How do you teach AP Literature and Composition in the same class?I have two classes for AP Literature and Language Composition, but would like to teach both subjects for each class. I'm thinking...

How do you teach AP Literature and Composition in the same class?

I have two classes for AP Literature and Language Composition, but would like to teach both subjects for each class. I'm thinking about dividing the students in classes depending on their placement grades. It's a big change, but it would enable me to provide a more thorough and general understanding of the english language.
Any suggestions on how to teach two subjects in one class?

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The focus of the two courses is very different.  I do not think combining them is the best idea.  If you have two sections, I would focus on the AP Language Course with one and AP Literature witht he other.  You have to get a syllabus approved, so either way you have to write two- one for each course to be approved by the College Board.

If you absolutely have to do this, I would choose fiction books that can also be analyzed for rhetorical strategies.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Check with you school and your state to see what the requirements and restrictions are for a class that is going to be promoted as an AP class. If you get the approval, take plenty of time to plan, troubleshoot, and plan some more. Many programs with good potential are ruined through a too hasty rush to get them going. If things work the way they are, don't be in too much of a hurry. The old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure holds true.

docmelillo | Student

I have done this with an all year 4X4 block schedule, but you could adapt this accordingly. AP students need to be able to handle reading and writing at the same time anyway, so make sure they are always reading a novel out of class. Create a syllabus where students are focusing on a kind of writing each or at least every two weeks. Here is an example syllabus:


Week 1-2 Descriptive essay: Review the elements of a descriptive essay.Review figures of speech as they will be expected to know these for the AP Lit. exam. As an example use the "Allie's baseball glove" description (pg.38 A CATCHER IN THE RYE) or one of the intercallary chapters in GRAPES OF WRATH. Have the students write their own descriptive essay. Use a rubric (AP 1-9 or 6-Traits) to have students students do peer evaluations.

Give a close reading quiz on selected passages on the first four chapters of THE GRAPES OF WRATH which included AP type multiple choice and a short literary analysis of the passage. Have them practice opening their analysis with "In this passage (character's name) (describe situation on one sentence). (then discuss significance of this passage using quote snipets within discussion).  Another opening could be "In this passage Steinbeck utilizes (literary device) to convey (theme of passage) (for what purpose).

Narrative,  comparison/contrast, persuasive, literary analysis and other types of essays can be applied to current literature.

epollock | Student


Do you mean that you have two AP Lit classes and you want to teach AP Lit and Language to both classes so that each class will have half AP Lit and the other half AP English Lang?

For all the years I have been teaching both, I have always separated them.  Here is why.

The College Board states that:

The AP Program unequivocally supports the principle that each individual school must develop its own curriculum for courses labeled “AP.” Rather than mandating any one curriculum for AP courses, the AP Course Audit instead provides each AP teacher with a set of expectations that college and secondary school faculty
nationwide have established for college-level courses. AP teachers are encouraged to develop or maintain their own curriculum that either includes or exceeds each of
these expectations; such courses will be authorized to use the “AP” designation.

So, essentially you could do anything you want in the class. But to accomplish that where..."

(a) students choosing AP English Language and Composition should be interested in studying and writing various kinds of analytic or persuasive essays on nonliterary topics, and
(b) students choosing AP English Literature and Composition should be interested in studying literature of various periods and genres and using this wide reading knowledge in discussions of literary topics.

Having them continually write both might be problematic. Since we teach skills and not content, I have always taught both courses to different students because of the necessary exposure students need to develop those skills.

If you have upper-level students and highly motivated with enough time to do plenty of outside writing, I could see it working.  For the majority of students, I can't see them handling the heavy workload.