Welcome to second semester! It was so nice to have your students in class today. Instead of jumping right into our presentation work, we took a few minutes to discuss the events of the weekend. I continue to be impressed by their ability to consider multiple perspectives, listen to one another and focus on solutions. They are truly a special bunch.
After our discussion they all got back to work on their Team Multimedia Presentations. I’m hoping you’ve been hearing about those at home. If you haven’t, ask them to tell you about them! They are working hard on collaborating with their teams to articulate research based solutions to incredibly complex problems.
We will do our final videotaping of those presentations next week in class, but we would love to have you join us for an evening of practice at 7pm on Monday, February 6. The students will run through their presentations and any parents in attendance will be invited to provide feedback for them. They were a little hesitant to invite you all because, as one said, “Our parents will be brutally honest!” That’s what we need--brutal honesty!! Please let your student know if you think you can make it. It will be no more than an hour.
Once we finish those presentations next week, we will move on to our second performance task: the individual written argument. I’ll give more information about that in a few weeks.
Enjoy your week!
Welcome to second semester AP Lang! For new parents and students, I hope you find this weekly (sometimes biweekly when I get really busy!) blog a useful resource for keeping tabs on what we are up to in class.
As I told the students today, I really hate that we had to start the semester on a somewhat negative note with the midterm retake today. However, I’m happy to report that, as suspected, students did the same or better on today’s test. We worked really hard this weekend to find passages and construct questions that would be fair and provide accurate results; I think we were successful!
Last semester was organized around teaching new writing skills and critical reading work. This semester we will not learn any more skills; rather we will focus on practicing the skills they have and working on efficiency and style. To that end, our work every week will be in a reader/writer workshop format. On Mondays, students will receive four texts for the week:
Students will be encouraged to plan out their in class work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get the maximum amount of work done in class; they will all be scheduled for a weekly, graded conference with me as well.
There are several goals for organizing class this way. First, we want to give students consistent practice opportunities to help them hone the skills necessary for the test in May. This format also allows for weekly, one-on-one feedback about their writing from their teacher. Finally, and perhaps most important, this format puts much of the ownership and responsibility for practice in the hands of the student. As this is supposed to mimic a college course, we are hoping to give students more freedom in how they attack their work, ask for feedback, and develop their skills. If they are practicing during class, while I'm there to help them and provide feedback, they will make much more progress. If you can help out at home by encouraging them to share what they’re working on with you, that would be wonderful!
I look forward to working with your students this semester as we prepare for the AP Test in May! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend! I know everyone is caught up in end-of-semester studying, but I highly recommend taking some time this weekend to engage in some reflection about why we have Monday off! I am always reminding students that they need to take opportunities to “deepen their contextual pools” --learn more about the world around them--and this is one of those opportunities! Novi High School hosts a wonderful event called “Unity in the Community” at 7pm on Monday evening in the Auditorium featuring speakers and artistic responses to MLK day. There are many other wonderful service learning and memorial events in the area as well.
This will be my last post of semester one, so I wanted to update you on grades and midterms.
This class has been about skill development all semester, so grades are pretty set at this point. Students have had opportunities to show their skill level in writing, research and presentation at least three times, and each time I’ve replaced the lower score with the higher one. The one area where I have not done much formal assessment is in reading. Students have read a ton while they’ve researched, but we haven’t had time for a lot of formal assessment. I will do one more formal assessment of their reading during the next two weeks. The student will sit down with me and talk me through their research reading they have done for their IRR. I will give them a rubric for how this will be scored on Tuesday, but it is not something they should worry about! I want to see that they are reading closely and carefully and can identify and critique the line of reasoning in the articles they’re using for their research reports.
Once that reading score has been entered, students’ grades will be set for the semester.
The nature of AP Seminar makes a midterm really silly; students are in the middle of a project and, as I explained above, their grades are very reflective of their current skill level. I do not need to give them a test to know how they’re doing. Our midterm will consist of a reflective conversation wherein students will talk about their progress thus far and make some goals for second semester.
Don’t worry--they aren’t getting off easy!! They are neck-deep in their Individual Research Reports. The work I saw last week in class was incredibly promising. Drafts are due on Tuesday and we will start digging into revisions of those drafts. Final drafts will be due next Monday. Per College Board rules, I can’t give them scores for those since they are official College Board assessments. If I could, I would just make those essays their midterm!! Instead, we will spend the week of midterms getting to work on their Team Multimedia Presentations.
Please ask your students to tell you about their Individual Research Reports! They’re doing some excellent thinking and researching, but the more they talk through their research, the stronger it gets. Another adult to bounce ideas off of is always valuable!
Have a great weekend! The next time you hear from me I will (hopefully) be giving you dates to come see the students give their Team Multimedia Presentations!
Hello! This will be my last entry of semester one. I will be seeing lots of you in semester two, but I know some students are moving to other AP Lang teachers (hopefully due to scheduling and not me chasing them away!!). I know everyone is caught up in end-of-semester studying, but I highly recommend taking some time this weekend to engage in some reflection about why we have Monday off! I am always reminding students that they need to take opportunities to “deepen their contextual pools” --learn more about the world around them--and this is one of those opportunities! Novi High School hosts a wonderful event called “Unity in the Community” at 7pm on Monday evening in the Auditorium featuring speakers and artistic responses to MLK day. There are many other wonderful service learning and memorial events in the area as well.
