AP Language and Composition Syllabus
Instructor: Danielle Shields
Course Description: Advanced Placement Language and Composition is a junior level course designed to prepare motivated students to communicate effectively in the world. The course corresponds with the objectives and expectations outlined in the College Board Course Description for 2014. In this college-level course, students will analyze the rhetoric of nonfiction, fiction, and visual documents from a variety of time periods and genres to explore complex topics and to apply what they have learned to their own writing.
This course engages students to become skilled readers and writers who are aware of the interactions among a writer’s purpose, audience expectations, and effect (including tone, diction, syntax, organization, appeal, style, imagery, symbolism, etc.). Students will write analytical, argumentative, and narrative essays to strengthen their writing through research, revision, editing, and rewriting. Students will have ample opportunity to read and evaluate primary and secondary sources to use in original compositions. Using the guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association (MLA), students will be required to document their sources. Students should expect an intense writing experience; they will be required to complete timed essays, reflective writing, journaling, peer and self-edits, research projects, and a variety of other written and spoken activities designed to increase their knowledge of rhetorical techniques.
All students are encouraged to take the AP Language and Composition exam in May. If a student needs help financing the exam, we will work with that student. Those students who choose not to take the AP exam will have to take a final exam for the class.
AP Exam: The exam consists of 60 minutes for multiple-choice questions, a 15-minute reading period to read the sources for the synthesis essay and plan a response, and 120 minutes for essay questions. The free-response section of the exam counts for 55 percent of the total score, and the multiple-choice section is 45 percent of the total score. Multiple-choice scores are based on the number of correct answers. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers; points are not given for unanswered questions. Because points are not deducted for incorrect answers, students are encouraged to answer all multiple-choice questions. Students should use process of elimination to narrow the given choices.
Aufses, Robin D., Lawrence Scanlon, and Renee H. Shea. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. 2nd Ed.New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.
Hartzell, Richard. Cracking the AP English Language and Composition Exam. 2016 Ed. Natick: The Princeton Review, 2015.
Carroll, Joyce A., Gary Forlini, and Edward E. Wilson. Prentice Hall Writing and Grammar. Handbook Ed. Boston: Pearson, 2008.
Lee, Martin E. Sadlier Grammar and Writing for Standardized Tests. New Ed. New York: Sadlier, 2010.
Molloy, John T. and Rich Norris. Vocabulary Puzzles: The Fun Way to Ace Standardized Tests. Hoboken: Wiley Publishing, 2007.
Supplemental Texts: Students and parents should review the list of novels/plays used in AP Language and Composition. Please note that some of the books you will read this year may contain mature content and/or controversial material (i.e. offensive language, violence, and/or implied or explicit sexual situations). The resources listed below can be used to see book reviews and get more information about the books we will use in our class.
● Augusta County Library http://www.augustacountylibrary.org
● Bartleby.com: Great Books Online http://www.bartleby.com
● Book Reporter http://www.bookreporter.com
● Book Spot http://www.bookspot.com/
● Teen Reads http://www.teenreads.com
AP students are required to read a variety of novels to prepare them for providing academic support on the essay portions of the test. Continued reading will also help support their needs for the English 12 AP Course, AP Literature. Throughout the course of the year, students must choose six books from the provided list. The students will be given benchmarks and criteria for evaluation of the literature.
AP Novel List:
· The Crucible, Arthur Miller
· As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
· The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane
· The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
· The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
· Animal Farm, George Orwell
· The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
· The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
· A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
· Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
· A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
· The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
· One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
· Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor
· The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
· The Color Purple, Alice Walker
· Ethan Frome, Edith Warton
· Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Buffalo Gap High School Honor Code: Students are expected to comply with the honor code.
As a student of Buffalo Gap High School, I understand that I am expected to conduct myself honorably in the pursuit of my education. Cheating, plagiarism, and fraud violate ethical and moral rules of conduct and will not be tolerated at Buffalo Gap High School. Buffalo Gap High School should exist as a community of trust.
