We selected a short section form the A.P. text book (pages 72-74) on the growth of the Athenian Empire and the Peloponnesian War. Although this is a rather short reading, the text is much more dense then the text book we use in class. For the reading we asked both content questions and meta-cognitive questions. For the Content question we asked them to:
Read the AP textbook handout p. 72-74 and respond to the following:
  • List and describe 3 specific examples of how Athens began to act like an empire.
  • Choose 3 events that influenced the outcome of the Peloponnesian War and describe each in a sentence.

For the meta-cognitive question we asked them to read their textbook pages 123-124 about the Peloponnesian War and:
  • List and describe how the readings are similar and how they are different.
  • In the future, if you were asked to complete both of the readings which would you read first? Why?
  • In what ways is the A.P. text better? In what ways is the regular text better?

Reflection: Most of the students made some great observations. Most understood that the regular text-book was a great place to start to get a more general overview of the material. Most also commented that the vocabulary was much more difficult in the A.P. text and that the sections were not as well defined. All noted that it took much longer to read. I did notice that the students who had the most difficulty making the comparison between the two texts are also the ones struggling the most in the honors class. When we grade this assessment 15 out of the 36 students (42%) scored below 80%. We debriefed this assignment with the class and worked with them to help them to understand the difference between the two texts and strategies for attacking he A.P. text. We taught them how to gain an overview of a reading by looking at the titles, maps, charts and captions to the images before digging into the text. We also reviewed with them “blocking” (the use of highlighters and writing in the margins) and the importance of periodically stopping as they read to check for understanding.

We followed up this assignment with a reading from the A.P. text book on Alexander the Great. below is the assignment:

Read pages 89-107 from the AP textbook and answer each of the following in well-developed, detailed paragraph. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence that states a clear & direct answer to the question, followed by specific evidence that supports the answer.

Explain how the Macedonian domination of Greece can be seen as the result of the personal qualities of the conqueror AND the internal conflicts of the conquered. [89]
What was Alexander’s main purpose in conquering an empire? (Your answer should attempt to distinguish between what he claimed as his motivation and what his actions actually indicated.) [95-98]
Summarize the political situation in the Hellenistic world in the centuries that followed Alexander’s death. [98-99]
To what extent did Greek culture “take over” in the areas ruled by Hellenistic kingdoms? Use the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Jews in Hellenistic cities to illustrate the overall trends. [99-107]

Reflection: When we reviewed the results from this assessment we saw some clear improvement. When we grade this assessment 10 out of the 36 students (28%) scored below 80%. While this may seem like a dramatic improvement, it is also important to note that 7 students (19%) of the students handed in the assignment late. This would suggest that some students really struggled with it. This was a longer assignment (18 pages) and much closer to a typical A.P. assignment.

ROME UNIT: AP text reading & review questions with Google forms