ENG101 - Critical Reading & Writing

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AP Lit. Syllabus

I'm going to give you two syllabi here: one technical one that I was required to submit to the College Board, and one practical one that will simplify the info that's important to you. I will start with the latter!

AP Lit&Composition - Practical Syllabus

I. Required Texts 

Barron's AP English Lit&Comp 5th Edition - please purchase
How to Read Literature Like a Professor, by Thomas Foster - purchase
"The Importance of Being Earnest", by Oscar Wilde - provided
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - provided
"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare - provided
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley - provided
"A Raisin in the Sun" - provided

II. Grade Distribution

20% Annotations (Books and MWDS)
20% Reading Assessments
20% AP Exam Prep Multiple Choice
20% Essays (timed and out of class)
20% Tests

III. School Supplies Required

Dividers (6)

IV. Units

Semester I
TIOBE (Drama)
TWIW (Fiction)
Literary Theory
AP Literary Terms (Primary and Secondary)
Outside Classic Read (TBA)
Q1, Q2, Q3 Prep
Lit. Paper with Research
AP Exam MC prep

Semester II
Hamlet (Drama)
Frankenstein (Fiction)
ARITS (Drama)
Literary Theory
Outside Classic Read (TBA)
Q1, Q2, Q3 Prep
Lit. Paper with Research
AP Exam MC prep

** Classroom Rules **

Jesus' second greatest commandment was to show love to one another. This implies respect. That's all I ask. Of course, this encompasses a great deal. Such as:
Talking - One at a time. Don't talk over top of someone else (including me!)
Cell Phones - In your pocket or backpack. Don't have them in front of you. Ever. If you need to make a call or text, please leave the room.
Complaining - If you have an issue, chances are I'll hear you out, but you need to approach me after class.

These are "The Big Three" for me... infractions on these instantly make me crabby. There's your warning! :) 

Late Assignment Policy
For papers: 10% a day
For study guides: 50% a day 
For annotations: 10% a day

Okay! Here's the technical one for the College Board's sake:

AP Literature and Composition 2015-2016

Course Description:

AP English Literature is a college level English course which provides students with opportunities to analyze, interpret, and respond to a variety of written texts as well as develop and refine their writing skills. Our focus is on close, critical reading of poetry, drama, prose fiction, and expository literature predominantly from the 16th century to the Post-Modern period (a brief unit on earlier material will be covered for context). Discussion and writing about these works will center on each writer’s technique, theme, style, and tone. The overarching goal of AP English is to help students to develop mature habits of critical thinking as independent readers and writers.  AP English is both demanding and intellectually stimulating. Classroom discussion and active participation are integral to the learning experience. Although this class is not strictly a “preparatory” course for the Advanced Placement Exam, students are expected to take the AP Literature exam in the spring as a way of gaining college credit for the level of work done in this course.

Course Expectations:

In AP Literature and Composition, we will:

  1. Read carefully and critically analyze imaginative literature.[SC1]
  2. Understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and pleasure.[SC1]
  3. Consider the structure a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as such smaller scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.[SC2]
  4. Study representative works from various genres and periods within American and British Literature (sixteenth to the twentieth century) but know a few works extremely well.[SC1]
  5. Understand a work’s complexity, to absorb richness of meaning, and to analyze how meaning is embodied in literary form.[SC3]
  6. Consider the social and historical values a work reflects and embodies.[SC4]
  7. Write focusing on critical analysis of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays as well as creative writing to sharpen understanding of rhetorical strategies and logical models of reasoning.[SC5, SC6,SC7, SC8, SC11, SC12, SC13, SC14, SC15)
  8. Become aware through speaking, listening, reading and chiefly writing of the resources of language: connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax, and tone.[SC9]
  9. Use varied critical approaches to analyze works of literature including New Criticism, Old Historicism, and Feninist Criticism to appreciate fundamental discourses in literature.[SC10]

Grading : 

Assessment is based on daily participation, quizzes, short-in-class and out-of-class writing assignments, binder checks, projects, longer writing assignments, tests, and the writing log. The impact of individual assignment grades on a cumulative nine weeks average will vary each nine weeks because there will not be exactly the same number of assignments during each of the nine week periods. As a general rule, however, the relative points assigned to each grade category will be as follows: 

