Advanced Placement Summer Institutes Instructor Spotlight - Patricia Fox

Posted by Fitchburg State University on June 26, 2023 at 10:27 AM

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am recently retired from a 40 year high school career in which I taught both English and Theatre as well as directing plays. In retirement, I have been able to devote more time to becoming a better photographer, read more books and am looking forward to resuming international travel. So much to do!

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Topics: Graduate Programs, Advanced Placement Summer Institutes

The Value of Process Documentation in the AP Art and Design Portfolio

Posted by Fitchburg State University on June 14, 2023 at 3:48 PM

“Students create a portfolio of work to demonstrate inquiry through art and design and development of materials, processes, and ideas over the course of a year. Portfolios include works of art and design, process documentation, and written information about the work presented.” (AP Art and Design Course and Exam Description.5) 

In the Sustained Investigation section of the Art and Design portfolio, the process documentation of working with images is as important as the final product. Teachers often want to know how many process images vs. final products are recommended for success. The question is important, but the answer is as individual as each of our students. The Sustained Investigation section of the student’s portfolio is guided by questions. Exploring through inquiry is a cognitive act. Artmaking, language, attention, learning, memory, and perception all contribute to gaining knowledge and comprehension. Artmaking makes thinking and knowledge visible. Writing about thinking in the portfolio supports the integrity of the artmaking.

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Topics: Advanced Placement Summer Institutes

Advanced Placement Summer Institutes Instructor Spotlight! - Rachel Ryan

Posted by Fitchburg State University on June 2, 2023 at 4:26 PM

Tell us a little about yourself:

I became active in politics at eleven when my mother made me volunteer for the campaign she was running for her best friend. I was hooked and knew I wanted to be involved in politics from then on. 


How long have you been involved with AP courses? How did you get started as a consultant?

I took the first AP US Government and Politics exam when it was offered and began teaching it a couple of years into my teaching career. I have been teaching the course for over 25 years. I teach at the Taft School in Watertown, CT, where we run an APSI.   For six summers, I was the assistant director of the program. I loved the program so much that I decided to apply to be a consultant. I love teaching other teachers who are passionate about government and politics.  


What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?

The most helpful advice that I have received is to attend the reading. Once I did that for the first time, I knew exactly how to teach my students. It is also so much more fun and interesting than you think. I have also met wonderful people who are now terrific friends. 


What is one piece of advice would you give AP instructors?

The best advice that I can give is to stay on top of current events. I have learned more about this subject by following the news closely. I listen to NPR and podcasts. I read major newspapers and blogs and will catch up on the headlines with the cable news. I then bring current events into the class, which the students enjoy and learn from.  


Rachael Ryan has been teaching AP US Government and Politics for 25 years.  She began reading the AP exams in 2006 and is currently a Table Leader. Rachael received her BA in US Government from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Liberal Arts from Harvard University. She helped edit AMSCO’s American Government by David Wofford and edited the test bank for WW Norton’s American Politics Today. Rachael has been teaching at the Taft School in Watertown, CT, since 2000.  She has worked on numerous political campaigns and is currently an elected member of the Watertown Town Council. In 2014, Rachael was awarded The Littlejohn Family Chair 2014, which “is awarded to a faculty member whose commitment to the whole student exemplifies the underlying philosophy of the Taft education, and who demonstrates a passion for his or her academic discipline, a profound caring for the emotional and intellectual life of students, and has made a significant and positive difference in the lives of her students.” She lives in Watertown, CT, with her husband and two children.

Interested in attending the AP Summer Institutes at Fitchburg State University?

Registration deadline for Week 1 is July 3!

Learn more about our 100% online Master of Science in Criminal Justice,  Professional Studies Concentration

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Topics: Advanced Placement Summer Institutes

Lab Work: The Key to Engagement and Boosting Scores - Written by: Sue Biggs, Advanced Placement Summer Institute Instructor

Posted by Fitchburg State University on May 30, 2023 at 11:48 AM

Using Lab work to boost both engagement and your students’ AP Chemistry Scores. Many AP chemistry teachers feel as if they do not have time to do lab work. I think that this feeling is caused by a number of different factors. Perhaps you might think that you can deliver the material better with lecture or POGILS or worksheets. Perhaps you think your class periods are too short and you don’t have any double periods. Perhaps you feel overworked and that you don’t have time to set labs up. Perhaps you don’t have the time or inclination to collect lab notebooks or grade long lab reports. Perhaps you have done some of the AP of chemical supply company lab protocols and found those procedures to be a time drain taking far too long. Perhaps you don’t know what AP means by “inquiry” and you just don’t know where to begin. Perhaps you don’t have enough equipment, probeware, or supplies. Perhaps you do not have any labs that “work” or help to really illustrate the concepts you are trying to teach.

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Topics: Graduate Programs, Advanced Placement Summer Institutes