Course Descriptions

Classes may require participant computers to access Instructor curriculum on flash drives. Check the WHAT TO BRING section of the course description.

PreAP courses provide teachers with strategies and tools to engage students in learning that encourages critical thinking for success in AP® and college courses.  AP Vertical Teams® Guides from the College Board are provided for all PreAP® participants.

NEW TEACHER courses are designed for teachers with three or less years of experience teaching the AP® or PreAP® course or those newly assigned to teach the course.

EXPERIENCED TEACHER courses are for those secondary teachers who have taught the AP® or PreAP® course for more than three years.

COMBINED courses  are open to teachers of all experience levels

Week 1
July 24 – July 27
Week 2
July 31 – August 3
AP® Biology (new teachers) AP® Calculus AB (new teachers)
AP® Calculus AB (experienced teachers) AP® Chemistry (experienced teachers)
AP® Chemistry (new teachers) AP® Computer Science A (new teachers)
AP® English Language & Composition (new teachers) AP® Computer Science Principles (combined)
AP® Human Geography (combined) AP® English Language & Composition (experienced teachers)
AP® Spanish Literature & Culture (combined) AP® English Literature & Composition (experienced teachers)
AP® U.S. History (new teachers) AP® English Literature & Composition (new teachers)
AP® World History (experienced teachers) AP® Spanish Language & Culture (combined)
 AP® World History (new teachers) AP® Studio Art (combined)
Pre AP® English HS (combined) AP® US Government & Politics
Pre AP® English MS (combined) AP® U.S. History (experienced teachers)
Pre AP® Chemistry (combined)
Pre AP® Math HS (combined)
Pre AP® Math MS (combined)


AP® Biology (new teachers) – Mark Adame
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Over the course of the Summer Institute, new and experienced teachers alike will become familiar with the new and revised AP Biology course syllabus, as described in College Boards course description publication. This will include various strategies and hands-on activities that may help both students and teachers alike to become more comfortable with the new AP Biology curriculum. In addition to these strategies, teachers will become familiar with the inquiry-based approach to laboratory investigations.

APSI AP Biology Course Objectives: To introduce teachers to (and become familiar with):
• An AP Biology course and the exam
• Writing an AP Biology Course Syllabus
• The more difficult concepts in AP Biology
• How to write a Free Response, response
• Inquiry-Based Laboratories and laboratory write-ups
• The concepts of AP Vertical Teams and Pre-AP Biology
• AP Biology textbooks and multimedia resources
• Teaching strategies for under-prepared and prepared AP Biology students

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

NOTE: Biology teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities.  Please bring goggles.

AP® Calculus AB (experienced teachers) – Stacey McMullen
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AB Calculus is a course designed for teachers who would like teaching strategies, methods and materials on how to prepare students for success in Advanced Placement Calculus. During this week, participants will learn how to introduce challenging concepts utilizing a variety of methods, incorporate the pedagogy of the Advanced Placement program into their curriculum, and integrate technology and the internet for a more interactive classroom. Two major themes, rigor in the classroom and student thinking, will be stressed and modeled all week. You will need to bring a jump drive, and most importantly, your energy and enthusiasm to participate in this fun-filled learning experience!

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® Chemistry (new teachers) – Janice Willingham:
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This workshop is designed for teachers who are beginning their careers as AP Chemistry teachers. Time will be spent during the sessions on the nature of the AP program and on structuring an AP Chemistry course. Many labs are discussed and teachers are given an opportunity to do a number of typical labs appropriate for AP Chemistry. Topics that are often covered are teaching and testing techniques, periodicity, bonding, states of matter, kinetics, equilibrium, instrumentation, equations and product prediction, thermodynamics, and electrochemistry. The workshop makes considerable use of the graphing calculator and the CBL as a data collection device. Typical AP problems and essays are discussed, and strategies for enabling students to perform well on the AP exam will be shared. Considerable discussion will be given to the new course description and format.  Graphing calculators will be provided.

