Teaching AP Government in a Shortened Semester- Introduction

I teach AP Government in a semester, which is fine first semester. I relish in 92 days to teach the curriculum. I wish I had a year, but I have fine-tuned the semester and feel good about it.

That was until I looked at my second semester. Between three holidays, a two-week break, FIVE late starts {which mean seniors probably won’t attend school}, and an AP test on May 4th, I am down to 64 days.


That’s 28 fewer days than last semester. Oh, and I’ll be off a few days to coach National Board Candidates… pass the coffee.

I would be lying if I said I was fine in the department chair meeting where we learned about all the late starts. To be clear, I got nauseated. If you look at How I Organize My Units it looks like I have some readjusting to do.

To add to this, one of my classes is starting the Participatory Budget Project, which is going to be incredible, however, it will take more class time.

Even typing this is causing anxiety. I do not want to overload my second-semester students. The second semester senior year is full of college, prom, scholarships, and saying goodbye to 13 years of scheduled life.

I feel like I am going into battle. However, as a veteran teacher, I’ve learned a few things that will serve me well:

  1. I have a PLN on social media that is incredible. Asking for help is one of my favorite things to do. I LOVE getting new ideas. Shout out to the social studies teachers out there who put their ideas online and model great collaboration.
  2. I have 17 years of experience. I have taught all kinds of subjects, and all kinds of students. And being a National Board Certified Teacher reminds me that I know MY students and how to teach them. I just need to believe that and remember that I can.
  3. May 4th is coming whether or not I am ready, so I need to buckle down and do it.
  4. Maybe… just maybe I can record how I do this in a semester, share my struggles and failures, and help another teacher out there.


Welcome to my journey which will start January 7th, but the planning starts now! 


Questions: Please see the FAQ section of the page

3 thoughts on “Teaching AP Government in a Shortened Semester- Introduction

  1. I don’t start until January 23 and have a February break and an April break. I have no idea if this is going to work or not


    1. Elizabeth Schley, NBCT 30 Nov 2019 — 2:43 pm

      We are in this together! My goal is to make it work the best I can and let go of what I can’t.


  2. Megan Liverett 11 Jan 2020 — 8:04 am

    Thank you for the sharing of ideas, resources and comments about the difficulties of teaching this course in a short semester. It is definitely not an easy task! Excited to see more!


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