Saturday, April 22, 2017

Crunch Time

(Note:  I know I should probably make some sort of statement about being gone for so long, but every time I try, it just sounds awkward and weird and I erase the screen and shut down my blogging screen for another several weeks, so we're going to just skip past all that, k?  We're just going to pretend like blogging is a regular occurrence around here and that it hasn't been 7 months since I last wrote...:)  )

It's crunch time.  The AP exam is in just under 3 weeks and I'm not ready.  My kids are mostly ready, but what I wouldn't give for another week of teaching time to really solidify some concepts!  I've taught AP Stat for 17 years and one would think that I would get better and more efficient at it, but one would be wrong.  I like hands-on activities and that takes time.  With each new released AP exam, I find things that I could tweak or should emphasize more and that takes time.  Curriculum changes in the courses leading up to mine have forced intro stat/probability out the window, so filling in the gaps takes time. Classroom management of 32-33 kiddos, even when they are great kiddos, takes time.  As a result, I have to play triage and decide which topics to teach deeply, which topics to skim over to hit the high points, and which topics to move to the very end of the course and hope I get there before Exam Day comes.

This week was crazy in terms of time.  After school review sessions have started and I'm trying to figure out every little possible thing that I can do to help my students be more successful.  I love teaching seniors, but seniors after spring break can be tiring.  I'm so blessed that my students this year are a fabulous group of kids, but they are tired and I understand that completely.

Skills Check
Last week, on Pinterest, I ran across Bowman's post on Skill Drills in AP Calculus.  While AP Calc and AP Stat are both considered AP math classes, they are vastly different in terms of subject matter and needed skills, but I really liked this idea, so last Sunday, I started typing up my own version of 5 minute quick checks for AP Stat in nice little quarter-sized pieces of paper :)

I've been using them this week as exit tickets and my students have responded very well!  I don't claim ownership of these problems - in fact most of them are based on AP released exams, but you are welcome to them if you want them.

Review Flipper
Last year, I had my students make an AP Review Flipper, but this year, I just ran out of time.  The idea is that each day my students would write an index card "cliffs notes" version of a chapter of material that we could assemble into a review tool.  I got through the first 6 chapters when time just got away from me and it didn't happen this year.  I know that last year's students felt it was very useful, so I felt guilty for not getting it done this year.  With no time left and AP review about to start, I spent many hours this week transcribing my cards to send to the copy shop for each of my students.  This week, we will take a day to highlight each "card" and assemble our flippers and pray that it works okay.  I know it's not ideal - I would rather have them write the cards themselves, but.... :)

My hand was cramping for a good while after this... :)

Now I need to figure out the best way to maximize the next few weeks... In an ideal world, I could give my students some free time to work on old questions, but I've found that in general, that doesn't work well with seniors in May :)  What strategies do you use to help your students?


Mary said...

These are great--thanks so much for sharing. Saved a copy while watching my class take their practice exam :)

I know where you're coming from too. This is my 7th year with AP and I feel like I need to do everything, or nothing, or I'm not sure what. We're focusing a lot on choosing which inference method but I know I need to do more with probability and just don't know what!

Lynn Adsit said...

I really like the Review Flip Folder idea! I'm sorry you have to do so much writing and creating. I wonder if giving a pair of students one or two chapters to create and have a form for them to create it electronically might help you out? You could then review/revise and then print for the entire class...hmm I like that idea myself!!

I have been using a similar set up I saw at the AP reading last year, Learning Cards Flip Folder presented by Mark Fisher. I didn't start until second semester, but I'm glad I did and so are my students. I see them regularly flipping back to old material in order to check a condition or review a process. I also added a few cards (and deleted a few) to fit what I wanted to emphasize.

In terms of reviewing, through my LMS (Schoology) I've been posting daily reminders based on @mathteacher24...I did this a few years ago through Remind and my kiddos found it very helpful (they even said so in the year end evaluation - yay!)

Jane Taylor said...

Thanks for sharing the skills checks. I will use a few this year and then I'd like to incorporate them more next year. I echo what Mary said.. I feel like I need to review everything, but I have so little review time with the kids I am not sure how to best spend it!

Amy and Bryan said...

I'm in my second year of teaching AP Stats. I'm excited to be attending a 2nd AP Institute this year. I still feel like a complete beginner. My big questions that the Institute will be about preparing the kids for the exam. I feel good about the teaching but I need to develop ideas for getting them to do the outside reading and homework. I teach in a school that has 75% free and reduced lunch. It's like pulling teeth to get them to do outside work even in some of the AP classes. I'm open to all kinds of suggestions. We're doing a practice test on Sunday with a BBQ and have been working through the 2014 practice test in class. I do an interactive notebook through the year.