AP English Language and Composition
Gretchen Brewer, Montgomery County High School
This course is designed to engage students in becoming skilled readers of texts written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts. The goal of this course is to give students the tools necessary to become skilled writers who are capable of writing for a variety of purposes and audiences. The exercises that students will be engaged in will bring to the students’ attention the connections and relations among a writer’s purpose, audience expectations, and subjects. Students will also begin to analyze text to examine it for conventions, language usage, and style and how those elements contribute to effectiveness in writing. The class work will mostly be comprised of discussion and activities centered on the study of author’s technique, tone, purpose, meaning, and examination of author’s philosophical and social commentary. Writing practice and assessment in this class will be similar to an introductory college writing course that focuses on exposition, argument, and literary analysis.
- Analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.
- Apply effective strategies and techniques in student writing.
- Create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience.
- Demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in student/author writings.
- Write for a variety of purposes.
- Produce expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary source material, cogent explanations, and clear transitions.
- Demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary source material.
- Move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, revising, editing, and review.
- Write thoughtfully about their own process of composition.
- Revise a work to make it suitable for a different audience.
- Analyze the historical and cultural development of American literature with insight and clarity.
- Write under time constraints.
- Read and analyze longer works (e.g., novels, plays).
The Writer’s Harbrace Handbook (2007) by Cheryl Glenn and Loretta Gray.
The Language of Composition (2007) by Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Canlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses.
50 Essays: A Portable Anthology (2004). Samuel Cohen.
Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience (2007) Pearson Prentice Hall.
Additions will be made to this list!
Points will be given for individual assignments and group projects. Each student’s grade will be determined by dividing the total possible points by the points the student earned. Students will be given written assignments, projects, tests, quizzes, in-class assignments, homework and class participation, for which they can obtain points.
Students will write many formal and informal pieces for a variety of audiences and purposes and in a variety of forms.
Formal essays will be a result of a cumulative process. Students will work through the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revision. For each formal writing, students will have opportunities to revise and to revise through a peer analysis process. Students will also work one on one with the teacher to analyze their work.
For each draft students will go through a guided peer review in which the teacher asks students to identify and comment on particular aspects (e.g., verb usage, vocabulary, sentence structure, development of support and argument, use of subordination and coordination, citation/documentation/attribution etc.). After the second draft students will work through a peer analysis process. After the third draft students will again conference with the teacher and discuss strategy, effect, and voice. Other areas that will be discussed throughout the writing process include thesis and development, use of support and detail including documentation, organization, cohesion, transition, emphasis, voice, sentence structure, and word choice.
Informal writing exercises will include exploratory writings. This will allow students the opportunity to examine style, analyze and exercise using various sentence structures, language, reflection, response and analysis.
Throughout the entire course students will work under timed conditions that will reflect the conditions of the AP exam.
Students make words their own by using a SAT word list. For each essay, students are to incorporate at least seven words from this list. Students will utilize resources and teacher instruction to work with connotation and denotation of these words.
1st 9 weeks:
The following skills are taught in-depth with activities and assignments designed to teach students to analyze how writers use these techniques to achieve particular effects. Students will examine and practice these skills to link technique with meaning.
Syntax and sentence variety: sentence types and purposes, subordination and coordination, clauses
Persuasion and persuasive techniques: ethos, logos, pathos
Point of view
Satire and satirical elements
“Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” (17th Century Sermon)
“I Have A Dream” (20th Century Speech)
“Journal of the First Voyage to America” (15th Century Narrative)
“O Pioneers” Willa Cather
“The Declaration of Independence” (18th Century)
2nd 9 weeks:
Point of view
Continued work on thesis and topic sentences
Synthesis essay: blending sources, refutation, argument structure, contemporary issue, visual analysis
Flannery O’ Connor Short Stories
Charts, graphs, visual images
“The Devil and Tom Walker” (18th Century)
“Old Ironsides” (19th Century)
“Silent Spring” (science/environment 20th Century)
“Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” (19th Century)
“The Fall of the House of Usher” (19th Century)
“The Awakening” Kate Chopin
“Minister’s Black Veil” (19th Century)
3rd 9 Weeks:
Transitions and Transitional Patterns
Visual Rhetoric and Analysis
Compare and Contrast
Documented Analytical Essay (5-7 pages, argumentative, multiple sources, APA format)
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” Zora Neal Hurston (20th Century)
“Ain’t I A Woman” (19th Century)
“An Episode of War” (19th Century)
“Learning to Read and Write” (19th Century)
“My Bondage and My Freedom” (19th Century)
“Gettysburg Address” (19th Century)
“Life on the Mississippi” (19th Century)
4th 9 Weeks:
Assonance, Consonance, Alliteration, Onomatopoeia
Major Writing Assignments:
College entrance essay
Argumentative essay about the time period using synthesis
“The Weary Blues” (20th Century)
“How It Feels To Be Colored Me” (20th Century)
“Salvation” (20th Century)
“The Death of the Moth” (20th Century)
“The Great Gatsby” (20th Century)
“Chicago” (20th Century)
“The Old Man and the Sea” (20th Century)
“The Grapes of Wrath” (20th Century)
“Old Age Sticks” (20th Century)
“anyone lived in a pretty how town” (20th Century)
“The Fountainhead” (20th Century)
“Invisible Man” (20th Century)
“Me Talk Pretty One Day” (21st Century)
“On Being Black and Middle Class” (20th Century)
“Cars and Their Enemies” (20th Century)
“On Dumpster Diving” (20th Century)
I have reviewed this syllabus with my student/child and understand what they can expect from the class. If I have any questions I will contact Gretchen Brewer, the instructor.