AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE SYLLABUS
AP English Language is taught in the senior year to students who have successfully completed AP English Literature.
AP English Literature is taught in the junior year to students who have successfully completed Honors English 9 (genre study) and Honors English 10 (American Literature- also taught chronologically and including comparative world literature; text is part of the same series). The research paper is a strong focus of composition in the 10th grade course.
Because I teach both the AP Literature and AP Language courses, I am able to incorporate elements of both disciplines into each year’s work. Most students take the test in their senior year when they have a better idea of the requirements of the schools they might attend, as well as what their individual strengths are. Many take both tests. The courses are based on the AP English Course Description and the state scope and sequence.
AP English Language is a study of rhetorical elements, patterns and principles through examination of a wide variety of essays from multiple time periods and cultures and writing assignments in each rhetorical mode. Attention is also given to visual elements and their use in daily rhetorical situations; this is a continuation of the study of art from AP English Literature with emphasis on photography, advertising and cartoons. There is an additional focus on reading and annotation skills with an eye to improving students’ facility with the different types of reading necessary to be successful on AP and college entrance exams. Students also continue to study literature and review literary elements as we approach AP testing in May.
STUDENTS TAKE AN AP SAMPLE TEST EACH WEEK, ALTERNATING BETWEEN MULTIPLE CHOICE AND WRITING SAMPLES. WE STUDY SCORED SAMPLE ESSAYS AND DO FREQUENT PEER EDITING EXERCISES.
Summer reading is required of all students in our school; AP students read selected works (Some of the texts are the Norton Critical editions so that students are able to discuss critical works about the pieces) and write one essay of literary analysis and one of opinion. They must also include a revision of one paper following provided revision guidelines (sample included) which focus on rethinking of the essay rather than editing for grammar, punctuation etc. (Texts and assignments included)
AP Notes are handouts I have created to study elements of language which apply to the material being taught. These handouts include terminology, theory, guidelines for writing, criticism, history – anything that will enhance preparation for the test or understanding of the unit. (sample included)
Composition skills are reinforced/reviewed as we approach each paper with guidelines for writing and opportunities for peer editing and revision. Selected papers are reviewed in class with use of scored AP samples where appropriate. Students also keep a journal for responses to the essays they read; they have a first impression entry and then a follow up entry after they read a piece or a series of pieces. I keep a folder of New York Times articles for quick in-class journal work as well and students also have connections to multiple magazines through Moodle for journal assignments. (see notes for journals) Students regularly participate in student to student peer editing, paper conference days with me and class evaluation of sample papers. Students are encouraged to rewrite any paper for a higher grade. A rough draft evaluator is used for selected papers. (sample included)
Grammar issues are addressed as they come up in papers with special attention to agreement, sentence structure and variety, parallelism, and punctuation. A link to grammar exercises online is provided on Moodle to further the textbook exercises.
Vocabulary is addressed with SAT words and prefix/suffix/root words on the board weekly. We also address vocabulary from the works as we read and talk about the impact of diction on the pieces. A link to further work on both is provided on Moodle.
For in class essays, the following rubric is used:
An 8-9 essay responds to the prompt clearly, directly, and fully. This paper approaches the text analytically, supports a coherent thesis with evidence from the text, and explains how the evidence illustrates and reinforces its thesis. The essay employs subtlety in its
use of the text and the writer’s style is fluent and flexible. It is also free of mechanical and grammatical errors.
A 6-7 essay responds to the assignment clearly and directly but with less development than an 8-9 paper. It demonstrates a good understanding of the text and supports its thesis with appropriate textual evidence. While its approach is analytical, the analysis is less
precise than in the 8-9 essay, and its use of the text is competent but not subtle. The writing in this paper is forceful and clear with few if any grammatical and mechanical errors.
A 5 essay addresses the assigned topic intelligently but does not answer it fully and specifically. It is characterized by a good but general grasp of the text using the text to frame an apt response to the prompt. It may employ textual evidence sparingly or offer
evidence without attaching it to the thesis. The essay is clear and organized but may be somewhat mechanical. The paper may also be marred by grammatical and mechanical errors.
