Students using Google Scholar for their academic research are in for a rude awakening. Google Scholar does not vet (eg verify their sources, not peer/scholar-review, etc) their "scholarly" articles. It could be totally bogus research. Bolding and underlining are mine, not the NYT.
"...but Google Scholar does not vet the journals it indexes. The journals are giving rise to a wider ecosystem of pseudo science. For the academic who wants to add credentials to a résumé, for instance, publishers also hold meetings where, for a hefty fee, you can be listed as a presenter — whether you actually attend the meeting or not" (Kolata). Reading the whole article, it's obvious that there are many ways to "pad" your resume with fake academic accolades.
Fake news has, unsurprisingly, permeated into fake research articles.
This underscores the need for cross-referencing your sources, and using REAL databases, such as JSTOR, EbscoHost and ProQuest. Our school has a school membership with the National Library Board, and this includes access to over 101 authoritative and specialised databases and ebooks. Access is possible 24/7 for most of these sources.
Furthermore, it is really obvious to me as a supervisor, both Extended Essay (EE) and Personal Project, when students have searched Google Scholar and read only the abstract. There is an absence of in-depth knowledge of the article, both in the EE when it is cited in-text, and when I verbally asked them for further details.
Academic rigour and variety of sources is required to fulfil the 12 marks for Criterion C for Critical Thinking (Research) and 6 marks for Criterion E: Engagement (Research Focus), That's a total of 18 marks out of 34, 53% of the total marks possible. See the assessment overview table below.
Students will need to click more than 2 times to find the appropriate and relevant sources.
International Baccalaureate Organization.”Assessment: Overview.” Guide Extended Essay. International Baccalaureate Organization, Oct 2017b, .https://ibpublishing.ibo.org/extendedessay/apps/dpapp/tsm.html?doc=d_0_eeyyy_gui_1602_1_e&part=2&chapter=2&query=abstract#N1_3_7_2_4_4_6_3_3_1. Accessed on Nov 4 2017.
Kolata, Gina. "Science: Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals". New York Times. New York Times, Oct 30 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/science/predatory-journals-academics.html. Accessed on Nov 2 2017.
Part 1 - Creating a Word Wall for Horror Writing
We have a small EAL group within the Y7 group. While they did the first lesson with the mainstream class, in a subsequent class I did a separate lesson for them whereby they generated vocabulary that was related to horror writing. First they worked in pairs, then shared the words they came up with. The purpose of this was twofold:
1) that they would build their confidence by seeing their collective contributions to the word wall
2) that they would have a useful set of vocabulary to use to write their horror story
Here is their final product:
The EAL teacher and I emphasised the need for good adjectives to describe places, people and actions. Based on this we gave them a bit more time to focus on adjectives and they were added into the word wall.
I also showed them the word walls from the other two Y7s mainstream classes, as well as a handout from the BBC on Horror Writing.
Part 2: Creating a Horror Story Through Pictures
Then I had them divide a page in their notebooks into 4 sections:
- person (character)
- place (setting)
- action (plot)
- ending (resolution)
Because they were EAL students, I did not want them to be limited by their English or concerned with writing, spelling or grammar errors. For this reason, I asked them to draw these parts of their story, and only use words if they wanted to. I played some scary music while they were writing and encouraged them to be as creative and detailed as they wanted to be. After some guidance, clarifications of instructions and getting them to settle down, students were more engage than I expected so I let them finish during class time and homework.
Originally I had planned to give them some time at the end of class to present, but as they were so engaged, we decided to let them present their story verbally to the class with a time limit of 3 minutes each in the next class.
Before presenting in the next class, students had a time to integrate words from the word wall to their images. They also rehearsed how they would present their stories to the class. They were all quite animated and presented their stories with much enthusiasm and confidence.
It's that time again - Parent Teacher Student Conferences on Oct 30 and 31!
This also means that there will be a 2 day Extended Essay (EE) Workshop for Y12s and Y13s.
Each year group will have a different area of focus. The Y13s are finishing their final drafts and should have the last feedback from their supervisors. Their EEs should be 90% done and students should be reflecting back on their first experiences of doing independent research.
I have had parents tell me that their child should invest very little time on the EE in comparison to other IBDP subjects. After all, it is only worth 1.5 points, right? The EE, together with the ToK essay and presentation, another 1.5 points, can add another 3 points to the 42, making it total of 45 possible points.
I have told parents that I must, respectfully, disagree with them. Firstly, the independent scholarly research and writing skills that are used in the EE, will be repeatedly used in university, up the doctoral level. Secondly, it's better for students to make their mistakes with me now and their EE supervisors, rather than with the external moderators who will give the final grade. As EE supervisors, we can only give a predicated grade.
