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
This past Saturday, my students rallied together for Saturday Session #3, where I challenged them to the ultimate GP Mission…I call this one…
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)
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!)
Should any limits be placed upon scientific research?
- Operation Einstein (no limits to science!)
- Operation Chucky (limit science!)
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!)
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!)
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!)
Which form of entertainment makes for a richer, audience experience: the theatre or the cinema/television?
- Operation Broadway (theatre!)
- Operation Starlet (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.
- 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!
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!)
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.
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
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:
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…
INFORMAL DEBATE PRESENTATIONS
Debate Type: informal, have fun with it!
- 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!)
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…
Either of these sets of notes is pretty free-form, but encourage them to keep a list of their original sources handy as well.
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!
Greetings…Big Brother here…I seem to have censored my own site…
Just a few short days ago, I posted a note that I was planning a November workshop to be hosted at my high school. Yet now, it seems that the post has mysteriously disappeared, that I’ve somehow rescinded said offer, and am now replacing it with the following Doublespeak message:
There is no November workshop. There was never a November workshop. The workshop opportunity is in December.
What’s up with that?!
Allow me to UPDATE you on the blog post that seems to have traveled down the Orwellian Memory Hole, of the local workshop event that seems to have vaporized into thin air as if it never existed at all (yikes…the Delete button is ominously powerful, all of a sudden!)
I originally drummed up the idea for the November workshop because lots of teachers had been asking about ‘best practice’ when it comes to grading the classroom essay and scoring it according to the CIE rubric. Lots of the teachers I got to know through the Cambridge “Best Practices” workshops have mentioned that they wish the GP training was two days, as opposed to one.
Looks like we got to cash in a wish from the genie lamp…CIE might be granting us the luxury of a 2-Day, GP-training workshop after all…!!
While this is NOT yet definite, it seems likely, so there will no longer be a need for the November session! Hence the vaporized post…it’s my job at the Ministry of Blogging to make sure you get the most up-to-date information!
Stay tuned to The Global Pen for updates about a possible, two-day GP workshop through Cambridge’s “Best Practices” series. I hope to have dates, times, locations and workshop agenda details for you soon once this information firms up and pans out (#hello-idiomatic-expressions).
If you have not already done so, follow me on Twitter @ edupavich!!
Unexpectedly OUT for a day? I’ve got the universal sub-plan for you!
If you’re a subscriber to Upfront Magazine, this will be especially beneficial, but honestly, the linked handout can align with virtually ANY current events magazine you provide for your kids!
- Class set/Consumable set of semi-recent Upfront Magazine edition (or other)
- Individual copies of the Core Ideas handout
EMERGENCY LESSON PLAN:
- Distribute the __ edition of Upfront (or other) Magazine
- Distribute the Core Ideas handout
- Ask students to first survey ALL articles in the magazine before choosing ONE to focus on for the assignment.
- Students must select ONE article from the magazine and complete the corresponding questions contained in the Core Ideas handout.
- Have students create a FactFinder Flashcard using the Summary format
- Have students Journal about the topic by voicing their thoughts in response to what they read
- Have students formulate an overall opinion about the issue, then complete an Opinion-Proof argument in response
- Picture Notes it!
Though I would never give up my summers off or my guaranteed holidays home, there are times in the school year when I wish we had 365, not 180, to teach to this curriculum. There’s just so much to do in so little time!
This always gets me thinking…how can I maximize the opportunities for learning in my classroom?
In my opinion, the best thinking cap is the one fashioned for freshmen, so if I’m going to solve this puzzle, I need to be pondering like a pupil.
I remember being 15. Grades were never an issue because–lucky for me–school was something I did naturally. I was a natural-born nerd 😉 But I definitely had those days where classroom content failed to mesmerize me for whatever teenaged reason.
So what does a student do with his or her time when he or she is not immediately engaged in the lesson? Why, survey the scene, of course.
Lots of times I found myself staring at the walls…
- I’d read and re-read the signs hanging about;
- I’d question the writing on the board–does that homework message pertain to me or is that for some other class?
- I’d sketch an image I saw on a poster;
- I’d practice vocabulary definitions in my mind from the word wall;
- I’d try to memorize a poster adage (“What’s right is not always popular, but what’s popular is not always right”…that hung on the podium of my sophomore year professor, lol).
Anything to pass the time…
- because it was Friday,
- or because there was a pep rally next hour,
- or because softball try-outs were that day…
- because Mrs. __ is repeating herself from yesterday,
- or because I hated reviewing tests,
- or because I already knew everything about topic x…
- OR because I knew nothing about topic x and I intended to keep it that way…I was as stubborn as I was smart, lol.
Sometimes it was educational dazing, sometimes it was just plain dazing. But even still, what I visually stared at always stuck.
As amazing as we are as teachers, we have to allow for the margin of error that not ALL students are ALways engaged at EVERY moment during our class. No matter how much they love and adore us for our dynamic enthusiasm for the job, they have Life weighing on their minds, just as we do.
