I’m a first year AP chemistry teacher. My emotions swing from fear of inadequacy to confusion in pacing to acute awareness of the number of years since college chemistry to desperation in grading 55 lab notebooks to exhaustion with inexperience. Honest truth: I'm studying. I'm studying a lot. Despite 14 years of chemistry teaching experience, I feel blindfolded again. I am acutely aware of their lurking presence, but I can't predict the questions. My ability to see into the heads of my students is absent this year. My response is preparation. That’s me; raw and vulnerable.
As I mentioned, I'm studying and preparing for hours on end. My current "go-to" resources include two textbooks, three test prep guides, and four YouTube channels. I'm taking detailed notes, drawing models for myself, and solving example problems. I consult all of the resources on this list for every lesson I teach.
- Chemistry: The Central Science (11th edition) by Brown, LeMay, Bursten, Woodward, and Murphy - My school district adopted this textbook for our AP Chemistry students and teachers. The 12th and 13th editions are available.
- Chemistry (12th edition) by Chang and Goldsby - The College Board representative teaching my AP Summer Institute course provided each new teacher with a copy of this text. I enjoy it's conversational, easy to read tone. The topics are explained visually, and the examples require application at higher levels. I start my own review and study here.
- Test Prep Guides:
- Barron's AP Chemistry, 7th edition (2014): The guide serves as my quick reminder of the content that I learned in college. The sample problems help me brush up on problem-solving skills. I also get ideas for warm-up or quiz multiple choice questions from the practice exams.
- The Princeton Review: AP Chemistry Exam (2015): Similar to the Barron's guide, I skim the explanations and look for examples or topics that I may have missed or left out of my plans.
- Fast Track to a 5: Preparing for the AP Chemistry Examination by Duncan, Pezzi, and Knoespel (2014): This workbook provides varying levels of multiple choice questions. I find this helpful in scaffolding the content from the beginning of the unit to the end of the unit.
- YouTube Channels:
- Dr. Lori Maffe's channel: Dr. Maffe teaches chemistry and chemistry education at Kennesaw State University. She and her colleagues are flipping Kennesaw State's introductory chemistry classes. She is knowledgeable, clear, concise, and offers excellent student-friendly examples. I get ideas for in-class examples and methods for breaking down difficult content from her videos.
- Dr. Mike Christiansen's channel: Dr. Christiansen is a chemistry professor in Utah. His videos follow our textbook closely. I can watch them to get tips on pinpointing significant words or hints for my students. I can also send a student to watch the video example to review a point of confusion.
- Crash Course Chemistry: Hank rocks! I often use his videos as a quick in-class introduction to a unit or lesson. His humor, animations, and pace are engaging for my students. He talks very, very fast. If the video includes a data table or example that I really want students to understand, then I provide a short viewing guide with a couple of screenshots from the video.
In addition to the resources above, I mine the Internet for images to use as I build SmartBoard notebooks to use in class. I also search high and low for lab activities and demonstrations.
Do you have favorite resources that have helped you or your students? How did you survive your first year in AP? Advice, suggestions, and links are welcome!