Quizzes 10%

Annotations: 10%

In-class essays 25%

Essays 25%

Tests 30%

Unit Information

Unit Name: Ongoing through the year

  1. Reading

We will study literature through a genre approach, reading literature from the genres of prose fiction, poetry, and drama, as well as selected expository prose. These literary works cross various time periods and cultures allowing us to examine the interrelationships of each genre’s elements.  The goal is to read thoroughly and thoughtfully, taking time to understand a work’s complexity, to absorb its richness of meaning, and to analyze how that meaning is embodied in literary form, deepening the understanding of the writer’s use of language, structure, style, and themes. Students are required to annotate and/or respond to reading in reader’s journals identifying structure, style, and themes as well as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

  1. Writing

Writing assignments will focus on the critical analysis of literature and will include expository, analytical, and argumentative essays. We will concentrate on refining critical writing skills, developing essays that are clear, well-organized, and persuasive. Students will write an essay every 2-3 weeks for a total of 4 essays each quarter. All of the out-of-class writing assignments and many of the in-class essays will receive opportunities for revision based on teacher feedback and that of other classmates.  Assessment of essays will use a rubric similar to the ones used by AP Test readers. We will especially concentrate on developing a clear, fluid writing style by making intentional choices about syntax and diction.  Weekly vocabulary development will aid students in choosing the proper words for both audience and purpose. In addition to literary analysis, students will also have creative writing assignments to help develop their own voice and learn the writing process from a personal level. The writing instruction will be set up as a writing workshop and will encompass the most significant portion of the class.  The workshops will include mini-lessons reflecting the class’s exhibited strengths and weaknesses, collaborative essays (where the class will undertake to write essays together), and writing conferences on pre-writing, rough drafts, and final drafts.  In order for this class to work well as a workshop, students will write often with some pieces revised into polished work.  We will work as a group to improve each person’s writing craft.  The kinds of writing will vary, but will include analytical writing, persuasive writing, reflective writing, creative pieces, and technical writing . 

  1. Research

Research skills will be practiced throughout the course; however, students will also write a research paper. Papers will be a critical investigation of some aspect of one of the works that we have read or of another work of similar literary merit with teacher approval.  This paper will allow students the opportunity for in-depth analysis of a selected work and will allow them to enhance research and writing skills. Research strategies and techniques will be reviewed at the beginning of the 2nd semester and topics will be selected and approved.  Peer revision and revision checklists will be used to edit papers.  All papers will be completed and handed in the first week of March.

  1. Portfolio

Students will maintain a portfolio that reflects overall participation in the class. This personal portfolio documents the prewriting, editing, and revising of important essays and papers, resulting in final drafts. Essay revisions are an important element of the writing process that will document student’s progression into more polished, mature writers. The teacher will provide suggestions and comments for editing and revision through student/teacher conferences. In addition, the portfolio should contain all assignments, including all graded work such as practice AP multi-choice tests, timed essays written in response to AP style prompts, and other important handouts.

  1. Classroom discussion

The format for this course is more that of a seminar where class discussion and small group interaction dominate.  This examination and interchange of classmates’ ideas, convictions, and interpretations of a work allow students to discover conceptual meaning and implication, rather than the memorization of facts and information, and can only lead to more insightful writings.

  1. AP Practice

Students will complete multiple choice practice tests on a regular basis along with critical questions over literature read. Also, students will participate in various writing exercises including but not limited to: poetry, imitative structures, style lessons, journal writing, paragraph responses, and other imaginative activities.

Unit Name: 

Unit 1: Introduction to AP Literature and Composition

Content and/or Skills Taught:

The course opens with an overview of the AP Literature and Composition exam including a practice test to give students an idea of the layout and expectation of the test. We will then follow-up with as focus on student’s summer reading assignments.  Students are asked to read and annotate the following books over the summer: Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, view the BBC version of “MacBeth”, explicate three renaissance poems of their choice  and begin How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. We will then move to a mini-unit on writing and a discussion of genre and theory in literature. 

