During the AP Lit workshop I attended a bit ago, I truly learned about a lot of different techniques and resources that will be VERY helpful for me not only with my new prep (AP Lit, of course!), but also with my other classes as well. I have to admit that I have been a bit nervous about the transition from AP Lang to AP Lit…however, I was reminded that though there are differences between the two classes, reading is reading and writing is writing. And it’s true. Helping kids become more critical thinkers, readers, and writers is key in all of my classes no matter what the title of it is.
One thing I really liked a lot was the literary seismograph and style breakdown activities (I’ll be happy to share these once I unpack!). Maybe it’s the writer in me, but these two activities will really help kids to find the information they need to discuss more than just the obvious in their papers. In addition, they push the kids outside of the box, forcing them past their comfort levels, while still providing the safety net of realizing “this is where you are now, and there is where you want to be” (if that makes sense at all).
We were told to think about four general things that we would want to focus on throughout the year. In a course like AP Lit, you have a LOT of “stuff” to cover and if you don’t have a set focus, your students won’t have the reinforcement of skills/concepts that they need to be truly successful. I am thinking that my four things will center around the following: organization; crafting strong prose; ability to think outside of the box; and ability to do something “different” (as we discussed in our workshop).
Also, I loved that my instructor pointed out that his “best” teaching came from a school in NOVA that has a very low socioeconomic status with kids that most wouldn’t consider “AP material.” (Did I mention that I LOVE when people prove labels to be wrong?) He reminded us that it is important to consider what our students deal with not only within our classroom and our school, but also within their personal lives as well. In addition, he said that though at his new school he has a 80+% rate of 4’s and 5’s, the growth he saw from his former students at his old school is what he felt defined “good teaching.”
Overall, I think it’s been a great experience, and I’m reminded again how fortunate I am that my school values teachers to send me to this workshop! I personally feel it shows that they are not only invested in what I bring to the school myself, but are interested in helping me grow further professionally, too.