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SGS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme participated in a variety of Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) experiences in the past few weeks.  Juniors also are working on their Extended Essays.  Here are some details on both...

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include playing volleyball, donating blood, cleaning trash around the school, relocating saplings and smaller trees to a better area, playing soccer, painting pictures, building car tools, painting an electric scooter, decorating a house, working in the Biology greenhouse, baking cookies, helping with the clothing drive, picking up trash, programming for FTC Robotics, teaching computer gaming lessons, making valentines to send to St. Jude’s Hospital, attending a World Sleep Day free clinical treatment as a volunteer, rehearsal for the violin, going on a drive, participating in the WA State Debate Tournament, geocaching, and building a half scale model engine.

CORE Highlight:  Juniors & Extended Essays
The juniors working on their EEs are setting up a time to have their first formal meeting with their supervisor.  This meeting should be a 20-minute discussion about the research question, methodology, and any difficulties they might be having.  The students will then write a reflection about the meeting in ManageBac where they outline:
• Their ideas regarding the topic in general
• The research question they have in mind
• Initial background reading or research they may have conducted
• Possible approaches
• Initial thoughts about the answer to their research question

The initial reflection should be about 100 words.  This is the first of three reflections throughout the process of writing their EE, and it can answer any number of the following Guiding Questions:
• What exactly do I want to find out?
• What possible question(s) might I research?
• Do I have sufficient knowledge of the subject area to fulfill the criteria of an EE?
• Is there sufficient focus to my research area?
• What am I interested in researching and why?
• What are my motivations for undertaking research in this area?
• How will I begin the research process?
• What problems do I anticipate in my research?
• What resources do I plan to use?
• Have I found any sources with conflicting viewpoints?
• Have I been able to find relevant sources from different eras?
• What challenges did I encounter in finding relevant sources?
• How do I think I might use my sources?
• What possible answers might there be to my research question?

IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

IB Question of the Week

March 29, 2021

IB Question of the Week:  Does the IB perform research to evaluate their goals?  

Yes.  In one case, the IB did research on the effect of the Diploma Programme (DP) on critical thinking development: An international multi-site evaluation.  The summary developed by IB Research was based on a report by: Therese N Hopfenbeck, Kit Double, Yasmine Hachem El Masri and Joshua McGrane, Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment, University of Oxford, October 2020.

Background: Critical thinking plays an important role both in the classroom and everyday life, including being a key factor for determining individual and collective success in the face of complex global challenges (Butler 2012; Clarke, Double and MacCann 2017; Griffin and Care 2015; Kirschner 2020). In broad terms, critical thinking refers to a person’s ability to analyse, synthesize and evaluate information (Halpern 2001). Given the importance of critical thinking for attaining valued outcomes, the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) has made developing critical thinking a central focus of its programme and approach. This study examined the effects of the DP on the critical thinking skills of students in Australia, England and Norway. Specifically, it investigated whether student participation in the DP contributed to higher levels of critical thinking, as measured by an established critical thinking assessment instrument. Researchers also examined DP curricular elements that may support critical thinking, and explored the perspectives of DP students and teachers.

Summary: The results suggest that the IB embraces a mixed approach to critical thinking development, which is largely in line with evidence-based best practice. This approach makes teaching critical thinking an explicit goal, ensuring that critical thinking instruction is not assumed to necessarily follow from other knowledge gains but is specifically taught within the classroom. Quantitative findings indicate that IB students had significantly higher levels of critical thinking than their non-IB peers—an advantage that held even after relevant covariates were controlled for using regression approaches and propensity score matching. The critical thinking advantage seen in IB students was more pronounced in students that were in the later stage of the DP compared to those at the beginning of the DP. Overall, these results provide evidence that DP participation benefits critical thinking, as measured by a pre-validated critical thinking assessment. However, there are a range of unaccounted for pre-existing differences between IB and non-IB students that may contribute to the observed differences in critical thinking. In interviews, students and teachers shared a belief that TOK, the EE and DP subjects foster the development of critical thinking. Additionally, teachers and students generally believed that the DP better prepares students for further study compared to national or state programmes.

SGS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme participated in a variety of Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) experiences in the past few weeks.
 
CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include working on the yearbook, hiding geocaches for SGS 4th graders, adding underglow lights, making soccer fan shirts, participating in a basketball league, making flyer about the pandemic, making flyers about volunteering, moving a tree, playing piano for Monday morning meeting, exploring bunkers at Fort Wordon and Fort Flagler, building a custom keyboard, going for a bike ride, helping set up the blood drive, and creating an album cover in Blender, practicing graffiti with friends, baking raspberry lemon rolls, building a PC, playing soccer, and cleaning the Ala Kahakai Trail.

IB Question of the Week:  How does SGS help 10th graders prepare to choose their two-year IB courses for 11th and 12th grades?
In January, February and March, the IB Coordinator meets with each 10th grader and at least one parent to answer questions and go over all the IB course choices.  From this meeting, students create a rough schedule for their six IB courses.  Registration for courses doesn’t occur until April or May, so the student and parents have time to evaluate and reflect after the meeting.  

CORE Highlight:
DP student Sea Yun Joung shares with IB World how the TOK course makes an IB education unique and benefits him as a lifelong learner

IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

SGS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme have to upload some major projects by a March 15th deadline, so today is a big day for seniors on the road to their IB Diploma.  

CORE Highlight:  The Ides of March
Teachers have internal dates for assignments, but the IB has dates that are set in stone when certain items must be uploaded.  Monday, March 15 is the upload date for Written Assignments in the Language A HL courses, the essays from the Theory of Knowledge course, and the 4,000-word Extended Essays.  They have all been uploaded for our current seniors who are in these courses!  Congratulations to teachers and students for meeting the first benchmark and enjoying a much better Ides of March than Julius Caesar did.  The next due date is April 20, where subject teachers upload predicted grades for students and the internal assessments from each course.  

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include baking cookies, painting super fan t-shirts, cross country skiing, and organizing an event called Escape from the Chamber of Secrets.

IB Question of the Week: How has SGS created a CORE class so that some of the extra work to earn a full International Baccalaureate Diploma can be completed within the school day?
The CORE class meets three times a week for full diploma candidates and is built into their schedule.  Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and Extended Essay (EE) share time in this CORE class so students can get a lot of the work done during school hours.  

> CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections.  The CAS coordinator (Melanie Mildrew) begins meetings with the students in Semester 1 of their junior year during the CORE class time.
> EE: Starting second semester of junior year, full diploma students begin meeting during the CORE class time and researching and writing a 4,000-word essay on a topic of their choice.  Deadlines are set, and students are given time in this class to do their work.  The Extended Essay will culminate at the end of Semester 1 in their senior year.  
> TOK: Starting second semester of junior year, full diploma students begin meeting for the Theory of Knowledge class during the CORE class time.  The TOK essay and exhibition will culminate at the end of Semester 1 in their senior year.  

IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information. 

SGS students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme take a class on the Theory of Knowledge.  They recently looked at language -- one of eight different ways of knowing.
 
CORE Highlight: Theory of Knowledge
The junior class has begun the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class.  They are currently transitioning from the required core theme of “Knowledge and the Knower” to “Knowledge and Language,” which is one of five optional themes.  Students watched a Teen Ted Talk last week called “Breaking the Language Barrier.”  Next week they will build “mini exhibitions” where they will find one object and link it to a knowledge question in a 300-word reflection.   At the end of the semester, they will do this with 3 objects and one prompt for their full exhibitions, which is their new Internal Assessment. 
 
CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include dog training, donating food and clothes to an orphanage, going on a hike, decorating fan shirts, rock climbing, and cleaning the Biology lab.
 
IB Question of the Week:  What are the aims of the TOK class that full diploma students take?
 
The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course plays a special role in the Diploma Programme (DP) by providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature, scope and limitations of knowledge and the process of knowing. In this way, the main focus of TOK is not on students acquiring new knowledge but on helping students to reflect on, and put into perspective, what they already know. TOK underpins and helps to unite the subjects that students encounter in the rest of their DP studies. It engages students in explicit reflection on how knowledge is arrived at in different disciplines and areas of knowledge, and on what these areas have in common and the differences between them. 
 
