Course Philosophy Taking an AP English Language and Composition course allows you to become an effective citizen of the world through close critical reading of a variety of literary genre written in different historical periods, disciplines and rhetorical contexts and through your own writing composed for a variety of purposes. Both your reading and writing should make you aware of a writer’s purpose, audience expectations, and use of language to develop an idea or support an argument.
Course Objectives Upon completing this course, you should be able to:
1. Analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an
author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques;
2. Apply effective strategies and techniques in your own writing;
3. Create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal
4. Demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English;
5. Write in a variety of genres and contexts, with different degrees of formality,
employing appropriate conventions;
6. Produce expository and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex
central idea and develop it with appropriate, specific evidence, explanations,
and clear transitions; and
7. Move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful
8. “Write effectively and confidently in your college courses across the curriculum
and in your professional and personal lives.” (The College Board, AP English
Course Description, May 2007, May 2008, p. 6)
Behavioral Expectations Because this is a college level class, you should behave as if you were attending university: careful listening and respectful behavior are essential for a comfortable and successful class.
1. Be here.
2. Be on time.
3. Be prepared.
5. Respect yourself, others and property.
Tests, Essays and Projects = Major grades
Multiple choice tests based on rhetorical devices in passages from core literature and previously unread selections.
Essays (timed essays will count as minor grades in Fall Semester and as major grades later in Spring Semester)
Daily Activities = Minor grades
Exercises, warm-ups, practice tests
Students will prepare for major writing assignments (essays and the researched argument) through sentence strategy exercises, paragraph writing, personal responses, annotations, and peer editing.
Essays will be evaluated using appropriate rubrics. Timed essays will use AP rubrics found on the College Board Website.
Texts Shea, Renee H.,Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. The Language of
Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2008.
Core Works of Study Fall Semester:
7. Markers and poster board as required for projects TBA
Make-up Work School policy applies. Please note that making up missed assignments is always your responsibility. If you know in advance that you will be absent, you should ask for assignments ahead of time and have them completed when you return to class. This especially applies to any school related absences.
Late Work: AP Policy Applies See High School Website
Course Focus: Contemporary Issues and the American Dream Course Schedule ( College Board Curriculum Requirements indicated in parentheses):
First Six Weeks: Our Puritan Roots First Six Weeks Reading: The Crucible
from Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards
Selections from The Language of Composition
Student summer reading assessment through dialectical journals, expository essays, and Socractic Seminar that will highlight the author’s argument and supporting evidence.
These activities will lead into further discussions on argument and persuasion.
The course requires nonfiction readings that allow students to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies (C6)
The course teaches and requires the students to write essays in several forms (C2) Students will receive instruction and modeling of close reading and annotation strategies, sentence variations, and subordination techniques. They will do daily exercises that include identification of subordination and coordination, and sentence combinations using appositives, participial and absolute phrases. (C10b) In preparation for the current events assignment and subsequent researched argument, students will receive instruction on research skills and the evaluation and usage of primary and secondary sources. (C8) Students will be given instruction on MLA-style parenthetical citations and bibliographic documentation, and will have weekly checks on their implementation of them.
They will learn the Aristotelian appeals of ethos, pathos and logos; the Toulmin Model, and common fallacies. Students will exhibit understanding of this instruction through the successful completion of the current events assignment below.
Current events assignment: During the next eight weeks, using a variety of sources, find, annotate, analyze and provide MLA style documentation for articles pertaining to a current political or social issue. This information and analysis will be used for a researched argument paper that will be turned in during November for a mid-term exam grade. Teacher will check for correct citation every Friday.
The course requires nonfiction readings that allow students to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies (C6)
The course teaches research skills; and in particular, the ability to evaluate, use, and cite primary and secondary sources. The course assigns the researched argument paper (C8)
The course teaches students how to cite sources using a recognized editorial style (C9)
The course requires expository, analytical, and argumentative writing assignments that are based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres (C5) Vocabulary Development:
Students will be given college level vocabulary lists that also include literary and rhetorical terms. They will be evaluated over these lists every two weeks. (C10)
The Crucible assignments: Visual analysis:
Create a poster using specific colors, fonts, shapes and textual support to represent major characters.
