleys, not forgetting our Autonomous Yacht project. Students are advised of these opportunities as they happen via email.
There are other opportunities and we recruit a number of students to either become Digital Leaders or Learning Commons Assistants. The positions have been advertised and filled this term, but we are more than happy to have more and so students can enquire if interested.
When I took on the position here, I sent out a survey for all students to give feedback on the Learning Commons; students are very keen to see more books (sports, biographies and graphic novels were the most popular), more magazines and also wanted to be able to hire out tech. As a result of this we will be allowing the hire of micro:bits and possibly Raspberry Pis in the new year and I am working with a group of students to buy in more books and also increase the offer in Wheelers.
I love the creativity that this space offers and welcome any ideas from students, staff and parents in what we can do next.
I would like to make you aware of the following websites available to all students at DHSB.
This is the website for the library within the Learning Commons. This website shows the students the books they have on loan and also recommends different books to read, based on previous loans. You can search for books and their location and this term, we are really pushing the review function. Students will get a commendation for each one that they complete after reading a book and can gain more for reviewing books from 16×16 or ones outside of their favourite genre. We will also give away a pizza to the best one each month.
This is our eBook platform, there are nearly 2000 titles available to loan and include a large selection of audio books. Students are able to put in requests for books that are not currently in the system and they are notified immediately when a book becomes available to them. As well as being a web app, wheelers can be downloaded on most phones and tablets.
The Learning Commons is becoming quite the busy place and this is the best place to catch up with what is going on and when the Commons is closed for clubs. It has a weekly blog, timetable and will contain our new book review page.
Finally – Don’t forget to follow us on social media (if that’s your cup of tea!):
Facebook: DHSB Learning Commons
Thanks are due to Ms Moreton, our Information, Advice and Guidance Coordinator, who arranged an evening for parents to receive lots of information about careers paths this week.
One of the providers who attended, DCTrainingNet, said, “Great evening with lots of interest from parents and students. Thank you for inviting us”.
Greenpower International Final
After performing well at our two heats this year at Predannack Airfield and Castle Combe race track, Team Avanti attended the International Final at Rockingham Motor Speedway last weekend. Following two successful practice sessions on Friday where we tested our new telemetry system, the car initially performed well in both races on Saturday, but ran out of battery faster than we expected. Coupling this with the severe weather conditions, our car placed 39th overall – lower than we had hoped. However, we managed to test some different racing strategies and we will apply these to our races next season.
Thanks must go to Mr Hexter for transporting the car and for allowing our drivers to warm up in his caravan, and to Mr Burtt for accompanying us and helping with the electronics. Also, a big thank you goes to Mr Ames for not only coordinating and organising the team, but also giving up his whole weekend to this Greenpower race and the Abbot’s Way walk the following day.
Ben Adams 6AJD
Abbot’s Way Challenge
On Sunday the 56th annual Abbot’s Way Challenge Walk took place. There were over 400 walkers and 96 teams trekking the ancient route across Dartmoor. This year, to mark the 1000th anniversary of Buckfast Abbey, walkers started the 23 miles in Tavistock and were welcomed on to the lawn at Buckfast Abbey to the sound of the Abbey Bells at the finish.
DHSB 45 and 55 mile Ten Tors teams were there to start their training. It was a beautiful cool but sunny day, perfect for walking and our 55A team was the first team home breaking the previous DHSB record by 3 minutes. The 55B and 45 team were also extremely quick.
Thanks to Year 13 students Jamie Williams, Peter Clifford and Luke Goldstone who walked with the teams. I was there to check the teams on the moors and Ms Davidson drove the minibus for the students.
Pictured at the finish (Buckfast Abbey) are the winning 55A team L-R Jeremy Prichard, Josh Moyse, Jamie Williams, Ross Harvie, Tom Cochrane, Will Coulson, Tom Payne.
Our examples of Excellent Work this week are from Year 7 students (now in Year 8) and Year 8 students (now in Year 9) in Mrs Ball’s classes.
The Year 7 set task was to write about your house and home. This was the Year 7 exam and so this work was done from memory in exam conditions. This work is very accurate and has a good range of vocabulary and structures.
The Year 8 task was the question ‘Is your lifestyle healthy?’ These boys wrote about their daily food intake, the role of sport in their lives, how they relax and if they get enough sleep. This was the Year 8 exam and so again it was from memory in exam conditions. These boys’ work was very accurate and included the three time frames. They also used some very complicated KS4 structures.
The work is from Daniel Atkin 8W, Archie Chalk 8S, Ben Bracey 9E and Harry Bentley-Bonsey 9N.
A reminder that school will close for students for the half term break at 15.20 on Thursday 18 October. Next Friday is non-pupil day and is a city-wide training day for all secondary school staff.
Well done to our team of students who completed the Plymouth 5K last Sunday.
Mr Carpenter said, “Excellent running from all this morning”.
Students from Plymouth schools enjoyed a day of leadership training at the Plymouth Life Centre this week on their journey to become Silver and Bronze Sports Ambassadors.
Well done to the U15s who beat Kingsbridge 19-15 in round 1 of the NatWest Vase.
The Year 7 Rugby squad enjoyed two more wins tonight in the Plymouth schools central venue competition. Mr Strang said the team has “started to pass the ball and play some good rugby”.
Mr Burt said that the Year 8 matches this week were a “Fine way to end the central venue Year 8 Rugby”. The team secured two wins against Eggbuckland and Stoke Damerel.
Well done to DHSB A team – through to the next round of the Devon FA Midweek Cup after a 2 – 1 victory.
Thursday 18 October – Final day of autumn term one
Friday 19 October – Non pupil day
Monday 29 October – First day of autumn term two (B week)
Thursday 1 November - Strategies for Success Evening
Wednesday 7 – Friday 9 November – School Production (Grease)