Jump to page content Jump to navigation

College Board

AP Central

Print Page
Home > Pre-AP > Workshops > Pre-AP: Strategies in English -- A Serious Approach to Teaching Comedy

Pre-AP: Strategies in English -- A Serious Approach to Teaching Comedy

This one-day workshop is designed to help middle and high school English teachers build a repertoire of strategies for responding to comic writing. Working with examples that illustrate recurring features of structure, language, and reasoning that are the foundation for studying comedy of any period, participants will build a working vocabulary for describing the genre's patterns, conventions, and effects. The workshop will investigate both the elements of comedy--sight, sound, structure, situation, plot, and character types--and its special modes--farce, parody, satire, and irony. Most important, participants will explore techniques they can use to encourage students to be analytical about a mode that works because it is quirky.

General Themes
  • Discussion of comedy in general
  • Kinds of comedy seen most often on the AP English Literature and English Language Exams
  • Comic types and the conventions of comedy
  • Practical vocabulary of technical and descriptive words useful in writing about comedy
  • Strategies and analytical techniques necessary for students to gain facility in responding to comic writing
  • Activities teachers can incorporate into their lessons at different grade levels and practice with these activities during the workshop
  • Assessment of student analyses of comic writing and rubrics for assessment at different grade levels
The workshop conforms to: The workshop provides:
  • Substantial content background for teachers
  • Activities for students across grade levels
  • Activities meant to illustrate good pedagogy (various instructional approaches, including cooperative learning)
  • Explorations with discussion questions
  • Opportunities for reflection
  • Connections between one activity and another
  • Optional online follow-up
Introduction: Rationale, Workshop Objectives, Purpose, Discussion of Comedy
Session 1: Verbal Humor


Session 2: Satire


Session 3: Irony


Session 4: Situational Humor

Shirley Counsil has been teaching AP English Literature and Composition at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton for 22 years. She has been a Reader for the College Board since 1992 for not only AP Exams but also the SAT Subject Test, CLEP®, GMAT, and other exams. She became a workshop consultant in 1995 and has been conducting one-day and weeklong workshops since then. She is currently serving as lead consultant for the College Board in developing new workshops for Pre-AP and was recently selected as a College Board National Leader.

    Course and Email Newsletter Preferences
    Course Home Pages
    Course Descriptions
    The Course Audit
    Teachers' Resources
    Exam Calendar and Fees
    Exam Information
    About Electronic Discussion Groups
    Become an AP Exam Reader

Back to top