Course Descriptions


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 

Among many topics covered during the week, this session will provide an initial overview of the redesigned AP Art History course that begins in fall 2015, followed by the redesigned exam in May 2016. Throughout the week, we will place a special focus on topics such as: understanding the new curriculum framework and its implications for teaching; thematic and cross-cultural approaches 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 learn, 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.  In addition, this session will directly address ways to seamlessly utilize digital images and computer based multimedia technology into the AP Art History course. Finally, participants will be mentored to become “Readers” in a simulated reading of the essay portions (free-response questions) of the AP examination and gain an understanding of the grading process, with specific attention placed on the common student errors (as evident on recent AP examinations) and their implications for instruction. Lastly, we will set up a time for us to visit the NYC museums, especially for those of us who are out-of-towners. (Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop as most of the handouts are in electronic format, such as on a flash drive).



Faculty: Leo Alves and Patricia Grove 

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 a DVD with files of useful information pertaining to all aspects of the AP Chemistry Program. Participants should bring their laptops, jump drives, calculators, goggles and, if possible, 25 copies of a best Practice or a digital file of the 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 also be sent a copy of the Practice Exam Free Response and/or the Multiple Choice before the institute.  If participants have not examined the practice exam questions, they are encouraged to complete as much of that Practice Exam as they can prior to the institute to become very familiar with the types of questions on the exam. It will not be graded. 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, or preparing several test questions.  Two or three free textbooks may be given out as well as a large amount of material from the College Board, so participants should bring a backpack or rolling suitcase to move materials during the week. Since we will be in a school or college class/lab room that may be air-conditioned, participants should also bring a sweater or light jacket.

    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 major topics  from the AP* curriculum—Equilibrium, Thermochemistry, Descriptive Chemistry, Kinetics, Electrochemistry—addressed via exam questions and problems, with ideas for related labs/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 new 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

This week will focus on method and content used in teaching students to become superior readers, writers, and thinkers. To cultivate new texts and strategies for classroom use, the seminar will include a variety of essays, speeches, and maybe even a poem or two. The instruction of composition will be a major focus of the class. Much time will be spent looking at both the multi-draft essay—including the research paper—and the timed essay. Some of the week will be used exploring how to use holistic scoring to improve student writing.

We will work with the objective and written portions of the AP English Language test. Special attention will be paid to the essay questions from the 2012 reading. A look at formal logic, visual literacy, a variety of syllabi, forms of assessment, and managing the overwhelming paper load that comes with teaching AP English classes are just a few other topics we will cover during the week.



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'Connel

Participants will learn how to structure the course and establish the pacing necessary to complete the curriculum in a timely manner.
Participants will engage in teaching methods of essay writing for the Document Based Question and the Free Response Questions, also methods in the use of primary sources, literature, and art 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.
"What's New in the AP European History Course Re-structure"  will be important and informative points to be presented during  the Institute.
Teacher's will be asked to prepare a teaching unit during the Course,select a non textbook reading and share a 'best teaching strategy'.



Faculty: Kately Demougeot 

The 2013 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: Delbert Hausman 

Last year students of Advanced Placement German experienced a brand new exam: the all new AP German Language and Culture Exam. This course will focus on material designed to support the new AP German Language and Culture course and exam. Participants will engage in a wide range of activities designed to prepare students for success on the new exam. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on exploring activities that support teachers in the implementation of the new curriculum framework. Participants will also have the opportunity to begin designing and/or revising course syllabi to submit for the course audit, and will collaborate on curriculum units based on the six themes. Relevant materials, including Internet sources, and specific instructional strategies designed to support the curriculum will be examined. Class members will have the opportunity to air concerns and share their successful strategies and materials. You will receive a significant amount of material that you will be able to put to immediate use in your classroom.



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 AP Italian Language and Culture course. They will examine the requirements of the course and exam, discuss classroom strategies and engage in a professional exchange of ideas. Special emphasis will be placed on the teaching of the four skills, curriculum issues related to the course, integration of the ACTFL Standards, and how to prepare students to be successful on the final assessment. In addition, participants will review AP teacher workshop material, including the teacher’s guide, course description, exam specifications, and examples from various exams. Appropriate materials and activities for various learning styles will be presented and discussed. Other highlights include: ideas for syllabus development, scoring student work with rubrics, becoming acquainted with the electronic media used to support AP teachers (AP Central, Electronic Discussion Group, useful websites) and the results of the program thus far. 



