Tagged with " reflection"
Sep 22, 2020 - AP Literature    Comments Off on Sketchnotes: Process Your Thinking Visually

Sketchnotes: Process Your Thinking Visually

An option you have as you complete your Six Pack Sheets is to use sketchnotes, or visual notes, instead of the written details requested for pages 3 (important scenes) and 4 (character information) of each Six Pack Sheet. Your sketchnotes must include the same details outlined on the instructions for each page, but you may opt to present this information in visual instead of written form. Sketchnotes will be graded for content and presentation, but remember—their purpose is to help you recall important details about the text, not to fulfill requirements for an art class. “Stick dude”-level art skills are perfectly acceptable. If you’re an artist, feel free to knock yourself out.

Below are some introductory videos that explain how sketchnotes are created. I encourage you to search for sketchnote examples (both video and images) to decide if they will be a more helpful way for you to process the characters, themes, and ideas of the major works we will be studying this year.

The Basics of Visual Notetaking

The Power of Sketchnotes

Basic Sketchnote Tips

Aug 14, 2019 - AP Literature, Honors IV    Comments Off on What’s Your Word? Essay

What’s Your Word? Essay

After reading the excerpt from Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat, Pray, Love, you will craft a short essay in which you explain your word and why it fits you. Your essay should include three elements found in Gilbert’s original piece:

  • A detailed description of something – Emulate her description of the “quintessential Roman woman” in the first long paragraph of the excerpt. Your description may be of anything (person, item, etc.), but it must contain the same level of focus and detail. Your description should fit with the tone of your overall piece.
  • One sentence containing a string of participles, like the one from the first long paragraph at the top of page 2: “Thinking about it, dressing for it, seeking it, considering it, refusing it, making a sport and game out of it—that’s all anybody is doing.”
  • A contrast paragraph in which you further define yourself by including several brief explanations of words you are not, as she does in the final long paragraph of the piece.

Your elements do not have to come in the same order as they do in the excerpt, but they must be included somewhere in your response. Your final piece must be typed (double-spaced, 12 pt. font) and is limited to two pages. Please use Google Docs to prepare your response. A carefully-crafted paper might be revised as a potential college essay, so take care to do a good job.

Your final completed essay must be submitted to Canvas. Have fun!

Sep 18, 2018 - AP Literature    Comments Off on The Seminar Process

The Seminar Process

Mention a Socratic seminar to students, and often the response is just like the one portrayed in “Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks in a Giant Circle” from The Onion. In other words, uncertainty, anxiety, and even panic. But if you enter a seminar prepared, you’ll find your fears allayed and, I hope, your knowledge of the work we’re discussing extended and deepened.

The first thing you need to understand is that a Socratic seminar is not a debate. The point is not to win an argument. Instead, a Socratic seminar aims to deepen understanding through discussion and questioning. A more detailed explanation can be found here: Dialogue vs. Debate. Seminar participation will be graded like a test, and there are three keys that will help you do your best.

PREPARATION
Come to the seminar prepared. Students should have their Six Pack Sheet for the work completed as fully as possible, including their ideas on motifs and symbols, references to important scenes/conversations, and character information. Crafting thoughtful questions can also provide you with something to share. Remember that your questions should explore WHAT IS in the work (cause and effect, character motivation, etc.) and not WHAT IF (speculation based on something that occurs). We’re discussing the work as presented, not writing fanfic. The ultimate goal is to discern an appropriate meaning of the work as a whole (MOWAW) that can be supported by textual evidence.

PARTICIPATION
Most seminars will be conducted over two days. On the first day, we will open with a question round. Everyone present will share one of the questions they have prepared on their Six Pack Sheet. We will then select a question to kick off the day’s discussion.

During the discussion, your job is to listen and connect. One person should speak at a time. Comments should be directed to the class as a whole rather than to the teacher, who acts as a facilitator rather than a leader. Comments should ADD something new to the conversation, REFER to the text to clarify or support, or EXTEND what another student has introduced. Please take notes on what you hear using the appropriate field in the Six Pack Sheet. Day 2 of the seminar will begin with a comment round, with everyone sharing something interesting from the first day that they found thought provoking or wish to discuss further. Six Pack Sheets with their seminar notes will be submitted to Canvas at the end of Day 2.

While you are speaking, I will be observing and making notes on your seminar input and behavior. Positive behaviors that will earn you points include the following:
     • offers new idea
     • asks a new or follow-up question
     • refers to the text
     • paraphrases and adds to another’s idea
     • encourages others to speak
Please avoid interrupting others, side conversations, and dominating the conversation—the best seminars allow everyone a chance to speak and respond. Conversely, don’t sit in silence. Have a question or quotation ready to go if you don’t feel confident expressing yourself off the cuff.

