English Language & Composition

AP Summer Institutes at Woodward Academy

June 4‐7

The AP English Language and Composition summer institute is designed in keeping with College Board’s dedication "to developing excellent college-level courses for high school students." Our goal is to present a rich variety of useful materials, share our expertise, and provide valuable professional development. Participants will survey the common approaches to the course and also consider how best to adapt those approaches to their particular students, existing curriculum, and school setting. The goal is always to have a healthy blend of the big picture of the course and practical strategies that answer that ever important question: But what do I do on Monday?

During the week, we will cover the essentials of the course and the exam - critical reading and writing, rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis. Beginning with the end in mind, we will identify those skills necessary for students’ success and the strategies we can use to help them along the way.

We will address how best to teach writing in the class. In order to add dimension to the label "effective writing,"we will thoroughly discuss how much and what kinds of writing students need to do. We will explore what is meant by "mature academic perspective" and a variety of rhetorical modes as well as strategies to help students develop their own personal style and voice. We will differentiate between the processes and practices of teaching the on-demand writing required on the AP exam and the multi-draft writing necessary in any college freshman composition course. Participants will be given writing feedback methods, teaching strategies, and assignments suitable to each process. And there will be tips for the ever-present concern about how to handle the paper load.

We will deal extensively with the test itself and its relative importance in developing and teaching the course. We will look closely at the various types of questions on both the multiple-choice and free-response essay sections of the exam. Participants will be trained to use the nine-point AP scoring guide to read and score student papers "like an AP reader."


Daily Schedule

  • Introduction to Teaching AP Language and Composition: the course and exam basics; key concepts of rhetoric and habits of mind for successful students; materials for important strands in the class including summer reading assignments, independent reading, vocabulary, and rhetorical grammar; ways to organize an AP Language course and sample pacing guides; submitting a course syllabus for approval.
  • College Board: resources and materials to support students and teachers; the equity and access policy; an introduction to AP Central.
  • Teaching Writing and Writing Management in AP English: methods for instruction, feedback, and management of timed writing; the AP scoring guide and grading; successful strategies for single-draft and multi-draft writing; a writing project for teaching the rhetorical modes.
  • Rhetorical Analysis: the "arch method," a fundamental methodology for prose passage analysis; successful strategies, activities, and projects for strengthening students’ critical reading and analytic skills.
  • The AP Exam, Rhetorical Analysis Question: writing and evaluating effective rhetorical analysis essays on the AP exam; read, score, and discuss student samples.
  • Argument as Exploration: "Everything’s an Argument" - what argument is and is not in the AP Language curriculum; logic fallacies; successful strategies and classroom activities to move argument "beyond debate."
  • The AP Exam, Argument Question: writing and evaluating effective argument essays on the AP exam; read, score, and discuss student samples.
  • Researched Argument and the Synthesis Essay: dealing with the synthesis question prompt - reading and pre-writing approaches; methods and strategies for teaching synthesis skills; classroom projects to support synthesis skills in student work, synthesis-related documentation and citation in the multiple choice section of the AP exam.
  • Multiple-Choice: deconstructing the AP multiple-choice test; organizing and implementing the multiple-choice strand in the class; test preparation and test-taking strategies for students.

July 16‐19

During the Summer Institute, we will examine both content and methods. We will discuss successful strategies, review samples from the current year's exam (and others), and share ideas. Participants will come away with further knowledge of the AP program and its goals, ideas and plans for teaching the English Language course, and various tools to help them prepare students. The workshop will be collaborative; participants should come with a willingness to contribute actively to discussion and a desire to learn, change, and grow.


Daily Schedule

  • Introductions, expectations
  • Brief overview of AP English Language and Composition
  • Equity and Access, content and student goals, texts, pacing
  • 2017 Exam highlights: What we learned from the Exam Readers
  • Sample Multiple Choice questions: approaches and problems
  • Creating a lesson plan to target reading skills
  • Teaching rhetorical analysis
  • Focus and review: sharing and discussing reading comprehension lesson plans
  • Teaching rhetorical analysis, continued: choosing readings, teaching concepts
  • Scoring samples
  • Integrating literature into the AP English Language curriculum
  • Creating a lesson and activities for an assigned reading
  • Introduction to argumentation
  • Focus and review: questions about teaching argumentation
  • Argumentation, continued
  • Classical, Toulmin, and Rogerian forms: Methods and concepts
  • Creating lesson plans
  • Scoring samples
  • The synthesis question: concepts and methods
  • Teaching visual literacy
  • Teaching writing
  • Handling the paper load, integrating grammar and usage, individualizing instruction
  • Presenting completed lesson plans
  • Establishing scope and sequence for the year
  • Networking
  • Sharing and discussion: what we do, what we need
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