I didn't have an AP class this past year because the numbers were too low. The class did make for this upcoming year, which starts in 8 days! I have 6 kids in my class. 3 had my honors physics class last year (and I feel have a good foundation for AP). The other 3 have never had physics. Any advice for how to start? Where? Any recommendations for folding in instruction for the newbies while reminding the trained without boring the one and losing the other (or me losing my mind)?
Yeek. Looks like a tough mix... at least, though, there are only six students. It's pretty easy to tailor the class with so few.
I guess the answer depends most on how well prepared the three returnees are for the demands of AP Physics 1. Is your honors class calculational, conceptual, or something in between?
If your returning students had a calculational high school-level course similar to the New York Regents class, then I'd just teach the whole class AP Physics 1 together. They'll all have to learn how to explain and write about physics. Just be sure to begin the year with something clearly deeper and different from what they might have done last year; be sure to begin the year with a fast pace.
However, if your honors class was sort of AP Physics-lite, then you might want to do something further removed from a typical class. Something like having returners teach the class occasionally, or assigning them as tutors for the new-to-physics students, or set up competitive lab exercises that partner returners with newbies, or... anything you can think of that makes the returning students the acknowledged leaders of the team so they barely even notice that they're covering the same topics again.
AP Physics 1 is intended as a first-year course. In the long term, see if you can place more of your top-end first year students into the AP class. That will allow you to cast a wider net for second-year students. Even students with quite poor standardized test scores can do very well in AP Physics if they are seeing the topics for a second year, but that first year truly is not necessary for the majority of students.