AP English Literature
On-Line for the 2019-2020 School Year
Teacher: Lilianna Meldrum Serbicki
UPDATE: This class is OPEN FOR ENROLLMENT for the 2019-2020 year!
Tuition: $675 through July 1st; $700 after July 1st.
To apply: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE AP LITERATURE COURSE APPLICATION. Please complete the form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to email me your questions at any time.
Suggested Grade Level: This course is open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders.
Length of course: This course begins the final week of August and extends through the AP exam in May of 2020. Optional weekly live meetings occur EVERY THURSDAY at 2PM EST beginning Week 1 of class.
Fiction and Drama:
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (buy or rent any edition)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (buy or rent any edition)
Persuasion by Jane Austen (buy or rent any edition)
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (buy or rent any edition)
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (buy or rent any edition)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (buy or rent any edition)
Various Short Stories by Gabriel García Márquez, Stephen Crane, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Flannery O'Connor (available online; I will provide)
Various poems by T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, W. B. Yeats, John Donne, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop, and others (all available online).
Required Reference Texts:
5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature. 2016 Edition by Estelle Rankin. ISBN-13: 978-0071846288. The 2015, 2017, 2018 or 2019 edition is also acceptable.
Scholarly articles, nonfiction pieces, and resources that I will provide.
SUGGESTED BUT OPTIONAL REFERENCE TEXTS
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (ISBN-13: 978-0060777050)
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules and Real-World Examples (ISBN-13: 978-1118785560)
SUGGESTED BUT OPTIONAL Summer Reading from our reference list:
Chapters 1-2 of Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules and Real-World Examples
This class is intended for 10th, 11th and 12th graders who possess a love of story and energetic discussion. While this course is designed to prepare students to successfully take the Advanced Placement English Literature exam, the material is structured to encourage an ongoing love of writing and in-depth textual analysis. The ability to thoughtfully evaluate what we read is one of the best skills to develop in high school and beyond! I believe the best way to develop writing structure and style is through the study of storytelling and narrative. Humanity connects and communicates through stories, characters, and imaginative worlds. The pieces chosen for this course reflect a wide variety of themes and styles; there is something here for a lover of any genre and style, from classic drama to biting satire to realism and beyond! I have chosen classic works of fiction from a variety of time periods and backgrounds to help students explore a three-dimensional, vibrant scope of humanity.
My goals in AP English Literature are to:
- Guide students as they master a wide breadth of literary analysis concepts, vocabulary, and devices (such as figurative language, motif, symbolism, characterization, conflict, narrative perspective, tone, and more) that help us to interpret and enjoy the narratives we read.
- Help students to master the ability to write concise, well-structured, specific essay responses.
- Encourage students to pursue knowledge in an active manner.
- Create an interactive community of rich discussion and exchange of ideas.
I work to achieve these goals through many activities, including but not limited to:
- Hosting OPTIONAL live, interactive chats every week via the ZOOM conferencing program. If you are not able to attend live meetings, you may ALWAYS listen to the recordings. Our live meetings include lecture material from me AND interactive student discussion.
- Regular student interaction and discussion in our website forum on a weekly basis. Reading and responding to the insights of their peers is a great learning and social activity; we always have a thoughtful, vibrant student community in this course, and students have formed enjoyable study groups and lasting friendships.
- Providing in-depth written feedback on every essay assignment. I provide regular instruction and feedback in areas such as depth of analysis, organization and structure, balance of generalization and specific detail, effective use of literary elements, correct syntax and grammar, and correct use of a wide-ranging vocabulary and diction. My essay critiques are geared to help students hone in on challenge areas and improve their essay scores!
- Guiding students as they complete assignments that prepare them for each concept and section of the AP Exam, including fiction analysis, poetry analysis, drama analysis, free response, and multiple choice questions. Students who complete all of the preparation assignments I assign feel prepared and ready for success! Please read the student reviews below for detailed feedback from course participants.
- Providing optional creative writing assignments (fictional reflections from the point of view of a character we've encountered, poetry responses, and more) to help students “get involved” and enjoy writing! All creative exercises are optional; students may focus on essays alone if preferred.
- Moderating an interactive, week-long “Dinner Party” project each spring. This is a lively website forum discussion that involves students “interacting” as authors and characters we’ve encountered throughout the year. Students interact “in character” and discuss many issues that involve analysis and creativity. This is an excellent way for students to practice their research skills and develop their ability to see from the point of view of a fictional character – or a classic writer. This is wonderful preparation for the AP Exam!
- Longer writing assignments, including a mandatory 6-10-page midterm literary analysis paper. This is excellent preparation for college-level writing, as I help to guide students through multiple checkpoints for this project and encourage original critical thinking and strong structural skills.
