Course Descriptions

*** 2016 Descriptions and Faculty Bios Coming Soon! ***



These courses are designed to give teachers an overview of the basic structure and content necessary for an Advanced Placement course in the subjects listed.  In addition, instructors review the Advanced Placement Examination in each subject as it applies to that content area by discussing sample multiple choice and free-response questions. A major portion of each course involves the development of an Advanced Placement curriculum by each participant. In the past, these courses have proven to be beneficial to experienced teachers of Advanced Placement as well as to prospective new instructors for AP classes.  Each course is offered for 3 graduate credits in Education.


Faculty: Yu Bong Ko and Michael Bieze (2 Sections)

The newly redesigned curriculum will be implemented in 2015 with significant departure from the old format. Both first-year and experienced teachers preparing to teach the redesigned AP Art History course are asking: does one now just teach the 250 works of art in the Image Set? Why is there an increase in coverage of global content areas? Where can one find teaching resources beyond the traditional textbooks? How can one pace the teaching of the course? What will be assessed on the new AP exam? Throughout the week, we will place special focus on the following topics of immediate concern:

  • Key changes to the AP Art History Curriculum
  • Unpacking the new curriculum framework and its implications for teaching: Big Ideas, Essential Questions, Learning Objectives and Enduring Understanding for each Content Area
  • Working with the Course Planning and Pacing Guide
  • Balancing depth of knowledge and breadth in content coverage
  • Resources for developing and teaching the course
  • Guidance and strategies to support student success
  • Teacher and student preparations – differentiated instruction; equity and access
  • Incorporating computer based multimedia digital technology into the course
  • Preparing for the new AP exam and assessment strategies
  • Submitting a revised syllabus for the Audit

Another critical component of the workshop will focus on designing a thematic and cross-cultural approach to connecting relationships among global artistic traditions and merging “contemporary art” into the curriculum all year long; and recent scholarship that emphasizes critical thinking and understanding works of art and architecture through visual, historical and contextual analysis. Participants will have ample opportunities to acquire and share best teaching practices and walk away with practical materials and strategies to immediately promote active student-centered learning in the classroom, including ways to enhance visual literacy: how to help students develop skills in looking at, thinking about and communicating ideas about works of art.

Finally, participants will be mentored to become “Readers” in a simulated reading of the free-response question on the AP examination and gain an understanding of the grading process, with specific attention placed on the common student errors and their implications for instruction. 



Faculty: Franklin Bell

This course will provide an overview of the redesigned Advanced Placement Biology course. In the redesigned AP Biology course, the College Board, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, has done the following:

  • Reduced content breadth to promote conceptual understanding;
  • Provided an explicit, comprehensive curriculum framework;
  • Directed that scientific inquiry and student-directed lab exercises replace the twelve scripted lab exercises that were previously in use, with the concomitant development of student inquiry skills;
  • Articulated clear learning objectives;
  • Redesigned the format for the AP Biology exam (the new exam format was implemented in May 2013).

Participants will have the opportunity to perform several lab exercises that align with the College Board redesign. Best practices will be discussed. Information about the requirements for the AP Biology Course Audit for 2014-2015 will be shared.



Faculty: Greg Timm

The primary goal of this class is for the teacher to acquire the techniques necessary to successfully teach Advanced Placement AB Calculus at the secondary level.  This course will focus on classroom strategies that encourage teachers not only to enjoy teaching calculus, but also to learn how to creatively engage students in mathematical investigations that enable the students to "discover" the major concepts.  We will examine a variety of strategies and skills that can be used to explore the fascinating world of teaching AP Calculus. This course is intended for to provide appropriate training for the AP Calculus teacher by providing opportunities to refresh, solidify, and expand your theoretical understanding of the calculus, become familiar with the level of knowledge required for student success on the AB AP Calculus Examination, gain expertise in the creation and use of appropriate assessment vehicles, including technology, and connect pedagogical theory to practice in the AP classroom.



Faculty: Mark Howell 

Although this course will include materials covering the full range of Calculus BC content, the "C" topics in the curriculum will receive special emphasis. In particular, the mathematics the teacher needs to know and the mathematics the student is expected to learn will be covered. Teaching strategies directed towards approach, activities, time frame, and assignments will be developed. The role of the graphing calculator as a powerful instrument for enriching and enhancing the study of calculus will be explored, and a collection of student-ready activities will be distributed. Current textbooks related to the new technology will be available for participants to examine.  Evaluation techniques, including the development of teacher-made tests, will be discussed and the Advanced Placement examination will be analyzed. Participants will be familiarized with grading standards and the application of grading scales to free-response questions. They are asked to bring a graphing calculator (such as a Ti-84 or TI-89). Participants are also asked to bring any materials that they may wish to share with other teachers.



