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IB @ WMS Developing International Mindedness

What does it mean to be internationally-minded? An internationally-minded student has:

  • the ability to be better prepared for the 21st century global challenges
  • awareness that the world is much larger than the community in which we live
  • the ability to see oneself as a responsible member of the community and a global citizen
Eighth grade students attend the Community Service Fair as they kickoff their year-long Community Leadership Project.

This concept is central to the IB education and is a foundational principle to its teaching philosophy. The IB mission statement clarifies: “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

At Westlake Middle School, students are being given the tools to develop their international-mindedness everyday in their classrooms. They have the opportunity to go global without going anywhere. Teachers are bringing the larger world to WMS through language, technology, and hands-on research.

Cyber Robotics Coding Competition

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In Ely Perry’s Tech Ed classes, students at all grade levels are learning about and working with the international language of computer code. Every sixth grade class, along with all the middle schoolers in the Robotics Club, have been actively engaging in an on-line coding competition called Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC). Students compete against teams from across the United States by coding robots to complete missions. In honing these skills, they are learning about logic and programming, in the same manner and language, as other students around the country and the world.

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Across the school, the lessons in international-mindedness continue. In Lauren Balcer’s sixth grade science classroom, students are learning why it is important to be global citizens who take responsibility for the world that we live in. In their current unit in Chemistry, they are studying the environmental and ecological consequences of using synthetic versus natural products. The students conduct research to understand how using a non-renewable resource, such as fossil fuels, for products that we depend on in our daily lives may affect the health and livelihoods of people living in areas where the resources are harvested. These lessons connect classroom processes with significant local and global challenges.

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These are just two examples of how the IB framework is influencing the curriculum at Westlake Middle School. Students are able to take their typical middle school studies and apply it to the real world on a global level. Having an awareness of the needs and concerns of people living across the world allows the students to make choices in their life that will positively affect not only themselves, but others that they may not even know.

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