On Monday this week all pupils took part in our second ‘Extended Learning Day’ of this academic year. ‘Extended Learning Days’ (ELD) are organised throughout the academic year to enrich the curriculum and provide pupils with a greater variety of learning experiences.
Year 7: Pupils took part in activities integrating MFL, Music, Art and Design, revolving around the theme of ‘El día de los Muertos’, also known grimly as the ‘Day of the Dead’, relating to a holiday traditionally celebrated in Mexico, for time, prayer and remembrance for friends or family that have passed away. Pupils watched the Disney Pixar animation ‘Coco’, inspired by the culture, traditions and values associated with ‘El día de los Muertos’. The holiday is often associated with symbolic skull designs so year 7 pupils used oil pastels and pattern transfer techniques to produce colourful patterned mono-printed skull pieces of artwork. The third activity was musically orientated, with pupils learning to play chords on the ukulele and ultimately playing along to the soundtrack from Coco, ‘Un poco Loco’.
Year 8: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) were the areas of discovery for Year 8 pupils, with all three tasks focusing on engineering. The overall objective for the day was to build resilience; communication; not give up; think objectively; work as a team and practice questioning skills. In Maths, pupils used decoding techniques to investigate a crime scene, analysing clues, establish who committed the crime and where it took place. In Science, groups designed and built a rollercoaster, considering forces and gravity. Pupils were awarded points if their carriage (a marble) reached the end of the track, with bonus points awarded for gaps or turns in the track and the top prize for building a successful loop de loop. The final task was to design and make a prototype garment for festival goers, hypothetically to be sold in Primark. Pupils made their item of clothing using paper and tissue and also had to consider marketing and advertising their product, coming up with a slogan followed by pitching their idea and presenting their creative pieces to fellow students.
Years 9 & 10: Both year groups learning comprised of various chaplaincy workshops that centred on the theme ‘God has a plan for your life’. We had a large number of guest visitors who facilitated learning throughout the day. Year 9 had a varied array of seven workshops that involved our chaplains Joe and Ruth facilitating the day’s learning that was complemented with a Metanoia project team presentation themed ‘Calm in Chaos’ focussing on how pupils should find space to listen to God, especially in a world full of today’s distractions. Pupils used a mixture of activities to help them make important choices they will encounter in life. Guided meditation and prayer station activities, encouraging pupils to hear from God and respond in creative ways were also facilitated. Guest speaker Gilda Darlas, a Doctor of Philosophy in ?Religious Studies, shared her conversion story from prominent Buddhist to devout Catholic. Pupils also had the opportunity to design a ‘Charity Research Poster’, focusing on six charities to relieve suffering and help others encounter Christ. Posters were exhibited during a final assembly. Year 10’s programme followed a similar agenda of workshops but with additional presentations from Castlerigg Manor who used games and testimonies to explore the theme of ‘Discernment and Making Decisions’ in life. A workshop by CAFOD and an additional presentation by Barbara Mason, a Lay-Evangelist and author, who reflected on the theme ‘How do we find out God’s plan for our life’. Both years during the day were also invited into the school hall to have the opportunity to spend time in our ‘Careers Fair’ and speak to employers and further education providers.
Year 11: Pupils took part in a ‘Careers Workshop’ combining three career focused events that included a careers fair; how to developing key skills and mock interviews. The full day’s learning itself was designed to raise awareness of future career options and for pupils to become more aware of the skills and knowledge needed to enter the future world of work. The day’s learning had fifteen local employers, FE and HE establishments attend the event, all potentially looking for students and employees of the future. Pupils participated in four ‘Future U’ workshops that focussed on interview skills, CV and cover letter writing, pathways mapping (pathways into their chosen careers) and online brand (how their presence on social media can affect their employability). There was also a fantastic opportunity for pupils to meet with employers at the end of the day for mock interviews where they were given feedback on performance and guidance on how to improve for future interviews.