I have finished reading the senior draft CAS portfolios. Mrs. Kraft will also be reading them during the first few weeks of the third quarter. Twenty-six seniors have already demonstrated achievement of all eight required learning outcomes. I will be including the CAS Individual Student Completion Form in each portfolio. Please keep these with the portfolio, as I will be completing and signing these forms in March. Also, please consult these forms to see which learning outcomes are missing, so that you can work on demonstrating these in further reflections.
Monthly Archives: December 2012
This is especially for the seniors, whose CAS portfolios I am finishing reading today, but it is good advice for the sophomores as well. When you fill in the dates on your reflection sheets and tables of contents, please include the year as well as the month and days. That will make it easier to verify your activity.
Also, please be clear in providing dates in general so that I can verify that you spent at least 18 months on CAS. Thank you.
I have updated the CAS activity reflection form and the table of contents. You will find the new forms on my website. I have also made the same changes in the “Forms” section of the CAS handbook. The reflection questions now better reflect the order and content of the eight required learning outcomes.
Remember, as you have supervisors complete the supervisor evaluation form, they are not expected to check off every box in the learning outcomes section. In fact, it would be surprising if they did directly observe a student achieve all eight in one CAS project.
General Schwarzkopf, ground commander during the Persian Gulf War, passed away in Tampa yesterday. Here is the New York Times obituary.
I am noticing some problems common to many, if not most, of the CAS portfolios. These issues need attention since the 1 March deadline will be here before you know it, and I have no intention of being forgiving about this deadline.
1. The reflection questions require specific, clear answers. I am reading reflections that are so broad and general as to be essentially meaningless, and I believe this is a function of students trying too hard to sound profound. Where I ask for new skills, I am looking for specific skills. If you learned a new backhand in tennis or how to write a Java program or how to play a classical guitar piece, then state that clearly. If you became aware of the ethical considerations of your actions when you fought the temptation to pad your service hours or discovered and disciplined a kid for cheating at the MAO invitational, then say that. You do not have to deliver deep insights about the human condition when reflecting on every learning outcome.
2. Dates! Dates are either missing or listed in the most mysterious way possible. It is imperative that I can verify 18 months of continuous activity, or I cannot in good conscience allow you to sit for your IB exams. Date ranges must be stated clearly on all paperwork, especially the table of contents page.
3. Where are your essays? Reflection sheets? Tables of contents? Supervisor evaluations? Will you be doing these all the night before the final deadline? You will find me decidedly unsympathetic when you come to me with incomplete materials and sudden news that the supervisor of a project you did last year has retired and moved to Papua New Guinea and you can’t get a signature. The purpose of this draft is to ensure that all students are basically ready to go by the 1 March deadline and that we will have 49 complete CAS portfolios.
I must be cruel in order to be kind. I want to see all of you complete this program successfully, but you cannot do this with the documentation you’ve given me. Trust me, you cannot do the whole thing at the last minute. By the way, that isn’t a challenge. It is sincere advice from a teacher who cares about your success.
There is a CAS opportunity coming up on Saturday, 12 January, from 12:00-5:00pm. The Spring House, not far from here, was the only house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Florida. The nonprofit Spring House Institute is hosting a workday to clean, do yard work, and other odd jobs as part of the restoration project. Please let me know if you are interested. The institute’s website can be found here: http://www.preservespringhouse.org/
IB juniors need to be aware that the winter CAS report is due soon. The original deadline was 8 January. However, I will still be dealing with senior CAS books, so I am postponing the deadline for one week, until 15 January. See the CAS section of my website for details.
I have uploaded the detailed third nine week schedules for all classes (AP US History, IB Contemporary History, and IB History of the Americas) on my class websites. I have also posted updated and revised History Book Club instructions. I will be holding to the deadline to acquire the books strictly this term, since neither selection is in the public domain and both are lengthy books, you will need adequate time to purchase or borrow these texts in order to read them thoroughly.
IB history students will also find the first term lists and reading questions for the third nine weeks on the class websites. It is going to be a hectic term, so you might want to get started on these over the break. I will have the reading questions for John Lewis Gaddis’s The Cold War: A New History on the website by the middle of next week. Bear in mind that this is required reading for all IB junior and senior history students, just like the MacMillan book last semester.
Of special interest to seniors, I have uploaded the PowerPoint presentation of the internal assessment debriefing I will be giving upon our return to school on 7 January.