Former Student Testimony about American Experience
I got this e-mail from Morgan within the first week of her freshmen year at college. Check out what she had to say:
Hi Ms. Ringelspaugh, It's Morgan Buss. I just wanted to email you to tell you, you're an awesome teacher because of [American Experience] my English class is a breeze! The topic of the class this semester is symbols. I rock at symbols because of you, and AP junior year. I also learned from Ameican Experience that reading the text once isn't good enough and now I always read my chapters twice, if not more, and I have caught so much more. Thank you so much for all the skills you have taught me! I realize now, I didn't think I would ever use the skills I have learned, but I was very wrong. I use them all the time and not just in my english classes. I have an art history class I use them in too. I am already doing excellent in class. I hope you can tell me when your spring trip up here is, so I can come see you, and maybe I will be apart of that class again. :) *
*Morgan's refering to the Diversity Circles Connection Project we do with UWSP in the spring. Check out the unit page for more information.
From Hannah Pease - American Experience 2011
I just wanted to tell you that I just finished my history class and even on the first day we had to go over primary versus secondary documents. The things that you and Mr. Hoernke taught us in AP are things that are of actual use and I am so happy that I know them. It was fantastic to be able to walk into the room and already know what we were talking about and how he wants them used in our papers and know that I already have had to do that.
We also talked about research and we talked about main points that we should be looking for and what makes research good versus great and I actually did the type of research that he talked about so I just wanted to tell you thanks for being such a great teacher because as you can see it has already helped me and I am only one class into college! Have a great year Ringelspaugh and keep changing kids lives, because that's what you do best!
From Jim Golden - American Experience 2011
From Cole Sleaver - American Experience 2009
From April Unterberger - American Experience 2009
When I think back to high school, a few classes stand out in particular,
including AP American Experience. I believe the class significantly enhanced my
cultural awareness, research ability, and analytical skills.
Before AP, I had experienced very little cultural diversity. Of course I
vaguely saw it in other classes, especially history, but not nearly enough. The
use of novels in the class sparked my great interest to learn about different
populations from my own. I honestly believe this is the greatest quality one
can acquire considering we must understand other cultures in order to understand
our own. Many times before this class, I would feel uncomfortable when dealing
with people of different descent, interests, social class, and race than my own.
However, the class introduced me to certain methods of exploration and
historical information which gave me the tools to open my world and mind up
toward people in general. These specific skills have encouraged me to further
my exploration in college by joining clubs and classes that emerge me with
populations I would have been intimidated to work with, before AP. I believe
without taking that initial class back at Adams-Friendship High, I would be
cheating myself of a diversified college career by only sticking with the “safe”
classes and clubs. AP American Experience has allowed me to broaden my horizons
in regards the world outside of a small Midwestern town.
Researching did not interest me before AP. I had not used it in many
classes before AP, which essentially meant I was not very enthused about it.
However, the teachers got us interested by turning our research project into a
debate. I remember being motivated to do well in the debate since it was in
front of the whole class. That motivation pushed me to actually learn about the
topic I was researching rather than skimming for the main points I needed to
cover. I also remember making phone calls to people that were involved in the
events we were researching. That was very effective because it directly tied us
to the topic. I did well in the debate because I explored my research beyond
what I had in other classes. I learned to enjoy it and since then I have done
research for fun. I also currently found a job doing research for my
university. Research opens doors in any career and it has been extremely
helpful in my classes in college thus far, especially the research portion of my
college English classes.
` Analytical skills are very important to be successful in college. Some may
believe they are only important in literature classes, however I have used them
in medical, social work, science, and marketing classes as well. The daily
journals and symbolism activities in AP stimulated my thinking and many times it
truly pushed me to think beyond what I normally had. I have had teachers that
would brush it aside if I wasn’t pushing myself to think harder on a subject but
in AP I was questioned and never directly given the answer when I complained
that I did not understand something. The fact that I had to work to figure out
the answer made it much more rewarding and created a motivation to analyze that
has stuck with me ever since.
Overall, I believe AP American Experience has served to be the most
rewarding class I took in high school. Not only did it increase my cultural
awareness, research ability, and analytical skills, it has done something
extremely beneficial for my personality. It has increased my curiosity which
allows me to gain certain aspects of my knowledge that I would have never been
interested in before. I would encourage every student to take this class as it
will prepare you for college and is actually quite fun!