Materials Needed: Students are expected to bring the following materials to class every day:
· Assigned textbooks/novels/plays
· Large three-ring binder
· Plenty of loose-leaf notebook paper
· Dividers (Warm-Ups, Grammar, Vocabulary, Notes, Tests/Quizzes, Responses to Literature, Journals, and News/Views)
· Writing Utensils (Pencils, black and blue ink pens)
AP Language and Composition Policies
1. Bring materials to class every day.
2. Abide by the honor code.
3. Be at your desk when the tardy bell rings.
4. Follow directions the first time they are given.
5. No personal grooming during class.
6. Do not ask to leave the classroom except in an emergency.
7. Never do work for another class during this period.
8. Refrain from talking when a student is answering or I am talking.
9. Treat all staff, students, substitutes, guests, and me with respect.
1. At the end of class, stay seated until you are dismissed.
2. Remain silent during emergency drills.
3. Keep a notebook designated for AP Language and Composition only.
4. Be responsible for material covered and assigned whenever you are absent. Complete make-up work immediately upon returning to class. School/County policy determines whether or not credit is given for a make-up assignment.
5. Late work will be penalized. Turn work in the day that it is due. A field trip, early dismissal, or late arrival is not an acceptable excuse for late work.
6. Keep all graded work.
7. Follow the standard format for each paper:
a. Handwritten assignments must be written on ruled notebook paper. Use a pencil or a black or blue ink pen. Do not write on the back of notebook paper.
b. Typed assignments must be in double-spaced Times New Roman size 12 font. Black ink only, please.
c. Your name, the course title, instructor’s name, and due date of the assignment must appear in the right-hand corner of every assignment.
d. Title all essays and papers.
e. Staple the left corner of papers.
10. Work with self-discipline. This is a college-level course. I expect you to work independently and diligently without much prompting.
Students Responsibilities: Students are expected to attend class regularly with all materials and to keep up with assignments. Students are expected to make up missed work due to absences, to contribute to class discussions, and to follow departmental and classroom procedures. Failure to comply with the responsibilities can be reflected in the student’s grade.
Students Behavior: Students are responsible for exhibiting standard classroom behavior. This means students will remain in their seats until dismissed, work quietly, and treat all those in the classroom with respect and tolerance. Failure to comply with standard classroom behavior will result in disciplinary action. Students are expected to come to class every day. It is the student’s responsibility to get all missed work from the teacher. This class is in compliance with Augusta County policy of three unexcused absences and the student is unable to make up missed work for a grade. Make-up work should be submitted within three days of the absence for full credit. Tests may be made up before or after school, at lunch, or during activity period, but not during class time. Deadlines are not extended for work missed due to club meeting or other activities.
Grading: Students are graded on a point system.
· In-class daily activities: 10-25 points
· Homework: 10-20 points
· Quizzes: 25-50 points
· Tests: 100-150 points
· Projects: 100-200 points
· Papers: 100-200 points
· Participation: 10% of all class points
NOTE: “Extra credit” or “extra time” is not allowed in this course. The due dates for assignments will be posted with advanced notice, and students are expected to submit assignments promptly.
Journals (Literary Analysis, Persuasive Writing, Creative Writing, Cornell Notes, Graphic and Visual Analysis), Multi-Draft Essays (Literary Criticism, Persuasive, Description/Narration, Comparison/Contrast, Multi-Source Synthesis), Research, AP Test Practice, Critical Reading, Discussion, American Literature Studies, Oral Presentation, Stylistic and Rhetorical Analysis, Timed Writings, Syntax Analysis Chart, Overview-Parts-Title-Interrelationships-Conclusion (OPTIC), Weekly Vocabulary, Grammar Study, Socratic Discussion
NOTE: The AP teacher and peers will provide instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments during all parts of the writing process to help students improve upon various aspects of writing (appropriate vocabulary, syntax variety, organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence [traditional rhetorical structures, graphic organizers, work on repetition, transitions, and emphasis], balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail, effective use of rhetoric including controlling tone and voice appropriate to the writer’s audience).
