It has been far too long for my taste!

The title says it all! It has been over ten days since our last post; I could give you a list of excuses, but then again there really is no good excuse. I speak for all three of us when I say that school has been busy. Introduction to Socratic Seminar, practice French I.A.s, and angiosperms come to mind. Of course the most important event of the past two weeks or so was the Senior Retreat. Over the next week I will be posting collections of pictures from the retreat, from a variety of photographers. Although I would love to give a blow by blow account about the retreat - Golden Valley Camp is like Vegas - so you will have to use deductive reasoning from the pictures! I will tell you this, Senior Retreat was an incredible expereince for all 33 of us. We formed a stronger group, connected with people we don't usually spend time with, and enjoyed ourselves so much that we had withdrawls Sunday night!

FHS Seniors, remember if you have pictures email them to me!
*picture taken by S. Knudsen


Family Photo Album

The Thieles!

Mr. Knudsen and his devoted fans!

The Brother and Sister Science Duo

Hot Dogs!

An affair for all ages...

Our Counselors

Familiar Faces

Familiar Families

Helping Hands

Family Time
This young lady, is an eighth grader
at our MYP candidate middle school, Fong (fomerly Hamilton)

Water Polo recruitment!

Ms. Spagnola and Mrs. Berninger

Alumni and Mrs. Knudsen

Lets go fly a kite...

To everyone who came out to the picnic, thank you! To everyone who couldn't make it, you were missed. Can't wait to see everyone next year!


One Big Happy I.B. Family!!!

Since school started, the term IB Family has taken on a whole new meaning! In the month of August alone, four events have been planned (or have already taken place).

Warm Up Day was held the first Friday of the new school year! The freshmen were divided into thirds and participated in three morning rotations in the library, North Gym, and Gallagher Gym. They learned about IB, MYP (middle years program), and DP (diploma program) with Mrs. Thiele; they were taught the Eight Keys to Excellence, Rum Tum Tum, 10/24/7, and S.L.A.N.T with Mr. Pafford; and they all participated in Full Body Ro-Sham-Bo and Chair Lift with Mr. Thiele. From there each individual group (with one-two senior helpers) came up with their own team name and poster to present to their class. We broke for lunch and returned to work on team cheers. The seniors showed their class spirit with their demonstration cheer (which may be posted sometime in the near future). The group cheer is a Warm Up Week tradition (my group named ourselves the Mystics and our cheer was a repeat after me song), and during the last hour of the day all twenty (yes, twenty - there are 250 freshmen!) groups performed their cheers. Of course the staff, seniors, and freshmen all acknowledged their efforts with various Whooshes (Austin Powers, Napoleon Dynamite, Regular, and the newest addition Summer in Stockton). All in all, Warm Up Day was a success!

As Warm Up Day was condensed from fifteen hours to six, please FHS 10th, 11th, 12th graders and Alumni post a comment with your favorite Warm Up Day experiences and activities!

Moving right along to Sunday, August 3rd and the IB Diploma Reception. The classes of 2008 and 2009 along with the FHS IB staff were invited the the home of Erin and Dan Thiele for a lovely celebration of our 24 IB Diploma recipients. We even had some older alumni with the two older Randolfs joining us as well. Most teachers and students attended! It was great to catch up with friends and teachers and relish in our record breaking Diploma year!

Now.... for those events still to come!

Friday, August 8th is the I.B. Family Picnic at Oak Park's Magpie Picnic center! Please join us from 6-8 p.m. for relaxation, fun, and hot dogs! Freshmen are asked to bring salads, Sophomores, desserts, Juniors/Seniors, drinks. Of course any potluck dish is welcome! This is a great opportunity to meet new families, for parents to network, and to interact with teachers outside the classroom.

The weekend of August 22-24, the 33 IB DP candidates will travel in caravan with the DP teachers to Volcano, CA for the annual Senior Retreat! This is a wonderful bonding experience that draw the entire class closer together for their last, and most difficult year!


