Friday, February 1, 2013


Haven't completed a Feat of Wisdom yet? This one is worth an extreme amount of glory, LULZ, and (if done well) course credit.  After all, learners should be evaluated according to their knowledge and mastery on the spot, don't you think?

You're walking through [ ], thinking about [ ], talking about [ ], sort of eventually making your way toward [ ] when you hear the magic words:

"5PH1NX says write."

You want to hear these words.  They mean you've been chosen to complete a mission that you can post to your blog and/or turn in as the equivalent of an essay, to be graded and credited accordingly. Moreover, you will receive extra credit and the approval of the thinking gods.  So will whoever presents you the prompt and whoever gets it on video.

Here's how it works.

You'll need:
  • a friend or two to help you find/accost/video your writer;
  • a piece of paper (or two) and a pen to present to your writer;
  • an AP prompt (you can pick anything from the poetry, prose or open prompt lists, or invent something in the same spirit);
  • ten minutes to watch your writer read the prompt, do some sort of pre-write, and write the first 3 paragraphs (minimum);
  • flexibility, in case your writer decides to hack the experience (for SICK amts of extra credit) and make you wait while s/he writes the whole essay (40 minutes maximum);
  • this link to the Monty Python novel-writing competition audio track (also embedded below);
  • to post the video of your writer being stopped and starting to write, coupled with the Monty Python soundtrack (this is why you were asked to figure out how to pair a video file with an audio file a few weeks ago).
  • to post the document the writer created, along with a preliminary group analysis of how it meets the requirements of the AP grading rubric.
  • 5 comments (minimum) with constructive feedback
  • A social media strategy for getting the most viewers (if you're into that sort of thing)
In addition to posting the video-with-soundtrack, there will be a YouTube channel to feature all of these in one place. 

Have fun, and consider the method to the madness.  A quiet testing room and a blank page won't be nearly as intimidating in May to the wo/man who can explicate a semi-random literary topic, on demand, in front of gawking strangers, right now.

Things for us to think about:
1. A rating system.  The best work should get the most credit from the network and be most visible as models. 
2. Other AP learning communities.  Everyone is coming to this exam through different experiences, texts, teachers, backgrounds, etc., so more people = more information = a better-informed network = higher success rate for everyone on the AP exam.  Seeing an essay from a different class/school/city/state/country and asking the author, "Why did you write it like that?" may become a more valuable conversation than any lecture.
3. Challenges/add-ons.  What if the person you target has written more essays than you have?  Should they be able to turn the tables and make you write? 
4. Analyzing effectiveness/value.  Should there be a limit to the number of essays a person can post/turn in for credit?  Is there a magic number after which practicing in this way won't be as helpful, or is more experience always better?  Should the exercise stay the same over time or change to maintain the element of surprise?