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • After a class discussion about the books, students are given two major writing assignments.  The first is an analysis of Jane Eyre using a past AP prompt. The second will be an argument for the interpretation of The Great Gatsby using Marxist theory, New Historical theory, or Feminist theory.
  • Review annotation/close reading by using Mortimer Adler’s essay, “How to Mark a Book.”
  • Read the first three chapters of How to Read Literature Like a Professor.
  • Using our textbook, students will work daily on exercises related to writing about literature. Students will work individually and in groups critiquing and revising various writing exercises. These activities provide students with practice and clear guidelines for writing expectations for the year.  These expectations apply to critical analyses as well as personal essays. 
  • Discuss genre. What are the different genres of literature?  The basic types or larger components of literature, however, can be grouped into categories, including novel, short fiction, poetry, drama, and epic.

How does a writer of poetry and prose craft a work of literary merit? Writers of great literature are “technicians of their form,” that is, they use all the tools of literary technique, language, and style to

enhance their works. What sort of writing skill will an AP student need to acquire in order to be

successful in this class and in college? Your goal will be to emulate the masters of the English language and to become “technicians,” employing all the tools of literary technique, language, and style.

  • Introduce vocabulary study.  Students are given a list of literary terms that will be studied throughout the year. Each week students will be tested on ten literary terms and identifying their usage in various passages. In addition, students will be tested over vocabulary studied to help develop a wide-ranging vocabulary to be used in writing. Students should demonstrate both a denotative and connotative understanding. 

Sample Literary terms: (this list will be added to as necessary)

Primary Terms – Once students learn to intelligently and perceptively discuss the impact these elements have on a piece of writing, they will successfully be able to write an analytical essay.

Diction Detail

Imagery Syntax

Tone Connotation

Figurative Language Point of View

Shift Plot Structure

Theme Characterization


Secondary  Terms – Some of these terms fall into subcategories of the terms listed above. Most of these terms will not appear on the AP exam but are still important to prose analysis.















Cumulative/loose sentence

















Non sequitur








Periodic sentence














Unit 2: College Portfolio

Content and/or Skills Taught:

Since this course is taught during the senior year, most students will be finalizing their college plans for the next year. This unit is designed to assist students in developing a personal essay for college and scholarship applications.

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • The portfolio assignment requires students to write a personal essay, personal reminiscence or essay of personal experience. Students will understand and work with personal writing-- including, but not limited to anecdote, dialogue, details, language, syntax and varied structures. Students will participate in peer editing with this assignment as well as teacher conferencing and rewriting.
  • In addition to the personal essay, students will also put together a resume, research college deadlines and other pertinent information to help with the college application process.

Unit 3: Drama – Classical Tragedy

Content and/or Skills Taught:

In this unit students will read Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and selections from The Poetics by Aristotle. They will study the traditional concept of plot structure and Aristotle’s plot structure. They will understand tragic flaw/hamartia and dramatic irony.

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • Review the conventions of Greek tragedy, mythology, archetypes, themes, paradox, irony, repetition
  • Students will write an essay on the following prompt:

In a well-constructed essay discuss the suffering of Oedipus Rex considering issues such as: What is suffering? Who suffers the most? When is suffering the most acute in the play? Is suffering a necessary component of tragedy? (Grading of this essay will focus on students’ ability to synthesize their understandings of both Sophocles and Aristotle and develop an extended explanation of both)

Unit 4: Introduction to Poetry: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and poetry from the Renaissance

Content and/or Skills Taught:

In this unit students will be introduced to poetic terminology as well as close reading and analysis of poetry. Students will also choose a book to read independently (from an approved list) while we work through this first poetry unit. 

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

Students will:

