Sunday, October 11, 2015

AP Statistics - Free Response Journals

I promised @DruinOK that I would write this post at the beginning of August. I obviously lied. I hope it's better late than never.

In previous years, I have done a fairly poor job at regularly and meaningfully integrating Free Response Question practice into my AP Statistics units. I mean, yes, the kids would engage with one or two on their exams and quizzes. Then at the end of the year, I did basically an FRQ blitz. It killed me AND the kids. I knew this wasn't as meaningful as it should be. It was kind of like saying - Oh hey - I taught you all this content, but I didn't teach you how to relay it, so let's cram it all here at the end.

Last year (about halfway through the year), I knew I was "doing it again". So, I tried to invent something that would change it. The AP Calculus teacher at our school did Free Response journals. Basically, the kids just had a separate spiral-bound notebook in which they'd write all their free response answers. I really liked this idea, but I wanted it to be a little more for stats. After all, we all know that Stats is, for a better word, English picky, so I wanted the kids to be able to refer to the original FRQ, their answer, and the grading rubric.

Enter my FRQ INB journals. (See those strange black/white/green ones in middle? That's them! It's actually extra cute "Bah Bah Sheep Duct Tape" from Amazon. Be jealous.)

Anyway.... here's how they work. First they have a grading rubric in the front (not shown). Then, a TOC. After that, each page is basically one FRQ from a previous year. I use the FRAPPY format from @StatsMonkey, but then I also include the grading rubric.

To include both the Frappy and the grading rubic, I create a merged PDF. I usually use to do this. I also always have a one-page blank PDF on hand to use. To create a blank PDF file, save a blank word file as a PDF.

Here are some basic rules (assuming Frappy is 1 page long):
  • If rubric is 2 pages, then your merged PDF will be page 1 - blank, page 2 - Frappy, page 3 - rubric pg. 1, page 4- rubric pg. 2
  • If rubric is 3 pages, then your merged PDF will be page 1 - rubric pg. 3, page 2- Frappy, page 3- rubric pg. 1, page 4 - rubric pg. 2
  • If your rubric is four pages, then your merged PDF will be page 1 - rubric pg. 3, page 2- Frappy, page 3- rubric pg. 1, page 4 - rubric pg. 2. In addition, you'll make a separate merged file of the last rubric page. You'll want this additional file to have rubric pg. 4 on both pages 1 and 2.
Okay. Now you're going to open the merged file up in Adobe Reader and print it. You'll want to select the multiple pages per page option, landscape, and have it print double sided, flipping on the short side.

For instance, here is an example of a 2 page rubric:

When you have either 2 pages of Frappy and 3 rubric pages OR 1 Frappy page and 4 rubric pages, it gets a little harder. Basically, you print the last page off separately (see directions above for 4 pg. rubrics). This single page gets glued down before the actual folded page gets taped in above it. This sounds complicated, but once my kids did it once, they got the hang of it. They now assemble this book when I have a sub - by themselves.

Example of 5 page FRQ (if you can tell from the picture):

I make a point to do these FRQ days at the end of every chapter and/or unit (whenever it fits best). These days not only make me intentionally and purposefully teach FRQ strategies, it also gives kids a great cumulative FRQ review book to look through near test time. I pick 2-3 per day to work on. The kids basically just read and answer the FRQ. Then, we read the rubric as a class and discuss how it would be graded. The first day we did this, I had samples from AP Central printed out and students graded those according to the rubric before grading their own. Sometimes students will also switch notebooks and grade each others' responses. I just depends.

I KNOW my directions are probably confusing and merging/printing these PDFs at first might be complicated (in the end, it's not, though). I'd love to help you! Tweet me @KLBoles !

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