Welcome 2017-2018 Juniors!

Hello new Juniors! I’m hoping that you’ll be able to subscribe to this and start seeing my posts now. As we move through the rest of the summer, I’ll post from time to time just to keep you up to date on things. I might also post random articles or stories that I think you might find interesting or inspiring.

Please make sure to sign up for email notifications so that you get an email when I post a new post. This will make it easier for you to keep up with things (and you won’t have to remember to keep coming back here to check!). In the right sidebar, there’s a section labeled “Follow Blog via Email.” Simply put your email address in the white text box in that section and click Follow and you’ll get an email whenever I post.

Thanks! I’m looking forward to a great year!

AP score interpretation

AP folks,

I know that some of you have already gotten your scores through earlyscore.org and that some of you will be getting them tomorrow. As you look at your scores, I want you to make sure that you interpret them the right way. A score of 3 is not “passing” and a score of 1 or 2 is not “failing.” There is no passing or failing on this exam.

This class is taught on a college level, and the exam is really testing your readiness for college-level learning. This is how the AP folks interpret your scores with regards for meeting the demands of first-year college English.

  • 5 = extremely well qualified
  • 4 = well qualified
  • 3 = qualified
  • 2 = possibly qualified
  • 1 = no recommendation

If you scored a 3, 4, or 5, then AP believes that you would be successful in college level English classes right now. (Remember that most of you took this as a JUNIOR, one year away from college.) If you scored a 2, then you’re possibly qualified–there’s power in a 2! If you scored a 1, then it means that College Board believes that you still need more time to develop your thinking and writing–but guess what? You have that!

Regardless of how you scored, you have learned a ton this year, and you will be more successful in your college-level English/writing classes now than you would have been before. You are leaving my class more qualified, competent, and capable to interpret the world around you, so any score on this exam, whether a 1 or a 5, should be considered successful. This is one test: one day, one indicator of what you know and are able to do. I’m super proud of you all!

The Benefits of Adding 10 minutes of Reading a Day

I’m reading this amazing book–Disrupting Thinking by Kylene Beers and Dr. Robert Probst. (AP–Kylene Beers is the one who wrote the open letter to the new Secretary of Education. Do you remember that prompt?) At any rate, one of things discussed in this book is the importance of reading and not just of reading, but choice reading. I just read a part that reminded me of something I knew but that lit a fire in me to share with you.

In 1988, there was a study done that showed that 5th graders who tested in the 95th percentile read about 65 min a day outside of school. That adds up to 4.3 million words in a year. Here’s the rest of the data:

95% @ 65 min/day = 4.3 mil words/yr

70% @ 10 min/day = 622,000 words/yr

50% @ 5 min/day = 282,000 words/yr

20% @ 0 min/day = 21,000 words/yr

So those numbers are interesting enough. But then another guy did a study in 2006. He wanted to see what would happen if students added just 10 min of reading a day. Now look:

20% +10 min = 321,000 words/yr

And now, data shows, he’d be more likely to test in the 55%!! What about a different group?

70% +10 min (so 20 min total a day) = 2,269,917 words/yr

That student would likely now test in the 85%!!

Just 10 minutes of reading a day has the opportunity to CHANGE YOUR LIFE, especially if you score on the lower to middle portion of the percentiles. I worked with several of you a couple of weeks ago on some last minute ACT work. I’m telling you that the single best thing you can do to improve your understanding and to improve those test scores is to read. Here’s an article that supports some of this info: http://www.scilearn.com/sites/default/files/imported/alldocs/rsrch/30388RAExtra10min.pdf

Just because I’m not there with you every day doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be reading. Grab a book and get busy. If you’re not sure what to read next, email me and I’ll give you some suggestions. Just READ!

Speaking of reading, don’t forget that you have summer reading to do. You can find the details here:


Happy Reading!



AP Lang general score info is out

Hello, all!

For my AP folks, they’ve just released general information about the exam. Your actual scores will be released in early July.

For now, though, here’s what we have. 588,598 students took the AP English Language and Composition exam this year. (It is the biggest exam of all AP exams.) Of those 588,598 students, 9.1% earned a 5, 18.4% earned a 4, 27.8% earned a 3, 30.7% earned a 2, and 14% earned a 1.

Since 2013, there have been 100,00+ more students each year who take this exam, and the percentage who earn a 3 or greater is higher this year as well.

