Friday, December 20, 2013

Dear A.P. Literature Students...

December 20, 2013

Dear A.P. Lit scholars,

It was wonderful to see so many of you yesterday.  Please know that I have been thinking constantly about you; although I've been worrying about how you're doing, I also know how incredibly strong you are.  I was so proud of you for bravely walking back into our building on Thursday and reclaiming it. As someone who has been back in the school for the past three days, I can tell you that each time I reenter the school, it does get a little easier. Seeing all of your faces helps.

Some of you have been asking about the final exam that we were going to take last Tuesday.  After talking at length with with Mr. Kleeman and Mr. Miles, here is what we have decided:

We will offer, in lieu of a final exam, an optional full length practice A.P. Literature exam from 2:30-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 16 in rooms C-12, C-13 and C-16. We strongly recommend that our junior students and our seniors who have not taken A.P. Language take this practice exam. All A.P. Literature students, however, are welcome.

In terms of first semester grades, I will complete the grading of poetry papers and enter these over the break.  I will also enter the poetry project grades and any revisions that have been submitted to me in the past few weeks. If you have any concerns about your grade, please e-mail me.

I wish all of you restful, peaceful breaks.  Keep taking care of one another.

Much love,
Ms. Leclaire

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What do we want to know about the AP Literature exam?

1. Warm-up: Charlie's poetry project

2. Engaging in a little Q&A about the AP exam
  • In section one, how many multiple choice questions are there?
  • How much time do we have to answer them?
  • How many passages can we expect to read in the multiple choice section?
  • Are the passages mostly poems or mostly prose?
  • Are the passages mostly modern or mostly traditional?
  • Should we try to answer every single question?
  • What percentage of our AP score is the multiple choice section worth?
  • About how much money is spent on creating the average multiple choice question?
  • How many essays do we write in the second section of the test?
  • How much time do we have to write these essays?
  • Do I have to write the essays in order?
  • For the open prompt, do I have to pick a book from the list?
  • Who grades the AP tests?

3. Offering you some thoughts about A.P. Language essays vs. A.P. Literature essays

4. Taking a look at the essays (called "free responses") from the past three years and discussing strategies


Finish reading and annotating Invisible Man for Monday; bring your laptop to class if you have one.  Also, I strongly suggest rereading the Prologue once you've finished the book.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What larger patterns are Ellison's images starting to form?

1. Warm-up: A little sketching as we listen to Chapter 21

2. Socratic seminar: Discussing Chapters 18-22 of Invisible Man

3. Last 10 minutes: Wrapping up the discussion and trading bookmarks

1. Bring your review book to class tomorrow.

2. Finish reading and annotating Invisible Man for Monday's discussion; create your last "Big Question" blog entry of the semester for Invisible Man.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: How can we access poetry through our own creative processes?

1. Warm-up: Enjoying snack day

2. Finishing our last (but certainly not least) poetry presentations

3. Reflecting on the projects; please click HERE.

4. Distributing A.P. review books and starting to review for the midterm

Read through Chapter 22 for tomorrow's Socratic seminar on Invisible Man; prepare for the discussion by annotating well and by adding to your bookmarks, which you will trade in tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: How can we understand poetry through our own creative processes?

1. Warm-up: Taking a moment to celebrate Alex Baughman

What Alex has to say about Henry IV:
"Henry IV speaks of honor, truth, and nobility, but it also reveals the dark conquest man takes to achieve these qualities. Through Shakespeare’s retelling of historic events in Henry IV, the battle between good and evil arises once again as man strives to be pure."

What Alex has to say about Wuthering Heights:
"The constant revenge and darkness of Wuthering Heights would lead to the conclusion that humankind is naturally evil; however, even in the darkest moments there is a hint of goodness."

What Alex has to say about Oedipus Rex:
"We try to cover up our animalistic qualities through our actions, but in the end we still commit terrible crimes."

What Mrs. Lee has to say about Alex:
Alex is "kind, polite, respectful, [with] a good sense of humor. He doesn't take himself too seriously and accepts criticism graciously."

What Mr. Smith has to say about Alex:
"Alex is, without a doubt, one of the top one or two juniors in our AP Physics class!"

(And, yes, there are only 2 juniors in our class.  That's what makes it funny.)

(But Alex is actually a great kid and does a great job in this tough class!)

What Mrs. Bretz has to say about Alex:
"A modest student who never wants to let people know how smart he really is!"

From Mrs. Bradley:
Thank you for taking Health with me. I enjoy having you in class. To you and everyone in AP Literature, make smart choices. Balance your PMS.... Not that... Your Physical, Mental and Social health. Take care of your mind, body and soul. Find your happy. :)"

What Alex's mom and dad have to say about Alex:
“Alex is an unassuming gem.  On the surface he's your typical teenager plugged into one or multiple devices and wearing summer clothes in winter(!) but underneath he has a maturity and strength of character beyond his years.  No transformation into a horrendous teenager, just the opposite.  Alex's endearing personality and funny sense of humor get better with age."

~ Tom and Debbie Baughman

Also, they included this picture:

2. Enjoying each other's poetry presentations

1. Read through Chapter 22 of Invisible Man by Thursday; prepare for Socratic by annotating and adding to your bookmark.

2. Watch "The Sing-Off."

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: How can we understand poetry through our own creations?

