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ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION WRITING THE AP ESSAY.

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Presentation on theme: "ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION WRITING THE AP ESSAY."— Presentation transcript:

1 ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION WRITING THE AP ESSAY

2 The Century Quilt Take the first 5-7 minutes: Read the century quilt and the prompt Determine what the prompt is asking you to write about Write a thesis for this prompt

3 One Prompt Is there a single, essential question that you are being asked each time you write your essay in class? What do you think you are asked to write each time?

4 One Prompt (the uni-prompt) All three AP Lit questions are versions of a single question: How do writers use literary techniques in order to communicate (or explore) specific, complex meanings?

5 One prompt What implications does this have? The uni-prompt is, in a nutshell, what you have been studying in literature classes since elementary school. In an AP Lit class, the focus on this master-task narrows and intensifies.

6 Raising the level of student work Essays scored 4 or lower most often result from students simplifying the task. A series of lower-scoring sample essay opening paragraphs will be projected in the next few slides. What instructions would you give these students in order to get them to engage the task more fully?

7 The Prompt and the Problem The following prompt can be found on Question 1 of the 2010 AP English Lit/Comp Exam: Read carefully the following poem by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. Then write an essay analyzing how Waniek employs literary techniques to develop the complex meanings that the speaker attributes to The Century Quilt. You may wish to consider such elements as structure, imagery, and tone.

8 The Problem… 2010 Q1 Sample B; score: 4

9 …and the Problem again… 2010 Sample A; score: 3

10 …and the Problem again… 2010 Q1 Sample XX; score: 2

11 …and the Problem again 2010 Q1 Sample R – Score 4

12 What important tasks are these essay writers failing to take on? These writers dont discuss specific complex meanings that the speaker attributes to The Century Quilt. They introduce specific literary techniques without stating how these are used by the poet to develop the complex meanings that the speaker attributes to The Century Quilt.

13 The Pitfalls of Personalizing and Quantifying meaning. All of these ineffective essays commit one or more of these errors: they respond as if the prompt is asking how the speaker feels about the quilt, or they respond as if the prompt is asking HOW MUCH the quilt means, or they respond as if the prompt is asking HOW MANY literary devices are used by the author.

14 The fallacies of Personalizing and Quantifying meaning. 1. The prompt will NEVER ask you to write about HOW MUCH something means to someone. 2. Literary Techniques are not added to a work of literature. They are the work of literature in exactly the same way that a painting is composed of brush strokes.

15 Review the Prompt for 2010 Q1 Read carefully the following poem by Marilyn Nelson Waniek. Then write an essay analyzing how Waniek employs literary techniques to develop the complex meanings that the speaker attributes to The Century Quilt. You may wish to consider such elements as structure, imagery, and tone.

16 What an adequate response might look like: Sample YYY; score: 9

17 What strategies does this highly successful student-writer use? The first paragraph has a thesis which defines the complex meanings attributed to the quilt. The description of the quilts theme or meanings respects that fact that the poems meaning is not static but develops as we read and as we deepen our understanding of the work.

18 What is this highly successful student- writer NOT doing? The student does not repeat the prompt. There is no laundry list of technical terms for literary techniques. There is not much of a distracting grabber-type introduction. Nearly all of this first paragraph is about the poem; there is a brief grabber sentence, but it is seamlessly related to the statement of the poems theme (i.e.complex meanings).

19 How does the successful writer introduce the literary techniques? The one technique mentioned in ¶ 1, symbol, is not from the list of suggested techniques in the prompt; moreover, it is embedded in a meaningful statement about a specific idea:

20 A different way to succeed: 2010 Q1 Sample VVV – Score 8

21 A different way to succeed VVV remains vague in the first paragraph and does not provide a specific interpretation of the complex meanings attributed by the speaker to the quilt. However, the student does not dumb down the task and, eventually, produces a specific statement connecting the structure of the poem with a specific description of the quilts meaning.