What's Your Excuse for Being a Masochist?

Summer has ended. Time to start going to sleep before sunrise. Time to get focused. Every year there is the same buzz on the first day of school. New school clothes, supplies, and new teachers. The chance to make a fresh new start once again. So why do so few of us take this opportunity to get on track? We all say, "This years going to be different, I'm going to keep my grades up. And above all..."I am absolutely not going to PROCRASTINATE!!!!" Then we get assigned an essay and we rationalize procrastinating by thinking, "Well I'll wait until tomorrow, I have to much to do today, but tomorrow I'll finish my rough draft. It's not due for a week anyways." Three hours later, we are on myspace, facebook, watching t.v., or using some other avoidance tactic of choice. (I have even heard of some Franklin IB students choosing to clean rather that do their work.) The next day we are assigned another project that happens to be due on the same day as our essay. Days pass and our teachers knowingly ask us whether we have started on our essays and we coyly mumble in response. The day before the essay is due, we beg for an extension claiming, "We have a test and another project due that day." and innocently adding that, "It's the beginning of the year." When the teacher finally gives in to our relentless begging stating, "Well, I suppose I'll pity you just this once since you do have a test and it's the beginning of the year but don't expect it to happen again." We, of cours,e follow the same pattern and wait until the day before the essay is due to do it. When we turn it in we vow that we will never procrastinate again. But we, for some reason, forget that vow two weeks later when we are assigned another project. We are supposed to be Risk -Takers but I'm certain they didn't mean risk the chance of your grade falling in to the depths of despair because you wouldn't get focused and do the whatever-project- you-were-assigned when it was assigned. We are supposed to be reflective, this means when we figure out that procrastinating makes our lives hell and that we are the ones making IB more stressful than it needs to be, we need to fix it not fall into the same pattern year after year. So, I'm going to journey into uncharted territory and start and finish the year not procrastinating. I'll be blogging about my experiences as a non-procrastinator, better yet my experiences as an IB student who has decided to take action, which is the antonym for procrastination. I think Mrs. Theile would say that wording it that way will lead me to success because I'm focusing on what I need to do not what I don't need to do. So what do say, will you try to avoid the road to becoming a masochist with me?


To Seniors: Scheduling problems, anyone?

When I went in to have my senior meeting with Ms. Luksan, I was suprised to see that I had an empty slot for where my first period should have been.
Whoo-hoo no first period.
What actually happened was that my schedule was so fixed that all of my choices for a 6th subject class were unavailable.

The reason for this inflexibility in schedules is that this year the senior class is so small that there are often periods with classes fixed to them.
1st period: Spanish HL or French HL
2nd period: IB History
3rd period: either TOK or IB English
4th period: either TOK or IB English
5th period: IB Math Studies or IB Calculus
6th period: IB Biology or IB Chemistry
*I am fairly sure that the schedules are set with this framework, however I may have confused some of the classes.

Anyways, since I had already tested out of my Language and 6th subject period, that left me with two empty periods and one of those slots being taken up by the TOK class.
Yet, my schedule left me with only a first period slot opening, with my 2nd to 6th periods set, completely set and inflexible.

What I choose last year as my 6th subject (Physics) was not offered first period. My second option, taking the junior year level Chemistry was also unavailable for first period.

The only options that I had to work with was taking a forth year of Spanish; picking up a 7th period class and run a 2nd period-7th period day (Dance or Theater); or taking a non-IB class such as yearbook, home economics, journalism, or teacher's assistant which would be graded off of a 4.0 scale as opposed to 5.0 ib classes.

To be honest none of these options were very appealing to me. I had no desire to take another year of spanish (even with all of the benefits of having a second language..sorry), and I did not want to take dance or theater. So what I worked out as a reasonable option for myself was possibly being a teacher's assistant for the new pre-IB music appreciation class that is now required for all freshmen.
*a little sidenote: There is no longer an Inquiry class. It is now replaced by half a year of IB music appreciation and a half year of PE.