A 3-4 essay fails in some important way to fulfill the demands of the prompt. It may not address part of the assignment, fail to provide minimal textual support for its thesis, or base its analysis on a misreading of some part of the text. This essay may present one or
more incisive insights among others of less value. The writing may be similarly uneven in development with lapses in organization, clarity, grammar, and mechanics.
A 1-2 essay commonly combines two or more serious failures. It may not address the actual assignment; it may indicate a serious misreading of the text; it may not offer textual evidence or may use it in a way that suggests a failure to understand the text; it
may be unclear, badly written, or unacceptably brief. The style of this paper is usually marked by egregious errors. Occasionally a paper in this range is smoothly written but devoid of content.
9 = A+.
8 = A
7 = B+
6 = B
5 = B-
4 = C
3 = C-
2 = D
1 = F
For other papers and regular quizzes or tests, the standard letter/number grading format is used.
A+ 97.5-100 C 72.5-77.4
A 92.5-97.4 C- 69.5-72.4
A- 89.5-92.4 D+ 67.5-69.4
B+ 87.5-89.4 D 62.5-67.4
B 82.5-87.4 D- 59.5-62.4
B- 79.5-82.4 F Below 59.4
For multiple choice AP samples, the following grading rubric is used:
For every essay we read, there are seven essential questions we consider:
1. What is being said? This emphasizes close reading to be sure students get the facts of the pieces and are familiar enough with them to really be able to analyze them.
2. What does it mean? This is the interpretation piece of the process, with emphasis on discovering multiple layers of meaning.
3. How is it being said? This is the true analysis phase which considers diction, syntax, structure, rhetorical mode etc.
4. Why is it being said and what impact does the “how” have on the “why”? Now we look at purpose and how the technique impacts the meaning.
5. How does it reflect the time period?
6. What is the value of the piece? How effective is it?
7. How does the piece connect to others we have read?
Semester One August- December
Unit One Understanding Rhetoric
Notes adapted from Chapters 1 and 2 Everyday Use Roskelly,Jolliffe
AP Language basics
Assignments ( in class essays with focus on rhetorical strategies)
2002 Question 1
2004 Form B Question 1
Unit Two Analyzing Elements of the Essay
(Chapters 3-11 of Part Two of Models for Writers)
In addition to textbook information and exercises, add the following:
There are writing assignments for each unit of this section of the text and students will complete five of them, some in class and some out of class.
In addition, students will complete the following:
1. Completely analyze the elements of one of the following essays from The Best American Essays 2006:
· The Culture of Celebrity
· Confessions of a Left-Handed Man
· Why Write?
Literature Review: Drama Oedipus, Antigone, Tartuffe, The Glass Menagerie
2. Essay Assignment: AP Tragedy Essay
“Characters with a sense of self and an identity framed by social connections and unmitigated truths dwell in good narratives. As readers we wander within these connecting perimeters, following the plot and sensing commentary about life in general…
as we peer into the playwright’s mirror, we see among the populated reflections shadows of ourselves.”
Considering all the tragedies we have read/watched in the past two years, comment on the quote above. Utilize quotes from at least two of the sources provided, properly cite with MLA format. Where possible, try to make connections among the plays and to life today.
Unit Three From
Chapter 2 of Models for Writers (notes on close reading and reading as a writer)
Chapter 3 Frames of Mind (process of analysis)
Acronyms (DUCATS, DIDLS, SOAPSTONE etc.)
2. Take Home Essay
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
In a well developed 1-2 page typed essay, examine the accuracy of this aphorism in modern society. Concentrate on examples from your observations, reading and experiences to develop your ideas.
Unit Four Types of Essays
Part Four Models for Writers, chapters 4-12 Frames of Mind
We study the elements of each type of essay and examine multiple examples.
Literature Review: Short Story and Novel (students choose a book with an Eastern culture element and write a response paper and we read Life of Pi together)
1. Complete one of the writing assignments from Models For Writers for each type of essay.
We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
Men hate each other because they fear each other,
and they fear each other because
they don't know each other,
and they don't know each other because
they are often separated from each other.
Martin Luther King
Another person's words are the window of his or her world.
Choose anything from Eastern culture and do some exploring. You may read fiction or non-fiction. The objective is just to take some time to explore a little into an area you may not have looked at before and to spend some time in cultures we tend to overlook in traditional coursework.
