Tuesday, August 28, 2012

how do i get an A?

AP Government has a large clientele.
How do we meet all of your needs, provide relevant coursework, and challenge and encourage you?
You may be destined to be President. Most of us aren't.
But we want to you to feel stimulated and engaged whether you are taking your 9th AP Class or your first.
Whether you are already planning your post doctorate fellowship at Georgetown University's International Relations school, or just feeling out your future.

But the question that always gets asked (along with, can we leave early -- NO) is,
'How do I raise my grade to an 'A''

Here is how we do it.

A: Attend all classes. Complete all reading and assignments before class. Have the ability to take notes efficiently, and possess college freshman level study skills. Have some degree of interest in the material, such that you are engaged, and interested for 180 class days. Try. And, you may need to demonstrate a 'knack' for multiple choice tests. All of these skills will be taught as the year goes on. But the dedication, effort, and attendance are things only you can provide. Bottom line: SHOW UP, PREPARED, EVERY DAY.

Anything less than an 'A'.
Less than outstanding attendance (anything greater than 2-3% absenteeism is less than outstanding). Missing any test without prior discussion is less than outstanding. This takes true focus.  If you miss one day every 2 weeks, it really adds up.  IF you have to be gone for sports and activities, make sure you know the assignment, and keep up in your absence.

Failure to complete readings and notes before class will hurt your grade: Copying others' reading guides is NOT completing your reading and notes.  It may get you a point, but it won't help you on the test.. The reading and note taking load is relatively light by college standards. But it is reasonable to expect 30 minutes per night, on average. If you can't do this EVERY night, your grade MIGHT suffer.

Lack of interest in the material: We all want to have 'fun discussions'. But there are certain nuts and bolts, certain parts we need, certain vocabulary and understanding we must have to have a fruitful discussion. If you aren't at least a bit interested in Government and Politics, you will struggle with learning the nuts and bolts.

Knack for multiple choice tests: With such large numbers of students, Multiple Choice tests are a fair and accurate way to assess knowledge. I do give 'correcting' curve opportunities, but, an understanding of test taking technique, which we will teach, is helpful. They are not trick questions however.  Proper preparation will be rewarded.

Don't hesitate to ask questions, etc.

Welcome to Government


AP US Government and Politics
Instructor: Luke Smith

Luke Smith
Email: luke.smith@bend.k12.or.us

Dear Student,

I’m writing to present the material and expectations for the course in AP Government and Politics. I’m looking forward to teaching you, and I hope that the class will be challenging and rewarding for you.

The goal of the class is to give you an equivalence of a College Freshman Class in government and Politics.

The course of Study is listed in the Syllabus.
It is is in another Post, entitled, 'Syllabus'.

Following is a list of class policies and expectations for all students. Your first assignment is to review the ‘syllabus’ and ‘policies and expectations’ with your parents.

Please print, and sign along with your parent/guardian acknowledging that you have reviewed this together.

I’m looking forward to the school year. If either you (the student) or your parents have any questions, please do not hesitate to email.

Thank you,

Luke Smith

Parent / Guardian Name (Print)________________

Parent / Guardian Signature:__________________

Parent Email:______________________________

Student Signature:__________________________

Classroom Policies and Expectations for AP Government and Politics

This is the general list of class expectations. This should be basically the same as all other classes. If you have any questions about any of the specific points, please do not hesitate to call. I’m asking you to sign the list so that everyone involved knows the general expectations.

Attendance. Attendance is required. Students with unexcused absences will not be allowed to make up work.

Tardiness. A student is tardy if they are not in their seat, ready to work, when the bell rings.

Behavior: The classroom is a professional environment. Students are expected to be prompt, to participate, and to be polite and respectful towards each other and towards the teacher.

Class Materials: Just be prepared to read, write, talk.

Late Policy: Late work is not acceptable. Missed tests will be made up as quickly as possible during tutorial period or lunch.

Grading: Grades will be based on the following.
Daily Quizzes
Chapter vocabulary quizzes
Unit tests
Midterm and Final
Essays related to readings
Outside readings: To be assigned.

Cheating and Plagiarism: The penalty for cheating or plagiarism is that the work will be marked as a zero. I will also contact the parent or guardian and request a conference.

Electronics Policy: Per the school’s new policy, mp3 players, cellphones, etc. are banned. Thanks for your support.

Thank you,

Luke Smith