Is this like teaching by osmosis?!? Perhaps we could mark it up to ‘differentiated instruction’ ?!? 😉
* * *
At its core, asking teachers to turn inattention into learning is like asking someone to successfully saw another in half. Surely this feat is merely illusion, right?
Today, while talking with a colleague about how super-nerdy-cool this year’s Upfront poster ‘line’ is (themed, “Great Moments in History”), it inspired me to create the following classroom visual, which I will share in visual format below…(Danielle Eddy of Boca Raton High School, I dedicate this post to YOU!)
Reaching out to our student population from a multitude of mediums…we work hard, we work smart!
The Global Pen would like to take a moment of silence to remember the lives lost during the 9/11 terrorist attack on our home soil 12 years ago. Our hearts go out to those who loved and lost a family member or friend in this terrible tragedy.
In light of our current deliberation over whether or not to engage in a political response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the Global Pen would also like to recognize the value of human life.
From West. To East. And beyond.
If there’s one thing the left and right wings of American democracy have in common, I guarantee, it’s the value of human life. Let us come together in that regard right now…WE REMEMBER…
Concerned about the Lies Your History Teacher Told You?!
The plight of Martin Luther King Jr. and his nonviolent struggle are not some of them…
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Birmingham Church Bombing in Alabama, 1963. During this extremist act, four innocent girls and two boys were killed during the bombing of a church known for housing members of the Civil Rights Movement.
Hauntingly enough, President Barack Obama addressed the American people this week regarding a possible strike on the Syrian government for unleashing chemical weapons on its people, a tragic event that also snatched the lives of innocent women and children for no reason other than perverting power.
No matter the time, no matter the circumstance: ONE life lost is one too many…
But nevertheless, here we are. Collectively pondering the value of life as members of a global society are sacrificed in both the past and present.
I dedicate today’s post to the many innocent lives that have been lost in the name of DEMOCRACY & FREEDOM or the lack thereof.
Lesson Plan Inspired As a Result?
While students view the clip, ask them to complete the following handout as a source of notes…
- “Daring to Dream” Companion Handout
If you are a member of the Upfront community, I challenge you to make the teaching world a better place…just as MLK did for social rights, do so for educational progress…how can YOU leave your MARK? What will YOU contribute to your legacy?
Scour the MEDIA world; find a valuable–perhaps timeless—CLIP (so we can use it year after year!) and develop a HANDOUT to correspond!
Several colleagues have expressed interest in contributing to the GP curriculum. Here’s your chance! ANY professional can do this. You don’t need to be a ‘seasoned’ (whatever that means) GP teacher to contribute!
Let’s collaborate by adding to this bank of timeless, valuable materials-in-the-making!
EMAIL YOUR SHARABLE MATERIALS to email@example.com and I’ll showcase them in a post dedicated to YOU, and your HARD WORK!!
SHARE…I double-dog DARE you 😉
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!
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.
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…
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 🙂
Happy last-Friday-of-Freedom, GP Teachers!
In honor of THIS special Friday, I’m going to share with you what I’ll be giving my students NEXT Friday…just smile and think, oh hey, there’s still THIS Friday, which means I’m still off!
Back to next Friday, I’m going to give my students the “Hot Seat: Summer Sizzle” handout, linked here. They will have a weekend to take the list of people/places/events home and interview at least 3 people concerning the information on it.
The list on said-handout’s reverse side represents some of the current events/hot topics that took place this past summer, 2013. I am asking my students to INTERVIEW, as opposed to GOOGLE, these ideas because it will get them comfortable with talking about the issues, which is what a great deal of our class is all about 🙂
They will take the weekend to ‘research’ (aka, talk!) about as many of these people/places/events as possible. Then we will engage in a “Hot Seat” activity on Monday following. The Hot Seat can go down in a number of ways, but I usually ask for a few eager volunteers to start; I have them take a seat (5-7 max) in the chairs in the front of the room. The audience and I ask them the Hot Seat questions and they compete for points. If a panelist/Hot-Seater gets a question wrong and an audience member wants to take a stab at it, that audience member can replace the panelist/Hot Seater if the answer is right!
This is the first of TWO documents for this activity. As this is my first time running the ‘show,’ I still need to drum up a solid set of Hot Seat questions now that I have the working list of issues.
Speaking of which, am I missing a Sizzly Summer Headline? PLEASE submit! I was wracking (?!) my brain today between the many pre-school meetings, so it was–I admit–a bit of a scattered process as I tied my Hot Seat all up for bloggie submission.
Tout your expertise here by commenting below on summer issues not on the list!
One word to the wise…keep a close lid on outbursted answers and whispered ones during the actual Hot Seat…answers from panelists gotta (yep, ‘gotta’) be genuine for you to run the show authentically; and there also has to be enough focus from the audience so answers can be both heard and absorbed from the activity.
Otherwise, you’ll be in HOT water, Teach!
Adopt, Adapt, or Entirely Alter…Go Forth and let your classes (Academically) Prosper!
Props to Sunnie Petric (and her hubs) for inspiring this post, fellow teacher and Croatian 😉
If you teach in the same school district as me, there are exactly 8 1/2 instructional days left before summer kicks in…
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!
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
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 🙂