Professor Jonathan Chu of the University of Massachusetts Boston History Department visited Fontbonne Academy On November 7. He spoke with students in Ms. Pilla’s Advanced Placement and Honors United States History classes.
Focusing on primary sources, Professor Chu helped students to think like historians: question sources, focus on historical context, make connections, and draw conclusions. These skills are necessary for success in college study and, particularly, for success on the essay portions of the AP exam.
As Professor Chu told the students, “there is no right or wrong answer here; it is the analysis and explanation you bring to the available facts which will help you build a strong essay.”
He also emphasized the importance of standing out to the official AP readers who grade upwards of 500 essays a day by “taking the time to organize your thoughts before you write so that you can craft your response effectively and eloquently.”
The students enjoyed strategizing with Professor Chu and were grateful he came to Fontbonne. “It is great that we can have a college professor to help us prepare for not just this essay, but all of our college writing,” said Collette O’Connor.
Ms. Pilla, Chair of the Social Studies Department, and Professor Chu have forged an informal partnership between their schools. Professor Chu has been graciously sharing his extensive experience with the AP test and with teaching history at the college level with Ms. Pilla’s classes for several years. Both teachers are exploring ways to make the partnership a more extensive and formal one to benefit both their students and their institutions.
The above release was provided by Fran Karoff, Fontbonne Academy.