What To Bring:
•  30 copies of your  favorite demo and/or experiment to share with fellow participants.
• Goggles and appropriate shoe attire for lab work.
• Note taking materials.

NOTE: Chemistry teachers must follow the University’s lab safety rules by wearing closed-toe shoes (no sandals), long pants or skirts, and goggles during all lab activities. 

AP® English Language & Composition  – Mary Stanton
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The purpose of AP English Language and Composition is to provide the academic study needed for the motivated junior or senior to do college-level work in high school. The content of this APSI course will focus on innovative methods, activities, and assessments to use in your AP English Language classroom. We will discuss and share strategies for the teaching of AP skills, including rhetorical analysis, close reading, writing and analyzing argument and synthesis, as well as ways to bring American classic and contemporary non-fiction and fiction into the AP Language curriculum. In addition, a simulated reading of the 2016 AP Language Test will enable you to look at the methods needed to effectively prepare your students for the multiple choice section and the exam essays-synthesis, analysis, and argument.

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® Human Geography (combined) – Susan Hollier
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This course will focus on helping teachers prepare to teach a one semester college- level course in Human Geography. Employing a blend of content presentations, effective teaching strategies, and technology, the Institute will provide an overview of the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. In addition, strategies to help students prepare for the AP exam will be addressed. All materials are updated for 2016.

  • The role literature plays in the geography classroom
  • Using current events daily to strengthen critical-level thinking
  • Strategies to create an exciting, innovative classroom atmosphere
  • Incorporating writing methods that actually improve students’ skills
  • Tapping your local resources to bring the world into your classroom

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials

AP® Spanish Literature & Culture (combined) – Marisa Perez-Bernardo
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This summer institute will familiarize participants with the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course and examination.

In this APSI you will:

  • Explore Spanish, Latin-American, and U.S. Latino authors and their works from the medieval period to present day.
  • Make thematic connections between texts of various genres and historical periods.
  • Make interdisciplinary connections to the literature of the Spanish-Speaking world through art, film, history, and other academic disciplines.
  • Examine Spanish literature within the contexts of its time and place.
  • Analyze different AP Spanish Literature and Culture exams.
  • Create a syllabus for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course.
  • Create a lesson plan for the next academic year.

What To Bring:

  • Note taking materials
  • Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® U.S. History (new teachers) – Matt Cone
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This course is designed to help teachers build a successful AP US history program.  The course will begin with “nuts and bolts” considerations like tackling the exam, understanding the curriculum framework, and pacing the course.  From there, the course will address building skills for AP US History, including writing skills, critical thinking skills, and document analysis skills.  Teachers are encouraged to bring a laptop computer or web-enabled device for use during collaborative activities.

What to Bring
•  Note taking materials
•  Computer for electronic curriculum

AP® World History (experienced teachers) – Krista Boivie
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What to bring:
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  Computer for curriculum

AP® World History (new teachers) – Paul Philp
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Day 1  
  Understanding the Course
1.5 hours                Lesson 1: Historical Thinking Skills and the AP World History course
1 hour                Lesson 2: Developing Student Understanding
2 hours                Lesson 3: Understanding the Thematic Learning Objectives & Key Concepts
  Planning Your Course
2 hours                Lesson 4: Planning Your Course
Day 2  
  Historical Thinking Skills
1.5 hours                Lesson 5: Analyzing Historical Sources and Evidence – Primary Sources
1.5 hours                Lesson 6: Analyzing Historical Sources and Evidence – Secondary Sources
2.5 hours                Lesson 7: Chronological Reasoning – Causation, CCOT, and Periodization
2 hours                Lesson 8: Making Historical Connections – Comparison & Contextualization
Day 3
1.5 hours                Lesson 9: Making Historical Connections – Synthesis
2 hours                Lesson 10: Creating and Supporting a Historical Argument
  Teaching the AP World History Course
2 hours                Lesson 11: Sequencing the AP World History Course
2 hours                Lesson 12: Selecting Resources to Support Teaching AP World History
Day 4
2 hours                Lesson 13: Strategies for Teaching AP World History
2 hours                Lesson 14: Unit Development
2 hours                Lesson 15: Assessing Student Understanding
  Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development
1.5 hours                Lesson 16: Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development