  • Read and annotate poetry.
  • Understand the historical context of early English poetry as well as societal issues of the time period.
  • Learn about poetic meter and literary devices used in epic poetry.
  • Review effective means of constructing introductions, especially thesis statements.
  • Evaluate the thesis statements written by students in the class’s assignment using either poem as a response to:  1984 AP Question:  Select a line or so of poetry, or a moment or scene in a novel, epic poem, or play that you find especially memorable.   Write an essay in which you identify the line or the passage, explain its relationship to the work in which it is found and analyze the reasons for its effectiveness.
  • Revise thesis statements and introductory paragraphs.  Write essay out of class.  
  • Individually conference with students over these papers, noting particularly rhetorical plan of organization and using specific detail from the text with a balance of commentary.
  • Begin a dialectic notebook (two column reflective journal) over independent reading.  In the journal, students practice metacognition, returning to reflect about why their initial observations were important.
  • Practice integrating quotations (lines of poetry) in textual support.
  • Write a timed, in-class paper over independent book.
  • Writer’s Workshop: Writing, Peer-review, and Revisions of Essays identifying common errors, and evaluate the specific detail and elements of effective (or not so effective) writing used in our in-class essays over independent books or epic poem essay. 
  • Learn to evaluate our own writing using a nine-point rubric, which includes evaluation of  concrete details and references to the text, response to the prompt, commentary and interpretation,  clarity of expression, organization, development of ideas, thesis, conclusion, transitions, sentence variety ,sentence structure, diction, and conventions.
  • “All the World’s a stage” by Shakespeare is discussed and analyzed. “Sonnet 30” by Edmund Spenser, “Sonnet 169” by Francesco Petrarch, and “Sonnets 18 & 130” by William Shakespeare are delved into. After in-depth analyses of these works, students then write their own sonnets. They work on the sonnets first to get them ready for deeper work with Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  • Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” and Raleigh’s “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” allow for several interesting activities to better understand and experience Renaissance poetry.
  • Poetry Café (Students write and read their own sonnets)
  • Students will also learn the skills of analyzing and writing about poetry. The teacher will provide students with the mnemonics TP-CASTT and SOAPSTONES to aid them in examining tone.
  • Students will then demonstrate their developing analytical skills by writing a practice poetry analysis on a Renaissance poem.


Unit 6: Short Fiction and Satire

Content and/or Skills Taught: In this unit we look at short stories including works from the anthology and/or stories from recent issues of The New Yorker and other magazines. The list of stories necessarily changes each year as we work with stories published during the school year as well as classics that may share theme or subjects with these stories. The focus is on the form of the story, how a short story differs from other literary forms and ideas that arise from the stories. We also read selections from Pope, Swift’s “Modest Proposal,” and the play “The Importance of Being Ernest” to examine ideas about satire. 

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • Discuss elements of short stories. Students will be placed in small groups and assigned one short story to read. Each group will be responsible for leading a seminar type presentation on their story. Because of the level of difficulty and sophistication of these stories, outside critical works may be consulted. Students will be graded on the quality of their oral presentation. 
  • Students will write an in-class essay using a sample AP question on a work of short fiction.
  • Read “A Modest Proposal” and excerpts from Gulliver’s Travels
  • Define satire and discuss Swift’s use of satire as an instrument of social change.
  • Discuss purposes of satire.
  • Venn diagram to compare and contrast Gulliver’s Travels and “A Modest Proposal.”
  • Discuss social satire in The Importance of Being Earnest.
  • Focus – The Victorian Era, social satire, epigrams, “hypocritical mask of society,” drama, characterization, social issues, archetypal motifs, social and historical values reflected in the work
  • Essay (In class) – Question 3 from the 1993 Exam: Choose a novel or play in which a scene or character awakens “thoughtful laughter.” Write an essay in which you show why this laughter is “thoughtful” and how it contributes to the meaning of the work. Students will write about a character from The Importance of being Earnest.
  • Essay (Take Home) Cat Bill Prompt from a previous AP exam. Read the following statement of veto. In a well organized essay analyze the strategies or devices (organization, diction, tone, use of detail) that make

Governor Stevenson’s argument effective for the audience. Substantiate your observations with specific

examples from the text.

  • Look at student samples from College Board, score, discuss. Students will peer edit essays and then revise.

Unit 7: The Nineteenth Century Novel: Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, or Pride and Prejudice

Content and/or Skills Taught:

In this unit students will read one or more novels from the Nineteenth Century, annotating and writing essays in response to the novel’s theme and ideas.  

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

Sample activities for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

  • Read and annotate the novel.
  • We will review chapters from How to Read Literature like a Professor.  A summary of the main ideas of the chapter is followed by textual examples from the book, from common works of literature read in our curriculum over this year, and then examples from popular culture (films, television shows, etc).  This technique of applying his ideas to works beyond his examples in the book further underscores the book’s discussion of  narrative themes, structures, styles, imagery, social and historical links, important intertextual connections (especially biblical and mythological allusion), and builds the vocabulary of literary analysis.  
  • Practice close reading techniques to better understand Austen’s eloquence, wit, style, subtle irony, and diction.
  • Study Austen’s syntax and its connection to irony, mood, tone, and meaning.
  • Evaluate Austen’s characters in light of the social/cultural/historical values of the period.
  • Read short, critical essays for introducing literary theory as a lens for interpreting literature.
  • Write responses to the essays explaining the interpretation of the text from the critical perspective.
  • Write and rewrite timed essays using a choice of released 1997 and 1988 released prompts, noting particularly the requirements of difficult prompts, and reiterating the importance of illustrative textual support.
  • Participate in an optional individual writing conference after I have graded papers with the AP 9-point rubric.
  • Revise essays, noting techniques for better logical organization.

