English Language and Composition
The course is designed to help students write effectively and develop proficiency in writing which will carry over into their college careers and their lives both personally and professionally upon the completion of their college studies. Students are expected to become critical readers, analytical thinkers and clear communicators as they progress through the course. The course is designed according to the requirements and guidelines found in the AP English Course Description, and the Standards for English Language Arts sponsored by NCTE.
ADVANCED PLACEMENT COMPOSITION
THE STUDENT WILL DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITIES TO:
1. Compose essays implementing the use of pre-writing, writing, editing and
2. Write as a means of discovering and clarifying ideas.
3. Write in appropriate modes of description, narration, exposition and argumentation for varying purposes and audiences.
4. Develop an authentic personal writing voice and tone appropriate for varying
purposes and audiences.
5. Organize essays which present logical progression of arguments and support through the introduction, body and conclusion.
6. Use the conventions of standard written English with skill and accuracy.
7. Polish individual writing style through precise syntax, phrasing and diction.
8. Use available technology effectively as a source of information in a Professional and ethical way and word processing effectively at appropriate stages of writing
9. Work in small groups which will help to clarify ideas and concepts discussed; and peer evaluate the groups’ writings.
Compose essays on assigned or selected topics demonstrating correctness of paragraphing, structure, spelling, usage and mechanics.
Use technology effectively throughout the unit as a source of information and word processing and researching..
Recognize fragments and run-ons and revise them into complete and coherent sentences.
Identify basic sentence parts and structures.
Analyze verbs and edit them to agree with the subjects of the sentences.
Convert the voice of verbs in sentences from passive to active.
Compose sentences that fit specified structures while using correct mechanics, spelling and punctuation.
Recognize and correct pronoun errors in sentences.
Complete verb phrases by supplying correct verb forms
Analyze verb usage in written passages to edit incorrect verb forms, replacing them with correct verb forms.
Analyze sentences for errors in modifier usage, and correct the adjective or adverb forms.
Correct common usage errors in diction by deleting the errors and replacing them with correct word usage.
Analyze and revise sentence errors of misplaced or dangling modifiers and parallel structure.
Identify groups of words as phrases, dependent clauses or independent clauses.
Recognize verbals in sentences.
Analyze sentences and identify them as simple, compound, complex, or compound- complex.
Combine simple sentences into complex sentences containing adjective, adverb and verb clauses.
Compose sentences that fit specified constructions or simple, compund, complex, or compound-complex structures.
Requirements for Class:
1. Students will plan, write, edit and revise all essays that are graded for either
instructor evaluation or peer evaluation.
2. Essays must receive a grade of B or better to be accepted. Any essay not receiving this grade will be revised until it meets the requirements of the essay.
Students will receive scoring guidelines for each writing assignment and will use these guidelines to assess in peer-evaluation, and to revise in both peer-evaluation and instructor evaluated essays. Each essay has a self-assessment instrument which will be included with the scoring guidelines. Students must learn to evaluate their own materials if they are going to be successful writers.
. Non-AP test essays are argumentative in style and require the student to research his or her topic before writing the paper. These papers are 700-1000 words in length and require students to explore the critics and use this information in their essays.
- Students will be expected to keep a journal in which they will write their own personal ideas with regard to the materials s covered in this class, and they will also use the journal as a collection point for critical articles they will be expected to read during the course of the class. These “criticals” are available in the library in five three ring binders, on line, and from specific books that are placed on reserve in the library. Students will read at least one critical for each of the pieces taken in class and will use that critical as a source for discussion of the piece in the classroom. Students may also take the information gleaned in these articles and use them as a starting point for their essays in class.
- Throughout the course students are expected to view various works of art and relate the art to the material being studied in class. Works of Shakespeare such as Hamlet and Othello will be read and then compared to the film versions of the same work. Similarly, students will view a live stage play of a Shakespearian work and then discuss the merits of viewing a play in person rather than reading a play or watching a play on film. Discussions and analysis will follow dealing with how each element achieves its goal and which is more effective in its approach. Students will also view Gulliver’s Travels and The Man In an Iron Mask and will then discuss how the written word and the visual adaptation of the work are similar and different. Students will also discuss the effectiveness of each approach. In this year’s class we may also discuss the works of J.R. Rowling and the Harry Potter movies.
- Students are also required to view works of art throughout the course and respond to them as to how they represent an author’s view of the world or society as well as the artist views of the world as he or she sees or saw it during his or her time on earth. An example of this activity is a collage by Antonio Berni entitled Portrait of Juan Laguna, where Berni expresses his social and political beliefs by using old wood, empty bottles, iron and cardboard boxes, the very materials slum inhabitants use to construct their homes. A second example of this activity for students is a picture from the 1909 edition of Le Morte d’Arthur by Aubrey Beardsley. The picture depicts Bedivere throwing Arthur’s sword into the lake. Students must view the work and then discuss where the dominant lines direct the focus of the viewer. They must also discuss why the artist would do this in the portrait and what the effort represents to the reader of the work and the viewer of the artist’s rendering. Finally, students are required to use computers, periodicals, books, pamphlets, etc. to find graphics and images that reflect the elements of the literature being dealt with in class at the time. These could include, but are not limited to, mood, tone, and theme.