What to bring:
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

Pre AP® English H.S. – Stefanie Bush
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What to bring:
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

Pre AP® English M.S. – Kristina Janeway
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Course members will participate in Pre-AP and AP strategies through hands-on activities for all aspects of English/Language Arts through a variety of mini-lessons that include analysis, grammar, writing, research, technology, and projects. Teachers will discover techniques to implement varied sentence structures into student writing by understanding the basic concepts of syntactical and diction analysis. Teachers will uncover methods for students in mastery of writing and analysis techniques in addition to integrating different technology applications into their courses. The APSI is designed to assist teachers through interactive applications of concepts as well as sample lessons to assist in implementation. Teachers will have the opportunity during training to adapt and integrate of these strategies into existing scopes and sequences as well as individual lesson plans.

What to bring:

  • Computer for electronic curriculum
  • List of all reading selections taught
  • Copy of your school/department scope and sequence as well as standards
  • Note taking supplies
  • 8G flash drive for digital files
  • Lesson plan book or lesson plan


AP® Calculus AB (new teachers) – Scott Pass
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The goal of this seminar is to prepare teachers to teach AP Calculus AB so their students can be successful on the AP Calculus Exam. This course will introduce various aspects of the AP Calculus Framework by showing how a reformed curriculum emphasizing the graphical, numerical, verbal and symbolic representations of calculus can enhance the learning of calculus. Participants will explore connections between topics in Calculus by looking at broad themes related to AP Calculus. For instance the idea of “straightening curves” by investigating the theme of Local Linearity, the idea of “area functions” by exploring the theme of the integral as an accumulation function and the ideas associated with motion of a particle with the theme of the definite integral as a net change of a quantity. In addition to specific topics participants will discuss issues related to the AP® Calculus Exam including; the use of technology on the exam, the scoring of the exam, and use of exam questions in an AP Calculus course

What to bring: 

  • graphing calculators,
  • Note taking materials
  • laptops and
  • be prepared to share ideas and/or lessons that have effectively prepared students for the AP Calculus Exam.

AP® Chemistry (experienced teachers) – Thomas Dortch
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This summer institute will focus on developing a strong, successful AP Chemistry program based on the new AP Chemistry Curriculum.  This course will provide differentiated classroom strategies, best practices, emphasis on guided inquiry labs, and focus on improving our assessments to align with the new curriculum framework.  

Tentative Institute Schedule

  • Introductions
  • Course and AP Exam Overview
  • Coulomb’s Law
  • PES
  • Mass Spectroscopy
  • Spectroscopy and Beer’s Law
  • Recommended Inquiry Lab 1 and Lab 2


  • Kinetics
  • Equilibrium
  • Crystal Violet Lab
  • Equilibrium Constant Lab
  • Summative Assessments


  • Thermochemistry
  • Electrochemistry
  • Hot Hands Lab
  • Dissolution of Urea Lab
  • Electrolysis Lab


  • Acids/Bases
  • Molar Mass of an Unknown Acid Lab
  • 2014 AP Chemistry Exam
  • Assessment
  • Wrap-Up

What to Bring
A scientific calculator
•  Laboratory attire (closed-toe shoes, goggles)
•  Pen and Paper
•  Copies of your Unit Exams!!!
•  Computer for electronic curriculum

AP® Computer Science A (new teachers) – Judith Hromcik
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This course is for teachers who are teaching AP Computer Science (APCS) A.