- Students are encouraged to consider participating in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and I offer guidance if desired. I have a background which includes Creative Writing instruction; my students (including all course and tutoring students) have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
This class is designed to be rigorous and exciting, while still flexible.
Weekly assignments may include:
- An optional live discussion.
- Interactive discussion of course texts and concepts in our web forum.
- Visual presentations, concept handouts, and other materials.
- Short essays and multiple choice quizzes in preparation for the AP exam in May. These assignments are designed to develop the specific skills your student needs!
- Reading assignments ranging from approx. 30-100 pages.
- Optional bonus assignments and an in-depth extra credit vocabulary prompt of the week.
- OR a portion of a longer writing assignment, including a 6-10-page midterm literary analysis paper which prepares students to write at a college level.
- Homework will be assigned/due weekly on our course website. I will also send out a weekly homework update email to both students AND parents! I provide regular, clear communication to ensure everyone is “in the loop.” By featuring ONE weekly due date for ALL weekly homework, students have the maximum amount of flexibility; this is helpful for busy students who have a variety of commitments. I am always happy to help students with time management as needed.
- Students will access recorded audio lectures, audiovisual material, detailed visual handouts and presentations, posts, and activities on the website.
- All homework will be submitted and critiqued via the website. Detailed instructions will be provided for all assignments.
- REQUIRED: High speed internet and Microsoft Office (or equivalent word processing capabilities). You must have the ability to read Word Documents and PDFs.
- Headset or microphone capabilities suggested, but not required.
- OPTIONAL LIVE meetings via the ZOOM Meeting Center will occur EVERY THURSDAY at 2PM EST. These meetings will always be recorded for your convenience.
LIVE Course Meeting Time: OPTIONAL LIVE meetings via the ZOOM Meeting Center will occur EVERY THURSDAY at 2PM EST. They will be 50-55 minutes long. These meetings will consist of lecture material AND interactive discussion time with fellow students and myself. All course meetings are OPTIONAL and will be RECORDED for your listening convenience. Approximately 70% of my AP Literature students attend live meetings; the rest listen to lectures asynchronously (afterwards) to fit their schedule. Students who are unable to attend live lectures may also participate in group discussion on the course website forum.
Hours of study each week:
8-10 hours, depending on the week and the amount of bonus material the student chooses to cover. This includes required reading, extra credit, group discussion, short essays and multiple choice questions.
Mrs. Serbicki is an experienced Advanced Placement English instructor with a professional background in writing, media, editing, and advertising. She is a 2009 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a BA in Communication Arts and a Minor in Philosophy. This upcoming school year will be her ninth year teaching high-level online courses; in addition to teaching AP Literature with PA Homeschoolers, she also currently teaches AP Language, Creative Writing, and SAT English Prep with Debra Bell's Aim Academy. She has many years of experience providing student tutoring in areas of writing and mechanics as well as experience in small print publication and editing; she is a published author of poetry, fiction, and flash memoir. Her students (including all course and tutoring students) have won many Silver Keys and Gold Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
Student Reviews of Mrs. Serbicki's classes (you may also read more student reviews through the link at the bottom of this page):
"I was much more prepared for the exam than the students from the school that I took the exam were...Any student who is passionate about learning should excel in this class. I think even someone without a love for literature could take this class and gain a better appreciation for literature...I will definitely be recommending this course to others. Mrs. Serbicki was an incredible teacher for this course. She was very organized, enthusiastic, and kind. She made all of the assignments and expectations for homework clear. She was a strong motivator and was actively invested in our progress. Her live meeting discussions were very helpful. She was always prompt in responding to questions or concerns."
- Student, 2017-2018
"I believe this AP Literature course would be a great fit for a range of students. If you are looking to step up a level, whether you’re already advanced in English or intimidated by an AP course, Mrs. Serbicki will meet you where you are and help you thrive. In observing my fellow classmates, I don’t think there is a single one of us who did not grow immensely throughout the year. Mrs. Serbicki is a teacher who inspires you to do your best and reach your highest potential. She creates a classroom atmosphere that takes away the fear and insecurity I know many of us feel about academic essays, especially those involving complicated literary analysis...From her excitement and wonder at the topic of literature to her thoughtful feedback, Mrs. Serbicki has been a highlight of my school year. With every assignment, I wanted to work hard because my teacher inspired me to be my best. She never hesitated to provide extra help with difficult topics and was the teacher I could turn to while applying for summer programs. She brought joy, expertise, and richness to every live discussion, and organization, preparation, and purpose to all weekly assignments. Mrs. Serbicki's AP Literature and Composition course was one of the best courses I have ever taken! It fully prepared me for the AP exam. I felt very comfortable while taking the test, and finished every part before the time allotted had passed....The in-class discussions and the feedback from the other students was also helpful, since everyone is offering their opinions and views, making it easier to gain a broad appreciation and understanding for each piece of literature."
