The Jock, The Academic, and The Boy in the Back of the Room

Creating Lasting Relationships that Work

On the first day of every school year the bell rings and students, in my case seniors, walk in, shake my hand, sit where they will, and wait to see what kind of teacher I will be.  I go through the same process with them.  Each student requires something different from me, so I need to understand students individually if I am going to help them grow into critical readers, writers, and thinkers.  I refuse to listen to past teachers’ reports on my new students’ personalities or proclivities.  I refuse to prejudge my students.  To be effective, I must know my students and I must know them well based on my experiences. KEEP READING

Blogging in the Classroom

Classroom Blogs- The Basics

The first time I used blogs was the first year I taught AP Literature.  It was one piece of one assignment, highly structured, and, to be honest, we didn’t really know what we were doing.  That was pretty much it for a while.

Several years later, Brian Sztabnik was looking for readers for his students’ blogs.  I volunteered and had a great time responding to his students and looking around to figure out what he was doing.  It put blogging back on my radar.KEEP READING

Professional Development Reading

Professional DevelopmentSummer Reading

Summer means family, rest, and for most teachers, professional reading. Here’s what some people in our community have been reading this summer:

52 Things I Learned in 52 Years (2017) by Shanna Peeples

Reviewed by Susan Barber

52things

This ebook is a gem and is FREE. Shanna Peeples, 2015 National Teacher of the Year, shares her learned lessons on fear, living, time management, and other subjects that teachers – and people – need to consider. This book is part inspirational, part instructional, and all Shanna. As an added bonus, the ebook is full of hyperlinks to authors, sites, and books that go with each lesson; this in itself is invaluable. This book is divided into seven chapters which taken week by week would be a great way to start the first seven weeks of school. … KEEP READING

AP Lit Resources

Add heading

Sweet summer time which means rest, sun, and family time, but as teachers, we are always thinking about next year. In addition to the Listserve through College Board’s Teacher Community page, here are a few resources for AP Lit teachers. If you are not on the Listserve, you should definitely join. As always, the resources featured here are not only relevant for AP Lit but for most English classes. Best practices are best practices regardless of the level.  … KEEP READING

An Acorn Becomes a Sapling

A First Year AP Reader'sExperience

This coming school year will mark my 10th year of teaching AP Lit., and for quite a few years now, each time I would attend a conference or talk to another like-minded AP colleague, I would hear the same thing over and over: you HAVE to go to the AP Reading.  I quickly decided these people were crazy.  Wait, you want me to volunteer to give up my first week of summer vacation to go and grade essays for 7 days?  So many things sounded more appealing.  You know, things like gouging my eyes out with forks or walking barefoot over broken glass. KEEP READING

Considerations for AP English Exam Scores

AP Lit and AP LangExam Scoring

The following thoughts were originally posted on the College Board AP Lit list serve and are being posted here with permission. 

Dear Colleagues,

We have been having a very good discussion about AP English scores this year, and our director at the College Board, Brandon Abdon, has followed the comments very closely and responded with 8 carefully considered points. In my role as a consultant for APSI sessions and as moderator for this community, I think that these contributions from Brandon are very helpful in advancing our dialogue, and he has discussed them in some detail with me and with our advisors for Language (Jodi Rice) and Literature (Brian Sztabnik). We now offer them for your consideration. … KEEP READING

2017 Synthesis Essay Reflection

It’s far more important for an AP reader to see the student behind each essay than to only see the teacher.

Editor’s note: Since AP Lit and AP Lang have a close relationship, I thought it would be helpful to provide feedback from this year’s AP Lang reading. Thanks to Roy Smith for sharing his thoughts on the synthesis essay. If you were an AP Lang reader and read for a different question, I would love to share your thoughts on those questions. Please contact Susan Barber for more information. 

The 2017 AP Language synthesis essay invites students to weigh in on the future viability of public libraries. The question asks students to consider the Internet’s impact on public libraries and their continuing relevance in the digital age.  The specific task reads as follows: “Then synthesize material from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-written essay in which you develop a position on the role, if any, that public libraries should serve in the future.”  Six sources are provided for students to consider when developing their position. I read approximately 1200 essays over the course of the seven day reading.  I am always amazed by the hard work and dedication AP students and their teachers commit to during their school-year preparation, and it is with their collective commitment to excellence that I offer my reflections from this year’s reading.KEEP READING

Taking the Mystery Out of Question 3

AP Lit ReaderReflections-Question 3

Thanks to Sarah Soper and Melissa Smith for sharing their thoughts from the AP Lit reading this year on Question 3. The prompt can be found here at AP Central.

Reflections by Sarah Soper:

When my students came back from the AP test this year (and of course waited the 2 days until we could discuss it), I was really excited when I heard Q3’s topic.  A character of an unusual or mysterious origin; it sounded interesting and something accessible to students, so when I found out I had Q3 at the reading, I was excited to see what they had produced.KEEP READING

The Myth of the Poetry Prompt

AP Lit Reader Reflections-Question 1

After last year’s challenging Q1, where students found themselves faced with a most unusual juggler, students seemed much more confident with this year’s poem, Rachel M. Harper’s “The Myth of Music.” This beautiful poem is brief and seems easy to read but offers students an opportunity for in-depth analysis. Spending a week with this poem and the student responses to it has given me new insights and some simple tips to help students write more effectively about poetry. It also reminded me that accessible poetry does not equal easy poetry.KEEP READING

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