It is new and exciting time in the AP Computer Science A course.  College Board has added a 20-hour lab requirement for AP Computer Science students which can be satisfied by using the new AP Computer Science Labs.  The Course Description has been updated and vastly improved to help us plan our curriculum.  The 2015 AP Computer Science A Exam has been released and we will delve into it and discuss strategies for preparing our students for the AP Computer Science A Exam.  Each session of this summer workshop will provide lessons using innovative techniques for teaching the AP Computer Science A topics. The new AP Computer Science A Labs and four new student programming projects covering one and two-dimensional arrays, Lists/ArrayLists, searching, and sorting will be integrated into these lessons throughout the week.  The four student programming projects were piloted with the presenter’s students and are complete with teacher solutions and are ready to use with students.  Come and join us this summer and find out how much fun teaching and learning Computer Science can be!

Participants will also receive information about the current and future direction of the APCS A course as well as the latest information from the 2016 APCS A Reading.  Additional APCS A topics will be covered based on the needs and/or contributions of the participants.

AP Computer Science requires the Java programming language.  A working knowledge of Java or a similar programming language would be helpful. 

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials

AP® Computer Science A (new teachers) – Gina McCarley
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What To Bring:

Computer required
• Note taking materials

AP® English Language & Composition (experienced teachers) – Brook Bullock
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What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP® English Literature & Comp. (experienced teachers) – Joyce Herr
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What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP® English Literature & Comp. (new teachers) – Judith Nevil
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This four-day workshop will provide an overview of an AP Literature and Composition class based on College Board guidelines and objectives with an emphasis on strategies for reading and analyzing fictional texts through oral discussions and written responses. Using contemporary and classic texts, participants will explore instructional strategies and assessments. They will examine course and syllabi design, the AP exam, imaginative literature, and effective writing strategies. Participants will explore literary theories as an approach to reading literature, develop a thematic unit, and participate in engaging activities. They will compare various genres, literary themes, and author techniques with an emphasis on ways to help students effectively incorporate such strategies in their approach to interpreting and evaluating literature. Throughout the institute, the focus will be less about what to teach and more about how to teach students to read, analyze, and write effectively, confidently, and independently. Laptops are required for electronic curriculum.

Day 1—AP Central/Syllabus/AP Literature and Composition Exam/Teacher Resources

Morning Session

AP Literature and Composition

  • Establish Conference Norms
  • Introductions – Consultant and Participants
  • Today’s Objectives
  • Access and Equity
  • AP Central
  • College Board Standards
  • Syllabus—What to Teach
  • College Board—Teacher Resources
  • Released Exams

Afternoon Session

AP Literature and Composition Exam

  • A Review of the Exam
  • Reading Experience
  • Understanding the Rubric
  • Test Practice/Scoring Timed Writings
  • Test Strategies/Pacing/Timing
  • Teaching to the Test vs Teaching Skills
  • Preparing Students
  • Monitoring Progress – AP Pass

Teacher Engagement

  • Introductions
  • Perusing AP Central
  • Developing a Syllabus
  • Marking the Rubric
  • Decoding the Prompts
  • Scoring Student Essays
  • Chief Reader Comments
  • Applying Test Strategies
  • Small Group Discussions
  • Sharing Out (Article and Table Discussion)

Day 2 – A Thematic Approach to the Study of Novels/Plays

Morning Session

  • Question/Answer Session over Day 1
  • Today’s Objectives
  • Novels/Plays of Literary Merit
  • The Thematic Approach
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Engaging Students
  • Using Technology in the Classroom
  • Differentiation/Scaffolding

Afternoon Session

  • Developing a Thematic Unit
  • Big Idea and Essential Questions
  • Making Thematic Connections—Novels, Poetry, Short Stories
  • What to Teach and How to Teach It
  • Literary Theories—Reading Approach
  • Literary Archetypes
  • Preparing Students for the Open Question

Teacher Engagement

  • Developing a Thematic Unit
  • Matching Themes to Novels/Plays
  • Applying Literary Theories
  • Mapping Strategies—Small Group Assignment
  • Grouping Strategies—Teacher Participation
  • Developing Formative and Summative Assessments
  • Sharing Best Practices

