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One Course, Many Approaches

There are as many different approaches to teaching AP English Language and Composition as there are stars in the sky, especially when searching the internet for ideas and approaches. Some instructors place emphasis on Aristotelian figures while others organize thematic units around controversial topics. Still others find themselves trying to juggle the demands of teaching departmental “classics” while trying to incorporate contemporary nonfiction.

This web guide has been compiled with a multiplicity of approaches in mind. It is by no means a definitive or an exhaustive guide, but rather a starting point to help you find what you are looking for... and perhaps even something that you weren’t!

General Reference

Besides comprehensive definitions and hyperlinked synonyms, there are nice etymologies and pronunciation guides (with audio). Great for connotation and denotation lessons.

Guide to Grammar and Style
This grammar guide is accessible to high school students, comprehensive, and well organized. The introduction alone would spark a debate on language and usage among the prescriptivists and descriptivists in your classroom.

Strunk’s The Elements of Style (1918 edition)
Though you will have to buy the latest edition of this classic style book, it is worth knowing that you can find the 1918 edition online. It provides a short, straightforward guide to writing clear, precise English prose.

Classical Rhetoric

A Glossary of Rhetorical Terms
From “alliteration” to “zeugma,” ninety terms are defined (with examples).

Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric
This is an award-winning, comprehensive site by Gideon O. Burton (Brigham Young University). The entire site is built on the forest/trees metaphor, taking into account the purposes and patterns of rhetoric while giving attention to the details of the terminology of rhetorical figures. This is a great starting point for classical rhetoric studies.

Writing and Composition Resources

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant
For students who don’t know where to start, this resource leads them through the process with accompanying exercises and graphic organizers. Special consideration is given to argumentative and exploratory essay writing.

UW-Madison Writing Center Writer’s Handbook
A well-organized handbook-style site that can be of help to students writing in many different modes, from lab reports to literary analysis.

Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL)
This site offers over 200 free resources for all types of writing. A whole section of the site is devoted to internet resources for teachers.

Online Journals and Publications

KAIROS: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy
An online journal that explores writing and instruction, with a focus on the idea of publishing web texts and other media.

The Atlantic
The Atlantic has set the standard for excellent writing since the mid-1800s. This is a great resource for language discussion. Search for nearly any topic/theme and you are bound to find something that is not only applicable, but of high literary quality. Use articles for class discussion of use and effectiveness of rhetorical methods.

Other Resource Guides

Rhetoric and Composition
This catalogued guide site is geared more for college instructors, but there is much that is useful for AP teachers. Listserves and online journal lists are especially good here.

Mantex Information Design
Even though this is a site for a British book distribution company, take a look at the free tutorials and guides that are linked to from the home page.

Authored by

  • Robert Brown
    Maine Township East High School
    Park Ridge, Illinois