AP English Literature
On-Line for the 2019-2020 School Year
Teacher: Kay Ben-Avraham
Instructor: Kay ben-Avraham (misskayAP@gmail.com)
If you are an eleventh or twelfth grader looking for a highly interactive class to cultivate your interest and aptitude for literary studies, this class is for you! This course will help you learn to appreciate—and, more challenging, articulate—the subtleties and complexities of language through close readings of poetry, drama, short stories, novels, essays of the English canon, and People magazine. (That last one was just to check that you’re awake.)
Our class has avid readers and competent writers—courageous enough to share their opinions and writings with classmates, and courteous enough to respond to others in a manner which fosters intellectual exploration and debate. We enjoy a lively discussion of ideas, and we work towards the effective formulation of those ideas in written form. In this community of scholars, students find not only literature, but also friendship!
Most of your coursework will be asynchronous, so you can arrange your work around other responsibilities. The one exception will be your forty-minute weekly live discussion section, in which you and fellow students join me in guided discussion about that week’s reading material. I am flexible about working with students who have travel or other commitments (debate tournaments, for example). However, the commitment is significant! A student who cannot easily read eighty pages per week will struggle to keep up with the assignments. Since our pace and material will be advanced, I do not recommend this course for students who need remedial instruction in grammar, reading comprehension, or basic writing skills. Plan for about two hours per day for this course.
Some of your coursework may also be pieces you can submit to state or national contests, so that you’ll be working toward your class grade at the same time as you are accumulating honors for college applications and your resume. I will be making students aware of a few contest opportunities throughout the year, but students are also encouraged to do their own research and approach me with contests they would like to enter, and we can work together to tailor or replace a class assignment to suit the contest entry requirements. I’m not a believer in busy work—I want your work in this class to serve you well and help you toward your academic or career goals.
Each Friday I send out a brief discussion of the literature and concepts that we will be working on for the coming week. I encourage students to take the weekends—or at least one weekend day—off when possible. (The creative and analytical capabilities of the mind do far better with regular cycles of work and rest.) Some assignments are due Wednesday midnight, but most are due by week’s end.
Although the focus of this class is the adoration of books—more commonly known as “the study of literature”—we also prepare for the challenging AP exam in May. You can expect to gain a vocabulary of literary terms as well as a familiarity with test-taking skills and strategies. Too, you will develop independence of judgment, a capacity for critical reading, and a strong, clear voice as a writer—skills that will stand you in good stead when pursuing an undergraduate degree (and, truly, in any profession you pursue!). You will participate in reading that fully engages both the intellect and the imagination. By the end of the course, the quality and depth of your writing will have increased and be characterized by confidence and insight.
The Chosen, Chaim Potok
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
Beloved, Toni Morrison
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
Cliff’s AP Literature and Composition, 3rd edition, Allan Casson (optional)
Short stories, poems, and essays will all be supplied by me
There is no cost beyond the registration fee, unless you choose to purchase the novels, or if you discover a contest to enter that requires a submission fee.
Tech Needs: Students must have reliable Internet access, Microsoft Office, and a working microphone (video optional) for live discussion sessions.
Class Fee: $700 for registrations received by June 30; $725 after that time.
Class Dates: Class runs from Monday, August 29, 2019 to Friday, May 15, 2020. The exam date is May 6, 2020. All U.S. national holidays will have no assignments due. There is a week break in the fall, a half-week break for Thanksgiving, a two-week break in December, and a one-week break in the spring (usually March or April).
Questions? Please do send them my way! misskayAP@gmail.com
Instructor Qualifications: I graduated with high honors from Messiah College, where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Since graduation in 2008, I have run my own freelance writing and editing business (you can take a peek at my business website, www.forwantofanail.net, and theoretical bonus points if you get the reference!). This means I’ve had the pleasure of editing many different types of writing, from poetry collections to science fiction to autobiographies to PhD dissertations, and more. I am also currently pursuing a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature through Signum University, where I help run their Signum Symposia series; and I have presented academic papers and creative writing selections at several of their regional conferences. I substitute taught for this very course in the past three years while Ruth Green was the (superb) head teacher, and this will be my second year conducting the course myself.
Click here to open or download an application to this class (Microsoft Word document)
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