My August, first month of school, report

For the first time in my over thirty-three-year teaching career, I’m teaching Advanced Placement Macroeconomics (AP Macro.)

I’ve been assigned three sections, though I have never taught an economics course and only taken one economics course in college, a course at Cal that I nearly failed. To complicate matters, the high-expectations school I teach at only offers the Macro course the first semester.

Despite the above, I’m confident that I can properly prepare my students for the May exam.

AP teachers today don’t necessarily need vast amounts of content knowledge to teach an…


For those wanting to see the tunnels up close and learn their history

The story of the Donner Pass Tunnels is one of the great stories of American history. It’s also one of the least known.

Below, some basic information relating to the tunnels.

  • The Donner Pass Tunnels sit at 7000 feet above sea level in California’s High Sierra Mountains, with each of these 15 genuinely great works of engineering located within a short drive from where members of the ill-fated Donner Party were trapped by weather during the winter of 1846–1847.


With this Edutopia article written by Sonja Cassell and my friend Robert Ward

I have just finished reading a very good October 2019 Edutopia article entitled 11 Questions You’ll Be Asked at a Teaching Interview.

Written by elementary school educator Sonja Cassell and English middle school educator Robert Ward, this article is subtitled ‘Commonly asked interview questions you can anticipate — plus tips and links to resources you can tap as you polish your answers.”

What a wonderful read and one that I wish I would have had access to more than thirty years ago when I first applied for…


Launched over a year ago, these short, on-demand, high-quality bite-sized bits of knowledge are a far more powerful teaching and learning tool than many AP teachers currently suggest

For the first time in my over thirty-three-year teaching career, I’m teaching Advanced Placement Macroeconomics (AP Macro.)

I’ve been assigned three sections, though I have never taught an economics course and only taken one economics course in college, a course at Cal that I nearly failed. To complicate matters, the high-expectations school I teach at only offers the Macro course the first semester.

Despite the above, I’m confident that I can properly…


With special focus on the question of curves, retakes, extensions and open-note tests

I teach at a high-performing high school where site and district leaders, for the second year in a row, have called on teachers to show their students “grace.”

If your site and district leaders were to encourage you to show grace, what would that mean to you?

Below, how various education bloggers have answered that question.

  • Grace means not doing anything different until your site and district leaders offer specific guidance or suggestions.
  • Grace means giving students second (and third, and fourth) chances.
  • Grace means curving AP…


At least for now

Ten days after the start of the 2021–2022 school year, I asked for and received something called “a desk protective barrier” (aka desk shield.)

Yet, two days after having placed the shield on my desk, I removed it, this after having read an August 20, New York Times article entitled Anti-Covid Plastic Barriers Probably Don’t Help, and May Make Things Worse.

This article points out that though our intuition may tell us a plastic shield would be protective against germs, “scientists who study aerosols, airflow and ventilation say that much of the time, the barriers don’t…


If so, ever try producing a written work designed to teach the world about the content you teach, with your students conducting the needed research?

I’m a US History teacher who likes to write, though until recently, I never produced a work designed to teach the world about the content I teach.

And certainly, I have never asked my students to conduct the research needed for anything I’ve written?

But all that changed this past summer when one of my U.S. History students asked for an opportunity to research the topic of the “Railroad Chinese” (the 15,000–20,000 contracted immigrants from…


For those wanting to learn about the thousands whose backbreaking work in California’s High Sierras changed America

The story of the Donner Pass Tunnels is one of the great stories of American history. It’s also one of the least known. Even less well known is the story of the Chinese railroad workers who dug those tunnels.

For those wanting to learn about either of these two topics — the tunnels or the tunnel-digging Chinese — I have produced this blog post, though I didn’t know much about either topic before this writing despite having taught US History for years.

To learn what I needed to know to produce this blog post, I first turned to the students…


This summer, I’m working with a few AP Psych teachers to produce a blog post that’s to be entitled Ten Project-Based Learning Opportunities for the AP Psych Course. Also hoping to include a few TOPSS teachers.

Below, six “authentic projects” that we might get mentioned in our blog post.

  1. A Digital Magazine entitled Teens Exploring Psychology (articles by teens for teens and possibly modeled after something like this).
  2. A Digital Primer entitled Unlocking the Teen Brain (with this primer to build on the work described in a 2017 Edutopia article entitled Learning by Doing: Students Write a Guide to Teen…

A way to recognize high school students who seek to make a difference and a chance to view my school’s Seal of Civic Engagement application

Nearly three years ago, the CA Department of Education created an Advisory Committee tasked with trying to find a way for CA high school students to receive a “state seal of civic engagement.” I served on this committee.

This past year, the CDE adopted the advisory committee’s recommendations, the most important of which was to encourage high schools throughout the state to approve or adopt their own criteria for students wanting to apply for the…

Peter Paccone

High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.

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