So I am going to end this post with a little survey. If we could have another IB class (one that was not yet offered at Franklin) what would you like:
1. Another language class (Japanese, Chinese, Latin, Russian, German, Latin, etc.)
2. Business and Management
3. Classical Greek and Latin
4. Computer Science (I am only including this because we no longer have the class)
5. Design Technology
6. Economics
7. Environmental Systems and Societies
8. Film
9. Geography
10. Human Rights
11. Information Technology in a Global Society
12. Peace and Conflict Studies
13. Philosophy
14. Politics
15. Social and Cultural Anthropology
16. World Religions

You can submit your top 3 preferences in a comment.

Well that is all.
I hope to see you all on the first day of school.


My Sixth Subject Rant

So today I found myself at school standing in line to get my textbooks out in the hot, hot sun squished between many, many tenth graders. In my house, only one trip is made to school for orientation therefore I had to go with my kid brother to do all my work. This was not as easy as one might think. First of all my schedule was not printed yet (luckily I had already been given a preliminary which I promptly memorized), then I threw poor Ms. Reed in the textbook room off. She was not ready for I.B. seniors yet and had to scramble every which way in order to get all my books.

Backtracking slightly to little old me standing in that long line in the sun - I overheard lots of I.B. sophomores who I knew only by sight discussing their class schedules. There were the general fears that "Ugh I don't want to have Ms. --- because I heard from my friend that she is mean" and "I wanted Mr. --- but for some reason he is not teaching that class this year" along with "Great! I have Ms. --- I have wanted her for a while!" and then there was gossip about teachers and their love lives, babies, and other aspects of their personal lives (at Franklin we are extremely close to our teachers).

I smiled inwardly, remembering that I was like that only two years before. I thought the whole situation was cute until I heard the conversation turn to what classes they were taking for their sixth subject. For one reason or another these girls were fairly ignorant about the whole process of choosing their I.B. elective. One girl was talking about Physics and how her counselor had told her she should take it because she was a straight A student, which meant she had to take a seventh period Theatre class in order to fill her VAPA (visual and performing arts) requirement. Her friend was taking art, and the first girl said (and I quote) "I don't need no stinking art" - I think she was trying to be funny, but at the same time I had an instantaneous reaction. I didn't feel like entering into the conversation and making myself out to be the bad guy, so instead I am explaining my side here...

I was an I.B. Art student! For two years I took art. There were ramifications; there were fears, long nights of tossing and turning in doubt. However I am glad I took that class. To some extent, I .B. does want you to find your passion just as much as it wants you to be a balance individual. I found my passion in the arts. There is nothing soft about taking Art. It is possible to get good scores (I did! My entire class this year did!) and above all do NOT think that because you are taking art that you are in any was less than in worth to a student in psychology or physics.

Psych is a great class, it has lots of benefits. You have one year of intensive study under a fabulous teacher. If you are actually interested in the class (like our crew member ib) it can be a truly rewarding experience. I have lots of friends who were so excited to take the class. And then I had friends who took the class just as a strategic way to boost their score tally going into their senior year or just to have that specific teacher. Those two reasons are what I have a problem with, and here is why.

1. If you are passionate about the class you take, if you have a true joy of learning, than don't worry about your score. I worried for the entire first semester. I spent hours online reading up on the rubrics and advice from teachers at other schools... guess what it did me no good. I have a great score, but I earned it myself. I became engrossed in what I was doing. When the time came to turn in my work and have my interview with the examiner it showed. Being passionate about your subject helps you more than strategic class selection. I have a good friend who received a 6 in calculus because she actually enjoyed the subject. When I was a sophomore I remember the former Computer Programming teacher saying to our class after he was informed no one had enrolled in his class "Well, you all took the easy way out." He might have been a little extreme, but don't ever let that become truth for you. Pick your classes for passion not an easy score!
2. Do not pick a class because of a teacher. I repeat DO NOT EVER, EVER PICK A CLASS BECAUSE OF A TEACHER (at least in high school). That was a big thing for me. I wanted to take psych so that I would have that teacher. I had had her my freshman year and absolutely loved her. When the time came to pick a sixth subject however, I found that my reasons for wanting to take psych were completely wrong. You can still talk to teachers who you do not sit in class with everyday. Once you choose a class that is what you are stuck with, there is no turning back. Don't put yourself through sitting in a class (that you choose) that you can't stand just because you wanted that teacher. Have you ever thought that in that situation your views of the teacher might change?

