I don't like being tied to a textbook. Although it's a lot of effort and paper to print copies, printing allows my students to annotate and have additional interaction with the text. I also like the freedom to include whatever I want, without being asked if I am using that expensive textbook!
I would highly recommend that you contact the National Writing Project and find out where your state's closest affiliated writing project is. I experienced the Ozarks Writing Project two years ago, and it transformed my life as a teacher. It really focuses on teachers teaching teachers successful writing strategies, and it's all backed up with strategies from proven resources. It also forces teachers who are teaching writing to recognize that they too should be writers. We can't expect our students to do it if we don't:D Check it out. You won't be sorry.
Another text to consider is a reader of sample essays, such as The Riverside Reader, Subjects and Strategies, or Models for Writing. Students have also liked selections from Thank you for Arguing. As students learn the elements of rhetoric and become more critical readers, we can then translate some of those skills into their writing.
I'm currently teaching AP Lang and Comp and we use The Language of Composition along with full-length novels and nonfiction texts. The Language of Composition text gives clear discussions in the first three chapters on the basics of argumentation and synthesis and the remaining chapters are listed by thematic topics. There are writing prompts and student sample essays included as well.
Another great text, however, is DiYanni's Frames of Mind. This text is broken up by rhetorical types and thus provides a more guided practice for learning the various rhetorical modes. There are also "occasions for writing" in each chapter that give clear guidelines for writing in these modes.
When I taught AP Language & Composition, I did not use a literature textbook. Instead, I planned four distinct units of literature study, each focused on a primary selection of some length, and including several short selections related thematically and/or chronologically.
My primary selections were The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Crucible, and In Cold Blood. We used these texts as the linchpin for class discussions that took the form of Socratic seminars. I chose these works because I wanted to use American literature. My students were also taking AP U.S. History simultaneously with my course.
Do you mean AP Language & Composition? And, by textbook, do you mean an anthology?
It depends on how your district poses the class. Most AP Lang courses are offered the junior year, which usually coincides with British Literature. If that's the case, then the Longman Anthology of British Literature is a good resource.
Personally, my favorite has been a homespun reader put together by the Eng 101 crew at Kean University, NJ. It's just a collection of essays in the point-counterpoint style, arranged by essay type. All of which is to say, you can create your own "reader" through the wonders of desktop publishing and teacher collaboration.
As for test preparation, I strongly suggest Cliff's Notes AP Language by Barbara Swovelin. My students have scored well with her approach to writing.
For unit plans and a timeline for the class, I use
- 5 Steps to a 5: AP English Language. It's a test prep book.
For excellent selections in nonfiction, I use
- Barron's AP English Language and Composition.
In the Barron's book, I suggest "For Whom the Bell Tolls" which can be used as a jumping off point for other nonfiction works on the topic of ethics.
Thanks for the feed back guys!
I was thinking about using, The Language of Composition, Reading. Writing. Rhetoric, by Shea, Scanlon & Aufses and The Aims of Aurgument, by Crusius & Channell.
Any other suggestions?