Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Syllabus AP English language and composition

AP English Language and Composition

“The narrative impulse is always with us; we couldn't imagine ourselves through a day without it.” –Robert Coover

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly.  –George Orwell

There is something else which has the power to awaken us to the truth. It is the works of writers of genius. They give us, in the guise of fiction, something equivalent to the actual density of the real, that density which life offers us every day but which we are unable to grasp because we are amusing ourselves with lies.  –Simone Weil

Central Text:  Patterns of Exposition, Decker and Schwegler, Eds.  New York: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1998.  Required every day of class unless otherwise indicated.

Prerequisites (Recommended): English Proficiency (score of 380 or better) on the CA High School Exit Exam; willingness take on the challenge of doing college level reading and writing while here in high school; a commitment to maintain excellent attendance and to adhere to all assignment due dates.

Course Description:  AP English Language and Composition is a college level course aligned with the College Board AP requirements.  Disciplined and honest participation in this course will prepare students for the challenging AP English Language and Composition test administered in May.  Substantial time, effort and commitment are required to participate meaningfully in this course.  Daily reading and frequent, challenging writing assignments will be required.  Those unwilling to do college level work both in and outside of the classroom should not be enrolled; the course will not serve those who do not do all the assigned reading and writing assignments.

Your instructor will work to create an environment of active, meaningful critical discourse; you will also have to do your part to work toward this goal.  Reading, discussing, analyzing and writing about persuasive prose will be the heart of this course, and as part of the junior year curriculum, we will also read some important novels and plays and other works of American Literature. You are not enrolled in this class to learn how the instructor interprets the assigned works but to learn how to do your own interpretive and analytical work. Expect daily reading requirements and occasional quizzes to hold students accountable for the reading.  (If discussion reveals unprepared students, quiz frequency and value will increase.)  You are expected to read carefully and critically, in a way that will generate questions and insight about the text assigned.  All unfamiliar words or ideas should be looked up in the appropriate resource.  Readings not easily understood must be read again more carefully before coming to class.

Course Objectives
(adapted from and aligned with the College Board course description)
After genuine participation in this course, the student should be able to:
- consider the important questions asked in some examples of classic American Literature;
- recognize major genre distinctions in American Literature;
- demonstrate fluency in discussing and writing about literature;
- analyze and interpret samples of effective writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques;
- apply effective strategies and techniques in their own writing;
- create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience;
- 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 sources, cogent explanations, and clear transitions;
- demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources;
- 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;
- analyze image as text; and
- evaluate and incorporate reference documents into researched papers.

Reading and Writing
Literature. Students can expect at least one novel or play per six weeks in addition to the varied examples of expository, analytical, and argumentative essays that will be the core of this course.

Writing assignments: essays, papers, in-class timed writing, and exams.
Your work toward the above objectives will be facilitated and assessed in a variety of ways and at various stages of the writing process.  You will, in other words, work on many different types of writing assignments and will be required to follow each major assignment through several stages of revision.

Major writing assignments will require a proposal to be submitted for instructor feedback.  The proposal, when approved, will be followed by a draft to be reviewed by the instructor, or your peers, or both.  The focus of writing feedback will change to coincide with the writing conventions emphasized in the instructional units for each six-week period. Finished drafts will be accompanied by annotated drafts and scored by your instructor.  In-class timed writing assignments may be scored as written (AP scoring guide or Cal State English Placement Test Scoring Guide) or adapted for use as a first draft for a more polished essay.  A researched argument paper will be required at the close of the first six-week period of the spring semester.  Informal journal writing will also be required.

