Earlier this week, I shared that things are a bit rough at the moment. And progress - though small - is happening. No bells and whistles yet, but here are my plans.
Dear Understanding Teachers,
I apologize for no new post this week.
When I started my "Year of AP" journey, I overlooked reality - that at any given moment, my life might fall apart a little or a lot.
And it did.
I promise to be back next week with two weeks worth of plans and materials, but right now... Honestly, it's taking all my gumption just to put on my "teacher face" for the kids. Anything extra is just out of reach at the moment.
But I'm hopeful. Today was better than yesterday, and tomorrow might be better than today. One week of stumbling, and then I think I can be back to my (almost) A game.
Dear AP Lang TEacher (Week 23),
I cannot take ANYMORE snow or cold or wind. We’ve had three snow days and multiple late starts in the last two weeks, and I am feeling the crunch to get these kids ready for their mock exam.
It doesn’t help that my least favorite moment of each AP year also fell upon me last week…
Maybe you all don’t have this issue, but once a year, my kids just BOMB a prompt out of nowhere. (We’re talking scores that are at least one below their last). I don’t know what it is, but there is always one rhetorical analysis that seems to trick them or something. They forget all their strategies, the entire structure, how to think...and it shows on the paper. Chavez was that prompt this year, so now I’m sulking.
That’s why we need to revisit it together. Which we will on Tuesday, after we finish the documentary.
The rest of the week, we are powering through our activism unit (which I am loving even more than I thought I would). We’ll be wrapping up our study of protest art and memorials and then heading into their summative assessment - a position paper.
This year, I am making an effort to include more of two things: creative writing and extended, formal writing. This position paper is kind of a hybrid of those. Using Malcolm Gladwell and Thoreau as models, they’ll take a unique stance and develop an engaging essay (NOT a research paper) on a cause they care about.
I hate research papers. Not because of the grading, the pain of getting them all turned in, the time they take.
I hate them because they are BORING. In fact, I haven’t done a true research paper in four years, and I will do anything necessary to avoid it in the future.
Research papers are so inauthentic. In what job will they have to sit down and compose a 5+ essay outlining a problem, cause, and solution.
(I mean, I know that job exists, but none of my kids are looking for it).
Instead, I try to work research into writing that is more authentic or creative. For instance, we covered research with their debate assignment. Now, with their position essay, they’ll craft an argument - not just fill out an outline - about something that matters to them, including research. They still have to do the research and the citation and the MLA format, but at least, they don’t groan when I introduce the assignment.
For me, Teaching Sincerely is about this exact adaptation. Even when required to do a research paper, I have adapted or altered it to fit the kids, the time, etc. Because mandates like a 5+ research essay are stifling. And frankly, tedious. When we blanket teachers with these requirements for the sake of “consistency” or “commonality,” we take away the freedom that creates authentic assessment.
So...ya know… down with the man!
(Can you tell we are focusing on activism?)
Sorry to be lazy again, but I am posting this while simultaneously trying to help kids with their campaign speeches and finish my summative assessment for the unit. (You know. Being a teacher.)
Below are my lessons plans. The next phase of our activism unit is to study memorials and protest art (in preparation for the memorials synthesis).
(I hope this finds everyone safe and well. We are on our fourth modified schedule of the last few weeks, so you know, it's chaos. Gotta love those North Dakota winters.)