Ap english Language and Composition Syllabus

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AP English Language and Composition Syllabus
Mrs. Balazs

Eastlake High School


Room CC-126

Course Description
Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, or AP English III, is a junior level, one credit English course offered at Eastlake High School. The course corresponds with the objectives and expectations outlined in the College Board Course Description for May 2009 and 2010.
This is a rigorous course that gives students ample opportunities to examine a writer’s purpose in accordance with the writer’s use of rhetorical devices, including tone, diction, audience, organization, appeal, style, and attitude. The course also teaches students how to read and evaluate primary and secondary sources in order to incorporate them into an original composition. All students will be required to document these sources using the guidelines set forth by the Modern Language Association (MLA). Advanced Placement will also give students the skills for synthesizing information and analyzing images-as-text.
This course requires students to write expository, analytical, and argumentative papers in response to a variety of prose and genres. Students will read and write (formally and informally) in the following rhetorical modes: narration, description, process analysis, example, definition, classification, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, and argument/persuasion. They will learn how to link technique and meaning into well-organized, supported, logical responses to complex texts (primarily nonfiction).
Students who take this course at Eastlake High School will also fulfill the American Literature requirement through independent reading, in class discussion and written responses. This course will approach the American literature canon concurrently with all other components of the course. Students will write brief interpretations of these readings and participate in Socratic seminars. After the conclusion of the AP English Language and Composition test in May, students will read some shorter pieces of fiction in order to transition into 12th grade English and work on turning their own work into a culminating project portfolio and e-book.
All students are encouraged to take the AP English Language and Composition exam in May.


  • To read widely and reflect on reading through extensive discussion, writing, and rewriting

  • To write, especially in persuasive, analytical, and expository forms on a variety of subjects, such as personal experience, current events, and popular culture.

  • To use close reading of parts of a text to analyze and understand the meaning of the whole text

  • To develop clarity, complexity, self-awareness, flexibility, effectiveness, and confidence in student writing

  • To develop awareness of the composing process, especially the exploration of ideas, the consideration of writing strategies, and an understanding of the value of revision

  • To study the English Language, especially differences between oral and written discourse, formal and informal language usage, and historical variations in speech and writing

  • To develop a comprehensive overview of the major movements of American Literature from Puritan time through the 21st Century through a chronological approach

  • To prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam in May

Students will

  • Present, analyze, and evaluate persuasive oral presentations with a focus on rhetorical techniques

  • Read and analyze major American literary and cultural types, genres, characters, and traditions as well as printed informational texts

  • Understand the variety and range of written communication forms and strategies while developing their own persuasive and expository writing skills

  • Access, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and organize information from a variety of sources into a documented paper dealing with a questions, problem or issue

  • Do extensive work with AP sample response passages and multiple choice questions and discuss strategies for decoding and encoding AP Prompts. This includes the synthesis essay

Primary Source Materials

American Literature. Holt McDougal, 2010.

Di Yanni, Robert. One Hundred Great Essays. 5th Ed. NYC:Longman Publishers/Penguin Academics,


Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewics, and Keith Walters. Everything’s An Argument, with

Readings. 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.

Instructional Philosophy
All students are expected to participate and put forth their best efforts in an environment that is collaborative, fast-paced, constructive, enjoyable, encouraging, honest, and focused. I want to help engage my students in the world around them and to promote individual talents and abilities beyond the classroom. As an educator, my wish is to impart a love of learning to all students. My class provides a safe and equitable environment for students to improve their critical thinking, writing and reading skills. Education seeks to enrich students and develop lifelong learners who are articulate, rational and active citizens.
Academic Integrity

“Academic integrity refers to moral and ethical principles when engaging in academic pursuits. An integrity policy is part of an effort to nurture a community where trust, honesty, and personal integrity guide all of our dealings with one another. Personal integrity is vital to our pursuit of education and becoming educated. The responsibility to be honest, fair, and forthright with others is a responsibility that each teacher, parent, and student must accept.”

Within the first week of the academic school year, all students and parents must sign in receipt that they have read, understand, and accept my academic integrity policy along with all other SISD and Eastlake High School policies.

Students that commit academic dishonesty (in the form of copying another’s work, plagiarism, cheating on tests or assignments, etc.) will receive a zero on the assignment, parental contact and/or conference, and an administrative referral.

