Bored to Tears

The ACT is next Tuesday.

The AP is in three and a half weeks.

I teach juniors.

I think I’ve spent at least five hours at the copier this week. And I feel like all I’m doing is watching people silently do the things I copy.

This sucks. And its painfully boring. Clearly, I could never be the kind of teacher that hands out a worksheet every day. My remedial class has been taking their interim exam (60 questions) for the past two days. The other classes aren’t spending ALL of their time doing things silently (actually, less than 14 minutes) but it sure feels like it.

Part of me wants to try to make it more exciting/interesting/interactive/DO SOMETHING , but they’re about to take these tests on their own. I’m out. And they’ve got to get on it themselves. So many of my students want to wait around for me to tell them how to do it (or what to do, or ideally, just do it for them) and that won’t fly on these tests.

I think I have a good mix of instruction and exploration and practice planned, but man is the practice part getting to me. I do believe it’s whats best for my students, I just wish it was a little better for me.

How do you structure practice for high stakes test? Have you ever spent five hours at the copier in the less than 3 days? How many trees have I killed this week?!?


Post it Planning

This is what my desk looks like right now.

Post it plans

It makes it a little hard to work on anything but my plans for AP Review. The fact that I have a month (?!?!?!) to prep for the AP is amazing. This is my third year teaching the course and by far the most time I’ve had to review with my students. Thats great, but it means that I don’t really know what to do with it all. I have plenty of random-all-over-the-place ideas, but how to know the good ones? How to decide what order, and what gets done in class, and what homework is?

I have no idea.

But I’ll get there. I’ll shift those post its all over my desk, and pair homework (the pink ones in the bottom two rows) with classwork (the green in the top three). It will come together into a schedule, and in a perfect world, every minute of time will be used efficiently and effectively and my students will be awesomely prepared. Or at least thats the goal.

Do you ever use post-its to plan? They are probably my favorite tool–I love being able to pick things up and switch them around so easily.

On Finishing

I gave the Chapter 12 Test in my AP Stats class today. 12 tests. Of 12.

Today, we finished our book.

Whoa. WHOA.

It hasn’t really sunk in yet. But I’m sure once it does (for me and for my students) it will feel pretty darn awesome. Now we have a month to review, and a full practice exam tomorrow afternoon, four weeks before our Real Thing.

I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve got post-its and lists and photocopies and scrawled ideas all over the place. I have a month. 15 days of instruction, actually (we have conferences and the ACT in there), which is both tons of time and not that much. I’m running this. I have to figure out what we need the most, how to set it up, and how to maximize our time. My students are prepared. They could do really well…which is amazing but scary. Kids at all-Hispanic city neighborhood schools don’t usually do that well. Here’s hoping we prove that wrong!

What do you do for AP review? Any brilliant ideas?