APESvsEverybody Blog Posts

Credibility Signaling and The Stuff We Think With

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Credibility Signaling and The Stuff We Think With

Part 1: The Best Pedagogical Book I’ve Read in Years For a number of reasons, both personal and related to my school, last year was a particularly challenging year for me in the classroom. It was a struggle to build the class culture that’s been so central to what I love about teaching APES. Now I’m normally not a fan of getting too caught up in the myriad factors beyond the walls of our classrooms that make our jobs more difficult, but it did really feel like I was battling a distinctly new wave of student apathy and disengagement. I...

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Retrieval Practice: Unlock the Power of Self-Quizzing

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Retrieval Practice: Unlock the Power of Self-Quizzing

If you’re not familiar with retrieval practice or active recall by name, you’ve certainly implemented this powerful learning strategy in its most basic instantiation: flashcards. A few years into my career as an educator, I came across this Cult of Pedagogy article, which then prompted me to read the book Make it Stick. I can count on one hand the books or articles that have had a bigger impact on how I approach teaching than these two. While Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy and the authors of Make it Stick certainly do the subject justice much better than I...

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How to Improve Your Students' FRQ Writing

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

How to Improve Your Students' FRQ Writing

After another APES exam cycle with a near 50% pass rate, I continue to share the same thoughts that so many of you have this time of year: “what can I do to help this year’s students have a better chance of passing the exam and earning college credit?” And as my FRQ grading experience and data from AP instructional reports continues to indicate, the answer to that question seems to be: we’ve got to help them improve their ability to interpret and answer FRQs. The reason I’ve differentiated between interpreting and answering FRQs is because students continue to provide...

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Takeaways From Grading Exam FRQs for the College Board (2023)

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Takeaways From Grading Exam FRQs for the College Board (2023)

Before I get into my takeaways from this year's read in Cincinnati, let me just put in a plug for applying to be a reader (FRQ grader). In addition to being the single best way to improve the FRQ writing instruction you can offer your students, it is simply a ton of fun. I mean, where else can you meet 200+ other dedicated APES teachers from all over the country and get in a half hour of hacky-sacking every day? Now for a few writing tips: Less is sometimes more. This will come to no surprise to any of you,...

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Unit 9 Resources

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Unit 9 Resources

Lots of resources for covering unit 9: Global Change!

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