I am no fool for free trials. I set myself a phone reminder to know when to cancel them. I utilize them exactly when needed. I manipulate the system like a Coupon Queens manipulates their local grocery store.
But this one got me.
Early this summer, I was contracted to design some curriculum for NMSI, the National Math and Science Initiative. One aspect of their design process is a concept map and the suggested tool was LucidChart, a web-based service for flowcharts, organizational structures, and collaboration. Unfortunately, I quickly learned that I had too many ideas (and bubbles) for the free version, so begrudgingly, I started the free trial, telling myself I’d cancel in a week.
Well, I forgot. And therefore, I needed to get my money’s worth.
Hence, my quest to concept map just about everything in my life that might need mapping, starting with the most obvious: my preps for this coming school year.
Below is my concept map for AP Language and Composition (and further below, is a little explanation).
Semester 1: Skill Overview
The entire first semester is spent introducing students to the skills for their exam and then, practicing those skills.
Unit 1 - Critical Reading
This unit kills two birds: introduces students to AP Lang multiple choice and transitions students into rhetorical analysis. Students practice annotation, reading with purpose, and identifying author’s purpose and strategies.
Unit 2 - Writing Survey
The survey takes students through each of the Free Response Questions. Each subunit includes a pre-assessment, modeling, collaborative practice, and then assessment.
Unit 3 - Writing Circles
As a review of the writing survey, students will write and revise in small groups. At the end of the unit, they will choose one of their essays which they believe has the potential to be a “Perfect 9.” Then they will revise as many times as they can until the final exam. The final paper serves as their final exam score.
Semester 2: Further Practice
The second semester of the course is meant to spiral through the skills developed in the first semester.
Unit 4 - Thematic Emulation Unit
Based on student interest or need, the teacher will take students through a series of text emulations, studying the rhetoric and style of the mentor text before mimicking the same in a new product. Ultimately, students will all write essays demonstrating their own voice and style.
Unit 5 - Argumentation
Combining what students learned about synthesis and argumentative writing, students will engage in partner debates. Prior to these debates, students will create original synthesis prompts by researching a topic and providing diverse sources. Using this as a starting resource, students will then debate the resolution in pairs.
Unit 6 - Workshop
Again, the class will review the three styles of writing for the Free Response Question. Using essays from their mock exam, students will study their strengths and weaknesses to determine what they need to remember on test day. They will compile this self-assessment in a portfolio with a final essay, a revised version of their diagnostic essay from Week 1.
Unit 7 - Introduction to Literary Analysis
As a bridge between AP Language and AP Literature, the teacher will introduce students to literary analysis. Because of the time constraints, the unit will utilize read aloud and discussion to work through based literary analysis.
How can you use concept mapping to structure your preps this year?