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

Ideas for Writing Woes

SOS-I Can't ThinkofAnything to Write

I was talking to my AP Literature class yesterday, and when I asked them how they were feeling about the AP test we’ll be taking next week, the response was mixed. While most students feel that they have the skills they need to go in and be successful, there was some apprehension. “What do I do if I hit a wall?” one of my students asked. When I asked her what she meant, she went on to say, “If I read the poem or passage, and just have nothing to write, what do I do?”KEEP READING

Reminders from AP Readers

ap-lit-helpfor-teachersby-teachersbenefiting-students

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

Building Confidence for the AP Exam

You take the test;the test doesn't take you.

You take the test; the test doesn’t take you.

This is something my students and I talk about a lot. The last thing I want them to do on exam day is walking in feeling powerless to an exam. I want the opposite: I want them to feel like they have a choice in how they decide to tackle the exam. Confidence on exam day goes a long way and knowing some test taking strategies and having a personal plan for exam day helps build student confidence. 

Take advantage of these test-taking strategies and pointers for students:KEEP READING

Writing about Complexity

Unpacking Meaning by Layers

complex

[adjective, verb kuh m-pleks, kom-pleks]

1. composed of many interconnected parts; compound; composite: a complex highway system.

2. characterized by a very complicated or involved arrangement of parts, units, etc.: complex machinery.

3. so complicated or intricate as to be hard to understand or deal with: a complex problem.

KEEP READING

National Poetry Month Resources

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-Logo

Started in 1996 by the American Academy of Poets, April is set aside as National Poetry month. The purpose is to encourage the reading of and celebrate poetry in the classroom as well as society as a whole. As teachers of Literature, our challenge lies in providing students with the tools to analyze poetry without killing the poem. The idea of having students read a poem daily without the task of deconstructing the poem for meaning but simply to appreciate the beauty of the words is one that is worth exploring this month.

KEEP READING

Essay Organization – Three Common Methods

Organizing Literary Analysis-What's Your Plan-

Writing a timed essay for an AP exam is stressful for even the most confident of students. The job of an AP teacher (or any writing teacher honestly) is to provide as many tools as possible for the student to have in their writing toolbox. Having different methods of organization is fundamental because it provides the outline and structure for the analysis and ideas of the essay. Organizing can be challenging because there is no one “right” way to do this. Below are the three most common ways to organize a timed writing response with examples of sample essays from AP central.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

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