Hello, Parents and Guardians!
We are wading into our second major “mock” performance task, so I thought I should update you on what’s going on.
Semester One of AP Seminar is about skill building and practice. Students participate in two “mock” performance tasks that are highly structured and teacher guided. They receive a LOT of feedback on these mock tasks. We have already completed performance task one; now we are beginning performance task two. Students also work on practicing the skills necessary for the end of course exam (EOC). We do practice exams throughout the semester and student grades improve as their skills grow.
Semester Two of AP Seminar is when I have to step back. Students work on the real performance tasks (new topics, new groups) and those are uploaded to the College Board Digital Portfolio and scored externally. I am not allowed to give direct feedback, but I can give whole group instruction if I see gaps in student understanding.
Because Semester Two is more “hands-off”, it is imperative that students engage in the feedback process this semester and ask questions NOW. For the first performance task, some struggled with this and waited until the last minute to ask for help. Their end products reflected that! As we move into this second performance task, we will be spending a lot of time talking about how to plan out a work flow and set small goals. We will also be working on how they can give each other feedback that is useful.
The performance task two scoring guidelines are here.
By the end of next week, students will have a research question approved by me. If you can get them to talk with you about their ideas this week, that would be great!! The more they talk through their ideas, the better their questions become. We will talk a lot about potential questions next week so that they can all get to one that is both arguable and has a potential solution.
Once students have questions chosen, we will move into a research/writing workshop format for about two and a half weeks. I’ve arranged the calendar so that it’s possible for students to be completely done with a solid draft prior to Thanksgiving. I truly believe that breaks should be breaks. However, many of them have expressed a desire to work on their papers during break because they won’t have any other work to do. I want to give students that option, too, so papers won’t actually be due until the Wednesday after Thanksgiving (December 4). Please keep an eye on the work happening at your house and help your student make smart choices based on the plans your family has for Thanksgiving! They should also remember that they will only have limited time to conference with me after Thanksgiving, so even if they wait to do some of the writing that weekend, they should still be conferencing with me about their research and drafting prior to break.
After Thanksgiving we will shift into the presentation portion of the performance task. This is exactly what the students did in performance task one except now they are doing it independently. Please offer to watch them practice!! Students will be presenting beginning December 10.
Sorry for the lengthy update! If you made it to the end and have questions, feel free to email me. This class is a lot of juggling for the students, but they are learning some valuable time management skills along with the research and writing ones.
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire