The Lower Sixth IB Core Weekend is a perennial event with the main purpose being to get acquainted with two of the main core elements of the IB, namely the CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) and TOK (Theory of Knowledge) programmes. Both of these core elements, along with the extended essay (EE) are required for an IB Diploma pass, and as such it is vital that our pupils both understand and ‘buy in’ to these interesting and rewarding aspects of the Diploma.
Due to current restrictions, the 2021 Core Weekend was held entirely online and spread across Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. This gave us enough time to engage in a number of ‘core’ based activities and then to round off with an interactive team building challenge.
Friday afternoon consisted of a general welcome and introduction to the IB and CAS led by myself, Dr Tomlinson and Ms Rushbrook. An integral part of the CAS programme is learning to reflect on a variety of experiences under the umbrella of Creativity (C), Activity (A) and Service (S). With this in mind our pupils were challenged to try something new and present their experiences via a video uploading platform called Flipgrid. First up was the ‘creativity’ challenge, whereby pupils were asked to produce either a short piece of creative writing or an impromptu portrait made from found materials such as clothes or recycling materials. A huge variety of responses were recorded, with some hugely impressive examples of creativity. Following this, the ‘activity’ challenge focussed on pupils learning a new skill, in this case, juggling. Ably instructed by Mr Scott (MCM’s resident master juggler), our pupils were given half an hour to give it a go and record their triumphs (and disasters!). Saoban’s attempt at juggling with eggs was a particular highlight!
Saturday morning started off with a focus on TOK (Theory of Knowledge). Mr Tapp and Mr Glynn gave highly informative talks on TOK and how it can become an essential part of their learning. TOK is not always immediately grasped, so to be able to explain it in an unhurried and relaxed setting can make all the difference to a newly minted IB pupil.
Next up was a technical session led by our new Head of CAS, Ms Rushbrook. Our pupils were introduced to and then were set up on the Managebac online platform. Managebac is a management tool for recording progress through the IB and is mostly used for CAS reflections and the EE. It was then that the experiences from Friday could be used as reflections to get the CAS ball rolling.
As a final activity, we felt that some team building would be in order! Not letting the fact that we were online hinder us, a Singapore based company that specialises in ‘Escape Room’ challenges joined us. Our pupils were split into 10 groups and each team was given a series of online puzzles and challenges in an attempt to save their village from a marauding werewolf. Congratulations to all that completed this – it was not easy!
The weekend was a resounding success, and the feedback from the pupils (via a google form of course!) very much concurred. My thanks go to Dr Tomlinson, Ms Rushbrook, Mr Tapp and Mr Glynn for their enthusiasm and commitment throughout what was a highly useful and rewarding experience.
Greg Holden | Head of 6th Form