During the fall semester the students will be expected to write eight timed essays. These essays will reflect the material being covered during the class and will be related to the material covered in the readings in class. They will not necessarily be specific to the readings but rather specific to the rhetorical elements studied in each reading. Students must become familiar with the timed essays as quickly and efficiently as possible, and yet they must gain confidence in their writing as the semester progresses. Integrating these essays into the structure of the course allows students to gain vital experience and help them to realize that they can be successful as college writers.
Other writing in this course will include:
1. A diagnostic essay in which the students will compose an autobiography
covering the student’s life-to-date or a segment of the student’s life such as the fall of his or her sophomore year; an experience during rehearsals for the musical; experiences as a member of the volleyball team, etc.
(This essay will be evaluated but not recorded as a grade. Students should do their best so their strengths and weaknesses can be identified, and a plan for improvement can be established for each student.)
2. Select a person who has influenced your life in a positive way. Describe that person and the meaning of this relationship to you. Explain why you admire this person so much. (Personal Writing)
3. Address a letter to an incoming ninth grader in which you explain how to act on a date as a high school student from the perspective of an upperclassman who has experienced this event Humor is encouraged but not a requirement. (Personal Writing)
We begin with personal writing because the students feel more at ease with topics that require little research or analysis and this helps them feel comfortable with writings and sharing in classroom situations. Most of the students can easily relate to the situations written about in this area of the class. It is also easier to have students peer-evaluate when they can identify with the subject matter and they can easily discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the papers. Each of the essays becomes more difficult and more varied. Students grow as a peer-evaluator as they progress through the first three essays.
During this time we will spend time dealing with peer review and the elements of peer evaluation which are important to the student’s success. Information is given to the writer of the piece and the reader of the piece. Discussed in this area of the course are purpose, audience, form, content, conventions and voice. Students also are given guidelines for revision and editing. (College Writing)
The next area of emphasis in the course is descriptive writing. The conceptual idea is to have students develop their skills of using syntax, diction, and figures of speech as they write descriptively. Again, I try to use topics which put students at relative ease and yet have them push the envelope of the experiences they have had. The first AP essay questions are introduced here. I don’t identify them as such yet. Experience has told me that students are intimidated by the term AP early in the course, and thus, I give them the question without identifying them as
AP until after we have completed the first of the two questions. Most students handle the first question with relative ease and then we identify it as an AP question. Personally, I believe that success breeds success, and if students feel they have successfully completed an AP essay, they will continue to have success as we move into more difficult material and writing.
1. Write a description of a place in such a way that the description conveys a recognizable feeling (delight, revulsion, nostalgia, disappointment) more through the use of concrete and specific details than by direct statement of attitude.
2. Our perceptions of people often differ according to our attitudes and circumstances. Describe in a vivid and concrete way one person seen at two different times or in two different situations so that the reader understands the difference in your attitude (This could be a real or fictional character).
The third area of writing in the fall semester is argumentative writing. The
following are examples this writing:
1. “It is human nature to want patterns, standards and a structure of behavior. A pattern to conform to is a kind of shelter.” In a well-written essay, evaluate this assertion. Use evidence from your reading to make your argument convincing.
2. The following announcement from a church bulletin was reprinted without comment in a magazine under the heading “The Religious Life.” By using this heading, the magazine implied a criticism of American values. Read the announcement carefully and write an essay arguing for or against the implied criticism.
CHANGE OF PLANS FOR INSTALLATION SERVICE
Due to a scheduling conflict with the Superbowl, the Board of Trustees of the church has changed the time of the installation of our new minister from 4:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Television consoles will be set up in the educational wing of the church. Kickoff is 4:30. We invite you to join us for an afternoon of celebration –the service of installation, reception following, the Superbowl, and dancing into the evening. Child care will be available.
Clergy: you are invited to wear robes and process. Please meet in the Board Room at 3:15
The fourth type of writing is analytical writing: Excerpts for each of these essays will be provided for the students.
Queen Elizabeth 1992 AP Test
Frederick Douglass 1988 AP Test
Martin Luther King’s Why We Can’t Wait—1989 AP Test
During the remainder of the first semester and the entire second semester, students will submit one timed essay per week for evaluation. The essays will continue to be peer and instructor evaluated. These essays come from previous AP tests and are given to the students at the beginning of the semester with the due date for each essay. The essay materials are directly related to the information taken in class for that week. Some fluidity exists in the schedule due to changes in class schedule and occasional days off for weather. Included in this material are four objective tests that students take outside of class. These objective tests are used to make the students become familiar with this element of the AP test. The tests are corrected, but this grade is not included in the student’s class grade.