The course teaches students to analyze how graphics and visual images both relate to written texts and serve as alternative forms of the texts themselves (C7) Essay: Write a multi-paragraph essay using plot developments in The Crucible to clearly analyze Salem’s theocracy of 1692 as an argument for or against the constitutional separation of church and state. (C2)
Essay: John Proctor as the Archetypal Hero (C2, C10) Students will peer edit and revise these essays according to the writing process outlined in The Bedford Reader. Essays should exhibit elevated vocabulary, a variety of sentence structures, logical techniques, and a balance of generalization and detailed support material. Students will create a chart analyzing the beginnings of sentences, counting the number of words in each sentence, identifying types of verbs, and highlighting special features. (C10 a,b,c,d) There will be in class conferences with the teacher over the first and final drafts.
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments both before and after the students revise their own work (C 10) Identification of Irony in Act III Students will look at the various arguments and fallacies presented in The Crucible, and discuss their implications during the McCarthy Trials.
Clips will be viewed from:
Goodnight and Good Luck
The First Amendment Project Other Activities: (These will continue throughout the year)
In Class Debates Weekly current events discussions about researched argument topics .
Second Six Weeks: Feminism and the Cold War Readings: "The Declaration of Independence" by Thomas Jefferson
"Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions" by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (on-line)
"Aren't I a Woman?" by Sojourner Truth (on-line)
"The Progress of Colored Women" by Mary Church Terrell (on-line)
Selections from The Blue Book (on-line)
"I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady
“King Leopold’s Soliloquy” by Mark Twain (C6)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Student writing will focus on effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure. (C10e) Practice will be given on varying the beginnings of sentences. Students will identify the specific style problem in sample sentences and rewrite them so they are more vivid and fluent. (C10, C5)
Imitation essays will be written after students read The Declaration of Independence and I Want a Wife. Essays should include rhetorical devices such as parallelism, repetition, a call for action. (C4, C10) All essays, speeches, and novels will be read with specific attention paid to argument and rhetorical strategies. (C6)
Essay: In an interview Barbara Kingsolver sums up the theme of A Poisonwood Bible in a question: “What have we done as a nation, as a culture, to Africa? There is a cultural arrogance, a spiritual, agricultural and political invasion. How do we make our peace with that?” Write an essay in which you address one of the narrator’s approaches to Kingsolver’s question. (C5) Tone: Students will be taught and use DIDLS to analyze and identify tone in various pieces of literature. They will also apply this strategy to satire, as we read
“King Leopold’s Soliloquy”. (C4)
Researched arguments will be turned in. Third Six Weeks: The Individual vs. Society Readings: From” On Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising’s Image of Women
The Ad and the Ego Activities: Writings by Thoreau and King will be analyzed regarding tone, occasion, purpose, audience focus, and rhetorical appeals. The teacher will demonstrate approaches to the comparative analysis and evaluation essay the students will write. They will prepare preliminary drafts and a final draft. (C2, C3, C5)
Visual analysis: Teacher will demonstrate how to analyze an ad. Students will track a product campaign and make a presentation to the class on persuasive strategies evidenced in the campaign.(C7)
Fourth Six Weeks: The Effects of War on Society Readings: The Thing They Carried by Tim O”Brien
Lincoln’s “Second Inaugural Address”
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
“On Patrol” by Ron Kovic
Prologue and Chapters Eight, Ten and Twelve from A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo
Selection from In the Names of the Dead by Stewart O’Nan
“Against the War in Vietnam”by Robert F. Kennedy
“A Short Story about the Vietnam War Memorial” by Molly Ivins
“Forever Remembering those on the Wall” by Tom Brokaw (on-line)
Various selections of war poetry (C6)
Film: Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam
Visual Analysis: Photos of American soldiers in Vietnam (C7)
Students will learn about the Vietnam experience through the reading of personal narratives and literary fiction. They will discuss and journal about whether the heroes are typical or atypical, and reflect on the writers’ judgments about the war and America. (C4) They will interview Vietnam Veteran(s) and compare/contrast what is said in the interview with their reading, then follow-up with letters of appreciation which reveal the truths that they have come to know through the interview.(C4)
During our reading of “The Things They Carried,” students will note the significance of list structure, parallel structure, repetition, sentence fragments, and paired dashes to set off stream of consciousness sections. They will then write an essay about the tangible and intangible things they carry, imitating O’Brien’s style. (C4) Close readings of The Things They Carried will be done and AP-style multiple choice questions will be answered (provided by Applied Practice).
