Advanced placement english literature and composition syllabus school context

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  • This course is offered at an academy-based school of choice where students apply for admission to one of six academies: the Cambridge Academy, the Academy of Communications and Entertainment Technology, the Academy of Entrepreneurship, the Academy of Health Science, the Academy of Technical and Industrial Services, and the Academy of Telecommunication and Information. Once accepted, students choose specific career pathways or strands in their academies.

  • Demographically, the school is diverse both culturally and economically because students apply from some of the most affluent and from some of the most economically depressed areas in the region. The student population consists of 70 percent Hispanics, 24 percent African Americans and 6 percent other. Although 70 of the students are classified as Hispanics, these students represent more than ten different Spanish speaking nations.


  • The Advanced Placement Literature and Composition course is a college level course that engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature. Students who take this course read literature from multiple literary genres representing a variety of cultures and literary periods. AP Literature and Composition is open to any student in eleventh or twelfth grade who is willing to fulfill the rigorous requirements of the course. This course is designed to comply with the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description.


  • Students enrolled in the AP Literature and Composition courses are expected to

    1. attend all class sessions;

    2. complete all assignments and submit them when they are due;

    3. purchase novels and other works read but not supplied in the supplied texts;

    4. demonstrate understanding of works read through class discussion, informal and formal writing; and

    5. demonstrate the acquisition of those skills necessary to be successful on the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Test by scoring at least a three of better on the examination.

All writing grades as based on a rubric which will be given to the student prior to the assignment. For all formal and some informal writing assignments, students will have opportunities to conference with peers and /or the teacher before submitting a final draft. All formal writing assignments must go through at least one revision and may go through as many as three revisions before the student submits a final draft.

  • Students earn points during the grading session as follows:

    1. Class participation 2 grades bi-weekly

    2. Quizzes 2 grades each

    3. Major Tests 3—4 grades each

    4. Short answers 2 grades each

    5. Informal papers 2 grades each

    6. Formal papers 3--4 grades each

  • The total points earned is divided by the total possible points and grades are determined as follows:

    1. 90% - 100% = A

    2. 80% - 89% = B

    3. 70% - 79% = C

    4. 60% - 69% = D

    5. 0% - 59% = F


  • Arp, Thomas R. and Johnson, Greg eds. Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense, Eighth Edition. United States: Thompson Wadsworth, 2002.

  • Applebee, Arthur N., Bermudez, Andrea b, et al. The Language of Literature: British Literature, Florida Edition. Evanston, Illinois: McDougald Littell, 2003.

  • Odell, Lee, Richard Vacca, Renee Hobbs, and John D. Warriner eds. Elements of Language: Sixth Course. Orlando: Holt, Rhinehart, Winston, 2001.

  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor

List of novels, drama and anthologized material

  • Anonymous, Beowulf

  • Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales (excerpts)

  • Coelho, Pablo, The Alchemist (Summer Reading Assignment)

  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations (Summer Reading Assignment)

  • Hurston, Zora Neal, Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Ibsen, Henrik, A Doll House

  • Miller, Arthur, Death of a Salesman

  • Shakespeare, William, Hamlet; Othello the Moor

  • Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

  • Wilson, August, Fences

  • Selected works from Perrine

Students are encouraged to purchase their own novels; however, if purchasing is a hardship, a supply of sticky notes will work almost as well as marginal notes, highlighting and/or underlining.

Teacher Resources

  • Bernstein, Susan Naomi. A Brief Guide to the Novel. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc., 2003.

  • Daniel, Karen M. Oedipus the King. Villa Maria, PA: The Center for Learning, 1990.

  • Kovacs, Mary Anne Jo Reed, Shirley Strobel. Advanced Placement English. Villa Maria, PA: The Center for Learning, 1992.

  • Manear, John. Advanced Placement Poetry. Villa Maria, PA: The Center for Learning, 2002.



    1. to develop the student’s metacognitive abilities

    2. to improve the student’s vocabulary through reading a variety of literature and to use the newly acquired vocabulary effectively in oral and written discussions of the literature

    3. to increase the students ability to comprehend, interpret, and evaluate a variety of literature

    4. to identify terminology and to understand its use in a variety of text and its effect on the text and the reader

    5. to improve the student’s ability to go beyond the superficial reading of text and to understand the subtext in a variety of works

    6. to recognize and evaluate the importance of a work within or to the culture that produced it


    1. to provide the student with opportunities to react to text for a variety of purposes and in a variety of modes

    2. to provide the student with opportunities to share and/or publish written work with a variety of audiences

    3. to provide the student with composition experiences that help to develop a distinct voice and a more mature writing style

    4. to improve the student’s writing through practice activities in syntax, diction, grammar and mechanics

    5. to assist the student in developing a writing portfolio


  1. to provide students with opportunities to become familiar with the advanced placement examination through test practice and deconstruction of the answers

  2. to provide timed writing activities that have been used as previous AP essay question

  3. to provide students with a comfort level for taking the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Test

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to do a great deal of writing throughout the entire year. Your writing may also be used as a tool for learning. A piece might consist of random thoughts or questions you might have as you read. Some of this writing will be developed into formal papers of four to seven pages while others will be pieces you put in portfolio for later. Whenever you write, you will have an opportunity to share your writing with others. You may read some out loud and solicit comments from others in the class; you may share with a peer; or you may share with me. All writing will be kept in your writing portfolio.

