Course goals and expectations reading

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Welcome! Advance Placement English Literature and Composition TM is a full year course designed to challenge you to prove that you are prepared for the college academic experience through critical reading and analytical writing. You will be asked to analyze, write, assess and produce work at a pace consistent with a typical undergraduate English literature or a Humanities course. As a culmination of the course, you will take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam given in May. A grade of a 4 or 5 on this exam is considered equivalent to a 3.3 - 4.0 for comparable courses at the college or university level. A student who earns a 3 or above on the exam may be granted college credit at many colleges and universities throughout the United States.

The most important requirement for this course is that students read every assignment with care and purpose, and on time. Students unused to literature courses will need to manage their time outside of school so that they can read the required works. Students must be able to become adept at close, focused reading in which they see images and metaphors being used, and in which they read sentences until they understand the complexity of the author’s writing.

Reading goals include:
1. To read critically, literally, figuratively, deliberately, and joyfully.

2. To understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and pleasure.

3. To analyze how an author uses diction (denotation and connotation), figurative language, syntax and tone to create style, structure and themes.

4. To identify the intent of and analyze the use of satire, irony, paradox and contrast.

5. To study entire texts and excerpts across both genre and period (for the fifteenth century to the twenty-first century.

6. To consider the ideological, moral, and historical values a work reflects and embodies.


Writing well is a skill, and as such it can be developed through practice. Therefore, students will be expected to write critical papers once a week. These essays will be formal and informal, timed and un-timed. Specifics about these critical assignments will come during the course work, but in general each paper will use specific and well chosen evidence to articulate an opinion about poems, drama, and fiction. Critical essays are based on close textual analysis of multiple elements of literature. Formal essays will be graded using the A.P. TM rubric scoring guide.

Writing goals include:

1. To write focusing on critical analysis of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays as well as creative writing to sharpen understanding of writers’ accomplishments and deepen appreciation of literary artistry.

2. To become aware of, through speaking, listening, reading, and chiefly writing, the resources of language: connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax, and tone.

3. To support a claim utilizing and explaining data and evidence in a number of well developed and organized paragraphs.

4. To write using varied vocabulary and sentence structures.
Formal writing includes: Writing based on AP prompts, literary analysis essays, personal essays, creative writing, reading comprehension checks, response to literature, class assignments both individual and group.
Informal writing includes: Journals, reflections, annotations.
Various texts will be used throughout the course of the year. The following list is an indication of the literature you may encounter in this class, but is in no way inclusive of everything you will encounter in this class. In general, you will student the following broad genres: nonfiction, short story, novel, drama, and poetry.
Summer reading

The Kite Runner, Khalid Hosseini

How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C. Foster

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Short story

Various authors, which may include, but are not limited to: Kate Chopin, Hernando Tellez, Sherman Alexei, William Faulkner, May-Lee Chai, Edith Wharton, Shirley Jackson, Maggie Mitchell, Michael Oppenheimer and Gail Godwin


Various authors, which may include, but are not limited to: William Wordsworth, Andrew Marvell, John Donne, T.S. Eliot, ee cummings, Billy Collins, Gwendolyn Brooks, Emily Dickenson, Sylvia Plath, Richard Wilbur, Pablo Neruda, James Stephens, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, William Blake, Langston Hughes and William Shakespeare


Various plays, which may include, but are not limited to: Othello, William Shakespeare; A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen; Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare; Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw; and Wit, Margaret Edson.


Various novels and excerpts, which may include, but are not limited to: Daisy Miller, Henry James; Frankenstein, Mary Shelley; Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood; and Maggie: Girl of the Streets, Stephen Crane. In addition, you will be asked to read several self-selected novels from the A.P. test referenced novels list.

Students will be asked to free-write their responses about readings on a regular basis. Students should bring a free writing notebook to each class so they are prepared for this informal writing exercise, which is designed to explore what they learn as they read. These writings will be graded using a Check/Check + and Check - system.
Check plus = excellent job; you’ve completed the assignment in thorough and thoughtful manner.

Check = well done; you have completed the assignment in a thoughtful manner.

