Category Archives: Essays

FREE Webinar: Implementing the ‘Inquiry Research’ Project

This Thursday, September 22…

edPioneer is pleased to announce the launch of its FREE Webinar Series!  For the first online exchange, I will talk with you about implementing the Inquiry Research Project, which is a great way to immerse your students in modern, global issues via research while giving them their license to drive the learning process!

During this webinar, I will guide you through setting up, facilitating, and assessing the Inquiry Research Project, along with adding in some tips and best practices along the way including sequencing suggestions and pacing remarks.  A live, Q&A session will follow the presentation to address any of your lingering, project-related questions.

Join me for some professional development fun.  Sign up TODAY by clicking on the image below!  Spaces are limited!

(Need points?  Professional development ‘Certificate of Completion’ available!  NOTE: Please speak with your school or district prior to this event to ensure its eligibility.)

webinar_inquiry-rsch

 

Teaching ‘perspectives’ (vs. ‘lenses’)

multiple-perspectives3Teacher: “Ok, teams, for your research, you’ll need to examine the issue through multiple perspectives. Mmm-kay?”

Student (during presentation of research): “When I did my research from the environmental perspective, I found that…”

In courses like AP Seminar or AICE Global Perspectives & Research, this is all too often the talk. And let me tell you the dog’s honest truth…during my first year as an AP Seminar teacher, I seriously thought this was right.

Problem is, ‘environment‘ isn’t a perspective. It’s a LENS. WithIN that lens you may have varying perspectives as to whether topic X is environmentally awesome or not, but the environment itself is NOT the point of view.

Sound like a mix-up you’re either teaching or allowing in your class right now? Don’t stress. It’s almost a rite of passage NOT to know what the difference between ‘lens’ and ‘perspective’ is during Year One. Hence the reason for this blog post…to pave a smoother for you than I had.

Annnnd it’s because I like you, really.

So if you’re interested and want to read on-slash-rock on, head over to the new, blog landscape at edPioneer:

CLICK HERE to read the full blog post!!

Lending a ‘Hand’: Using Lenses to Narrow Essay Focus

 

Quarter 1 has a lot to do with getting your students acquainted with global issues, filling the “blank slate”–so to speak—with those basics that’ll lay the groundwork for deeper research later.

 

While it’s true you simply can’t cover every contemporary and/or controversial issue out there, you do have the Quarter 1 obligation of helping students feel comfortable with (and even excited about!) these issues before they’re expected to write (at length) about them.  After all, a General Paper student’s worst nightmare is not recognizing the wide variety of issues presented on the exam, and an AP Seminar or AICE Global Perspectives student’s worst nightmare is not being able to find a research question in time for through-course deadlines. Therefore, the better we are at teaching them about research range, the better off they’ll be when it comes time to perform.

What better way to open up exploration than getting your hands dirty! Using the ‘Hand’ Approach in your classroom will do two amazing things for your writers:

  1. First, it’ll show them the many ways in which researchers can delve deeply into a research topic;
  2. and second–once they’ve seen such variety–they can use this same approach to narrow and deepen their own research focus.

Once you’ve opened their eyes to the many research avenues worth exploring, students can then use [this tool] to narrow down exactly what it is they wish to investigate.

In brief, the Hand Approach works like this…first it BROADENS their mind, then it NARROWS their focus.  Ya dig?

Interested in reading the FULL BLOG POST?  Head on over to the edPioneer sprawl for a helping ‘hand’ with lesson planning!  

CLICK HERE!

Genuinely,

Jill Pavich

 

Growing & Razing an Argument: Strategies for Understanding Line of Reasoning

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Zoinks!  This post moved!!

Yup, the content of this post has found a new home within the vast, online landscape we now call edPioneer!

You can read it in full by clicking HERE.

Happy Trails!

 

Mission G(P)ossible: Operation Debate

The GP End is Near!  Just 6 academic days left before the GP Exam arrives!  The lesson in today’s post is perfect for wrapping up your final week of instruction or as a themed, Saturday Session event; but it can also be used any time during the school year to accomplish the following learning goals:

  • Build content knowledge
  • Heighten hot-button-issue awareness
  • Sharpen argumentative mindset
  • Broaden discursive reach

The GP Situation Room…solving the world’s probs one GP essay at a time

This past Saturday, my students rallied together for Saturday Session #3, where I challenged them to the ultimate GP Mission…I call this one…

OPERATION DEBATE

The activity itself took the full, 3 hours of our Saturday, so if you’re using this activity in the classroom, you’ll want to break it up into smaller parts, which I will slow-down and lay-out in this post:

  • DAY 1:  Organizing Teams/Instructional Overview
  • DAYS 2-3:  Top-Secret, Team Research and Debate Strategy
  • DAYS 4-5: Debate Presentations
  • DAYS 6-7: Essay Session

Cue the theme song…here we go!

