The College Board Advanced Placement™ Computer Science-A Summer Institute: Mr. John Meinzen

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Morning Session I : Becoming a Member of the AP Community

Key Understanding:

  • Professional networking can provide teachers with opportunities to discuss teaching strategies, share resources, and connectd with each other.



  • Overall AP Teacher Reminders

    • It takes a minimum of 3 years to become "comfortable" with teaching an AP Course...shoot for the long term. Remember that you can't even APPLY to become an AP Reader unless you have 3 years experience so give yourself a break!

    • Explore your own teaching techniques!

    • You and your students are on a journey together...they WILL be smarter than you because they have the TIME that you don't! Students LOVE to be given the chance to "outwit" the teacher...use this as an encouragement (i.e. bonus pts) rather than pushing it "underground"

  • Exam Prep Ideas

    • On each assessment, I give a few MC questions and one FR Question

    • I give a full 3-hour Mock Exam about 2 weeks prior to AP Exam...and practice having students score each other's Free Response answers

    • NO PRONOUNS...except "this"

  • Syllabus Development

    • Self-generated

    • Sample Syllabi (i.e.

    • Course-in-a-can

  • Use of Textbook

    • Initially I used a college textbook but, within 3 years, designed my own lectures/assignments

    • I use an AP-Style Question/Exam booklet to help develop my own Assessments.

  • Favorite Assignments / Pedagogical Techniques

    • Long Lectures!

    • Hobbled-code!

    • Swap algorithm with poorly defined instructions!

    • Paired programming [Extreme Programming]

    • Summer Assignments

Participant Activity

Equity and Access Policy Statement

The College Board strongly encourages educators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their AP programs by giving all willing and academically prepared students the opportunity to participate in AP. We encourage the elimination of barriers that restirct access to AP for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underserved. Schools should make every effort to ensure their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population. The College Board also believes that all students whould have access to academically challenging course work before they enroll in AP classes, which can prepare them for AP success. It is only through a commitment to equitable preparation and access that true equity and excellence can be achieved.



  • Share concerns, questions, ideas with a partner/group regarding:

    • Syllabus Development : Unit Plans, Lesson Plans

    • Exam Prep

    • Textbook & Resources

    • Pedogogy

Morning Session II : Becoming a Member of the AP Community

Key Understanding:

  • Collaborative course design and sharing of "Best Practices" leverages the experience of many teachers.

  • Using Curriculum Modules and AP Central website can aide in covering challenging topics.


Participant Activity

AP Central : AP CSS Home Page has numerous Classroom Instructional Resources

AP Central CSA Home Page :

  • Important Updates
  • Essential Course Resources (i.e. Course Description, Exam Info, Teacher Guide, FAQ)
  • Audit
  • Professional Development
  • Classroom Resources
  • Higher Education, Policies, Development Committee


AP Central's CSA classroom Resource Page :

  • Additional Curriculum Modules
  • Teaching Units / Projects
  • Ideas, Strategies, Nifty Assignments, etc. from Colleagues
  • Advanced and Special Focus Topics
  • Textbook, website, and software reviews

Afternoon Session I : Becoming a Member of the AP Community


Explore Other Resources

CS Organizations for High Schools

Online Student Programming Practice & Learning Tools

Online Coding Project & Lectures

Larger Coding Projects (some with API's)


Computer Science Teachers Association



practice coding problems in Java or Python (


Stanford Nifty CS Projects Made-with-Code

National Center for Women in Information Technology

competitions & awards for girls (

PracticeIt -

higher order practice coding problems in Java.


Requires subscription.

Princeton's Interdisciplinary CS Lectures Google Computer Science for High School (


Editor & IDE to help visualize Object Instances


Project Euler

progressively more difficult math problems that can be solved using CS.

Google Educational Programs for Students & Teachers


Visualization for Understanding Object Instances & Variables Dynamically (i.e. visual debugger)



 to create a custom course (write it down).

Studentscan register using your course name at: 

Georgia Techs' EarSketch

downloadable Python-based project to learn computer science and music technology side by side

  Chromebooks - online Java only [] and may require a fee-based AP CSA Teacher Community    

Participant Activity

  • Present Concerns & Summary of APSI Experience

Afternoon Session II : Review of AP CSA Summer Institute

Summary of Key Take-Aways for this Workshop

Feedback on a 4 x 5 Note Card (select one or more and give feedback regarding what is unclear).

Day 1

  • AP courses focus on building conceptual understandings through the teaching of linked learning objectives and essential knowledge statements, all contextualized around course-specific Big Ideas.

  • Assessments, instructions, and resources should be aligned to learning goals and matched to performance standards

  • The course framework defines the scope of the course and specifies what students must know and be able to do on the AP Exam.

  • Sequencing, pacing, and scaffolding are essential for building students' understanding and their ability to transfer and apply knowledge and skills to new contexts.

  • Utilizing effective instructional strategies, like debriefing, helps develop the course skills and content knowledge.

  • Building understanding and teaching for transfer require the application of content in new real-world, authentic contexts and scenarios.

  • Helping students develop mastery of the course skills requires careful planning to sequence skills in a developmentally appropriate way so that students master prerequisite skills before being asked to complete more complex tasks.

  • Students need multiple opportunities to practice skills in order to develop mastery over time.

  • Students should be progressively challenged, just beyond where they are, to apply their knowledge and skills in different contexts to deepen their understanding.

Day 2

  • Teachers need a deep understanding of content and its applications in order to adapt their instructional strategies to address the different needs of students.

  • Learning requires time,practice, and regular feedback.

  • Understanding is earned over time.

  • The curricular requirements ensure that all AP course instructors tech a college-level course.

Day 3

  • Data structures and algorithms that manipulate them are essential to understanding computer science.

  • Using the Picture Exemplar Lab encourages student exploration of algorithms and data structures.

  • Examining prior years' Exam information helps to prepare students for their AP CSA Exam at the end of the course.

  • Writing sample multiple choice questions focuses on specific skills that students must have for the AP Exam.

Day 4

  • Writing solutions to free response questions and scoring solutions without official rubrics sets individual expectations for the AP Exam.

  • Scoring solutions with official Scoring Guidelines (rubrics) sets standardizedexpectations for the AP Exam.

  • The curricular requirements ensures that all AP course instructors teach a college-level course.

  • At the start of the year, teachers and students will complete a short digital activation process that will allow them immediate access to classroom resources.

  • Creating overall course and lesson plans match curricular requirements with classroom resources.

Participant Activity