AP Summer Institute: World History

So this week I was at a AP Summer Institute for World History. For those of you out of “the know,” it is a week-long workshop put on by College Board to help train Advance Placement teachers on topics such as lesson planning, curriculum development, essay grading calibration, resources and more. I was really looking forward to going because I taught AP World this past year with no real training (but had a great co-teacher!).

The timing of this workshop was also perfect! It was during Will’s second week at UF for his summer program and it was literally 5 minutes up the road at my alma mater, the University of Central Florida. Can’t beat that!

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All in all, I thought it was a good program. I didn’t really learn as much as I thought I would about curriculum planning and pacing but every workshop is different. The area of most growth for me personally involved essay grading calibration. I was so nervous all year if I was grading their essays in line with the AP rubrics (by the way these rubrics were new as of September so I’m sure I wasn’t the only nervous one out there!). I was spot on 9 out of 10 times and that made me feel really good about what I did during the school year. Now when I have grumpy parents I can lay down that evidence in my support. 🙂 Boo ya!

One of the more frustrating things about this workshop was the fact that College Board announced 2 months ago that there were going to be MAJOR changes to the AP World History curriculum for 2019. Major changes as in we are starting at 1450 instead of the dawn of time…that’s ridiculous! College Board has yet to follow-up with more clarification to ease the absolute terror we all feel. The conversation this week devolved into a lot of grumbling. Although that’s pretty natural considering the timeframe, I would have appreciated less doom and gloom. As someone who started teaching AP Art History the year before their MAJOR redesign, I know things usually work out for the better in the long run.

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Another cool thing about attending an AP Summer Institute is all the sharing you can do with colleagues and the swag. I walked away with a cool textbook to peruse and some fabulous ideas for activities and essay peer grading tips from my fellow participants. Even though most of us were from the Central Florida area, there was still so much variety in the way our schools run AP to how we deal with the diversity of learners in our classrooms. Personally, the teacher-to-teacher contact is usually the best part of any Professional Development.

So now where does my summer stand now?

This weekend I’m heading up to Gainesville for one day to see Will and then he comes home from his program a few days after that. Yay! We have about 2 weeks together before I head up to New York for another summer institute, this time with the National Endowment for the Humanities. By the start of the school year, I hope to have a strong plan for my AP World History and Humanities classes. It will be nice to teach the same class two years in a row again!

JMF


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