Week 13: Test Taking Strategies
Large multiple choice test can be difficult. Especially when there is a set amount of time you have to complete the test in. Time management then becomes an issue. During this past week, as a class we took a practice multiple choice test for the AP test. It was fifty five questions about different short pieces of wrting that were given to us. We had about one hour to complete it. So we could not just take as much time as we wanted for one question.
Through this experience we learned to move quickly while taking our tests. A stradegy that I learned that could be of some help in that situation was to skip over the questions that are more difficult, and just answer the easy ones first. Then You can go back to those questions later. That way, you are likely to get more answers right.
Another stragedy we talked about was to look at the questions before reading the passages. That way you know what to look for while you read the writing.
Taking that practice test was very useful because we are now a little more prepared for the AP test than we were before, and we now know what to expect for part of the AP test. Not only does taking practice tests prepare us all for the AP test fr AP Literature, but it also helps to prepare us all for other large multiple choice tests we might have to take, especially any other AP tests.
Everyone is different. Everyone knows that. There have never been two of the same people ever before. Sure, there might be identical twins that look like they're the exact same person, but they are definitely two different people with two different personalities. Since everyone is different, everyone has different views on what success really is. As a class, we watched a Ted Talk this week that talked about this, and we talked about it a few times as well.
Someone's thought of what success looks like depends on what kind of family and friends they grew up with. For example, if a kid grew up with parents that did not go to college, and they did not really care a whole lot about school, then the kid would most likely not care that much about getting a good education either. Where as, if a kid grew up with hardworking parents that really cared about school and went to college, the kid would most likely do the same thing, and care a lot about school and doing well. That is not always the case though. There are times where parents who did not attend college might have had a kid that really cared about school, and there are times where parents who cared deeply about their education might have had a kid who did not care so much about school.
No two people have lived the same life, so everyone has a different view on life. Everyone has different people in their life that contributes to who they are and what they view success as.
Week 9: Tragedy
Tragedy has been a part of our lives for hundreds of years. There are so many books, films, and plays that use tragedy to pull in the audience. Even though tragedies are typically extremely sad, people seem to be very interested in the subject.
In this past week, our class was introduced to tragedy. We learned about what tragedy is exactly, and where it came from. When learning a new topic, it is good to get some background information, and so that's what we did in this class. We had a paper on google drive called "partner notes", and we had to fill a chart on that paper with information and quotes we got from reading the article about tragedy on four different websites. One website was a Wikipedia page about tragedy. That went in depth about what tragedy is and its origin. The second website described tragedy of the commons. The third described revenge tragedy, and the fourth talked about Aristotle and his thoughts on tragedy.
After we read up on tragedy, we then formed our opinions on tragedy and what we could learn from it. I came to the conclusion that people like tragedy because if they haven't dealt with a tragic event before, they can kind of experience what it would be like without having to actually have a tragic event take place in their lives. Then we talked about what we thought on the subject and learned what other people thought. It was interesting to hear everyone's input on what tragedy was. We all learned that there was more to tragedy than we thought.
Week 8: Presenting
This week was almost identical to last week, the only difference being that presentations were given. We had two days to work on our presentations and then we presented for the rest of the week. These presentations gave us an opportunity to practice our presentation skills and to work on public speaking. Both of these qualities are very important to work on, since we will be having to make many, many more presentations in our lives.
I believe this presentation was the longest presentation I have ever had to make before. Usually if I had to make a presentation in school, it was at most five minutes or so. This one, however was somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes. I am actually really glad we had to do these presentations. It really helped me get more comfortable with talking in front of the class. Although I would not necessarily say that it was fun, I would say that it was definitely helpful.
These presentations not only helps us work on presentation skills, but they also helped us learn how to be better communicators. We had a couple big questions that we had to make our presentations about, and our goal as the presenter, was to guide the audience trough some information that lead to the resolution of our big questions. We were supposed to be really subtle about everything and weave our ideas together to make the presentation even better, but that was a little challenging. I at least learned how to weave things together little bit more than what I did in previous presentations. Like I said before, this presentation project was actually really helpful.
Week 7: What Makes a Good Presentation
During this week, we continued to work on our "What is Literature?" presentations. Many groups in the class have started to work on their actual presentation. My group is one of those who have started their presentation. We are still working on it, since we only started it a few days ago. While we work on the presentation, we are trying to put it together in a smooth manner that transitions well into each thing we talk about.
It is important to have smooth transitions link things together so that the presentation is easy to follow and is not choppy. This will help the audience to be more interested in what is being said, and they will be less likely to be confused.
It is equally important for the presenter to actually talk about the topic, and not to read from the presentation. When the speaker only reads about their topic from the presentation, they are not really showing their knowledge about the subject, they are merely showing the audience the information they have found. Reading what is on the slide is the same as just showing the presentation to the audience and not even saying anything about it.
Smooth transitions, and not reading the slides are both very important in order to really grab the audience's attention. Without those two crucial parts of the presentation, the audience will not be as interested and they will not get as much out of the presentation as they would with smooth transitions and if the presenter did not just read the presentation to them.