Overview of major writing assignments, writing workshop emphases and corresponding instructor/peer editor feedback focus:

- Semester 1, weeks 1-6: Personal, expository essay.  Balancing generalizations and specific detail. Diction and syntax—wide ranging vocabulary, sentence structure variety.
- Semester 1, weeks 7-12: Analytical essay.  Meaningful analysis; logical organization and coherence; the vocabulary of literary analysis; appropriate and effective quotation from text.
- Semester 1, weeks 13-18: Rhetorical samples assignment.  Argument—effective use of various rhetorical strategies; awareness of purpose and audience.
- Semester 2, weeks 1-6: “How to Tell a True War Story.” Appropriate choice, use and citation of sources; M.L.A. documentation
- Semester 2, weeks 7-12: Poem analysis paper.  Diction revisited (in the context of reading and writing essays on poetry); development of style and voice; control of tone.
- Semester 2, weeks 13-18: “City of Dreams” paper.  Student autonomy and familiarity with the process of drafting and revision.

Independent Reading Requirements and the “IRA.” In addition to reading the assigned class literature for each six-week study period, you will also be required to read independently.  Students will read two books per six weeks.  The first will be chosen by the student.  The second will be chosen from a recommended list created by the instructor.  The books on the recommended list may or may not be connected to the particular theme of study.  At times the list is a means to broaden the student’s exposure to books we cannot fit in the course.  The IRA, or independent reading accountability document will be submitted for each book read.  The IRA is not a formal essay but an informal document designed to give the student the opportunity to demonstrate familiarity with the chosen book and claim credit for independent reading.

Poem of the Week.  Billy Collins, a former Poet Laureate, was fond of saying, “high school is where poems go to die.”  He argues that too often students are not allowed to enjoy poems, but are asked only to coldly analyze them.  In “Introduction to Poetry” he compares this analysis to torture.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Well, you will be asked to analyze (not torture) a poem in this course, but not until the spring.  In the meantime your instructor will endeavor to introduce and read aloud at least one chosen poem per week.  We will forego formal analysis for these first readings. Students will keep their copies of each poem of the week and choose one from the collection for the poetry analysis paper that will be assigned during the second six weeks of semester two. Finally we will think about a response to Billy Collins and determine whether analysis, when done well, diminishes or enhances one’s enjoyment of poetry.

Course Planner:
The following schedule (six weeks per page) is subject to some change, but one can expect to read the works indicated and participate in the writing exercises indicated for each six-week period.  Each six-week period is organized around a particular curricular emphasis and/or thematic core but the materials examined may not be limited to those strictly engaged with the indicated theme.

Semester 1, Weeks 1-6: Women and Men
This first unit of study will focus on personal expository prose and in particular on the effective use of example, classification and comparison.  Essays examined will mostly focus on discussions of gender.  Essays written will focus on personal narrative, expository purpose, and introductory (guided) literary analysis. As our class literature, we will read The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and “The White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett.

We will examine the following essays from our textbook:
- Ehrenrich, “What I’ve Learned from Men”
- Buczynski, “Iron Bonding”
- Viorst, “What, Me? Showing Off?”
- Sanders, “The Men We Carry in Our Minds”
- Walker, “Am I Blue?”

Handouts: Editorials from Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, Bob Herbert, and Katha Pollitt, and an excerpt by Jonathan Franzen on adolescence. Ad campaign analysis: Dove “Real Beauty.”

 Personal Essay:  Draft due week 2 for instructor feedback.
 Peer review week 3.  Final draft due week 5.
(Feedback focus: balancing generalizations and specific detail. Diction and syntax.)

In-class timed writing: Lady Montague (on education of women) and Chesterton (advice to his son) from released AP exam prompts.

Scarlet Letter Exams:  In-class essays at midpoint (ch.s 1-12) and at conclusion of novel.

Independent Reading Accountability #1 and #2: Due at week 3 (open) and week 6 (recommended).

