Tutor profile: Katie L.
This paper is due in two days and it's only half-finished or terrible - help! What do I do?
When working with students on writing assignments, I always start with big-picture concerns first: Is the essay organized logically? Is the argument or topic clear to the reader? Is the writer making good use of evidence and sources? These are the most important concerns for students as well as the teachers that will grade their work. After the higher-order concerns are taken care of, the student and I take a look at later-order issues, like style, grammar, and citations, polishing up the writing to be as professional as possible.
Subject: US Government and Politics
What's the first step in studying US government for high school, AP, or college courses?
Good government instruction always starts with a survey of the constitution. I make sure that students begin by understanding the basic structure of government as originally laid out. This is the best foundation for observing the way government roles and responsibilities have shifted over time, resulting in the current intricacies of national politics.
Subject: US History
How should a student approach this Free-Response Essay question, taken from the 2013 AP US History exam: Analyze the ways in which the United States sought to advance its interests in world affairs between 1789 and 1823.
Answering FRQs usually begins with brainstorming all the potential outside events and concepts that the student can remember. For example, the student might jot down: The Louisiana Purchase Washington's Farewell Address War of 1812 Jay's Treaty Alien and Sedition Acts Monroe and the Era of Good Feelings The next step is to survey the information that the student feels confidant writing about and begin to make connections. This step is where having a resource like a tutor is especially valuable - a student might be able to memorize dates and names on their own, but having real conversations about the subject matter with a live person is irreplaceable. The more a student talks out the core concepts and trends in the era, the easier it will be for them to identify new connections on their own. In this case, a student might develop a thesis that analyzes the role of isolationism and neutrality in US foreign relations, selecting evidence that fits that theme. Finally, the student would practice pulling these ideas together into a clear and complete essay response. When coaching a student on these tests, I make sure to help them understand the methodology and expectations of AP graders, teaching them to utilize the structure and content that will net the highest score.
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