1. Read the Prologue to Caputo’s A Rumor of War. Identify his purpose
and write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies Caputo
uses to achieve his purpose.
2. Read the excerpt from Chapter 8 of Caputo’s A Rumor of War. Then
write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies Caputo
uses to characterize his attitude toward the soldiers with whom he
3. Read the excerpt from Chapter 10 or 12 of Caputo’s A Rumor of War.
Then write an essay in which you analyze how Caputo utilizes the
resources of language to convey his attitude toward the horrors of war
Students will have conferences with the teacher, and then revise and re-submit their essays.
Timed Essays: Students will respond to prompts from Applied Practice that require analysis of diction, imagery, and detail in The Things They Carried.
Instruction will be given regarding the analysis of visual images. Students will analyze photos of American soldiers in Vietnam. (C7) They will write a paragraph detailing one of the scenes according to Tim O’Brien’s point of view.
They will be instructed on how to interpret a political cartoon and analyze one about the Vietnam War.
Tracking Poster: Create a poster tracking one of the main motifs in The Things They Carried.
Your poster should have a central image, a thesis statement, 8-10 well-chosen quotations with parenthetical MLA-style citations, one or two sentences of
commentary under each quotation, and a conclusion. This will be presented to the class. (C7, C9) The following activities are adapted from Sandra Coker’s “Critical Thinking: Synthesizing Ideas and Information” (2006 Texas Education Agency):
Students will write in their journals about how society responds to the effects of oppression. With the teacher leading, the Daudet story will be annotated for details about the effects of oppression, phrases that indicate the movement of time, paragraph focus, details and images that suggest change, resistance, and courage. Students will write a thesis sentence using the Toulmin model and a paragraph suggesting the thematic ideas in the story. After reading "Lincoln’s SecondInaugural Address” students will write a timed essay from the AP 2002 English Language and Composition exam. Students will read scored essays over this prompt and predict the scores received according to the AP rubric. We will discuss the rationale behind these scores and students can then evaluate their own papers. A comparison and rhetorical analysis of the Daudet and Lincoln selections will be done as a class. Students will write a thesis sentence, a compound-complex sentence, and an introductory paragraph that suggests the thematic ideas about change presented in the story and the speech. In addition, students will analyze a bar graph of armed conflicts. Students write a synthesis essay based on the three sources. (C2, C3, C4, C5, C6, C7, C9, C10) Fifth Six Weeks: The Quest for the American Dream
Columnist Assignment: Students will read six consecutive articles by a national columnist of their choice. They will annotate the articles for tone, rhetorical strategies, shifts, and rhetorical appeals. For each article, they will write a one page summary, identifying rhetorical strategies and their effects on the reader. Finally, they will write an essay that addresses the author’s general focus in the columns, several of their most used stylistic devices, and the effectiveness of those devices. (C6, C2,C5,C6)
Readings: The Coca- Cola Letters from the 1998 AP exam
The Language of Composition Sixth Six Weeks: Readings: Various selections from The Language of Composition Activities: As we draw nearer to the AP exam, our focus will be on close readings, multiple choice questions and timed writings.
Students will read prompts, and score other students’ essays over the prompts. We will then look at the actual scores those students received and discuss the rationale behind them.