AP Government Writing Round-Up

AP Writing is something I am excellent at teaching. I don’t mind tooting my own horn because we should celebrate when we excel at something. My students often exceeded state and national averages. Writing is something I am good at teaching. Period. I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error in all different levels to create these resources, and I am more than happy to share!

Argumentative Writing

Argumentative writing is by far the most popular topic on the blog. I’ve made a video for thesis writing, translated it into use for elementary, and explained at length how I used DBQ’s to make better writers. I have benefited from the experience as an ELA teacher for three years, and I’ve always been a writer. When the course changed to include argumentative writing, I dug right in with the rubric.

First things first, make sure the thesis statement “responds to the prompt with a defensible claim or thesis that establishes a line of reasoning.”

Here is the most popular post on Argumentative Thesis Writing. The key here is to keep it simple and practice, practice, practice. A correct thesis is essential because if students do not get the thesis point, they don’t do well on the essay. The rubric continually says, “To earn…points… the response must have a defensible claim or thesis (earned the point in Row A)” Basically, if the thesis isn’t defensible, students can only earn 1 point (evidence) on the entire essay.

The second post is on the process I used to teach argumentative writing. Honestly, this process helped my students so much. There are DBQ’s for almost all the foundational documents and required Supreme Court cases (which was also helpful for the SCOTUS comparison). This process allowed me to teach content, review documents, and teach skills altogether, which was helpful, mainly because we only had a semester.

Prepandemic learning at it’s finest. This can be done online in breakout rooms

Here is a post on the Judicial Branch and argumentative writing. It shows how I married all of the content and skills. Here is a prompt for the Executive branch

Quantitative FRQ

If you need help on the quantitative FRQ, I got you!

Concept Analysis/SCOTUS Comparison

Need help with the process for concept analysis? Although this uses the old format for FRQs, it’s relevant for both SCOTUS comparison and Concept Analysis. The focus is more on the WAY to do it as opposed to anything else.


There are so many great things out there to help your students prepare for the test’s writing portion. I highly suggest becoming a reader (even if it’s only for a year) so you know what it’s like and what graders and rubrics are looking to see in writing.

Lastly, I highly suggest making writing a consistent part of your class. Create a thesis statement for warm-ups. Look to mentor texts (Declaration) and ask students what they think the thesis is and pinpoint arguments and evidence. Reading documents and writing should be an integral part of your class, just don’t feel like you have to assign full essays, especially in an online environment.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Teaching History, Politics, and Stuff Podcast!

Stress and Secondary Trauma with Becky Krumm, MSW, M. Ed Teaching History, Politics, and Stuff

On this podcast, I talk to Becky Krumm, MSW, about stress and why we should care about it, and what to do when you get stuck in that stress cycle as an educator. It's ok to have stress and to be stressed, but the stress needs to be addressed. Becky Krumm, MSW, M.Ed., has nearly two decades of social work experience, holding various positions in child welfare and mental health treatment.  Through her own experience with burnout and secondary traumatic stress, she developed a passion for talking to other helping professionals about the impact of stress and the importance of self-care.  Becky has provided training in stress, trauma, and self-care to over 5,000 professionals, as well as a workshop presenter at the Child Abuse Prevention Conference.Free self-inventory to examine your professional quality of life: https://www.proqol.orgThe National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s information and resources for coping with Secondary Traumatic Stress:https://www.nctsn.org/trauma-informed-care/secondary-traumatic-stressGreg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Essentialism-Disciplined-Pursuit-Greg-McKeown/dp/0804137382Mindful.org's Guide to starting a mindfulness practice: https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/National Institute of Mental Health guide: 5 Things You Should Know About Stress: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/19-mh-8109-5-things-stress_142898.pdf
  1. Stress and Secondary Trauma with Becky Krumm, MSW, M. Ed
  2. Students! Harness Your Political Power To Make Change! with Trevor Malzewski
  3. Three Things to Focus on When You're Short On Time
  4. Cultivating Teacher Relationships and Curating a Positive Circle of Colleagues with Brigette Burge
  5. Letter From A Birmingham Jail and the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. J. Michael Butler

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