Day 3 – Poetry and Prose Analysis

Morning Session—Poetry

  • Question/Answer Session over Day 2
  • Today’s Objectives
  • Selecting Poets and Poetry – 16th Century to Present
  • Teaching Strategies—Preparing Students for the Poetry Question
  • Reading, Hearing, Visualizing Poetry
  • The Sonnets—Petrarchan/Spenserian/Shakespearean’
  • Lyrical Poetry
  • Metaphysical Poetry

Close Readings

  • Dramatic Situation—“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning
  • Tone—“Out, Out. . .” by Robert Frost
  • Form and Structure—“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T. S. Eliot
  • Language and Style—“The Idea of Order at Key West” by Wallace Stevens
  • Comparison—“Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke
  • Lyrical Poetry
    • Selection of Shakespearean sonnets
    • The Romantics—Blake, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley
  • Metaphysical Poetry
    • “The Collar” by George Herbert
    • “Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne
    • “Batter My Heart” by John Donne
  • Contemporary Poetry
  • “Litany” by Billy Collins
  • “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou
  • “Desert Places” by Robert Frost
  • “Dreams” by Langston Hughes
  • “The Idea of Order at Key West” by Wallace Stevens

Afternoon Session—Prose

  • Selecting Authors and Passages—Across Genres and Time Periods
  • Teaching Strategies—Preparing Students for the Prose Question
  • Decoding the Prompt, Planning the Essay, Writing the Essay
  • Addressing the What and the How
  • Writing Multiple Choice Questions
  • Novel Openings—Style Analysis
    • Cry, the Beloved Country—Imagery
    • To Kill a Mockingbird—Point of View
    • Nineteen Eighty-Four—Syntax
    • Crime and Punishment—Detail
    • Ethan Frome—Imagery
    • The Scarlet Letter—Tone/Mood
    • Heart of Darkness—Point of View
    • A Tale of Two Cities—Detail
    • Pride and Prejudice—Tone
  • Novel Excerpts—Close Reading
    • Wuthering Heights
    • The Invisible Man
    • Crime and Punishment
    • Great Expectations
    • The Awakening
  • Decoding the Prompt, Planning the Essay, Writing the Essay
  • Reviewing Student Essays—Scores 6-9

Teacher Engagement

  • Reading Poetry
  • Speed Dating
  • World Café Discussion
  • Close Readings—Annotating and Analyzing Text
  • Writing Multiple Choice Questions
  • Scoring Student Essays
  • Options for Day 4 (Participants may choose plays to address, or they may opt to address some of the earlier topics in more depth.

Day 4 – Drama

Morning Session

  • Questions/Answer Session over Day 3
  • Today’s Objectives
  • Tragedy – Shakespeare – Theme
    • Macbeth (vaulting ambition)
    • King Lear (blind emotion)
  • Comedy – Wilde and Shaw
    • The Importance of Being Earnest (comedy of manners)
    • Pygmalion (comedy of ideas)

Afternoon Session

  • Problem Plays–Ibsen
    • A Doll’s House (feminist theory)
    • Hedda Gabler (psychoanalytic theory)
  • Contemporary Plays—Camus and Kafka
    • The Stranger (absurdism)
    • The Metamorphosis (existentialism)

Teacher Engagement

  • Dramatic Readings
  • Planning Drama Unit
  • Gallery Walk
  • Sharing Ideas

Closing Comments


What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP® Spanish Language & Culture (combined) – Amalia Gensman
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In this course, participants will look at how to create an AP Spanish Language and Culture Program or expand on an existing one. The course will provide teachers with information to help students be successful when taking the Advanced Placement Examination.  The course will address the different aspects of the Spanish Language and Culture Advanced Placement Exam and its components. To help teachers become familiar with the exam, there will be a simulated reading of the year’s exam and an explanation of the grading rubrics.  Teaching strategies, activities and suggestions will be presented and shared.  Due to the new course curriculum and required audit for new teachers, sample course description and course syllabus will be discussed to help with the audit process.  Ideas for integration of vertical teaming will also be addressed.  Participants will be asked to create together possible classroom activities, to share their current syllabus and resource materials as well as favorite internet resources.

