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Sometime ago I promised to write about the AP art course. It's a lazy
Sunday and I'm almost caught up so here are my thoughts.
First I agree with what San D said:
> A word of caution about AP courses. Not all colleges accept AP courses
> credit, especially art schools. They would rather 'retrain' students in their
> way....While they will respect a student who has reached high in AP courses,
> they will not accept the credit.
Although some schools are now accepting the course for an elective credit,
my advice to the kids is not to substitute it. I would never have wanted to
give up any of my art school electives.
Fulfilling the AP portfolio requirements is almost impossible to do in one
year especially if you only have a 45 minute period. I have 2 classes
Advanced (non-weighted) and AP and see the kids for 2 years. If the student
is not committed, this is still not enough time.
As a teacher, it requires stretching visual thinking and paying attention to
individual needs. You need to help students find a multitude of solutions
You also need some kind of organizational work to make sure each student is
on track and maintaining a schedule for completion of the work. Take slides
many times throughout the year rather than waiting until the end.
I select students for the class based on teacher recommendation and
portfolio review, but I can't keep anyone out of the class. By law anyone
can take any class they want. Therefore I always have a few slackers just
there for the weighted grade. And they always bring down the momentum of
As for the Concentration project. Such a project could be compared to a
thesis statement for a writing assignment-- adding content to make a
coherent , meaningful statement. Repetition of a subject does not in and
itself constitute a concentration. Investigation is the key.
Each year the dynamics of my class changes and I adapt to their needs. You
have to think of each individual and not the class as a whole. I often make
assignments specific to the student.
I have a lot of trouble with the AP program in general. Why are we at the
high school level teaching courses acceptable for college credit? It is my
understanding that not only the Art, but many of the other AP courses are
not being accepted by colleges. I use the Ap Studio Art for getting the
kids to do the work required for their portfolios. I don't care if they
pursue the test or not. A couple of years ago I viewed the evaluation
process of the AP portfolios and didn't like what I was seeing. It seemed
the evaluators were looking for "slick" and not seeing potential. I won't
teach to "slick."
The best advice I have for anyone about to teach the AP course is to take
one of the workshops or graduate credit courses offered. You get a lot of
information, ideas, help, and lessons.
One more thing - for those of you about to start teaching the AP Art
History. Be thoroughly prepared. You need to get through all of the
history and will have to teach the kids how to write. Much of the test is
about comparing/contrasting. For a couple of years I have toyed with the
idea of proposing we adapt this class, but after taking the course on
teaching it and watching a couple of my friends go through the first year,
I'm not willing to make the commitment. My best friend started it this year
and she was up every morning at 2AM preparing. If your district doesn't put
up the money for all the resources needed, you will be spending all your
time gathering and making slides.
Good luck to all of you starting AP. I would be happy to answer more
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun May 28 2000 - 13:22:43 PDT