ORGANIZE THE TEAMS…

As a bird’s-eye-view point of reference, take a look below at how the Mission G(P)ossible Debate Topics are laid out:

This is a Teacher Reference…don’t share the actual debate topics beforehand because its part of the fun letting them randomly select their Missions without knowing what they’re getting themselves into!  Plus, it’s a great way to get them to step outside their comfort zones in a fun, non-threatening way!

There are 7 debate topics total listed below.  If you have an average class size of 24, you will only need to select FOUR debate topics.  This will put:

  • 3 kids on a team
  • 6 kids total in a single debate
  • @ 4 debate topics,
  • = 24 kids!

Adjust the numbers according to:

  • How many kids you have
  • How many team members you want on a side (groups of 2, 3, 4, etc.)
  • How many debate topics you want to cover

Mission G(P)ossible Debate Topics

CLICK HERE for a PDF version of the Operation Cover Sheets.

Who is winning the gender wars?

  • Operation Rosie Riveter (women are winning it)
  • Operation Ken Doll (men are winning it)
DEBATE: Who is winning the gender wars?

DEBATE: Who is winning the gender wars?

PS…I put the incorrect spelling of “Rosie the Riveter” on my original folder (image above), but I amended this in the document I linked for the Operation Cover Sheets…woops, humanoid moment!  Rosy must be Rosie’s alter ego when she’s really being “I am woman, hear me roarrrr!”

Should international tourism be regulated?

  • Operation Jet Set (no!  don’t regulate it!)
  • Operation Homebody (yes!  regulate it!)
DEBATE: Should international tourism be regulated?

DEBATE: Should international tourism be regulated?

Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

  • Operation Einstein (no limits to science!)
  • Operation Chucky (limit science!)
DEBATE: Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

DEBATE: Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?

In an increasingly environmentally-concious society, is Global Warming still a threat?

  • Operation Apocalypse Now (yes, it’s still a threat!)
  • Operation Brightside (no, it’s decreasing in threat!)
DEBATE: In an increasingly conscious society, is global warming still a threat?

DEBATE: In an increasingly environmentally-conscious society, is global warming still a threat?

Are we taking modern technology too far?

  • Operation Jetson (no! technology is appropriate for our times)
  • Operation Old-School (yes! technology is taking it too far!)
DEBATE: Are we taking modern technology too far?

DEBATE: Are we taking modern technology too far?

How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

  • Operation Cash Flow (yes, these bonuses are justifiable)
  • Operation 99 Percent (no, these bonuses aren’t justified!)
DEBATE: How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

DEBATE: How justified are the high salaries and bonuses paid out in celebrity professions?

Which form of entertainment makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

  • Operation Broadway (theatre!)
  • Operation Starlet (cinema/television!)
DEBATE:  Which makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

DEBATE: Which form of entertainment makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?

Feel free, of course, to adjust the debate topics and mission names at your discretion.  I chose mine based on what we still needed in terms of content exposure.  If it’s near test time, consider hot-button topics that you think might show up on the test!

Display the Mission G(P)ossible titles (above) in front of the classroom and allow students to ponder the cryptic names of each; do NOT tell them what the debate topics are!  It’s part of the fun to watch them blindly select their topics 😉

The teacher should select a group of team leaders.  If there are 4 debate topics (which is just about perfect for a class size of 24), you will need 8 leaders (since there are 2 sides to every debate, of course!) to head to the front of the room.  These leaders will then browse the Mission titles and select an Operation of their choice.

Once leadership is secured, these students should then be asked to draft their team of researchers.  Again, for a class size of 24, your leaders will select at least 2 more researchers from the audience to join them in their mission.

PERSONAL NOTE:  

  • If this is the first debate/public-speaking experience your students will have, I like teams of 3 on a single side for a debate…typically, I’ll have the team leader engage in the Round 1 speech of 2 minutes; then I’ll have the other two team members tag-team the Round 2 Counter speech, which is a 1-minute time frame.  
  • Since public speaking can be intimidating, I like the idea of one, more confident student taking control of the first round to get the argument going, followed by the potentially less-bold students having a ‘partner’ to rely on in the follow-up round.  
  • This strategy ensures that all students feel comfortable in their role.  In turn, they will relay information more confidently while getting familiar with being in front of an audience.  As the year progresses, you can tighten this standard, but it’s always nice to start slowly!

