The Best of 2013-2014: The Literary Banquet

I finished my last year of teaching AP this year.  I got a new job, and will probably not teach AP for a long time.  It’s pretty bittersweet to not be a part of this great class.

For those of you who haven’t taught it, AP English Literature is an English teacher’s dream.  Although you have to make a lot of decisions in terms of the curriculum, the caliber of student and the caliber of discussion are unparalleled. This is the class where students are able to connect personally with literature while still working on advanced analysis skills.  You can push kids to become so much more than they ever thought they could be. 

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One of the best experiences of my teaching has been the three years I conducted The AP Literary Banquet.  AP students already took the test, and were usually pretty zonked by the end of the year.  So, I always made their final our class Literary Banquet.  We celebrated our literary accomplishments with food and fun.  Here are the major components of The Literary Banquet:

  • We would all dress up like characters from the novels we read as a class.  I tended to be something kind of humorous—a drowned Ophelia, Big Brother, the green light from The Great Gatsby. My seniors were so in to this.  They were so convincing, and some of them utterly REFUSED to get out of character—I’ve encountered some pretty intense Victor Frankensteins and O’Briens. 
  • Students write letters as their characters to other characters attending the banquet.  They also have to present these letters in a creative, fun way.
  • Students MUST bring a literary inspired dish.  I have tasted Nurse Ratchet’s “Vegetable” soup, Myrtle Wilson’s love potion, and even Siddartha’s “Om”meal  cookies—all delicious.

It has always been a lot of fun, and usually a pretty emotional time with my students.  It is also when I gave my final speech to them, and presented them with their final presents: a notebook specifically picked out for each student with a letter from me inside.  These will always be some of my favorite memories with my students, and it always solidified the learning community created in AP.  Hopefully you find these resources helpful and inspirational!

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