The aims of the TOK course are: 
• to encourage students to reflect on the central question, “How do we know that?”, and to recognize the value of asking that question; 
• to expose students to ambiguity, uncertainty and questions with multiple plausible answers; 
• to equip students to effectively navigate and make sense of the world, and help prepare them to encounter novel and complex situations; 
• to encourage students to be more aware of their own perspectives and to reflect critically on their own beliefs and assumptions; 
• to engage students with multiple perspectives, foster open-mindedness and develop intercultural understanding; 
• to encourage students to make connections between academic disciplines by exploring underlying concepts and by identifying similarities and differences in the methods of inquiry used in different areas of knowledge; 
• to prompt students to consider the importance of values, responsibilities and ethical concerns relating to the production, acquisition, application and communication of knowledge. 
 
IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

IB Highlights: IB vs AP

March 01, 2021

SGS students follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme instead of Advanced Placement classes.  How do they differ?
 
IB Question of the Week:  What is the difference between IB and AP? 
Here are some of the structural differences between the IB and AP programs:
• IB is an integrated program of study 
• Critical thinking (within classes and in TOK class) 
• Emphasis on writing skills (must write a 4,000 word essay) 
• Essay exams, free response 
• Must take the class in order to take the exam 
• Must take entire program of courses (6 of them) + the Core to earn diploma 
• End-of-year IB tests are graded according to how well your exam demonstrates mastery of the stated course objectives. The criteria for each class is identical – regardless of where you register for it.
     o Grading is conducted by a team of experts whose work is closely monitored to ensure that that assessment is consistent between students. You can also review the detailed description of the IB exam grading philosophy and process.
 
• AP allows students to choose off of the “a la carte” menu 
• Content based 
• Very limited time to teach writing and research skills in an AP course 
• Multiple choice 50% and essay exams 50% 
• Don’t need to take the class to take the exam 
• For most AP Exams, your score is a weighted combination of your scores on the 2 sections, multiple-choice and free-response. Some AP courses have assessments that include other scored components.
 
Here are some of the philosophical differences:
• The IB classes take a more international focus than AP courses.
     o "In an AP class, you may look very deeply at an issue and look at it from multiple perspectives," says Matthew Nelson, director of advanced academics for Metro Nashville Public Schools in Tennessee. "In IB, it would probably be more, still looking at an issue, but you may be looking at an issue over time and how it has impacted other parts of the world and how there is that connectivity to it all." 
 
The above information was obtained from this article in US News and World Report published on Dec. 4, 2019.
 
EE Highlight: The junior class is continuing their EE process.  They are beginning to choose their subjects and supervisors for their EEs and are continuing to work on narrowing research questions, finding resources, and developing the methodology of the EEs.  
 
Here is an IB Video that was shared with the juniors on how to develop a research question.  An example of the evolution of a research question is shown in This PowerPoint.  See more explanations about EE research at www.ibo.org.
 
CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include FTC robotics, writing cards for children in the hospital, night skiing, cleaning and organizing the Biology lab room, training a puppy, and cleaning the Chemistry lab.
 
IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

IB Highlights: CAS Experiences

February 22, 2021

SGS students have used the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to explore creativity, activity and service experiences at school, at home and outside. 

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include replacing the shocks on a car, meal prep and cooking, helping in the library, FIRST Tech Challenge robotics, yoga, and skiing.

CAS Project Highlight: Senior Clark Chen has initiated the founding of an online English language program for primary students in China.  He hopes to develop his skills to initiate projects with collaborations and to enhance his communication skills with younger kids and their parents.

EE Highlight: The junior class of full diploma candidates has begun meeting in B block to start their Extended Essay process.  They are learning exactly what the EE is and are beginning to choose their subjects and supervisors.  Over the next couple of weeks, they will work on narrowing research questions, finding resources, and developing the methodology of the EEs.  

IB Question of the Week:  How is the IB recognized in different countries?
There are IB World Schools in 156 countries throughout the world, and students send exam results to higher education institutions in nearly 90 countries annually. Given the wide diversity of local education systems, it can be difficult to understand how the IB is recognized in various parts of the world.  Learn how different countries Recognize IB Results

IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

A SGS junior has used the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to take a month-long photography challenge. 
 
CAS Project Highlight: Junior Cassie Benson has started her Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project, which is a month-long photography challenge.  Her goal for this project is to improve her photography skills by exploring nature.  She hopes to experiment with different lighting and places to take photos.  Look for an upcoming gallery of her images! 
 
CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include making posters for diversity club, yard cleaning, creating wall backgrounds for advisory, taking a beginner hand-gun safety class, skiing, creating a mantel from a log, taking golf lessons, participating in soccer practice, creating a poster to show the benefits of volunteering, and tutoring others in Spanish and Physics.
 
IB Question of the Week: If a student is a full diploma candidate, do they have to work on the CORE components (CAS, Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge) completely outside of school?   
Students have an opportunity to work on Core IB requirements during the B block Core period.  In PowerSchool, this is designated as TOK because that is the only aspect of Core that is graded with an SGS grade.  Core block is built into the Upper School schedule for full diploma candidates.  For an incoming class of full diploma juniors, their schedule would include this:
• The TOK class meets once per week, Semester 2 of Junior year and Semester 1 of Senior year;
• The EE group meets once per week, Semester 2 of Junior year and Semester 1 of Senior year; 
• The full diploma CAS group meets once per week, in Semester 1 of Junior year and then once or twice a month in Semester 2 of Junior year and Semester 1 and 2 of Senior year, until completion of a student’s portfolio.   
Students may have some work to do outside of class, especially in CAS.  However, the CORE class is structured so that most students can get their work done in that CORE block.  The bulk of the outside work for TOK or EE can involve the research for a student’s EE, depending on if an experiment is needed or not.  
 
IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

On Tuesday, February 2nd, 16 senior IB Diploma candidates talked about their IB Extended Essays to juniors who are starting to plan their own Extended Essays.  It was an opportunity to ask questions about the process of researching and writing a 4,000-word paper and to celebrate what the seniors have accomplished.  Each senior spoke for five minutes and then answered questions for another five minutes.  

Watch videos of three of their presentations -- Chaitanya Nalluri (Social Studies) on the current political climate in India, John DeForest (Chemistry) on biochemical processes that could isolate heavy metals, and Gabi Cunningham (Spanish) on an indigenous Mexican character in modern literature.

An SGS senior has used the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to investigate the effects of the U.S.-China trade war on consumers in this country.

Extended Essay Highlight: Senior Clark Chen’s EE question was: "How did the U.S.-China trade war impact the consumer’s regular expenditure regarding apparel and footwear in the United States?"  Clark wants to pursue Business classes in college and felt like this topic would help him understand the concepts better.  He says, “The impact of a trade war between two biggest countries in the world do not only negatively or positively affect the two countries that engaged into the trade war.  At the same time, it also impacts the smaller economies, like some firms and countries.  In order to do the research, I choose to narrow it down to only basic products in the stores, excluding big products like houses, cars, etc."

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include skiing for the first time, putting together and delivering donations to the MLK center in Spokane, baking a cake, chopping down trees, doing yoga, practicing meditation, practicing basketball, programming, cooking, making a custom sweatshirt, playing soccer, taking photos, creating an infectious disease flyer, participating in a horse clinic, demolition on a kitchen, wake surfing, participating in the winter rover float, running GLOW club, helping a neighbor cut a fallen tree, making cloud lights, creating a photo wall, writing for the literary magazine, creating a self-care menu, playing violin, kayaking, moving furniture, learning to cook, helping clean a church, making cake pops, tutoring mother in chess, making autumn pear paste, working in a cattery, drawing, making cookies, surfing in Sanya, testing environmental Covid samples, writing a MLK essay, snowboarding, and helping with the 2nd grade bubble project. 

IB Question of the Week: How can we see what students around the world are doing in IB Art?  

The IB says: “Our IB community is continuing to share artwork online via #IBart.  You can now view their creative work via our IB network to celebrate and support them online...  The IB has decided to launch a dedicated page using #IBart to further circulate all of the artwork being produced.  By adding a location to your post on Twitter or Instagram, it will enable us to create a map of all the work taking place around the world, keeping our IB community well connected.

"We would like to make our students aware that using #IBart to showcase artwork will not impact or influence the grading of the artwork itself.  Instead, it can be used to inspire and grow our IB community by raising awareness of creativity digitally and globally.  If you would like to explore the artwork currently being circulated, please visit our dedicated exhibition page.”

IB Overview:  The Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  


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