AP English Language multiple-choice: Students scored highest on 20th century prose texts, then pre-20th, then lowest on 21st century prose.

The most challenging essay for AP Lang students this year was Q2, the rhetorical analysis on Claire Booth Luce’s speech. Students generally performed best on the synthesis question about the future of public libraries.

So that’s the score info that we have now. I’m proud of how hard you all worked this year. Thanks for being my first group of AP Lang kiddos!



Important Article about Privacy and Digital Communication

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop sharing important news with you. I’ve got an article that’s written to your parents but that it’s important for all of you to read and understand. It’s about the Michelle Carter verdict. Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter largely based on text messages that she shared with her boyfriend. Carter was 17 and her boyfriend Carter Roy was 18, and he was considering suicide. She encouraged him to commit suicide, and she listened over the phone as he died, failing to alert his parents, authorities, or even just to encourage him to “get out of the car.”

This case has larger implications for you all because so much of your lives are conducted online–all the texts and group chats and Instagram posts and Snapchat stories. Take a few minutes and read this short article.


Take care of yourselves this summer. I hope you’re having fun and I hope you’re reading. I’m on book 8 so far, but I’ve got a long list waiting for me. 😊

MaryGrace has arrived!

Do you all remember the baby we’ve been praying for for the last 6 months or so? Well, baby MaryGrace has arrived and is doing well! She’s in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and she’ll have surgery in about a week to close the opening in her abdomen. She’s doing well,  though, and so is her momma. Thank you for all of the prayers. Please keep this young family in your prayers, especially as she has surgery in the next week or so!

The Importance of Reading

Happy Summer to you all! I’ve just finished another novel (5th of the summer so far 😊), so I switched back to a teaching book that I’ve been looking forward to reading. It’s called Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters. It’s written by two of my favorite teacher authors–Kylene Beers and Robert Probst–and yet again, they haven’t disappointed me.

So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I just read a passage that makes me think about the year that has just passed and the new one that will be here before we know it. It was something that made me perk up in my seat and remember what it is that I love about reading–and besides that, it’s something that I feel compelled to share with you all.

Beers and Probst write, “The most important reading we do is reading that is more than merely pleasurable. It does more than offer moments for us to lose ourselves. Indeed, the most important reading we do gives us a chance to find ourselves, perhaps to change ourselves” (59).

I love that. I love the idea not only of losing yourself in a book or a character, which is what happens when you think about the story that you’re reading even when you’re not reading, but also of finding new things. For me, reading is not just an escape from my own reality, but also a way to encounter things or experiences I’ve never encountered before. It’s also a way to think about things differently. Before I read Crank, for example, I’d never really imagined what it    was like to struggle with an addiction. Before I read Wintergirls, I’d never known what some people with eating disorders felt. Thankfully, these haven’t been experiences in my life, but because of reading, I might have just a little bit of an idea of what others might be experiencing, and because of that, maybe I can be more understanding or compassionate to those who are struggling with those things.

I know I’ve told some of you that one of my favorite books is Atlas Shrugged, that 1000 page book that makes most of you nervous but that I’ve read 11 times.  😊 There’s lots of layers to that book, but one of them is a political/philosophical layer. It’s not that I agree with all of the positions or philosophies put forth in the book, but it makes me think about what I really do believe and why, and for that reason I keep reading it.

This is getting long and babbly now, but that’s one of the big reasons behind the big push for more reading this year. Not only do I believe that this is a skill that you all need to cultivate and practice more in order to do well in college, it’s a life skill that will help to prepare you for life.

Happy reading my friends! If you’re not sure what to read this summer, shoot me an email. I’ve got suggestions! 😊



Rising Seniors–Scholarship Opportunities

Rising Seniors, you should be thinking about scholarships and colleges right now. Spend some time with this list while you’re on break. These scholarships have an August or September deadline (see details), so get busy applying now! Good luck!


Reading Comprehension practice

Hello, all!

I know that many of you are planning to take the ACT this week. If you want to work on your Reading (and really, all of you should consider doing this at least once a week this summer), you should be working through some of the practice passages on Read Theory.

Go to ReadTheory.org. If you don’t remember your username, just let me know (shoot me an email!) and I’ll get it to you, as well as the class code. This is the single best way that I can think of to help you work on that Reading score on the ACT. The other thing is that you should be reading, reading, reading…that’ll help, too!