Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Genius Practice

Writing can be a complicated and intimidating endeavor. As an Advanced Placement and honors English teacher, I regularly encounter students who write beautifully, have some sense of their talent, yet are nonetheless terrified of producing something that they fear will fail to live up to what they feel great writing should be.  I also encounter students at the other end of the spectrum who, although they are interacting with concepts of literary analysis at a very sophisticated level, struggle to express their ideas coherently and directly in their writing.

In order to become comfortable and adept as a writer, it is important to write regularly.  Practice does not make perfect, but it significantly increases a writer's comfort level.  Unfortunately for my burgeoning pupils, the typical AP English literary analysis writing assignment, although necessary and rewarding in many ways, can be so strenuous and difficult that it frustrates student writers as much as it encourages them.  

The best way that I know to quickly cultivate writing comfort and to develop a personal voice is to regularly write down brief pithy insights and observations in a personal journal.  Frequent reflective writing can facilitate comfort and fluidity with the written word in a way that formal academic prose cannot.  There is nothing that teaches composition as well as repeated, regular practice. 

With this in mind, fGeniusrom now until two weeks before the exam, you will be responsible for creating a blog.  Blogs maintain a structure and format similar to those of personal journals, but because they are published for a group of readers, they force writers to publish their work for an audience, and this often leads to more polished and clever writing.  

You should complete a minimum of two blog entries per week; your entries should be dated before the first and last class of the week, typically Monday and Friday or Tuesday and Thursday.  These entries should be a minimum of 250 words and should represent your best writing. 

One entry per week should be a reflection related to something that we are reading in class.  However, unlike your more formal analysis writing, this reflection can be your personal reaction to the piece or even a comparison to something else in the world, personal or not.  It is up to you how to creatively connect your writing to the literature of this class.

The topic of the other weekly entry is completely up to you.  I only ask that you create writing specifically for this blog, rather than submit work for another writing assignment or another class.  

Write something brilliant!  You will be sharing your work with your classmates and me, and I will give instructions for how to offer feedback to one another as the semester progresses.  

As I am sure you already know, your writing needs to be school appropriate, and you should not share any personal information, photos, addresses, names, or contact info for yourself or your classmates online.
I look forward to sharing our writing with one another.