Syllabus: AP English Language and Composition (APELAC) 2015-2016 Mr. Jason Ortiz E-mail: [email protected] Webpage: www.gertzresslerhigh.org (click “Classes/Homework,” then “English,” and follow links) Success Team: Fridays 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. Course Objectives In this course, students will: 1. Prepare to achieve at least a minimum (‘3’) score on the APELAC exam in May. See Course Description for specific goals relating to the APELAC course. 2. Practice and enhance skills in specific areas of composition (with a focus on rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis), while strengthening writing skills overall. 3. Enhance reading comprehension through the practice of close reading a diverse variety of texts and develop “active reading” habits. 4. Engage in the habits of reflective, college-ready, self-directed learners (e.g., effective study habits, organization, time management, meeting deadlines, etc). Course Description (also see Course Description from AP Central) APELAC is, above all, a writing course. The goal is to refine students’ understanding and appreciation of the forms of composition used by authors (rhetoric) and to develop the use of rhetoric in their own writing. Specifically, students will be prepared to successfully execute three genres of composition: the rhetorical analysis essay, the argumentative essay, and the synthesis essay. Also, we will practice various writing skills, including using more sophisticated word choice (diction), sentence structure (syntax) and English mechanics, usage, and grammar. Writing and reading are strongly linked; to become a better writer, you must read better writing. The APELAC exam requires students to be able to read at the college level, therefore, we will also be close reading a variety of texts, with a focus on literary nonfiction (essays, journalism, auto-/biography, etc.). We will also work toward acquiring academic vocabulary and enhancing both reading fluency (speed/connections) and comprehension (understanding/insight). As a result, students will be prepared to be successful on the APELAC exam later in the year. Course Outline To start out the year, we will focus on understanding the components of the APELAC exam: what the exam looks like, how it’s scored, the testing environment, and identifying the skills necessary to be successful on the APELAC exam. Then, we will focus on these specific skills, including:
Close reading of complex texts Analytical reading Rhetorical analysis of texts (both written and visual) Argumentative writing Synthesis of sources for argumentative writing Specific strategies for multiple-choice questions
Most of the year will be spent practicing these skills using, among other resources, sample APELAC multiple choice questions/writing tasks, while continually critiquing and reflecting on our work. Independent Reading In APELAC, students will be assigned and expected to complete an extensive amount of independent reading, both inside and outside of class. Schedules and deadlines for reading assignments will be posted in a timely manner. There will at least two (possibly more) Independent Reading Projects assigned that
will require 100% of the reading to be done outside of class, in addition to regular reading for class. It is imperative that students plan and manage their time effectively to keep up with the assigned reading. Outside-of-Class Work (i.e., “Homework”) Outside of class, students will be expected to work on a variety of assignments. There will be ongoing assignments that need to be completed on a weekly basis (e.g., Current Events Journal/Arsenal of Knowledge, rhetorical analysis homework, assigned readings/rhetorical analysis), longer-term assignments (e.g., Independent Reading Projects), some of which may have multiple benchmarks and deadlines, and smaller assignments. In general, the ongoing and longer-term assignments will have an impact on your semester grade, while smaller assignments will not. However, keep in mind that whether an assignment is graded or not, it has been assigned to help you master skills and reach our objectives. Assessments/Grading Major assessments for this course will include frequent quizzes on a variety of content, in-class and outside practice activities, projects, essays and shorter writing assignments. Students have numerous and diverse opportunities to succeed in this course. Grading Scale: 3.40-4.00
Grade Equivalents A
Grades will be generated according to APELAC standards assessed over the course of the semester. Each assignment/assessment will be linked to standards and will be scored on a 0-4 point scale. Scores on each standard will be averaged across the semester to determine the final grade, which will also be on a 0-4 scale, as well as an equivalent letter grade.
Grades are posted online in a timely manner. Students are expected to review their grades frequently; I will not provide grades to students in any way except via the online gradebook. Note that students in APELAC are held to a higher standard than students in ELA 11. Therefore, students whose semester grades fall below 2.0 at any time may require a parent conference or other interventions over and above school-wide policies (e.g., “Gertz Succeeds”). Grade Replacement Policy If a student does not pass Semester 1, students will have the opportunity to replace their Semester 1 grade during Semester 2 with a make-up project. This project is for students whose final grades fell between 1.80 and 1.99 for Semester 1. Students whose grades were below 1.80 do not have the opportunity to complete this project without special permission from me. Students who complete this project satisfactorily will receive a 2.00 for Semester 1. Requirements: In addition to this project, students must satisfy the following requirements in order for the ELA teacher to change their Semester 1 grade: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Students must be passing Semester 2 (grade of 2.00 or higher). Students must have no outstanding assignments for Semester 1 (i.e., no ‘Z’ grades). Students must have no violations of academic honesty during the school year. Students must attend Success Team every week (unexcused absences will nullify this opportunity)
Please note that, after the first week of school, students who are enrolled in APELAC will not have the opportunity to leave the class without specific permission from a parent/guardian. This will require a meeting between the student, the parent/guardian, an administrator, and myself to discuss the rationale for this change.
