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
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
May 3rd has been looming large in most AP Literature teachers’ minds. What do we do with this class now? Popping in a movie for the last twenty days of school just isn’t the answer.
There are many factors to consider when planning for the end of the year. How many instructional days do you really have? There are other AP tests, state testing, assemblies, field trips, and fire drills to plan around. Graduation may be at the end of May or in mid-June. Do you have a class of juniors? seniors? or a mix?
Use these ideas to help formulate your plan to make the end of the year, after the AP Lit test, engaging and motivating for students. … KEEP READING
I became an English teacher largely because I love literature. Most of us would consider ourselves “readers” and have a love for words that led us to this career. That’s why I was really surprised when I loved AP Language so much. There was no poetry, very little fiction, just nonfiction works (articles, essays, speeches, letters) to synthesize, analyze, and argue. AP Language gets down the building blocks of why and how an author uses words to achieve his purpose. From my first introduction to the course, I found myself analyzing every sermon, televised speech, and opinion column for its use of rhetoric. … KEEP READING
The College Board dotingly refers to their first-time readers as acorns and even distinguishes us with an acorn on our name badge. “The Reading,” as it is so fondly referred to, is a surprisingly pleasant professional development opportunity that involves reading 1.2 million essays in a collaborative effort with colleagues from all over the country and even the world.
When the Chief Reader report comes out it will be a valuable resource for all teachers. According to College Board, sadly only 11% of teachers who access the exam questions take advantage of the material provided by the question leaders. This will use much more sophisticated vocabulary likely including words such as penultimate and ubiquitous. In the meantime, here are my observations as a first-time reader on Question 2 that are designed to be helpful for implementation into the AP Literature classroom. … KEEP READING