FOLLOWUP
To extend the conversation and provide a record for review later, we will also conduct a followup discussion using Canvas. All students will be expected to contribute to the online discussion even if they spoke in class. The online discussion will be open for a few days after the in-class seminar is concluded. Once the online discussion closes, seminar grades will be finalized.

Seminars will be graded based on both your contributions to the discussion (speaking in class and posting to the discussion board) and the quality of those contributions (specific text references rather than general comments). The fewer comments you make and more general your input, the lower the grade, and vice versa. If you wish a high seminar grade, you will need to contribute thoughtfully and precisely both during the class and online. Ultimately, your seminar participation should reveal your understanding of and thinking about the work in question.

If you are absent from class on a seminar day, you will be expected to increase your participation in the online conversation. In addition, you will have a separate written assignment to complete.

Jan 8, 2018 - AP Literature    Comments Off on Semester Reflection: AP

Semester Reflection: AP

self reflectionNow that we have completed the first semester, it is time to reflect on your performance as a student of AP English. For this assignment, you will need to review the items in your portfolio and the scores you received on the semester mock exam.

SEMESTER WORK

1)    Review your written responses for commonalities. Is there a comment that keeps recurring? Record it. What are the most common problems on your papers? 

2)    What can you do to address and correct your writing problems? Is there a specific lesson I could give that would help? 

3)    Compare some earlier papers with papers written more recently. Where do you see that you have grown/improved? 

4)    Think about your reading habits for the class. Have you read all the works? If you haven’t read all of the assigned works, what is preventing you from finishing them on time? 

5)    What else do you need to do to be a successful student in the course and on the AP exam? Consider such things as distractions during class (phone/talking/other work you’re doing instead), scheduling, navigating Canvas, etc.

 

MOCK EXAM 

Review your mock exam and respond to the following questions.

1)    MULTIPLE CHOICE: Review your score. Did you earn at least half of the points (26+)? If so, how can you continue to score well? If not, what prevented you from scoring at least half?

2)    FREE RESPONSE: Skim each of your three essays. Then for each, respond to the following:
—Is your score for the question LOW (0-3), MIDRANGE (4-6), or HIGH (7-9)?
—What would you need to do to move this essay into the next score range?

3)    Overall, what would help you feel more confident on the exam? Consider such things as practice items, workshop, tutoring, etc.

When you have finished your reflection, please file your mock exam in your class portfolio. Take the time to weed out your portfolio. Remove any extraneous papers that do not relate directly one of the exam questions, i.e. old homework, classwork, etc. Keep the copies of your Six Pack Sheets and Window Notes from your play’s lit circle for review before the exam.

Jan 4, 2017 - AP Literature    Comments Off on Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

senioritis
Welcome back! One semester remains in the school year, so make it a good one. Here are some reminders to help you succeed:

Come to class. I shouldn’t even have to say this, but apparently some of you have missed the memo after nearly thirteen years of formal schooling. School starts at 7:20 am. You know how long it takes to get to DP. You know the traffic on Turkey Lake is stupid. You have phones with alarms. Get your butt out of bed and get to school on time. Once you’re here, be HERE. Don’t be thinking about the homework you skipped for another class or your latest game craze or your phone. It does you no good to be here physically but absent mentally.

Do the reading. Seriously, gang. This is a literature class. You can’t do well unless you actually read the works. No, SparkNotes do not count. Check the calendar for deadlines and plan your reading schedule so you’re ready for seminars and discussions.

Pay attention to details. I shouldn’t have to tell college-bound seniors to read directions carefully, but apparently I do. READ DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY. Make sure you complete all parts of an assignment in a timely fashion. Seminar grades always contain your contributions to the class discussion, the notes you take during the seminar itself, and the Verso responses afterward. Don’t suddenly remember one of them after I’ve completed the grades.

Label everything. Your files should have unique names, and your name should always be on the file itself. Submit files to the correct assignment in Google Classroom. Don’t pile up a bunch of files in one place where they don’t belong.

Use the +one rule. Many of your essays are good in terms of thinking, but the support is weak. When you think you’ve finished a paragraph, add one more specific example before moving on to the next paragraph.

Speak up! Self-advocacy is a vital skill for success in college. If you are having difficulty, say something. Ask questions. You should know by now that I don’t bite. Confused about a poem’s meaning? Ask. Want some help with an essay? Ask! I’ve never claimed mind-reading as a skill. Don’t expect me to use it.

And the most important thing to save yourself (and me) unneeded stress:

Pay attention to deadlines! College students tell me the biggest adjustment they have to make is obeying hard deadlines. Most schools do not accept late work of any kind without prior arrangement with the professor. “I forgot” doesn’t count. Neither does “I was busy” or “I had a test in X class” or fabulous vacation plans. Once I’ve graded an assignment, I’m pretty much this person:

edna

Late work will only be reviewed once you submit a Digital Late Work Submission form. Otherwise, I assume it doesn’t exist and will happily give you the F you have requested.

