My major challenge with calculus is confidence. For whatever reason, the AP Exam causes our students to freak out. I have a number of ideas to try and fight this that will trickle out here as the year progresses. One of them is to teach them how to use resources. And second, provide them with resources that are going to mirror the instruction they're given in class. Meaning, sending them to instructional videos by some random guy on YouTube is not involved here.

To start, I want to work any homework assignments I give them. I got a special notebook for it and everything. Then I thought, well, these should be available to them. But borrowing the notebook only helps one kid at a time. Five minutes of fiddling with Dropbox later and I created my Calculus share folder:

I post the solutions around the time I give the assignment. We have several conversations in class about the right and wrong way to use solutions. Homework is such a tiny part of their grade, the lack of understanding that will come out on tests isn't worth it. Most understand that attempting it themselves is the appropriate thing to do. In fact, one kid found an error in MY work, which was cool.

That last one might scare you. Hold on, that's the TEST ANSWER KEY? Are you crazy? No. The AP Exam is the final performance. I gain nothing by giving them assessments that they can't learn from. ALL their skills have to be sharp in 8 months. If I can't get them into an analysis and growth mindset now, they'll never convince themselves they can study for something like an AP Exam next semester. Their tests are short and frequent. Material on them overlaps. Once something appears on a test, it can appear again WHENEVER. I'm asking you limit questions in March, kids. Making old assessment part of their preparation routine is something I see that can fight the confidence problem. I might have messed up, but darn it I'll be ready the next time.

As you read this they'll be taking Test 2. I'm cautiously optimistic that some of them see a value in this opportunity.

AuthorJonathan Claydon