European History

This session will help teachers design an AP European History course and prepare their students for the AP exam. Analysis of the newly designed curriculum and test will be a main focus of the course. Participants will review the content, themes, and structure of the new AP European History curriculum and focus on effective teaching strategies and learning activities that will lead to success on the exam. Participants will analyze past AP exam questions and learn to rewrite them to reflect new course requirements. The class will look at short answer, DBQ and FRQ rubrics. Review of the four major time periods and nine critical thinking skills emphasized on the AP test will occur while participants plan their own course syllabi and create test questions in line with the major themes of the course.


Course Objectives:

  1. to examine the format of the newly redesigned AP European History Exam and learn the skills required to teach the course.
  2. to be able to write and score AP Free Response, Short Answer and Document-Based Essays (DBQs)
  3. to use various methods of teaching and sources of information in the classroom
  4. to acquire some of the factual information needed to teach European History

Tuesday a.m.—Class Logistics and the Course Redesign-

Welcome and Introduction

  • What are your main concerns about the AP? What did you come here to learn?
  • What type of students should take the AP? How to decide who gets in.
  • Teaching AP European History to a Diverse Population
  • Teaching AP to a Mixed AP/Non-AP Class
  • Textbooks, Primary Source Readings books and Study Guides
  • Summer Reading? To assign a novel or not: that is the question.
  • Internet, Field Trips, Films, Guest Speakers

Historical Thinking Skills and the Redesigned European History Course

  • Scheduling: It’s easier with the Redesigned Exam
    • Four Periods of Time, Five Themes and Nine Historical Thinking Skills
  • How Much Will Your Course Change? Reasons for the End of the Middle Ages
  • Using Primary Sources from Day One: Ideals of the Renaissance
  • Looking at a Renaissance Essay using the new standards

Developing Student Understanding

  • Practice Scoring the Renaissance Essay
  • DBQ: European Views of Foreigners

Tuesday p.m.— What is this Redesigned Course and Am I Going to Like It?

Understanding the Thematic Learning Objectives

  • T-chart exercise
  • Overarching Questions

Exploring the Concept Outline

  • Concept Outline Activity: Nationalism and Bismarck

Planning Your Course (this will be an ongoing topic all week)

  • Compare the four Periods of the AP Euro course to your own calendar
  • When will you introduce each type of question?
  • When will you introduce each Historical Thinking Skill?
  • What primary sources and visuals will you use?
  • Start Making a Bank of Questions.

HTS 1: Historical Causation

  • How different is this from what you already do??? (Not much. We used to call it Cause and Effect.
  • Discussion of Plague, Schism and the 100 Years
  • Short Answer Question on the Commercial Revolution
  • Timeline Activity of the French Revolution

Day One Homework: Take the Multiple Choice Test. Begin to fill out your calendar for the next school year. Make notes of documents and visuals that you want to use with your students.

Wednesday a.m.— Teaching Your Students to Think Like A Historian

HTS 2: Patterns of Continuity and Change Over Time

  • Group Work: Assigned Periods Continuity and Change Activity
  • Visuals Continuity and Change Activity
  • Bruegel Painting/Leisure Short Answer activity
  • Gender Roles Discussion
  • Multiple Choice Questions using CCOT

HTS 3: Periodization- Introducing the Concept to students

  • Your Personal Timeline Activity
  • Turning Points activity—Dates to Know
  • Short Answer #2—The Age of Reason
  • Competing Models of Periodization--Interpretations of the French Revolution
  • Jess’ Blue Cards
  • Multiple Choice Periodization Questions

HTS 4—Comparison

  • Comparison Activity using a Long essay Question—Scientific Revolutions
  • Teaching kids to compare—Marzano and Pickering Model Activity and the Four Square Activity (which is better than a Venn Diagram)
  • The What Would Machiavelli Say Game
  • Competing Models of Periodization--Interpretations of the French Revolution
  • Multiple Choice and Comparison

HTS 5—Contextualization

  • Multiple Choice and the Contextualization Skill—Underlying Questions
  • Contextualization Graphic Organizer Activity/Mind Map
  • Short Answer Question on EU and Protests

Wednesday p.m.— The Heart of Being a Historian—Crafting an Argument and Using Historical Evidence Appropriately

HTS 6: Historical Argumentation

  • DBQ on WWI and Women
  • Construction of a Historical Argument Activity
  • Multiple Choice Questions

HTS 7: Appropriate Use of Historical Evidence

  • DBQ on European Views of Foreigners—Document Analysis Activity
  • Other Ways to Analyze Documents-- SOAPStone or The 5 W's
  • Multiple Choice Questions-- Visuals in the Classroom-
    • Maps
    • Charts and Graphs
    • Posters and Cartoons
    • Art and Architecture Powerpoints

Second Day Homework---- Write your own Short Answer Questions Based on the Chapter/Topic Assigned to You. Continue to fill out your calendar. Add in some of the activities we did today ou nd more of the documents and visuals you would use.

Thursday a.m.— Interpretation and Synthesis—the Most Difficult of the Historical Thinking Skills

HTS 8: Interpretation

  • WWI Short Answer Activity
  • French Revolution readings—Varying Historiographic Interpretations
  • Multiple Choice on Interpretation

HTS 9: Synthesis

  • What does synthesis mean? How does one get the Synthesis Point on the DBQ and Long Essay Questions?
  • Linking paragraphs-- Transition sentences
  • The Conclusion
  • Women in WWI DBQ

Share the Short Answers You Wrote With Your Group. What HTSkills did you use in your Questions? Which do you need to work on more?

Thursday p.m.— Designing and Teaching Your AP European History Course

Discussion: When Will You Introduce Each HTSkill during the school year?

  • Sequencing Art Activity
  • Sequencing Steps for the HTSkills Activity
  • Strategies that Work for You—Whip Around Activity
  • Simulation: A Workers’ Rally

Third Day Homework: Write Multiple Choice Questions using documents and visuals from the chapter assigned to you. Continue work on your calendar, adding more activities, visuals and documents.

Friday a.m.— Unit Development and Assessing Student Understanding Backwards planning-- using the New Key Concepts, Historical Thinking Skills, and Learning Objectives

  • Design an Activity Using Learning Objective OS-10
  • Review the Sample Unit Plan
  • Discuss Final Assignment— Build Your Own Unit Plan on the Chapter Assigned to You.
  • Discussion: How do you use released AP exams in your classroom?
    Activity: Adapting old exam questions for the newly redesigned exam.

Friday p.m.— work on New Curriculum Planning and Discussion of Course Audit Syllabus Requirements

  • Review of Audit Requirements
  • Group Activity: Look at a Sample Syllabus to see if it meets the requirements
  • Look Back at the Calendar Plan You Are Creating for the Course. Are you meeting the requirements? If not, where can you add them in?
  • Discussion of Participant ideas for Lesson Plan Assignment.

Final Assignment— Build Your Own Unit Plan on the Chapter Assigned to You Construct a Unit of Lesson Plans-- one weeks-worth or more, ending with an assessment USING THE NEW TEST FORMAT-- to be used with your class next year, using the ideas/techniques discussed during the week. Finished Lesson plan and assessment you would use with your students should be e-mailed to instructor at within 10 days of the end of your course.

We were able to ask important questions about the teaching of the AP class and we were able to share & to gather many new ideas. This has been the most beneficial conference I have ever been a part of.

–Past Client

Pamela Wolfe

A teacher and department head at the Yeshiva of Greater Washington in Silver Spring, MD since 1980, Pamela Wolfe has been teaching AP European History for 29 years and has taught the AP Human Geography course since its inception in 2001. She served as an AP Reader for European History for 15 years and as a Table Leader for 6 years. She was on the AP Test Development Committee which writes the AP European History exams. She runs College Board programs in AP European History and AP Human Geography, and teaches AP Summer Institutes for teachers in both subjects at schools such as Manhattan College, Goucher College, Rutgers University, University of South Florida, the College of William and Mary, and Penn State University. In the past two years she has been a co-author of the McGraw-Hill OnBoard Program for AP Human Geography, has helped rewrite Spielvogel’s Western Civilization textbook, and has co-authored the book Fast Track to a Five-AP European History and the Cengage online test bank for AP European History. She has served as a consultant for textbook companies, reviewing Human Geography texts and online programs for AP students in AP European History, AP World History, AP US History and AP Psychology.

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Institute Faculty

The faculty have been selected for their teaching expertise, creativity, innovations in teaching and experience with the AP* Program curriculum. All faculty members are endorsed and certified by the Middle Atlantic Regional Office of The College Board and have demonstrated a commitment to excellence that is second to none.

Daily Schedule

Classes are scheduled from Tuesday - Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Class check-in begins at 7 a.m. with as brief orientation at 7:20 a.m.

Participants receive a catered lunch at a waterfront restaurant each day.

Morning and afternoon coffee/snack breaks are provided each day.

An Opportunity for Learning and Interacting

Instructors encourage sharing among participants that will enhance the knowledgeand skills of all participants for effective teaching. The opportunity to exchange and communicate with instructors and colleagues within the Middle Atlantic Region and beyond is a valued support resource for the entire school year.

Course Questions?

Questions/concerns about your particular course can be addressed by going to course description and clicking on the instructor’s name. You will then be able to e-mail the instructor. Any problems call the Lewes Summer Institute office at 302-644-0277.

* This Summer Institute has been endorsed by Advanced Placement Program, AP, Pre-AP, College Board and it’s logo are registered trademarks of the College Board.