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
When it comes to literary terms and how to teach them in the AP classroom, I am often stumped. Typically my approach is to teach them in context, and students seem to have a grasp on those terms. I don’t quiz students on terms and definitions. Early in my teaching of AP, I did this and found students simply memorized the terms and definitions without much skill in applying them to the text they were working with. This is what I wanted to avoid. I want my students to be prepared for the exam and to be able to apply terminology to the texts they read. … KEEP READING
- Read a poem a day with your students. Whether it is reading for pleasure or reading for analysis – share poetry with your students.
- Checkout the website: Words Unlocked for poetry teaching resources and a poetry contest.
- Celebrate National Poem in Your Pocket Day April 21, 2016: Poem in Your Pocket Day
- Read Billy Collins’s poem “On Poetry”.
- Discover unknown poets at websites like: Verse Daily,and encourage students to submit poetry of their own.
- Have students share original poetry or the poems of others by placing copies of the poem around the school or campus.
- Explore Cell Poems and have poems delivered to your cell phone – encourage students to do the same.
- Tweet lines from your favorite poem or poems throughout the month of April, or follow #NPM16 or #nationalpoetrymonth on Twitter.
- Encourage students, with teacher approval, to read a poem to a class other than English. Can they find poems written about other disciplines?
- “Chalk the Walk” by having students use sidewalk chalk to write entire poems or just favorite verses on the sidewalks leading to your school or on your school steps. Create a graffiti wall in your classroom where students can use chalk or markers to write lines of poetry or entire poems on the pieces of paper that line the walls of your room.
At the start of a new semester or new school year it can sometimes be difficult to get students to jump in and participate in a class discussion. I’ve found that the silent discussion can be an effective technique to use to get all students to participate. There is a low risk for the students because names are not attached to the discussion, and it allows them time to think before they respond. They are not competing with other students to have their voice heard. This discussion style works especially well when paired with a short story or a novel. The example I’m using is from The Good Earth, a novel taught in junior level English.
Planning and Preparation: Before students can discuss, I choose quotations from the text that are impacting or provocative. These quotes are then typed out and centered on a single sheet of paper. I try to leave plenty of room for students to write. I’ve also found it helpful to have more quotations than students, that way when it comes time to move desks, the students aren’t waiting for someone to finish.
The process: When students walk into the room, I ask them to take a seat at a desk or table with a quotation. First, they read the quotation to themselves. They are then asked to underline important, powerful words, or words that have a strong connotative meaning. After they have done several questions: Why this passage is important? What does the quote contribute to the meaning of the work? Why is it significant? The students will then write a statement somewhere on the page to share why they think the quotation is significant. The next step is for students to generate a question pertaining to the quotation that will get their peers thinking. This question is written somewhere on the paper.
After students finish writing their question it is time to move to another quotation. They will begin the process a second time with me walking them through the steps. You will notice that students may double or triple underline the same words, or they may select new words all together. An additional step I add is that students will now comment or answer the question/s provided by their peers. After a second time of reading, commenting, and questioning, with my direct instruction, students then go through the process on their own.
There is no set number of times for students to rotate through the quotations – it depends on time and number of students in the class. I usually allow a minimum of 10-15 minutes for them to complete this part of the discussion. After students have looked at the last quote, they will then return to their original seat. I allow them time to look at the responses and to see how their discussion grew as their peers responded. The discussion can end there if you choose.
Next Steps: I will often take the discussion further with the students by placing them into small groups. Once in small groups, they read the quotation out loud and share an intriguing question or comment that was written by a classmate.
If you wanted to take the discussion one more step, I often ask the smaller groups to choose one of their quotations and create a discussion question from their small group conversation to get their classmates thinking.
Did you know that Since 2002, the third Thursday of April is recognized as National High Five Day? Well, I’ll be honest, I had no clue. So, to make up for the oversight, I’d like to give you all a HIGH FIVE! Here are five ways that I have grown, changed, or transformed in the past year.
Not everything needs to be graded. This year I have allowed myself to take a step back from grading. That doesn’t mean the students are doing less or that there isn’t value in what the students are doing, it just means that not everything needs to be graded. Students need to time to practice and fail and in that same mindset shouldn’t be punished with a low grade because they tried something and it didn’t work, or they weren’t successful. For a long time I have held the belief that more grades in the grade book would quantify the end grade. I found myself debating over half points to assure students were given the appropriate credit for what they had completed. This was exhausting and it perpetuated the mindset that it was the grade or the score that seemed to matter more than the learning. Students had little room for error in practice and homework. I still expect students to complete the practice or homework, but the “score” in the gradebook shows completion, not correctness. And, that’s ok.
The one question on the AP exam that produces the most anxiety is the free response question, Q3. I have had students tell me they become overwhelmed with the choices listed and cannot decide which book best fits the question. Or, they go in with a novel in mind that they know well, and the question doesn’t match their selected novel, and they scramble to make a suitable choice.
I wanted to find out which books provided the most versatility for the AP exam and which books students were expected to have read or have knowledge of in college courses. … KEEP READING