U.S. Government & Politics
Matt Furfaro is a teacher at Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana, where he has taught since 1996. He currently teaches AP United States Government & Politics. Matt has been an AP Reader for the past 5 years and is also on the AP Instructional Design Committee for the AP U.S. Government & Politics Course Redesign.
Introduction to the Growth Mindset
- This will help teachers to explain to students how to embrace the challenges of an AP course.
Understanding the Course Framework
- The framework will define the scope of the course and specifies what students must know and be able to do on the AP exam.
- This will also include explaining how the, “Understanding by Design” methodology fits into the framework.
- Analysis of the AP exam by comparing the level of understanding on the legacy exam vs. the redesigned exam.
Introduction to the teaching of the disciplinary practices.
- This introduction will be reinforced throughout the skill-specific lessons later in the week.
- Introduce teachers to the idea that the big ideas are spiraled throughout the course and should be scaffolded.
- Examine how the disciplinary practices are incorporated into the free response questions.
Integrating the Required Documents
- Explain how the required Supreme Court cases and required founding documents fit into the AP U.S. Government and Politics course.
Planning your Course
- We begin planning early in the week so teachers can begin a plan that they will hopefully modify throughout the week. Initial planning will continue into day two.
Tour of the Instructional Approaches
- Examine scaffolding instruction and assessment to allow students to practice skills and build understanding over time.
The National Constitution Center: Interactive Constitution
- Resources will be explored that teachers can use in their classrooms to enrich student’s constitutional literacy and thinking skills.
Reading and Analyzing the Required Documents
- Practice how students need to be explicitly taught how to read, write and think in government and politics.
Analyzing and Interpreting Visuals
- Political cartoons and other qualitative visual sources will be related to a political concept.
Analyzing and Comparing Supreme Court Cases
- The AP U.S. Government and Politics exam requires students to know the constitutional question (holding) of the court and to make comparisons and drawing conclusions with other “non-required” cases.
Analyzing Quantitative Data
- Teachers will look at how to perform data analysis to identify patterns and trends, draw conclusions and relate the data to political concepts.
Connect and Apply Concepts
- Comparison and analysis of concepts allow political scientist to draw conclusions and apply previous knowledge to real-world scenarios.
Writing an Argument Essay Like a Political Scientist
- Show how to teach students to write an argument in political science through scaffolding skills.
Valuable Classroom Simulations and Activities
- Look at simulations with a debrief to introduce a topic and get students thinking about a concept.
The Political Science Research or Applied Civics Project
- Explain the variety of options for the applied civics or political research project that will expected to be incorporated into the AP U.S. Government and Politics course plan. I will share with you my service learning project and Supreme Court debate project.
Curricular Requirements and Syllabus Development
- Review the requirements to ensure that all AP U.S. Government and Politics instructors teach a college-level course.