:: 2015 AP* Summer Institutes at UT Austin
Demand for AP training in art history is at an all-time high this summer. This coming fall, students who enroll in AP art history will experience an exciting new AP art history course that embraces not only a greater degree of global diversity and connections among forms of artistic expression but also increased student participation as they are encouraged to become more actively engaged with various art forms and content through research, discussions, and written responses.
The primary focus of this year’s summer institute will be to help teachers successfully make this critical transition. Teachers will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the new course learning objectives through a series of discussions and activities. They will also be asked to gain a greater sense of familiarity with the 250 works of art aligned within the framework with these course objectives by presenting works with in-depth attention. Instead of focusing on memorization of isolated facts about works of art, artists, or cultures, this institute will advocate an approach that involves placing these 250 works within their historical context and illuminating relationships among them.
In addition to discussing the new content and learning objectives connected with the new curriculum framework, the agenda of this year’s summer institute will also provide teachers will numerous ideas and approaches to assist students to advance their “readiness” for advanced college coursework in art history and other disciplines.
Among the many advantages of attending a summer institute are the opportunities to make personal contacts and to share teaching methodologies with one another. Critical to this aim will be advanced preparation on behalf of the participants. Those attending this year’s summer institute are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the big ideas, essential questions, and learning objectives of the new AP Art History curriculum framework. In doing so, all participants are asked to prepare to share their research on two works of art, each from a different content area, from the new curriculum framework. At least one of the works should be relatively unfamiliar in that it is not covered in any of the main textbooks.
As a further means of preparation for this year’s summer institute, participants are invited to look at the pacing guides that are now available on the College Board website. These three guides, written by John Nici, Marsha Russell, and Wells Gray, offer an excellent introduction to the new curriculum framework. Whether new to AP Art History or a veteran, teachers will find these new resources to be an invaluable part of their teaching library in that they outline a number of instructional activities and assessments aligned with the new learning objectives. Also, they provide a number of mostly online resources that teachers can begin to use in their classrooms right away.
For this summer’s institute, it may be helpful to teachers to bring/prepare themselves by following the below:
- A laptop in order to download materials and/or check out online resources.
- Leave extra room in your baggage for materials, especially complementary textbooks, received at the institute.
- Familiarize yourself with file sharing programs such as Google Drive or Dropbox so that time spent copying files can be kept to a minimum.
Lead Consultant: Douglas Darracott
Douglas Darracott teaches art history and studio art at Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. Since 1998, he has taught AP Art History on the high school level and has served as a reader for the AP Art History exam since 2002. He has consulted for the College Board since 1999 and served on the test development committee from 2005 to 2009 and from 2012 to 2013. In 2009, the College Board released a teacher’s guide for AP Art History written by Mr. Darracott; it is currently available as a free download on the AP College Board website.
In addition to his position as a high school teacher, Mr. Darracott works for the National Math and Science Initiative in Dallas, Texas, which serves school districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In working with this organization since 2010, he has helped teachers strengthen their art programs and work across disciplines to improve STEM education. In this position, he has worked with local art museums and organizations and continues to mentor and instruct art history teachers in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area.
Mr. Darracott continues to work with the College Board by developing new materials scheduled for publication for the newly redesigned AP Art History curriculum framework. He is also leading a number of AP Summer Institutes in June and July of 2015 to help prepare teachers to make the transition to the new framework in the fall of 2015. In addition to teaching AP Art History, Mr. Darracott also teaches AP studio classes and holds an MFA from the University of North Texas.
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