Write This, Not That: Imagery

Write This,Not That-Imagery

The following post is shared from Adrian Nester on her site the Learning Curve. This is one of several lessons developed in preparation for a book on student writing.

How to write about imagery seems especially troubling for students. I witnessed this first hand at the Advanced Placement Literature reading last June where I read around 1,200 essays on the complex, contemporary poem The Myth of Music by Rachel M. Harper. Among other things, students struggled with what to say about the imagery in the poem. Most students could find images that evoked one of the five senses and allowed them to better picture the scene that the poet was presenting in her poem. The problem was they continued to say (over and over and over again) some along the lines of “The writer paints a picture with imagery.” Here’s the problem…. … KEEP READING

Literary Analysis via Student Blogs

Literary Analysis viaStudent Blogs

My classes have started blogging this year, and we are loving it. We participate in a blog exchange of AP Lit classes nationwide and read other student blogs monthly and comment on them. This has been such a great experience for us because my students’ writing is being read by someone other than me, they are considering thoughts of other students who live in different parts of the nation and have different perspectives, and students are learning how to navigate the blogosphere. … KEEP READING

Escape from the Ordinary Unit

Teaching on Physical, Psychological, or SocialConstraints-

Are you getting bored teaching the same works but don’t have the resources to trade out novels? Or perhaps you are just looking to create a different unit from scratch? Look no further. The following list is compiled from a Twitter chat hosted by Talks with Teachers to brainstorm resources for teaching texts dealing with the theme of escape – perfect for a Halloween twist. These resources include major works, short stories, poems, songs, Ted Talks, films, documentaries, writing ideas, question ideas, and more. Pick and choose what you need to create your own unit. … KEEP READING

Taking the Fear out of Teaching Frankenstein

Taking the Fearout of TeachingFrankenstein

by Melissa Smith

To make Frankenstein relatable to our world today, I have students read and discuss various science articles. I do this lesson within the first couple of weeks of reading as an introduction to some of the overarching messages of the novel. For this activity, you will need large pieces of butcher paper (one for each group), markers, and links to the articles accessible for students. I have articles linked here to use, but it’d also be neat to find some additional articles that are locally interesting to your school or region. KEEP READING

Literary Analysis Letters

Add heading

I haven’t thought much about pen pals since elementary school when there was a sense of mystery and excitement associated with receiving a letter from a faraway friend. Using pen pals in AP Literature has captured a bit of that fun and whimsy, all in the context of literary analysis.

Here’s how it happened: As I was planning lessons for our first novel (Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), I knew that I wanted students to write informal responses while reading–to develop ideas, share insights, and ask questions. I also knew that I did not want to add to my always-overwhelming stack of papers to grade. Emboldened by Kelly Gallagher’s assertion that “students should be writing way more than a teacher can grade,” I decided that this work would not be handed in. And yet, my students needed to have an audience for this piece. That’s when I remembered pen pals.KEEP READING

Twitter Chat for Beginners

Twitter Chats for Beginners

I’ve written in the past about how the relationships I’ve developed on Twitter have transformed and energized my teaching (How Twitter Saved Me).

and how colleagues sometimes look at me with skepticism when I encourage them to take an hour out of their already crazy busy schedules to talk to teachers they’ve never met before.

But when they finally decide to try out a chat, that first step into the vast Twitter ocean can seem a bit daunting. While there are several great posts out there on diving into Twitter, I’ve yet to find a simple, straightforward guide to which I can direct my tentative friends. … KEEP READING

Teaching on the Theme of Power

Power-Resources to Customize a Unit

Are you considering teaching a unit on power? Or perhaps you are looking for some resources to pair with a major text with a theme of power? Look no further. The following list is compiled from a Twitter chat hosted by Talks with Teachers to brainstorm resources for teaching texts dealing with the theme of power. These resources include major works, visual art pieces (click on the link to see the picture), songs, Ted Talks, films, documentaries, writing ideas, question ideas, and more. Pick and choose what you need to create your own unit.  … KEEP READING

Engaging with a Text: Spotlight Reading

Spotlight Reading

I avoided reading Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita for years because of the book’s content.  With so many amazing works of literature to spend time with, why read a novel that explores the mind of a disturbed pedophile? I finally decided to pick up Nabokov’s classic after reading Roy Peter Clark’s book The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing. Clark’s study of Lolita’s opening sentences convinced me that content aside, anyone who crafts sentences with such skill and beauty, is an author that I had to read.

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.”KEEP READING

For the Teachers Who Want to Teach Modern Poetry

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AP Lit teacher confession: I have never taught an entire poetry collection. Single poems – lots. A collection – never. But when #APBKCHAT introduced me to Counting Descent coupled with Melissa Smith’s push to #teachlivingpoets, I knew this collection would be on this year’s reading list. I fell in love with Smith’s voice, message, and way with words and knew my students would also.

Counting Descent is Smith’s first published collection exploring his life, his response to the world around him, and his questions about history and humanity forcing the reader to do the same. While the subject is weighty, the accessibility of the words on the page and the free verse form eases the reader to think and question with Smith and exploring the poems feels more like a conversation than a lecture. This is the perfect collection for high school students. These lessons were birthed out of the APLit PLN as several of us began the year with Counting Descent; these ideas are also transferable to teaching any poetry collection. KEEP READING

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