31 Graders Of AP Tests Share The Most Ridiculous Answers They’ve Come Across

Just in time for AP season! ūüėÄ

Thought Catalog

Found on AskReddit.

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1. An essay on a made-up book.

One of my teachers that is an APUSH grader posts Facebook statuses each day about the dumbest things she reads, so they are allowed to say. But my favorite story was from a teacher that did the AP Lit grading. The teachers are allowed to read the responses to open ended questions on books they haven’t read, but she says that if people aren’t too familiar with them they tend to pass it off to someone who has actually read it. One day she got a response on a book she had never heard of, so she tried to pass it on to someone else. But no one else at her table, or in her room, had heard of it either. Which in this case is strange, because this is a room full of English teachers, and…

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My Summer Reading List!

So, I was going to take grad classes this summer, but the stars did not align and classes will be starting in fall.  For once in ages, I have time to read.  Today, I went through my bookshelf and picked out my reading selections for the summer.

Books in bold are books that I am rereading this summer.  The others are brand new to me!

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

4. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

6. Scrambled Eggs at Midnight by Heather Hepler and Brad Barkley

7. Hate List by Jennifer Brown

8. Crystal by Walter Dean Myers

9. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

10. Riot by Walter Dean Myers

11. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

12. Sold by Patricia McCormick

13. I Am the Messenger  by Markus Zusak

14. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

15. Jane by April Lindner

16. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

17. Web 2.0: How-To for Education by Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum

18.¬†Lady Macbeth’s Daughter¬†by Lisa Klein

19.¬†The Handmaid’s Tale¬†by Margaret Atwood

20. Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better And How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal

There’s definitely plenty for me to read this summer. ¬†I’m on vacation in a few weeks and will certainly have time to read then. ¬†What’s on your reading list? ¬†Do you have any additions I should check out? ¬†Let me know!

Student, Teacher – Response to Daily Post

I follow The Daily Post, which posts daily prompts for bloggers to inspire them. ¬†Ironically, I’ve been very lax in posting lately and haven’t seen my daily posts for a while. So when I logged on today and saw the prompt, I knew I had to write.

This week’s prompt is to talk about something we’ve learned and something we’ve taught in the classroom. ¬†Last week, I completed my student teaching and this prompt has me thinking about my experience student teaching at Federal Hocking Secondary School this past semester. ¬†I have learned a great deal in my time there, mostly from my students. ¬†So, to answer this prompt, I am going to sum up my top learnings from my student teaching experience.

What I Learned:

1. Every student has more going on in his or her life than what you see in the classroom. ¬†I have seen students who are questioning their gender identity, hiding their sexual orientation, struggling with funds for basic necessities and schooling, raising siblings by themselves, facing abuse or the aftermath of abuse, living in unstable home lives, and trying to adjust to the new weight of stress from being in high school. ¬†All of my students had issues they were dealing with, whether they were at home or at school. ¬†I didn’t see all of these issues at once in the classroom, and I might have never known about them if I didn’t ask. ¬†I had several assignments where we discussed different aspects of their lives (tough decisions they had made, most important memories they had, reactions to major changes in their lives). ¬†All of their other stresses aren’t just left at the door and they come in with a clean slate. ¬†They all had more pressing issues than “what is a verb” on their minds. ¬†And this leads into my second point.

2.¬†All¬†students have their good days and their bad days. ¬†Even my most spirited students had days where they were quiet or irritable, and my students who didn’t like to engage often in class had their days when something sparked their attention or motivated them to work harder in class that day. ¬†That didn’t change who they were as people or as students. ¬†No matter what kind of day my students were having, I always tried to give them the same love and respect I would on any other day. ¬†In teaching and even in life with other people, the best approach someone can have is to have a clean slate in how you treat people each day. ¬†So what if that student mouthed off to you the day before? ¬†He or she should still get a “Morning! ¬†How are you?” just like every other student.

3.¬†Flexibility is key. ¬†I have had lessons that seemed to be great until I was actually teaching them and I realized the lesson was not as great as I thought it was. ¬†One day, I even completely changed my lesson because my students wanted to continue reading a book that we would have only read an excerpt of. ¬†Teaching isn’t always about covering every single topic in the exact time you need it. ¬†Sometimes it’s about fostering students’ curiosity and love for reading or learning or knowing more. ¬†Other times you need to be flexible because materials you counted on or even people you count on don’t always pull through. ¬†Without being flexible, you will get nowhere fast in teaching.