Unit 1: An Introduction to Rhetoric
The Rhetorical Situation (Occasion, Context, and Purpose, the Rhetorical Triangle, SOAPS)
Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
Rhetorical Analysis of Visual Texts
Determining Effective and Ineffective Rhetoric
Lou Gehrig, Farewell Speech
Albert Einstein, Dear Phyllis, January 24, 1936
George W. Bush, 9/11 Speech
King George VI, The King’s Speech (September 3, 1939)
Judith Ortiz Cofer, from The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria
Alice Waters, from Slow Food Nation
George Will, from King Coal: Reigning in China
Richard Nixon, from The Checkers Speech
ACLU, The Man on the Left (advertisement)
Ruth Marcus, from Crackberry Congress
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Order of the Day
Toni Morrison, Dear Senator Obama
Tom Toles, Rosa Parks (cartoon)
World Wildlife Fund, Protecting the Future of Nature (advertisement)
Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice
PETA, Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse (advertisement)
Anne Applebaum, If the Japanese Can’t Build a Safe Reactor, Who Can?
Tamar Demby, Alarmist or Alarming Rhetoric? (student essay)
Federal Highway Administration, Stop for Pedestrians (advertisement)
Students will read and analyze four texts related to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. Students need to synthesize an original composition that discusses the purpose of each text and how the interaction among speaker, audience, and subject affects the text. The student’s discussion needs to include information on how each text appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos. The composition should also detail how effective each text is in achieving its purpose.
Texts Used: The Times, Man Takes First Step on the Moon; William Safire, In Event of Moon Disaster; Ayn Rand, The July 16, 1969, Launch: A Symbol of Man’s Greatness; and Herblock, Transported (cartoon)
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test 1 - Test, Answers and ExplanationsUnit 2: Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis
Analyzing Style - Model Analysis
Talking with the Text - Asking Questions, Annotating, Using a Graphic Organizer, Close Reading to Analysis
Writing a Close Analysis Essay - Developing a Thesis Statement, Sample Close Analysis Essay
Close Reading of a Visual Text
Queen Elizabeth, Speech to the Troops at Tilbury; Winston Churchill, Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat; Ralph Ellison, from On Bird, Bird-Watching and Jazz; Joan Didion, The Santa Ana Winds; Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth; Groucho Marx, Dear Warner Brothers; Christopher Morley, On Laziness; Dodge, It’s a Big Fat Juicy Cheeseburger in a Land of Tofu (advertisement); Girl Scouts, What Did You Do Today? (advertisement)
Students will look at three different texts concerning John F. Kennedy. They should begin by reading his speech and the analysis that follows. As they read, students should generate some questions about style, annotate the speech, or create a graphic organizer, noting specific passages that stand out, interest, or confuse them. Students will follow these same instructions for the Clift article. Lastly, students need to study the photo and consider the arrangement of the its figures.
Once students have analyzed all three pieces, they need to develop a thesis statement for an essay that compares and contrasts the styles of all three documents, while focusing on how these three texts convey the legacy of John F. Kennedy.
Texts Used: John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961; Eleanor Clift, Inside Kennedy’s Inauguration, 50 Years On; United States Army Signal Corps, Inauguration of John F. Kennedy
Specific Test Preparation: About the AP English Language and Composition Exam - Structure, Scoring, Overview of Topics, How Colleges Use Scores, Other Resources, Study Plan
Unit 3: Analyzing Arguments: From Reading to Writing
What Is Argument?