Formal papers, papers of four or more pages, must always be shared with a peer editor and with me. You will have several opportunities to make sure that your final product is the very best you can produce. I will give a rubric that will be used to judge you writing before you are given an assignment. The only exceptions to this is the writing you must do for your timed writing tests (you will get the rubric after your have tested) and your final examination. Formal papers must be typed and double spaces. Use Arial or New Times Roman font of 11 point or 12 point.
Informal papers, timed writings or in-class papers of one to four pages, will be shared in class with a peer editor and possibly with me. If these are done outside of class they should be formatted in the same manner as the formal papers. If they are done in class, they must be written in ink.
You will be issued a copy of Holt, Rhinehart, Winston’s The Elements of Language, Sixth Course to use for exercises in grammar and usage. Lessons from Advanced Placement English and Advanced Placement Poetry from the Center for Learning will supplement your composition instruction.
A word about Capstone: As a senior you a required to complete a Capstone written product in addition to your practical presentation. For some of you that product has been defined by your technical teacher. For others of you, we will need to come up with a written product together. After we have received the Capstone Timeline from your respective technical teachers we will work out a Capstone schedule for each of you.


  • “Role of Good Reading” and “The Writing Process” pp 1 -36 from

Writing About Literature

  • Our Literary Heritage

A. Classical Literature – Oedipus Rex pp.1303 – 1359 from Perrine’s

Discussion – “Aristotle’s Definition of Tragedy” (Lesson 1, handouts 2 – 5; Lesson 2, handouts 7 – 8; Lesson 3 handouts 10 – 12; Lesson 5, handout 15, Lesson 8, handout 24; from Oedipus the King, The Center for Learning)

Vocabulary – tragic hero, hubris, irony, imagery
B. Beowulf from The Language of Literature, British Literature pp 28 - 65

Vocabulary – epic, epic hero, archetypes

C. The Canterbury Tales from The Language of Literature, British Literature

pp 107 – 170

Discussion language and style, tone and diction

Vocabulary – framed story,

Review the writing process and writing a thesis

“Some Common Writing Assignments” pp. 38 - 50 from Writing About Literature

D. In-class writing “What Makes A Hero?”

  • Reading the Short Story pp51 -57 from Perrine’s

A. “The Most Dangerous Game” from Perrine’s pp 57 -76

Discussion – “The Elements of Fiction” (Lesson 1, handout 1 Advanced Placement English, The Center for Learning)

B. “Plot and Structure” and selected short stories pp 107 – 166 from Perrine’s

“The Destructors” by Graham Green pp. 115 – 130

“Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri pp147 - 167

Discussion – plot, narrative structure, artistic unity, protagonist, antagonist, conflict, setting, elements of suspense, types of endings

C. Peer editing of “What Makes a Hero?” Revise and submit for assessment
D. “Writing About Short Stories” pp. 50 – 75 Writing About Literature
E. Timed Writing Practice focus on language and style; review of practice

writing with rubric

F. “Characterization” pp. 168 -173; “Point of View” pp.238 - 245 from


“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker pp. 173 – 181

“Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield pp. 182 – 186

Discussion – methods of characterization, types of characters, epiphany

point of view, symbols, diction, tone
G. “Theme” from Perrine’s pp.203 – 210

“Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer pp. 231 – 237

Grammar review – sentence structure; sentence variety in writing
H. Informal Paper – “Suggestions for Writing #2” from Perrine’s p.237

Presentation of Informal Paper to for class comments

Rough draft to instructor for comments
I. “The Japanese Quince” by John Galsworthy and “The Jockey” by

Carson McCullers (copies will be given to students to read before class)

Discussion – analysis of conflict for theme; (Lesson 2, handouts 2; Lesson 3, handout 3; Advanced Placement English)

Group Analysis of “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” from

Perrine’s pp 77 - 105 (Lesson 4, handout 4 Advanced Placement English)

Discussion – group analysis of a short story

J. Formal Paper One - Writing the Analytical Paper

(Lesson 5, handouts 5 – 7)

Discussion – process involved in writing analytical paper and of sample

Paper in Lesson 5, handout 7)

You have two weeks from the date this assignment is given to turn it in.

You may email me your rough drafts or make an appointment with me to

Also, check your grammar book for manuscript form. You may choose

“Suggestions for Writing” p.588 #’s 1, 3, or 6 from Perrine’s


Shakespeare, Othello, the Moor of Venice and Hamlet

  • The Drama

A. “The Nature of Drama” pp.1115 – 1151 from Perrine’s

Discussion – dramatic point of view, review pp 1118 – 1119 language used to

discuss drama

“Mind the Gap” by Meredith Oakes pp. 1120 - 1131

Discussion – analyzing diction to determine character – class created

characterization of Ginny through analysis of diction

Grammar review – specificity in word choice; denotative and connotative

meanings of words

Practice Test 1: You will be grouped to discuss answer choices and scoring of


“Writing About Plays” pp. 84 – 99 from Writing About Literature
B. “The Sandbox” by Edward Albee 1145 – 1151 from Perrine’s

Discussion – Theater of the Absurd

Informal in class writing – Response to Albee’s quote about play

I will respond in writing to your thoughts on the quote

C. Writing Lesson - Introduction and Conclusions; Using transitions
D. Formal Paper Two – Comparison/contrast paper based on “A Jury of Her

Peers” and “Trifles”. The same story written in two different genres

by the same author.
E. “Realistic and Nonrealistic Drama” pp.1160 -1233 from Perrine’s

Discussion – definition of terms,

“A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen pp. 1165 – 1233

In-class short written response to Ibsen’s comment on the popular notion that

his play was written in support of the cause for women’s rights

Writing Lesson - Syntax and diction and what they tell us about Nora

F. Timed Writing – Lesson 19 handout 33, Advanced Placement English
G. The Shakespearean tragedy

Othello, the Moor of Venice pp 1361 - 1461 from Perrine’s

Hamlet and Related Readings from McDougal-Littel

Discussion – the Shakespearean tragic hero, the language of Shakespeare

H. “Writing the literary research paper” pp. 103 – 129 Writing About Literature
I. Formal Paper Three - Research paper based on Othello, the Moor of Venice or


  • The Elements of Poetry 717 – 1111 from Perrine’s

A. “What is Poetry?” pp.717 – 736

Discussion rhythm, rhyme, pattern, meter

Tennyson “The Eagle”; Shakespeare, “Winter” and “Spring”; Owen, “Dulce et

Decorum Est”; Randall, “The Ballad of Birmingham”; Housman, “Terrence,

this is stupid stuff”

In-class response to a poem read in this section; pair/share

B. “Reading the Poem” pp737 – 756

Larkin, “A Study of Reading Habits”; Donne, “Break of Day” Dickinson,

“There has been a Death in the Opposite House”; Stuart, “Hidden Meanings”

“Writing About Poems” pp. 78 – 82, from Writing About Literature

C. “Denotation and Connotation” pp. 757 – 777

Review denotation and connotation

Kay, “A Pathedy of Manners”; Johnson, “On My First Son”; Hughes, “Cross”;

Wordsworth, “The World is too much with us”

Close reading/writing activity on “The Naming of Parts” by Henry Reed—teacher


D. “Imagery” pp. 771 – 784 from Perrine’s

Browning “Meeting at Night” “Parting at Morning”; Hopkins, “Spring”

Dickinson, “I felt a Funeral in my Brain”; Heaney, “The Forge”; Hardy,

“The Convergence of the Twain”

Timed Writing – Analyzing two poems treating the same theme; self grade using

E. “Guidelines to analyzing poetry” – Lesson 8, handouts 17 – 18, Advanced

Placement Poetry
F. Formal Paper Four – Analysis of several poems written by the same poet or

several poems about the same theme

G. Figurative Language pp. 785 – 1021

(Lesson 14 – Handout 29 from Advanced Placement Poetry)

H. Poems for further reading or analysis pp. 1027 - 1111

Selected poems for further study


Hurston, Zora Neal Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Defining the Novel

A. “The Novel: Its History and Types” (Lesson 20, handout 35, Advanced Placement

B. Hurston, Zora Neal “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

Discussion – “Point of View in the Novel” (Lesson 21, handouts 36-38, Advanced Placement English); “Structural Organization in the Novel” (Lesson 22, handout 39, Advanced Placement English)

C. Timed Writing – (Lesson 24, Handout 40, Advanced Placement

D. Intensive Preparation for the Advanced Placement English Literature and

Composition Examination

E. Student papers and presentations on a work, listed but not read in class
F. The Great Tree Project based on Their Eyes Were Watching God.

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