Our guest blogger today is Mike McCall, an AP Statistics teacher at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo, California. Mike has gone ALL IN with Stats Medic this year and is using the Stats Medic AP Exam Review Course to help prepare his students for the AP Exam.
The Stats Medic Review Course is an essential resource for my students as they work from home to prepare for the modified 2020 AP Exam. Sadly, we won’t be returning to school this year in my district, and I feel challenged to help my kids stay energized and to make them feel fully supported in these difficult times. I am using two features of the Review Course to help me do that, and I wanted to share them with readers.
Using the Discussion Feature
Learning happens best in my class when kids collaborate and construct meaning together in a many-to-many setting where I serve as facilitator and guide. That’s one of the great joys of teaching an AP class, and it’s what I miss most about being away from school. To build a collaborative dialogue in our online setting, I am using the “Discussions” feature in the Review Course. While we are only a few weeks into the Review Course, I’m excited about the potential I see so far. Specifically, there are two action steps I am taking.
1. Asking students to post their questions to the Community.
It’s easy for them to do! At the very bottom of the page for any activity within a Unit (a video, an FRQ, or the MCQs) students can click the “start a discussion” button, and it opens a window where they post their question. That question is automatically added to the Community and linked back to the activity. Once their question is in the Community, I can answer it and other students can read it and reply as well. Here are two images that show what this looks like for students. At left is a partial list of questions students have posted to Community, and at right is an example of an answer I posted. The power of this is simple: each question starts as one-to-many, and the Community board has the potential to make it many-to-many.
2. Posting discussion questions myself
These questions are related to challenging concepts to prompt students to reply with their thoughts. Here’s an example of a post I just created related to Unit 3 FRQ 2. To do this, simply navigate to the activity you want kids to think about, and click on “post a discussion question.”
Using the Notes Feature
Most of my students are digging in and working hard from home to review for the Exam, but I don’t want them to feel alone. In particular, I want to provide extra guidance related to difficult but essential topics like probability, sampling distributions, and significance testing. To do that, I am using another great feature of the Review Course called “Notes.” Feedback from students on these notes has been especially positive.
At the top right of any Unit (or any activity within a Unit) you will see the Notes icon. Click it, click “Save Note” and write a note that the entire class can see. I have used this extensively to do two things: (1) to highlight especially important topics and (2) to direct students to very specific sections in our textbook where they can find extra support and practice opportunities. Here is an example of two notes I created in Unit 5, Sampling Distributions.
So many teachers I know are working incredibly hard and with amazing creativity to support their students academically and emotionally during these challenging times. The Discussion and the Notes features of the Stats Medic Review Course have become essential tools in my toolkit during these unprecedented times, and I am deeply grateful to Luke and Lindsey for making the 2020 Review Course available for free to my students and me.