Stay focused. May and the exam will arrive quicker than you expect. Be ready. Let me know how I can help.

 

Oct 14, 2016 - AP Literature    Comments Off on A Note About Grades

A Note About Grades

I arrived at school today to a mailbox full of angst:

“I turned in Assignment X and got Y grade. Why wasn’t it a Z?”
“I really need X points to get Z grade—what can I do?”
“I just turned in Assignment Q (which was due a month ago). Please grade it ASAP so my grade can go up.”
“I know I didn’t do Assignment V. Can I do it now so it can be counted?”

These are variations of many, many conversations I have with students about their grades. Most of the time they take place during the marking period, when something can be done about it without unnecessary stress on either of us. The cries explode the day grades are submitted, and all of your stress is firmly transferred onto me. I’m supposed to FIX IT.

I understand. I was an AP student in high school, and I know the pressure to maintain a high GPA is immense. It seems that everything you hear from teachers, colleges, parents, your peers, and the world at large seems to suggest that keeping your GPA at stratospheric levels is necessary in order to gain admission to college and basically win at life. Let me clue you in on a little secret:

It’s not.

You don’t have to believe me. Einstein said it better:einstein

Ladies and gentlemen, you’re focusing very hard on the things that can be counted, but not so much on the things that count. When I get emails about the class, they’re hardly ever about the subject, the concepts, your discoveries, or learning. The conversations are always, always about numbers. Specifically, numbers that translate into letters on your transcript. Those things are important, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, they don’t really count. Here’s what does: Understanding. Stretching. Growth. Discernment. Discovery. Challenge. And, most importantly, failure. Failure is the best teacher of all. It reveals your weak spots and invites you to grow. You should embrace failure—which might look like a B, or even a C. That kind of failure keeps you humble and shows you where to focus.

But if you (or your parents) come from the “Failure Is Not an Option” school of thought, here are some proactive things you can do to keep your grade looking the way you like it:

  1. Pay attention. If you’re busy chatting with friends or playing on your phone or doing other homework on your laptop when you’re supposed to be doing something for this class right now, that’s a near-guarantee that poor and/or missing work is to follow. I’m aware you’re sitting at tables. That doesn’t mean you have license to do what you want, to be rude, to ignore what’s going on and expect me to explain it to you special later. You know how to be a student. That shouldn’t be contingent on where you sit and how.
  2. Listen. On essays especially, I try to provide feedback to help you improve. What do my notations say? See any patterns? Are you making changes based on my comments or just glancing at the number at the top and filing the paper away for later? Heed the wisdom of Jackie “Moms” Mabley: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”
  3. Read. Read the assigned works. The ones I hand you, not the summaries on SparkNotes or PinkMonkey or Shmoop or whatever the avoid-actual-work site of the month happens to be. Plot summaries will not help you with AP questions. You won’t have the depth of detail needed to answer them properly, and you won’t have the practice necessary to analyze text closely when the time comes. And while we’re talking about reading, read the directions. Don’t skim, don’t assume, and don’t let your friend’s four-second summary scalf-roping-hlsr-590x742tand in for what I specified. I can’t tell you how valuable this skill will be in college, where your course syllabi will rule your life in ways you can’t even imagine now.
  4. Ask questions. Don’t understand something? Ask. Unsure about what something means? Ask. Have an amazing idea that you’d like to explore? Please, please ask! The ability to ask good questions is an invaluable college and life skill. Professors love students who can ask good questions. Be that person.
  5. Slow down. Stop being in such a hurry. I’m well aware that the procrastination struggle is real. Fight it. Plan your reading so you aren’t trying to finish a two-hundred-page work in an evening. That’s why I gave you a calendar, so you could plan. Hint, hint. Make sure your name is on the paper itself and in the filename, if it’s electronic. Do you have any idea how many assignments I see entitled “AP essay”? Am I supposed to guess what each paper is about and who submitted it? I really don’t need that kind of excitement in my life. Don’t do all your work at the last minute, or worse yet, in the class period before you show up to mine. That slapdash effort rarely earns what you’d like. Learning isn’t like the calf roping competition at the rodeo. You don’t earn bonus points for being quick. Plus, if you haven’t tied off the calf properly, it doesn’t matter how good you look during the process. You lose, plain and simple. Do good work, and good results will follow.

 

Ideally, I’d love to face a class full of learners, people who are engaged in the process, willing to take risks, asking good questions, and thinking thinking thinking so their knowledge grows and their outlook expands. But if the grade monkeys screech too loudly—and I get it, they do sometimes—follow the steps above. Pay attention. Listen. Read. Ask questions. Slow down. They help, I promise.

