English Literature and Composition

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AP® English Literature and Composition

Course Overview
This course reflects the curricular requirements as described in the College Board’s AP® English Literature and Composition Course Description. The content of this course provides students with in-depth studies of great literary classics and contemporary selections. The assigned literature is teacher-selected and represents a broad variety of genres and multicultural concepts.
Selections of literature are grouped thematically and by genre in order to allow students to engage in close reading, annotation, and analysis of the works’ details. The goal is to offer students the ability to identify and interpret multiple meanings of a given work through various critical approaches and find universal connections among literature of various genres and periods. Each module contains readings and study of the historical/cultural/social influences and implications of the works studied, and how they can be reflected in the works’ themes.
Full-length works of literature, as well as short readings and literary criticism, are accessed by students using the Internet. The course Web site is maintained by the teacher and technology staff in an effort to provide needed online links, as well as videos and audio of important lectures, and supplemental material. The writing component of the course requires the student to engage in formal and informal writing on a weekly basis. Students write to understand, explain, and evaluate details of literature and their effects on the audience, the artistry in expressing a given message, and the social/cultural values that may be reflected in the message.
This course also emphasizes the modern literacy skills that are essential for success in today’s academic, professional, and civic environments, to name a few. Students have the opportunity to collaborate through network technologies via the Internet and Web-based applications to complete short-term and long-term assignments. Projects include the creation of multimedia products that give students the opportunity to learn to communicate across media and modalities, and to express themselves on analytical and creative levels based on their knowledge of theme, structure, style, literary devices and techniques, and necessary research. Upon registering students, local school systems agree to provide the necessary software, hardware, and Internet connections to make effective learning in the virtual environment possible.
Course Philosophy—An Important Note to Students:

A class is a group, a collection, a set that shares certain characteristics. A class is not made of one—it is made of several; therefore, as a member of the AP® English class, the student is a member of a community or team of learners. Success in this class is undoubtedly supported by active participation on the learning team. In the days of the Renaissance, a single man aimed at knowing everything or at least a great deal about a range of different topics. Today, people must not only be informed but also know how to learn from and with others to solve problems and answer questions. The sum of the community’s knowledge and skills is much greater than that of an isolated individual. Accessing what each community member knows is called collective intelligence.

Throughout this course, the student is reminded that each is a member of a team working together to answer questions, complete projects, hold meaningful discussions, and to learn from one another through in-depth, specific, and mature critique and analysis. As an active learner on this team, the student helps to make sure that the community -- made of peers and the instructor -- communicates and brings forth its collective intelligence to help others achieve success.

Student Writing and Revisions:

For most of the works we read and analyze, students write one paper modeled after the free-response questions or prompts used on the AP® exam. Such writing includes expository, argumentative, and interpretative essays that all take into account the textual details of the works studied. While this class does not prescribe a certain format for essays, it does emphasize the use of the Assertion, Evidence, Commentary Model as basis for formulating and proving a thesis. Students are expected to read instructor’s comments and revise at least the first draft for a potentially higher grade. Students can expect assignments in which they participate in peer review of essays and in writing workshops. Attention is paid to logical flow and organization; adherence to a clear thesis; answering of the prompt; effective uses of evidence and following commentary; interpretation of theme and social/historical values (depending on the assignment); and appropriate uses of generalizations, specificity, vocabulary and tone, grammar, sentence structure, detail, and effective rhetoric.