4.¬†Have fun with it and your students will too. ¬†My kids loved to laugh at my enthusiasm and excitement for what I was teaching. ¬†But you know what? ¬†While they were laughing, they enjoyed more of what they were doing. ¬†Did I enjoy teaching what a noun was? ¬†No. ¬†Did they enjoy knowing what a noun was? ¬†Not really. ¬†But did they learn it and did we have fun talking about it when I was excited about finding all the nouns in “What Does the Fox Say?” ¬†Yep. ¬†Will they remember what NEVER EVER EVER goes into a prepositional phrase because I would always jump up and down and stomp my foot and make them repeat it? ¬†Yep. ¬†(It’s a verb, by the way. ¬†All my students should have that in their heads by now.) ¬†The more fun you have with it, the less scary or intimidating the material is and the more they will remember it.

5.¬†Keep calm and learn from your mistakes. ¬†No one is perfect, including teachers. ¬†You will have days where you make mistakes or don’t have all the answers or could have handled things better. ¬†You shouldn’t pretend to be any different. ¬†I honestly believe it not only builds students’ trust in you to hear you as an authority figure admit when you’re wrong, but it also shows them that it’s okay to fail and okay to admit you failed (more on this in my next post about Candy Crush). ¬†The best way to learn is through our mistakes. ¬†It’s true to real life, so why not include it in the classroom and show our students the same thing?

While I have learned a great deal in the classroom during my student teaching, I would also like to think that I have taught my students a thing or two during my time with them.  If any of my students are reading this (because they somehow manage to find me no matter what measures I take to hide my social media life), there are a few things I hope I have taught them.

What I Taught:

1.¬†Question everything. ¬†I told you from the start that I would be so proud of you and feel accomplished as a teacher if I could teach you to always question and debate. ¬†You should be able to create your own opinions and answers and base them on debate and research and facts. ¬†Become great arguers, even if it sometimes annoys your teachers or parents. It’s worth it.

2.¬†Think what you want, but know that your words and actions have consequences. ¬†We have talked about this plenty. ¬†Just remember that you never know who is listening to your words or watching your actions. ¬†When you make something public, it leaves an impression on people and it can have a lasting impact. ¬†So when you make a fat joke to your friend and the two of you know you don’t mean it, think about the girl sitting behind you who might have been struggling with her weight all year or has been teased for it. ¬†Your words and actions have an impact. ¬†Use that impact for good!

3.¬†Treat yourself and others with respect. ¬†Just as you deserve respect and love for being who you are, others deserve the same. ¬†So even if you think that you didn’t do well because “you’re stupid” or that someone in class is “a jerk” for what he said, treat everyone with respect. ¬†Focus on individual acts, not on the individuals. ¬†Show every individual respect, especially yourself. ¬†You deserve your love and respect.

4.¬†Know that you are capable of far more than you think. ¬†I heard many of you tell me countless times this semester that you couldn’t do something or it was too hard or I was asking too much. ¬†And what happened? ¬†You did it. ¬†You put on plays in an hour, started your own blogs, wrote your own poetry, became YouTube stars! ¬†There was only one time this entire semester when we fell a little short, but that wasn’t because of you. ¬†It was just because we needed a bit more time and I had to head home (but carry on, my documentarians!)

5.¬†Always be yourself and take pride in who you are.¬†This is the most important lesson I could have taught you. ¬†I tried to lead by example, showing no fear in being my zany self. ¬†I love who I am and I love who all of you are. ¬†You can accomplish exponentially more when you love yourself and are comfortable in your own skin. ¬†It’s never easy in high school or at any other point in life. ¬†Someone will always try to pull you down. ¬†Sometimes, the only person who will cheer for you is yourself (and me from afar). ¬†You need to love yourself and be proud. ¬†There’s only one you, so be proud of who you are, keep working, and you’ll go so far.

I hope that my students learned as much from me as I learned from them.  They have given me an incredible semester.  I will forever be proud that I worked at Federal Hocking for three years, and I will always remember my first students and what they taught me.

