Ap language and Composition Course Audit Course objectives

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AP Language and Composition

Course Audit
Course objectives:
1. To prepare for the AP test in English Language and Composition by

becoming critical readers, writers, and thinkers. This will be accomplished by a series of writing assignments, both multi-draft and spontaneous, and some speaking assignments throughout the year. These assignments will range from narrative to extended definition to critical and argumentative.

2. To understand the terms of rhetoric, how they are applied, why an author may choose to use them and their effect by defining the terms and applying them to various readings. These readings will include memoir, essay, poetry, fiction, and short stories throughout the year.
3. To learn to synthesize information from various sources to create a position on an issue. This includes correct citation of information in an essay and presenting ideas in an organized manner.

Course overview:
In this introductory college-level course, students will read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through close reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities. Course readings feature descriptive, expository, analytical, personal, and argumentative texts from a variety of authors and historical contexts (1700s to today). Students examine and work with essays, poems, speeches, images, and imaginative literature. Students prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam and may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both as a result of satisfactory performance.
Course reading and writing activities should help students gain textual understanding, making them more alert to an author’s purpose, the needs of an audience, the demands of the subject, and the resources of language (syntax, diction, and tone).
As this is a college-level course, performance expectations are appropriately high, and the workload is challenging. Students are expected to commit to this high level and should both study and write appropriately per week outside of class; the amount of time and effort will vary throughout the course and its units. Often, this work involves long-term writing and reading assignments; effective time management is important. Because of the demanding curriculum, students must bring to the course sufficient command of mechanical conventions and an ability to read and discuss prose – there will be many forms of discussion used to aid in developing these abilities further.
Throughout the course, students will also engage in ongoing assignments, including journals, informal and formal writing, vocabulary lessons, grammar and mechanical lessons, and exam practices. This work, in addition to tests and quizzes during the various units, will be assigned in addition to the major written assignments and some speeches and projects.
This course is in accordance with the guidelines described in the AP English Course Description.

Course Units:
Unit I: Introduction: Rhetoric and Close Readings
Goal: Learn and apply the “process” of close reading and annotating texts.

Examine the “language of AP” with terms and concepts, including appeals and


Compose a first essay, demonstrating the writing process and a formal response.

Texts: visuals: “Girl in Mill” and a State Farm advertisement

Patterns for College Writing chapter one,

“How to Mark a Book”

“What’s in a Name?”

“The Watcher at the Gate,” Godwin

Mini Writing

Assignment: Best America piece, according to A. Lincoln or G.W. Bush

Unit II: Description: A Dominant Impression
Goal: Analyze the language of description, including figurative language, tone

diction, and syntax

Texts: excerpt from Snow Falling on Cedars

“Ground Zero,” Suzanne Berne

excerpt from Bag of Bones, Stephen King

“Once More to the Lake,” E.B. White

student samples from the Minneapolis StarTrbune’s “Voices for the Land”


Assignment: A descriptive essay on a place that holds a dominant impression

Unit III: Compare and Contrast: Rhetoric in Action
Goal: Analyze the rhetorical devices at work in paired speeches.

Compare and contrast the effect of the rhetorical strategies in one of the pairs.

Texts: “Speech in the Virginia Convention,” “Patrick Henry

“The Declaration of Independence,” Thomas Jefferson

“Gettysburg Address,” Lincoln

Funeral Oration at Gettysburg,” Everett

“Second Inaugural Address,” Lincoln

Speech to troops, Patton

Speech to troops, Green

“Checkers,” Nixon

“I Misled the People,” Clinton

“I Have Sinned,” Clinton


Assignments: Rhetorical analysis of Free Response Questions from the AP test

Rhetorical analysis of two texts: Comparison/Contrast

Unit IV: Argumentation & Persuasion: Analyzing and Building an Argument
Goal: Analyze the strategies of argumentation and the tools of persuasion at work in non-fiction essays and speeches and persuasive essays. Explore how writers frame/structure an argument in order to persuade.