Throughout the course, students complete a Personal Grammar Progress Chart after receiving instructor comments and conducting self-editing of essays. Students take note and count mistakes made in grammar and mechanics for each essay in order to chart their progress in learning to correct or avoid such mistakes. Students are expected to use provided resources for improving skills. Periodically, students submit the chart and meet with the instructor through synchronous discussion to review areas of concern or those that continue to pose difficulty.
Upon logging into the course each day, students should visit http://www.merriam-webster.com/ to expand their vocabulary through regular exploration and practice with Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. By the last Thursday of each month, students must define, give the part of speech, and provide an original sentence correctly using the word of the day from Merriam-Webster.com for sixteen days of the month. Students are expected to appropriately use such words throughout the year in their writing when applicable.
In addition, students are exposed to definitions of literary terms at least weekly through the course. They are to write and save their own shortened definitions of the literary terms with an example, and to appropriately use such words throughout the year in their writing when applicable. Students submit all vocabulary and terms assignments for comment.
Other writing assignments include a formal research paper, various argumentative and expository essays, and daily informal writings in response to their reading experiences, to explore various interpretations of meaning and how those interpretations are revealed, and to engage in mature discourse of the literary artistry presented in studied works. Such informal writings are scheduled for each module and include, but are not limited to, discussion-board posts, reading guides and journals, short-answer assignments, annotation, and response/reaction assignments.

A primary textbook is not used. The course draws on the rich field of e-texts, which can be found online; however, many students may prefer to obtain print versions of longer texts. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain print versions. The readings can be accessed through http://www.gutenberg.org/, http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/, and/or through sites given to students by notification of the instructor and in course lessons.
A list of the e-texts used in the course is presented below:

Module 1

Passage from “The Sea-Farmer” by Jack London (American 1912) – provided in lesson
Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen (British 1917) – provided in lesson

Module 2

Evening Hawk” by Robert Penn Warren (American 1975) – provided in lesson

The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe (American 1846)


Module 3

The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare (English 1603) – http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/MobOthe.html
Sestina” by Elizabeth Bishop (American 1956) – provided in lesson

Module 4

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Polish born, British 1902) –http://www.gutenberg.org/files/219/219.txt

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=ConDark.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/ english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

An Image of Africa” by Chinua Achebe (Nigerian 1975)


Module 5

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Russian 1866) –


The Madman.” The Madman: His Parables and Poems by Khalil Gibran (Lebanese American 1918)


The Parable of the Madman” by Friedrich Nietzsche (German 1882) – provided in lesson
Excerpt from novel The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling by Henry Fielding (British 1749) – provided in lesson

Module 6

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare (British 1599-1601)


Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath (American 1953)
Excerpt from novel Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (British 1849) – provided in lesson

Module 7

She Walks in Beauty” by George Gordon, Lord Byron (British 1814) – provided in lesson

England in 1819” by Percy Bysshe Shelley (British 1819) – provided in lesson
miss rosie” by Lucille Clifton (African American 1969) –


When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be” by John Keats (British 1817) – provided in lesson
Making a Fist” by Naomi Shihab Nye (Palestinian American 1995)


Arbole, Arbole” by Federico Garcia Lorca (Spanish 1921-1924)


Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost (American 1923)


Because I Could Not Stop For Death” by Emily Dickinson (American 1924)


Nothing Twice” by Wislawa Szymborska (Polish 1996)


Digging” by Seamus Heaney (Irish 1966)


Monologue for an Onion” by Suji Kwock Kim (Korean American 2003)


If We Must Die” by Claude McKay (Jamaican native, American immigrant 1919)


Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath (American 1953)
Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen (British 1917) – provided in lesson
Sonnet Poetry Sound Project: Student chooses a sonnet from a list that includes works from the following literary periods: Elizabethan, Romantic, Victorian, 19-20th century American. – provided in lesson
London, 1802” by William Wordsworth (British 1802) – provided in lesson
Douglass” by Paul Laurence Dunbar (American 1903) – provided in lesson

Module 8

Beowulf (Old English 8th century)


The Habit of Perfection” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918 British) – provided in lesson

Module 9

How to Tell a Story” by Mark Twain (American 1897)

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain (American 1867)


The Boarding House” by James Joyce (Irish 1914)


An Occurrence at Owl Creek” by Ambrose Bierce (American 1890) –


The Wife of his Youth” by Charles W. Chesnutt (African American 1898) – provided in lesson

Module 11

The Retreat” by Henry Vaughn (British 1650) – provided in lesson

Excerpt from Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (British 1891) – provided in lesson

