American Government and Politics

Course Description

The redesign is here! This institute will focus on what is new, as well as how to interweave what we have been doing into what is now expected.  Each participant will be an active member throughout the week.  Both a semester and yearlong class outline will be constructed, with time to work on a new syllabus and/or lesson plans.  Participants wishing a copy of the workshop’s products should bring a flash drive. Also included will be released exams from College Board and correlations guide to past free response questions.  Participants will also participate in a mock scoring from the 2018 AP exam.

Sample Topics Covered:

  • How to cover material to fit timeline
  • Strategies to improve student’s ability to read and analyze primary sources
  • How to maximize student scores on AP exam

Items Participants Should Bring: 

Teachers should bring a sample lesson that has been successful, or lesson to further develop, with 25 copies to share

Course Schedule:

Day One:

  • AP Culture
    • building a program
    • equity issues
    • ways to improve minority representation
  • AP Studies
  • Getting ready students v getting students ready
    • entrance requirements
    • summer requirements
  • Getting yourself ready
    • College Board guide
    • website
    • message boards(
    • book(s)
    • readers
    • reading load
    • current events
  • Handouts
    • What students need to know to pass the exam
    • FRQ subject area question guide
  • Why the government course and exam were redesigned
  • Content Outline Big Idea #1: Constitutional Democracy
  • Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge
  • Foundational Documents
    • how to teach for understanding
  • Articles of Confederation and Constitution
    • reading, comparisons
    • student exercises
    • sample test
  • Federalism
    • 10th amendment
    • grants
    • graphs
    • sample assignments and tests

Day Two:

  • Content Outline Big Idea #2: Civil Liberties/Rights
  • Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge
  • Letters From A Birmingham Jail
  • 1st Amendment
  • 4th Amendment
  • 14th Amendment
  • Selective incorporation
  • sample assignments and tests
  • Content Outline Big Idea #3: Political Culture and Beliefs
  • Learning Objectives and Essential Knowledge
  • Socialization
  • Federalist paper #51
  • sample assignments and tests

Day Three:

  • Content Outline Big Idea #4: Political Participation
  • Political parties
    • party identification
  • Voting
    • graphs showing changes over time
  • Campaign spending
  • Gerrymandering
  • sample assignments and tests
  • Content Outline Big Idea #5: Interaction Among Branches
  • Congress
    • simulation
  • Executive
    • changes over time
  • Judiciary
    • required cases for study
    • how to do them
  • Bureaucracy
    • implementers, regulators
    • quasi legislative, executive, judicial
  • sample assignments and tests

Day Four:

  • Required Foundational Documents
  • How to teach for understanding
  • How to build instructional activities around the course skills and practices
  • Key takeaways for teachers
  • Technology in the classroom
    • films
  • Shared effective practices
  • Develop teacher syllabus for 2018/2019 school year
  • Develop possible lesson plans for beginning of school year
  • Sample score question from 2018 test
    • mock grading session
  • Debrief and Evaluations


Phone: 253-535-8790
Fax: 253-535-7184

Instructor Biography: 

Jerry Morris graduated from Western Washington University with degrees in Political Science, History, and Social Studies.  After degree programs have included over 200 hours of advanced training and master teacher courses. He taught for 40 years, teaching AP American Government and Politics at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA where he started the program.  He is an AP reader and table leader for the past 15 years.  Jerry is also an AP consultant doing one day workshops in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, California, and Texas. He is also an instructor at AP Summer Institutes throughout the western states.  Jerry was selected by College Board to be the American Government and Politics presenter at the national conferences in both San Antonio and this past year in Washington D.C. His resume also includes multiple years as a We The People instructor, state finalist, and workshop facilitator.