Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Presentations Mid-point Advice

As I'm sure you have observed, there are some clear distinctions between excellent, decent and mediocre presentations. Most notable is the tendency of some presenters to READ OFF OF THE SLIDE!!!

Don't we all hate that?

Can we try not to do that anymore?

An audience will forgive many other common foibles such as a presenter inserting too many ums in their narration, accidentally skipping ahead two slides and then doubling back, even typos peppered throughout the slides, but boring them by saying the exact words that they can read for themselves is the number one way you will lose their attention.

Don't do it.

Also, can we try to be a bit more consistent in the time notations? Sometimes the presentation skips around in time, or certain events aren't labeled with years or references to other years and it gets really confusing. Think of the basic structure of the presentation as a TIMELINE...with events in the author's life on one side, and the works the author produced on the other, and YOUR ANALYSIS of how the two sides are connected as the key narration.

Finally, make sure you really understand all the information you present so you can answer any clarifying questions. Don't quote another author's comments ABOUT your author, for example, without knowing something about that other author.

Good luck to those whose presentations are still to come...I expect to see higher caliber work after these suggestions are sent out (see, there ARE advantages to being an early presenter).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tuesday Graders

If you're DEFINITELY going to be in class on Tuesday, May 26, please let me know either via email (terihu[at] OR by leaving a comment on this post. I will select graders for Tuesday's presentations based on this list, so it's vitally important that you actually show up if you say you will. Don't be a flake!

Remember, the six presenters on Tuesday deserve your support. I am quite bummed to be missing this of all days, a few of the presentations I was really looking forward to seeing are booked for this day. Believe me, if I had control over this medical situation, I would not have booked a procedure for the 26th...this is why I'm not happy with Kaiser. At all.

Fortunately, the sub will be Mr. Ingebretson, whom you had in January, and who is sane and intelligent. I will leave him clear instructions as to what to look for in the presentations so I can base grades on more than just the slideshow.

All right, have a good LONG weekend everyone. Rest up. There may only be 17 school days left, but they are 17 tremendously fraught days.

UPDATE: These are the folks I've actually heard from, assigned to grade presentations as follows...

Graders for SAI's presentation:
Samuel Lai

Graders for MIKA's presentation
Amy Dunford

I only have five names for 3rd, so just switch Katie and Sarah as graders for each other's presentation.
Sarah Ewing

I only heard from two people in 2nd, besides the presenters, but I'm sure more people will show. You're going to have to figure it out.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Extra Credit

So...only 15 people did the extra credit? Lame.

You have until Monday. After that, I open it up to the folks who didn't get to pick a slip.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

God, I'm SO glad this is over!

Well, I didn't get to see 2nd and 3rd, but the atmosphere in 6th was chipper enough to make me think y'all did all right. Good job, everyone, I'm glad to hear that the overwhelming majority felt the MC was "easy," compared to our practice tests...let's see how that plays out in July.

Here's some info about the prose text:

As for the poetry passage, if you watched The Tudors on Showtime, you'd have some clue as to what that's about, I suppose. Did you cover that stuff in World History, or AP Euro?

At the very least, you've had three doses of Shakespeare, that ought to provide some inoculation.

Finally...good news on the admin/curricular front: Bastard Out of Carolina has been approved by the textbook committee. I think I will use it instead of Mulvaneys next year. I love the book, but it's just too damned LONG.

And yes, I'm very proud of you guys. I think you did quite well this year, all in all, and I anticipate a kickass pass rate. Please let me know when you get your test's one of the high points of my summer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Less than 24 hours to SHOWTIME!

First of all, IF I bake cupcakes tonight, it'll be one of the following:

Red Velvet
Cookies and Cream

If you have a preference, let me know before 6pm, I'll try to accommodate the best I can.

On the eve of the big test day, here are some helpful hints...I know, it's nothing you didn't already know, but I figured I'd put it in writing.

1. Review the Literary Terms from the beginning of the year (scroll back to the post from September 28, 2008). I know it looks like a lot but if you look it over you'll see that you already know most of it. The main reason I still want you to know this isn't because I think they're necessarily going to ask you what a "chiasmus" is. Knowing it will come in handy more as a way to eliminate the WRONG answer, it'll give you confidence to know it IS wrong and choose the right answer with assurance.

Ultimately, if these (and the poetic meters) are the only things you don't know, you'll probably be fine, they only take up a few questions on the multiple choice section. The thing is, running across a cluster of questions you're completely lost about can shake your confidence and throw you off for the rest of the test even if you DO know all the other questions.

Know yourself and how you respond in a test situation.

2. Review the online practice tests at I've been saying this all year, and I get the feeling almost no one has taken this advice seriously. You should. It's a FREE resource that gives you the best possible insight on what to expect.

They even have sample student essays for the latest tests...that can be very helpful in determining how to raise YOUR essays to the next level.

3. Review all EIGHT of the practice tests you've taken this year. Compare how you've done, and try to figure out WHY you did better or worse on each one. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and USE this information on the real thing.

4. Review your cram sheet!!

Make sure you know the author...maybe the year published? Refresh your memory of the plot, the character's NAMES, setting, etc...don't get your information mixed up on the test, it'll make you look careless.

Don't even TRY to write an essay on a book you haven't read. It'll show. And don't get too hung up on the suggested list, use the book that you're most familiar with, that is also relevant to the topic. The more you liked a book, the more likely you'll be able to write well about it.

However, make sure it's a LITERARY WORK...don't take unnecessary risks if you're not sure, or if you're not totally comfortable writing coherently and intelligently about the piece.

5. Get a good night's sleep. Don't get all nervous and strung out and get insomnia. It's an 8am test, you need to be rested.

6. Have a solid, healthy breakfast...make sure you have protein, not just carbs, and watch the sugar. If you normally drink coffee, don't skip it...if you don't, this is not the time to start. Be hydrated.

Most importantly, remember that mental preparation is the bulk of the challenge. If you're well prepared, you know it, and everyone who followed the curriculum this year SHOULD be well prepared. Don't get caught up in second-guessing yourself and lose that confidence.

I genuinely believe that this is the most useful AP exam, in terms of getting you out of an often tedious college requirement. Everyone has to take freshman comp. A pass on this exam will get you out of that class, and that means you get to tackle more interesting challenges sooner.

And life is all about the challenges.

Good luck.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

AP Government

Yes, I know the test is tomorrow, so a bunch of you won't be in 2nd/3rd. Don't worry about the vocab test, you can take it during 6th if your 6th period teacher is amenable, or make it up later in the week. But I expect all the 6th period folks to be there unless they have swine flu.