Tackling Four Preps with One Prep Period (Part I)

Yesterday, I indulged my less-confident side, and wondered what I would do if I left K-12 education. Today, it’s time to bounce back.

(Day 9 of the 30-Day Writing Challenge)

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Each course is a “prep.” Each has its requirements, curriculum, units, standards, and lessons. To teach the course effectively, teachers use strategies proven successful for that content and those skills. When we have four (or some of my friends have more) preps and one prep period, we need to find a way to manage the tasks associated with them more effectively.

Find Commonalities

This semester, I teach AP Literature and Composition, English 11, Creative Writing I, and Journalism. What are the commonalities among those courses?

Theme and Main Idea

Theme and Main Idea are important to each of these courses. Although each student group will need scaffolding and differentiated instruction, the foundation can be the same. I may even find that all students need the same level of scaffolding and differentiated instruction. Once I meet my students, I will know.

Character Analysis and Development

We spend significant time in AP Lit, English 11, and Creative Writing discussing character analysis and development, albeit through different lenses. In AP, we examine an existing character; in Creative Writing, we examine our creations. We can also examine character through the lens of objective reporting in Journalism class.

I imagine the same Key Questions from AP Lit applying to the other classes, forming the foundation for exploration.

These key questions I created using the AP Lit Course and Exam Description document as a guide could be used in each course:

  1. How do description, dialogue, and behavior reveal characters to readers?
  2. How do characters reveal their values?
  3. How is the reader’s interpretation of a character affected by indirect characterization?
  4. What is a character’s agency and how is it revealed through the narrative?
  5. How is perspective revealed? How is attitude revealed?
  6. How is conflict employed by the author to bring about changes within a character? What are some reasons for conflicts?
  7. How does comparison (by a narrator, speaker, or character) of one character to something or someone else reveal aspects of the character compared and the character’s placement or role within the narrative?
  8. How can readers infer a character’s motives?

Figurative Language

Each student group will benefit from a review of figurative language. It still amazes me to realize how often we speak in metaphor and simile, for example, and yet students tell me each year that they struggle to unpack both concepts.

Then the rhetorical devices also come to mind. Repetition, for example, and how it is used for emphasis in persuasive speech.

Finally, we can all benefit from a review of sound devices like alliteration, assonance, consonance, and rhyme schemes. Plus, they are fun to learn.

I will make more alignments in my next post.

Create Common Units and Activities

I wrote about a unit called “How Will You Change the World?” in a previous post. That unit went well, and I plan to do it again this year. I can do it with all the students I teach, and strive to build their self-confidence.

I also have other ideas that I could use earlier in the year.

  • Common Bell Ringers to review writing skills, vocabulary, and grammar.
  • Writer Workshops to explore the writing process.
  • Critical thinking workshops to hone those important skills.
  • Independent reading projects to help them learn how to manage their time and projects.

In tomorrow’s post, I will continue to bounce back from how I felt during day 8. Thank you for reading the ninth post in my 30-Day Writing Challenge.

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