Staking a Claim - Types of Claims (Claims of Fact, Claims of Value, Claims of Policy), Closed Thesis Statements, Open Thesis Statements, Counterargument Thesis Statements
Presenting Evidence - Relevant, Accurate, and Sufficient Evidence; Logical Fallacies (Fallacies of Relevance, Fallacies of Accuracy, Fallacies of Insufficiency); First-Hand Evidence (Personal Experience, Anecdotes, Current Events); Second-Hand Evidence (Historical Information, Expert Opinion, Quantitative Evidence)
Shaping Argument - The Classical Oration, Induction and Deduction, Using the Toulmin Model
Analyzing Visual Texts as Arguments
Argument Terms and Fallacies
Tom Toles, Crazed Rhetoric (cartoon)
Amy Domini, Why Investing in Fast Food May Be a Good Thing
Roger Ebert, Star Wars
Anna Quindlen, from The C Word in the Hallways
New York Times Editorial Board, Felons and the RIght to Vote
Jennifer Oladipo, Why Can’t Environmentalism Be Colorblind?
Fabio Santiago, In College, These American Citizens Are Not Created Equal
Dana Thomas, Terror’s Purse Strings
Sandra Day O’Connor and Roy Romer, Not by Math Alone
Malcolm Gladwell, from Outliers
Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
Elizabeth Cady Staunton, The Declaration of Sentiments
Polyp, Rat Race (cartoon)
Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage (photo)
U.S. Postal Service, The Heroes of 2001 (stamp)
Essay In Progress:
Selecting a Topic: Students need to pick two controversial topics. Next, students need to brainstorm how they might develop an argument about each from two different viewpoints. Students need to ask themselves what they can do to encourage a civil tone and approach.
Staking a Claim: After choosing one of the topics they explored initially, students need to write three different claims that could focus an essay. They need to make sure each is arguable and comment on whether the overall argument will likely include more than one type of claim.
Developing a Thesis: Students need to begin drafting an argument. After selecting one of the previous claims, students need to draft two thesis statements for an essay on the subject. Ask yourself which one is more promising for a full argumentative essay and why.
Using Evidence: After selecting one of the previous thesis statements, develope three paragraphs of support using a different type of evidence in each. Students will probably have to do some research if they want to use historical information, expert testimony, or quantitative data.
Shaping an Argument: Students need to write an outline that shows how they could structure the argument they are crafting inductively or deductively. If using induction, students need to cite at least four specifics that lead to the claim. If using deduction, students need to break the overall reasoning of the essay into a syllogism with both a major and a minor premise and a conclusion.
Using Visual Evidence: Students need to find a visual text - a political cartoon, advertisement, photograph, etc. - that supports or enhances the argument they have been developing. After selection of a visual text, students need to write a paragraph or two explaining how the visual text makes its own argument.
First Draft: Students need to write a full argument that includes at least three different types of evidence and a visual text. They should use what they’ve been developing throughout the unit, but they shouldn’t hesitate to rethink and revise.
The cartoon and the article make similar claims about President Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but in very different ways. Students need to discuss the way each argument is developed and the likely impact of each on its audience.
Texts Used: Tom Toles, Heavy Metal (cartoon) and Michael Binyon, Comment: Absurd Decision on Obama Makes a Mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Specific Test Preparation: Test-Taking Strategies - Approach for Multiple-Choice Questions, Using Time Effectively
Unit 4: Synthesizing Sources:
Using Sources to Inform an Argument
Using Sources to Appeal to an Audience
Writing a Synthesis Essay - Recognizing Complexity, Formulating Your Position, Framing Quotations, Integrating Quotations, Citing Sources, A Sample Synthesis Essay
Laura Hillenbrand, from Seabiscuit
Gerald L. Early, from A Level Playing Field
Steven Pinker, from Words Don’t Mean What They Mean
Steven Pinker, from The Stuff of Thought
Steven Pink, from The Evolutionary Social Psychology of Off-Record Indirect Speech Acts
Neil Howe and William Strauss, from Millennials Rising
The Dalton School, Community Service Mission Statement
Detroit News, Volunteering Opens Teen’s Eyes to Nursing
Dennis Chaptman, Study: “Resume Padding” Prevalent in College-Bound Students Who Volunteer
Arthur Stukas, Mark Snyder, and E. Gil Clary, from The Effects of “Mandatory Volunteerism” on Intentions to Volunteer
Mark Hugo Lopez, from Youth Attitudes toward Civic Education and Community Service Requirements
Students will read eight different sources. Students have to synthesize information from three of the sources and incorporate it in an essay that evaluates the claim that those under age thirty are “the dumbest generation.” The student arguments need to be central, and students should use the sources to illustrate and support their reasoning. Writers need to be careful not to simply summarize. Students need to cite the sources.
