Laying the Foundation Pre-AP Strategies – DAY ONE

Today was the first in a two-day staff development session I am attending in my school district by Laying the Foundation which is a training package focusing on Pre-AP strategies.

I haven’t taught English in a year and a half, and it has been even longer since I have taught a Pre-AP course, so I was looking forward to learning some new ideas and planning and creating with my fellow English teachers… yeah, that didn’t happen.

Although the materials we received (a book and some CDs) seem like they have some useful lesson ideas, we did not really get a chance to look at anything with much depth, nor did we get a chance to actually apply any of the information to our specific curricula.  We spent the majority of the day listening to the instructor and becoming familiar with the format of the book.

And, although the instructor was very nice and energetic, and I am sure she prepares her students well for the AP test, I was a little taken aback when she began the session with, “Oh, you aren’t going to need your laptops. You won’t have time to play any games. <hee hee>  I guess I will assume if you are on your laptop when I am talking that you are taking notes and not playing games.”  And she proceeded to say that she is technologically challenged and even has trouble working an overhead projector (I think she was joking).

Okay, I know technology was not the focus of our day… that is fine, but I think it is time for educators to join the 21st century.  Yes, you can be a good teacher without integrating technology and you can even teach your content area well, but aren’t we doing our students a disservice if we do not allow them to utilize technology in the classroom?

And in defense of our instructor, she did ALLOW us to use our laptops to take notes, which was nice, because I heard that in other sessions teachers were told to put their laptops away… did I mention all of the teachers in our district are given laptops to use (and all of our high schools are 1:1 campuses).  I don’t get it. Shouldn’t we model in our staff development what we would like to see in our classrooms?

With all that being said, hopefully tomorrow we will have some time to focus on some specific strategies a little more in-depth and perhaps create and share some lessons (maybe even lessons that integrate technology). 🙂

Explore posts in the same categories: English, Laying the Foundation, Staff Development, Strategies

6 Comments on “Laying the Foundation Pre-AP Strategies – DAY ONE”

  1. Here’s the thing: You say that “technology was not the focus of our day,” but should technology ever really be the focus? Even in our technology classes at school, we’re more focused on the potential product the technology can yield rather than the technology itself. Give yourself some credit. 🙂 You know that technology is merely a tool – like a pencil, as Froese always says. Just because today wasn’t a “Technology Day,” per se, well, that doesn’t mean you should lose access to your tools – ESPECIALLY in a 1:1 district.

  2. […] by musingsfromtheacademy on August 15th, 2007 The other day I posted about my first day of Laying the Foundations Pre-AP training, and at the end of the post I hoped […]

  3. todiehl Says:

    Yes! I agree. I was a teacher there from Irving HS, (the one who pointed out the real meaning of Shakespeare’s sonnet) and I was also frustrated with the whole debacle. My irritation with the workshops came from the real world application of the material. For example, with the story we read, “The Most Dangerous Game,” after two weeks of discussing tone, vocab, chracterization, etc., where do you fit the discussion about the idea implicit in the story that killing, in some situations, is acceptable, and even morally right? Where do you fit in the discussion about how governments play “the most dangerous game” all the time? Where do you hear the student’s opinions about ANYthing you didn’t ask for? I couldn’t figure it out.

    To me, this program makes literature disposable. And that is a great shame.

    I also went to David Warlick and Wes Fryer’s presentations, and found them much more valuable. I am working on setting up a blog, and I plan to help my students set up blogs. If you have done this before, or have recommendations, I’d be happy to hear them. I’m interested in how to further integrate technology in English class.


  4. froese Says:

    😛 Ha! I love it… great post, true to form.

    AND, it may just be a tool, but I’m tired of modeling the pencil. I am taking a stand this year – any time I have to use paper in a meeting of any kind, I will be using a #2 lead pencil to write with. I anticipate my pencil breaking, becoming dull, etc. I may even carry a pocket knife around to keep it sharp. I’m sure this statement will be immediately noticeable and start to change the world…

  5. […] week I ranted a bit (and a little bit more) about some of the recent staff development sessions I participated in (and […]

  6. […] am sure we have all been to those “professional development” sessions where we sat for eight hours and just basically tried not to fall asleep or strangle the boring […]

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