Sample activities for Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:

  • Read and annotate the novel.
  • Use critical and imaginative abilities to see the text in a multitude of ways by marking passages with post-it notes in four colors, each color reflecting various themes explored in Frankenstein.
  • Begin vocabulary word walls, creating lists of unfamiliar words from the book, defined and then used in class while studying the book.
  • Develop social, cultural, and historical ties between Frankenstein and other works referred to in the novel, especially poetry.
  • Practice multiple choice test taking skills and close reading techniques using passages from Frankenstein.
  • Work together in corporate and then, individual analysis of poetry related to Frankenstein:  Shelley, Coleridge, Byron,Wordsworth.
  • Continue practice of the analysis essay with timed essay.  Using the nine point rubric, students evaluate other students’ papers, and assess their own work.
  • Begin instruction of organization of comparison essay with Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and Robert Penn Warren’s “Evening Hawk.”
  • Participate in an optional individual writing conference after I have graded papers with the AP 9-point rubric.
  • Continue working on comparison techniques using various poets, particularly William Blake.

Unit 8: Metaphysical to Modern Poetry 

Content and/or Skills Taught:

In this unit students will review poetry terminology, close reading and analysis of poetryStudents will study and analyze poems from Metaphysical to modern era.   

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • The following prompts are informal writing assignments that will allow the teacher to evaluate students’ strengths and weaknesses. The teacher will then meet with students and conference on their writing to offer suggestions for future writing. The teacher will work with students to see how students are responding to prompts and what their ability is in analyzing what technique the poet uses to develop a concept. This will provide students with experience before their in-class timed poetry essay prompt.
  • Explore the effectiveness of a comparison sought or drawn by a poet.  What does the poet seek a comparison for? How does her attempts at comparison fare?  What other elements of the poem work to support the theme introduced by the dominant comparison? 
  • Explore the denotative and connotative choices and how they inform meaning in a poem.  What word  or words has the poet intentionally selected and manipulated to create an image or force a meaning?  Why might the poet have done this? 

  • During the discussion of the step-by-step instruction of writing a critical analysis of a poem, the teacher will provide instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after the students revise their work, helping the students develop logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as repletion, transitions, and emphasis.  

  • Students will continue work on poetry analysis by refining their ability to differentiate between the character in the poem, the author, the subject of the poem, and the tone being expressed by them all.  Poems such as the following, which often are dramatic monologues, will help the students speak more precisely about poetry:

 “Ulysses” by Lord Alfred Tennyson

 “The Chimney Sweeper” by William Blake

 “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning

 “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

“Sonnet X” by John Donne

  • Students will then work on poetry form, by writing their own original poem that accurately follows one of the following forms: alexandrine, alliterative meter, ballad, octosyllabic couplet, heroic couplet, 

rhyme royal/ Chaucerian stanza, ottava rima, Spenserian stanza, dramatic monologue, sestina, English sonnet, Italian sonnet/ Petrarchan sonnet, syllabic verse, ghazal, rondeau, Sapphic, villanelle 

  • With this list of forms definitions and examples are provided. Students will need to pick a form appropriate to their subject and write their poem. After they complete their poem, they will then complete a two-page written analysis of their poem. By critically analyzing their own use of poetic techniques, students will be able to more easily identify them in the work of other poets.In addition to an analysis of individual poems, the student will also write a comparison/contrast essay, based on the 2005 AP Literature Prompt, analyzing Blake’s two poems of “Chimney Sweep.”   In order to compare these poems, the student will be required to draw upon textual details to make and explain judgments about a work’s artistry and quality, and its social and cultural values.  One poem is from Blake’s Songs of Innocence and the other from his Songs of Experience.  Students will score sample essays as well as other students’ essays.  I have scored this essay at an AP Reading. Using the rubric, the peer-editors and the teacher will provide instruction and feedback on their essays, both before and after the students revise their work.  Such feedback will help the students develop a balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail.  As with all teacher directed peer-editing workshops, the teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after the students revise their work, helping the students develop an effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure.

