Ap language and Composition Course Syllabus

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AP Language and Composition

Course Syllabus


Instructor:  Ms. Pamela Blades

Room:  C113

Cell Phone:  979-864-7214

E-mail:  pblades@alvinisd.net


Course Description:  This course’s design focuses on the interrelationship among rhetoric, reading, and writing.  Students will grapple with the central question of rhetorical analysis: Why do authors make the choices they make—regarding such elements as diction and syntax and their effects, both intended and unintended?  By examining a variety of sophisticated and interesting non-fiction selections with various arrangements, to include media representations, the students delve into the elements and language of rhetorical and stylistic analysis of a wide range of authors.  Analyzing the strategies of other writers through practice with close reading of many examples, students will emulate an array of effective techniques as they develop their own positions and support their own arguments, thus honing their skills as readers and writers. 


The motivated student will succeed by making a personal commitment to meet the many challenges of this rigorous course. Through much self-discipline and independent learning, the successful student continuously works to improve skills that reflect the expectations and goals of college-level reading and writing. Additionally, the AP Language and Composition course often incorporates seminar-style collaboration with peers to enhance debating and conferencing skills.  Finally, this course will use a variety of college-level material that may contain explicit language and description that some may find offensive.     


Course Supplies:    Three-ring binder (1” or 1.5”)

                                     7 Binder dividers

                                     Small Post-it Notes (for reading selections not purchased)

                                     Pencils, Blue or Black Pens

                                     Ample Regular-ruled Notebook Paper 


            Binder dividers are to be labeled with the following (in order):


1.     Rhetorical Analysis

2.     Argument

3.     Synthesis

4.     Multiple Choice Practice

5.     Essential Vocabulary (Academic Vocabulary, Roots, Suffixes, Prefixes, Character Traits, Tone Words, SAT, ACT, Rhetorical Devices/Terms)

6.     Grammar (SAM, Image, Strunk)

7.     Miscellaneous (Syllogisms, Analogies, Allusions)


Class Website:  A frequent check of Mrs. Blades’ website is suggested. The site, however, is a “work in progress.”                                   


Assigned Reading:


Summer Reading




Jay Henrichs’s Thank You for Arguing


Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby


Play: Arthur Miller’s The Crucible


Choose one from the following titles: 


Mary Pipher’s Reviving Ophelia:  Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

Dan Kindlon, PH.D and Michael Thompson’s, PH.D Raising Cain

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink

Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed



Strongly suggested:  AP Language and Composition 2009 (Princeton’s, Kaplans, OR Baron’s)



On-going Assignments:


Nonfiction Reading/Writing

To be successful on the AP Language and Composition Exam, students need to be apprised of current events and issues as they will write an argumentative essay on an assigned controversial topic on that exam after synthesizing four-six selections, to include one visual.  To adequately prepare for that portion of the exam, students are required to bring current events/visuals to class for reflection in discussion and writing, some of which the latter will be timed. 


Close Reading Assignments

Students will develop the habit of accounting for their close reading in a variety of ways, including descriptive outlines/graphic organizers, analyses formats(SOAPSTone, DIDLS, etc.), response forms, annotations, and dialectical journal entries, some of which will target specific literary devices (theme, symbolism, allusions, author’s style/purpose/point of view, historical elements, etc.)



Reading Quizzes

Students will take quizzes over in-class reading passages as well as reading assigned as homework that assess understanding of both meaning and style.


Grammar and Writing Mini Lessons

With each writing assignment, elements of organization, diction, and construction, such as use of specific examples, subordination/coordination, and organization of argument will be addressed.

Some isolated mini lessons will address whole-class areas of concern (pronouns, subject-verb agreement, apostrophe, comma, semi-colon, colon, dash, ellipses use).


Drafting Process

During the writing process, students will receive feedback during peer-response group discussions with frequent teacher intervention/participation.  Students will account for their own rhetorical choices on submission sheets and during one-on-one post-submission conferences with the teacher.  Every student will be required to attend at least one teacher-student writing conference before or after school.  Some students will be required to attend these conferences more often.  All students are encouraged to attend writing conferences.



Reading is the best way to expand one’s vocabulary, but explicit vocabulary study will be one aspect of this course.  Vocabulary units will consist of words pulled from class reading, words relevant to the study of rhetoric and words that frequently appear on the AP/PSAT/SAT/ACT exams.


AP Language and Composition Exam Excerpts

Sample passages with multiple-choice questions and free response questions from past AP Language Exams will be given periodically during class to practice for that exam.


PSAT/SAT/ACT Practices

Test-taking strategies and skills will be modeled and taught through practice exercises and selections of various tests given and analyzed.




To earn one dropped grade for the first nine weeks (I do not drop grades for students who have any zeroes), have the following turned in or with you in class on Friday:

1.      Signed Forms (Syllabus/Policies Acknowledgement, AP Contract, Integrity Policy)

2.     Three-ring binder with properly labeled dividers

3.     Required Texts

4.     Assigned class supply





I have read and understand Mrs. Blades’ syllabus and policies and the AISD AP Contract and Integrity Oath for the English III AP course.


Student Printed Name: __________________________Signature:_______________________
 Parent Signature:______________________________Date:____________________________












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