Sunday, April 25, 2010

Exam Day is Fast Approaching

The Last Minute Scramble...What Did I Forget???

Reference Lessons 7, 16, 23,28, 32, 35

Saturday morning I went for a long bike ride with an AP English teacher who teaches in another building in my district. He was relating to me that he had woke that morning and the first thing on his mind was what had he failed to stress enough during the year that he could scramble this week and review just before the AP test.

I had to laugh for I am in the same boat paddling (or in my case peddling) madly upstream. With only one week left before the test there is so much I would like to review with the kids, but so little time to do it. Where did this year go?

I did have a good review plan this year. We have been in a review mode for the last week or so and I feel like we have covered some solid ground. Since I teach the year long course I have to contend with the kids forgetting the stuff I taught last August! Those of you with semester courses don't have that problem, but of course you are still struggling to get the entire syllabus finished and Government and Politics being the first AP test in the queue isn't helping much.

This last week we will be doing three things in class. First class this week we will finish the scheduled review. In my case we will review about 40 important Supreme Court cases. It is an arduous task, but should be done.

Second class the kids will take the 2002 Released AP Government multiple choice test. They haven't seen it before now, so I will let them get in groups of two or three and work through the test. I like doing this as a mini-group project for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn't intimidate them as much when they see the test with a partner. No sense creating jitters the week before the test! Second, reading the questions together and debating the answers is a great review in itself. Finally, doing this with a partner can be a confidence builder and relieve any pre-test anxiety. Some of my AP kids really put the pressure on themselves, and I find that this is a means of releasing some of that pressure prior to THE Exam.

The last day I will give the kids five or six topics that I feel they need to review for the Free Response section of the test. No, I don't have any inside information....I am as totally clueless as the next fellow on what the questions will be. However, I have had a pretty good track record of guessing some topic areas for the kids to look at and then having those areas having a Free Response questions. Just for fun (again...I absolutely don't have any idea, just uneducated guesses) here are the areas I am suggesting this year:

1. Supreme Court nomination process including vetting by the White House and the confirmation process. Timely and we haven't had one for a couple of years on this topic. (See Lesson 28)
2. Federalism...we seem to have one every other year. In the last decade we have had five or six Free Response questions on some aspect of Federalism, so why not one more. Now Federalism is a big topic, so I am advising the kids to look at mandates and federal laws that are forcing neo-nullification issues. Things like No Child Left Behind, ADA, and drunk driving laws. HMMMM!? (See Lesson 7)
3. Apportionment...hey it is the Census time and this will be a huge topic in another year. How about a little Baker v. Carr and Reynolds v Sims. One man-one vote anyone??? (See Lesson 16)
4. Free might be a bit too soon for Bong Hits for Jesus (Morse v. Fredrick), but maybe not. We haven't seen a student's rights question in forever. (See Lesson 35)
5. Incorporation...does anyone still teach Barron v. Baltimore, the Slaughterhouse Case, and Gitlow v. New York? If not they maybe sorry! I have been waiting for a good incorporation (14th Amendment) question for a couple of years. This might be the year AP makes me look like I have some idea what I am talking about. (See Lesson 32)
6. The Budget. With the huge deficits and the astronomical national debt, maybe it is time for a good ole budget chart question. We had one of these almost a decade ago, but it is such a hot button question now that I can't help but think we might see it again. This could be a Policy type questions concerning Congress and the budget or a question about the creation of the budget (OMB and CBO type stuff). (See Lesson 23)

I will give my kids this list and challenge them to study these topics for a couple of extra minutes Sunday evening. If I am wrong, they will have looked at some pretty important national issues one more time. If I am right, well....Katy bar the door!

Have a great week finishing your curriculum and getting the kids ready for May 3rd. And of course as always, the best of luck to your students.

No comments: