Emily SlaterMrs. TilleryAP Literature and Composition19 April 2012 Senior Project: Speech AP World History is a yearlong course where students have the opportunity toreceive college credit. However, in order to get that college credit, they need to pass theAP test. Last year, over 50% of people taking the ap world history test failed. My name isEmily Slater and for my senior project, I decided to help the current AP world historystudents by creating study guides and tutoring them. Around the time we were chosen to pick senior projects, I was applying forcolleges, but I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted to major in, but one of thethings I was considering was social studies education. I was raised watching the historychannel and love learning about different cultures and how they were formed.Additionally, I took this class two years ago, did fairly well in it, and received a 5 on theAP exam. My project facilitator, Mr. Michael Sinco, is the current AP world historyteacher at Creekview and does a wonderful job, but his schedule simply cannotaccommodate every student and many are unable to attend study sessions at times heholds them. To rectify this problem, I created study guides, lectured in review sessionsheld before and after school, and held individual tutoring sessions so that every studentcould have a better chance of passing the test. Mr. Sinco helped by giving me tips onlecturing and helped me organize times for tutoring students.
The book issued to the school by the state, while very thorough, jumpsconfusingly between topics within a chapter and is difficult to read, so I tried to helpstudents with their reading by creating a study guide that puts the books information in aformat where the students would be able to better comprehend. The process of creating astudy guide is a lot more complicated than it sounds. First, I would search through thebook and write down all of the relevant information. I would then search through old apquestions on that chapter and try to emphasize things that the college board often puts ontheir tests. For example, while it’s interesting to know that Thomas Jefferson was given a1,000 pound wheel of cheese for an inauguration present, it is more important to knowthat he authorized the Louisiana Purchase. The next step would be to would organize theinformation into into the five AP themes, which are human environment interaction,culture, government and politics, economics, and social structures. After that, I would putit into a layout I had created and go back through the book to make sure all of myinformation was correct. All in all, this process took about 4 hours per study guide andwas a lot more than I bargained for. Originally, I thought that doing the study guideswould take about an hour at the most and I would do one for every chapter. However,because of the amount of time it took and the fact that I was in 5 AP classes, I was onlyabout to do about 10. I would give these to students who asked for them and post them onthe AP world history facebook page. Here are a couple of the study guides I created foryou to look through. For my study sessions, I would look through the calendar of testdates and coordinate with Mr. Sinco to find times to hold them. My lectures wouldusually consist of the information I put in my study guides, in addition to the questionsthat students asked me. I wasn’t really prepared, at first, for the amount of energy
lecturing would take. Lecturing is about more than being able to recall when prompted. Ihad to study the guides thoroughly to make sure I knew my sections. Additionally, it wasintimidating to get in front of a class of people only two years younger than me. I knewsome of the students personally, and it was difficult to transition into an educator’s role.The first time I got in front of a class, my throat went dry and I believe I spent themajority of the time stuttering. Most of this was solved with just time and help from Mr.Sinco, such as his suggestion to bring a water bottle to lectures. I found that the placewhere I felt most comfortable was in one on one or small group tutoring sessions duringlunch. In those situations, there was less pressure on me and I was able to give moreindividualized information. My research paper was on the brain and, more specifically, how it learns andmemorizes. I learned about how different parts of the brain work together and that thereare different parts of the process we consider “learning,” in memorization andcomprehension. You can memorize something without comprehending it, and you cancomprehend something without remembering it, but it is much easier to memorize if youcomprehend something. This is why, in my study guides, I tried to apply this by puttingemphasis on why people in history reacted in a certain way in a situation in addition towhat they did. However, much of what I found was more suited to subjects such as mathor science or was just not practical for a history class. For example, I saw that the averagestudent would only be able to maintain a peak focus for about 10 minutes before startingto lose attention and that lessons should be separated into different sections in order to getthe most out of the hour or so class period. It is difficult to do this in a history class,because it is mostly lecturing and discussion.
While my topic and research were related to a career as a social studies teacher,by the end of the process I discovered that teaching was not the career for me. Beforedoing this, I did not fully understand the level of preparation and skill it takes to be aneffective teacher and I simply do not think I would be able to be a teacher and enjoy it.However, I did enjoy the research I did on the brain and thought that the processes thatwent into learning were fascinating. Therefore, when I attend Georgia Tech in the fall, Iplan on majoring in neuroscience and learning more about how the brain relates to themind. From this project, I’ve learned how to lecture more effectively and havedeveloped better organizational skills. I have also learned that while I do love history, myfuture is not in a classroom, but hopefully in a lab. While I did not particularly enjoy thesenior project and think it will benefit me much in the future, I am grateful to it forproviding me with this information. Thank you for taking time out of your schedules tocome judge me today and I will now answer any questions you might have.