Thursday was spent working in groups on their Group 4 project for Science. They are working on an overall theme of sustainability and each group of students has representation from the different sciences. Which means that any given group will be undertaking experiments based on an area related to the theme with elements of Biology, Physics and Chemistry. On Thursday 15th June, the presentations themselves will be made and this will be an opportunity to discuss the project with the students themselves.
On Wednesday, our Geography students did some work to prepare for the urban planning fieldwork they will do in Pnomh Penh at the end of the CAS trip. They spent the morning in downtown Shanghai, practising some of the techniques they will employ in Cambodia.
Finally, Friday was our TOK presentation planning day. Students worked in groups to prepare their final presentations which they will be delivering on 28th and 29th June. Each presentation is based upon a Real Life Situation which students select in their groups. They then identify a knowledge question associated with this which they analyse using a Theory of Knowledge framework.
This time of year is particularly busy for Year 12 students who are also working feverishly to complete their Extended Essay research. They will be uploading their essay outlines before 17th June.
Andrew Joy, Head of IB Academy
Creativity, Activity, Service
CAS Project Challenges
This week, Katharina Stierhof writes about the recent Swim-a-thon.
Recently a Swim-a-thon was hosted at BISS during the weekend. This event had been organised by Year 12 students as part of their CAS project. During this two-day event, 33 students and 2 parents participated, completing a total of 1360 laps or 68 kilometres. Jason Chang, one of the organising students and an avid swimmer himself, stated that during this experience he and his group have encountered various challenges. The most challenging for him was communicating with others in order to organise and plan the event because even though the group communicated using social media it was still hard to communicate and make decisions as group members could just ignore the message or forget to reply. In terms of communication another challenge for the group was prioritising all the ideas that the group came up with, which sometimes conflicted with other ones or trying to find ways to incorporate most of the ideas so that everyone made a contribution. A solution that the group found, and a solution that Jason would also recommend to other people who still have to plan such a project, is that before the event the group had a small meeting, everyone could discuss what they are going to do on that day and were able to make suggestions. This allowed for face-to-face communication to solve any pressing issues and come up with ideas. During such a planning session, the group was able to identify for example, that they would still require to order wristbands. This last minute decision was quite risky, but after it still working out, Jason would also recommend others to have such meetings in advance, so that such problems would not come in the way of a smooth running event. Since Jason himself is an enthusiastic swimmer and member of the Swim team, he was naturally very much looking forward to planning an event that involved one of his passions in combination with helping to raise awareness for the Indochina Starfish Foundation, thus giving such an event a meaning. After the event, Jason thought that success for him was not the most important part of this experience. It was being able to learn more abut his favourite sport, the people around him and global issues that may concern all of us. The key thing that he took from this experience is that no matter what the outcome is like, you always learn from it.
Meanwhile, Min Jue Soh describes her CAS project:
Hello everyone!. I've been growing my hair since I started attending BISS, at the start of Year 11- and it has reached my waist! For one of my CAS (Creativity Activity Service) projects, I seek sponsors to sponsor me in cutting my hair. This project is important to me, as my hair has always been an important part of my life, and has appeared to become a significant defining factor of my character. The money raised will be donated to the Jiangsu Xinchao Charity Foundation in Jiangyin, which supports causes such as mentally disabled children. They have supported many orphans' education up until university in the U.S, and are continuing to nurture more children in Jiangyin. If you are interested to find out more about this charity. My hair will be donated to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths programme, which collects hair to create real-hair wigs. To find out more about this foundation. If you are interested in donating or finding out more about my project, please scan the QR code below, which will direct you to my project's WeChatgroup. Thank you for your time!
