Course Syllabus for Advanced Placement English Language and Composition -- Mr. Ross
Course Objective: To paraphrase a military recruiting slogan from the last century: Advanced Placement English Language and Composition will be the toughest class you’ll ever learn to appreciate. While the designated priority of this course is to prepare students for success on next May’s AP Language & Comp. exam, the arduous journey there will yield the additional benefits of elevated language skills and advantageous preparation for just about anything you may encounter in college (well beyond English). Hopefully, you will eventually come to appreciate the enriched lives you will enjoy by becoming more critical, careful, insightful and even enthusiastic readers, writers, viewers, speakers, and thinkers.
· Advanced Composition Skills: 20 Lessons for AP Success* by Steven Fox
· Cliffs AP English Language and Composition edited by Barbara V. Swovelin
· Everyday Use: Rhetoric at Work in Reading and Writing*** by Hephzibah Roskelly and David A. Jolliffe
· One Hundred Great Essays** edited by Robert Diyanni
Developmental AP Exam Skills: The Fox text will provide the instructional framework for this course; we will work through each lesson and its guided writing prompts together in class. This will ensure ample opportunities for direct teacher modeling, guided writing practice, and prompt feedback. Using various note-taking techniques, including graphic organizers, we will work through our own responses as well as analyze correct and exemplar responses. Whenever possible, we will practice what we have learned in the Cliffs AP workbook. Frequent instruction in higher-level vocabulary and grammar and usage skills will round out our in-class activities.
Developmental Reading and Writing Component: Most of our independent work (i.e., homework) will come from the Diyanni text (OHGE). We will read and respond to approximately one selection each week. Assigned readings will range from classic essays to contemporary writers and will cover a wide variety of subjects, styles and rhetorical strategies.
Our primary reading strategy will employ double-entry journaling. On the left side of the page, we will note questions or observations relating to major points from the pre-selection introduction. On the right side of the page, we will further reflect upon these details and how they contribute to deeper understanding of author’s purpose, audience, language strategies, and rhetorical devices. We will dedicate class time to discussion of these journals before independently responding to one of the three writing prompts following each selection.
These prompts range from identifying author’s purpose and specific supporting details to close analysis of how effectively the author develops her purpose and connects with her audience to opportunities to imitate the author’s purpose and/or style with our own thoughts and experiences. By restricting our initial essay responses to 40 minutes/2 single-spaced pages, we will prepare ourselves for the stressful time demands of the AP exam. However, we are responsible for further developing, revising, and polishing one of these responses into a more formal 3-page essay by the conclusion of each 5-week grading cycle of the first two marking periods.
In addition to your grade for the initial essays, each of you will receive written feedback according to a pre-assigned assessment area (e.g., thesis, conclusion, vocabulary, organization, sentence structure, details/development, mechanical conventions, and rhetoric). Whenever class-wide tendencies are evident, individual feedback will be supplemented with skill-specific mini-lessons and immediate opportunities for practice of those skills. We will follow-up with ½-page reflections on our performances on these essays and possibilities for revision into that grading cycle’s 3-page essay. Additionally, each writer should schedule planning/revision conferences before handing in final drafts of 3-page essays.AP Exam Preparation: Finally, the Roskelly and Jolliffe text will be our focused tune-up of formal language analyses and applications. We will learn terminology, tools, and strategies of rhetoric that will, as offered in the text’s introduction, help us “read texts to see how their purpose gets communicated to you and to write texts that accomplish the purposes you wish to communicate.”