Commandments of Teaching AP Language and Composition-Part Two

This is the second half of a two-part series about teaching AP Language and Composition. You can check out the first part here. Good feedback is everything. I still struggle with this, as feedback simply takes time (who has that?!). Some of the best feedback ideas I’ve learned came from a Marzano workshop. The highlights: … Continue reading Commandments of Teaching AP Language and Composition-Part Two

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Commandments of Teaching AP Language and Composition-Part One

This fall, I've received many messages from new AP Language and Composition teachers who are trying to find their feet. After some reflection, I decided to offer a few of the ideas and processes that drive my teaching. This is a two-part series, and I will cover five "commandments" in each part. Look for the … Continue reading Commandments of Teaching AP Language and Composition-Part One

Critical Back-to-School Routines for AP Language and Composition: Year-Long Processes

When I had my younger son a year ago, I was in the tough position of asking a long-term substitute to lay the foundation for my students' entire year of learning. My maternity leave stretched from August until mid-October, so a quarter of my students' learning occurred with a different teacher. I was lucky to … Continue reading Critical Back-to-School Routines for AP Language and Composition: Year-Long Processes

KABOOM! The Rhetorical Analysis Game that Makes Engagement Explode

I am SO EXCITED to share this one with you!  I came across a few elementary school blogs about a center game called KABOOM. Something just clicked--why couldn't this work for rhetorical analysis at the high school level? After some testing and adjusting, I'm pretty thrilled to bring KABOOM to my classroom this fall. Here's … Continue reading KABOOM! The Rhetorical Analysis Game that Makes Engagement Explode

How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students

They're analytical. They're argumentative. They're intriguing. They're bite-sized. Assertion journals are hands-down my favorite way to teach and assess writing. Here's how they work: Students are given an assertion, usually in the form of a pithy quotation. How much context you want to give your students is totally up to you. I just project the assertion … Continue reading How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students

New Year, New Unit

It's a snow day today, so this will be a quick post before I get back to playing Feed the Woozle with my toddler. We just headed back to school from winter break, and I am so excited to jump in with my AP kids. For one of my grad school classes last semester, I … Continue reading New Year, New Unit

How to Teach Analysis Like a Boss

In my last post, I made a case against the five paragraph essay as an appropriate analytical structure for high school students. The closed thesis, redundancy, and built-in limitations to critical thinking ultimately hold students back from their best work. If not the five-paragraph essay, then what? I'm going to take you on a tour … Continue reading How to Teach Analysis Like a Boss

Please Stop Teaching the Five-Paragraph Essay for Analysis 

Please stop teaching the five-paragraph essay for analysis. Please, pretty please with a cherry on top!  Let's talk for a moment about the purpose of the five-paragraph essay. Many scholars trace its origins centuries back. Its parallel structure was favored over more meandering approaches. Today, teachers and students value the five-paragraph essay because it's both … Continue reading Please Stop Teaching the Five-Paragraph Essay for Analysis 

The 5 Students You’ll Meet in the AP Classroom and How to Meet Them Where They Are

I teach AP Language and Composition. It’s a tough course, and for most of my students, it’s their first AP English course (they take it as juniors, then go on to AP Lit as seniors). In the past few years, my school has embraced an open enrollment policy for AP courses in certain subject areas. … Continue reading The 5 Students You’ll Meet in the AP Classroom and How to Meet Them Where They Are