Because I’ve always had four weeks of class AFTER the AP exam, my go-to unit has been a will-bending, spirit-breaking voyage through William Faulkner’s Light In August. Parent complaints never deterred me. Principals couldn’t dissuade me. The year’s not over, people!!
Recently, forums, Facebook groups, and Twitter chats have shown me the error of my ways. Apparently, I’m the only one roping my kids to the rack while they’re taking other AP exams and studying for finals. If the statute of limitations isn’t up, I need retroactive forgiveness all the way back to 2002.
I’ve been asking around, and I’ve collected some ideas for making those last couple of weeks purposeful but kind.
1. Students can use class time to work on summer assignments for the next course (e.g., AP Language students work on AP Literature or AP World students work on APUSH).
2. Students do a multimedia presentation based on research using film, art, music, or a book they are reading.
3. Students work in pairs or groups to develop an AP survival guide/video/document for a specific course.
4. Students make a short documentary in pairs or groups. Make a content connection by requiring that the subject matter relate to a topic studied in class. Several teachers recommended small research projects. One suggested making a tie-in to the election, social issues, etc.
5. The teacher chooses content or a skill set students will need for another course and does some front loading. For example, one teacher has her AP Language students read Macbeth right after the exam. They apply their rhetorical analysis skills to poetry analysis.
6. Students work in teams to create a Weebly website for the course as a resource for next year’s students. They can include links to articles, tips, etc.
7. Hold a college boot camp! Look at good application essays, pick at some prompts from the Common Application, work on an academic resume, etc.
8. Students create political cartoons or political allegories.
9. If your students have to take a Common Core assessment in addition to the AP exam, review some skills with less torturous literature that other classes are reading.
10. For seniors who are taking several exams and will miss a good deal of class, create a memoir workshop. Students can do some creative writing, give fake val/sal speeches, and apply their skills to something valuable and memorable.
11. As an alternative final exam, students might create children’s literature as a way to show their understanding of complex concepts.
12. If your self esteem can handle it, have students address the content and methodology of your course. They’ve taken the exam, so they know what they needed more of and less of (and in what order).