Faculty: Pat Bordell

AP Chemistry will provide beginning and experienced AP Chemistry teachers with an understanding of the redesign of the curriculum. Suggestions for organizing course work for the first time and/or making modifications to an existing framework will be discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to work both individually and collaboratively on hands-on lab activities/experiments as well as in problem-solving sessions. Special emphasis will be on modeling the concept of inquiry in the classroom as well as in the lab. Participants will receive hundreds of files (via DropBox or a DVD) of useful information pertaining to all aspects of the AP Chemistry Program. Participants should bring their laptops, a jump drive, a calculator, goggles and, if possible, a digital file of a Best Practice that can be distributed. The Best Practice can be a demo, lab experiment, inquiry activity, worksheet, test, or anything which you really like to use in the classroom/lab for either first year chemistry or AP. Participants will be sent a copy of an AP Exam Free Response and/or the Multiple Choice to write before coming to the institute.  If participants have not examined the NEW exam questions, they are encouraged to complete as much of it as they can prior to the institute to become very familiar with the types of questions on the exam. Although this exam will not be graded, it will be used to learn how to grade AP exams. If you are completing this APSI for graduate credit, then a couple of specific, summative projects will be required. Projects could be some of the following:  modifying a lab to be inquiry, preparing an inquiry teaching unit, preparing a syllabus for audit, developing an inquiry activity, preparing 6-8 test questions or preparing a project approved by the instructor. 

Topics/events during the week COULD include any of the following as needed by the participants and as time permits:

  • Understanding the new lab program, performing around four of the NEW AP hands-on labs, and performing and developing inquiry learning activities for classroom use
  • Adapting some old test questions to be more like the newer questions on the redesigned AP Exam.
  • For new teachers: establishing an AP*-level lab program; examining the new AP* Chemistry curriculum and exam in detail
  • Developing an AP* Chemistry calendar/timeline and a syllabus for Audit approval
  • Learning how to score past AP Exams and using them to improve exam test scores.
  • Understanding the strategies and conceptual knowledge necessary for success on the AP Exam
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of some major content topics  from the AP* curriculum by addressing them via AP exam questions, problems, and related labs or demos
  • Reviewing some sample AP* exam questions and helpful hints for preparing students for the AP* test 



Faculty: Maria Litvin  

The course accommodates participants with different levels of familiarity with Java and OOP.  We will study classes and objects, constructors and methods, abstract classes and interfaces, inheritance and polymorphism, strings, 1D and 2D arrays and ArrayList, and other topics specified in the AP CS Course Description.  We will also work with the College Board’s AP Computer Science Labs, review the College Board's AP CS materials, including the multiple choice and free-response questions from past AP exams, and share techniques for teaching Java in high school.  We will discuss AP CS course syllabus, requirements and AP audit procedures.



Faculty:  Steve Klinge

During our AP Summer Institute, we will work with each of the main areas of the English Language exam—the multiple choice questions, synthesis essay, rhetorical analysis essay, and argument essay—and discuss ways to prepare our students with the skills they will need on the AP test. We will collaborate on strategies, practice test-taking, analyze readings and share best practices. We will place ourselves in the position of our students and then explore how we, as teachers, can guide them to success as writers, as thinkers, as close-readers, as test-takers. We will also discuss the scoring process for the test and review the current year’s Language exam essay questions. Readings will come from a variety of pre-20th century and 20th-century / contemporary sources; although the emphasis will be on non-fiction, we will discuss the use of poetry and other fiction within the Language course.