Mini Project: Impromptu speeches around student-choice topics following claim-data-

warrant structure


Assignments: Speech: Building a Persuasive Argument base on the First Amendment

Free Response Questions from an AP test, focusing on analyzing and

building arguments

Unit V: Classification: Analyzing Stylistic Devices

Goal: Analyze selected poetry closely, identifying stylistic devices and explaining how

they contribute to meaning. Read descriptive non-fiction prose, again looking for

how stylistic devices further meaning.

Texts: Selected Poetry (see authors)
Sylvia Plath Nikki Giovanni Elizabeth Bishop

Gwendolyn Brooks Lorna D. Cervantes Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Wordsworth Rita Dove Langston Hughes

Seamus Heaney Walt Whitman William Carlos Williams

Robert Frost Marge Piercy Dylan Thomas

Theodore Roethke William Butler Yeats David Mura

Joy Harjo Maya Angelou Sharon Olds

Project: Oral Interpretation on a selected poem.


Assignments: Stylistic analysis of a selected poem

Free Response Question from an AP test focusing on stylistic devices

Unit VI: Definition: Visual Literacy

Texts: Ben Stein’s last column with photo (Appendix I)

Advertisement: “Got Milk?” from Picturing Texts (Appendix 2)

American Dream photo

Assignments: argument

Unit VII: Cause and Effect: Tracing a Theme ~ The Puritan Tradition
Goal: Trace a theme throughout the drama The Crucible.
Text: The Crucible, Miller

Assignments: Literary Analysis Essay

Free Response Question(s) from an AP test

**** AP TEST ****

Before the test

  1. Timed writings: analysis, argument and synthesis with feedback.

  2. Timed multiple choice tests with review of questions and answers

Test prep tips: what to expect, how to tackle the test.

Unit VII: Exemplification: Literature Through Multiple Lenses
Goal: Examine The Awakening through four lenses: Reader-Response, Marxist,

Feminist, and New Critical. Explore how changing theories of literary

Criticism can shape an analysis of literature.

Texts: “The Story of an Hour,” Chopin

The Awakening, Kate Chopin

Fried Green Tomatoes, film


Assignments: Critical Analysis of The Awakening

Free Response Question on The Awakening

Free Response Question from an AP Test

Unit VIII: Building a Research-Based Argument
Goal: Learn and apply the standard format for academic research papers and learn to

integrate research into an original argumentative paper. Read and evaluate sources. Synthesize information from a variety of texts into a well-argued paper, not merely repetition. Demonstrate master of proper MLA citation form.

Texts: Articles and essays connected to topics that are selected

Assignment: Argumentative Research Paper

Unit IX: Narrative: Autobiographical Analysis ~ The Search for Identity
Goal: Read model autobiographical narratives and examine how an author develops a

personal story. Learn how to tell a personal story using vivid detail to express a

larger point or epiphany.
Texts: “At Play in the Paradise of Bombs,” Sanders

Coming Home Again,” Lee

Coins of the Realm,” Baker

How it Feels to Be Colored Me,” Hurston

Cultural Etiquette: A Guide,”Three Rivers

Me Talk Pretty One Day,” Sedaris

Assignment: Personal narrative in response to a college application question

Unit X: Conclusion ~ An Understanding of Pop Culture and Beauty
Goal: Read model autobiographical narratives and examine how an author develops a

personal story. Learn how to tell a personal story using vivid detail to express a

larger point or epiphany.
Texts: “The Face of Beauty,” Diane Ackerman

“About Men,” Gretel Ehrlich

“The Wound in the Face,” Angela Carter

“A Woman’s Beauty: Put-Down or Power Source?” Susan Sontag

“The Troubled Life of Boys,” Stephen S. Hall

“Barbie Doll,” Marge Piercy

other sources: Vogue, Men’s Health, Vanity Fair, Alistair Highet, M.G. Lord,

Anna Quindlen, Christine Rosen, and Jane Smiley


Assignment: A synthesized essay that supports a position in response to a passage

that offers a debatable definition of beauty.

Course Texts:
Central course textbooks include various non-fiction pieces on social, political, environmental issues (not biography or autobiography) for individual nonfiction assignment as well as various essays, newspaper and magazine articles —

current events, topics relating to class conversations, modern tie-ins to older texts.

Works Cited
Clouse, Barbara Fine. Patterns for a Purpose: A Rhetorical Reader.

Boston: McGraw Hill, 2009. Print.

Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. The Say, I Say: The

Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: WW Norton and Company, 2009. Print.

Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. Patterns for College

Reading: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.

Shea, Renee H., Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses. The

Language of Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins’s, 2008. Print.


Students will keep a response journal second semester. “Respond to each chapter/section. Note the things you agree and disagree with, ask questions, keep track of vocabulary you don’t know. Then choose ONE of the following essays to complete:”

Essay 1: Critical Analysis

For the book you read, write an essay (3 to 5 paragraphs) in which you identify the author’s purpose and analyze how he/she uses the resources of language (rhetoric)--such as diction, imagery, sentence structure, figurative language—to achieve his or her purpose.

Essay 2: Argumentation

For the book you read, write an essay (3 to 5 paragraphs) in which you support, qualify or refute the author’s claim on an issue. Support your argument with appropriate evidence.

Essay 3: Nonfiction reading, class discussions on essays: “Why I Want a Wife”, Pete Rose, “Only Daughter” by Cisneros.
Essay 4: Return to analysis essay. Look at past test questions. How to read a prompt, critical reading/annotation skills, assess past example essays, practice timed writing—analysis question.

Course Evaluation:

Students are evaluated on the basis of major papers, homework, quality of class participation and involvement, and AP-style writing prompts. Points will be recorded in either formative or summative categories. The summative portion will be comprised of tests, quizzes, major papers, and FRQ’s (free response questions / AP prompts), but other elements are also significant. Student performance / participation contributes to the final course grade in this category as well.

Students will earn both numbered scores and grades on AP prompts they take during the year as well as on their multiple choice practice exams. Additionally to note, the grade associated with particular AP essay scores varies according to the time of year that is, a very good essay written in November earns a higher grade than a similar essay written in April since students are at work building the skills needed to succeed as the year proceeds.
While student thinking, writing, reading, listening, and speaking are at the center of class activity and grading is viewed in this context, one goal of our evaluation is to enable students to become more comfortable with self-assessment. This assessment is critical to success. For example, major writing assignments follow the writing process using writing workshops. This development, intended to meet the unit goal, is also meant to encourage the draft portion of the writing process so ultimately when the AP test is taken, a “third draft” will be written the first time.
For the formative portion of the student’s final grade, the teacher regularly observes and assesses student knowledge and ability. Products, such as written practices, vocabulary work, response journals, and class notes all demonstrate this development and this section of the grade.
Finally, the usual A–B–C–D–F “system” is used to grade student work each semester. The teacher discusses grades with students in conferences during the marking periods. In addition to the usual grades, an unsatisfactory finished piece of writing may, at the teacher’s discretion, may be revised or reworked, then resubmitted for a grade, without penalty in order to help in the overall development and success of the student’s abilities.

Appendix 1

Ben Stein's Last Column...

August 9, 2004
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?
As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "FINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end. It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it.
On a small scale, Morton's [famous restaurant which was often frequented by Hollywood stars], while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.
Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.
How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails. They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer.
A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world. A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.. A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.
The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists. We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines.
The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.
I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject. There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament....the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive. The orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery, the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children, the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards. Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse.
Now you have my idea of a real hero. We are not responsible for the operation of the universe, and what happens to us is not terribly important.
God is real, not a fiction, and when we turn over our lives to Him, he takes far better care of us than we could ever do for ourselves. In a word, we make ourselves sane when we fire ourselves as the directors of the movie of our lives and turn the power over to Him.
I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin--or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman, or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them. But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis, into a coma, and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.
This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.
 Faith is not believing that God can; it is knowing that God will.

Appendix 2

Picturing Texts

All year we have been discussing the power of language—of diction and syntax—yet today our lives are steeped in visual images as well. We often respond to powerful images without realizing why we’ve reacted the way we have. As we learn to read the “language” of pictures, consider how elements such as composition and lighting, subject arrangement, juxtaposition and metaphor create messages.
In this photo from 1937, briefly articulate how the picture and the language inform and imply meaning about the American Dream at the time of the Louisville Flood. (5-8 sentences)
Photo found at: www.abc-fotografia.com/galle/2002-bourke2-g.jpg

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