The EE Under COVID-19 Rules

Well, 2020 has certainly been a year like no other.

Photo by Edward Jenner on

Our students were in the throes of researching and writing their EE’s when we were faced with school closure at the end of March / beginning of April. Singapore went into a nationwide partial lockdown — or circuit breaker — just after half term break. All lessons were to be conducted remotely or online. This could have been a problem for those students who needed to use a science lab or collect data, but luckily, we quickly went into solution mode.

Most of our students who were planning a primary research EE were offered the option of switching to a World Studies EE (WSEE) or using secondary research. Since we don’t have many examples of successful secondary research EE’s, our students opted for a World Studies approach. To be honest, I think the WSEE has been a sigh of relief for some of our students. Many of them were excited to conduct lab-based research, but with that comes the pressures of the lab: what if the experiment doesn’t work? what if the materials are insufficient? what if more time is needed? Writing a WSEE alleviated these potential issues as students instead used resources such as self-generated survey data, reports of experiments, interviews, film, works of art, etc. As long as their resources provided sufficient evidence to help develop and support their arguments, then students could easily write their WSEE’s from the comfort of their own homes.

At UWCSEA, students who opted for a WSEE combined diverse subject areas such as Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS) & Economics; Geography & Biology; Maths & Psychology; Design Technology & Physics; and Chemistry & Economics, just to name a few.

“Under Covid-19, it wasn’t possible to find something practical [to research] so my best idea was to do something theoretical. This meant I had to make sure it was applicable within the real world and had a local manifestation.”

Grade 12 student, initially set to write a Physics EE, who later decided on a WSEE during Singapore’s circuit breaker.

Currently, Singapore is still under Phase 2, with an eventual move to Phase 3 on 28 December 2020. In compliance with Phase 2 rules, we introduced the Extended Essay to our Grade 11’s this year via video. These were pre-recorded and included all the information needed for the Class of 2022 to start thinking about their EE’s. Students watched the videos during their morning Mentor block, and their Mentors forwarded any student questions to me. All they need to do now is determine their top three subject choices (including at least one World Studies option) and submit them to me by 13 January 2021.

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has had a significant global impact on our day-to-day well-being; it has affected the way we work, the way we learn, the way we teach, and most importantly, the way we live. I don’t want to call what we are currently doing “the new normal,” but seeing the resiliency in our students makes me incredibly proud. This past year hasn’t been easy, and indeed, some have struggled more than others, but I’m happy to see that our students have “[embraced the] challenge [of Covid-19] in order to maximise their potential” as lifelong learners (“Guiding Statements”).

I look forward to seeing what our current Grade 11’s will achieve with their Extended Essays over the course of the new year.

Works Cited

“Guiding Statements.” UWCSEA | International School in Singapore, Accessed 23 Dec. 2020.

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?


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.


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


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.