Long Beach HS IB Students Get Head Start on Extended Essays

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Long Beach High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma candidates have been taking this summer as an opportunity to delve deeper into the Extended Essay, one of the three required central elements that must be completed in order for an International Baccalaureate Diploma to be obtained. The district hosted four writing workshops that offered the IB seniors an advantage on their upcoming school year with guidance from staff advisors.

The Extended Essay is a research paper that allows students to deeply explore a topic of their choosing in a written paper of approximately 4000 words.  The workshops are designed to help the students develop and utilize organizational strategies that will allow them to complete the project.  IB graduates report that the Extended Essay was one of the best preparations they had for the type of writing that was expected of them in college. The high school held two morning sessions and two evening events in July and August, in order to accommodate a variety of students’ schedules. While they were optional, overall attendance was strong and several students attended more than one session.
Having already determined their inspirations and topics of interest, the students are now in the research and composition phases of their essays. They are in the process of finalizing their essential questions, obtaining valid information sources and initiating outlines. One-on-one conversations with IB Coordinator Jennifer Quinn and IB Extended Essay Coordinator Toni Weiss offered guidance to the workshop attendees.

"At the workshops we are able to continue to help students use databases to selected peer-reviewed articles and valid sources for their research,” Ms. Quinn stated. “As the students collect resources we are able to help them to narrow their research questions or make necessary adjustments. These are all valuable lessons that will greatly help them to succeed in college. They're able to get one on one supervision throughout the entire writing process, which is priceless."

A member of the high school’s baseball team, Dillon Razler decided to incorporate his passion for sports into his essay about how civil rights laws influenced baseball. He drew upon his readings about Jackie Robinson for inspiration and has been making use of the Questia Schools database.  
“The guidance is the best part,” Dillon said of the sessions. “It’s much easier to do this before school starts in September.”

Jesse Scott is investigating civil rights as well, but from a different angle that relates to student activism. While he spent significant time working independently and already had a favorable beginning to the process, the summer workshops enabled him to expand his work. “It helps me focus and is good to have people to bounce ideas off of,” he said.

Logan Friedman is looking within the science fiction novel “Cat’s Cradle,” by Kurt Vonnegut, for a specific topic. The overall theme explores religion and science.  

“All of the students who attended the workshops made progress with their essays, which will definitely take some of the pressure off of senior year,” said Ms. Weiss. “It's a great opportunity for them to focus on their extended essays in the absence of other academic demands.”

As the summer concludes and the 2017-18 school year begins, the students will work with the mentors to whom they have been assigned as they move forward in their essay development.