Principal's message: "Relevant Engaging Active Learning"
Full S.T.E.M. ahead.....
Now that the start of the year has settled down, we have caught up on our summer term activities and our impressive hybrid classrooms are up and running, I would like to use this week’s article to get back to basics and in doing so, remind us all why we do what we do at Reading Girls’ School.
Our whole curriculum provision is built on the principle that learning is relevant, engaging and active and that the knowledge and skills learned are applied to different contexts.
Our weekly Year 7 and Year 8 STEM curriculum days (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are the ultimate example. In its third year, the quality of the STEM programme is getting stronger each year. Next January will be the pinnacle thus far. Mr Marsh has secured the services of Didcot Steam Centre to introduce our girls to a world of engineering that they encounter when travelling on trains without actually realising it or thinking about it. Didcot Steam Centre will host our girls and provide them with a real engineering experience, over a number of days.
The profile of females in STEM is at the heart of our programme. We are driven to broaden horizons and in doing so, break down barriers. To that end, there are a plethora of STEM partners that we are working with this year. Some of them include Oxford University Physics Department, IBM, McLaren Formula 1, Amazon, and University College London (UCL). In addition, we have appointed our first ever STEM Ambassadors this term who help lead workshops.
‘Fingers on the buzzer…’
Even the theory can be learned in a fun active way. The concept of teacher-led lessons whereby teachers talk at the class, share anecdotes or pupils answering questions in a book is very much out-dated. ‘Active Learning Strategies’ is what drives our teacher-training programme. We are constantly developing ways to actively engage the girls in what may appear to be even the most theoretical concepts.
How R.E.A.L are we…?
Every week we tally up all the tokens that the girls deposit to feedback to us how R.E.A.L they feel their lessons have been. We are aiming for 50,000 ‘YES’ tokens by the end of this year!
Jon Gargan, Principal
Once again the RGS girls have excelled themselves and delivered three hugely informative and welcoming Open Evenings this week.
Despite the strange times we find ourselves in, the girls were keen to find a way for Year 6 girls and their families to experience RGS in the flesh. This week they hosted three cafe style open evenings with families booking in and sitting spaced out around the hall enjoying the performances and information sharing all led by the girls.
The evenings culminated with some 'speed dating' where families were free to ask our girls whatever they wanted, in the full knowledge they would get honest and helpful answers. A huge well done to all the girls involved each night; they have all shown themselves to be confident and articulate students.
Now that the Open Evenings are over, we will be welcomIng families into school during the working day to tour the school in individual families and get an insight into life at RGS on a daily basis. Should you wish to book a tour before22nd October please follow the link below.
The Year 8s had their first STEM day of the year this week. They had been asked to apply to be STEM Ambassadors to help lead activities and assist teachers and lots of applications were received. So it was decided to have one group as Ambassadors for a few weeks before another group takes over. Here are the first STEM Ambassadors looking smart in their hi-vis jackets!
Sadly, our first visitors had to cancel as their area went into local lockdown! The Antarctic Fire Angels are hoping to be the first all female team to ski coast to coast on a particular route across Antarctica. They are hoping to visit us later in the year and you can support their fundraising for the project here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/antarctic-fire-angels.
Has your lesson been REAL (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning)?
Using REAL tokens students have the opportunity to give instant feedback to staff about their experiences within the lesson.
Students are provided with a token and at the end of the lesson, are asked if their lesson has been R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Active Learning). Students theen place their token into the 'Yes' or 'No' box, which is in every teaching classroom. Staff then uses this information to make any modification to their delivery of their lesson. These tokens are then collected in at the end of every week and counted.
Results for this week: Monday 28 to Friday 2 October 2020
YES - 1976 tokens
No - 216 tokens
Increasing Student Participation
Talking Tokens are issued by the classroom teacher and/or teaching assistant to pupils who participate to questions and/or ask questions during lessons. Pupils are encouraged to write their name and year group on the back of the 'Talking Token' and place them into the relevant 'Talking Token' collection box for their year group. At the end of each term, all 'Talking Tokens' are placed together and a pupil is selected at random. The more 'Talking Tokens' a pupil collects for contributing answers to questions in class, the more chances they have to win a prize.
At the end of thtis week the following number of 'Talking Tokens' collected by each year group were:
- Year 7 - 161
- Year 8 - 134
- Year 9 - 14
- Year 10 - 28
- Year 11 - 20
- Total number of 'Talking Tokens' collected this year across the whole school are 1620.
All meals are provided by Chartwells - a school meal consists of a main meal and a dessert for £2.40 a variety of snacks and drinks are also available.
Chartwells operate a cashless till system, operated by cards. The cards are topped up online using a secure website called ParentPay, if your daughter is eligible for free meals, £2.40 is credited to her card each day. Your daughter will be provided with her card and ParentPay login details on her first day at Reading Girls' School. You can find more information about ParentPay on their website http://www.parentpay.com. The school office is also happy to help with any enquiries.
Follow the link for details of the school menu.