Student, Teacher – Daily Blog Post

Gaming in the Classroom: Board Games and Card Games

I am a huge gamer. ¬†From my Portal lunchbox to my Legend of Zelda wallet, it is evident that I game. ¬†I’m not alone in this either. ¬†Most teenagers today game in some capacity, and it is an avenue that the educational world is slowly picking up on.

Whether video games, board games, or card games, gaming can provide multiple benefits to players. ¬†Board games in particular can promote quick thinking, long-term planning, teamwork, goal-setting, critical thinking, self-control, and confidence. ¬† So on a day when there is a sub in the classroom or students have earned a free day, which is better? ¬†A class chatting and wasting its time for 50-80 minutes of their day or using those 50-80 minutes to develop necessary interpersonal and intrapersonal skills? ¬†Though I haven’t had the opportunity to introduce them yet, board games and card games would be an excellent way to keep kids engaged even on free days or days with a substitute teacher.

Not every board game is going to work for the same classes though. ¬†Forbidden Island would not be a good choice for a preschool class, but¬†Candy Land would be. ¬†Chutes and Ladders might be fun for high schoolers for the nostalgia, but to get them really thinking about what they’re doing, it would be more appropriate to play¬†Dixit¬†or to challenge them with historical facts and inventions, it is better to play¬†Timeline. ¬†Whether collaborative or competitive, board games and card games can challenge students to engage in higher-level cognitive functions while improving social skills and having fun.

So how do you introduce board games into a classroom without getting pieces all over the classroom and students into fighting matches? ¬†Take one day to set up stations with different games to play. ¬†Explain each game and the general idea behind them. ¬†Make sure they know that “Forbidden Island only has two to four players” or “Zombie Dice can have as many players as you want.” ¬†Set clear expectations early on. ¬†Students can help with this. ¬†Ask them to think about what rules should be established (Make sure all pieces go back in the box, put the game away, listen to each other, be respectful, etc.). ¬†If your students have trouble coming up with guidelines, ask them to think about how they would want someone to treat their things. ¬†Another way to make it easier in groups is to have roles the students can take on. ¬†When students pick a game, have them designate one person to read the rules, one person to keep score, and one or two people to take charge of passing out money or tokens or other game pieces as needed. ¬†Designated roles can cut down on arguments and help students instead focus on enjoying the game. ¬†After introducing the games and having a day where you can troubleshoot, you should be able to incorporate board games on sub days and any other time you want your students to have some free time or down time.

So what games should you get for your class?  Here are a few suggestions depending on what you want to accomplish.  Follow the links to learn more about each game!

Collaboration

Castle Panic 

Forbidden Island (If you like Forbidden Island, they also made Forbidden Desert)

Pandemic

Saboteur

Shadows Over Camelot

Storytelling/Language

Dixit

Gloom

Once Upon a Time

Unspeakable Words

Persuasion

The Resistance

Economics/Risk

The Settlers of Catan

Zombie Dice

Get Bit!

Lords of Vegas

Quick Thinking

Star Fluxx (or any of the Fluxx series)

History

Timeline (They have multiple versions, some might be better for history classes while others are better for science ones.  I personally own the Diversity version, because it has a little bit of everything.)

Strategy/Planning

Tsuro

Ticket to Ride

ImageWesley Crusher knows how to game. ¬†Check out Wil Wheaton’s YouTube series “Tabletop” for more games that inspire communication, teamwork, and all kinds of fun!

Don’t Forget the Top: Challenging Higher Performing Students

So I found I’ve run into a predicament that occurs in every classroom: how to challenge higher level students while providing enough support for students that need extra help. ¬†I am student teaching in classes of both regular level English 9 and honors English 9. ¬†We have quite a few students who need extra accommodations and teachers are often there to help as soon as they need it. ¬†It’s wonderful to see what we do to help students reach higher levels, but sometimes there is such a disconnect in the classroom between the higher performing students and the material or activities.

During projects when choice can be offered, these students are challenged and have a chance to do well. ¬†But what about days when we aren’t working on projects? ¬†Days when I’m teaching parts of speech and can see the bored looks on the higher-level students’ faces? ¬†How can we challenge them daily, not just during projects? ¬†In normal instruction time, how can we both help lower level students, challenge middle-level students, and push higher level students?