At the end of the first semester and the beginning of the second semester, the students will also study research writing and will submit a researched argument paper. They will present and argument of their own and it will include analysis and synthesis of ideas from a variety of sources. In this process they will cite sources using the MLA Style Sheet.
Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road, An Autobiography. 1942.
Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America. 1835,1840.
1990 Question 2 1992 Question 3 1997 Question 1 2003 Question 2
1990 Question 1 1985 Question 1 1999 Question 3 2004 Question 2
1991 Question 1 1986 Question 1 2001 Question 2 2005 Question 1
1990 Question 3 1987 Question 2 2001 Question 2 2005 Question 2
1991 Question 3 1990 Question 2 2002 Question 1 2006 Question 1
1991 Question 2 1993 Question 2 2002 Question 2 2006 Question 2
1992 Question 2 1994 Question 3 2003 Question 1 2007 Question 1
2008 Question 1 2008 Question 2 2008 Question 3 2009 Question 2
2009 Question 3
Six Key Qualities of Good Writing (ASCD)
1. Ideas and Content—Is the message clear? Does the paper holed the reader’sattention ? Are the ideas fresh and original?
2. Organization—Does the paper have an inviting introduction? Are supporting details placed in logical order? Can the reader move easily through the text?
Does the paper have a strong conclusion?
3. Voice—Does the writer speak directly to the reader? Is the writer sensitive to the needs of the audience? Can the reader sense the person behind the words?
4. Word Choice—Are the words chosen specific and accurate? Do lively verbs energize the writing? Is the text free of jargon and clichés?
5. Fluency—Does the writing have cadence and easy flow? Do the sentences have a structure that invites expressive oral reading? Do sentences vary in length as well as structure?
6. Conventions—Does the writer demonstrate a good grasp of standard writing conventions such as grammar, punctuation, and paragraphing? Is punctuation accurate? Is spelling correct?
The Cantebury Tales–Chaucer
Wife of Bath
The Miller’s Tale
The Reeve’s Tale
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time—Herrick
To His Coy Mistress—Marvell
On His Blindness—Milton
from Paradise Lost—Milton
An Essay on Criticism—Pope
The World is Too Much with Us—Wordsworth
Ode to a Nightingale—Keats
Ode to the West Wind–Shelley
My Last Duchess—Browning
Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?—Hardy
Spring and Fall: To a Young Child–Hopkins
To An Athlete Dying Young—Housman
Sailing to Byzantium—Yeats
When You are Old—Yeats
Dulce et Decorum Est—Owen
The Hollow Men–Eliot
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night—Thomas
A Modest Proposal—Swift
The Education of Women—Defoe
Dignity and Use of Biography—Johnson
Shooting an Elephant—Orwell
from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—Wollstonecraft
Shakespeare’s Sister from A Room of One’s Own–Woolf
Aaron, Jane E. The Little Brown Compact Handbook, 5th ed. New York: Longman, 2004.
Aufses, Robin Dissin, Lawrence Scanlon and Renee Shea. The Language of Composition. Bedford/St. Martin’s. Boston, Massachusetts: 2008
Axelrod, Rise B. and Charles R. Cooper. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing 7th ed.. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2004.
College Board. AP English Course Description. New York: The College Board, 2005.
College Board. The Official SAT Study Guide For the New SAT. New York: The College Board, 2004.
Literature: The British Tradition, Prentice Hall (Pearson), Glenview, Illinois. 2010.
Literature and Integrated Studies, Scott Foresman . Glenview, Illinois.1997
Perrine, Laurence. Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. Harcourt Brace
New York. 1956
Perrine, Laurence. Poetry Theory and Practice Harcourt Brace. New York. 1962
Trimmer, Joseph F. A Guide to MLA Documentation. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
Warriner, John E. English Composition and Grammar: Complete Course. Chicago: Harcourt, Brace,Jovanovich. 1988.
Write Source. Write for College A Student Handbook. Houghton,Mifflin. Wilmington, Massachusetts: 1997.
Write Source. Writer’s INC A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning. D.C. Heath and Company. Lexington, Massachusetts: 1996.
Hamlet: Mel Gibson
Othello: Lawrence Fishburn
Much Ado About Nothing:
Gulliver’s Travels: Ted Danson
On Site Plays:
Midsummer Night’s Dream: American Players Theatre—Spring Green, Wisconsin
The Language of Composition:
Chapter One: An Introduction to Rhetoric Chapter Six: Community
Pg. 1-16 Pg. 259
Pg. 17-26 Pg. 276-281
Pg. 24-36 Questions on Rhetoric& Style
Chapter Two: The Art and Craft of Analysis Exploring the Text
Pg. 35-43 Pg. 289-294
Pg. 51-58 Exploring the Text
Assignment pg. 55
Assignment pg. 57
Chapter Three: Synthesizing the Sources
Assignment pg. 83 (topics and essay)
Chapter Four; Education
Questions for Discussion
Questions for Rhetoric and Style
Chapter Five: Work
Questions for Discussion
Exploring the Text
Exploring the Text