Module 12

Lady of Shalott” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (British 1842) – provided in lesson

Lancelot and Elaine” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (British 1859) – provided in lesson

Independent-Reading Schedule
For each semester, students will select a novel from a teacher selected list of literary merit such as those cited in the AP® English Course Description. Students read their novels and complete extended journal assignments to respond to, interpret, analyze, and evaluate the authors’ uses of textual details and devices, artistry, expression of theme, and social/cultural values.
Students are expected to submit an independent-reading guide, Major Works Data Sheet and other reading assignments for each “quarter” of the novel chosen for each semester. For example: Each approved novel should be divided into “quarters,” for which the student will complete a different reading guide, and assigned activity. Four reading guides and extension activities will be submitted for each novel. One novel should be read, independent of assigned readings, for each semester.
Independent-reading assignments follow the deadline schedule below:

Week due


Semester One

Week 2

Independent-reading proposal for semester one

Week 5

Independent-reading guide for first quarter of novel for semester one

Week 9

Independent-reading guide for second quarter of novel for semester one

Week 13

Independent-reading guide for third quarter of novel for semester one

Week 17

Independent-reading guide for fourth quarter of novel for semester one

Semester Two

Week 19

Independent-reading proposal for semester two

Week 22

Independent-reading guide for first quarter of novel for semester two

Week 26

Independent-reading guide for second quarter of novel for semester two

Week 30

Independent-reading guide for third quarter of novel for semester two

Week 34

Independent-reading guide for fourth quarter of novel for semester two

Late Work and Lesson-Completion Policy:

This course is a college-level English course; therefore, it is expected that students take an initiative in their learning and complete all lessons and assignments by the posted deadlines.

Completing a lesson includes reading ALL material posted in the course lessons, assignments and their directions, and discussion boards. In addition, the student is expected to read all course news, events-calendar posts, pages, and e-mails to remain informed of lesson objectives and assignments.
Not completing assignments on time affects the student’s ability to remain on pace with the objectives for the course. Students are expected to continue their readings and assignments during breaks and vacations.
Late Work Policy

Timely submission of assignments is the hallmark of a successful online student.

As such, the following policy is designed to hold students accountable for their work. All assignments will have a due date published in the course calendar. If a student does not complete the assignment by the due date, a grade of zero will be recorded for that assignment.
At the teacher’s discretion, the student may request the opportunity to complete the assignment up to two weeks after the original due date at a grade penalty of up to 15% for the first week late and up to 30% for the second week late. If there are extenuating circumstances that can be verified by a mentor, counselor, or parent, then the grade penalty might not be applied.
All requests are considered on a case by case basis and may not be approved. This policy is intended to help students recover if they fall behind in a course, but is not intended to allow repeated tardiness in work submission. After any student’s second request to turn in late work in a semester, the teacher may require all future requests to be made in writing from the school

counselor or principal. Assignments due during the two weeks before both the semester and course end dates will not be given the normal two week grace period. If these assignments are not submitted on time and no extenuating circumstance is verified, the student will receive a grade of zero for those assignments.

Student Evaluation:

Each module consists of an opening activity, objectives, content for study, AP® exam practice, interactive/multimedia activities, and both formative and summative assessments. In addition, students are expected to participate in all class activities, including, but not limited to, discussion-board forums, Elluminate and Wimba discussions, instructor-student conferences, peer reviews, writing workshops, and other collaborative assignments.

The rubric for formal essays, based upon the AP® English Literature and Composition essay scoring guidelines, can be found in the course resources. Rubrics for other assignments (discussion-board posts, projects, informal writing assignments, creative writing assignments) are given in the course lessons and in the course resources.
Students receive cumulative grades in this course.
Grade breakdown per semester:

Quizzes: 15 percent

Participation: 15 percent

Tests: 35 percent

Performance: 35 percent
Online Discussion, Email and Pager Conduct Policy

A. Students are expected to show respect for order, law, the personal rights of others, as well as to maintain standards of personal integrity.

