A Year in R(ee)view

It’s been a very rewarding school year and it’s hard to believe that in a few days’ time, it will come to an end.

Our Grade 11’s began the Extended Essay (EE) process back in November 2018 when they were introduced to the idea of researching their passion. As EE Coordinator, I have dubbed myself Queen (B)EE, the one who guides and supports her bumblebees — our students — as they extract knowledge from various sources and eventually compose a 4000 word research paper.

Ah yes, there are so many bee analogies to be made (and I’ve made plenty!) Some are met with laughter, some with an eye roll. It doesn’t matter — the important thing is that our students realise they can take any topic, any idea, and transform it into a question worthy of further research.

In December, our students attended EE Carousels — a market, of sorts — where Heads of Faculty offered 20 minute information sessions on their subject areas.

What does it mean to write an EE in Biology?

What kind of data will a student need to collect for a Geography EE?

What are the options available for an English EE?

Students gathered information, asked questions, and slowly began to make sense of what they’d be required to do over the next few months. During the December break, students considered what they would like to research and submitted three different research proposals for consideration both by me and the respective departments.

By February, each student had been assigned a supervisor and made plans to have their initial discussion meeting. We have close to 250 Grade 11 students who are being supervised by nearly 100 teachers. This year, we have a record number of students (89!) writing World Studies EE’s. We also welcomed Sports, Exercise, & Health Science as well as Language A: Hindi to our wide range of single subject EE’s.

As the month of May approached, students prepared for EE Writing Day where students are off timetable and have the opportunity to conduct research, meet with supervisors, attend workshops, and begin to write. The day was punctuated by an inspirational speech by Pat Desbarats, one of our University Advisors.

It was the perfect way to lead our students into the final hours of the day.

Now as I sit here and reflect on this past academic year, I marvel at how much our Grade 11 students have accomplished. The EE is one thing, but they also had so many other assignments, activities, and tasks to complete at the same time. Sure, there were moments of grumbling, but for the most part, our students have finished their penultimate year of high school with perseverance and grace.

This Queen (B)EE is proud of her bumblebees. As they head into the summer months, I truly feel they have a clear vision for their EE and will be more than ready to submit their initial drafts in August.

#buzzbuzz

 

Preparation for EE Writing Day – 03 May 2018

It’s hard to believe that your time in Grade 11 is almost over. When I count down to the end of the year, it gives me a bit of anxiety to think that we only have eight weeks left until 22 June, but it also makes me excited because it’s such an adrenaline-filled time of year!

In between now and June, you have SO much going on, and it’s vital that you remain organised and focus on your priorities. Between Project Week, IA’s, IOC’s, field trips, Group 4, and of course, the EE, you’ve got a lot to do. Google Calendar is a great tool to keep track of classes and assignments, but I’d also like to suggest Google Keep. Don’t know what this is? You can check it out here.

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This is just one way I use Google Keep. It helps me to keep track of the things I need to do this week.

With EE Writing Day coming up next week, I want you to feel as organised and confident as possible so that you can have the most productive day. Below is the slide show I presented this morning. Have a look through, check out the links, and ensure you have yourself organised.

Remember, Beyoncé is always prepared. Are you?

The EE in 2018 — What’s Your Jam?

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My favourite is raspberry. What’s yours?

I attended a workshop last week about the benefits of blogging in education. You know me … I love to write and blog and link and record and reflect.

That’s my jam.

But what happens when your jam jar is empty? What if there’s no more jam??

One of the things I learned from the workshop is that the moment you begin to feel like you have nothing to say is the exact moment you should begin to write. The reason itself makes a lot of sense.

Blogging is the best way to work things out. Not everything we write down has to be perfect; it just has to be. Usually, the process of writing in a stream of consciousness helps to clarify and organise your thoughts. So this is what I’m doing now: writing down my thoughts about the EE for 2018 and organising everything as I go along. Here’s my list so far:

  1. Thank you to all of you for submitting your proposals on time. They are now in the hands of the heads of department and are currently being shared with teachers. Supervisor allocations will come out after Chinese New Year break.

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2. In the meantime, I’d like you to add an EE category to your digital portfolios (or blogs, as I like to call them). Not sure how to do it? Check out Tricia’s instructional video below:

 

Over the course of the EE process, you’ll be writing three separate reflections and your blogs are a great place for you to keep track of your own thought process. Also, they will be so easy to share with your supervisor.

3. We hosted a Grade 11 Coffee Morning for your parents last Friday. If you’d like to have a look at what we discussed, you can click below:

What’s your jam for 2018? Leave me a comment below. Maybe we can have a jam-jam.

(That’s a homonym. Deal with it.)

 

Passion Fuels Progress

Congratulations to those of you who attended the Academic Honesty / Research Skills session with Susan Grigsby (SGr) and Tricia Friedman (PFr) last week. I hope it has given you time to consider the various resources that are available to you both in and outside of school. As you begin thinking about the possibilities for your EE, please remember to refer to the Prezi below:

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You may also want to check out Tricia’s Google Slides where she guides you on how to “search like a boss”:

If you missed last Thursday’s session, you can watch the video recording below:

Remember, Day 2 of EE Carousels takes place this Thursday. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch so we can chat. Can’t wait to see what you’ve all come up with!

#buzzbuzz #WWBD

Information & Guide to the Extended Essay. Two Different Slide Shows. Two Different Purposes.

Last week, I sent the current Grade 11 students an email outlining upcoming events taking place surrounding the Extended Essay. Mainly, I wanted to share the EE Information & Guide slide doc with them in preparation for today’s assembly, which had a bit of flair to it.

Here is the slide doc I shared last week, chock-full of information regarding the EE:

… and here is the presentation I showed the students today (thanks Beyoncé!):

As you can see, the two slide shows are quite different.

The reason I did this is because the slide doc is not meant to be presented. It’s meant to be a portal for information that is easily accessible and read by its intended audience. Today’s presentation, however, needed a little more Sasha Fierce. It doesn’t need to be read so much as it needs to be SEEN!! How else do you hold the attention of nearly 300 Grade 11 students?

More information will be forthcoming as we get closer to launching the proposals. Do let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.

 

EE Day – A Day of Celebration

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Last week, our Grade 12 students proudly submitted the final draft of their Extended Essays. For most students, this was followed by a tremendous sigh of relief. Indeed, it is quite an accomplishment for our seniors, and one that should be celebrated, which is why we host an EE Day every year.

This year’s EE Day took place on 30 October 2017. All seniors were encouraged to “dress” as their EE (to the best of their abilities, of course). As always, our students did not disappoint. Check out some of the amazing costume ideas below. Can you guess what these students wrote their EE’s about?

Please join me in congratulating our Grade 12’s on a job well done. The path to completing the Extended Essay hasn’t always been easy, but these seniors have worked their way through, knowing that success was in sight.

At this time, I’d also like to thank the parents who have supported our seniors throughout this process. They have provided many things for our seniors, including comfort, love, and sometimes, a shoulder to cry on. They also took the time to bake and cook so that our students would have something delicious to eat on EE Day. Their continued support is much appreciated.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the teacher supervisors for their patience, wisdom, and time (oh yes, the time!) The work you do with our students does not go unnoticed, and for that we are all thankful.

Please check out the slide show of EE Day below.

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Photos courtesy of Su Allen, Anna Parr, Niki Dinsdale, and yours truly.