Retakes/Resubmissions It is school policy to allow students to resubmit or retake assessments if they do not demonstrate proficiency the first time. In APELAC, the majority of assessments will be based on writing tasks, therefore generally students will be allowed to gain additional points on assessments in which they score below 2.00 through resubmission of compositions as opposed to retakes of quizzes/exams. In this course, students will be allowed to retake/resubmit only if: 1. Their original score on the assessment is below 2.00 on the 0-4 grading scale. 2. They attend at least one session of Success Team during which they will work to improve their performance on the assessment/assignment. 3. In the case of quizzes or exams, students must request a retake before I return the materials to the class; there are no retakes after I return the assessment. 4. In certain cases, students must attend at least one review session before the assessment in order to be able to do a retake later. Students who do not attend a review session may not be allowed to retake. 5. Projects and essays must be resubmitted in a timely manner – no more than one (1) week after scores are published online. There may be further requirements, at my discretion, based on the nature of the assessment. Due to timing or other issues, there will be some assessments and assignments that cannot be retaken/resubmitted (e.g., Alliance-wide benchmarks, lexile assessments, assessments at the end of the semester). Students may not retake/resubmit work from a previous semester. In college, most professors do not offer this opportunity, so get in the habit of doing your best the first time around. Deadlines/Extensions In APELAC, students must demonstrate the ability to work under significant time restraints and to keep up with the pace of the class. In general, work will not be accepted after the assigned deadline. I may choose to grant an extension on an assignment if a student requests such an extension before the assignment deadline. My decision will be based on the nature of the assignment and the student’s prior history of meeting deadlines, and even with an extension, late work may suffer a penalty, again at my discretion. Work that is not turned in will receive a “Z” in the gradebook, equivalent to a zero score. Since we all occasionally encounter unexpected circumstances, I will issue students one (1) “late work pass.” This pass will entitle you to an automatic extension of one (1) class period without penalty. There will be assignments where the late work pass will not be accepted; these will be noted when assigned. Note that an unused pass cannot be submitted for credit toward your final grade. Absence Absence is not an acceptable excuse for missing a deadline or not taking an assessment unless you demonstrate conscientious student behavior by communicating with me via e-mail. Missed assignments or assessments must be turned in to me immediately the day you return to school (in other words, do not wait until the next class meeting). Assignments/assessments missed due to your own conduct (e.g., in the office, suspension) will not be accepted late. It is your responsibility to catch up on missed work, class notes, etc. via your classmates. Daily agendas and homework/reminders will also be posted online to help you to catch up following an absence. Out-of-class Passes Students are expected to be present during the entire class period. Students will be issued four (4) out-ofclass passes at the beginning of the year for restroom use. Trips to the main office or College Center should take place outside of class hours. Note that unused passes cannot be turned in for credit toward your final grade.
Academic Integrity Academic integrity is key to succeeding in this course. Students are expected to do their own work, credit others when using their ideas, honor commitments (to the teacher and to fellow students), provide their own materials, and generally act in an ethical manner. Academic dishonesty of any kind, including, but not limited to, plagiarism, will automatically be referred to administration and result in zero credit for the assignment/assessment in question. Success Team Success Team is an opportunity for students to receive extra help outside of class time. Students with semester grades below 2.35 are expected to attend Success Team each week. Other students may attend voluntarily. Students must arrive to Success Team by the posted time in order to participate. Students may also schedule an appointment for one-on-one tutoring during other times before or after school. Required Texts The Prentice Hall Reader, George Miller (tentative) Most of the texts that we will be reading this year will be provided to students, typically online. Students may be required to obtain personal copies of additional texts during the school year. Adequate notice will be given to obtain personal copies of any additional text, and accommodations made for students who have reasonable difficulties in obtaining copies. Online/Electronic Work Frequently students will be required to use electronic/online resources for this course. We will be using Google Classroom to share, work on, and submit work practically every day, among other online resources. Therefore, it is imperative that students have their Google accounts set up and available to access. If you will have problems accessing online assignments or other resources outside of class, it is your responsibility to inform me and I will accommodate your needs. Required Materials To be successful in this class, students must be prepared. To be prepared, students must have the following materials every day. If a student has reasonable difficulties in obtaining these materials, I will make accommodations. #1: You will need your school-issued iPad every day, even if we are working with laptops in-class. Other than your iPad, you will want to have/acquire: 1. Blue or black pens: no other colors; bring more than one in case you run out of ink; note that I do not allow the use of pencils in class except in rare instances, in which case I will have pencils available for you to use. 2. Lined, three-hole-punched (“loose leaf”) paper; paper torn out of a notebook, graph paper, copy paper, etc. is not acceptable. 3. Any hard copy texts required for class. 4. Any hard copy materials distributed by me and all previous hard copy work for this course. 5. Composition notebook (100 page minimum) – for current events/”Arsenal of Knowledge” journal. Note: My expectation is that each student will have his/her own materials. It is presumptuous and unprofessional of students to expect to borrow pens, paper, etc. from classmates and therefore this will be considered a violation of my Student Conduct policy.