B. Students working online will be held to the same behavioral standards as students in traditional classroom. Please be aware that I will be observing your threaded discussions with each other, and I will review those discussions, commenting where appropriate with the goal of helping you to better understand the course content. Specifically, you should adhere to the following guidelines:

• Personal correspondence should be conducted elsewhere.

• Treat and respect others as you would like to be treated.

• “Flaming,” an angry series of words or comments used to personally attack others who may disagree with you, is not permitted.

• Take time to review the tone, language, word choice, spelling, and grammar of any written correspondence prior to sending it. You will be judged by the quality of your work. Please make sure to perform a spell check of your work before submitting it.

• Students are responsible for completing their own online course work.

* A list of Discussion Board Guidelines and rubric for grading discussion-board assignments are located under Course Resources online in the course management system.
Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty is any activity intended to improve a student’s grade fraudulently.* It includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Unauthorized use of notes, books, or other prohibited materials during an examination;

2. Open cheating on an examination (such as copying from another student’s paper);

3. Permitting another person to take a test in the student’s place or receiving unauthorized assistance with any work for which academic credit is received;

4. Providing unauthorized assistance with any work for which academic credit is received;

5. Plagiarism (using another person’s work without acknowledgment)
Please refer to the Virtual Virginia Student Handbook for the Student Code of Conduct, Acceptable Use of Technology, and Proper Use of Netiquette policies.

Assignments of Special Note
Summer Assignment: The objective of this assignment is to provide an opportunity for students to explore the AP® English Literature and Composition course in order to participate in a threaded discussion with peers and the instructor. Students have the first nine weeks to complete the required assignment.
Students will explore the AP® English Literature and Composition Exam site at the College Board:


Once at the side, students should read each page given on the left side of the screen (English Literature and Composition; The Exam; Study Skills; Sample Questions and Scoring; Grade Distribution) and use the information to answer the following prompt on the discussion board:

After exploring the different components of the AP® exam, which areas of the test do you think will be the hardest for you? What study strategies do you plan to incorporate for bettering yourself in these areas? What study strategies would you offer to your classmates as they identify areas of difficulty for themselves? How will you manage the eight to twelve hours needed outside of class time to be successful? Read five other posts and respond to at least two.
Students should refer to the discussion board rubric for scoring criteria.
Research Paper and Presentation: Students choose a work that has been studied in the course and trace the elements of philosophic thought and literary criticism presented in the writing. Through detailed research, students will explore the foundations of a chosen literary critical approach and how meaning can be derived through an application of the approach. In a MLA-formatted paper, students prove their understanding of the foundations of a critical approach and its application in reading a selected work. Students evaluate the work’s underlying meanings, and analyze the significance of the textual details, artistry, and social and cultural values revealed through the critical approach.
Students write the research paper as an individual assignment. The instructor then assigns the students to groups in order to complete the multimedia presentation portion of the project.

Students in assigned groups apply two critical approaches to a given work, interpret possible themes of the work, and analyze how the various critical approaches may reveal obvious and subtle differences and similarities in meaning. The presentations will be recorded and shared via Elluminate with the entire class and instructor. Students must watch peers’ recorded presentations and write summaries of the presentations’ content.

AP® Portfolio: Throughout the year, students should save all files of assignments completed, whether or not they are submitted to the instructor. Prior to the AP® English Literature and Composition exam, students will gather selected assignments (as dictated by the assignment directions) into an “AP® Portfolio.” All essays written throughout the year are included in this portfolio. Students meet with the instructor online in synchronous discussion, as well as with classmates in writing workshops and peer-review meetings, to revise essays for logical flow and organization; adherence to a clear thesis; answering of the prompt; effective uses of evidence and following commentary; interpretation of theme and social/historical values (depending on the assignment); and appropriate uses of generalizations, specificity, vocabulary and tone, grammar, sentence structure, detail, and effective rhetoric.

Web sites regularly used:
AP® Central




Merriam-Webster Online


The Purdue Online Writing Lab


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