Presentation on theme: "The Century Quilt Take the first 5-7 minutes:"— Presentation transcript:
1Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Writing the ap essay
2The Century Quilt Take the first 5-7 minutes: Read the century quilt and the promptDetermine what the prompt is asking you to write aboutWrite a thesis for this prompt
3One PromptIs 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?
4One 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?
5One 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.
6Raising 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?
7The 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.
10…and the Problem again… 2010 Q1 Sample XX; score: 2
11…and the Problem again2010 Q1 Sample R – Score 4
12What important tasks are these essay writers failing to take on? These writers don’t 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.”
13The 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.
14The fallacies of Personalizing and Quantifying meaning. The prompt will NEVER ask you to write about HOW MUCH something means to someone.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.
15Review the Prompt for 2010 Q1Read 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.
17What 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 quilt’s theme or meanings respects that fact that the poem’s meaning is not static but “develops” as we read and as we deepen our understanding of the work.
18What 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 poem’s theme (i.e.“complex meanings”).
19How 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:
20A different way to succeed: 2010 Q1 Sample VVV – Score 8
21A 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 quilt’s meaning.
22The Always-Never ListAlways 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 writer’s 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.
23What 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.
24Question 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 Hervey’s complex character as Edgeworth develops it through such literary techniques as tone, point of view, and language.
25Question 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.
26Q3 and The Uni-Prompt2010 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 character’s birthplace, family, homeland, or other special place. Then write an essay in which you analyze how the character’s 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.
27Q3 and The Uni-PromptNevertheless, 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 character’s 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.
28Reviewing the prompt Read the prompt at least twice out loud Take some time alone to notice things that stand out and mark it upIn small groups, compare and discuss what you noticed and marked on the prompt
29Reviewing 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.
30Examining Sample Essays Don’t 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.
31Sample Essay Discussion Procedure Read the assigned sample essays from your packet.Score each essay from 1-9 (we do not have any “–” or “0” scores today) and WRITE DOWN YOUR SCORES!Once everyone at your table has scored the essays, you may begin to discuss the essay.The table leaders’ consensus score will be announced, with brief commentary.Discuss the essays again at your table with the aim of coming to a consensus.
32Essential 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 themIdentifying 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 aboveFormulating a “reading” of the text that responds fully and clearly to the prompt
33Essential Composition Skills Writing Analytic ParaphraseUsing embedded quotationsAppealing to the intelligent reader with plausible interpretation and carefully presented evidence
34Now 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 tableGive each other feedback and comments to improve the thesis statementNow complete a rewrite of the essay on “The Pupil”