Electronic Communication
Online Grade Book
All grades are posted each week and available online. Each student and parent will receive personalized login information in order to view individualized information.
Web Site
Eastlake High School hosts faculty websites that will provide a multitude of resources for students and parents. They will find items such as my syllabus, a calendar, my email, contact information, and much more. I update the site weekly, if not daily, and will keep it updated with a great deal of useful links, documents for assignments and any necessary information.
Electronic Submission of Assignments
Students may not email assignments to me unless they have special permission, or if it is a requirement of a particular assignment. Electronic submission will be encouraged through Schoology and students will set up an account and receive training during the first few weeks of the semester.

I strongly encourage students to email me with questions. They can email me up until 8 o’clock at night, and they typically receive a response from me on that same night. I have found that if students are struggling with an assignment and want some extra help, the time they take to think through writing the email and presenting their question(s) in a logical sequence often helps them answer their own questions.

However, I will not respond to an email that is unprofessional. In other words, an email must have a greeting, complete sentences and paragraphs, accurate punctuation and spelling, and signed with first and last name and class period. Diction, punctuation, and sentence structure are also paramount because they create the tone of the email. Students do not want to accidentally send me a “flaming email.”1

Email policy and format are extremely important because email has become one of the primary sources of communication in business, school, college, personal life, and almost every other realm of modern life across the globe. This is just another way of reinforcing all of the writing done in class, and it adds some real-life emphasis on the importance of written language.

1 According to Yale University and the Rand Corporation, a “flaming email” expresses extreme emotion or opinion that was not intended. These types of email are creating significant issues between co-workers, friends, family, and all other recipients of electronic mail.

Grading Policy
My grading policy is in accordance with Eastlake High School and SISD grading standards. I also adhere to the Student Handbook on the frequency of tardiness and absences permitted per quarter, and their potential affect on students’ grades. SISD requires that 50% of a student’s grade must come from class work. Importantly, school administrators review this policy with the students at the beginning of every school year, and they must sign for receipt and understanding of the policy.

  • Class Work: 50%

    • Essays

    • Vocabulary

    • Journals

    • Quizzes

    • Readings

    • Homework

    • Participation

  • Assessments: 30%

    • Major Writing Assignments

    • Brief Interpretations of American Authors

    • AP Essays and Multiple Choice Questions

    • Tests

    • Projects/Presentations

    • Junior Research Paper

  • 9 Weeks Exam: 20%

Late Work Policy

Unexcused late work, such as papers and projects, is not expected in an Advanced Placement class. I will follow the Eastlake High School Policy on zeros. After the initial assignment has not been turned in or completed, the assignment will be deducted by 10 points per day. The assignment will not be accepted after one week (5 school days).

Required Course Materials

Advanced Placement students are encouraged (by me, the English department chair, and the school principal) to purchase their own copies of the major works that we read throughout the school year. They need to annotate as they read; however, the school library does have limited copies available for students on a first-come-first-serve basis. Make sure to purchase or check out ALL necessary materials well in advance.

Students are required to complete independent readings in addition to the in-class assigned readings. Students will read and analyze a variety of texts to include, but not limited to, dramas, novels, essays, short stories, and poetry. 

AP Language and Composition Reading List

  • Out of Class Readings

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain*

  2. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne*

  3. The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien

  4. “Civil Disobedience” Henry David Thoreau

  5. New/Old Testament - The Life of Jesus

i. Birth– Luke 1:1-2:10, Matthew 1:18 – 2:23

ii. Childhood– Luke 2:42-

iii. Baptism& Temptation – Luke 3:1-17, 4:1-13

iv. Parables of the Good Samaritan – Luke 22:39-46

v. Betrayal of Judas – Matthew 26:14-19

vi. The Last Supper – Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46

vii. Arrest– Matthew 26:46-56, John 18:28-40

viii. Peter’s Denial – Luke 22:54-62

ix. Judas’ Remorse – Matthew 27:1-10

x. Jesus before Pilot – Matthew 27:11-26, John 18:28-19:25

xi. Crucifixion– Matthew 27:32-56, Luke 23:26-43

xii. Burial– John 19:31-42, Matthew 27:57-66

xiii. Resurrection– Matthew 28, John 20

xiv. Parable of the Lost Son – Luke 15: 11-32

xv. Beatitudes– Matthew 5:1-12

  1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

  2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  3. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

  • In-Class Readings:

  1. “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller

  2. “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde

  3. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  4. One Hundred Great Essays by DiYanni

  5. Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford

  6. The Language of Composition by Shea

  7. “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare

  8. Selected essays, excerpts, news articles, satires and AP reading selections

**Please make every effort to purchase items for the Out of Class Reading List. Some of the texts are available for free online. Books will be available on the library campus; however, supplies are limited. Teachers will provide a testing or project schedule.**

Writing Instruments
Students are required to submit all written work in black ink or pencil and on white paper. This includes hand-written work such as in-class essays and typed assignments. This is required because many university studies indicate that black ink on white paper creates the maximum color contrast and therefore reduces eye strain for both the reader and the writer.

Students are required to have a separate binder of loose-leaf paper with six tabulated sections.
Students should not include this in a rather large binder that holds materials for all of their other courses; however, they may want a separate folder or an “AP English” section in the larger binder for materials not covered under a tab. It should also not be a notebook with a fixed number of blank pages in it. The journal needs to be easily accessible for collection as well as additional pages. These are the guidelines for the binder:
Binder Tabs:
You need to keep a binder for this class.  It may be a section of a larger binder, or a separate one dedicated for this class only.  Within that binder (or section of a larger binder), please divide into the following tabs:  

  • 1Literature

  • 2Critical Analysis

  • 3Argumentation 

  • 5Grammar and Mechanics

  • 6Research/Synthesis/MLA

  • 7Nonfiction

  • 8Exam Practice

*Novels that will be covered in (and out of class) will be headed in the Literature section. For the Fall semester, we will be working with Synthesis and Argument as well as Vocabulary. Rhetorical Analysis will be a focus for the Spring. Non-fiction will be a significant part of ALL of AP Language and Composition, as will Grammar and Exam practice.

In-Class Timed Writings
An in-class timed writing will be given on a regular basis. These will consist of writing prompts from past AP exams, as well as responses to assigned readings and current events in the local, national, and global news.
All in-class essays are hand written in black ink and simulate the AP exam experience. When essays are revised and rewritten beyond the initial in-class “rough draft” and are reviewed, edited, and reflected upon by the teacher and/or peers, they must be typed, or copied out NEATLY and with MLA format.
Major Writing Assignments
The formal description of AP English Language and Compositions published online by the College Board includes the following:
…the overarching purpose in most first-year writing courses is to enable students to write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives. Therefore, most composition courses emphasize the expository, analytical, and argumentative writing that forms the basis of academic and professional communication as well as the personal and reflective writing that fosters the development of writing facility in any context.

Students will write at least one major paper each quarter that requires utilization of the entire writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing. Many of these papers may start as in-class writing assignments that require further investigation and analysis. Students will go through several peer edits and revisions for each paper. Each writing piece will receive an extensive review from the teacher after it has been revised and edited at least twice by peers. Students will receive specific comments on content, organization, style, grammar and usage, and mechanics. They will also receive a minimum of a written paragraph describing the teacher’s overall reaction to the piece of writing. Students will be given class time to read the teacher’s notes and reflect on them in their journals.

Brief Interpretations/Literary Analysis Essays
A brief interpretation was defined by previous students. They have a great description of it. This is, collectively, what they had to say:
A BI is when you take a text and analyze a particular part (sentence, line, paragraph, chapter) of it by expanding on a particular aspect or rhetorical device used by the author. You absolutely must find support from the text in order to back up your assertion. It really helps you come to a deeper understanding of the text you are reading. It actually makes you look deeper into yourself and the text. If you just write a summary of the text, you will have to rewrite it.
Students will write a brief interpretation (2 typed pages) for every book that we read from the American literature canon. They may take any perspective that they choose: analytical, historical, psychoanalytical, and so forth.
Contemporary/Current Issues
Depending on a current issue or “hot topic,” different or additional readings may be assigned as a source of information or writing model. This also includes issues within the school that the students feel compelled to discuss.
In accordance with reading about and writing on a topic, classroom discussions/debates on these topics will take place in order to give students a chance to validate or refute other students’ arguments. They will discuss their own strategies and appeals as well as those used by their peers in order to achieve the objective of understanding arguments. This usually makes for some rather exciting class debates.
If students decide to include a poem or other creative medium within an argument, they must justify why it is so important and how it works rhetorically.
Students will study each author’s style and look for specific techniques (schemes and tropes) that each author uses in order to deliver the message of a given text. These will be discussed as they appear in the course texts and sample multiple choice questions and passages. Students will also have periodic quizzes on definitions and application.
Course Planner
Each student will take a diagnostic AP exam during the first three weeks of school. Later on in the academic year, students will retake this same exam in order to measure their progress.
They will set up all of the sections of their journal binders.
Students will read the Introduction for Students: Active Reading, Critical Thinking, and the Writing Process (50 Essays: A Portable Anthology) and portions of Chapter 1: “Everything Is an Argument” as a premise to understanding some of the reading and writing goals of the class. After the reading, we will discuss the reading and writing skills and concepts needed for optimal success on the AP exam:

  • Able to identify purpose, tone, and audience

  • Distinguish main ideas from supporting details

  • Identify thesis

  • Distinguish author’s rhetorical purpose

  • Discern specific organizational patterns

  • Infer from implications

  • Derive meaning from context

  • Find multiple meanings

  • Understand irony

  • Understand a wide variety of literary terms

  • Use footnotes and bibliographic information to further research

  • Create sentences of varied length and structure

  • Construct coherent paragraphs with specific organizational patterns

  • Use effective word choices

  • Offer a unique voice to a specified audience

Summer Reading Assignment

  • Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  • O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

  • Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”

First Quarter

  • Readings on Research and Citation from American Literature Textbook

  • Synthesis Essay Practice and Literary Criticism construction

  • The Crucible, Arthur Miller

  • The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne* (Summer Independent Reading)

  • Easy A & Views of Ostracism in Today’s Society

  • Rhetorical Modes from One Hundred Essays, DiYanni

The study of synthesis, argumentation and rhetorical analysis will be ongoing throughout the entire academic year. Because argumentation can be found in all mediums (text, images, television, commercials, and so forth), the skills associated with argumentation will be applied to all of the readings we do in this entire course. Therefore, one section, quarter, or semester will not be focused on argument or persuasion; however, we will focus in on it as a rhetorical mode and read specific essays of the mode. Notably, by the time the course reaches the point of looking at argument/persuasion as a specific rhetorical mode, students will have extensively studied and practiced with argumentation. This will be the point when all aspects of the course come together and extensive review and practice for the AP exam will begin.
Before the AP exam in May, students will have learned the following areas of argumentation: Reading Arguments, Writing Arguments, Style and Presentation of Arguments, and Conventions of Argument.
Second Quarter

  • Writing Arguments and Conventions of Argument from Everything’s An Argument

  • Fallacies, Argument and Persuasive Appeals

  • Satirical readings from One Hundred Great Essays by DiYanni

  • Mark Twain and Satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Summer)

  • Satire with Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”

Winter Break: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Third Quarter

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

  • Short essays and works by “The Lost Generation”

  • Research on the 1920s, Prohibition and the Rise of Organized Crime

  • Research paper, MLA Format, Bibliography & In-text citations

  • Rhetorical Analysis and writing

Spring Break Assignment: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
Fourth Quarter (Review and AP English Language and Composition Exam)

  • Rhetorical Analysis and writing

  • Review for the AP Language Exam

  • “How it feels to be Colored Me” – Zora Neale Hurston

  • “Salvation” – Langston Hughes

  • “Ain’t I a Woman?” – Sojourner Truth

  • “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space” – Brent Staples

  • “On Being the Right Size” - B. S. Haldane

  • “On Self-Respect” – Joan Didion

  • “Much Ado About Nothing” – Shakespeare *Free copies available online

**This is when we do extensive review and take many practice tests. After the AP exam, we will read some shorter fiction in order to transition into AP Literature and we will work on resumes, essays and cover letters.**

Directory: cms -> lib -> TX01001452 -> Centricity -> Domain
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Domain -> Thesis Statements (Or, perhaps, even more clearly, “What’s your point?”) Analytical Thesis Statement
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Domain -> Writing/Expository and Procedural Texts. Students write expository and procedural or work-related texts to communicate ideas and information to specific audiences for specific purposes
Domain -> Innovation and American Inventiveness
Domain -> Ap english Language and Composition Syllabus 2015-2016 Mrs. Hamilton Eastlake High School
Domain -> Natural philosophers
Domain -> Transatlantic Encounters & Colonial Beginnings, 1492-1690 First European conflict with American Indians

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