- Student, 2016-2017
"This class was extremely helpful both in preparing me for the AP Literature exam and in helping cultivate my further interest in literature—especially poetry. My writing skills improved greatly, and I have become a much more efficient writer than I was when I began the course. To put that in perspective, the first essay assignment we were given took me several days to write. By the time I took the exam, I was able to write a much better essay in under 40 minutes. Additionally, I grew a deeper appreciation for poetry as I learned how it was structured and how to analyze the different themes contained within poems. My favorite assignment was the midterm essay, as comparing two novels gave me a much deeper appreciation for both and finishing the long essay was extremely rewarding when it was finally finished. Communications with other students were helpful and often enlightening as well, and the point system for discussions helped ensure that I benefitted from that. I would say that this course is for persistent students who like a challenge. At first it will seem daunting but as you learn the ropes it becomes more and more natural, while still retaining a high standard of quality for the work you turn in."
- Student, 2015-2016
"I felt very confident and prepared on exam day. Each assignment was so valuable in preparing me for the test, and while it was difficult for me to complete timed essays at the beginning of the year, I finished them with plenty of extra time on the day of the exam...I really enjoyed every assignment in this class. I loved every work that we read, and the various extra credit assignments were extremely valuable. For example, the weekly vocabulary prompts helped me to retain all the definitions of the terms. Also, I liked the weekly discussion questions. They really helped me to analyze and comprehend the texts we were reading, and it was interesting to read my classmates answers and see their interpretations. If I had to choose a favorite assignment though, it would probably be the dinner party. It was a really fun way to review the works we had read throughout the class and to interact with other students...Mrs. Serbicki is a fabulous teacher. She is very encouraging, helpful, and organized. I always knew what was due each week. The assignments were always very clear, and if I ever had any questions, Mrs. Serbicki was always quick to answer them. If you are willing to work hard, I know that this course will be not only enjoyable, but also beneficial. This is, by far, my favorite class I have taken throughout high school! Now that it is over, I wish I could do it all over again."
- Student, 2014-2015
“I absolutely loved Mrs. Serbicki’s AP English Literature course. It was such an amazing class, and I enjoyed it so much. Mrs. Serbicki is always very helpful and willing to answer questions. This course prepared me extremely well for the AP exam. Mrs. Serbicki teaches everything you need to know to score well. I received my score last month, and got a 5. Everything I used to prepare for the exam was from this class. If you take this course, you will be prepared for the exam. On average, I spent about 1-1.5 hours a day on this class. The workload was not overwhelming and I enjoyed doing it. I loved the novels we read and Mrs. Serbicki is great at leading discussions about them.”
- Student, 2013-2014
"Mrs. Serbicki made herself available to answer any questions we students might have, and yet she also gave us the opportunity to mingle with other students online and during class lectures. The discussions I had with my fellow students were fantastic ways to understand specific concepts as well as to introduce new ideas and perspectives found in the works of literature we read."
"This has possibly been the best course I have ever taken. While I have a personal predilection for the subject of literature, Mrs. Serbicki not only encouraged my interest but also helped me to expand my literary taste and improve my analytical skills. She skillfully balanced the reading of high-quality works, the writing of essays on challenging but thought-provoking topics, and the discussion of insightful questions, with a few creative projects thrown in for good measure. I found a new outlet, rigorous and demanding but never frustrating or dull, for my favorite work of reading, writing, and reading some more!
I felt confident and comfortable taking the AP Exam, and though I have not yet received my scores, I know that whatever success I receive owes a lot to Mrs. Serbicki's well-paced practice regimen and amazingly detailed critiques of my writing. For me, the most valuable assignments were simply writing the essays, both timed and untimed. I received a lot of valuable practice and training not only in developing my thoughts about a work into a clear analysis, but also in expressing those thoughts precisely and attractively with a good prose style. However, webboard discussion was also extremely valuable, and often helped me clarify my thoughts in the writing of the answers and in sharing discussions with my classmates (whom I will miss)."
- Student, 2012-2013
“My favorite assignments in this class were fiction responses. There was an extra credit opportunity to write from a minor character’s point of view, which I loved so much I completed it three times. I also chose to rewrite a scene from Macbeth instead of writing an essay. Personally, I find fiction to be more difficult to write than an essay because there is not set formula; however, I love the creativity of fiction and how much power you feel while writing it. The other students in my class were wonderful. A variety of opinions and ideas came out of our discussions. I had a blast reading their work and debating with them. They forced me to defend and expand my analysis of the various works we read. They all helped me grow both as a reader and as a writer. I wish I was going to take English with all of them again next year. “
- Student, 2012-2013
Click on images below to read class showcase entries about this class.
Click here to open or download an application to this class (Microsoft Word document)
Click here to read class reviews from past participants
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