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

Slow and Steady Literary Analysis

Slowing Down for Literary Analysis

Maybe you can relate to me. Type A. Monitor for the quickest moving rather than the shortest check out line. Get things done. A minimum of five tabs open at a time on the computer. Don’t sit still well. Sound familiar? My high capacity disposition serves me well in most areas of life except for when it comes to teaching literary analysis. Unpacking a text is slow, tedious work. Teaching students to unpack a text can be even slower and more tedious. Slow, tedious work is difficult for me; I operate best in fast and furious mode. This year, however, I am making a change: I am slowing down – way down.

I have always struggled with teaching novels. How does a teacher exactly teach a novel? Back in my day, we read novels, the teacher lectured on the novel, we tested on the novel, and then moved on to the next text. This is not really my style of teaching. My style is more creating experiences for students to interact with the text and make meaning, and while I do a good job providing these experiences, I still rush my students through the process.KEEP READING

AP Lit Framework

3 Skills

There are two types of grocery shoppers; those who shop by a list and those who wing it. I’m a hybrid of these two types making and taking my list but falling trap to the end cap displays and piling flavored coffee, nutritional breakfast bars, and Oreos into the shopping cart (or the buggy where I’m from). Classroom teaching is similar. I plan and give myself the stick-to-the-plan pep talk at the beginning of the year but end up throwing the latest technology, newest novel, or current professional development idea into the mix and by the time I’m checking out in May my cart is overflowing with all kinds of items that may or may not add nourishment to the learning soul of my students. I went into this year knowing I needed to have some type of plan to keep me focused but one that also allowed for flexibility and Oreo eating on occassion. 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

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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

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

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

What? How? Why?

APLitHelp.com

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Welcome to AP Lit Reading Week!

You may have seen us on day one of the AP Lit reading in our shirts and wondered who we are. The best way to explain is using a method of how we instruct our students to write essays. Answer the what, the how, and the why. KEEP READING

My Commencement Address to the AP Lit Class of 2017

Applying Writing Principles to Life

Today’s post will be the last post for the 2016-2017 school year. Graduation at my school is Friday, and I am wanting to take a little time off before the AP reading. After the reading, look for observations from the reading; I will try to have at least one reader from each question sharing.

I love AP Lit Help because it is written by teachers for teachers, so the ideas and resources found here work in real classrooms. The amount of creative genius and passion for students found in this learning community are like none other I have experienced, and it is my pleasure to serve this group. Now I have a favor to ask of you. I would love for each reader to write a post (or two or three) over the summer about a favorite lesson, teaching method, novel or poem used in class, or community building idea. My plan is to create a bank of posts to use throughout the year. My hope is this will broaden our base of writers giving us more people to learn from and fresh ideas. You can contact me through this site, my email at susangbarber@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter. I would also love to meet you if you are at the AP reading in KC this year! … KEEP READING

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