Hoover IB Bugle

A Spring 2013 Update

A Big IB Round of Applause

Each of you have played an important role in our growth and success as an IB Candidate School. Thank you for your continued support, hard work and open-mindedness in learning more about how the IB model can strengthen the Hoover experience for students and staff. We've had some awesome examples of IB in action this year, and experiences get stronger by the week. From unit questions posted on boards, to Algebra I students using real numbers calculated from their own carbon footprints, to exhibits about evolution as part of a Community and Service unit in Biology, to exposing students to international perspectives with musicians in residence from Mexico -- we've got excellent work going on!

Three Fundamental Concepts of IB

The IB Middle Years Program is grounded in THREE fundamental concepts -- Holistic Learning, Intercultural Awareness, and Communication.
It is extremely important to know and be able to articulate each of these concepts -- it's at the heart of IB's educational philosophy. Holistic learning builds natural links for students between individual subjects and the world around them. Students who exhibit intercultural awareness mature to become adults who are able to appreciate other perspectives and cultures. Intercultural awareness encourages tolerance and respect for others, as well as empathy and understanding as they consider others' rights to be different. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, encourages students to value all forms of communication, including different languages, the written word, and the arts, as forms of expression.

The IB Areas of Interaction

Have you experimented with incorporating an Area of Interaction (AOI) into instructional activities and assessments? While the initial plan was to hit the ground running with emphasizing AOIs in the fall (much in the way we did this year with our friend the IB Learner Profile), our IB consultant's report targeted evidence of teacher and student understanding of AOIs as a critical IB practice that requires immediate attention.
Areas of Interaction are IB's common way of creating holistic connections between content, concepts and the real world. Using an AOI in discussion and activities motivates students (and teachers too!) by making curricular content more interesting, thus further engaging students and improving retention of knowledge.
All teacher must be using AOIs from here out. You don't need an IB unit created to pick an AOI and connect it to learning experiences. Try it out. I'm happy to help brainstorm ideas - don't hesitate to holler.
Ah, before I forget, take a moment check out the interactive bulletin board outside of Eric Hall's classroom for an idea of how to visually accompany an AOI.

Check out what colleagues using the Areas of Interaction are saying...
“Students really got into the whole idea that advancements attributed to human ingenuity in mathematics are so deeply embedded in all we do today. I related it to the historical aspect of Pythagoras, a who was eventually discredited for believing all numbers were rational. At the end of the lesson, students used higher order thinking skills to explain (during a Write to Learn reflection) how they depend on mathematical advancements as part of their daily lives.” -- Patty Cusmano, Algebra I Teacher

Human ingenuity is at the core of how scientists work. Chemistry students are being encouraged to bring a creative mind to the lab work we’re currently engaged in. Although we always have SOME boundaries in the work we do, with a little outside-of-the-box thinking, who knows what we might come up with!" -- Eric Hall, Chemistry Teacher

"The AOI’s have given me a context for my next unit. The framework of these concepts will allow me to better support students in their independent research by giving them a frame of references. In this manner the AOI’s will limit the confusion about what to do by giving students a starting point that is more authentic and student driven." -- Amber Davison, History

An Appointment with Your Friendly IB Coordinator

I will be scheduling a 15 minute visit with each of you during the last week if April and first of May. I will send you a meeting invitation, along with a few reflective questions that will guide our conference.

Please remember the expectation that each teacher plan and teach two units using the MYP planning model before the end of the year. All units must be uploaded to Atlas Rubicon. At least one of the two units from this year need to have been assessed using the IB published criteria for your subject (find this in your IB subject guide). A third unit will need to be written during the first month of next school year. Hoover and Meredith will be submitting sample units for each subject and grade level with with our application for authorization.

I ask that you bring a unit to share when we meet. If you need help with crafting a unit or want to spiff up an existing unit, this handy checklist will help.

Chinese Exchange Teacher at Hoover Next Fall

Next fall we will welcome a Chinese exchange teacher to Hoover! A grant obtained through the Teachers of Critical Languages Program allows Hoover to begin introducing students to Mandarin Chinese next fall. While details are just starting to come in, we're excited to offer our students this opportunity. We're looking forward to his or her arrival right in time for the State Fair!

Follow up from IB Consultant Visit

IB consultant Brent McDonough visited in late February to assess our progress with implementing the IB program. His visit was productive in recognizing successes and strengths, as well as helping to guide our work moving forward. The next months and beginning of the school year are a critical time in our authorization process. One outcome of Mr. McDonough's visit is a progress report that gauges our implementation of nearly 100 IB standards and practices. We must be able to show we have satisfied each of these "benchmarks" by the time we submit our final application for authorization, which happens in October, 2013. While it's a bit to dig through, feel free to see me for a full copy of the report.