Texts Used: Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation; Sharon Begley, THe Dumbest Generation? Don’t Be Dumb; Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?; R. Smith Simpson, Are We Getting Our SHare of the Best?; Steven Johnson, Your Brain on Video Games; Clive Thompson, The New Literacy; Ron Chast, Shelved
Specific Test Preparation: Test-Taking Strategies - Pacing Drills, Approaching Essays: Basic Principles, Approaching the Synthesis Essay, Approaching the Rhetorical Analysis Essay, Approaching the Argumentative Essay
Thematic Units 5-13
Instructional Strategies: Questions for Discussion/Socratic Discussion, Questions on Rhetoric and Style, Exploring the Text Questions, Suggestions for Writing, Projects, Presentations
Students will need to answers all questions about each selection. After examining a number of readings and other texts, students will synthesize their own ideas in the form of an essay. Students will receive several essay options from which to choose (e.g., narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative essays). All essays will proceed through several stages or drafts with revision incorporating feedback from teachers and peers.
Unit 5: Education
Texts Read: Francine Prose, I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read; Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Education; James Baldwin, A Talk to Teachers; Kyoko Mori, School; Sherman Alexia, Superman and Me; David Sedaris, Me Talk Pretty One Day; Margaret Talbot, Best in Class; David Foster Wallace, This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life; Sandra Cisneros, Eleven; Norman Rockwell, The Spirit of Education (painting); Roz Chast, What I Learned: A Sentimental Education from Nursery School through Twelfth Grade (cartoon)
Student Writing: Argument: Using Personal Experience as Evidence
Specific Test Preparation: Terms and Modes Review - Words and Their Use
Unit 6: Community
Texts Read: Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail; Henry David Thoreau, Where I Lived, and What I Lived For; Richard Rodriguez, Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood; Ellen Goodman, The Family That Stretches (Together); Lori Arviso Alvord, Walking the Path between Worlds; Robert D. Putman, Health and Happiness; Dinaw Mengestu, Home at Last; Scott Brown, Facebook Friendonomics; Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted; Aurora Levins Morales, Child of the Americans; Norman Rockwell, Freedom from Want (painting), Roz Chast, The Last Thanksgiving (cartoon); Nissan Motor Company, The Black Experience Is Everywhere (advertisement)
Student Writing: Synthesis: Incorporating Sources into a Revision
Specific Test Preparation: Terms and Modes - Rhetorical Fallacies
Unit 7: The Economy
Texts Read: Henry David Thoreau, from Economy; John Kenneth Galbraith, from The Dependence Effect; Phyllis Rose, Shopping and Other Spiritual Adventures in America Today; Wendell Berry, Waste; Juliet Schor, The New Consumerism; Joan Smith, Shop-happy; Virginia Postrel, In Praise of Chain Stores; Scott DeCarlo, Forbes Price Index of Luxury Goods Keeps Pace with Inflation (table)
Students Writing: Rhetorical Analysis: Analyzing a Prose Passage
Specific Test Preparation: Terms and Modes - Basic Rhetorical Modes
Unit 8: Gender
