Greetings students and welcome to the final week of Quarter 3.
In the YouTube video that this script is supporting, I'll be giving you a few news updates from the District regarding distance learning protocols and some reminders about the changes in AP testing. But primarily, I'm frontloading the work for this week: Part 2 of the Media Theory Project. In short, students have until the end of the school day on Friday, April 3rd (4:00 pm will mark the official end of Quarter 3) to submit the work for this reading challenge and creative proposal assignment. If all three sections are completed with effort and style, the work will replace student's lowest formative assessment score from Quarter 3 with a 100%.
I'll walk you through that assignment in a just a few minutes, but first some news and reminders:
Again the Quarter will end this Friday, so make sure you are communicating with your teachers about submitting late and incomplete work and feel free to inquire about alternative assignments, as teachers have been asked to offer those opportunities. Further, rough guidelines have been created by the district to implement a distance learning plan for all students in the district beginning at the start of Quarter 4; Monday April 13th, the week after Spring Break in which the entire district will be on vacation from their school-related duties.
According to their guidelines -- for the period of three weeks up until the building is scheduled to open on May 4th -- teachers are asked to offer 30 minutes of instruction for each class period per day and students are expected to complete 2-3 hours of work for all their classes per day. Teachers are asked to not give summative assessments but can enter formative assessment and skill building scores for a grade during this time. So students are being held accountable to learn what is being taught.
As far as attenance goes, that question is not explained clearly, and regarding grades, the guidelines suggest teachers come up with innovative measures to measure mastery, so we are figuring this out as we go; but we can say that online school is mandatory at the beginning of Quarter 3, and sites are working to develop their own plans for how to make that experience fair for everyone.
For this class, students will be expected to finish their novel over the next two weeks and submit their evaluation essay by the second week of required distance learning, so the new due date is Wednesday, April 22nd at 11:59 pm. More information and support about the essay will be available after spring Break. Writing essays is officially the key AP skill to learn, so hopefully the essay writing practice we do over the next month or so will help you in all your classes.
As far as AP testing, we know that all tests have been modified to a 45 minute exam that will most likely consist of FRQs across each subject. Dates have not yet been announced, but students will have the option to complete the exam online -- and at home if needed. It looks like AP Lang will require a rhetorical analysis FRQ, so if that is the case, we are going to practice mastering that genre the best we can before the exam date sometime most likely in May.
Now for the assignment this week.
Let's start with the concept of Media Theory. This branch of the social sciences has gained more prominence at the beginning of our current era of online communication beginning in the 1990s, although its beginning could be traced back to the 19th century -- and even further-- during massive explosions in technological innovation. Essentially, media theory studies how human behavior has been shaped by our interaction with the various forms of technology we use to communicate and express ourselves. Because we are living in a hyper-technological moment brought on the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to practice social distancing, we are in a position to look at ideas in media theory with an especially critical and nuanced lens. Everyone is online right now whether we like it or not, so our goal for the week is to understand the nature of some important debates regarding current trends in media and technology, enter into the conversation taking place in these debates, and in the end offer a proposal that may provide a solution to some of the problems we encounter in the world of media theory.
Let's just walk through the assignment now; see the Google Classoom posting for details.