22 The Always-Never List Always spend as much time as possible writing; never begin writing until you have a thesis. Always respond directly to the prompt; never repeat the prompt. Always begin with an interesting and clear thesis; never begin with a paragraph-long grabber-type introduction. Always focus on how the writers use of literary techniques communicates the meaning of the text; never discuss one literary device per body paragraph. Always use many short quotations to support your analysis; never use a quotation from the poem/passage/work unless it is first introduced and then fully explained in relation to the prompt and thesis.

23 What is the AP English Literature Exam asking student-writers to master? Every single essay prompt that ever was or will be asked on the AP English Literature exam is a version of the universal prompt, or, uni-prompt: How do writers use literary techniques to communicate or explore (complex) meanings.

24 Question 2 and The Uni-Prompt The similarity between Q1 and Q2 is easy to see: 2010 Question 2 (Prose): Read the passage carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze Clarence Herveys complex character as Edgeworth develops it through such literary techniques as tone, point of view, and language.

25 Question 3 and The Uni-Prompt However, Q3 seems different, and in some ways it is. Q3 does not provide students with a text, but requires that students come to the exam having already thoroughly studied how literary techniques function in a specific work of literature.

26 Q3 and The Uni-Prompt 2010 Question 3 (Open):Select a novel, play, or epic in which a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from home, whether that home is the characters birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the characters experience with exile is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. You may choose a work from the list below or one of comparable literary merit. Do not merely summarize the plot.

27 Q3 and The Uni-Prompt Nevertheless, if you look closely, you will find that Q3 is also a version of the uni-prompt. The literary technique the student must discuss is referred to in these phrases: a character experiences such a rift and becomes cut off from home, analyze how the characters experience with exile… The complex truth being communicated is in this phrase: …is both alienating and enriching, and how this experience illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole. In other words, in 2010/Q3 the student is being asked to discuss a work in which a writer uses the literary device of a character who experiences exile in order to communicate a complex truth about the alienation and richness of exile.

28 Reviewing the prompt 1. Read the prompt at least twice out loud 2. Take some time alone to notice things that stand out and mark it up 3. In small groups, compare and discuss what you noticed and marked on the prompt

29 Reviewing the scoring guide Do not begin reading the scoring guide at 9. Instead read the description of a 5 essay first, then read the description of a 4/3 essay. After that, you may proceed in any order you would like. Notice the repeated or almost repeated phrases and words that establish the distinctions between the various score-descriptions. In particular notice the significant differences between the descriptions of upper half (5-9) essays and the description for 4/3 essays.

30 Examining Sample Essays Dont focus too much on whether this essay is good or bad. Look at what strategies the student writer has used and whether these strategies have been used effectively or not.

31 Sample Essay Discussion Procedure 1. Read the assigned sample essays from your packet. 2. Score each essay from 1-9 (we do not have any – or 0 scores today) and WRITE DOWN YOUR SCORES! 3. Once everyone at your table has scored the essays, you may begin to discuss the essay. 4. The table leaders consensus score will be announced, with brief commentary. 5. Discuss the essays again at your table with the aim of coming to a consensus.

32 Essential Pre-Writing Skills Analyzing the prompt and understanding how it relates to the uni-prompt Identifying significant discrete elements in a text, and the relations between them Identifying patterns and repeated identical or similar elements, then comparing and contrasting them and placing them all within a single narrative. Reviewing the text to see what important elements may have been left out after the first two steps above Formulating a reading of the text that responds fully and clearly to the prompt

33 Essential Composition Skills Writing Analytic Paraphrase Using embedded quotations Appealing to the intelligent reader with plausible interpretation and carefully presented evidence

34 Now its your turn… Using the timed write The Pupil Review the prompt Write a well written sophisticated thesis statement. Share your thesis statement with the members of your table Give each other feedback and comments to improve the thesis statement Now complete a rewrite of the essay on The Pupil


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