Faculty: SJ Miller 

This AP Literature and Composition workshop is a college/university level course that focuses on different genres, contexts, literary skills, and sociocultural issues in order to prepare students for the exam in May and to also teach beyond the exam—so as to help students conceptualize what English can mean in the larger context of their lives. Together, we will carefully and critically analyze literature; understand the way writers use language to provide meaning; consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as literary elements such as: figurative language, point of view, tone, diction, allusion, syntax, imagery, symbolism; study representative works from various genres and time periods (from the sixteenth century through contemporary times- poetry, prose, plays, short stories, young adult literature, film, TV, radio, music[hip-hop, punk, EMO, grunge, Indi-rock, country, rock]); apply different critical lenses to reading including but not limited to: classical/ancient, feminism, archetypal, cultural studies, formalism/new criticism, queer, postcolonialism, deconstruction, Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism/poststructuralism; study characterization and development; consider the social and historical values a work embodies and reflects; consider how ethnicity, social class, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression, national origin, disability, size (weight/height), and ability are reflected by literature; explore ways to write in different genres for different audiences and purposes including but not limited to: expository, analytic, rhetorical, and prose; engage, when possible, with multi-modal literacies, for reading, writing and presenting; reflect on the writing revision process as a way to help students become a more effective critic of one’s own writing; become a more effective communicator and thinker about reading and writing; and, discuss ways to prepare students for the college application process. Most of the week will be taught through constructivist (hands-on), culturally relevant, and liberatory pedagogies as teachers will be invited to discuss, engage, participate, reflect, share, question, probe, teach, re-teach, and push beyond where their current practices reside. The week will provide teachers with an overview of an AP curriculum, offer tools for immediate application to their practice, test taking practice and strategies for the essays and multiple choice sections, and provide essential networking opportunities with other AP experts in the field. 



Faculty: Jeanne Kaidy

In this session, participants will learn about the development and grading of the AP test, discuss and evaluate teaching resources, and experience several different kinds of lessons and student-centered experiences.  Participants will ultimately draft a comprehensive syllabus for a year-long AP Environmental Science course.  Much of the week will be spent in the field and in the lab, so that participants leave with a multitude of hands-on activities meant to facilitate student learning and develop critical analysis and problem solving abilities, fundamental skills necessary for this course.  Through designing experiments, engaging in inquiry-based activities, and collecting data in the field, students will understand how the process of science works.  Hands-on activities rather than lecture are the focus, and workshop activities will focus on resources available in every community; cemeteries, power plants, fields, forests, ponds, and school campuses are all rich resources of inquiry-based projects.  This course is appropriate for both new and experienced AP teachers.



Faculty: Shayne O'Connell

The Revised AP European History Exam 2016 will be introduced and explained and discussed at length.  Participants will have an opportunity to preview sample exam questions  and examine sample rubrics for these questions. Participants will explore the overview of the Curriculum Framework based on the Revised AP European Test:

Historical Thinking Skills will be introduced and discussed and will focus on the following Skills: Chronological Reasoning, Comparison and Contextualization, Crafting Historical Arguments from Historical Evidence and Historical Interpretation and Synthesis.

Thematic Learning Objectives, which are organized into five major themes: (1) Interaction of Europe and the World, (2) Poverty and Prosperity (3) Objective Knowledge and Subjective Visions, (4) States and Other Institutions of Power (5) Individual and Society, will be introduced and explored.

We will cover the Concept Outline, which is the required course content for each historical period. The Historical Periods in the Concept Outline will include key concepts, supporting concepts, and historical developments that are required knowledge for each period presented in the outline:  Period 1: c.1450 to c.1648     Period 2: c.1648 to c. 1815    Period3: c.1815 to c.1914    Period 4: c.1914 to the Present.

Since this is an APSI, the Agenda will also cover the importance of pacing, methods of essay writing and the use of literature, art and primary sources in the AP Curriculum.  Discussion of textbook selection and additional content specific materials to compliment the course is another aspect of the Institute. An overview of how best to use technology, how to review for the exam, what summer reading is suggested, and what post exam activities are available will also be discussed. As always in the APSI the sharing of "Best Teaching Practices" is another highlight of our week together.



Faculty: Kately Demougeot 

The 2015 French APSI will concentrate completely on the newly redesigned exam and course alignment. Participants will examine the major themes that will drive the French AP curriculum along with the numerous sub-themes. Designing units of instruction will be an important part of the workshop as well as examining sample exam items. Developing a familiarity with the three modes of communication--interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational--will be a key factor in our work. Another feature of the workshop will be becoming proficient in interpreting achievement-level descriptions that will assist teachers in evaluating student work. We will become familiar with strategies to present various aspects of the target culture, including products (tools, books, music, laws, conventions, institutions); practices (patterns of social interactions); and perspectives (values, attitudes, assumptions). Time will be spent on integrating authentic materials and technology into our curriculum. We will also discuss the production of the new course audit. 