INSTRUCTIONAL OVERVIEW

Click HERE for a PDF copy of the Special Intel sheets I gave each team.

Now it’s time to navigate the activity with your class.  Have them find a cozy group spot somewhere in the room, keeping in mind that they have NO idea who their opposition is (hence, the cryptic Operation titles!), so they’ll need to keep their research focus, quiet, and confidential (built-in, classroom management technique to keep down the noise level!  I did it this way to micro-manage a devoted, energized-bordering-boisterous, Saturday Session group of 35 kids…all by my lonesome!)

The GP Investigator Squad...Missions accomplished!

The GP Investigator Squad…Missions accomplished!

Each team will be given their Top-Secret File, in the form of a manila folder.  Inside of this folder, teams will find the Special Intelligence pertaining to their debate task.

Topic Secret, Special Intelligence...should you choose to accept this GP mission!

Topic Secret, Special Intelligence…should you choose to accept this GP mission!

MISSION TARGET = the prompt

RESEARCH ANGLE = the argumentative thesis/central idea students will be researching and upholding in the debate

SPECIAL INTELLIGENCE = themed ideas to get students moving in the right direction as they begin their research; this is a brief, teacher-generated scaffold of ideas meant to inspire more in-depth examples…the intention is for students to take the research and run with it!

SECRET WEAPON = unique ideas that the opposition might not necessarily think of, which will serve as Thor’s Hammer during the debate!

As students begin their research, be sure to circulate the room to make certain that all groups understand their task.  Also, discuss with them how the “Research Angle” provided is actually the

This message will self-destruct...

This message will self-destruct…

potential THESIS STATEMENT for a persuasive essay written on that prompt!  It’s essential they see this connection right away in order to comprehend how the spoken activity will eventually translate into a written one!

If you have the time, feel free to stuff the Top Secret folders with other valuable research tid-bits, as they apply.

For example, I might a print-out of the following link inside Operation: ‘Rosie Riveter,’ who will be arguing in favor of women winning the gender war:

Obama Signs Measures to Help Close Gender Pay Gap

Stuff the manila folders with any top-secret intel that might help strengthen your students' arguments...leave them to find the connections and synthesize the information :-)

Stuff the manila folders with any top-secret intel that might help strengthen your students’ arguments…leave them to find the connections and synthesize the information 🙂

TOP-SECRET, TEAM RESEARCH & DEBATE STRATEGIZING SESSION

For this portion of the activity, we migrated over to the computer lab, so if you’re taking a week for this activity, you’ll likely want to make some reservations at your Media Center or Computer Lab.  Productive noise, welcome!

Here are a few snapshots from Operation Research…

Investigative Squad for Operation "Apocalypse Now!"

Investigative Squad for Operation “Apocalypse Now!”

 

 

I am woman, hear me ROAR as I win the gender WAR!

I am woman, hear me ROAR as I win the gender WAR!

 

Pavich, your activity rocks...seriously!

Pavich, your activity rocks…seriously!

Room-Full-of-Research...I love the buzz of productivity!  GP, bring the noise!

Room-Full-of-Research…I love the buzz of productivity! GP, bring the noise!

INFORMAL DEBATE PRESENTATIONS

Debate Type: informal, have fun with it!

SPEECH SET-UP:

  • ROUND 1, 2 minutes…the argument for or against
  • ROUND 2, 1 minute…point-counter rebuttals to Round 1 opposition speech
  • Audience Vote, Teacher Confirmation  (if they vote the same as you, they get a treat!  This ensure that they vote based on evidence, not friendships or entertainment!)

Once students have spent a sufficient amount of time researching their argument, they’ll draft up a strategy for presenting it.  Here are a few things they’ll need to work out as a team:

  • Who will give the solo, 2-minute speech in Round 1?
  • Who would rather team up with a partner to provide counterarguments/rebuttals in the 1-minute segment of Round 2?
  • What paperwork should we bring to the podium?
  • What will we say if the opposition raises Points X, Y, Z?
  • Who will be in charge of organizing our information on the board for the audience to follow?

Once these final details are ironed out, it’s time to hit the podium!

On the board behind each team, I’ve provided space for them to write the following information:

  • Mission Target/Essay Prompt
  • Investigative Coordinates/Persuasive Thesis
  • Mission Accomplished/Evidence to Support the Argument

Have one student from the group quickly jot the information on the board, OR pre-arrange the information on large post-it notes or magnetic card-stock print-outs for quick swapping (which is what I will definitely be doing next time around!)

