Teaching an AP course is incredibly difficult because it comes with the added pressure from students’ desires for college credit, parents wanting their money’s worth from the exam prices, and the administration looking over your shoulder.
Mentor sentences are an excellent tool to use in the secondary ELA classroom to model essential skills from grammar to literary devices. They reinforce quality writing skills from published in authors in a positive way rather than the traditional sentence correction method that modeled negative traits.
Student choice is a cornerstone of student engagement. When students can take charge of their learning and can pursue topics of interest, they will be more engaged and more inclined to do the work, and their work will become more meaningful. We’ve all heard this time and again, but the practicality of doing this in today’s secondary public school classroom can be quite a challenge because of standardized testing. Depending on where you teach and how you’re evaluated for your teaching position, testing may be the most important evaluative component, or not matter at all.
Love it or hate it, poetry is unavoidable in the secondary ELA classroom. I, for one, am a HUGE lover of poetry but fully acknowledge that it can be annoyingly cryptic at times. Reading poetry reminds us that not all texts are meant to be beat "with a hose to find out what [they] really mean" like in the Billy Collins poem "Introduction to Poetry."
One of the things I feel that I don't take enough time to do is show my appreciation for all of my students and recognize their efforts throughout the year. I find that I spend far more time focusing only on my struggling students rather than recognizing each student's individual journey, success, and growth.
In screenwriting (writing for movies and TV), the logline is key to brainstorming story ideas and also selling them or "pitching" them to buyers. Crafting loglines can help the writer to flesh out new plot ideas before writing the entire script. It's much easier to revise the logline rather than an entire hundred page script!