Faculty: Katrina Griffin

This workshop provides participants detailed information about the current AP German Language and Culture exam.  Given the interpersonal, interpretive and presentational modes of communication, the presenter will navigate the participants through all six AP themes by modeling current advancements in the world language classroom.  The teacher of German today realizes the validity behind effective curricular progression, thereby allowing all students the benefits of the AP experience from the first year of instruction.  Authentic materials and assessment strategies all lead to meaningful and successful experience for the proficient speaker of German. 



Faculty: Pamela Wolfe 

This course will provide an overview of the AP Human Geography curriculum and help teachers design their own course. Teachers will review lesson plans, resources, and websites for teaching each of the major topics covered in the AP Human Geography course, including geography, population, cultural patterns, the political organization of space, rural land use, industrialization, and cities. The course will focus on effective teaching strategies, learning activities and preparation for success on the AP exam. Participants will begin to develop their own course outline, syllabus, and assessment tools.



Faculty: Ida Wilder

This course gives participants an overview of the revised AP Italian Language and Culture Course.  Participants will examine the requirements of the course and exam, discuss classroom strategies and engage in a professional exchange of ideas. In addition, they will examine the components of the AP curriculum framework including: learning objectives, description of the expected student performance and themes.  They will discuss instructional design for the course that integrates cultural content into language lessons and connects the modes of communication in meaningful ways. Participants will also review AP teacher workshop material, including the teacher’s guide, course description, exam specification, and examples from various exams. Other highlights include: ideas for syllabus development, scoring student work from the 2015 exam with rubrics, becoming acquainted with the electronic media used to support AP teacher such as AP Central, AP Teacher Community and other useful websites.



Faculty: Joel Phillips

Music Theory for Teachers of Advanced Placement strongly emphasizes musical skill development and provides numerous strategies to help teachers prepare students to achieve their best. It features extensive and careful analysis of the AP curriculum as well as the examination’s content and scoring. Members will evaluate representative examples of available materials, especially those provided by the College Board, and participate in a variety of in-class activities, most of which are based in performance. Following the course people who have not taught AP music theory will be able to complete the course audit requirements. All participants, including experienced AP teachers, can expect to take away new ideas, insights, and greater confidence in their teaching.



Faculty: Barry Panas

In this week-long institute we will be covering all of the essentials needed to teach the new AP Physics 1 course including the Curriculum Framework, Course Audit, and Exam. A significant portion of the week will focus on Inquiry Based Learning and establishing an AP Physics experience that maximizes student learning. Numerous practical tips will be provided throughout the week on teaching strategies, demonstrations, audiovisuals, computer-based learning opportunities and teaching resources. Participants will have opportunities throughout the week to ask questions and to share their own strategies and approaches with other participants.

The week will also include content reinforcement. Topics addressed will include content that is new to the AP program, selected traditional areas that are especially problematic, as well as any other topics requested by participants. A number of experiments will be discussed, with a selection being performed throughout the week.

Participants are asked to bring the following to the Institute:

  • a calculator and laptop if available
  • one or two Physics demonstrations to perform for the group at the end of the week
  • a written summary of a lab suitable for use in AP physics. This lab will not be conducted during the institute, but each participant will briefly present it to the group. If the lab has handouts, they should also be provided



Faculty: Katherine Minter

The AP Psychology session is for new and veteran AP Psychology teachers and will include an update/overview of the entire College Board curriculum. Additional areas of emphasis will cover syllabus preparation for the audit, textbook selections and other materials, and many “Best Practices” will be demonstrated that make even the hardest units fun for students. Several content sessions will cover neuroscience, statistics, and sensation & perception to build teacher knowledge. There will be an overview of the AP Exam: Free Response Questions, Grading Rubric, and Multiple Choice section. A special guest speaker, a local Psychology Professor, may present on his/her research area during the week. Come ready to learn and leave energized to teach this wonderful course!



Faculty: George Watson

In this institute we will dissect the Curriculum Framework for the 2015 Spanish Language and Culture exam.  Participants will analyze the AP curricular themes and subthemes, learning objectives, achievement level descriptions, test questions, scoring rubrics, and student samples for the new exam. Our discussion of student performance will focus on three communicative modes:  interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational.  Additionally, we will discuss AP curriculum and syllabus development as well as the integration of culture (products, practices and perspectives) into all levels of an AP and Pre-AP program with a special emphasis on the use of technology and the arts to support curricular goals.  Finally, we will examine and share teaching strategies, instructional materials, and online resources to make our AP program vibrant, relevant, and successful.