Write a 2-3 page reaction to whatever you work on. Make sure you address issues of structure, style, diction, figurative language, argument techniques etc.
Memoirs of a Geisha Analects of Confucius
Reading Lolita in
The Kite Runner The Sewing Circle of
The Tao of Pooh Pillow Book
Tale of Genji The Rubaiyat of Omar Kayam
Lady Murasaki’s Diary Old Testament
Terrorist The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Eastern myths and legends
3. Piece of Pi
Choose two sentences/phrases/ideas from the first part of Life of Pi and do a close reading exercise using the form provided. Then write a short reflection of your thoughts about them. Some of your thoughts may be in question form but I am looking for more opinions/agreement/disagreement/qualification etc.
4. Exercise on Poe’s The Tell- Tale Heart from Frames of Mind.
AP SAMPLE ESSAYS FOR THIS UNIT
Semester Two January – May
Unit Five Focus on Argument
Chapter 12 Frames of Mind and Chapter 20 of Models for Writers
Online copies of The New Yorker, Newsweek, The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Economist
http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bldailyshow.htm(Daily Show clips)
Writing the Synthesis Essay Brassil, Coker, Glover
AP From A-Z- Argument and Synthesis edition Athena Publishing
Mastering Synthesis Applied Practice
Mastering Nonfiction with Documentation Applied Practice
Visual Literacy handouts
Poetry term review
Literature review: Poetry
1 I too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all this fiddle.
2 Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers that there is in
3 it after all, a place for the genuine.
4 Hands that can grasp, eyes
5 that can dilate, hair that can rise
6 if it must, these things are important not because a
7 high sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are
8 useful; when they become so derivative as to become unintelligible,
9 the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
10 do not admire what
11 we cannot understand: the bat,
12 holding on upside down or in quest of something to
13 eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf under
14 a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that feels a flea, the base
15 ball fan, the statistician --
16 nor is it valid
17 to discriminate against "business documents and
18 school-books": all these phenomena are important. One must make a distinction
19 however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry,
20 nor till the poets among us can be
21 "literalists of
22 the imagination" -- above
23 insolence and triviality and can present
24 for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have
25 it. In the meantime, if you demand on one hand,
26 the raw material of poetry in
27 all its rawness and
28 that which is on the other hand
29 genuine, then you are interested in poetry.
I, too, dislike it.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one discovers in
it, after all, a place for the genuine.
Unit Six AP Test Preparation
At this point of the class, the students divide into groups according to which test they plan to take. They work three days a week on specific test review material and sample tests. Students not taking the test read another book of their choice
(besides the Achebe) and write a paper it. On the other two days of the week we read/discuss and write about Achebe. This schedule happens in April. After the AP tests, we do more films for class discussion (we have very sporadic attendance for most of May due to all the AP tests and other class activities so we are essentially finished after the test weeks)
Sample AP tests from prep books such as Barron’s, Peterson’s, Kaplan,
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
British and American Literature review
Notes on Achebe
Hints for success on the AP test
Style Analysis review
1.Take Home Essay
The end justifies the means
Machiavelli is often credited with the quote, “The end justifies the means.” (He did not actually make that statement but in The Prince he did say, “One must consider the results.”) Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica “…states explicitly that an end which is good does not justify the use of evil means to attain that end.” (Wikipedia)
Most people interpret the statement to mean:
1. Morally wrong actions are sometimes necessary to achieve morally right outcomes.
2. Actions can only be considered morally right or wrong by virtue of the morality of the outcome.
Considering current events, history, and things you have read or experienced, take a stand supporting, challenging or qualifying the statement in relation to a specific event or current issue. (examples: torture as a means of getting information about terrorism, stem cell research, profiling, wiretapping, genetic engineering, use of nuclear weapons)
Choose one or invent one based around the ideas here (clear that with me first) and write a 3-5page paper.
Models for Writers Alfred Rosa, Paul Escholz
Frames of Mind Robert DiYanni, Pat C. Hoy III
Best American Essays 2006 Lauren Slater, editor
Classics in World Literature Classic Edition
Plato’s Heirs- Classic Essays James D. Lester, editor
NTC Publishing Group
The United States in Literature Classic edition