Independent Reading List:
Mark Twain
Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God)
Henry James
Willa Cather
William Dean Howells (The Rise of Silas Lapham)
Kate Chopin (The Awakening)
Melville (Billy Budd)
Washington Irving (The Sketch Book)

Semester 1,Weeks 7-12: How Did this Happen?
Listen to Nick Carraway.
When I came back from the East last Autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.
How did he come to adopt this attitude?  Riotous excursions?  Privileged glimpses?  What’s he talking about?  What happened?   And, can people in crowded cities be compared to rats in crowded enclosures?  Or can I really learn something by reading about dolphin courtship?

In this unit of study we will focus on process analysis, cause and effect, description and narration.  We will read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Book of Harlem” by Zora Neale Hurston.  We will listen to a recorded reading of “A Rose for Miss Emily” by William Faulkner.

We will examine the following essays from our textbook:
- Raybon, “Letting in Light”,
- Wolfe, “Oh Rotten Gotham”
- Rose, “Writing around Rules”
- Kowinski, “Kids in the Mall”
- White, “Once More to the Lake”

Handouts: Sarah Margaret Fuller’s “Short Essay on Critics,” Terry McMillan’s “The Movie that Changed My Life,” “So How Did I Get Here?” by Rosemary Bray, and “Dolphin Courtship,” by Natalie Angier.

Gatsby Paper: Literary Analysis.  Proposals with annotated passages of concern (based on list of suggested topics/titles) due week 9 for feedback and approval by instructor.  Draft due week 10.  Finished Essay due week 11.
(Feedback Focus: meaningful analysis, logical organization and coherence.  The vocabulary of literary analysis. Appropriate quotation from text.)

In class timed writing: Lewis Lapham (on the American faith in money) and William Hazlett (on poverty) from released AP exam prompts.

I.R.A. #3 and #4: due week 9 (open) and week 12 (rec. list).

Independent Reading List:

Charlotte P.

Semester 1, Weeks 13-18:  “Never before have I written so long a letter.”
In this unit of study we will focus on complex argument and formal rhetoric.  We will practice with the language of rhetorical analysis.  Students will demonstrate their understanding of the various rhetorical strategies covered (as organized in our text) by modeling them in a project called the “rhetorical samples” paper.  In order to keep the focus on persuasive strategy rather than content, students will choose a simple point to make and use ten different strategies to persuade the reader of the validity of this simple assertion.  The two-hour final exam will require students to analyze and evaluate the rhetorical strategies used in Dr. King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.”

We will examine the following essays from our textbook:
- (All section introductions on the various patterns of exposition and sample paragraphs)
- Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”
- MLK Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”

Class Literature: Julius Caesar
Handouts: Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, Lewis Lapham on Democracy.

Rhetorical Samples paper:  Proposal due week 14.  Draft due week 15. Finished paper due week 17. (Peer Revision Focus: Effective use of rhetoric.  Development of style and voice. Control of tone.)

Assertion Journal: Informal practice with argumentation.  Students will explain, then defend challenge or qualify arguments presented. One argument; one typed page per week.

In class timed writing: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and Shakespeare (Lear or Julius Caesar) from released AP exams.

IRA #5 and #6: due week 15 (open) and week 18 (rec. list).

Semester Final: In class. Rhetorical analysis and self-evaluation.

Independent Reading List:

Arthur Miller
James Baldwin
Toni Morrison
Alice Walker
J. D. Salinger
Sylvia Plath
Rudolfo Anaya
Carson McCullers

Semester 2, Weeks 1-6:  “How to tell a true war story” or, “It wasn’t a war story, it was a love story.”
This unit of study examines the questions suggested in “How to Tell a True War Story” from Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. Are there different kinds of truth? Can we identify or make claims for differences between artistic truth and journalistic truth without being relativistic?  The researched argument paper assignment for this period of study will examine these and related questions while requiring students to demonstrate the ability to evaluate and use effectively both primary and secondary sources.  Students will present their own arguments that include analysis and synthesis of ideas from a variety of sources.  We will also cover appropriate MLA citation format, and students will be required to demonstrate its use in their papers.  We will also view and discuss Errol Morris’s documentary The Fog of War, paying particular attention to the directorial choices made about the imagery used to accompany the interview of Robert MacNamara.  Photojournalism and current television reporting from the conflict in Iraq will also be examined as part of our effort to think about the rhetorical power of visual texts.

Class Literature:  Fallen Angels; The Things They Carried
Handouts: David James Duncan “When Compassion becomes Dissent” Speech excerpts by Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Kerry, et al; current editorials.
Film viewing: Fog of War directed by Errol Morris (Robert S. MacNamara).

“How to Tell a True War Story” paper. Proposal, outline, provisional works cited list and research notecards due week 3.  Draft for peer review due week 4. Paper due week 5. (Feedback Focus: appropriate choice, use and citation of sources.  MLA citation format.)

In class timed writing: Susan Sontag on photography, and Sophocles (“the only crime is pride”) from released AP exams.

Reading Quizzes: Coordinated with reading schedule (distributed week 1).

IRA #1 and #2 due week 3 (open) and week 6 (rec. list).

Independent Reading List:

Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse Five)
Joseph Heller (Catch 22)
O’Brien (any)
Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony)
Bobbi Ann Mason (In Country)

Semester 2,Weeks 7-12:  Poetry and writing about poetry
I can't write a poem to manipulate you; it will not succeed. Perhaps you have read such poems and decided you don't care for poetry; something turned you away. I can't write a poem from dishonest motives; it will betray its shoddy provenance, like an ill-made tool, a scissors, a drill, it will not serve its purpose, it will come apart in your hands at the point of stress. I can't write a poem simply from good intentions, wanting to set things right, make it all better; the energy will leak out of it, it will end by meaning less than it says. –Adrienne Rich

In this six-week survey of some contemporary American poetry and essays on poetics, we will re-examine some of the poems distributed and read aloud earlier as “poems of the week.”  Students will practice close reading and annotation of poetry and will write a paper on a chosen poem. We will also examine irony, satire and parody, reading articles from The Onion (an online satirical news source) and Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.”  Our in-class dramatic reading of The Glass Menagerie will serve to enhance our practice of close reading and interpretation of significant poetic imagery.

Class Literature: The Glass Menagerie (we will set aside time for a dramatic reading and pay particular attention to the playwright’s notes on what is meant by “memory play.”)
Handouts: “Someone is Writing a Poem” by Adrienne Rich; “The Making of Poems” by Gregory Orr; Poetry packet, released materials from College Board for work on test taking strategies.

Poem Analysis Paper: Proposal and outline due week 9.  Draft due week 10. Finished paper due week 11. (Feedback focus: diction, tone, style, voice.)

In class timed writing: Herbert/Seaver letters (dispute between the Coca-Cola company and Grove Press over “It’s the real thing.”) and “Magna-Soles” (mock press release from The Onion) both from released AP exam prompts.

Exam: The Glass Menagerie.  In-class essay.

I.R.A. #3 and #4: due week 9 (open) and week 12 (rec. list).

Independent Reading List:
Margaret Atwood Cormac McCarthy
Grace Paley Terry Tempest Williams
Ken Kesey Donald Barthelme
Louise Erdrich Sandra Cisneros

Semester 2,Weeks 13-18: The City of Dreams
This final unit of study takes its name from the title of a song featured on the soundtrack of the film True Stories by David Byrne.  Critiques of consumer culture have become part of consumer culture to the point that products are sold that in away that seems to promise—rather paradoxically—that one can resist consumer culture by consuming.  This unit of study asks students to examine consumer culture and advertising and ask themselves questions about their role in the construction of the “city of dreams.”  What are we building?  What role do we play in building it?  How often are we addressed as consumers?  How often are we addressed as citizens or members of a meaningful community?  Will the efforts to standardize education give us more thoughtful citizens or better-programmed consumers?

Class Literature and Film: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams and True Stories directed by David Byrne, 1986.