1. Turning in your poetry essays and reflecting on what went well and what didn't

2. Establishing the presentation order for the next three days

3. Enjoying poetry presentations!

1. Read and annotate Chapters 19, 20, 21 and 22 for Thursday's Socratic seminar. Keep filling in your bookmark and bring it to class on Thursday to trade.

2. Please come see me this week if you have any concerns about your grade, or if you'd like to go over any of your writings with me.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What patterns of movement are you noticing in Invisible Man?

1. Warm-up: Thinking about symbols and movement (or lack thereof?) in Invisible Man

Step 1: Make a list of intriguing objects and minor characters you've encountered in the novel so far

Step 2: This is the creative part...try to spacially organize these objects in a way that reflect movement in the novel.  Is the narrator moving in a circle? In a downward spiral? Up a hill?  In a boomerang? Something totally different?  Where should the different objects lie on this pattern of motion and why?

2. Socratic seminar or small groups--your choice: Chapters 18 and 19 of Invisible Man

1. Poetry projects and papers due Monday.  Yep.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What help do you need from me?

1. Warm-up: Finishing up yesterday's MC discussion

2. Working on projects and papers

PROJECT PEOPLE: Please print a hard copy of your poem for me today.  I will make a packet of all of your poems for the class.  Include your name and the poet's name on your printout.

Also, remember that your project does need to include a polished, dramatic reading of your poem.

PAPER PEOPLE: Please include an MLA heading on your paper and page numbers. Staple your poem to the back of your essay. 

There should be a thesis somewhere in your essay, but it doesn't need to be at the end of the first paragraph.

In the explication/analysis portion of your essay, please organize your paragraphs by argument; then, use poetic devices (allusion, metaphor, imagery, alliteration, repetition, slant rhyme, etc.) to support your arguments.

1. Prepare for tomorrow's fishbowl discussion of Invisible Man, Chapters 17 and 18.

2. Continue working on your project or paper (due Monday).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 4, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: How can we apply our brilliance to the daunting multiple choice questions on the AP test?

1. Warm-up: Discussing how to read a prose passage for an AP Literature multiple choice section

What Ms. Leclaire does:

I pretend that I'm sitting on my couch at home, sipping coffee from my Keurig and reading this passage for pleasure.  I ignore the multiple choice questions until I'm done reading the passage.

a. I read the first inch and the last inch very carefully as I attempt to decipher the tone.  If there is hyperbole (exaggeration) or understatement, or if it just kind of sounds Victorian, I strongly suspect irony.

b. I try to figure out what makes the characters complex.  If the characters are overly simplified and not particularly believable as humans, once again, I suspect irony. I also examine the characters' relationships with each other.

c. I take a good look at the setting and how it connects to the characters.

d. I seek tension and resolution (or lack of resolution). In other words, what central problem is established, and what happens with that problem?

2. Reading Prose Passage #3 (1987) together and discussing the first inch, the last inch, the characters, the setting, the tension, and the resolution

3. Finding the "key" to each question

4. Talking through the answers to questions 1-15

1. Bring your paper/project/Invisible Man to class tomorrow for work time and conferences.

2. Read Chapters 18 and 19 for Friday's Socratic.

3. Papers and projects are due Monday.

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 3, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What are our expectations for the poetry papers and projects?

1. Part 1: Viewing three poetry projects

Think about the poetry project like this: Find the strongest connection between the best parts of the poem and the best parts of you.

As you watch, think about this: What aspects of the poems do you think the project creators connected to?

Please note that each project was either introduced or followed with an in-depth analysis of the poem and the choices made during the creation of the project.

2. Part 2: Reading through two poetry papers

Note: The format of this essay differs from the traditional five-paragraph essay.  Please pay careful attention to the directions on the poetry overview, and keep in mind that the analysis of the poem should dictate several body paragraphs, not just one.

3. Taking time for individuals in desperate need of conferences!


1. Continue working on your poetry paper/project (due Monday).

2. Read and carefully annotate the next two chapters of Invisible Man for Friday's Socratic.

3. Bring Friday's multiple choice practice to class tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 2, 2013: What's Happening in A.P. Literature?

Focus: What is (d)evolving in Invisible Man, and what remains unchanged?

1. Warm-up: Exploring the evolving (or devolving?) patterns in Chapters 1-16 of Invisible Man

Find the single most important line in your assigned chapter and read it aloud.

As you listen, consider what these lines have in common.  In other words, what patterns do they establish?

Draw conclusions by considering these questions:
What's evolving?  What only seems like it's evolving?
What's devolving?
What's staying the same, and why is this important?

2. Socratic seminar: Chapters 15 and 16 of Invisible Man

3. Wrapping up discussion and exchanging bookmarks

1. Go back to your metacognitive writing and paste your poem directly into it.  Also, at the top of your writing, please indicate whether you are completing a project or a poem.

2. Bring your paper/project materials to class tomorrow, which will largely be a work day and conference day.

3. Read Chapters 17 and 18 of Invisible Man for Friday's Socratic; remember that your bookmark and your annotations are your reading ticket.