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Planning your own AP classes?

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I'll admit it, I find the whole process very intimidating.  But, I really need to come up with *how* to teach these, and how to break it down, grade, etc.  I've been checking out the syllabus on the AP website, but that almost always makes me even more confused.  When it comes to simply breaking down a subject into parts, I'm fine.  When it comes to meeting the AP standards I find myself wigging out a bit more.  These are the three I need to plan for 2016-2017.  AP Physics 1 we're doing at the school no matter what (even if I have to drive the kids in and sit in the library).


AP Human Geography

AP English Composition

AP Statistics


I haven't really worried about it before, because I was able to find some great free resources on-line I could follow.  I have been less successful for these three courses  


No online courses (internet + time difference, plus school block schedule makes these just unworkable).

Videos I can download ahead of time are fine (although we can't get Netflix, except for what they have available in IT anymore).  I will probably be subscribing to study.com (if they do a homeschool co-op price again), and The Great Courses Plus.  I haven't been thrilled with Discovery Education Streaming during our free periods...I  kind of wish I could just get the whole movies instead of the bits and pieces).  


Anyone care to help demystify the process and hold my hand?





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The process isn't difficult----it's just time-consuming because of the planning involved. The better you plan, the better the student's learning. It's just like any other course you plan for a student :)


First step: choose a spine, either a textbook or a video/audio series if you'll use a GC set. I start with the list of approved AP texts for each subject. Google the name of the book plus the author's name to find any support materials from the publisher, teachers' websites, sample syllabi, etc. I then see which books I can borrow from the library or I hope I can "look inside" on amazon.


Second step: print any of the sample syllabi from the AP website plus the list of curricular requirements. Read through your chosen book (or listen/watch the GC) with an eye to the requirements. Look at websites for teachers who use the same book for their pacing and assignments. What activities or labs are necessary? What assignments might best fit the material? What does the student already know?


Third step: create a framework for the course by material (ie unit) or by time (weekly or monthly). Start filling in assignments like "read XYZ" or "watch video clip from YouTube" or "answer problem set A" and so on. Annotate with the curricular requirements (SC whatever). Keep going until you have an appropriate amount of assignments for the material covered.


Fourth step: upload your completed and double-checked syllabus! Wait for approval :)


I have found active teacher FB groups for specific subjects. I have also found great blogs. I rely on those during planning and throughout the year for links to new articles and fresh ideas.

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The statistics curricular requirements are quite straightforward that you can actually just choose a recommended text (we're using The Practice of Statistics) and list the chapters and headings on your syllabus, plus a project or two.


English Language is a bit more complicated. In a nutshell, the course requires students to read critically and write in various forms (narrative, expository, etc.) about a variety of subjects. There's also a focus on the writing process, with help in the revision process from the teacher. Writing across curriculum should help accomplish that. For my dd's syllabus, I incorporated some of her history readings and assigned her a few longer term papers. Then, I assigned shorter essays and speeches to help her get faster with writing general argumentation and rhetorical analysis.


I did my best to keep my syllabi simple while meeting the requirements so we can still have flexibility with our schedule. I also wanted to just have the basics down and still be able to add assignments as needed.


I have approved syllabi for both stats and language. If you'd like to see them, pm me, and I'll email you a copy.

Edited by Mutabilis
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