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.