STAAR season really does remind us that our AP kids will soon be testing. There’s nothing like the image of desks in symmetrical lines to set our hearts aflutter! It’s also a profoundly difficult time to focus and to connect at times—there are so many distractions in schedule and in season. However, I find that the best form of structure is through reminding my students—and myself—of what’s important:
Reminders for students:
The multiple-choice section of the exam is asking you to analyze text—it’s the same mental process as the FRQ section. You must read closely and trust yourself. Read the passage closely—read the question stems and answer choices CLOSER. Many questions are missed because a student glosses over a key word that changes the entire meaning.
On the FRQ’s where you are given a specific text (Questions 1 & 2), don’t fight it. Don’t internally whine. Just figure out what the question wants you to do—and then do it. Read with purpose; hopefully, read with interest. Many times in life, you must do something you don’t necessarily want to do—but these are the moments that separate and define you in the real world. It’s better to smile through it than to scowl.
On Question 3—the argumentative or the open question—bring your unique insight! These are the essays where your personal knowledge and personal voice matters the most. For AP Lit, just make sure you know that Daisy was married to Tom, not Nick. Better yet—know all the details of the book or play, but please do not regurgitate a sad Sparknotes summary onto the lined page. Thanks in advance.
Reminders for teachers:
Test prep is not boring. It is necessary. Make the kids write FRQ’s. Make them look at the rubrics, make them score their peers’ essays, make them realize the errors they are making now. Test prep is not “drill-and-kill” if we unpack each task, discuss each task, and make the kids do these tasks before May 8 or 15.
Find some time for the kids to reflect after the exam: what activities, books, or units really helped? After the FRQ’s go live 48 hours after the exam, I always use that opportunity to open up a line of discussion in my classroom. The test matters; however, it is more important to focus on improvement. You can think about how to advance your own instruction while showing your students the importance of self-improvement.
May the odds be ever in your favor--
AP Literature, AP Research
AP Reader, HISD Master Teacher
Westside High School
The Advanced Placement Games ... or call me Haymitch
AP & Pre-AP
Amanda Jo Ponder
April 9, 2019
My students are currently working on a review project wherein they were assigned a component of the exam to “teach” to the rest of their classmates. It is really interesting to me to watch them try and remember everything we’ve talked about over the course of this year. Some of them are acting like they’ve never heard of the exam before, and some of them are having to rack their brains to remember the strategies we’ve been working on.
This gets to be a little frustrating, and I know I’m not the only one. So, what can we do at this stage of the game to ensure the optimum success for our students?
This review project is a great place to start. It forces them to break down their components to the fundamental skills they need to be successful on the exam. It forces them to do extra research on developing those skills. It forces them to be conscientious of how to “teach” these things to other students. And the students enjoy the opportunity to show what they know.
Another thing that helps my students is an honest discussion of how timing impacts their test-taking. We break the exam down to the components, and I encourage my students to be their own warden of their timing. When time is up for a particular task, move on to the next task.
As we slide into testing season, these things become increasingly more important for them. And I enjoy sitting back to watch them shine.
Jennifer Datray Baker
AP English Language and Composition
English III Prep Lead Teacher
Houston ISD AP ELA Master Teacher
Westside High School
At this stage in the game...
College Board 2019-2020
Course & Exam Description
Announcements & Info.
AP teachers who have completed the AP Course Audit can request a free copy of the Course Exam and Description (CED) binder by January 31, 2020. New AP teachers should wait to request their binder until their Course Audit form for 19-20 has been approved.
More information and Survey
Teacher registration survey
2019 APSI Offerings
In order for HISD to cover the cost of registration and possible lab fees, teachers must select from UH. The only Rice APSIs that HISD will pay for are those not available at UH.
Laying the Foundation - 2019
Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free Free
Who: Teachers - elementary (grades 3-5), middle, and high school
What: Advanced content training (Pre-AP) for all math, science, and English teachers
When: July 30-August 2
Where: Waltrip High School (1900 W. 34th St. Houston, TX 77018)
Promo Code: LTFi3Houston20F
Beer & Books
1. Select one of the following texts:
All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
The Great Influenza, John Barry
Workshopping the Canon, Mary Styslinger
A Novel Approach, Kate Roberts
2. Meet at 5 pm at the following location:
Apr. 16 @ Wakefield Crowbar
Click the book button to request a free book!
A little more...
Proposed IPP Trainings Summer 2019
Do you have suggestions for novels, nonfiction, or professional texts for the 2019-2020 school year?
Or maybe you would like to help decide on the locations for our Beer & Books meetings?
Take a moment to provide your opinion and list details and suggestions by completing this survey.
Rigor Institute - HCC Dual Credit Teachers
AP Job Alike
IB Training - IB teachers only
APSI - June, July
Laying the Foundation
AP: Training for New Digital Resources
HCC Adjunct Training
Social Studies @ African American Library
Pre-AP Training (HISD led)
New Teacher Training
IB Leadership Training
More information is on the way!
AP English Language & Composition
AP English Literature & Composition
Kristy de Groodt
AP and Pre-AP ELA District Coordinator
Amanda Jo Ponder
Welcome Back! August 17
First Week - August 24
February 1, 2019
February 7, 2019
March 7, 2019
March 19, 2019
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