Inversely, the Y12s are just starting their EEs, so we want them to have a solid foundation before starting any writing or research. With this purpose in mind, I aim to:
1) Facilitate inquiry into a subject that they are genuinely interested in. They need to sustain that interest for 4000 words of independent writing. They should NOT be developing their research question or thesis statement at this early stage.
2) Know the EE assessment criteria from the IBO. I will break the Y12s students into groups based on their EE subjects (eg. Physics, Economics) and they will create posters based on their subject-specific criteria from the IBO EE Criteria and share them with the class. They will also explain to the whole class, 5 do's and don'ts of the EE, in addition to summarising the assessment criteria.
3) Meet their EE supervisors for the first time and be clear on the roles and expectations of both the EE students and their supervisor, according to the IBO EE Criteria.
4) Review online scholarly sources at our school and at the National Library Board (NLB). NLB has over 101 databases, many of which can be used 24/7 online remotely. I will use the video below from NLB and show it to our students. Our school has a school membership so all students have access to this online resource.
5) We will also review citation and in-text referencing according to MLA 8 with Y12s. MLA is the school standard for citing sources and is approved by the IBO as an accepted form of citation for student submitted work. The orange abridged version of the MLA 8 will be shared with all Y12s via Managebac, and we have 2 print copies of the MLA 8, unabridged, to borrow from the library.
I will also recommend all Y12s to read or skim the book, Three, by Alexander Louev. Although the assessment criteria has changed for the EE in 2016, the principles of scoring high are the same. It's a short, practical, entertaining and straightforward read about how to do the EE right.
Louev is not an IB teacher and he does not work for the IBO. But as an IBDP student he scored a perfect 3 on both ToK and EE . He scored a total of 43 out of 45 points in the IB Diploma. He later went on to study economics and business at Oxford University. He now runs his own tutoring business, and has successfully tutored over 400 students in economics and mathematics. His business is so successful that he no longer takes on any new students. Here is his website.
You can read my review of Louev's book, Three, on Goodreads.
Watch this space to see what our Y12s produce and share to show from the 2 day EE workshop!
The Y9s have just finished reading Animal Farm. To help them understand the power of words and propaganda, we had a short lesson on how to write effective slogans.
To get them settled as they entered the classroom , we did a quiz from page 51 of Made You Look: How Advertising Works and Why You Should Know.
I also showed some famous slogans so that students could see the common elements that made them powerful, effective and memorable.
Based on these examples, students worked in groups and came up with the following conclusions about how to make effective slogans.
Last week students were given a handout on different strategies to form commandments to support their slogans from the Institute of Propaganda Analysis in 1937. Students had to employ 4 different strategies to support their own slogan, much like the characters in Animal Farm. But first I gave them an example of my own slogan of how to end world hunger, that was actually inspired by the this book. By using the Frayer model, they had to guess which commandment strategies I had used in each quadrant.
Students guessed the correct commandment strategies I employed and also justified how other strategies could have been used from their perspectives. Here's the other teacher's example using Animal Farm.
Students then embarked on creating their own slogans and supporting commandments, also using a Frayer model.
I had recently finished reading Alec Baldwin's Nevertheless and genuinely enjoyed it. I was surprised at how funny, generous and humble he was, and strongly suspected a ghost writer. However after watching several interviews where he promoted his book, it was obvious that the narrative voice was his own, that in fact, the book did not do justice as to how intelligent, humorous and articulate Baldwin is in person. Chapter 9 specifically dealt with how Baldwin was mentally and physically challenged by the role of Stanley Kowalski, how he felt the spectre of Marlon Brandon looming over him. Streetcar aside, it was a low point for the actor, both professionally in movies, and personally, with his first marriage falling apart and leaving his long time manager and friend. For Baldwin, Streetcar was his Mount Everest to conquer, his challenge that could redeem him professionally and personally if he could rise above the spectre of Brando's Stanley.
I knew the Y12s were studying Streetcar as they had borrowed it as a class only weeks before so mentioned how much I enjoyed Nevertheless. I mentioned theTheatre teacher how Chapter 9 might be relevant for their study of Streetcar. After she gave me the task sheet, I could see it as an example of a primary source for their task. For their summative task for this course, the Y12 had to research and integrate primary and secondary sources into their work. Specifically they were required to research and explain the theoretical and/or cultural context(s) from which the play originates. Students had to explain the ideas addressed by the play text and explain how these are presented by the playwright.
I had already borrowed the book from the library, but then I also downloaded the audiobook from the library via Overdrive. I made copies of selected texts from Nevertheless for the students to highlight, annotate and make notes as we listened to Baldwin read the the text. But before we read the text together (with Baldwin), I asked them to look for the following:
The student and the teacher expressed that this was a useful primary source and definitely would integrate into the task where possible.
Video by Elaine Fong