WHAT is CAS?
CAS is an experiential learning program involving students in new roles.
The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time. The IB goal of educating the whole person and fostering a more compassionate citizenry comes alive in an immediate way when students reach beyond themselves and their books.
Appropriate CAS activities are not just more of the same – more practice, more concerts, more shows, etc., but rather an extension of what the student is perhaps already doing. All three elements are relative to what the student can and already has been doing.
CREATIVITY is interpreted as imaginatively as possible to cover a wide range of arts and other activities which include creative thinking by the individual student in designing and carrying out service projects. Creative activities should have a definite goal or outcome. They should be planned and evaluated like all CAS activities. This can present something of a challenge where, for example, a student is a dedicated instrumental musician. It would be artificial to rule that something that is both a pleasure and a passion for the student could not be considered part of their CAS experience. How, though, can it help to fulfill CAS learning outcomes? The tasks must extend the student and be achievable in scope. Perhaps the instrumental musician can learn a particularly difficult piece and play it during a fund raiser. Or the musician might give a talk to younger children about the instrument, with musical illustrations.
Some examples of appropriate Creative pursuits:
- Designing and programming a web site for the school math team
- Organizing/playing in a concert to raise money for a local environmental group
- Teaching kindergarten students how to play the piano
- Playing the violin in a local assisted living home
- Creating the artwork used in a brochure for the I Have a Dream Foundation
- Joining a local poetry reading group at the library
- Baking gourmet cookies and delivering them to a school’s faculty meeting
- Art, craft, dance or cooking classes if these are new to the student
- Singing in a local choir
- Playing in a local band
- Taking photos for a local non-profit
- Acting and Theatre pursuits
- Play writing
- Chess club
- Writing Poetry or novels if new to the student
- Art Mural project
- Piano, guitar, or calligraphy classes
ACTION may include participation in expeditions, individual and team sports and physical training outside the normal curriculum; it can also include physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects. Setting goals, planning, and reflecting on their achievement is vital.
Examples of appropriate action activities:
- Finishing a cancer walk-a-thon fundraiser 5K by a student that is not an athlete
- Helping to build a Habit for Humanity house
- Participating in a swim-a-thon to raise money for the local women’s shelter
- Organizing (and playing in) a local baseball tournament where all the ticket proceeds go to a local boy’s orphanage.
- Team sports
- Martial Arts
SERVICE is often the most transforming for the individual student; it has the potential to nurture and mold the global citizen. It is building links with individuals or groups in the community; service can take place at the school, local, national and international levels. Service activities must have learning benefits for the student.
Examples of appropriate service activities:
- Building a medical building for a rural village in Costa Rica during a school service trip
- Building a house in Mexico with a church group.
- Tutoring students in the I Have a Dream program
- Making meals at a homeless shelter
- Raising money for the local homeless shelter
- Organizing a coat drive for a poor community
- Raising money to purchase school supplies for a school in Ethiopia
- Organizing a 5 K run to benefit Cancer research
- Helping illiterate adults learn to read at local library branch
- Providing meals to the elderly through Meals on Wheels
- Hospital work
- Amnesty International
- Habitat for Humanity
- Red Cross
- Adopt a family for winter holiday
- Link Crew
- Humane Society
- Special Olympics
- Work with disabled adults
The most meaningful CAS experience comes from spending time with others to build relationships and develop self-worth of both the server and the served.