Debate Board...the audience should write down the information and take some quick-notes about each subject argued!

Debate Board…the audience should write down the information and take some quick-notes about each subject argued!

Theatre...or Cinema?  Which is better?!

Theatre…or Cinema? Which is better?!

I encourage students to arrange ideas into Hand Approach themes, or sub-points, so the audience can follow supporting details easily.  I also encourage them to use the Point-Counterpoint Chart to draft additional arguments as they arise organically during the course of the debate.

Students can take any notes they’d like up to the podium…

Typed, copy-pasties from online research

20140426-140240.jpg

Handwritten thoughts and scribblings

Either of these sets of notes is pretty free-form, but encourage them to keep a list of their original sources handy as well.

ESSAY SESSION

From the podium to the pen!

From the podium to the pen…speaking meets writing.

Once debate presentations are complete, students will need to transfer spoken knowledge into written communication…let the Operation Essay begin!

You can organize this any which way you’d like, depending on class writing needs.  For example, students could:

  • Write a full, persuasive essay on their debate side.
  • Write a full, discursive essay on their debate topic.
  • Draft part of an essay, based on several debate topics (i.e. choosing any debate topic other than you own, draft an intro plus two, discursive body paragraphs–one in favor and one against–that adheres to the selected prompt)
  • Write ’em individually.
  • Write ’em as a team.

Either way, students are getting exposure to content, finding the connection between content and essay prompt, and practicing the writing craft!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

UNICEF Tap Project

As I mentioned in my most recent post, my students are writing their final essay today…but we’ve taken essay writing to a WHOLE new GP level this time!  imagesIf you are interested in having your students not only write about global issues but be a part of the solution to one as well, CLICK HERE!  Visit The GP Indie to see what we were up to today while writing. 

Earlier this year, we did a unit on the value of potable water; and today students are writing to the prompt:

“How far do receiving countries really benefit from development aid?”

Being a part of the UNICEF Tap Project is providing cleaner drinking water to countries in need AND it’s giving students knowledge and experience to support the above essay prompt…share this with your kids as a mini lesson in writing and in global citizenship 😉

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

Cambridge “Best Practices”: June 2014

Breaking news...I'm facilitating this summer's GP Best Practices!

Breaking news…I’m facilitating this summer’s GP Best Practices!

Interested in attending Cambridge’s “Best Practices” workshop this summer?  Great news…I’m facilitating a two-day workshop for AICE: General Paper 8004!

If you are interested in learning more about this awesome opportunity in June 2014, CLICK HERE!!!!!!

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

Ordering Enquiry Feedback from Cambridge

Lots of curiosity about ordering exam essays/feedback from Cambridge for teacher use, so thank you for inspiring today’s post!  Here’s the information I gathered to share with you, thanks to the help of a few of my favorite, super-AICE Coordinators (thanks, Amber and Kelly @ Jupiter High!).  Feel free to pass this information along to your school’s AICE Coordinator.

It looks like you can order essays by accessing the CIE Website, then logging in to the CIE Direct tab in the top, right corner drop-down menu.  ONLY Test Coordinators can log in and order materials here, though.  Once logged in, Coordinators should go to SUPPORT MATERIALS, then RESULTS.  They will need to fill out an interactive PDF form to tell them which essays they’d like returned with feedback.

The deadline for requesting such feedback from the May/June administration is SEPTEMBER 30th.

From what I understand, it can be pretty pricy to order these, so Coordinators will need to chat budget with administration.  But they are really worth it!  As English teachers, we know how valuable tailored feedback is in promoting improvement!writing_resources

Perhaps we could COLLABORATE and share these materials with one another in a workshop or in an informal meeting?  I’d be happy to throw it together, so just let me know what we can organize as a group.  I’m also interested in piloting some kind of scoring system for us all to use to make the process similar across the board, and user-friendly for classroom essays!  If any of this sounds interesting, ‘Talk to Me,’ by dropping a comment down below!

In the meantime, here’s some further information that may prove helpful in getting you and your Testing Coordinator pointed in the right direction for ordering:

How should I apply for an enquiry about results?

Enquiries about Examination Results Forms can be downloaded from the Support Materials section of CIE Direct. These forms should be completed and signed by the Head of Centre. The forms should be submitted to Cambridge from the school or, in the case of an Associate School, via the Cambridge Associate, within the stated deadlines below.