Check minus = good attempt; your argument is not connected to or unsupported by the text, and/or your response is too brief to answer the question completely.
In-class writings will primarily be adapted and modified from AP-based examinations, though there will also be quick-response, in-class writings as a basis for discussion.
Quizzes will be announced and they will be both reading quizzes, and ones that ask students to engage an idea. Reading quizzes will often be given the first five minutes of class; if you come in late, you may not take the quiz at that time. Arrangements will need to be made to make up the quiz. They will be graded according to right/wrong answers. Most quizzes will be multiple choice, but some are fill-in, and some reading comprehension questions may also be short answer.
Writing will mostly be graded according to the AHS English Writing Assessment Rubric and the AP rubric.
Projects usually have rubrics tailored to the requirements of the assignment.
Discussions are graded on a participation basis. During formal, whole-class discussion each students must contribute three (3) relevant comments. At least two of these comments must be backed by textual evidence. Each comment is worth 5 points for a total of 15 points. If a student speaks four (4) times, they are awarded 2 extra credit points. After that, no further points are awarded.
Group work is usually graded on an informal basis for a student’s production participation and/or fulfillment of individual roles, but sometimes group work is done on a more formal level. This work is usually assessed through a presentation and is graded not only on the quality of the individual work done, but also on the group presentation of the work.
As a Senior in an AP English Literature and Composition Course, you should have a good command of Standard Written English. There will be various mini-lessons throughout the course dealing with grammar for style and purpose. Occasionally you may need some additional help with this. I suggest you turn to the online community. There is a wealth of sources online, but start with Perdue’s writing website, OWL at
This class is not about grades, but about learning. It is my hope that students have the experience of college-level learning, something most high school students do not have available to them. College-level learning is not primarily about rigor - though that’s part of college - but about responsibility and acceptance of one’s self as a more mature student, reading and thinking about more mature texts. The difficulty of the texts is a stimulus for students to make their own decisions about published authors, about themselves as writers, about their colleagues as writers, about the deep and ongoing questions that relate to what it means to be a responding, acting human being both individually and as part of a society.
The first week (three days) and the second week (5 days) will be introductory in nature. The class will partake in several community building activities. Students must be comfortable with one another because much of the class is based on discussion of texts. Spending some time in September forging healthy relationships is time well spent. Also, these days will be the time for AP pre-testing and summer reading assessments. Students were required to read four novels over the summer, and they will have an exam on all four novels.
Finally, the class will begin with the Elements of Fiction using short stories.
Course Planner/Student Activities
Topic/unit: Elements of Fiction

Approximate # of weeks 4
Essential Question: How does the short story work on many levels to create a unified effect?
After a few days of introductions, pre-test, and community building the year will begin with the elements of fiction. These elements will be analyzed through close reading of short stories. While students will work with point of view, setting, plot and conflict, emphasis will be given to tone, characterization, symbolism and theme. Students should not only be able to identify these elements, but to also explain the effect the author achieves with these elements.
During the unit students will be asked to read a short story independently. The class will spend a couple of days in class practicing techniques to analyze each focus element. Students will then read another story independently and write a short analytical essay on their analysis of the element. These essays will have been modeled and taught explicitly with anchor papers, discussion, and small group work. Students will have the option of rewriting their analytical papers as based on teacher feedback.
The final assessment for this unit will be a timed essay in which students will be asked to compare and contrast two of the short stories with a focus on theme.
Students will begin vocabulary journals that will be used through the year. Students will be expected to utilize these journals during writing assignments, especially during revision work.
It should be noted that the approximate # of weeks for each unit is as such since schedules are flexible and at times need to be changed. Also, each of these weeks will include work with multiple choice questions, grammar, and writing. Multiple choice work will align to the genre and/or the literary element the class is currently focused on.
At the end of this unit students will be asked to read two choice novels by December. Students will work independently with these novels on various activities in the upcoming months. Upon the due date of both works, students will present the novel in small groups, and write an essay on one or both of the novels.
Topic/unit: Clash of Culture and Tradition in Literature

Approximate # of weeks 4
Part I: Daisy Miller

Essential Questions: Are we always what we seem? How does our environment impact our development?

Students will utilize their knowledge of the elements of fiction to analyze Henry James’ Daisy Miller.
After studying historical and social context, students will work to analyze the setting’s relevance to the plot. Also, students will keep a dialectical journal for this novel. In class the journals will be periodically discussed. Students will be given a journal focus for each reading assignment. These focused assignments will include topics of setting, point of view, tone, theme, characterization, and character motivation.
Students will select one of two A.P. style prompts to explicate for the final assessment. Students will work with partners and the class to first analyze the prompts, and brainstorm thesis, and brainstorm evidence to support the thesis. The actual essay will then be developed in a timed setting.

Clash of Culture and Tradition in Literature

Approximate # of weeks 4
Part II: A Doll’s House

Essential Questions: What roles do we play in life? Are rules always just, or moral?

During this unit students will be engaged in creating a podcast around a topic that will be research. After the initial explanatory podcast episode the small groups will create subsequent episodes in the podcast about the topic as seen in each act. Students will analyze the topic’s presentation in each act by explaining how it is reflected or not in the work.
Various students will be assigned roles from each act to read dramatically. During each reading the class will stop frequently to consider both the plot, and inferential ideas. Discussions that follow encourage the students to examine the text closely. During this unit students will use academic essays on critical perspectives to explore the play. Upon completing the play, and after reading academic essays students will be directed to examine scenes for three theories: feminist theory, psychoanalytical theory, and new historicism theory. Students will also participate in in-class writing assignments that allow students to demonstrate their understanding of the text.
Through writing assignments and class discussions students will be able to show that they can draw parallels and distinctions between the characters Daisy Miller and Nora Tolvard. They will also discuss how the elements of culture and tradition work in shaping these characters. From evidence they glean from the novel and play students will determine the world view of women in A Doll’s House and be prepared to compare it to the view presented in Daisy Miller.
Topic/unit: Poetry

