Monday, May 29, 2017

To Give AP Summer Homework or not...that is the question!

So I had the pleasure of attending AP training when I began teaching AP Spanish 6 years ago. I absolutely loved getting to talk to other language teachers, and see how they ran their classrooms.

One very common practice was...AP Summer Homework. I remember saying, "Wait...we need to give AP Summer Homework?" I remember every head turning to look at me in awe; as if...did this chick just say that?

One really sweet gentleman spoke up and said, "This test is incredibly hard. We need to make sure our students continue learning and don't lose any grammar, vocabulary, idiomatic phrases, and more. Summer homework really pushes the kids to keep going."

So...after the training I went home and started preparing my first AP summer homework packet..hmm...

Ok, honestly....the very first year that I prepared the AP summer homework packet, it was awful. Horrible. Pointless.

To be honest, I really didn't understand what the students should be doing in the summer. I didn't understand the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational.


Four years later, I finally figured out summer homework that actually increased my students ability to be conversational speakers and to grow their skills.

I learned how to give assignments that reflected listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

When I prepared this final homework bundle, I handed it out to my students and waited for their reaction. Believe it or not...I was shocked. They were actually kind of "excited" to start on the homework.

So this is my secret: if you want your students to be enthusiastic and open minded about summer homework, you must make all the tasks "doable"

There is a very fine line of being challenged and being overly challenge to where you feel defeated.

In the past, it took it too far. I was assigning actual AP work but yet my kids hadn't had a day of the AP Spanish class. They didn't know the trick, the patterns, or even a grasp on the various grammatical concepts.

I can finally say that I have summer homework that I am extremely proud of, and can see SUCCESS for the past couple years.

It took a lot of research and work to prepare, but I can tell when my students return their skills are still intact.

They still remember the conditional, future, present, etc. They still know the difference between imperfect & preterite. Their listening skills are strong, and basic conversation has not been lost.

So my final thoughts are... don't be scared to assign summer homework. Start small and build on a full bundle that you are proud of.

Think...will my assignments help my kids conquer AP or are the kids doing busy work? My first few years it was pure busy work, and on top of that, it was freaking hard busy work.

Here are some basic benefits of assigning summer homework:
1. Continuation of practicing skills
2. Sets the tone that the class is rigorous.
3. Can weed out kids that don't want to take it seriously.
4. Forces the kids to make Spanish apart of their life.
5. On the road to fluency.

I have included a link to my Summer Homework for AP Spanish below if you would like to just buy mine:

Let me know if you all have any questions about summer homework. I'm glad to answer as well as engage in any conversation about AP Summer Homework.