IB Program Newsletter

September 2021

Click here to go to the Massena IB Website

You will find more information on the IB Program!

Coordinator's Message


I hope everyone has had a great start to their year!! It is truly wonderful having students back in the building. This monthly newsletter is our opportunity to let the wider school community know what is happening in the Program.

You will see evidence of the IB Approaches to Teaching and Learning. These approaches target certain skills we work to develop in students using research-based strategies.

We will also show how our students are embodying the IB Learner Profile attributes. In addition, there will be a section devoted to the Core of the Program, which all full diploma students must complete.


Warmest regards,

Mrs. Jan Normile

IB Program Coordinator

Important Dates

Friday, October 22, 2021

Payment of exam fees (if applicable), Registration Form and Honor Code due OCTOBER 22.

Full Diploma Seniors

Full IB Diploma Juniors


Students in Mrs. David's IB Biology HL class learned the importance of the surface area to volume ratio and its limitation on cell size. They practiced this concept in a lab where each group had different sized special "blue jelly" cubes that turned yellow in vinegar. They observed the time required for the cubes to turn completely yellow; smaller cubes turned yellow faster than larger cubes due to their larger surface area to volume ratio! Then, students competed in a contest where they designed their own blue jelly "cell" that maximized the surface area to volume ratio. Congratulations to Maddie Tusa, Braydon Dutton and Lia Lazare for having the winning designs and creating a cell with the most surface area relative to its volume!


In Mr. Simpson's IB Visual Arts class, senior IB student Alexa Seeber is working on a self portrait. Though not complete yet, the piece will be a part of her senior exhibition.

Communicators & Risk-Takers

Students in Mrs. Violi's IB Math class completed an ice breaker activity called the Human Knot. The focus of this activity is to establish team building, problem solving, and communication skills. In the first round, the students were not allowed to speak and had to communicate using non-verbal cues. In the second round, some people were blindfolded and they had to listen to instructions from their peers. After the rounds were complete, the students shared strategies that were successful and the attempts that were less effective.


Social & Communication Skills

Developing international-mindedness: Students in Mrs. Vierno's IB English class are finishing up their first unit. The students shared and discussed character analysis reductions after reading selected short stories by Russian author Anton Chekhov (pictured to the right). This is their first study of a works in translation. In this part of the course, students are encouraged to appreciate the different perspectives of people from other cultures and to consider the role that culture plays in making sense of literary works. The unit consisted of 5 short stories, which were analyzed from a variety of contexts including: literary, cultural, biographical, historical and philosophical lenses. Students then presented their work to the whole class for discussion.

Research Skills

Students in Mrs. LaGarry's IB Biology SL class conducted research into how chewing gum affects performance on a memory match game.

Approaches to Teaching

Teaching Informed by Assessment

Students in Mrs. Normile's IB Psychology classes regularly practice vocabulary terms with Quizizz, a gamified student engagement platform. Students can play the games multiple times individually. They also have "competitions" in-class where students can play the quiz live with power-ups and redemption questions.

Teaching Developed in Global and Local Contexts

Map of the Americas - Students in Mr. Covell's History class are researching geographical themes. To have a full understanding of any historical event, one must first have a basic understanding of an area’s geography. A basic understanding of geography is a must for any historical investigation because the area’s geography often plays an important role in the outcome of events. Students traced out the map of their region, created a map key and added thematic information.

The Core of the Diploma Program

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

The TOK Juniors have been exploring what TOK is all about. They completed different tasks to illustrate the 4 aims of the course. Students were asked to reflect on whether they are 'TOK Thinkers.' We have also examined how they will be assessed in TOK, leading to a broader discussion of education and how we assess the potential of human beings. Students were asked to design and present their own ideal educational systems.