March 24's celebration featured the work of almost 60 students. Learn about topics and approaches used by students...
Published : Monday, March 28, 2016 | 1:43 PM
A celebration of Blair 10th graders’ student work extended the entire day on Thursday, March 24. The 2016 Personal Project Showcase took over the gym for the evening, with the entire community invited, following an in-house showcase during the school day for fellow students.
As an International Baccalaureate World School, all Blair students in grades 6-10 are in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme. In the fifth and final year, 10th graders pursue an in-depth investigation of their own choice. With these “Personal Projects,” students apply the process learned in IB of inquiry, action and reflection.
• the history of conflict in El Salvador
• feeding the homeless on Skid Row
• the affect of music on fashion
• solo backpacking in the Joshua Tree Wilderness
• a model for a theoretical senior home in Pasadena
• society’s view of female beauty
• training for high school swim competition
• premature babies
Close to 60 students displayed Personal Project results at the Showcase, and visitors had the opportunity to hear personally from students about their endeavors. After visiting the Showcase, Blair students and staff voted to recognize four projects in particular:
* Student Vote For Favorite Project: Dreams by Marilyn Benavides
* Staff Vote For Favorite Project: Lexus vs. BMW–Two Sports Cars Compared by Matthew Melendez
* Most Creative Project: Soccer Cleats: The Timeline by Samarjit Rana
* Most Popular Project: Time Travel—Science Or Fiction, by Rufus Pappy
Each winner received a $25 Amazon gift card.
During the Showcase awards, Johanna Dickie was also recognized as statewide winner of the California IB World Schools (CAWS) Lifelong Learner Award. Principal Trudell Skinner presented Johanna with a $250 scholarship from CAWS.
Students also used a variety of approaches to explore their topics and to present their findings, such as traditional research, in-person interviews, video production, website creation, poetry, acquiring new skills, travel and cooking. The Personal Project process has resulted in the completion of a full-length science fiction novel, a comic book (in Chinese about the Battle of Waterloo), photography collections, original music recordings, a pop-up book for children and short stories.
The Personal Project Showcase was a great celebration not only of students’ months of hard work on their projects, but of their years of academic, social, and personal development as IB MYP students. Blair’s IB MYP Coordinator Mr. Scott Michaelson was also instrumental in seeing students through to completion of their projects.
A special thanks to longtime Blair community partner Lake Avenue Church for helping underwrite the costs of putting on the Personal Project Showcase event, now sure to be an annual tradition at Blair.
The Personal Project is not a homework assignment but a significant body of work produced over an extended period. As their culminating endeavor of grades 6-10, it is a product of students’ own initiative and reflects their experience in the MYP. Because projects are student-centered and student-driven they enable students to engage in practical explorations through the IB learning cycle of inquiry and action. Students are encouraged to reflect on their learning and the outcomes of their work–key skills that prepare them for success in further study, the workplace and the community. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) Personal Projects will now be reviewed and submitted for external assessment by IB.
The next step for these 10th grade students is to consider the challenge of the rigorous and prestigious IB Diploma Programme in 11th and 12th grade. Among other requirements, Diploma students write a 4,000 word original research Extended Essay. To learn more about the International Baccalaureate (IB) programs at Blair, contact Scott Michaelson, IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator Karen Law, IB Diploma Programme Coordinator
Blair High and Middle School, 1135 S. Euclid Avenue (temporary address), Pasadena, (626) 396-5820 or visit blair.pusd.us/pages/Blair_High.