Schools are required to submit requests for enquiries about examination results by the following dates:

  • May/June – 30 September
  • October/November – 26 February

What fees apply to Enquiries About Results?

For details of the fees that apply to Enquiries About Results please refer to the Fees List in the messages section of your CIE Direct account.

How long does it take to process an Enquiry About Results?

We will deal with enquiries in the order in which we receive them. We cannot guarantee the date by which we will process enquiries, however, we will make every effort to communicate the outcome as quickly as possible, and whenever possible, within 30 days of receiving your enquiry.

It is essential that schools contact Cambridge if an acknowledgement letter is not received within two weeks of submitting the enquiry.

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

2014: GP Syllabus Updates

Happy 1st Day, GP Colleagues!

I sure hope the first day back in the GP classroom treated you well!

In honor of the new school year, I have a VIU…Very Important Update…regarding the new year…

Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, there is one basic adjustment to the GP exam that we MUST be aware of…

There will be 12, as opposed to 15, prompt options available on this year's GP exam!  Spread the word...for clarity's sake!

There will be 12, as opposed to 15, prompt options available on this year’s GP exam! Spread the word…for clarity’s sake!

It regards how many prompts are on the GP exam.  Traditionally–as you may have learned from my previous PowerPoints, covering overview/basics–the GP exam has consisted of 15 prompts from which students are asked to select TWO, so they can write TWO, full essays within the span of TWO hours…

However, PLEASE NOTE that this year’s syllabus will be cutting a single prompt from each of the three sections; therefore…

THERE WILL BE 12 PROMPTS TO CHOOSE FROM ON THIS YEAR’S GP EXAM AS OPPOSED TO THE TRADITIONAL 15. 

It is super important that you make your students aware of this change in the General Paper 8004 syllabus!  Any previously-released exams you share with them will showcase 15 prompts, so just make them aware that the test they will see this May/June will include just 3 less prompts, one omitted from each section to drop us from 15 to 12 options total.

Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but we want clarity across the curriculum, and we want to make sure No Student (or Teacher!) Is Left Confused.

For more information, check the AICE: General Paper 8004 Syllabus for the 2014 administration.

Best of luck to you this semester 🙂

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

Essay Stockpiling: Build Your Arsenal of ‘Bomb’ Essays!

If you teach in the same school district as me, there are exactly 8 1/2 instructional days left before summer kicks in…

images

Translation?!  If you’re a first-time AICE: GP teacher, you have exactly 8 1/2 instructional days to build an arsenal of essays to stockpile for next year’s use!

images

One of the best things I could have done at the start of my GP career was to request that my students type up and submit a final version of their essays.  That way, I had a file of reference for the future.  If a prompt came up in FY11 regarding industrial development and I needed ideas to fuel a discussion in FY13, well, I let my former students’ essays do the work (rightfully so, because I was busy making alllll of the materials for everything else, ok?!)!

I checked my essay file on “industrial development” and boom…I had a stockpile of cool ideas written on student-friendly level that I could pull for reference!

During the year, I file student essays by STUDENT.  That way we can track individual progress together.  Once the year is through, I re-file essays by SUBJECT, so I can pull, based on topic, for future reference.

If you have not started an electronic portfolio routine with your kids this year (which I wouldn’t expect you to because GP is overwhelming enough the first time around!!), I would suggest you utilize these last few days to get one semi-started.  You could do this in any number of ways:

  • Ask students to pick their favorite 3 essays from the school year and type them up for regular credit
  • Ask students to type up ALL of their school year essays for submission and give them extra credit
  • Reserve 2-3 computer lab days to let students type up what they can

Or whatever other combination you can muster.  No matter what, be sure to squeeze at least ONE essay from every one of your students–in its refined form–for use next year! images

Henceforward, always ask students to do a typed revision of graded essay directly following.  Have them send it to you electronically and store it in your computer files for reference.  Give them credit for completion and also for improvement.  (I grade revisions summatively, by the way, where they just get a Band score based on the official GP Rubric.)

For revisions, I might focus on one aspect of the essay for specific improvement…like,

‘…in addition to revising the essay based on my feedback, I am also giving you an additional grade on applying the recent concepts we learned regarding: improving introduction, beefing up body, closure in the conclusion, strengthening sentence structure, use of appositives, creative craft…’

etc, etc, etc,…!  Or whatever other lesson you have going at the moment 🙂

Gentle Note: if you ever use a student’s essay for teaching purposes in the future, keep it anonymous and keep it positive!  Aim to use students samples for good-practice modeling 🙂

Collaboratively Yours,

eduPavich

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