Teaching AP Government in a Shortened Semester- Week Two and I need some more coffee

Week 2 Days 5-9 (2 block days)

What was covered this week:

Day 5: Signed up in MyAP (Not very user-friendly) and talked about the issues and compromises of the Constitutional Convention.  (1.5)

Day 6: Federalist 51 from MyAP and we listened to High Crimes and Misdemeanors (We did not do Clinton v. New York, just Fed 51 and discussed recent examples of checks and balances) (1.6) ** I had to take a half-day because my daughter was sick.

Day 7/8 Block Day: Federalism lecture (please do not ask for editing access. I’ve allowed for viewing and you can make a copy for yourself to edit and keep!), reading on the commerce clause (from BRI, free resource but login required), and review of McCulloch v. Maryland and US v. Lopez (1.7-1.9).  Students wrote a thesis on the following prompt: The interpretation of the Commerce Clause has expanded or condensed the powers of the federal government over time. After the thesis, they list the documents they would use to support their thesis. This is our start on argumentative writing for AP Government.

Day 9: Warm-Up was to grade another group’s thesis and write a counterclaim to the thesis. Again, we are just starting the process and I don’t feel the need to have students write an entire essay. (I feel like I am preparing them for a marathon. I wouldn’t ask them to run all 26.2 miles in the first two weeks. We start slow and ensure that we understand parts of the rubric before we move on. This is how I did it last year, and my scores showed that it worked.)

Played a Quizlet live game using the concepts from Unit One.


Outside the classroom work: One Nation, Under Money

Explain how the appropriate balance of power between national and state governments has been interpreted differently over time with the interpretation of the commerce clause is at the heart of the debate over the balance of power. Your response should show your knowledge of what was learned in class as well as evidence from the podcast. (250 words or more)

Students also completed a Unit One Assessment on Albert.io for multiple choice practice and for me to formatively assess them to ensure they comprehended all the concepts.

Overall reflection: Well, I did Unit One in 8 days and I drank a lot of coffee. I hit all of the foundational documents, required Supreme Court cases and most of the illustrative examples. It was a lot of work, but also helped me focus. That way, as things came up in current events, we could talk about them without me feeling like we were going to miss something required.

Students did well on their thesis statements. We do need to keep practicing because that point is important.

My 3rd hour worked on and we submitted their drafts for their Participatory Budgeting Project. The country recorder comes out on February 25th for the vote, and we have lots more to do, but it will be a great lead into the Political Participation unit.

As I move into Unit 2, I am considering teaching Congress and the President/Bureaucracy and then the Judiciary and Unit 3.

Days Left Until the AP Test: 60 class days

Current Mood: Exhausted, but good. Unit One Assessment showed me that students understood all the concepts they needed to and I got it done in 8 days. A bit of time got taken for the senior panoramic, but nothing my students couldn’t make up.

The impeachment trial starts Tuesday, as does our Unit on Congress. Perfect timing. Now to see if I can get the Executive Unit to line up with the SOTU.


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