Remember, that with every class besides psych you get to take a year of it when you are in the tenth grade and try it out. If you don't enjoy it you can test out or psych. The important thing is figuring out if you truly enjoy dance or physics.

Passion is the key to your sixth subject. I loved every minute of Art. Stew Dent would tell you the same thing about Music. We have a friend who took physics and loved it, worked hard, and what do you know? He passed.

This may sound cliché - Do what you love, love what you do - live by that rule when you pick your sixth subject. Your junior year will be so much the better for it.


The Eight Keys to Success - excuse me - Excellence

Now in the good ol' days school did not start until the week before Labor Day. Summers were filled with working on the farm, roaming around the country side, barbecues, ice cream socials. It was the ideal rural scene. Okay - I am taking creative liberties here. My point is summer vacations used to allow students time to do much more than summer reading and maybe one family trip.

Back in my day all incoming I.B. Freshmen were encouraged to take part in Warm Up Week. From Wednesday to Friday before school started the freshmen and the upperclassmen would gather in the Franklin Library. What students choose to remember from this experience varies.
New People





All those phrases come to mind. Basically Warm Up Week was a way to bond as a class before school actually started. Remember - you can't do I.B. alone.

Activities at Warm Up ranged from the dozens of crazy upperclassmen waving signs and running up to say hello during the welcome period, to the Learning Jar and Mr. Pinkham's Ball Game, to my personal favorite - the Eight Keys to Success (as they were known in my time) or the Eight Keys to Excellence.

There are many different view points as to why we all learned the eight keys, their hand motions, and then periodically were called upon to recite them with Mr./Mrs. Thiele or Mr. Pafford as our drill sergeant. I think they were valuable things to learn before I began high school. Before I go further - let me "recite" the eight keys


Failure Leads to Success

Speak with Good Purpose

This is It

Commitment (commitment commitment)

(oo - ah) Ownership



Each key teaches a great lesson. It is something to add on to your learner profile. Not only should you inquire, be knowledgeable, reflective (etc), but as a successful student you should practice the eight keys. Some are easier than others use on a day to day basis. For me commitment was always the easiest. I have that drive, but flexibility was something that I did not fully grasp until second semester junior year. If something changed suddenly (like a deadline was moved back because no one except for a few was done) I was truly upset. But I finally realized that being flexible is easier than being a stick in the mud! It is so much more enjoyable to blow in the wind, although I am rooted to the ground. To each his own, I guarantee that it is different for everyone.

- sometime soon, we will post a video of us all doing the Eight Keys (since Warm Up Week is no longer on the schedule as we start school in JULY) -


It's Time to Get Moving People!!!

I realize that school is nine days away from starting (yikes - time to get that summer reading done!). I know, I know you want to stretch those last little moments of summer vacation out as long as absolutely possible. But for a few moments lets look into the future and discuss ideas for October and the I.B. Global Lesson.

The IBO is not posting information on the actual lesson until September. But, we do know that it focuses on the "ethical implications of global poverty". There is a lot of planning we can do with that little bit of information.