Organization As college-bound, 11th grade students, I don’t expect to have to tell you how to organize your work and materials. Use whatever system works for you, as long as you have easy access to what you need when you need it. You need to keep ALL the work you do, including class notes, handouts, scored work, etc.; missing materials may preclude you from participating in certain class activities, which is a violation of my Student Conduct policy. Student Conduct In APELAC, there is absolutely no instructional time to waste. Any student who, based on my perception, is disrupting the learning environment or wasting instructional time will be referred to an administrator. Teacher Expectations I cannot stress strongly enough how important student motivation and determination is to success in APELAC. This class is not about “passing,” it’s about “succeeding.” While it’s true that a ‘C’ in an AP class is the equivalent of a ‘B’ in a regular class as far as your GPA is concerned, if right now you are shooting for a ‘C’ I urge you to raise your goals. We will be moving at an extremely fast pace in this class, and I expect students to keep up with that pace. Ask questions if you are confused or need more clarification on a topic, but before you do so, ask yourself if you have been really “present” and engaged in class (and by the way, this is not a class that you can miss frequently; regular attendance is essential). You will be doing significant amounts of reading and other work outside of class; you should plan to commit at least five hours a week outside of class each week. Also, you will have three practice exams during the course of the school year, which will take place on Saturdays. The exam takes approximately three and a half hours to administer, so it is not feasible to do this during regular school days. These dates will be shared well in advance; serious APELAC students will accept these as required school days. Otherwise, I simply expect your best at all times. In return, I will do my best to be your “coach” for the APELAC exam. We will all (including myself as the teacher) experience great success, and probably some disappointments, during the coming year. Stay focused, keep your mind on your goals, and don’t get discouraged by the amount of work or the occasional feeling of being overwhelmed. Remember: nothing that’s really worth accomplishing is easy, and we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. My hope is for everyone in my classes to be successful. However, I can’t make this happen for you. You have to make it happen for yourself. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou, American author and poet Teacher/Student/Parent Contract On the next page is a message specifically for your parent/guardian. Please share this syllabus with your parent/guardian and answer any questions they may have, or invite them to contact me. By signing this contract, you, your parent/guardian, and I agree that we are familiar with and agree to the contents of this syllabus.
Dear parent/guardian: I am happy to have your child in my AP English Language class this year. You should be proud of him or her for taking on this challenge; I certainly am, and will do my best to ensure that he or she is successful. Speaking of success, you’re probably used to your child’s academic success, and having him or her bring home high grades on schoolwork. Your child is probably very used to this as well, and may even take for granted that he or she “always gets an ‘A.’” However, keep in mind that your child is learning new content and practicing skills that they may never have been exposed to before, and at a level of sophistication and expectation he or she may not be used to. It is not unusual for students’ grades to be significantly lower than normal at the beginning of an AP course, and that may be true for your child. Let me reiterate: this is normal. As he or she masters new content and skills with time, his or her grades will reflect this. Support and positive encouragement from you will help your child deal with the high expectations, significant workload, and learning curve of AP Language successfully. 11th grade is a crucial year for students, especially students in AP classes, but with your support I’m sure your child will rise to the challenge. I am always happy to discuss his or her progress with you; the best way to contact me is via e-mail.
Estimados padres/tutores: Estoy contento de tener a su hijo en mi clase de Colocación Avanzada de Lenguaje Inglés de este año. Usted debe estar orgulloso de él o ella para aceptar este reto; ciertamente yo lo estoy, y haremos lo mejor posible para asegurar que él o ella tengan éxito. Hablando de éxito, usted probablemente está acostumbrado al éxito académico de su hijo, y que él o ella traiga a casa altas calificaciones escolares. Su hijo esta probablemente muy acostumbrado a esto, y puede incluso dar por sentado que "siempre obtiene una “A”. Sin embargo, tenga en cuenta que su hijo aprendiendo un nuevo contenido va a practicar habilidades que puede que nunca han estado expuestos antes y a un nivel de sofisticación y expectativa que él o ella no puede no estar acostumbrado. No es inusual que los estudiantes obtengan calificaciones significativamente inferiores a lo normal en el comienzo de un curso de “AP”, y eso puede pasarle a su hijo. Permítanme reiterarle: Esto es normal. Con el tiempo ganara maestría, cuando este mas expuesto al nuevo material e habilidades, y sus calificaciones reflejarán esto. Apoyo y estímulo positivo de su parte ayudará a su hijo (a) a lidiar con las altas expectativas, carga de trabajo, y aprendizaje del lenguaje de AP con éxito. El 11° grado es un año crucial para los estudiantes, especialmente a los estudiantes en las clases de “AP”, pero con su apoyo, que estoy seguro de que su hijo ganara el desafío. Siempre estoy disponible hablar sobre el progreso de su hijo con usted; la mejor forma de contactarme es a través de correo electrónico.