I’ve spoken with other teachers and done a bit of research on my own time. ¬†First and foremost, more of a challenge does not mean more work. ¬†All that will do is build resentment toward the teacher and to their own status as an honors student. ¬†Other students might hold back to stop from being given more work. ¬†So, more work is not the answer. ¬†One teacher I asked talked about the importance of choice and how she will have options for her students (e.g. they could write a summary of points or make a poster about it). ¬†Choice allows students functioning on a range of levels to pick the option that best suits them. ¬†Usually, she said, the students will pick the more challenging option. ¬†After all, no one wants to be bored for 50-80 minutes of class. ¬†

Today, as my honors students finished their essays, I recommended peer editing. ¬†They didn’t have to do it, but I suggested that it could help to have a fresh set of eyes. ¬†They agreed and spent the rest of the bell peer-editing as they finished. ¬†It worked very well for the day, but I want to incorporate the extra challenge throughout my teaching. ¬†This is definitely a topic to continue researching. ¬†I will post resources about the issue as I find them for sure.

“Of Mice and Men” – Thug Notes

Thug Notes is a fun series on YouTube that uses humor and slang to promote interest in and understanding of great works of literature. If you can get past some slight issues of foul language, the summaries are always clear and concise and the analyses teach me new things and provide an excellent look at aspects of the novels that make a huge difference in how to interpret the text. Thug Notes is definitely worth watching, and he adds a new video every week, so the library is still growing.

More Than Mad Libs: Parts of Speech Made Fun

Whenever I tell anyone that I am working on a unit about parts of speech, I am met with groans and choruses of, “Ugh. ¬†That has to be so boring. ¬†Learning about nouns and verbs and all those other things? ¬†I bet you can’t wait to actually get to something fun. ¬†Good luck with the kids on that one.” ¬†Every time someone reacted negatively toward parts of speech or the idea of teaching it, it sounded akin to medieval torture.

Why did it have to be that way?

Why did teaching parts of speech or learning about them have to be so painful?  When I had to start planning for teaching parts of speech, I approached it with the goal of having fun and getting the students interested and active.  If students could find something interesting about parts of speech, then learning parts of speech would not only be fun, but it would help them to learn parts of speech better.

So, I decided that each lesson would have a fun student-centered activity. ¬†I used group work, individual work, collaboration, competition, and creativity to really get students interested. ¬†I will probably post the exact lesson plans under the “Teaching Materials” tab, but here is a brief look at what I did for the unit:

Nouns – After a quick survey to see how comfortable they felt with parts of speech, I introduced nouns and tested them by having them go through the lyrics of “What Does the Fox Say?” and circle all nouns in the song.

Pronouns РUsing construction paper rectangles with the pronouns on them, create a chart of all the pronouns.  Then take sentences and have students work together to scratch out repeated nouns on their papers.  After they complete it together, a representative from each group takes the pronoun cutouts from our chart and places them over the nouns they want to replace as a physical reminder that pronouns replace nouns.

Prepositions – I brought in a Snoopy plushie and selected a student to place it anywhere he or she wanted in the classroom. ¬†Once Snoopy was in place, I gave students 1-2 minutes to give me as many prepositional phrases as they could about where Snoopy was (or how long he had been there). ¬†I made it a challenge between the two classes to see which class could name more and the winning class became the “Preposition Champs.” ¬†(Both classes actually scored 18 prepositional phrases, so they both became champions).

Adjectives РAfter reviewing what kinds of adjectives exist, students get in groups and each choose a noun.  (I used Dragon, Superhero, Cat, Villain, Boat, House, Wizard, and Book).  To get them up and moving, the groups then go to a piece of poster paper around the room.  They write the noun they have at the top of their paper then have two minutes to list as many adjectives as they can that describe the noun they were given.  Groups then rotate to the right and have two minutes to draw an image of the noun using the adjectives the last team left.  Groups then share their drawings and provide a sentence about their image using the adjectives on their paper.

After these lessons, the students are taking a quiz, so that ends the first part of their parts of speech unit.  I have been using sentences from The Hunger Games every day to practice identifying parts of speech as well.  A parts of speech unit is not as exciting as a unit about literature or creative writing.  However, it is important that students understand a basic component of how our language functions and how words work in sentences.

Stay tuned for an update on verbs, adverbs, conjunctions, and interjections!