If your school has a school-based syllabus the exams will be done by the time you read this posting. If not, the exams begin on Tuesday morning English A. (Why does English always get to go first? It doesn’t seem fair!)
The IB classes will be wrapping up but it is now, after 2 years of study, that the students feel that they need us. The well-prepared, engaged students need reassurance that they will do well, and perhaps a bit of reinforcement through some revision sections, but they don’t really need us. The un-prepared students who barely read or paid attention to your meticulous comments on their tests want you to wave your magic wand and POOF! they are a 7. They do need you but what you can provide for them is limited. After all there is no substitute for 2 years of diligence.
So, what is left for us to do?
Review Sessions. We can help them with review. We cannot re-teach them the material, but we can help them divide and conquer. If your HL classes are large enough, divide them into 6 sections:
- Prescribed Subject
- Topic A
- Topic B
- HL Section X
- HL Section Y
- HL Section Z
Each group then puts together a study guide that provides an overview for the class. The study guide should include an outline of the material that you covered, a bibliography of the texts used to cover those subjects, a list of previous IB or IB-type questions that they answered in the past, and the subject guide requirements for their group. Then, they can be the class experts on the material and lead the students through the review, with you as back-up. This method allows them to confirm what they know and you can support them when they get stuck. If a particular essay question is difficult, you can work with them to clarify command terms and examine the demands of the question. If a particular skills is hanging them up, you can strategize with them how to approach, for example, limitations of a source.
For factual recall, create a competitive game. While I am – sports junkie that I am – partial to Around the Horn, History Jeopardy is probably a better-known method of getting at factual data. You can provide the subjects (e.g., Maoist China) and then have questions of increasing difficult for those subjects.
The time is fleeting so your choices need to be both productive and fun. 15 days and counting ….