Welcome to English III AP!!
The students have been getting an introduction to AP style analysis through our work with The Grapes of Wrath and various other readings. We examined several passages in the novel and discussed their meaning and impact on the novel. The students learned that close examination can reveal a new interest in the literature due to recognizing aspects such as symbolism, allusions, the philosophy(s) of the author, and writing style.
Since a focus of the course will be the American Dream, we explored the student definitions of that dream and read a sermon by Martin Luther King, Jr. in which he discusses his views on the subject. We then read a speech by Frederick Douglass discussing his perspective on the 4th of July. The students re-examined their definition of those subjects and created a visual of that definition.
We began style analysis using "Transfiguration," by Annie Dillard. After reading the selection, the students answered questions designed to focus their attention on certain aspects of Dillard's style in this piece. We will annotate that passage extensively this week (9-4). They also read a discussion by Ms. Dillard on how she wrote the selection. This helps them see that revision is a truly valuable concept. Hopefully, this will carry over into their own writing.
Another aspect of our study is the practice of various sentence structures. In order to reach that new level of writing, the students have to recognize the importance of varying their own sentence structures depending on their purpose. On the AP test, they must demonstrate mastery of this skill.
Vocabulary is a never-ending task. We have weekly vocabulary quizzes, and the students are to look up any words they do not understand in any of the readings they are assigned. This will help them on the standardized tests they will be taking this year (PSAT, SAT, AP). Along with this will be practice on analogies, usually a weak area for students.
I know the students are going through a little shock right now regarding the work load in their junior year. It does takes some adjusting. This shock may be reflected in their progress report grades. Many times, it takes a wakeup call to get them to understand the level at which they need to work. I have no doubt they will survive and proper.
I will be announcing some outside reading to be done which is designed to broaden their literature base and, hopefully, renew their interest in reading. They will not have to do anything for this novel except demonstrate they read it in a short writing or discussion. I will also be announcing their next novel for thorough study. It most likely will be The Scarlet Letter.
As you can see, we are going to be very busy this year. The major areas of reading, analysis, writing, and vocabulary demand large chunks of time which translates into the student having responsibility for work outside of class. Please encourage them to stick with it and to have faith that they will be successful.
As I have said, I am always available for tutoring or questions. Please feel free to contact me at any time.