Approximate # of weeks 4
Essential Questions: How do poets uses poetic devices to express theme, and to create an effect?
It should be noted that while we will focus on poetry during these weeks, poetry will never leave our purview, and will be used frequently as paired readings for our longer texts. Frequently these paired readings will be used as Free Response work, which students will be able to improve upon after further consideration of the work. During this time students will do an independent close reading of a poem, focusing on how the individual elements contribute to the poem’s effect.
Each week, from this point on, students will receive photocopied packets of poems from past and current authors. Students will be required to respond personally to these poems using the information from the text, current reading assignments and personal perspective. Students will be required to respond to these poems in writing using various criteria, which will change from week to week.
To help guide students as they read and interpret poems we will use techniques such as SOAPSTone, TPFASTT and reader’s response.

During this unit students will also write and share poetry that they have written. I will also write and share my work. Students will be asked to experiment with poetic techniques by focusing on two or three literary devices such as extended metaphors, understatement and imagery during each writing session. Students will be graded on an agreed upon classroom created rubric. Students will select one poem of their creation at the end of the unit to write about. In this writing they will demonstrate an understanding of writer’s purpose and craft by explaining how and why they used literary devices. One focus of writing during this unit will be sentence structure. Studying sentence structure during the poetry unit is a mindful fit as poetry relies on structure and diction. In this unit students will participate in activities to revise their written works in order to develop varied and sophisticated sentence structure.

Research Assignment

Approximate # of weeks 2
This is a “modified research paper” taken from a sample A.P. Syllabus. During this assignment students will demonstrate that they are able to quote materials and synthesize information by finding one source to apply to one of the short stories that they have read in class, and then write an original and complete evaluation of the story’s artistry, quality and social and cultural values using the source.
The analysis of the story must be based on some published work that offers a theory of why people behave the way they do. For example students might find a work that explores how wealth convinces its possessors that they are invincible and then use this work to discuss what happens in Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.”
Citations in the paper will come from only two sources - the short story itself and the work the student chooses as the basis for the analysis. Students may use any source as long as it is a primary one. Theories of why people behave the way they do may come from the fields of psychology, philosophy, theology, political science, or sociology.
During this time students will continue to work on writing conventions, style, and voice. Mini-lessons will be provided each day to work with grammar and mechanics, as well as style and voice.
Topic/Unit: Responsibility

Approximate # of weeks: 9
Part I: Frankenstein

Essential Questions: What are our responsibilities to others, and how are the binds that imply responsibility developed?

Students will begin this unit by discussing the concept of responsibility through the Greek Myth “Prometheus.” After learning about the Romantic concepts students will be able to identify elements of the romanticism in the novel and discuss how they impact the theme and development of the novel.
Students will conduct a character analysis of Victor Frankenstein and the creature, as well as analyses of foreshadowing, foils, suspense, and climax. The creature’s analysis will be supplemented by a reading from Paradise Lost.
During this unit students will respond to writing prompts similar to those that will appear on the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Exam; respond to multiple choice questions similar to those that will appear on the Advanced

Placement English Literature and Composition Exam, and offer a close reading of Frankenstein and support all assertions and interpretations with direct evidence from the text, from authoritative critical knowledge of the genre, or from authoritative criticism of the novel.

Part II: Pygmalion

Essential Questions: What role does our education play in our responsibility to society? Can we change who we are based on our education?

Students will begin the play by considering the myth of the sculpture, Pygmalion, as seen in Ovid’s Metamorphosis. In this work students should start to see the connection between this play and Frankenstein.
Students will compare and contrast Victor Frankenstein and Henry Higgins. Also, as the play progresses students will focus on various elements for close reading, including, but not limited to, historical context, satire, character development, and climax.
Students will conduct a project in which they will make thematic connections between poetry and each act.
Students will continue to respond to writing prompts similar to those that will appear on the A.P. Literature and Composition Exam.
Topic/Unit: Deception and duality

Approximate # of weeks 5

Essential Question: How can language and rhetoric manipulate and deceive?

Students will investigate Iago’s motives and manipulations through close reading and analytical tasks. During this unit students will explore Shakespeare’s use of language as a means to further understand how author’s use language. During this time students will have the opportunity to play with the spoken language.
Students will begin the unit by studying Shakespeare’s sonnets. As the unit progresses students will read paired poetry texts to explore theme.
During this unit students will write in a variety of styles to demonstrate an understanding of the plot, an understanding of the characters, and an understanding of the language.

Topic/Unit: A.P. Prep

Approximate # of weeks 2
Students will engage in explicit review for the A.P. exam, by reviewing texts covered both in class and independently, multiple choice questions and essay writing.
During this time students will write daily. Edits will be made with teacher feedback so that students can continue to grow in their areas of weakness.
(A.P. Exam: Thursday, May 8, 2014)

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