Texts Read: Stephen Jay Gould, Women’s Brains; Virginia Wolfe, Professions for Women; Benjamin Franklin, The Speech of Miss Polly Baker; John and Abigail Adams, Letters; Judy Brady, I Want a Wife; Brent Staples, Just Walk on By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space; Judith Ortiz Cofer, The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria; Deborah Tannen, There Is No Unmarked Woman; Matthias R. Mehl et al., Are Women Really More Talkative Than Men?; Marge Piercy, Barbie Doll; Charles Le Brun, Chancellor Seguier at the Entry of Louis XIV into Paris in 1660 (painting); Kehinde Wiley, The Chancellor Seguier on Horseback (painting)
Student Writing: Argument: Supporting an Assertion
Specific Test Preparation: Terms and Modes - Complex Rhetorical Modes
Unit 9: Sports
Texts Read: Boris Drucker, “I’m Glad We Won…” (cartoon); Frank Deford, Pay Dirt: College Athletes Deserve the Same Rights as Other Students; Michael Lewis, Serfs of the Turf; Bill Walton, My Priceless Opportunity; Michael Wilbon, As Colleges’ Greed Grows, So Does the Hypocrisy; Steven Weiberg, Despite Criticism, NCAA Takes a Firm Stance on Professionalism; National Collegiate Athletic Association, Why Students Aren’t Paid to Play
Student Writing: Rhetorical Analysis: Comparing Strategies
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test
Unit 10: Language
Texts Read: Institute for Propaganda Analysis, How to Detect Propaganda; Michiko Kakutani, The Word Police; North York Women Teachers’ Association, Nonviolent Language (table); Mike Lester, NCAA Native American Mascots (cartoon); Geoffrey Nunberg, The -Ism Schism: How Much Wallop Can a Simple Word Pack?; Daniel Okrent, The War of the Words: A Dispatch from the Front Lines; Letters to the Editor in Response to The War of the Words; Frank Luntz, from Words That Work
Student Writing: Narrative: Reflecting on Personal Experience
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test
Unit 11: Popular Culture
Texts Read: James McBride, Hip Hop Planet; Mark Twain, Corn-Pone Opinions; Scott McCloud, from Show and Tell (graphic essay); David Denby, High-School Confidential: Notes on Teen Movies; Robin Givhan, An Image a Little Too Carefully Coordinated; Steven Johnson, Watching TV Makes You Smarter; Daniel Harris, Celebrity Bodies; Chuck Klosterman, My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead; Hans Ostrom, Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven; Andy Warhol, Myths (painting); Mark Tansey, The Innocent Eye Test (painting)
Student Writing: Rhetorical Analysis: Analyzing Satire
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test
Unit 12: The Environment
Texts Read: Rachel Carson, from Silent Spring; Ralph Waldo Emerson, from Nature; Aldo Leopold, from The Land Ethic; Lewis Thomas, Natural Man; Bill McKibben, from The End of Nature; Terry Tempest Williams, The Clan of One-Breasted Women; Joy Williams, Save the Whales, Screw the Shrimp; E.O. Wilson, from THe Future of Life; Gerard Manley Hopkins, Inversnaid; Robert Crumb, A Short History of America (cartoon); Royal Dutch/Shell, Let’s Go (advertisement)
Student Writing: Visual Rhetoric: Analyzing a Photo Essay
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test
Unit 13: Politics
Texts Read: Christopher Columbus, Letter to King Ferdinand of Spain; King Ferdinand, The Requerimiento; Red Jacket, Defense of Native American Religion; George Orwell, Shooting an Elephant; Frantz Fanon, from Concerning Violence; Eavan Boland, In Which the Ancient History I Learn Is Not My Own; Chinua Achebe, from THe Empire FIghts Back; National Park Service, Christiansted: Official Map and Guide (brochure)
Student Writing: Synthesis: Responding to a Quotation
Specific Test Preparation: Practice Test