For many of the days between now and the end of school, we are on a block schedule, meeting with 3 classes each day. But we are a 7 period a day school usually, so we have had to include days like today to be sure that we are meeting with all our classes the same number of minutes every week. Today's schedule goes something like this: 1, 2, 3 periods meet for 20 minutes, 5 meets for 2 hours, and has lunch, 4 and then 6 periods, are normal and then students go back to 5th. Our LSTC who created the schedule is simply amazing and AWESOME. I applaud her for creating a schedule that ensures that our instruction time is preserved at a time when tests are ruling! It isn't pretty, but she has taken our testing lemons, and has made palatable lemonaide. :)
So, where does that leave my AP Computer Science A students who are finished with their AP exam? Some days we will meet for 2 hours, some days not at all. Students who take other AP exams will not be in class. How do you get ANYTHING meaningful and productive accomplished with such a crazy schedule and only a week and 1/2 before final exams start?
When I taught AP Computer Science A in NY, our situation was a little different. First of all, the school year wasn't over until the end of June, so we had about 6 weeks between the AP exam and the end of the year. And our school was very small, we only offered 4 AP classes, so the students weren't out taking tests for 2 weeks. Post AP was an issue as it related to motivation, but it was easier to deal with, because we did have a large chunk of time that allowed us to do further study into AB level topics, or to complete a LARGE project together.
Solution: Post-Ap Projects
My students are starting their post-ap projects today. Our final exams are broken up into 2 pieces; objective and performance. Each part is worth 10% of the student's average. The post-ap project will count as my students' performance exam. So it is a BIG deal!
Students were provided with an outline of this project at the beginning of 2nd semester so that they could begin thinking about what they wanted to do. I also encouraged them to start working through the coursera self-study for Computer Science 101 to help them review early material taught in our course. Some students choose to compete in the STEM Modeling Challenge, which began in January. These early starters have been keeping logs of their progress throughout these projects.
Since not all students' schedules will be the same over the next 8 days, the Post-AP project will be more of an independent study, with each student keeping a daily log of their progress. The goal is for them to apply and learn something with the little time we have left, and their documentation is evidence of their use of time. The emphasis is not on completing a large project, but on applying their knowledge and learning something new.
Students are allowed to work alone or in small groups, but each person is responsible for their own log. Students are presented with the following options: finch robots, Alice, Scratch, Greenfoot, Python, coursera course, android cell phones or another project that the student proposes for approval.
Every year, students email me about how beneficial the post-AP project has been for them once they are in college. Those who study Python, now know another language. They are the experts in their college classrooms and making A's. This project definitely gives these last few days purpose.
What are you doing with your students after the AP exam?