AP English Language & Composition Syllabus 2015-2016
Mr. James Cook
AP English Language and Composition at Gloucester (MA) High School is an introductory college-level course in which you will study rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis through composition activities (prewriting, writing, self-assessment, peer-assessment, and revising), close reading of demanding texts with an emphasis on nonfiction, twenty-first century research strategies, and various related individual, small group, and whole class activities.
The objectives and approaches presented in this course overview were written in close consultation with the latest AP English Language and Composition Course Description, other AP Central materials, and AP English Language and Composition: Workshop Handbook.
Unit 1: Introduction to Memoir and Rhetorical Analysis (summer seminars and term one)
How can a reader analyze a text to understand how the writer’s choices (choice of language, organization, details, etc.) contribute to an argument? How do authors use stories to construct an argument? How can research contribute to this strategy?
All Souls, The Faraway Nearby, and Words Like Loaded Pistols
Rhetorical analysis and argument responses for each of the three summer reading books, a rhetorical analysis web, and a rhetorical analysis vocabulary quiz.**
Unit 2: Memoir & Personal Essay Analysis and Writing (term one)
Why do people tell personal stories? Why do we read stories about other people? How do writers convey personal stories to explore ambivalence and ambiguity? How do writers convey personal stories to make arguments?
Fun Home excerpt, “On Seeing England for the First Time,” and “Notes of a Native Son”
Rhetorical analysis (Q2) of a personal essay, a personal essay of your own, a memoir & personal essay vocabulary quiz.**
Unit 3: Satire as argument (term one)
How (and why) do writers use humorous and satirical language to make an argument?
“A Modest Proposal,” The Devil’s Dictionary excerpts, The Braindead Megaphone excerpt,
Rhetorical analysis essay (Q2) about a satirical essay, satire of your own (such as a satirical
dictionary), a humorous & satirical writing vocabulary quiz.
Unit 4: Shakespeare’s drama as literature and argument (term two)
How does Shakespeare use literary and rhetorical strategies to explore the ways people respond to trauma, tragedy, injustice, and loss? How do the choices actors and directors make affect the meaning and message of drama? What’s so great about Shakespeare anyway?
Texts & Performances:
Hamlet by Shakespeare; performances directed by Olivier, Zeffirelli, Doran, Branagh, Almereyda
Rhetorical/literary analysis of a passage (Q2), a Hamlet film proposal and screenplay excerpt, a Shakespearean drama vocabulary quiz.
Unit 5: Allegorical novel(s) as literature and argument (term two/term three)
How do authors use symbolic characters, objects, and imagery to explore and develop philosophical arguments?
Lord of the Flies, Grendel, John Gardner’s letter to students
Analytical and argument letter (Q2/Q3) written in the voice of an author or written to an author, rhetorical/literary analysis and applied vocabulary test(s)
Unit 6: Midyear Exam Preparation (term two)
How can we use our understanding of rhetorical analysis to prepare for the midyear exam?
Midyear exam (consisting of rhetorical analysis vocabulary, AP Exam multiple choice questions, and a rhetorical analysis (Q2) essay)
Unit 7: Advertising as argument (term three)
How do advertisements employ rhetorical strategies? How do advertisements turn people into consumers and identities into commodities?
Synthesis essay (Q1) on consumerism and commodification.
Unit 8: Dystopian novel as argument (term three)
How (and why) do some authors use the elements of dystopian fiction to comment on social issues? How does technology affect human identity and relationships?
Feed, You Are Not a Gadget excerpt, Present Shock excerpt, The Shallows excerpt, etc.
Synthesis essay (Q1) on technology.
Unit 9: Writing researched arguments on social issues (term three)
What are the most important social issues facing us today? How can writers combine research strategies and writing skills to develop effective arguments in response to social issues?
Various (dependent upon your area of inquiry)
Annotated bibliography and researched argument with works cited page.
Unit 10: Analyzing researched arguments on social issues (term four)
How do authors use rhetorical strategies to develop book-length arguments on important social issues, such as economic justice, food justice, the effects of technology, etc.?
Various (such as Omnivore’s Dilemma, Present Shock, Quiet, etc.)
Passage analysis journal (practice for Q2) on a non-fiction book-length argument of your choice.
Unit 11: AP Exam final preparation (term four)
How can we use our understanding of rhetorical analysis, argument writing, and synthesis writing to make final preparations for the AP Exam?
Activities & Assessments
AP Exam multiple choice packets; Q1, Q2, and Q3 essays; test taking and essay writing strategies.
Unit 12: Gloucester Project (term four)
What are key aspects of Gloucester art and culture in the past and present? How is Gloucester art and culture significant to us and others? (How has it been significant in the past?) What are some of the recurring tensions in Gloucester art and culture? How is Gloucester art and culture connected to people and places beyond Gloucester?
Personal essay and real world rhetoric (a documentary, or a website, or a curriculum, or a letter writing campaign, or some other form of real world rhetoric) with annotated bibliography
Units also include entry/exit ticket assignments, small group projects and presentations, graded Socratic Seminars and Sudden Argument Discussions and Debates, processed writing (pre-writing, draft, self/peer-assessment, revision), grammar tutorials/quizzes, and AP Exam multiple choice questions.
Note about the SAT: AP reading comprehension practice will help you with SAT reading comprehension, AP argument writing (Q3) practice will help you with the SAT argument essay in the writing section, essay editing and grammar practice will help you with the SAT writing section.