What To Bring:

  • Note taking materials
  • Laptop for electronic curriculum

AP® Studio Art – Charlotte Chambliss
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What to Bring:

  1. Apron
  2. Assortment of papers, paints, brushes, drawing mediums
  3. Rubber gloves
  4. Sketchbook
  5. Hardbound used book
  6. Photos
  7. Misc. collage supplies
  8. Small hardside box
  9. Digital camera/USB connection cords
  10. CDs
  11. Jump drive – 16 G
  12. Card reader
  13. Laptop computer – NOTE: I am going green this year.  I will provide participants with workshop materials on a CD or flash drives only. 
  14. Favorite websites and “best practices/lesson plan to share

AP® U.S. Government & Politics (combined) – Lori Dumerer
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Participants will focus on the content and pedagogy necessary for developing an academically rigorous course. Discussions will include strategies for improving student success in critical reading, writing, and performance on the exam, as well as, the content necessary to create an engaging and successful course. This institute will be an active learning environment. A number of the strategies will engage the attendees in the demonstrations. With the mixed session, some differentiation will be provided to meet the needs of both groups. Participants will examine political science models used at the college level to explain government. Samples of some student work will be available to review including samples of actual Socratic seminars by high school students.  Topics will include the following as set forth in the AP Course guide: Constitutional underpinnings, political behavior, political parties, elections, three branches of government, civil rights and civil liberties, development of critical thinking skills, document and data analysis, and writing skills.  During the week, the group will examine classroom resources, textbooks, and online multi-media resources. The group will develop one original lesson for each unit that they will share.  Interested parties may contact Mrs. Dumerer at [email protected] for additional information.

What to Bring
•  Post-it notes or flags,
•  highlighters,
•  computer for electronic curriculum

AP® U.S. History ( experienced teachers) – Christine Bond
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The AP United States History APSI will focus on teaching the historical thinking skills (Comparison/Change and Continuity over Time/Contextualization/Periodization/Synthesis) that are necessary for student success in AP exams. Time will also be spent on writing skills and familiarizing teachers with the rubrics utilized in the AP course.  Teachers will also be given numerous teaching strategies that focus on the curriculum framework and the AP exam.    The week will also include interactive United States History lessons that span a variety of time periods.  Please bring a laptop or a 16 gig flashdrive for materials.

What to Bring:
• Note taking materials

Pre AP®  Chemistry (combined) – Todd Abronowitz
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What to bring:

  • Writing tools and  note-taking resources (pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky-notes, etc.).
  • Laptop computer for electronic curriculum

Pre AP® Math HS (combined)- Donna Speer
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This course is designed to help teachers incorporate AP/Pre-AP strategies and concepts into their math curriculum. It will emphasize math topics such as: accumulation, area, coordinate geometry, functions, limits, optimization, sequences and series, rate of change, probability and statistics and how these topics can be appropriately included in different math courses. There will be a variety of teaching strategies including activities, projects, alternative assessments, graphing calculators, CBLs, and internet. Participants will discuss Pre-AP philosophy, resources, vertical teaming, AP exams and grading and how to get support from parents, and administrators.

What to Bring:
• Participants are encouraged to bring their graphing calculator if they have one
• Note taking materials
• Laptop for electronic curriculum, and
• A best lesson or activity to share

Pre AP® Math MS (combined) – Kathy Heller
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This course is designed to help middle school teachers strengthen their existing Pre-AP teaching strategies as well as introduce new methodologies and activities into the curriculum.  Participants will explore a variety of topics appropriate for the Pre-AP student at the middle school level.  Activities will be hands-on and the use of various forms of technology will be encouraged.   Assessment methods and classroom management strategies will also be examined.

We will also look at how to blend online activities into an existing unit.  Participants should come with a unit of study in mind that they would like to strengthen with online resources and activities.

What To Bring:
• Note taking materials