July 15-18, 2024

Instructor: Davis Thompson

Davis Thompson has been teaching AP English Literature at Auburn High School for the past twenty-five years, and he has loved every minute of it.  He is passionate about helping teachers learn how to invite students to analyze and enjoy poetry.  Davis has been the coach and sponsor for Poetry Out Loud (a national poetry recitation contest) at his school for the past thirteen years and has helped his students win the Alabama State Championship four times, 3rd place in the nation once, and the National POL Championship in 2011.  Davis also has had experience through various NEH Institutes studying Shakespeare (both as an actor and teacher) as well as dabbling in some classical philosophy.  In addition to AP English Literature, he has taught IB English Literature, IB Theory of Knowledge, and Creative Writing.  Davis holds a B.A. in English from Furman University and a M.A. in English Education from Auburn University.  He has presented at NCTE and served as an AP Reader for several years.  He has received both the Yale Educator Award (2021) and the Morehead-Cain Impact Educator Award (2023).  Davis was voted Teacher of the Year by his school faculty in 2005, and he has been recognized as an US Presidential Scholars Distinguished Teacher (2021).  When asked by students, “Why do we have to read this?” Davis has a simple one word answer (that is also his life philosophy): “Joy.”

Course Description & Objectives

In this workshop, participants will learn the essentials for designing (or refining) an exciting, effective, and joyful AP English Literature class.  Over the course of four days, participants will accomplish the following actions:

  1. Use the AP® Course and Exam Description (CED) to create a compelling and creative syllabus.
  2. Learn ways to make AP English Literature more equitable and accessible to all students.
  3. Work on powerful strategies for helping students score well on all components on the AP® English Literature Exam: The Multiple-Choice section, the Prose and Poetry Analysis Essays, and the Literary Argument (Q3) Essay.
  4. Evaluate sample student essays of all three types by application of the AP® Essay Analytic Rubric
  5. Become familiar with the features of AP® Central, AP® Classroom, Instructional Reports, and the AP® Community to improve and enrich instruction.
  6. Discover ways to help students improve their writing skills—from writing effective thesis statements and establishing lines of reason to embedding well-chosen evidence into body paragraphs and writing powerful introductions and conclusions.


Day 1:  Overview and Multiple Choice:

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Making Classroom Structures
  • Overview of the Week and Learning Objectives
  • Overview of the AP English Literature Course and Exam
  • Expanding AP Access and Equity
  • Diving into the CED
  • Syllabi Requirements and Sample Syllabi
  • Using AP Classroom
  • Multiple Choice Strategies

Day 2:  Poetry—Units 2, 5, and 8

  • What is Poetry?
  • The Elements of Poetry
  • Teaching to Analyze Poetry Effectively in both Formal and Informal Ways
  • Creating Poetry
  • Writing Focus: Effective Thesis Statements and Introductions; Establishing a Line of Reasoning
  • The AP English Literature Essay Rubric for Poetry
  • Scoring Sample Student Poetry Analysis Essays

Day 3:  Prose—Units 1, 4, and 7

  • What is Prose?
  • The Elements of Prose
  • Teaching Students to Analyze Prose Effectively
  • Writing Focus: Developing Paragraphs, Embedding Quotations, Selecting Evidence
  • The AP English Literature Essay Rubric for Prose
  • Scoring Sample Student Prose Analysis Essays

Day 4:  Major Works (Novels and Plays)—Units 3, 6, and 9.  Final Reflections

  • What is Q3?
  • Ways to Prepare Students for Q3
  • Writing Focus: Earning the Sophistication Point, Ways to Structure Essays, Writing Effective Conclusions
  • The AP English Literature Essay Rubric for Q3
  • Scoring Sample Student Q3 Essays
  • Using Instructional Reports to Guide Future Instruction
  • Creating a Joyful Classroom Environment
  • Syllabus Planning Time
  • Assess and Reflect
  • Course Evaluations

Register Now!