I am suggesting two panel discussions on our early release Wednesdays (I think we mentioned this earlier). The first can focus on poverty on the local and national level, then the second will be dedicated to global poverty. Ideally we would have a group of students study the issue together and plan out the questions for the panels. The panels could be filled with teachers, community members, and students. It may be cool to invite teachers and/or students from the MYP and PYP programs at some of the elementary schools. If anyone has any suggestions about who we could ask to be on our panels email me at the club email - ibclubfhs@gmail.com

In TOK and MYP humanities (if the teachers are willing) students can participate in the Global Lesson on Friday, October 17th. I think it would be cool to actually teach the lesson on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

I think it would be appropriate for that night (a Friday) to screen a movie down in the little theatre, or in the library. My initial suggestion would be Richard Curtis's The Girl in the Cafe. Richard Curtis is a leading British screenwriter (in my opinion, but I am biased because he is my hero and I hope to work with him one day). He is mostly known in the US for the successful films Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually. However, in the UK he is recognized for his charity work and crusade against poverty. He is a co founder of Make Poverty History http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/, and Comic Relief http://www.comicrelief.com/. For those of you familiar with the Live 8 concerts, he was one of the people in charge of those. He wrote The Girl in the Cafe as a way to tell a story about poverty, and how important it is to make a stand against it. It is an interesting story of love first and foremost, but with a biting undercurrent of the implications of global poverty. The rating is UK 15, so I am not sure it would be possible to show this film at school (we will have to check) . Nevertheless I think it would be a great movie to watch and then discuss because it brings up some unsettling issues.

The film centers around the Millenium Developement Goals - which leads me to the GCAP. I reccomend that all I.B. students visit the Global Call to Action Against Poverty's website: http://www.whiteband.org/ and read their issues.

If any of you are wondering why I am so enthusiastic about this (or if you think "why would an incoming senior want to put any time into this at all?") my answer is this: for 40 years the I.B.O. has provided quality education, working at helping students become well rounded individuals. They are a global organization and they genuinely care about students all over the world. For the past four- six years of my life, I have reaped the benefits of this program. I feel that at Franklin we don't always connect with the I.B. community at large (or at our own school for that matter)> I see the participation in the Global Lesson and focusing of the issue of poverty as a way to become a part of our global I.B. community. So many of us benefit from this program, it is high time we gave back a little bit.

I am asking everyone who is willing to come to the I.B. club meetings to help us plan, debate, and discuss these ideas. I encourage you all to come up with ideas of your own. Post a comment, leave a message for me in the I.B. office, or send me an email!



I.B. Global Lesson

So to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our lovely program, I.B.O is having the first ever Global Lesson. Any day during October schools all over the world are encouraged to participate. Read the official information here http://www.ibo.org/announcements/globallesson.cfm

Global Poverty is the focus issue - and this is ideally juxtaposed to the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17th.

I am making my first online plea to Mr. Pafford and Mrs. Thiele

There are so many possibilities with this! It is supposed to be done in TOK and in MYP humanities classes. For FHS, that only leaves out the Juniors. With our early release Wednesdays in October, maybe we could have guided discussions in the Little Theatre about Poverty in our Local, National, and Global communities.

Since the Awake- A - Thon (more on this event later, for those of you who don't know about it), maybe we could switch our charity from Adopt A Minefield to One (the American branch of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, like the UK's Make Poverty History)

Franklin students talk to your teachers, go into the I.B. Office and tell the powers that be. I think this would be a great way for the FHS IBers to embrace the I.B. community, something that sometimes I know I feel disconnected to.

Just a thought, if you are interested.


Parents: Know What You're Getting Your Child Into.

I'm and incoming Junior in I.B. and I have yet to read a book in I.B. where someone doesn't die. The first book I ever read for I.B. was Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I was still a bright eyed child in those days and thought that all books had Disney movie endings. Boy was I wrong. Two people ended up dieing in that book along with assorted animals. Death has since become a natural part of literature in my mind and whenever I read a book for pleasure I am always genuinely shocked when someone doesn't die. This being said here are some tips for getting your child through their I.B. books.
1. People will die in these books. Understand frustrated tears. Sometimes we get a bit attached to characters.
2.Make sure your child has a comfortable reading environment.
3. It's not a requirement that you read the books your child reads in I.B but I strongly suggest it. (If you've already read the book brush up on it.)Talking about what you both have read can help reinforce their knowledge.