AP Seminar Nov.28-Dec. 2
This week we are starting our final practice writing and research project before tackling the AP performance assessments. Students are, understandably, a little stressed about all the big projects that are suddenly on the horizon. If you’re hearing stress at home, please remind them that there is a lot of time built into our class calendar to tackle these projects piece by piece. The key to their successful is to engage in each step of the process. Plan carefully, ask questions as you research, seek out feedback on early writing drafts, etc. If students are engaged in the process the whole way, the end products will come together!
Tonight (Monday) students are reading some source material related to our final unit theme: Movement. Tomorrow in class students will work on developing good research questions. Those questions will guide their independent research for the rest of the week. By Friday, they will all have completed their research and next week will be spent drafting and conferencing about their essays.
The other major piece of work we’re doing is practice with critical reading. Students received a second graded reading assessment today and will have another opportunity next week to try the same type of assessment. We discussed the assessment in class today, but please encourage your student to come see me for one on one feedback if the score is unclear. These early scores are intended to help students see what they need to do to improve; if they’re lost about how to get better, I need to know!
I hope you have a great week. Please let me know if you have any questions.
AP Language: Nov. 28-Dec.2
This is an important week in AP Language as we are finishing up our third major writing piece: argumentative essays. Students have been drafting and revising over the past two weeks and should be spending this week putting final touches on those essays. Today (Monday), Tuesday and Thursday, we will dedicate the whole class period to writing conferences, revision and final drafts. Students should come to class prepared with specific questions about their drafts.
Students wanting even more feedback should plan to attend Academic Advisory on Wednesday when I will have 10-15 former students available to help with revision. I will also be available at school Tuesday evening from 6pm-8pm in my classroom. The high school will be having its open house for prospective students; my room will be open for new parents to stop by and see a writer’s workshop in action. I’d love to have some students come get some help during that time tomorrow night.
In addition to argumentative essays, this week is also the last opportunity for students to turn in revised drafts of their rhetorical analysis essays. For students who tackled the revision opportunity early in the month, this deadline is not a challenge; for others, unfortunately, they waited until this week to take advantage of the revision opportunity and are now trying to juggle two essays at once. As much as I hate to see them under pressure, I’m hoping you can (gently!) help me remind them that they’ve done this to themselves!! Good writing takes time and planning; both of these essays have been in their hands since the beginning of the month. If they planned poorly this time, I hope they learn better time management for the next essay.
Wednesday and Friday this week we will turn our attention to multiple choice practice. Students are struggling with the sophisticated nature of the AP Language multiple choice questions. They are complicated, layered questions about challenging texts. We will dissect some of the questions on Wednesday and work on reading strategies to help them tackle those questions more successfully. Friday they will take a second MC assessment with the hopes of replacing their current MC score in MiStar.
I hope you have a great week!! Please let me know if you have any questions.
AP Seminar: Nov.14-18
Sorry for no update last week!! Hopefully your students have been keeping you updated on what they’re doing in class.
Last week the students turned in their Mock IRR (Individual Research Report) and then last week and next they will present their research in a Mock TMP (Team Multimedia Presentation). The kids and I are learning that AP loves acronyms!! These two tasks are the first ones that they will submit to the College Board for assessment for AP Seminar credit. We learned a lot with their practice and have time to do one more practice in the next unit prior to beginning our official IRRs and TMPs.
All of this work has been helping with skill development in four areas: Reading, Writing, Research, Presentation. By the end of next week, students will have done at least two formal assessments in each area. In almost every case, their skills are improving and I will replace the lower score with the newer, higher one. We will have one more round of practice with this final unit where students can raise their skills (and scores!) one more time.
After that unit, we will be on the brink of shifting from our skill development to our big “official” projects, and I thought it might be helpful for you to see our schedule for AP assessments for the remainder of the year. Once we begin our assessment work in late December, class will function largely as a workshop. Students will work collaboratively and also conference with me about their progress. As long as they are working effectively in class, they should always be able to keep their homework to 30 min a night maximum.
Late December: Form research teams based on student interests
January: Work on Individual Research Reports (IRR)
Early February: Work on Team Multimedia Presentation (TMP)
Late February: Present and record TMPs, upload them to College Board website
March: Begin Individual Written Argument (IWA)
Early April: Work on Individual Presentation (IP)
Late April: Present and record IPs, upload IPs and IWA to College Board website
May 4: AP Seminar written exam
May 5-end of year: Student showcase (more on that next semester! We’ll be inviting you to come see all our work!), Begin developing research question
for AP Research course (12th grade year)
I hope this helped you better understand what we’re up to in AP Seminar! I continue to love working with your students. They are creative, hardworking, curious and lots of fun! Please encourage them to keep up the great work.
AP Lang: Nov.14-18
First, an apology for no update last week! I’m sure you were all waiting breathlessly for my email :)
AP Lang has been incredibly busy; here is a quick overview of some important things.
Many students are feeling some stress right now over their “low” grades. I put “low” in quotation marks because it’s hard to really classify a B (or even a C!) as low at this point in the year. I love that they set such high standards for themselves, but I also want them to try to focus on improving their skills and raising their scores rather than simply fixating on a letter grade. Students with Bs and Cs have plenty of time to raise their scores to As before the end of the semester.
How can they raise their scores?
Step One: Revision!
Students have a full month to revise and resubmit their formal essays for a higher score. My goal with this practice is to help students learn to respond to feedback, experiment with new writing strategies, and embrace the role of revision in the writing process. Students who were unhappy with the scores on their first essays should read my comments, try to make some changes based on that feedback, and then come in to talk to me about the changes they’ve made. I am available before school Tuesday-Friday and we have writing workshop in class when they can conference with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additionally, I’ve invited my former AP Lang students (current seniors) to come to AA next week to provide extra feedback and help with revision.
Step Two: Practice!
All of our work in class is geared toward circling back and revisiting skills after they’ve been introduced to help students practice. For example, as we began our argument essays this week, students were asked to also read critically and evaluate the rhetoric used in those arguments. On Monday, we’ll discuss the rhetoric they examined. This discussion is excellent practice for future rhetorical analysis and for reading assessments. Students need to engage fully in all this practice--even when it doesn’t “count” for their grade--in order to improve.
Big assignments coming up:
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire