Friday, October 19, 2012

Rigor - it's not just for AP

This was posted on the LTF forums the other day - clearly demonstrates that with rigor and high expectations students will rise to college readiness:

English Teacher Forum
Subject: Using LTF stuff in the English 3 classroom
I just had to brag a minute. So, we are working on rhetorical analysis with our English 3 classes. Not AP, but regular core level kids. I pulled the Ethos, Logos, Pathos lesson for Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” to use in class. We spent three days working on it as a class. Now, we are using the Colin Powell speech (which I pulled from the assesments section from LTF) for them to write their own rhetorical analysis essay. It will be brief, but at least they will have experience. It was hard work each day, but it was so exciting to show them that they are just as smart as the AP kids because they AP kids are doing very similar stuff. Even my lowest class (which is inclusion) did an amazing job.
I ended up using a web cam to video the annotations that we did as well as the class discussion we had that day. For kids that were absent, they were able to go and watch/listen to the video and get caught up. Even now, while writing the essay, there are some kids that are still a little lost. We are encouraging them to go back to the video for review. It has been great. We also scan in our notes for each class, so that students can have clear examples of the expectations that were covered in class.
I am working with the 9th grade team to help alleviate some of the stress of preparing their students for STAAR while still preparing them for AP.  I have pulled many LTF lessons to adapt to their curriculum and needs to show them how these skills prepare all students for STAAR AND AP.