‘The problems of the second act’

In a very interesting little book by David Mamet called '3 Uses of the Knife: On the nature and purpose of drama' there is a section called 'The problems of the second act.'  I can't reproduce the whole section here, but I'm going to select a few quotations in the hopes you might find the ideas useful when you are studying plays with your IB students.  What Mamet is proposing is that there is energy from the playwright that can ...

Summer Investigations(3) Works on the PLT: Cheese

For the last of these recommendations, a work composed in Dutch by a Flemish author, A.J de Ridder, writing under the pseudonym, Willem Elsschot.  To my knowledge, Cheese, has not appeared on any IB Language A: Literature syllabus, and I'd like to make the case that it might be very apt, particularly when people are looking for something to include that is not 'dark and depressing,' a request that often comes up in discussions and workshops. Originally published in 1933, this ...

And the results are in!

...Well, they were in a month ago. As teachers, more than anything we are most interested in the grade boundaries for each paper. For two years we were flying blind, trying to guide our students to passing, or in some instance, the elusive 7. And now that information is freely available, and from this point forward, our work will be authentic and based on experience rather than conjecture. So, without further ado, here is the assessment-by-assessment breakdown: IA (the moderated, final mark ...

Integrating CAS and History

In IBDP there has been an emphasis in recent years in integrating the core (EE, TOK and CAS) with the course content in the different subjects. In history, it has been nearly effortless to integrate EE and TOK. The skills in the History IA layer nicely with the Extended Essay, and Theory of Knowledge and the inquiry-based approach to subjects is easily integrated into daily teaching, and again, the IA explicitly calls on TOK skills. CAS can be integrated just as ...

140 Characters in the IB Classroom

"Twitter" flickr photo by Uncalno https://flickr.com/photos/uncalno/8537569665 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license The word "Twitter" (as in a certain social media platform) has been turning up more and more in the news recently.  Twitter itself isn't new (if you're interested, you can read the history of Twitter in this post on lifewire), and it isn't new in education.  But as it is being talked about right now, I thought it might be a good time to take a closer ...

Summer Investigations (2) Works on the PLT: The Thief and the Dogs

As we try to balance shorter and longer works in our hopes that students will fully read and engage with the texts in the syllabus, I think we are all inclined to look for works that work;  for works that are reasonably riveting for all of our students and that expand our sense of the complex world we live in, that foster some growth in both understanding and reading skills. People often find that Crime and Punishment, a work of considerable ...

TMT, Pecha Kucha, and the Art of Liberating Restraints

As is often the case on this blog, I am going to write about something I have just read.  EPFL is the  École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, which is a research institute/university in Lausanne, Switzerland, specialising in physical sciences and engineering. I subscribe to their news blog as part of my general reading, and am continually intrigued by what I read.  In today's batch I learned about how Digital birdhouses make studying owls easier ("EPFL students have developed a system that can detect when barn ...

IB Exams – History preparation

IB exams officially began last Thursday with school-based syllabi and Business Management and Global Politics last Friday.  And today, with Biology there are even more students involved in the examinations.  Critical mass with Diploma Candidates will occur Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning when English and Mathematics take place.  As a result, few students are focused on studying for their history exams right now - but some have begun their revisions and next weekend will be when they are focused on ...

Last minute hints: Commentary

Right about this time for the May session, I always make such a list for the particular group of students with whom I've spent the year. The following is a sample, based on both examining Paper 1 and my own students' performance. What I note are recurrent misconceptions and poor practices.  I've included a sample of just one below, and I find that the approaching examination date seems to clear their heads a bit, and they are ready for good ...

My semi-annual list of reminders for DP History exam prep

The IA grades have been entered, the samples are uploaded and we're all in that last race to finish the curriculum.  Teachers in the US are more than a little concern: their top students, all of whom were interested and engaged have been admitted to their dream schools and have decided that they don't have to do well on their IB exams and it is distressing as they see the realization of their predicted grades slipping away.  In the rest of the world where the IB results are ...