The end of the semester in AP Seminar is a bit strange because it falls right in the middle of a giant project--the Individual Research Report and Team Multimedia Presentation-- for us. That means that next week will be devoted to continuing work on those two projects, and there will not be a midterm exam.
This weekend, students are doing final revisions on their IRRs. Students have had full drafts that they’ve been revising, editing, rethinking, and rewriting for about a week now. Please help me help them!! Each student is different and you probably know best what they need. Some of them need to stop stressing, hit print, and be DONE. Some of my students have worried themselves into a frenzy about these essays and need to remember that although they are important, this essay is only 10% of the total AP score. Other students are the exact opposite and need a bit of a fire lit under them to keep them going. Those students need to revisit the powerpoint I showed them on Friday (on Google Classroom), and spend more time revising based on those guidelines.
Frankly, I think I have more of the first students than the second!! Please encourage your students be honest with themselves about how much work they have left to do. Midterms are stressful enough; they do not need to needlessly add to that stress.
After students submit their IRRs to me, they will work in small groups to mesh their IRRs into one, cohesive, group argument and presentation. We will be doing trial run-throughs of those presentations at 6pm on Wednesday, January 31. We would LOVE to have all of you attend!! You are welcome to just watch; last year many parents remarked that they were blown away by the high quality work their students had produced. You will also be able to give the students feedback on their presentations if you are comfortable doing that. I’ll give you a crash course in how the presentations are scored, and you will be able to give verbal or written feedback if you’d like.
**Feel free to bring younger siblings on 1/31. My kids will probably be there if my husband is working! We will have snacks and a place for them to hang out if the presentations are too boring for them.
Enjoy your weekend and remind your students to take some breaks from studying!
We made it! Well, I guess we aren’t there quite yet, but I’m confident the students will make it through this upcoming week of presentations. Here is a quick update for finals week and a peek at what is to come in second semester.
Midterms Week/Semester Grades
Students have worked hard to learn new writing skills, practice them, and revise over the past 18 weeks. Final revised argument essays were submitted on Friday, and I’ll have those graded and in MiStar by the end of the weekend. The only assignment left is a final presentation which students are giving about their independent novels and research associated with it. Four brave souls gave their presentations on Friday, and I was so excited to see the research and thinking that went into those presentations! Students did much of the prep work for these presentations in class, so they likely won’t have much work to do on them; you may want to ask them to give their presentation for you this weekend.
We decided to forgo a timed, in class midterm for this semester because students have worked mainly on process writing. We have done little practice with timed writing so it would unfair to assess them on it at this point. Students’ semester grades reflect where they are right now with their writing and critical reading skills based on all the work they’ve done with those skills thus far.
Since we spent first semester developing writing and critical reading skills, second semester will be devoted to refining those skills and applying them in a timed, high pressure environment. This is an incredibly valuable skill for students to work on as they prepare for the SAT test in April, the AP test in May, and any timed writing they will do in college. Students will have multiple timed writes and have chances to have one on one conferences with me as well as work with their peers on reviewing those essays. Every few weeks, they will choose one that they submit for me to score. The goal is for students to embrace the practice opportunities so that when it comes time for one to “count” they have multiple essays from which they may choose. Please encourage your students to begin semester two ready to work hard and take advantage of all the practice that doesn’t count toward their grades!
For the juniors in the class, it’s time to start thinking about ELA options for next year. I gave out a handout detailing the different options for ELA 12. The English department worked very hard to create some exciting new options for students; please talk about these choices with your students and help them select one that will be the best fit. Two of the classes (The Incubator and Peer Writing Consultant) require an application and interview. Students should have all the information they need to sign up for those interviews but should see me ASAP if they do not!
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire