Over the last two years, the Official AP Chemistry Community forum on the College Board website has been largely, though not completely, displaced by the formation of a Facebook group called National AP Chemistry Teachers that now boasts 1,962 members.
This is a closed group (i.e. you have to request to join), moderated by several teachers, that provides a platform for chemistry teachers to share ideas and ask questions. Why has it displaced the official forums that serve the same purpose? In my opinion, it is due to the ease of use of Facebook and the fact that many teachers already use the social media platform for personal reasons, so we are logged in to it more often. To put it another way: we, like many other people, are addicted to social media.
If you find yourself wanting to engage with AP Chemistry colleagues, this is the group for you! The group consists of teachers, AP Readers, and even current and former Test Development Committee (TDC) members. The conversations touch on all areas of teaching AP chemistry: content, pacing, activities, labs, exam prep, etc. The group is searchable if you want to research past conversations over a specific topic. The group also boasts a growing repository of files that teachers have uploaded, and I can state as a fact that 2-3 of my AP labs and activities that I have added this year came from ideas I got from this group. Last month, I even had the opportunity to meet a teacher that I had only talked with online IRL (in real life)! The group can be an excellent way to grow your professional learning community!
Questions and topics range from the simple to the complex, and most are AP-specific, but not all of them are. Teachers often discuss first-year chemistry curriculum, textbook preferences, and other topics that would benefit any chemistry teacher. For this reason, I recommend that if you find yourself teaching an advanced high school chemistry course that isn’t officially AP, or a Pre-AP course, you still stand to benefit from the community.
A final note about AP Chemistry specifically. Some of the questions that get asked, often by new AP teachers, are along the lines of, “Is XYZ on the AP exam?” While these questions are necessary and you will get a wealth of guidance from the group members, I encourage all new (and experienced) AP teachers to read the Course and Exam Description put out by the College Board. Pages 14-96 contain the 117 Learning Objectives (LOs) and the accompanying Essential Knowledge Statements (EK) and Science Practices (SPs).
I look forward to seeing you in the group! I hope it benefits you as much as it has me!