Question for AP teachers?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by INteacher, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I just attended an AP workshop and heard a really good idea I would like to try out. But before I try this great new idea, I thought I would run it by all you great A to Z'ers first for your input. Please feel free to offer all helpful tips, critiques or "I tried this and it didn't work" stuff.

    So, here's my problem, I teach AP Euro and APUSH with 50 minutes class periods. So I have never been able to "really" simulate the writing experience of the DBQ on the AP Exam. What I have done in the past is inform all the teachers it is "writing" day in AP and students might arrive late to class. I really hate doing this for the obivous reasons of disrupting other classes, my students writing get interupted by my classes coming in and my new class beginning, forgetting to stop the remaining students at the 45 minute mark and having to write all those passes. In spite of this process, my students do very well on the writing portion of the exam and my fellow teachers don't hate me too much :whistle:

    So, while at the workshop, another teacher mentioned how he gets around the writing problem with 50 minute class periods. He offers his students a "writing workshop" in the morning before school starts. During this writing workshop before school, he gives his students the DBQ for the 15 minute pre-write. So students would have the entire 15 minutes to plan the DBQ. He only allows for the APUSH DBQ students to write their thesis statement, outside info and work with the docs. For the AP Euro DBQ, he allows students to write their thesis statement, three groups, docs that go with the groups and POV. He doesn't allow them to begin writing any part of the exam, take any paper out of the room and of course the workshop is optional. The plus side of workshop is students now have the entire 45 minutes to write the DBQ in class.

    I am seriously considering this. I really can't think of a lot of negatives. What do ya'll think??
     
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  3. Soccer Dad

    Soccer Dad Cohort

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    To be completely honest, when I taught AP courses and now when I use their essays with my honors kids, I give them 40 minutes flat. They come directly to class and they have the entire period to do the essay. For DBQ essays, I give them the documents the class before. Yes, this means they can go home and cheat and so forth, but sometimes I'm sneaky and don't give them the question until the next day. If the documents are easy, I allow them to analyze them without the question. When they're not clear, I give them the question, too.

    For instance, there's an essay I use on the slave trade. Every document lists the evils of the slave trade. They're smart enough to figure it out. As for the essay on the influx of silver into Spain during Exploration... not so much.
     
  4. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I think it sounds great. Give it a try and see what happens. I love it when you get something good from another teacher.
     
  5. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Feb 3, 2011

    Home on our third snow day and thought I would update :)

    My students LOVED this. The pre-write allowed my students the entire 45 minutes of class time to write.

    The biggest problem was the arrival time of my students. I had two time periods they could attend; 7:30 and 7:45. As with most students in the morning, getting there on time was a big issue. I think next time (if we ever get back to school), I will just have one session at 7:45 and close the door at 7:45.
     
  6. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    I do mine on Saturdays. It is not mandatory, but those who come do receive extra credit. We simulate the entire test, so they can see what it feels like to sit down and take a test for 3 1/2 hours. I usually brings donuts and juice to wake them up. I usually get about 75% show up.
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I do this also as we get closer to testing, but I am talking about just writing in-class DBQ's. I usually have my students write one in-class DBQ and FRQ every month until test time. We do the Saturday practice test about twice before we test. However, we miss much more school, we might have to use the Saturdays for more than practice :(
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I have a question for AP teachers: is there a class-size limit to how big AP classes can be? Is that different in different places?
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    No limits here ~ I have had a small as 6 and as large as 38 in one class. This year I have three AP classes for a total of 58 students; 12 AP Euro and 46 APUSH (20 in one class and 26 in the other).
     
  10. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I have two sections of AP with about 14 in each. Our school is very small, however, and with a total population of 70 juniors, those two sections represent a good portion of the class.

    Our admin tries to avoid any class bigger than 18, AP or not.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I was just wondering because my husband had been promised AP classes of no larger than 22, but has one of 26 and one of 32. He could get so much more done with fewer students!
     
  12. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    What does he teach? It does get more difficult keeping up with grading with those large numbers, esp DBQ's and FRQ's. Does he teach the same subject for both sections? It becomes even more difficult when you are teaching more than one AP class :(

    I think next year I will only have one section of APUS with about 45 students :eek: One of our SS teachers is retiring and as of now, he will not be replaced so we have to absorb his classes.
     
  13. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Physics. Labs are nearly impossible, as the groups have to share equipment. This is his first year teaching AP, so he's a little overwhelmed anyway...
     
  14. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    AP Physics and AP Bio ~ that is waayy different than 40 in an APUSH class. All those labs to set up :eek:

    Has your husband attended any training given by the College Board? Usually a local university will host the training; some training is for a day and some for a week. I have always gotten something for the seminars. Also, maybe he can connect with other AP Physics teachers that can recommend some guidelines to pass on to admin regarding class size. I would also recommend in log into the AP College Central to see if there are any guidelines about class size. I can't remember if we have any AP Physics teacher on this board that might offer better advice. I do know our AP Phy teacher only has 10 students.
     
  15. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I've been to a training of the type INteacher describes, and it was useful. It was APUSH, so that's a different discipline, but the basic format is that an experienced, successful AP teacher helps you think about major issues and answers questions.

    Your husband might really like it, and it's nice to be with other people who have the same challenges.
     
  16. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    He asked to go to some, but the principal couldn't get funding for a sub. He'd have to use a personal day, and we only get 2 a year. He tried to save those for emergencies. Also, none were anywhere near here so he would have to pay for travel and a hotel. If there was one close enough to drive and on a weekend, he'd be there in a heartbeat!
     
  17. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    The one I attended was in the summer (last August). It *was* far away, though. We had to drive all day and our toddler lost his breakfast three times. I don't recommend that part.

    In the summer the AP sessions are a week long. They are held all over the country and last a week for APUSH. I suspect it's a similar format in Physics.

    So if he can get through this year, this summer might be a good time to flex his muscles with other AP Physics teachers.
     

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