Roland Marchand,  “The Parable of the Democracy of Goods.”
Jack Solomon, “Masters of Desire: The Culture of American Advertising.”
Lewis Lapham, “Balzac’s Garret”
John Taylor Gatto “Against School”
David Brooks “Noncomformity is Skin Deep”
Assorted advertising samples

“City of Dreams” paper due at week 17. (Documentation of drafting and revision required but students will coordinate their own peer/parent/tutor/mentor review process to demonstrate autonomy and familiarity with the now familiar stages of the writing process.)

IRA #5 and #6: due week 15 (open) and week 18 (rec. list).

Journal: Informal advertising analysis journal.

Final Exam: 2-hour/2 part in class essay.  Ad analysis and response to Gatto’s “Against School” argument.

Independent Reading List:

White Noise by Don DeLillo;
Saul Bellow
Phillip Roth
John Updike
Jonathan Franzen
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer;
Barbara Kingsolver
Phillip K. Dick
George Saunders

Grades:  Students grades will be determined by means of the following assessments:

- Timed, in-class writing
- Quizzes and exams
- Formal papers (accompanied by process documentation, typed, of varying lengths up to 5 pages)
- One researched argument paper (using multiple sources)
- Informal writing assignments (assertion journals, etc.)
- IRAs (Independent reading accountability)
- Participation in discussion, writing workshops and attendance.

Regarding preparation, a final word:  If you are not prepared* to take this course, please do not try to take it.  Students who try to get by without reading, who depend on the work of others, who plagiarize from the internet, who beg to turn in last minute “make up work” long after the assignment is relevant to work in class, who miss class often, who . . . you know how to go on, will not do well in this class and, more importantly, will rob serious students of an important opportunity to learn.  Such selfishness or thoughtlessness cannot be tolerated.

*How does one know if he or she is not prepared?

Check your reading scores on standardized tests.  You should read above grade level.  (It’s a college class.)  If you have not passed the high school exit exam you may not take this class.  Examine your reading history.  This is not a course to introduce you to the reading of literature—you should have a rich reading life before taking this course.  Examine your willingness to make this commitment.  The time and energy required to carefully read works like those listed above is substantial.  Do you have that kind of time?  Examine your academic record/habits.  Are you often absent?  Did you read all of the assigned texts in your English class last year?  Do you enjoy reading?  Writing?  Are you ever tempted to plagiarize?

Answer these questions honestly then make a mature decision.  I will not make this decision for you; I will not be able to hold your hand all year if you are not prepared.

Working Bibliography
In addition to our text, Patterns of Exposition, the instructor has made use of the following texts in preparing for or developing curriculum for this course:

Cohen, Samuel, Ed.  50 Essays.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2004.

Maasik, Sonia and Jack Solomon. Signs of Life in the U.S.A.: Readings on Popular Culture for Writers.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2000.

Rich, Adrienne. What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Roskelly, Hephzibah and David Jolliffe, Eds.  Everyday Use: Rhetoric at Work in Reading and Writing.  New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.

Rottenberg, Annette T, Ed. Elements of Argument.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

Trimmer, Joseph and Maxine Hairston, Eds.  The Riverside Reader.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Yagelski, Robert P. and Robert K. Miller, Eds.  The Informed Argument.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.

On-line resources:
AP Central at College Board.com  New York. 2007.

Arts and Letters Daily: A Service of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Ed.
Dennis Dutton.  Washington, D.C.  2007.  

The Center for Media Literacy.  Los Angeles.  2007.

Harper’s Magazine at Harpers.org.  Ed. Rodger D. Hodge. 2007

History and Politics Out Loud. Ed. Jerry Goldman. 2002
 Northwestern University. < http://www.hpol.org/>

National Public Radio. Washington DC.  2007.

Poetry Daily. Ed. Diane Boller and Don Selby.  Charlottesville, VA.  2007.

No comments:

Post a Comment