Faculty: Gilbert DeBenedetti

This course helps participants to develop a curriculum/course of study, which parallels the content of the AP Music examination. The objectives of the class include becoming familiar with the structure, format, and workings of the AP Music exam, to discuss tasks and skills necessary for student achievement on the exam, to develop teaching strategies for student success at mastering these tasks and skills, to assemble and evaluate teaching materials, and to determine methods for assessment of student learning. A strong emphasis is placed upon the teaching of basic parts: writing and figured bass, musical form, counterpoint, and aural skills, including contextual listening.



Faculty: Greg Jacobs 

AP Physics 1 and 2 are starting this year.  The major difference between these courses and the previous AP Physics B course is the incessant demand for verbal explanations.  In the past, a student who was skilled at “plugging and chugging” mathematics could pass the AP Physics B exam.  Such a student will not be successful on the new exams. 

Questions on the AP Physics 1 and 2 exam probe a student’s understanding of the entire scientific process.  In Physics 1 and 2 you don’t just predict an answer, but you must explain the reasoning behind the prediction, and discuss how that prediction would change as the conditions of the problem change.  And you don’t stop there:  you describe how you would set up an experiment to verify that prediction, how to analyze the data collected from such an experiment, how that experiment might turn out.  In other words, our students are expected to acquire and demonstrate the same skills that professional physicists use in their work.

In our AP summer institute, we will discuss in detail the content and structure of the AP Physics 1 and 2 exams.  More importantly, we will talk about how to teach students the physics skills that will be tested on the new exams, and which are useful at all levels of physics.

The overarching goal of the week will be to communicate and share physics teaching ideas that, while focused on AP Physics 1/2, can be applied to any level of physics, including conceptual, Regents, AP Physics 1/2, and AP Physics C.  In particular, we will discuss:

·       Quantitative use of demonstrations… whenever students can be asked to predict the result of a demonstration, that demonstration has served a purpose beyond simply attention-grabbing.

·       Laboratory activities in the style of AP lab questions… we will perform two or three of these.  We will discuss how to create activities that are not only pedagogically valuable, but which also directly prepare the students for the types of exam questions they will face.

·       In- and out-of-class assignments and activities that bring students beyond focusing on an abstract answer.  We’ll talk about specific ideas that will help get students writing, communicating, and experimenting.



Faculty: Kay Minter

Using the National Standards for High School Psychology, the teacher of the course will incorporate activities, demonstrations, and media resources to engage and challenge students of psychology. The class will examine and execute a variety of writing assignments in order to shape student responses that are more accurate and terse. Participants will write and score a series of AP free response questions to gain an understanding of the process and criteria used to score the AP exam. Guiding the course are the principles that:

  • concept-based instruction is highly effective;
  • psychology teachers should use psychology to teach psychology;
  • writing to demonstrate understanding is crucial for critical thinking;
  • every unit should be enhanced by 2 or 3 demonstrations or activities;
  • we want our students to apply psychology to their lives



Faculty: George Watson

In this institute we will dissect the Curriculum Framework for the 2014 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: Rodney Rodriguez

This year’s institute will deal exclusively with the new program in Spanish Literature and Culture, which began last fall. The recent changes are exiting and they will be examined and explained with special focus on the new cultural components.  We will analyze the more difficult works on the reading list and exchange ideas on making these works more accessible to our students and improving writing skills.  This year we will have the results of the first test administration, so we will have concrete examples of real essays and a much better idea what is being expected of students.  Participants will be given a copy of my recent book, Reflexiones, which was written with the new AP program in mind and includes all of the readings. 



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: Michele Forman 

This course will prepare participants to construct an AP World History course based on the latest revisions to the AP Course Description and upcoming changes in the exam.  Participants will use periodization and global themes and interactions to select content coverage and develop or revise a world history syllabus.  The course will emphasize practical strategies for teaching AP including setting standards for evaluating student performance.