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Using Video in the BM classroom

This is another entry in a series of blog entries on using multimedia in the BM classroom. School and classroom is all about ideas and the BM classroom even more so. There is a great resource that teachers can use (and maybe many do already) in the BM classroom to spark discussions and help students understand challenging […] Find out more

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Not so secret ingredients in learning with technology

Part of my morning routine, after looking through email, is checking through new Scoop.it and Flipboard postings.  I often have to check the date a story was posted originally, because even though it is “new” on the sharing sites this morning, it may be “old” news, and has been shared and re-shared again and again, only […] Find out more

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What is VACAF?!

What’s VACAF? It’s an acronym that stands for Visual Arts Coursework Authentication Form. (Those of you who either regularly visit the OCC or have an on-the-ball DP Coordinator will know about it). ***Not to be confused with VACAF camping holidays in France (CAF: ”Caisse d’Allocation Familiale“) PPF – That was Then There used to be a […] Find out more

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4 sets of writing tips to last a lifetime

Whenever I have surveyed my students in the Literature course as to why they have chosen the course, the leading answer is ‘to improve my writing.’  After that comes ‘because I love reading.’ So over the next months I am going to try to boil down some common problems that undermine your delivery in writing […] Find out more

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IB MUSIC: A Brief Guide to SL and HL Solo Performance

This is the time of year when SL Music students need to choose either solo or group performance and HL Music students prepare for solo performances.  It is an important decision. At the Standard Level, the solo or group performance option is worth 50% of the overall IB music score.  At the Higher Level, only […] Find out more

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Are you mad? Changing the criteria? The course has only just had its first examinations session and they are thinking of changing them already? Like any good organization, the DP visual arts curriculum and assessment teams review, consider and where necessary adjust. And having scrutinized the files of many thousands of students in May, June […] Find out more

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Topic 13 is one of my favourites – how do you find it? In this topic, we start to explore complex ions the reasons why these ions are coloured. How do you deal with this topic. I like the fact that it is very visual. It can make a nice transition from topic 3 which […] Find out more

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Foundation Programmes – are they for you?

Foundation Programmes (or Pathway Programmes as they are sometimes known) are growing in number and in style.  Some are offered directly via the university either at their main campus or at partner institutions. Some are offered by private educational groups working in cooperation with university institutions.  Some are offered by private educational companies.  So what […] Find out more

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‘Let us contemplate evil’

“Let us contemplate evil’ Sheridan Baker in his Practical Stylist begins one of his chapters with this invitation about ‘evil. And he offers us some evil practices that will keep you from becoming the writer you could be. So here is the second set of tips plus one. The one you really need to get […] Find out more

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Whither the Prescribed Subjects? Next month’s exams are the end of an era

We are now one month out from the final IB exams of the session that began with the exams in 2010.  On 8 November, the final set of Paper 1s will be given, and after that, these subjects will be put to rest.  The peacemaking, peacekeeping material is easily integrated into most regional options and […] Find out more

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Nh, Mc, Ts, Og

Do these letters mean anything to you?  I expect not so please don’t worry if you have not seen them before. That said, they are the symbols for the most recent addition of elements to the periodic table. To give these new elements their official names (and proton numbers) we have: Nihonium (Nu) – 113 […] Find out more

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The Art of Knowing

There is no shortage of people who view Art or the arts as a largely redundant luxury which, other than as time filler, seem to add very little to the total sum of human knowledge. Art for them is an entirely self-indulgent, subjective and emotion driven enterprise. Artists do not solve problems, they do not […] Find out more

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A contemporary poet for complicated times

I’d like to recommend the poetry of Daljit Nagra as an entrance into the many complex issues that we are all living with these days, the issues of identity, multicultural life, migration. Sometimes literature can open up new avenues of thinking about our place in the world, and I have to say that Nagra’s work […] Find out more

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IB Diploma Design Technology Report on OCC – Examination Session May 2016

Hi all, If you ignore most of my posts, not a problem but this one is incredible important as it flags up the Examination session report for May 2016 on the OCC. Why this is important, and probably more important than in previous years – well as this is the first cohort that has taken […] Find out more

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Bulgaria enters the war, October 1915

Nearly 102 years ago, the Bulgarians entered the Great War on the side of the Central Powers.  While it began the 20th century as a client state of Russia it had become increasingly alienated from its patron.  As a member of the Balkan League it found itself in an unlikely alliance of Balkan countries.  The […] Find out more

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A gallery of images

This week I have been working with IB Theatre students in Stratford at TaPS (Theatre and Performance Symposium) for ISTA (The International Schools Theatre Association). I had a group of 23 students that were a huge range of nationalities, ability and knowledge. As a result the work I do with them aims to equip them […] Find out more

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Great Mathematicians 2 – Rene Descartes

Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine, in France, in 1596. However, he spent much of his life in Holland where he found the more liberal environment conducive to his philosophical views. Although best remembered as “the father of modern philosophy”, whose work is still the basis of much philosophical discourse, he was also […] Find out more

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Readying year two students for their Independent study

This post is a transcript of a presentation (above) which I made to my own students following feedback on their first attempts in identifying topics and tackling a rationale for their Independent studies. The Independent Study The rationale – maximum 100 words The screenplay –  8 to 10 pages (no gaps or unnaturally large margins – […] Find out more

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ART AND CONCEPT: What’s in a Glass of Water?

This post is about the visual arts course with reference to contemporary art, conceptual qualities, conceptual art and found objects ***The visual arts “Conceptual Qualities” criterion does not necessarily mean Conceptual Art, and Conceptual Art does not necessarily mean Found Objects. In the recent examination session a number of students went down a strongly ‘conceptual’ […] Find out more

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Mess – o – potamia (homage to Jon Stewart) in World War I

World War I took place on may different fronts, but the focus tends to be on the Western front and a few key battles here and there.   This post will focus on the Mesopotamian campaigns. As you read through this, consider the following question: How did the Mesopotamian campaign affect the course and outcome […] Find out more

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