:: 2015 AP* Summer Institutes at UT Austin

AP English Literature and Composition
for New AP Teachers

Institute Code AP15039
July 27 - 30, 2015, 8AM to 4:45PM
UT Thompson Conference Center

We will begin our session with a full review and analysis of the exam itself, and consider strategies that help our students prepare for both the essay responses and the multiple-choice section. We will discuss “backward design,” “test preparation,” and “teaching to the test.” We will review sample essays from the AP Readings, conduct practice readings and discussions, and practice analyzing and constructing part-one questions, spending part of our time placing ourselves in the position of our students. We will practice effective classroom lessons designed to promote close critical reading.

In addition to the AP exam and program, we will address such topics as student selection processes, the College Board policy of equity and access, selection of appropriate texts, the maintenance and expansion of the literary canon, the frequency and extent of composition and revision, the promotion of clear and cogent writing, the development of voice, interdisciplinary instruction, summer reading programs, and others that you wish to address.

In addition, I will assign a few short readings of imaginative literature during the week. I have selected pieces that we should find interesting and worthwhile.

To prepare for our session I ask that you visit the home page for AP English Literature and Composition on the College Board website www.collegeboard.com/apcentral, and familiarize yourself with the online materials you find there.

One major goal for the week is for teachers to have time to improve their practices and assignments. Another objective for the week is that cohorts will leave the session refreshed and prepared to return with enthusiasm to their students, who will be the chief beneficiaries of our work together this summer. Please feel free to contact me with your concerns, especially if there are topics of particular interest to you. I look forward to a stimulating, fun, and productive week!

Teachers should bring the following to the institute:

  • A copy of their current syllabus
  • A piece (or pieces) of fiction with which they can construct meaningful lessons
  • Participants should read and bring one of the following texts before the seminar:
    • Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones
    • The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje
    • Moloka’I by Alan Brennert

Lead Consultant: Gretchen Polnac

Gretchen Polnac taught AP literature and film for 31 years in the Austin Independent School District in Austin, Texas, where she received numerous teaching awards. She then taught for six years at The University of Texas in UTeach Liberal Arts, guiding pre-service teachers though their professional sequence of methods courses. She continues to teach part-time at Austin Community College in the Developmental Writing Department.

Gretchen’s undergraduate work was completed at The University of Texas and her graduate work at Texas State University and The University of Texas. She is a national consultant for The College Board and for the National Math & Science Initiative in both AP Literature and Language and was a long time reader for the AP Literature and Composition Exam. In January 2010, Gretchen participated in The Professor’s Study Tour with The Anti-Defamation League Echoes and Reflections Program in Israel. In January 2012, Gretchen trained teachers and students in O’ahu Hawaii on AP strategies and techniques.

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