Week 6: Problem Solving
This week we spent a lot of time working on our "what is literature" projects. My group chose to present our presentation on theme and point of view. To help us be more productive, our teacher told us an effective process of completing the project.
Originally we did not get very much instruction on what we were supposed to do. That was done purposefully so that we could learn how to figure things out on our own. We were still given help if we needed it though, so that we could still work in a productive manner and not just sit there stuck and clueless on what to do.
By not giving much instruction, we were able to gain problem solving skills and figure out how to do things on our own. That is an important skill to have in life. There are always going to be problems that we will have to solve without guidance.
We were told that in college there might be some professors that will not tell us exactly what to do, and we will have to figure out what to do ourselves. In that case, it is important to learn how to problem solve earlier in life, so that later, when those skills are needed, they are developed and ready to go. To be good at problem solving would make life a lot easier. That is why our teacher chose to present the project to us the way he did. He did not give a whole lot of instructions, but rather gave us more of a push in the right direction at first.
Week 5: Talking to Objects
During this week, for some reason it really felt like we learned nothing in AP Lit. However, that is not true. We went over the poem, Bright Star, by John Keats several times over the course of the week, and discussed a couple different things with the class.
The first thing we talked about was how talking directly to an object when describing one's self to that object could be more effective. It was decided that it was a more effective way to compare someone to something because if the speaker was to just compare them self to an object, giving the object no personality, then the comparison would be a little more shallow. Where as if the speaker talked to the object, giving it a personality, the comparison would be less shallow.
The other thing we talked about as a class, was who we identified with most in the poem. We could choose either the star, the speaker, or the speaker's love. The star was an option because the speaker gave it a personality. When they were comparing them self to the star, they talked directly to it. That is why we were able to identify with the star if we wanted to. I personally felt like I identified with the star the most because I tend to be more of an observer, and I usually see the good in everything. That is what the star was like. We know this because when the speaker was talking to the star, they were saying how the star just watched the earth and its beauty.
So in conclusion, the major thing we learned this week was how to effectively compare one's self to an object.
Week 4: Literature is Art
During this week, one of the things we discussed was the similarity between literature and art. Those two things have much more in common than one might think. As I have mentioned in one of my previous blogs, there can be many interpretations to a piece of literature. Well, the same goes for any piece of art. One person might look at a painting one way, while someone else might think of it in a different way. As a class, we discovered that art and literature are basically the same thing. The only difference is that literature is in the form of words, while artwork can be in the form of paintings, drawings, sculptures, etc.
Literature is art because every single word, sentence, and phrase are put in their places for a reason. It is just like a painting, where every color, line, and shape are exactly where the artist wanted them. By learning this, we can look at literature in a different way. I no longer look at it as just a normal piece of writing that may have some unique wording. I now look at it as a piece of artwork, carefully crafted by its artist, the author.
Now that I see literature as a piece of artwork, it will be much more interesting to read. When I think about how the author placed every word carefully in its place, I definitely appreciate it a lot more. I am glad that I was reminded of how literature is art this week because it makes literature more interesting.
Week 3: Hidden Meanings
This week we primarily worked on essays that compared our summer reading books to each other. We were broken up into small groups with people that read the same books, and were told to write a group essay. This helped us to learn how to connect events from one story to the other. It also taught us to learn teamwork in writing.
By comparing our summer reading books, we were able to understand what we read more. That was because one of the books we read, How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, explained that there is usually a meaning to every little detail in a book. From this book we learned that in a story, there's almost always a reason as to why it is snowing, raining, or sunny. Rain for instance, could demonstrate more of a sad and somber feeling in the story. Usually when it is sunny, the mood is more joyful. There is also a reason why people become ill, and there is a reason why people die in a story. In one of the summer reading books I read, the main character lost her uncle. But that lead to her becoming closer to her aunt, and discovering what happened to her mom.
By learning these things, we were able to dig deeper into our books and uncover new meanings to certain events or conditions that we have not seen before. When it comes to literature, everything has a special meaning.
Week 2: Many Perspectives
Many pieces of writing can be interpreted in different ways. That is what we had talked about as a class during this week. We read a poem called "The Eagle", by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. In that poem, we discovered many different perspectives as we shared what we thought the poem was about.
Some of us thought it could be about a higher power, looking down and watching the world. Some thought it could be about someone who was holding on to something and then falling. Others thought it might just be about an actual eagle. We learned that when it comes to determining what a certain writing is about, there is no right answer.
There are clues in all texts that hint towards different meanings, and we interpret them in different ways. For example, in "The Eagle" the author wrote "And like a thunderbolt he falls". Most of us would think that by saying this, the author means that the bird is diving downward. That is because he uses the phrase "like a thunderbolt". By using "like a thunderbolt" to describe the fall, the author is showing that the fall was very powerful, and therefor it would make sense for it to be a dive.
However, some people in our class took that sentence differently. They thought the author was saying that the eagle just fell without meaning to. Maybe he lost his grip or something.
By the end of the week we had all learned just how different our minds see things when we read, and we began to open up our minds to new interpretations. Here's a link that leads to more details about interpreting things differently.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.