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

Quick, Reflective Activities for Finishing High School

It's The End of the YearAs We Know It

While many of our students continue to be in the thick of AP exams, AP Literature is over to a certain extent. I only have 10 days with my seniors before exams and graduation. Friends of mine have until the end of June (bless all of you!). And while we will all continue to do meaningful work with our students, the class atmosphere changes with the exam being in the rearview mirror.

Most teachers I have spoken with assign a cumulative project ranging from TED Talks to independent reading to senior scrapbooks with several ideas discussed found in After the Exam or The Exam’s Over What Now?. The focus of this article, however, is quick yet reflective activities for seniors as the year is winding down to help them process the end of high school and continue to build community.KEEP READING

Meaningful Post-Exam Work

The Exam's OverWhat Now-

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

Reminders from AP Readers

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Below are short videos for Questions 1, 2, and 3 with some general reminders for writing. These observations are not an exhaustive list by any means but can be used for a quick review or a to start a conversation about AP Lit essays. (I apologize for the quality of the first video. I didn’t realize how poor the quality is, but the audio is good).

The comments from last night’s Twitter chat can be found below the videos.  … KEEP READING

Reading and Exploring Outside the Classroom

Texas teensmeetShelley's -Skylark-

Winters in Texas often resemble spring in other parts of the country. These beautiful winter days offer great opportunities to take learning outside. Every year I wait for the temperature to reach a comfortable range and out we go to experience the natural world the Romantic poets extol in their poetry.  The following lesson is easily replicated with a different poem, but I turn to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “To a Skylark.” … KEEP READING

#thisisAP

WHAT ISAP LIT-

Registration for next year has begun at my school. Students have so many options in today’s education system. Dual enrollment, virtual school, and non-AP English classes are all options offering different benefits. There is no one right answer for all students; instead, students need to figure out which class is best for their strengths and curriculum path. This post is not to take away from any of the other options students have but to promote why I (along with some support from former students) think AP Lit is beneficial. Forgive the question/answer slides, but I’m obsessed with JEOPARDY! and this week’s college tournament. JEOPARDY! is the perfect mentor text.KEEP READING

Multiple Choice Practice Activities

Avoiding Multiple ChoiceMonotony

Multiple choice practice is a staple of any AP class but can quickly become routine and dull and thus less effective for students. As teachers strive to provide opportunities for low-pressure practice, we should also dedicate ourselves to being creative in our approach in an effort to keep students engaged in learning and building skill. The result – students who are confident and prepared for the exam but more importantly mature readers and thinkers. Below are seven ideas to shake up multiple choice practice: … KEEP READING

My Teaching Manifesto

my-teaching-manifesto2017

Reading

I will provide a variety of quality works for my students.

I will teach skills that will help students become better readers rather than teaching a text.

I will be an active reader and share personal reading with my students.

I will learn alongside my students.

I will embrace the ambiguity of multiple interpretations of a text instead of one “right answer.”

I will offer reading at times during class just to enjoy the beauty of words and passages without analyzing the text.

I will provide EPIC (experiential, purposeful, imaginative, and collaborative) lessons. 

I will allow students to have choice in their reading. KEEP READING

Georgia On My Mind – A Guide to Atlanta for NCTE Attenders

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Welcome to Atlanta. Whether you call us A-town, the ATL, the Big Peach. Empire City of the South, or HOTlanta, I’m so excited to be volunteering for NCTE over the next few days as English educators converge on this eclectic and vibrant Southern city. I’ve seen several posts and recommendations (including NCTE’s comprehensive guide) all offering great advice on Atlanta, but I would feel a little less than hospitable if I didn’t share my suggestions for a classic and iconic look at the city.

Note: When I say “ trust me,” trust me. I will not let you down. KEEP READING

Quick Writes

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Recently, I received a Facebook message from Travis, a student that I’d had the privilege of working with in my 11th grade English class several years ago. He wanted to tell me “In the spirit of Thanksgiving” how much my quick writes helped him “grow as a person.”  

This message surprised me, as my quick writes are nothing revolutionary; students are given a prompt and simply write their thoughts on the topic for 5 minutes. Next, the class discusses their ideas about the topic – usually for about 10 minutes, sometimes more if the discussion takes off, and then we move on to the next activity. Occasionally, the prompt is related to the main activity/lesson of the day and sometimes it is just a topic I think the students might like to discuss. You can find countless great prompt ideas on the internet – a wonderful one I found recently was in the New York Times titled Questions that Lead to LoveBut all that’s really required to make a good quick write prompt is that it’s thought-provoking. Later in the year, you can even mix things up by letting the students write the prompts.KEEP READING

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