Sunday, August 24, 2008

I need your help!!!

I was oh so proud of my accomplishments this weekend... until at 6:30pm on Sunday I remembered that I'm scheduled to present at a Staff Development day on Friday! EEKKK! So now I need your help in brainstorming :)

When this year's AP Stat exam was released for teachers to see the questions, I noticed that there were 2 questions that had parts that were related to Algebra content. One of them had students creating a scatterplot and the other had students describing the slope of a regression line. Of course this was in May, so I asked the AP Calc teacher if she was interested in co-presenting a pre-AP math session for the math teachers at my school. Of course with the extreme busy-ness of the summer, I didn't think too much about the session...

Of course, now it's August and that session is just a few days away! So I need your help. The title of our session is "Adapting AP Materials to the Pre-AP classroom". I have about 25 minutes to fill and I am at a loss as to what to do.

So pretend (ha!) you are a pre-AP teacher (Algebra/Geoemtry/Pre-Calc).... :)

What would YOU like to get out of this workshop?


Jackie Ballarini said...

Great topic!!

There are actually some nice adaptations of past free response questions here. I think all teachers should see the types of free response questions that are asked. They are good questions.

I think it is important for pre-ap teachers (and all teachers, really) to know the importance of focusing on multiple representations. I also think that teachers need to know that some of the things that we tend to focus on don't really matter on the AP exams (e.g. simplifying square roots).

Good luck! I can't wait to read about it.

Anonymous said...


I don't teach an AP class, so maybe these thoughts might help. I'm not sure if this is what sort of thing you were thinking of.

(1) I know in AP Stat, teachers often use portfolios and projects as assessments. As a math teacher, I'd love to know if you had ideas about if it could work in other math classes, how you could see it being implemented, and if you honestly think it's worth doing or just something that people say is good because it sounds good and it looks good to administrators.

(2) I'd be interested in the areas you thought the classes which comes before the AP Stat / Calc classes teach students especially well. And also the areas which they were weaker than they should be, so I could think about the math curriculum in a "longue duree" view.

(3) I've always been impressed that AP teachers can keep such a tight schedule, which they need to in order to cover all the material before the exam. I'd love to know the ways AP teachers deal with that really critical issue - because we all face it, but we don't all face it well. Having the AP test forces you to learn to do it well.

(4) And in the same vein, I love when teachers outline things that DIDN'T work for them (in addition to things that did work) so I can be wary of the pitfalls.

I'm not sure if I'm answering your question -- but these are things I'd love to hear from an AP teacher. Mainly they aren't so much about the AP course, but about how I as a teacher of other math courses can learn from what you did. Because honestly, as someone who sits in a lot of meetings, I'm always looking for takeaway. If I don't leave meetings thinking I have some takeaway value for the classroom, or for my interactions with students, or for something tangible, then I (perhaps narrowmindedly) write it off as time I could have spent on creating lesson plans.

GOOD LUCK! And do consider posting your slides/handout/etc. if you are happy with what you did.

Sam Shah