Powerful Digital Tools for Teaching AP® Literature

It is fairly safe to say that many of us feel like new teachers this year, whether this is our first, fourth, or twentieth year in front of students. This year poses challenges like no other.

Many of us could use a little help or a nudge in the right direction when it comes to utilizing powerful digital tools in the classroom, especially the AP® Literature classroom.

What you will find below are digital tools recommended by AP® Lit teachers from across the nation. It is not an all-inclusive list (because that would be miles of internet-pages long). Think of this as a Top 40 countdown: the best of the best at the moment.

Writing

Grammarly
This is an add-on that EVERY teacher and student should have on their browser. Whether writing emails or essays, Grammarly will check the basic conventions of standard English as well as assess your tone. It is a must-have for every online teacher and student.

Quill.org
This free resource helps students with their sentence writing and use of conventions.

Purdue Owl
Most people use this for help with MLA citation during research, but this website also has essay writing tips, paragraph writing tips, sentence writing tips, etc. It is a one-stop-shop for writing resources.

National Writing Project—30 Ideas for Teaching Writing
This site has ideas for different writing activities to use in the classroom. The National Writing Project website also has other resources for teaching reading and writing.

Grammar Girl Videos
Short videos on all things grammatical. You can also find her videos on iTunes, Spotify, and a few other streaming sources.

Analyzing Literature

Shakespeare Online
This website houses almost anything you could want about Shakespeare. Great resource for yourself or for students!

Common Lit
A great resource of poems and short stories with built-in reading comprehension questions, analysis, and open-ended assessments. Integrates with Google Classroom to seamlessly assign and assess student reading.

Schmoop
Similar to SparkNotes and CliffNotes, this site has study guides for literature, poetry, literary movements, and literary schools of theory.

Lit Charts
Lit Charts offer quick user-friendly guides to tracking themes, symbols, and key events in hundreds of novels.

Producing Student Work Online

Flip Grid
Students are empowered to put their responses to literature, to each other, or to an essay on video rather than writing, and then they can post their videos for you and their peers to see. This removes writing as a barrier and allows you to see who can do the actual analysis work.

Padlet
Padlet is a tool that allows students to pose questions, have questions answered, and work on a large-group collaborative discussion or activities.

Jamboard
Using this website, students can work alone, in small groups, or even a large group to create a brainstorming sheet using color-coded, editable (virtual) post-it notes. It works great for brainstorming themes and associated scenes when reviewing short stories and novels. It also works well for essay planning.

Canva
If we are fully virtual, projects become more challenging to complete. However, using Canva, students can create visually appealing presentations using hundreds of free templates, and then they can share their amazing work with you or the class.

Hypothes.is
Online annotations of pdfs, websites, etc. that allow collaboration. You can use a class hashtag to watch students annotate in real-time via a hashtag feed.

College Board Helpful Tools

AP® English Literature Course Exam Description
This document houses College Board objectives for the course as well as a suggested pacing guide. It is an incredibly valuable resource.

College Board’s AP® English Literature Videos
On this channel, English faculty from universities and high schools around the nation will work together to deliver short videos targeted towards teaching the course objectives that appear in the Course Exam Description.

AP® English Literature Primary Course Page
This is the main landing page for the course and contains information about the course, the exam, and how it is scored.

AP® English Literature Exam Page
This page explains the different components of the exam.

AP® English Literature Past Exams
This page houses essay prompts, rubrics, and student samples from previous exams from 1999 to 2019.

Poetry and Short Stories

Poets.org
This daily email is a gem. Some of the poems are from deep within the bowels of the Public Domain—authors that are seldom taught and poems that have laid dormant on digital shelves. Some of the poems are from modern poets that we might not find on our own. All of the poems are rich with theme and incredibly teachable.

Library of America
This is another email-gem, but this one is sent weekly. The Library of America searches through the Public Domain, and through modern texts as well, and sends out a story of the week. Some of the stories are from authors we all recognize and love, but others are from authors often that stay hidden in the shadows. This is a great resource for finding rich stories for analysis.

YouTube Channels

Crash Course: Literature
Watch as John Green explores various aspects of literature, dives into specific poems and novels, and explores connections between literature and history that students might not have fully grasped. These videos are fast paced and are absolutely worth watching twice to make sure students grasp all of the content.

Garden of English
In this video series, Timm Freitas, AP® English Teacher, offers tutorials and advice for students that are lively and valuable.

Marco Learning Channel: AP® English Literature Exam: Prose Fictional Analysis Essay
Follow along with John Moscatiello, Founder of Marco Learning, as he walks students through the entire process of writing a Prose Fictional Analysis essay. In live-time, he demonstrates how to analyze a prompt, read a passage, plan an essay, write a thesis statement, and then write the actual essay.

Helpful Articles/Resources

AP ® Lit Help
This website is full of articles written by AP® Literature teachers for AP® Literature teachers. The resources found here are invaluable.

Marco Learning Articles such as “Syntax and Sophistication”
Marco learning articles are written by professionals in AP® Literature and other fields, and many of the articles, like the one listed above, deal specifically with writing and analysis of literature.

ReadWriteThink
This website is curated by the National Council of Teachers of English. There are grade-level resources as well as professional development articles.

Looking for more great resources for teaching AP® English Literature and Composition? Check out AP® Teacher Support! AP® Teacher Support is a subscription service that offers teachers a monthly mentor session and new lesson plans each month! Learn more today.