Faculty: Delia Montesinos

The 2015 Spanish Literature and Culture Institute is designed to assist teachers in preparing or enhancing their AP Spanish Literature and Culture course and guiding students to a richer, deeper understanding of and appreciation for Spanish and Latin American literature. Using works from the course Reading List participants will review and design strategies to urge students to relate content to historical, geopolitical, socioeconomic, and literary contexts,  and to understand the six course themes and their organizing concepts. An essential part of the institute will be the discussion of activities and strategies to enhance student performance on the various parts of the exam, including the listening sections, the multiple-choice section, and the free-response section, including preparing students for writing short-responses and organized analytical essays. Results from past administrations of the exam will be reviewed to better understand how to effectively prepare students for the exam.


Faculty: Douglas Cashing  

This course is intended for AP Statistics teachers who feel uncertain about the content or the expectations of the course. We will discuss a variety of questions from previous exams, along with their scoring rubrics and some student solutions, as a spring-board for investigating the content and how to present it. There will also be discussions regarding the use of available technology in the course, available resources, test-taking strategies, and ideas for projects and activities. 



Faculty: Mark Schimsky 

Using a sample AP Studio Art Syllabus, this course will cover the structure of all three AP Studio Art Exam Portfolios with overviews  of the Breadth and Concentration sections of the exam plus guidelines for organizing the Quality section. Then using sample AP scoring rubrics, the AP Studio Art scoring process will be reviewed. There will be two “standards settings," one for each of the two major sections of the Exam – the “Breadth” and the “Concentration”. These standards settings will give participants a fairly accurate sense of how AP Studio Art exams are actually scored by AP readers each year. Participants will also engage in a hands-on project to develop a scope of technical and conceptual strategies to meet the demands of the “Concentration Section” of the AP Art Exam. This simple project will culminate in a “Best Practices” session where participants will share lessons and ideas for their AP Studio Art classes. For this project, you will need to bring some art supplies with you to the APSI. A list of suggested art supplies will be provided. In addition, it is suggested that you bring a journal/sketchbook with you and an assortment of pens and/or pencils. There will also be discussions on vertical teaming, critiquing techniques, and how to photograph art work.



Faculty: Robert Handy

This course, through lecture, discussion, and group activities, introduces the structure and content necessary for an effective Advanced Placement US History course within the guidelines of the new curriculum. It will analyze the component parts of the AP exam and suggest appropriate test-taking as well as testing strategies and ways to teach the course. Participants will learn how to review the analytical writing skills needed to address the document based question and the free response essay. We will grade and rank essays from previous AP exams using the criteria developed for the new US test. In addition, we will review resources that enable a teacher to bring the best techniques and approaches to the AP US history classroom.  In addition, assistance will be provided in the development of the new course syllabus required by The College Board.



Faculty: Tony Dalasio

I believe that the goal of this Institute is to combine the pedagogy necessary to understand how to teach AP US Government and Politics to 11th and 12th graders with a practical understanding of what is expected of students on the AP US Govt. and Politics Exam  Participants who have completed the Institute will be well-prepared to develop a curriculum for an AP US Government and Politics course, be prepared to teach that course, and will have a familiarity with both the course and the AP test format so that their students will experience success in the course.  More importantly, they will also understand how to get this material across to 11th and 12th grade students. 

Course Objectives: Participants in this Institute will

  • Become familiar with the objectives of the AP US Government and Politics course.
  • Develop an understanding of the six content areas that are covered by the exam. 
  • Develop the ability to analyze Internet resources available for teaching the course.
  • Compare and contrast some of the resources available for the teaching of this course, and make decisions as to the materials that would best serve the needs of their students.
  • Complete a Unit Plan that can be used in teaching one of the six major units associated with the AP US Government and Politics course.



Faculty:  Deborah Smith Johnston

This course will prepare participants to construct an AP World History course based on the latest revisions to the AP Course Description.  Participants will discuss readings, experience model lessons, and use the historical thinking skills in a variety of hands-on activities.  Select content coverage will be reviewed and participants will have the chance to develop or revise a world history syllabus.  The course will emphasize practical strategies for teaching AP, including the reading and scoring of sample essays and how to better facilitate classroom discussions with large and small classes.  Participants who are new or experienced will have the chance to share their ideas while taking home many more.