Type of SyllabusWhat type of syllabus do you use in your AP Lit classroom--chronological, thematic, or subject?

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I generally use a thematic syllabus, although it occasionally falls along genre lines. For example, I begin the year with concentrated study of poetry, simply because most students are lacking the skills for analysis of the medium. Also, once students have a solid foundation in poetry, those skills translate into close contextual analysis for novels as well. Often, genre and theme cross in our study as well. For example, we may study both Beowulf and The Epic of Gilgamesh, looking at both epic structure and the archetype of the hero's quest. Overall, I've found that a thematic approach works best for maintaining a narrative of analysis throughout the year.

Sidenote: when teaching the AP Language class, I like to arrange my syllabus chronologically, but backwards. We begin with the most recent text, & work our way through time. This lets students build skills with more approachable texts, as well as giving them the most difficult analysis closer to the test.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When I taught AP Language & Composition. I went ahead and gave out a college-style syllabus that had chronological dates of all assignments due, tests, and a complete list of works that the students would be reading. That way, they could work ahead if they had a busy spell coming up, and there would be no surprises.

I was on a semester-long block schedule, and we read the following works as our "cornerstone" assignments: The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Crucible, and In Cold Blood. Each week I would hold three Socratic Seminars based on whatever work we were on at the time. I also included several shorter items, essays and poems, that corresponded to the themes. Two days a week were devoted to studying composition, rhetoric, and grammar, usually by examining the students' own work from practice tests.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I teach both the AP Lang and Lit courses and for both, I've used a theme-based syllabus.  For the Lang class, I try to have a variety of genres under each theme such as speeches, public documents, essays, and fiction.  For the Lit class, I do the same and each unit has a novel, a play, a selection of poetry, and a piece of nonfiction.

The first year I taught AP Lit I arranged my syllabus by genre and I found that the students skills dropped from not being continually exposed to the genre (mostly true for poetry), so I bagged that syllabus.

I give students a monthly syllabus so that they know what is coming for the next four weeks.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also use genre to divide my year.  After a week or two covering their summer reading and work, I generally start with something I think that group will really enjoy.  We review and practice analytical essay writing using this opening work.

After that, I generally do prose (short stories, novels, essays).  Drama and poetry are second semester studies, though students are regularly reading, analyzing, and writing outside of class all year.

This is really a matter of comfort and choice for the teacher;generally, as long as the appropriate skills are being taught, practiced, and reviewed, anything goes.

 

writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My syllabus is divided more by genre, then sub-divided by literary elements. First, we cover how to write an analytical essay, then we move into prose, followed by poetry, ending with drama. Within each of the genre units, we discuss important literary elements and read literature that most reflects that element. For example, when we talk about symbolism, we read Heart of Darkness; when we talk about irony, we read Candide, etc.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I try to take the works and arrange them chronologically if there is an order to them, or thematically if that works best.  My most important consideration is that the works are arranged in order of difficulty.  I want the easier works to be earlier in the class, with more difficult ones later once I have had a chance to develop their skills.

lindamerlo | Student

In addition to my syllabus, I have a 3-week grading checklist that I can post every three weeks.

The short-term thinking helps my students better manage their time and grades, and it often coincides with the beginning and ending of my thematic units.

epollock | Student

My syllabus is divided more by genre, then sub-divided by literary elements. First, we cover how to write an analytical essay, then we move into prose, followed by poetry, ending with drama. Within each of the genre units, we discuss important literary elements and read literature that most reflects that element. For example, when we talk about symbolism, we read Heart of Darkness; when we talk about irony, we read Candide, etc.

When you have a genre syllabus, what is the setup for covering materials such as novels, poems, and plays and short stories? Do you begin the year with one of those? 

epollock | Student

writergal06,

I have used an anthology for as long as I can remember teaching.  I feel that it offers the most flexibility along with adding novels or longer works at the end of the course in the last few months to give a wrap-up and conclusion to all the concepts we studied throughout the year.

I prefer either the Edgar Roberts text or Dana Gioia edition. I also intersperse the class with in-class essays after each literary element, along with ongoing monthly essays for homework.

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