Hello parents! My updates have been too infrequent this year; I’m sorry for that! At conferences last night, three different parents mentioned that this was the only way they know what is going on in class! Since your students aren’t filling you in, it sounds like I need to be more regular.
We just finished our first major assignment: a mock version of Performance Task One.This had two components. Students wrote a 1200 word independent research report and then teamed up with 2-3 peers and pooled their research to create an 8-10 minute presentation. I was very pleased with their final products and hope they share them with you. Grades for those assignments are in MiStar. Based on their performance, I think they are well on their way to being prepared for the official Performance Task that we will begin in late December.
Our next big unit started Monday and we are working toward a mock version of Performance Task Two. For this unit, I am giving students a wide variety of “stimulus materials”--poems, classic and contemporary essays, graphs, news articles, etc. All of the stimulus materials are centered on the overarching theme of Monsters (it’s almost Halloween, after all!!) and how we monster-ize things that we do not understand. We are spending lots of time talking about fears of the unknown and how misunderstandings about different groups or issues can create problems in society.
So far, the students have impressed me with their thoughtful, mature discussions of some very controversial issues (for example: mass incarceration, immigration, transgender rights). Please encourage them to continue this! We talk a lot in this class about respecting opinions, listening with an open mind, and assuming positive intent. Beyond our work in AP Seminar, my hope is that students will leave my class with skills that enable them to participate in productive discussions with people from all walks of life with diverse opinions.
What should you be seeing at home?
Reading! Students are doing a lot of reading of various texts over the next two weeks. All of this reading is intended to get them thinking and activate their curiosity. Ask them to tell you about their reading! Challenge them to share their opinions with you. In about two weeks, they’ll need to choose an independent research question that grows out of all this reading. The more they talk and think over the next two weeks, the easier that will be.
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire