Welcome to AP Chemistry
I am pleased that you have chosen to accept the challenge of AP Chemistry. I am quite certain that this class will be the most difficult and the most rewarding class you will participate in during your high school career. The content of this course is exactly equivalent to 2 semesters of college chemistry. The material you will be exposed to forms the foundation for any career in a scientific field. So if you expect to become a doctor, engineer or scientific researcher, this is where it starts. Even if a scientific career is not your goal, the thinking processes you will develop are critical for success in business, law, finance and life. By the time May 2016 rolls around, you will have an excellent foundation in basic inorganic chemistry and your critical thinking skills will be markedly improved.
Chemistry and the mastery of scientific skills is not a spectator sport. The ultimate responsibility for learning and improving lies with the student. I have attempted to structure an experience which will provide students a number of different avenues to explore chemistry and develop their higher order thinking skills. What is required for success in AP Chemistry? Very simply, an extremely consistent, high level work ethic is essential. If you are not doing some type of chemistry assignment each day, you are falling behind. Cramming or trying to finish assignments at the last minute absolutely does not work. I have never had a student fail due to a lack of ability. Students that choose not to work hard will have issues. The equation for success is simple:
work ethic X intellectual ability = results
If your work ethic is inconsistent or non-existent, your results will be the same. I utilize the standard school system point scale for grading. The class is structured to have an average grade of B. The class has a high average grade because I provide students many opportunities to improve their raw grade. These opportunities include learning logs, test corrections and extra credit problems. If a student is working to the best of their ability, they will earn no less than a C. Conversely, I will not hesitate to fail a student who is not working. I provide ample safety nets throughout a grading period. Therefore, there are no miracle assignments which will save a grade at the end of a grading period. Students must learn there are consequences for poor decisions.
All course materials are available on-line. This is an effort to save copying costs and trees. This website is a great resource. USE IT! There is no reason for not being prepared. The content of course materials is:
Syllabus : contains all pertinent assignments and due dates
Homework : Per syllabus. Problems are selected to emphasize major concepts.
Learning Log : a series of questions and problems designed to help you study. Each log is worth 10 extra credit points.Completing a Learning Log(80%) earns the ability to do test corrections. NO LOG=NO CORRECTIONS. Due the class period of each unit test. No exceptions!
Tests : If you know all of the answers, it is not a test but merely an exercise.
Tests will be challenging and will stretch the students higher order thinking skills. My focus is on mastery not memorization. Test format is always 50% multiple choice and 50% free response. The ability to do test corrections ( half credit) IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT. Students earn the ability to do corrections by completing a learning log (80%). In example, a raw score of 60 (not unusual) with a learning log becomes a 90 ( 60 + 20(TC) +10 (Llog))
Labs : Inquiry based, intellectually challenging assessments.
Challenge Problems ( extra credit ) : Complex, multi-concept problems offered during a grading period. A great way to learn and improve grades.
Grading Weights : 50% Tests; 25% Quizzes, homework, group activities; 25% Lab. Grades are determined numerically. Everything counts I never throw out a low score. I believe consistency is central to excellence. I do offer the ability to off set low scores through extra credit.
Extraneous : Other than normal school stuff (pencils, pens , paper) you will need a stitched composition book. This will be used as your lab book. I recommend some method for organizing and maintaining your homework and learning logs. This is important since it will help you prepare for tests and end of period exams. Either spiral notebooks or a 3 ring loose leaf binder have worked well in the past. Purchase "AP Crash Course" by Adrian Dingle 2nd edition. This review book addresses the curriculum changes for the 2014 AP exam. Princeton Review AP Chemistry is also good. The 2015 edition does a good job of addressing the new curriculum.
Assistance and Communication : I arrive each day by 6:45 AM. A great time to get help. I am also available each day during my planning periods. After school help is by appointment. Regarding communications, I prefer firstname.lastname@example.org home phone (336)924-8447. I check e-mail frequently and I will respond within 24 hours.
Once again, Welcome! I look forward to an enjoyable, results oriented year.
Excellence is a habit, not an event