Ling Coong, CAS Coordinator
This week and into next week our Year 12 students will be receiving feedback about their recent end of year exams. This process, in which students receive, analyse and act on their exam feedback is one of the most important steps to go through during the time completing their IB Diploma Programme. As we know, the IB Programme promotes a growth mind-set, and what better way for students to demonstrate this then whilst getting exam feedback. Having students see how their feedback is constructive and can help them improve is highly important if they are to get to their final IB Diploma destination. We know that exams can be frustrating at times and feedback can be confronting, but perseverance and learning from the information given is the best way to move forward. So, all this said, I hope students take this growth mind-set approach on board and take appropriate steps to move towards their final year of the IB Diploma.
Angela Sharrock, Year 12 Leader
Whether you want to learn a new skill, raise your cultural awareness or buy yourself some thinking time before making the move into further study, or work, taking a year between finishing school and starting university or work could be worth considering. Examples of gap year activities include: intensive language study, teaching English as a Foreign Language, conservation work; adventure travel programmes; summer schools; and internships.
How will it benefit me?
Taking a gap year could:
Develop transferable skills that employers want.
Raise your cultural awareness
Increase your confidence and independence
Allow you to learn new skills and broaden your horizons
Increase your work experience – for some university courses and careers, work experience is essential and for others it will always be useful.
Improve your language skills - Many organisations now trade globally and having someone in their organisation who can speak the language is a huge asset.
Will it affect my chances of getting a job or enhance my university application?
Universities and employers will look for something that makes you stand out, and a gap year can do just that, as long as it is something useful or relevant. Explaining what you did with your time will not only catch their eye - it should also give you interesting examples to draw upon at interview. It is essential that you have a clear idea of how the year is to be structured so that it can be used for maximum benefit. Otherwise it will be difficult to justify your trip to potential employers or universities and it could be seen as a negative gap on your CV.
Can I defer my university place?
You need to check the necessary processes for the countries for which you are applying. For instance in the UK, you can apply to universities for deferred entry. If you are applying to the US and would like to take a gap year, it is advisable to secure your place initially and discuss the option with the university admissions officer of your chosen college. Some universities, such as Harvard in the USA or Exeter in the UK, encourage gap years. Others are less keen, depending on how oversubscribed a subject area is. It is certainly wise for applicants to write to be in contact with relevant universities as early as possible to check that a ‘gap year’ will not affect their chances.
To justify deferring your place, you'll need to prove that your gap year is constructive and that you'll gain something from it. Choosing to do something related to your course may also strengthen your case. For some subjects, such as maths and physics, it's important to keep your subject knowledge and skills up to date, so you'll need to explain to your tutors how you intend to do this.
The biggest risk of taking a considerable break from studying is that you may lose the momentum for it when you return. If you're unsure of whether time out will affect you, speak to your teachers and the universities to which you are thinking of applying.
Mark Weston, Head of HE Guidance
Coursework and examinations
IB Diploma Programme Exams
Students in Year 12 will have been receiving their end of year exams this week. It is very important how they react to these. Of course it is natural to enjoy feelings of happiness when they have gone well or disappointment if the opposite is true. However, in both cases it is very important to show determination to reflect on what went well and what could be improved (if anything). If it went extremely well then think about what you did right in order to replicate this for next time. If it went not as well as you hoped then think about what topics you need to improve in as well as what part of your preparation needs to be improved.
IB Diploma Programme Deadlines
All deadlines for year 12 and year 13 students are accessible through their Managebac account by looking at the calendar. We encourage parents to ask their son/daughter to show them this calendar so they can help their children to plan their work. This week Year 12 English A HL students will be taking their IOC as well as there being a preparation day for Theory of Knowledge on Friday.
Year 12 Deadlines for this week are below
End of Year 12 Group film Final Cut
Extended Essay (not including group 4)
Research and essay outline
IB Learner Profile
This week it is incredibly important for students to reflect on their internal exams. They will be given opportunities by their teachers as well as by their form tutors to reflect not only what they did well and what they didn’t but also a chance to reflect on the whole process. All students will have ways in which they can prepare more thoroughly for exams and the important thing is they must not shy away from what they can do better or what their weaknesses are. They need to face these challenges head on with determination. As your reading this I hope you are thinking that they must therefore be a risk taker!
Thomas Housham, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator