Puzzle Me the Right Answer to that One: The Further Possibilities of Literature and Composition in an American High School (Volume 2)

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9781475816976: Puzzle Me the Right Answer to that One: The Further Possibilities of Literature and Composition in an American High School (Volume 2)
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Puzzle Me the Right Answer to that One offers the content of AP English classes. This book intends to serve as a guide and encouragement to educators by showing what can be possible when a teacher enjoys the freedom to find their own voice. Poems, novels, short stories, essays, and plays become the means to have conversations with young people about love and life, peace and war, virtue and vice, joy and grief. The author/teacher describes creating an environment and curriculum where students could greatly improve their writing skills. He explains the rationale for his presentations and literary selections. Even those who missed a thoughtful introduction to literature the first time around may find a useful beginning in what’s presented here. Seeking to engage in the ongoing educational debate in the US, the writer demonstrates how the material presented in these courses can contribute to students’ genuine artistic and literary education. These volumes suggest that such reading and writing prepare young people to be good citizens in a democracy.

  • offers curriculum for AP English classes
  • explains how to present challenging material to high school students
  • presents a method to increase students’ writing skills
  • useful as an introduction to literature (for those who missed it)
  • stresses the value of a humanistic approach to literature
  • argues against Common Core Curriculum homogenization


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About the Author:

Joseph F. Riener has been involved with education and its issues for a lifetime. He most recently taught AP English at a large urban high school for 17 years.

Review:

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get students to actually think, these volumes have your answer. How fortunate for us that Joe Riener has distilled decades of teaching experience into these wise and eminently practical volumes. (Daniel T. Willingham, professor, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia; frequent contributor to American Educator; author of Raising Kids Who Read, What Parents and Teachers Can Do and Why Don’t Students Like School, A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions about How the Mind Works and What It Means for The Classroom)

Instead of presenting us with humdrum aims, objectives, strategies, and skills, Riener takes us directly into literature—from Seamus Heaney to Atul Gawande to Mary Shelley. The point is not to prescribe a model but to invite us to read and think. A refreshing and inspiring read. (Diana Senechal, author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture; teacher, Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering, NYC)

So very helpful to have access to a master teacher’s thoughts, in a clear and careful layout. Riener loves literature, and deeply appreciates the craft of writing, and its communicative and creative opportunities. What is surprising in this text is the depth in which Riener cares about ideas, and about his students as human beings in the process of learning to live their lives. This book is a terrific coaching guide for any new teacher to AP English courses. (Dr. Shannon Payne, AP English teacher, Sacred Heart Academy, New Orleans, Louisiana)

As a young adult, I experienced Mr. Riener’s teaching first hand. The ideas I explored in his classroom, and the written and spoken dialogue we shared during my junior and senior years, have shaped my worldview and the way I approach literature and writing in powerful and lasting ways.

When I became an English teacher myself, I took much from the experience of having been in his class to inform the way I engaged my students, discussed texts, and encouraged them to push themselves as writers and thinkers. I am extremely excited that Mr. Riener’s unique perspective on teaching will be available to other educators. (Kate Winterkorn, former student; teacher in Portland, Oregon)
Joseph Riener has written a record of his many years as a passionate and talented Teacher-Scholar. The result is an extraordinary compendium: it is partly a guide to the array of literary works that Riener has taught, an array that reaches across centuries, countries and cultures. It is partly a guide to teachers on how to survive the depredations of the current U.S. educational system with my minds and hearts intact. And it at all times a testament to the enduring power of an intellectual committed to inspiring the minds of the future. (Jeff Nunokawa, professor of English, Princeton University; author or "Note Book")

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