English Literature

Course Description:

Welcome! Teachers new to AP English Lit will take away from this session strategies and techniques for helping students master the course skills newly specified by the College Board. The proposed schedule includes eight elements. The first set deals with putting the new Course and Exam Description into practice and will include questions of equity & access. The second relates to the exam, including the scoring changes that began with the 2020 test, using multiple-choice questions for instruction, raising essay scores, and scoring sample essays. Then we turn to teaching literature. The five elements here include working with “an interpretation of the work as a whole” and the tone monster, leveraging short fiction, teaching longer works, teaching poetry, and using the strategies for effectively teaching Shakespeare to teach everything else. Finally we look at a few techniques for teaching the elements of college-level writing. Teachers will have multiple opportunities to exchange lessons and ideas for augmenting the achievement of all our students.


Items participants should Bring: 

One “This works for me” lesson for AP or any other English class for a 5-minute Show & Tell session. Teachers who will be using an anthology or other textbook will want a copy of the book or a table of contents, which most publishers offer at their web site. Talk about longer works will have frequent references to three works: Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. It is not required but might help to revisit them or to read a summary before the institute.

Course Schedule: 

Available as institute nears 


Phone: 253-535-8790
Fax: 253-535-7184
Email: profdev@plu.edu

Instructor Biography

Skip Nicholson taught high school English for 41 years, retiring from South Pasadena High School in California, and is past chair of the Secondary Section of the National Council of Teachers of English. He has been a mentor teacher in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute and a Visiting Teaching Associate in Rhetoric at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He now serves as member of the Folger Shakespeare Library National Teacher Corps and teaches on-line courses for the University of California, Riverside Extension in English, theater, and education. He has been a Reader for the AP exam, most notably for the Alternate Exam. He was named a Senior Reviewer for the AP Course Audit and served as a College Board-appointed coach for other College Board-certified consultants. He has led Advanced Placement workshops and summer institutes across North America. He chairs accreditation teams for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. His publications include Fast Track to a 5: Preparing for the AP® English Literature & Composition Examination for Wadsworth/Cengage; the Literature & Composition: Teacher’s Manual for Bedford/St Martin’s; and as consulting editor for five books in the National Textbook Company’s Shakespeare Series—Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Ethel, no Juliet

Skip Nicholson