As my father is wont to say, “End of Sermonette.”

Calf roping photo © Bob Straus

 

Mar 30, 2015 - Honors IV    Comments Off on 3rd Marking Period Reflection: Honors

3rd Marking Period Reflection: Honors

self reflectionNow that we have completed the marking period, it is time to reflect on your performance as a student in English IV Honors. For this assignment, you will need to review the information in your class portfolio in addition to the writing assignments you have submitted to Edmodo. Your reflection should be thoughtfully written in complete sentences–no bullet points! Be sure to include all three areas in your review.

Consider your completed work, your success on out-of-class items, your participation in class, and your overall work habits (homework, planning, paying attention, etc.) as you complete your reflection.

+ PLUS – In what areas have you succeeded? What are you doing that is working well for you? What kinds of assignments or activities have been the most positive for you and why?

– MINUS – In what areas have you struggled? What did not turn out the way you planned? Do you have habits in or out of class that affect the quality of your work and participation in class?

Δ CHANGE – What do you plan to change or do differently so you can finish the year strong?

Submit your completed reflection to the blue box. You may return your folder to your class box.

Mar 30, 2015 - AP Literature    Comments Off on 3rd Marking Period Reflection: AP

3rd Marking Period Reflection: AP

self reflectionNow that we have completed the marking period, it is time to reflect on your performance as a student in AP English Literature. For this assignment, you will need to review the information in your class portfolio in addition to the writing assignments you have submitted to Edmodo. Your reflection should be thoughtfully written, with an eye toward improving your performance on the coming AP exam.

First, SORT the contents of your portfolio.

SAVE:    Major Works Data Sheets

Timed Writings

MC Practice

Lit Circles Window Notes

KEEP/TOSS: Everything else!

REFLECT: Review your written responses for commonalities. What are the most common issues on your papers? What can you do to address and correct that issue? Compare some earlier papers with papers written more recently. Where do you see that you have grown/improved?

Submit your completed reflection to the blue box. You may return your folder to your class box.

Jan 20, 2015 - Honors IV    Comments Off on Semester I Reflection: Honors

Semester I Reflection: Honors

self reflectionNow that we have completed the second marking period, it is time to reflect on your performance as a student in English IV Honors. For this assignment, you will need to review the information in your class portfolio in addition to the writing assignments you have submitted to Edmodo. Your reflection should be thoughtfully written in complete sentences–no bullet points! Be sure to include all three areas in your review.

Consider your completed work, your success on out-of-class items, your participation in class, and your overall work habits (homework, planning, paying attention, etc.) as you complete your reflection.

+ PLUS – In what areas have you succeeded? What are you doing that is working well for you? What kinds of assignments or activities have been the most positive for you and why? What are you currently doing that you can confidently say will be of benefit to you at the college/university level?

– MINUS – In what areas have you struggled? What did not turn out the way you planned? Do you have habits in or out of class that affect the quality of your work and participation in class? What skills do you need to focus on to bring them up to collegiate level?

Δ CHANGE – What do you plan to change or do differently to achieve better results in the coming marking period? Consider such tools as task planning, Edmodo use, questioning, participation, etc.

Submit your completed reflection to the blue box. You may return your folder to your class box.

Oct 27, 2014 - AP Literature    Comments Off on Marking Period Reflection: AP

Marking Period Reflection: AP

self reflectionNow that we have completed the marking period, it is time to reflect on your performance as a student in AP English Literature. For this assignment, you will need to review the information in your class portfolio in addition to the writing assignments you have submitted to Edmodo. Your reflection should be thoughtfully written, approximately one solid paragraph per section. Be sure to include all three areas in your review.

First, organize your portfolio. It should include the following items:
–>AP Practice Items: timed writings, multiple choice practice
–>Diagnostic Items (Literary Terms, grammar, etc.)
–>Major Works Data Sheets for all works – these will become the backbone of your study guide for the AP exam in May.
Other papers may be discarded or filed.

Now, write your reflection. Consider your completed work, your success on out-of-class items, your participation in class, and your overall work habits (homework, planning, paying attention, etc.) as you complete your reflection.

+ PLUS – In what areas have you succeeded? What are you doing that is working well for you? What kinds of assignments or activities have been the most positive for you and why? Where are you having the most success as a student of AP Literature?

– MINUS – In what areas have you struggled? What did not turn out the way you planned? Do you have habits in or out of class that affect the quality of your work and participation in class?

Δ CHANGE – What do you plan to change or do differently to achieve better results in the coming marking period? What would you like to improve the most over the next nine weeks?

Submit your completed reflection to the blue box. You may return your folder to your class box.

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