Since it’s the end of the semester, I know everyone is fixated on two things: grades and midterms. I’ll try to answer all those questions in this post.
Student grades are currently up to date except for the reading multiple choice quiz we did on Friday. I forgot them at school (grrr!!) but I will enter those scores on Tuesday morning. Currently, both Multiple Choice Reading assessments are marked as “not graded”. After I enter this third Multiple Choice Reading assessment, I will mark the highest scoring one as “graded” and it will count toward the student’s score.
Synthesis essays have been graded and entered into MiStar. I was so happy with the progress these essays show! Research writing is difficult, and the students rose to the challenge! Please ask your student to share his or her essay with you; they are well constructed, interesting arguments. I usually avoid giving scores before students can see comments on their papers because I think it’s incredibly frustrating for students to see a number without any feedback. However, there are some students who did not achieve proficiency (80%) with the essay and I would like to give those students an opportunity to revise. Students who scored lower than an 80% will be allowed to submit a revised essay by Friday, January 20. If they’d like to get started on those revisions today or tomorrow, they are welcome to email me their essay with specific questions about what they may need to revise.
The only remaining grade for the midterm is one additional reading score. We are doing the writing portion of the midterm early this week and then we will take three days “off” before the multiple choice portion of the midterm. On the “off” days, students will be watching and reading the transcripts of several inaugural addresses--President Lincoln's second inaugural, JFK's, and finally President-elect Trump’s Inaugural speech. All three speeches were given to an incredibly divided electorate; I had planned to do something else, but I think it would be foolish in a rhetoric and argumentation class to skip this opportunity to examine such important speeches! Students will read the speeches for message, purpose and tone and discuss their effectiveness in small groups. I am hoping that they will see the real-world, practical application of the skills we’ve been practicing all semester. This is a great chance for students to dig into the words of our elected leaders and decide how they feel about them.
Tuesday: In class rhetorical analysis essay
Wednesday: In class argument essay
Thursday, Friday, Monday: Reading/viewing activity with speeches
Tuesday: Multiple choice review
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday (depending on the hour): Multiple choice exam
The two essays and multiple choice will be combined for the midterm score which is worth 20% of the student's grade. The midterm will be curved, but I have found that most students typically do very well on this midterm--they're ready!! For the next two weeks I will be posting practice materials on Google Classroom for the students to use. There are a number of them posted already. Students who feel like they need extra work brushing up on the skills we’ve been working with all semester should use those practice materials.
It has been a great semester, and your students have worked hard and grown a lot. I’m looking forward to continuing our work in second semester.
Enjoy the long weekend!
Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays as much as I did. It was wonderful to have so much time home with my kids.
Tomorrow the synthesis essays are due (both hard copies and turnitin.com copies). I am hopeful that students took my advice and finished those up early in the break, but I just checked turnitin.com and saw there are only 6 (of 62!!) submitted! Please, encourage your students to get those done right away.
We will begin reviewing for the midterm exam this week. Monday and Friday will be dedicated to multiple choice reading analysis practice, and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be dedicated to reviewing the rhetorical analysis and argument essay forms. We’ll practice some timed planning, look at sample essays, and discuss general review strategies for the midterm exam.
We will begin the midterm exam next week. I know that sounds early, but in order to have time to grade all the essays (students will write a full argument essay and a full rhetorical analysis essay), we need to spread things out!! Students should plan to work hard on their review this week in order to be prepared for next week. On the actual exam day (in three weeks) they will take a 60 question multiple choice reading exam.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the next few weeks! I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow!!
Hello! I hope you all enjoyed the nice, long holiday break as much as I did. I spent lots of time reading, playing with my kids, and doing a little work to get ready for the last push of the semester.
Honestly, the semester change will really not impact AP Seminar much at all. Due to the timing of the official performance tasks, we will be focused more on those than on any type of large midterm. The midterm will be a one-on-one conference students will have with me about their progress in the four assessment categories thus far: writing, research, presentation, and reading. Students will talk me through samples of their work, explain the progress they think they’ve made so far, and identify some goals for the coming semester. I do not anticipate grades to change much from where they are right now; the assessments we’ve been doing all fall have been largely focused on multiple opportunities to grow and show progress.
This week, you can expect your students to be digging into the written portion of their performance task one. Groups identified topics, divided the research load and did lots of research prior to break. Monday we will reconvene as groups, make sure everyone remembers what’s going on, and revisit the rubric for the Individual Research Report. We will spend the remainder of the week continuing with researching and writing. Students are strongly encouraged to conference with me this week, but, per the College Board rules, I cannot require them to conference with me. Please, please help me encourage them to use their time wisely. Their Individual Research Reports will be due next week Tuesday.
The other thing students may begin working on this week is the reading for the second performance task. We will not be beginning our work with that reading until February, but the College Board released the texts (and it’s lengthy--93 pages of research) this week. Students can access the texts through the online Digital Portfolio.
Please let me know if you have any questions about the performance tasks as students work on these for the next few weeks! Have a great week!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire