**Please note those areas with asterisks and underlining in reference to your initial review.
AP English Language and Composition Course Overview The AP English Language and Composition course’s purpose is “to enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers” (Collegeboard). It provides an opportunity for high school students to pursue and receive credit for college-level coursework, specifically that of the first semester of college English. The primary focus of the AP English Language and Composition exam is non-fiction. A variety of reading assignments will include autobiography, biography, history, literary criticism, journalism, speeches, letters, politics, science, nature, and of course, fiction. Curriculum for 11th grade English must cover American literature, thus units of study follow a chronological base highlighting Puritanism, Rationalism, Romanticism, Transcendentalism, Realism, Modernism, Racism, and Feminism. Each unit allows for several types of informal writing, and culminates in a final writing assignment that employs a variety of rhetorical and persuasive devices. Each unit also integrates the California State English/Language Arts Standards for grades 11 and 12. These standards strengthen the analysis and application of Reading, Writing, Language Conventions, and Listening and Speaking and include: • word analysis, fluency, and systematic vocabulary development, specifically focusing on terms used in political science and history as well as scientific and mathematical terminology; • reading comprehension focusing on the features and rhetorical devices found in informational materials; • literary response and analysis evaluating the philosophical, religious, ethical, and social issues of historical periods; • writing strategies demonstrating student awareness of audience and purpose, and progressing through the stages of the writing process; • writing applications combining the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion and description; • written and oral English language conventions demonstrating a command of standard English as well as appropriate manuscript requirements in writing; • listening and speaking strategies allowing students to formulate adroit judgments about oral communication that includes the media; • speaking applications utilizing traditional rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description, both informally and formally. Texts used throughout the year (in the order of importance): Elements of Literature 5th Course: Literature of the United States. Holt, Rinehart Winston, 2000. United States in Literature. Scott Foresman, 1982. Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. 1989. 1
The Lively Art of Writing. Lucille Vaughn Payne, New York, 1969. MLA Handbook. 6th Edition. 2003. Vocabulary Workshop Level F, Oxford Book Company, Inc, 2004. The Prentice Hall Reader. 8th Edition. George Miller, 2007. Preface to Critical Reading. 6th edition. Richard Altick and Andrea Lunsford, 1984. Norton Anthology of American Literature. 6th Edition. Nina Baym (ed), 2003.
Units of Study Summer Reading: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Catcher in the Rye Woman Warrior Students are given several opportunities to demonstrate understanding of each of these three texts through objective tests, in-class writings that include compare/contrast, and within the chronological time period in which each falls.
Introduction to AP English Visual Literacy introducing tone and devices used to create tone: As an introductory visual assignment, students are exposed to a wide variety of visual presentations identifying the tone or attitude of the work and then analyzing what visual techniques are used to achieve that tone. Students are then assigned a visual literacy assignment after discussing all the inferences the phrase “May Day” is associated with (including the AP testing in May). Students then explore their own attitude towards the AP exam, creating a poster that expresses this attitude using only the words “may day” and any visual techniques.
Puritanism Readings include selections from Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford, “Here Follow Some Verses upon the Burning of our House” by Anne Bradstreet, “Huswifery” by Edward Taylor, excerpts from “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, excerpts from “Wonders of the Invisible World” by Cotton Mather, and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, including the “Overture.” As students read, present, and discuss each text, they will note author’s purpose, audience, persona/tone, messages, and rhetorical strategies used to convey all of these devices. Students begin exploring and using vocabulary terms such as subjective versus objective, ethos, pathos, and logos, inversion, etc. After each discussion, students will write a dialectical journal entry (DEJ) exploring more fully one quote. To introduce dialectical journals (DEJ), students receive a 4-point rubric detailing how to effectively analyze a quote. Students write their first DEJ in class. Four student samples are typed up for students to score and discuss the next day using the rubric. Students are then assigned to revise their DEJ entry to reflect a proficient/advanced score. For the next two or three DEJ entries, students are allowed to revise if they receive a score below proficiency. Cumulative Writing Assignment: Synthesis question
Introduction: Most of us recognize and live with the difference between our public self and our private self. Sometimes however, those selves – with all their convictions, passions, and values – come into conflict. Then we must make a choice as to which self will triumph and which self must be sacrificed. Arthur Miller, in his overture to the drama The Crucible, observes about the Puritans that “no one really knows what their lives were like (830),” and then proceeds to probe this Puritan psyche, spending several paragraphs finding much to admire but even more to condemn. Writing task: Using at least three of the Puritan authors we have studied, defend, challenge, or qualify Miller’s conclusions that there is more to condemn than admire about the Puritans, keeping in mind that he is targeting the Puritans of Salem in 1692.
Rationalism Readings include “The Declaration of Independence” by Thomas Jefferson, selections from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, Patrick Henry’s “Speech to the Virginia Convention,” excerpts from Thomas Paine’s Crisis No 1, selected poems of Phillis Wheatley, and selected letters from Abigail Adams. Students will continue to read, present, and discuss each text, noting author’s purpose, audience, persona, messages, and rhetorical strategies used to convey all of these devices. Students focus on syllogisms, logical fallacies, and propaganda techniques, as well as other elements of persuasion. After each discussion, students will continue writing dialectical journal entries (DEJ) exploring more fully one quote per author. Cumulative Writing Assignment Students will analyze the “Declaration of Independence” (DOI) with a focus towards tone, diction, parallelism/repetition, and syntax. Students will then discuss and select an aspect of their lives from which they would like to be liberated. Imitating the style of the DOI, students will write their own declaration. The final product can also visually imitate the DOI, but it must be typed according to MLA standards.
Romanticism Readings include Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Homes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe. Students will identify and work with characteristics of American Romanticism, including a study of paintings from the period and how they visually represent the same ideas and techniques as writers of Romanticism. Cumulative Writing Assignment After reading Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, students will first debate in class and then write a persuasive essay in which they argue whether Hawthorne intends for the reader to see the character Pearl as a child of God, a child or Satan, or a realistic portrayal of a child raised under unique circumstances.
Transcendentalism Readings include from Nature and “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, selections from Walden and “Resistance to Civil Government” by Henry David Thoreau, extending to Martin
Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham City Jail”, E.B. White’s “Walden” and Don Henley’s Heaven is Under Our Feet. Student focus is aphorisms, imagery, diction, anecdotes, allusion, etc. Students will continue to practice persuasive, expository, and analytical writing using a variety of evidence, including text. They will also identify and synthesize Thoreau and King’s beliefs as they relate to civil disobedience. They will compare and contrast these historical documents with contemporary American society. Additionally, students will strengthen revision techniques, researching secondary sources and integrating quotes supporting their position into their essays and including a works cited list. Cumulative Writing Assignments 1. Write a well-written persuasive essay in which you explain Emerson’s philosophy of Transcendentalism and defend, challenge, or qualify its validity. Your essay must use a minimum of five aphorisms from Emerson as well as concrete examples from your own experience, observations, and reading. 2. Department Benchmark: Write an essay in which you compare and contrast Thoreau and King’s beliefs as they relate to civil disobedience AND how these beliefs are manifested in contemporary American society. The texts you will use are “Resistance to Civil Government” and “Letter From Birmingham City Jail.” After writing this essay, type a 4-5 page revised essay comparing and contrasting Thoreau and King’s beliefs as they relate to civil disobedience AND how these beliefs are manifested in contemporary American society. You must stay as close as you can to your original thesis, revising only to strengthen and/or clarify your position and you must use a minimum of two secondary sources supporting your arguments. Four sample journal articles will be provided for you to use. You may choose to find additional sources through the local university library system. Essays will be formatted according to MLA standards.
Realism Readings include Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, selections from The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, excerpts from Black Elk Speaks and speeches by Chief Joseph and Chief Blackhawk. Cumulative Writing Assignments Persuasive essay Choose ONE of the following writing tasks. This is a timed rough draft (in-class essay) and therefore will contain many flaws. This, of course, will be taken into account in the grade. However, the essay should show evidence of planning, organization, and proofreading. 1. Is Huckleberry Finn a racist novel and/or should it be banned in schools? Give arguments from both sides and cite specific scenes in the book, then take a clear position. 2. Huckleberry Finn deals with some remarkably contemporary issues. Some of these include racism, alcoholism, teen runaways, gang warfare, con-men and cheaters, and religion. Pick one or more of these issues. Discuss them, citing specific scenes in the novel. In what ways do you agree or disagree with Mark Twain’s views on these issues? 3. Huck Finn rebels against many issues in his society. These issues include racism, religion, education, and social customs (such as dress, manners, etc). Discuss his
rebellion, citing specific scenes. Decide where Huck’s rebellion may be justified and where it may NOT be justified.
To strengthen revision techniques, students will take the above essay and turn it into a 4-5 page typed essay using secondary sources from academic journals (just as they did with Thoreau and King). Students will continue to practice research skills by finding sources through the local university library system and incorporating quotes from secondary sources supporting their original argument. Students will follow MLA citation guidelines. An additional writing task choice for this unit requires students to compare and contrast Huckleberry Finn with Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, paying particular attention to point of view, voice, and conflict with society. Students will also write two short creative pieces: 1. Pretend that you are a child psychiatrist who has just “heard” Holden’s story. Take into account Holden’s diction, syntax and content to analyze Holden’s “problem” and suggest a method of treatment. 2. Pretend you are Holden and you have enrolled at your local high school. Write an account in his language of his first day at this school. Include in your account his opinion of his encounter with you.
The Moderns Readings include “Soldier’s Home” and other short stories by Ernest Hemingway, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner’s “The Bear,” selections from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, O’Brien’s short story “Speaking of Courage,” as well as the Nobel acceptance speeches of Faulkner, Steinbeck and Hemingway. Readings will also include selected poetry by such authors as Lowell, Pound, Williams, T.S. Eliot, etc. Cumulative Writing Assignments Choices include: After extensive analysis of how Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner and Steinbeck use imagery and figurative language to evoke tone in a place, students will write vivid descriptive essays evoking a tone for a place that has had an impact on them. Students will write a compare/contrast essay between The Jungle and Fast Food Nation and speculate as to how much the food industry has or has not changed. Students will write several in-class essays analyzing an author’s style, initially focusing on tone, diction, detail, point of view, organization, and syntax, and then applying their understanding to include all rhetorical and literary devices. Past AP Language prompts on author’s style will be used here. Department Benchmark: Using Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and other selected narratives (biographical and autobiographical), write a personal narrative focusing on a single event in your
life from which you learned something. Be sure to include imagery and dialogue to make your experience come alive. Department Benchmark: After reading Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” and O’Brien’s “Speaking of Courage” identify a common theme and compare elements of fiction used by both authors to convey this theme. Then, in a well-developed conclusion, discuss how this theme may or may not apply to soldier’s returning from Iraq.
Racism/Feminism Readings include Frederick Douglass, Sandra Cisneros’s “Straw Into Gold,” Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Alice Walker’s “In My Mother’s Garden” and “To Hell With Dying,” selections from James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison, Tan’s “The Rules of the Game,” Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, and Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Culminating Writing Assignment The quest for knowledge as a means to freedom is a thread running throughout this unit. Select as least three diverse works and analyze how these authors use literary devices to present this theme.
Environmentalism Since half the students in our A.P. program are from a Marine Science Magnet, the environmentalism unit focuses on marine life. Readings include Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row, excerpts from The Sea of Cortez, “Knowing Doc Ricketts,” and “Speculative Metaphysics”; selections from Doc Ricketts’ Between Pacific Tides; Jim Lynch’s novel The Highest Tide and Rachel Carson’s The Sea Around Us. Students will study fiction and non-fiction works that interrelate, particularly the connection between Steinbeck and Ricketts and between Lynch and Carson. Students will not only analyze the text, but also study the relationship between text and visuals such as graphs, charts and photos. Cumulative Writing assignment Students will write a persuasive synthesis essay in which they use the above sources, including visuals such as charts, graphs, and photos to demonstrate how the environmental impact portrayed in these works applies to the San Pedro Harbor and the coastline where our students live.
A.P. Preparation Project Each student will select a work from a list of short fiction and non-fiction. Students will then create their own mock A.P. exam based upon this selection. First they must familiarize themselves with the literary and rhetorical devices employed in the text. Second, they must write 12-15 multiple choice questions in the style found on the AP exam. Then they must write a freeresponse prompt (using the same passage). Students present their projects in small groups. When the project is completed, students will have both written and edited at least five prompts (including two responses to their own prompt: a high-scoring essay and a low-scoring essay) as well as three to four objective tests written by their peers.
Poetry (Post AP Test) Readings include Dickinson, Whitman, Eliot, Williams, Plath, Cummings, Ginsburg, Snyder, Ferlinghetti, Hughes, Brooks, Pound, Stevens, Sexton, Bishop, and Haydn and other student choices. Emphasis for this unit is to transfer the analytical and rhetorical skills learned in the AP Language course to the AP Literature course. Strategies include speaker, audience, SOAPStone strategies (subject, occasion, audience, purpose, speaker, tone), meter, etc. Activities include mimicking a particular poem, researching American poems and poets, poetry readings, collecting a personal anthology of poetry, and informal/formal writings analyzing author’s style.
Ongoing Activities **As part of the high school’s ongoing Honors/AP program, students continue vocabulary instruction using the Vocabulary Workshop series, Level F, which continues to develop a wide-ranging vocabulary that demonstrates appropriate and effective use of the vocabulary in student’s writing. In addition to the units outlined above, contemporary music will be integrated connecting the ideas of the past with the realities of today. Selections can include but is not limited to “Greenland Whale Fisheries” by the Pogues; “End of the Innocence” and “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley; “In Your Eyes” and “Family Snapshot” by Peter Gabriel, “All I Want is You” by U2; “Strangers When We Meet” by David Bowie; “Them Bones” by Alice In Chains; “Afternoons and Coffee Spoons” by the Crash Test Dummies; and “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. **Students will spend time working with The Lively Art of Writing beginning with chapter 8, “Active and Passive Voice” and continuing to chapter 13, “More Freedom and a Few Flourishes.” The following chapters deal in a variety of ways with subordination and coordination of sentence structure: chapter 7 (“Connection Between Paragraphs”), chapter 9 (“The Sound of Sentences”), and chapter 10 (“Parallel Structure”). If students still need practice with thesis statement and other essay organizational strategies, then chapters 1 through 6 will be used. Students will also work with released AP multiple choice questions and free-response questions. All passages and questions tend to fit well into the chronology of American literature, whether they are American or not. Additionally, students will participate in workshops and seminars as the need arises to strengthen reading strategies and application of the writing process. Specific workshops include Socratic seminars (see first appendix) that emphasize close reading practices, and writing workshops (see second appendix) that focus on literary devices such as diction and syntax, as well as the processes of editing and revision. All seminars and workshops encourage students to participate and continuously practice the understanding of language.
Appendix One: For classroom discussion and text analysis we use Mortimer Adler’s Socratic seminar method as trained by The National Padeia Center/UNC. Appendix Two: The Asilomar Writing Workshop Method: **This workshop process is used to give students both peer and teacher feedback throughout the writing process. Rule #6 encourages feedback on the specifics of craft, which include such areas as effective vocabulary and sentence structure. Organization of students can include: Use a "concentric circle" or "fishbowl" seating arrangement where the inner circle workshops while the outer circle observes and takes notes. Break the class into several groups in the same room, making sure that each is monitored very closely. (This would be the least desirable alternative since it places you outside of the workshop.) Combine classes with another teacher; while one of you takes a larger number of students in a lecture format, the other teacher may take a smaller group through the workshop format. Workshop Guidelines 1. No one is allowed to enter the workshop who does not fully participate in the process. It is crucial that no one be allowed to critique a work unless that person exposes him/herself to the same perils. Furthermore, people who don't honor the readings of others don't get the privilege of reading themselves. This includes the workshop leader. 2. The writer/reader makes no disclaimers, apologies or explanations about the work to be read. The only appropriate introductory remarks are those that give pertinent background information not contained in the reading. (For example, if the middle of a short story is being read, it might be acceptable for the reader to give the workshop a very brief summary of the beginning.) More often than not, introductory comments only serve to reveal problems in the piece that will soon be revealed anyway. Many novice (as well as veteran) writers feel anxious prior to reading. They experience a need to gain sympathy through explaining, apologizing or discounting their own work. The workshop leader should try to calm the reader. But, at the same time, the leader should press the reader "to get on with it." 3. The writer reads his/her work aloud to the group. While reading aloud may seem time consuming, it is crucial. The process of reading aloud to a
specific audience forces the writer to confront problems in the piece that are otherwise overlooked. Frequently, a writer will have an epiphany about his/her work even as he/she is reading aloud. This is true no matter how many times the writer may have gone over the piece alone. For these reasons, only in rare cases, such as laryngitis, may the writer designate a substitute reader. Although the leader may stipulate that the writer provide copies in advance to the workshop, this is by no means a requirement for a successful workshop. Many very effective workshops are run solely on the basis of an oral reading. However, it may help less experienced listeners to have a copy to follow. A page or time limit is a good idea, particularly in a larger group. However, some flexibility should be given in deference to the creative process. Still, the leader and the reader should keep in mind that the quality of the group's critique drops off markedly if the reading becomes too long. 4. Immediately after reading, the writer listens "in vegetable silence" and may take notes. Under no circumstances should the writer/reader be allowed to engage in any discussion, debate or explanation during this part of the process. He/she must simply absorb the comments and take notes. If necessary, the leader may allow "yes or no" questions to be asked and answered. Any longer responses by the writer/reader must be saved until the end of the workshop. 5. Workshop members critique the work one at a time in a prearranged order. If there is an unwieldy number of members, the leader may wish to explore these two alternatives: a) Break into two (or more) workshops. However, do not shuffle members between the workshops. b) Do not have every member comment on every piece. You could either have a set rotation or the leader could pick at random. Those not chosen to comment on a particular piece can add their "essential" comments at the end, in writing or after the workshop. 6. Rules to keep in mind while "critiquing" The workshop leader may wish to have a written copy of this section for each group member. Attempt to balance specific comments between what "works" and what "needs work" in a piece. It is important for a writer to hear what "works" not merely to soothe his/her damaged ego, but also so that in those later moments of lonely revision, the author will not excise the strengths along with the weaknesses of the piece. Do not ramble. Focus on the craft. Do not interpret. Avoid comments that begin "I think this is saying..." etc.
Do not rewrite. Let the writer know what needs "fixing," but do not offer suggestions about how to fix it. If you agree with an observation already made, briefly reiterate the point, but don't dwell on it. It is helpful for the reader/writer to hear a point several times. Writers are a stubborn lot, and sometimes we need to be told several times before we realize our precious baby needs changing. Do not critique a critique. If you disagree with a point made by a previous workshop member, briefly state your point and go on. Do not feel you have to make every single point. Your critique is often more effective if it focuses on a few important details. Chances are, if something you left out truly is an important point, another participant will bring it up. If not, there will be time afterwards. Avoid ulterior motives in your critiques. Watch out for those comments that make you look especially clever or that elicit a laugh. 7. Listen carefully to all the other critiques. Inevitably, the problems occurring in another piece will appear in your own work. Listening and absorbing critiques of other work is the single most important part of the learning process. 8. The workshop leader facilitates the process. Periodically remind members to keep their comments brief, specific and to the point. (If rambling is a persistent problem, the leader may wish to impose a time limit on each critique.) Remind the reader/writer to maintain "vegetable silence." Do not allow members to speak out of turn. If there were specific elements of craft that prompted the assignment for the workshop, the leader may wish to encourage the workshop members to focus on those elements. The leader may also need to periodically remind members of this goal. Moments of humor can help ease tension and bond the group. However, humor that is disparaging of any piece of writing or of any group member should never be tolerated. 9. The workshop leader does the final critique. The workshop leader must abide by all of the above rules. Modeling the critical process for the other workshop members is as important as the critique itself. 10. The reader/writer thanks the workshop and makes a short response to any points in question. Some pieces will generate a lot of excitement. While the group will want to keep talking and debating the piece, remind them that it is time to go on. Additional Note: The leader must be an adult, experienced workshop participant. A workshop is a serious
endeavor fraught with many perils. The most well-intentioned groups can be damaging if not done properly. Avoid student led workshops. Even the most gifted student can do the most damage, accidental or otherwise. The workshop process outlined below has been developed by a wonderful writer and teacher, Jerry Hannah, through the "Asilomar Writers' Consortium (Conspiracy)" and was submitted by Grant Farley. This was originally published at the website ncteameriancollection.com.