AP Sets

When I got to my room this morning, this beautiful plant from my secret pal was sitting on my desk! Such a lovely start to the day. 


For every unit in AP Calculus, I give my students 3-4 “AP Sets,” each of which consists of a past AP free response question. These free response questions then show up verbatim on their unit exams. However, to discourage the procrastination of learning said questions, I set due dates for them throughout the unit. On the due date, I randomly call students to work out the problems on the board and explain them to the class. Students are graded accordingly. I’ve found this puts a healthy dose of I-need-to-take-this-seriously in my kids. 

I give all this back story because today an AP Set was due and a couple adorable things happened. 

  1. Several students moaned when they weren’t the ones who were called to present. This is usually not the reaction I get. (Don’t get me wrong: plenty we’re still relieved not to hear their names.)
  2. One student who was called came up and worked the problem incorrectly. This is fine: they are allowed to come back on their own time and present the problem to me for full points back. Usually they do this several days later. But not this girl. She asked to come immediately after school. She did and presented it beautifully. She added, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t prepared, Mrs. Peterson,” and thanked me multiple times for letting her make it up so quickly. Can I have a classroom full of her?


I heard a calculus kid in the back today say, “Man, this is starting to get kinda hard.”

Statements like this really get under my skin. 

“Well, you didn’t sign up for Knitting 101, hun,” I told the teenage boy. 

“You’re right. I’m sorry, Mrs. Peterson.”

I love it when they tell me I’m right. Obviously it’s true. 😜 

The point to my calculus kids is: let’s not be scared of hard, babies. Let’s embrace hard. Because “we can do hard things,” especially if we do them together. 


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