  • Students will write an interpretative essay comparing the treatment of a sociohistorical issue in two poems.  

  • Poem Notes – Students will fill out a graphic organizer for each text.  Notes focus on literary elements, theme and structure.
  • Focused Reading – Students will be assigned themes, structures or questions to focus reading of texts.  They will be responsible to take notes on the text determined by their topic.  Students will present findings of close reading with the class in formal group presentations or panel discussion

Unit 9: World Literature and the Modern Novel 

Content and/or Skills Taught:  Students will read one of the following novels closely along with related literary criticism. 

All the Pretty Horses, Atonement, The Awakening, Crime and Punishment,  Heart of Darkness, The Grapes of Wrath, Lord of the Flies, The Poisonwood Bible, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1984, The Things They Carried, Great Expectations, The Woman in White

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

Sample assignments for The Woman in White:

Exploring the concept of literature’s “angel in the house” and now Collins’ “new woman in literature”, students will compose a five-page essay discussing feminism, stereotypes, philosophy, choices, psychology, faith, and relationships. Students investigate these subjects as they read, taking notes, and participating in focused group discussions both in class and online through a class blog on their chosen subject. Their paper goes through multiple revisions and is the basis for serious instruction on writing about a theme which they must analyze, finding textual support for their assertions. Texts for this unit include:

  • The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  • Angel in the House” by Coventry Patmore
  • “Palin Wades into Republican Midtern Primaries” by Jeff Zeleny of the NY Times
  • Collection of paintings mostly from the Victorian era depicting the ideal woman

Sample Assignments for Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad:

  • Read and annotate the novel.
  • Respond to the text with an active reading guide requiring notation of recurrent images, themes, colors, places, narrative technique, ambiguity, and criticism of colonialism.
  • Discuss the ambiguity in Conrad’s novella, first in short passages and as a whole.
  • Develop close reading techniques throughout our reading.
  • Continue building vocabulary found in the text through our class word-wall.
  • Explicate a short passage of student choice in essay form after practice in class with partners.
  • Integrate thematically-related poetry and critical responses to the novella.
  • Write our last in class timed response to Heart of Darkness and respond to our writing using nine point rubric (peers, self, instructor).
  • Participate in an optional individual writing conference after I have graded papers with the AP 9-point rubric.
  • Note the use of transitions, diction, and repetition in our essays.
  • Practice multiple choice test taking skills and close reading techniques using passages from Heart of Darkness.
  • Formal literary paper-persuasive format. Students will take the two novels they read and will write an analytical, argumentative essay that attempts to persuade its reader that each novel is making specific sociohistorical commentary on an issue of social concern. The issue may, but need not, be the same in each novel. The essay, developed through multiple drafts, will argue for specific ways, with illustrations from the texts that each novel reflects the social concern detected and articulated in writing, in the opening paragraph of the essay, by the student. 

Unit 10: Practice for AP Exam 

Content and/or Skills Taught:

In this unit students will make final preparations to take the exam. This will include taking at least one full length practice exam as well as other shorter practice assessments.

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • In the final weeks before the exam, we concentrate on key elements of poetry and prose analysis. Students examine past AP tests, focusing on writing different practice essays then using AP released scoring guides and scorers’ comments to refine their understanding of what is expected. In addition, they use these rubrics to evaluate and provide feedback on their own essays, then revise based on those comments, finally submitting the essays for the teacher’s response
  • In addition, the students will closely read prose and poetry passages from previous AP Exams.  Working in groups, the students will discuss answers to the multiple-choice section of the exam. The students will also work individually on selected multiple-choice sections to the Exam

Unit 11:  Research Project – Is This Book Destined to Be Called a “Classic” ?

Content and/or Skills Taught:

Independent reading project to include contemporary novels of literary merit and evaluation of its potential to be called a classic will be completed in the time period following the AP examination.  Students will choose a book, evaluate what designates a book a “classic” and write a persuasive essay supporting their standpoint on whether the book will be called a “classic”.  Further, they will create a presentation using technology and present their findings to the class.

Major Assignments and/or Assessments:

  • Students will choose a contemporary novel (written within the last 20-30 years) of their own choice.  
  • Students need to interview members of their families and community and ask what that person thinks warrants a book being called a “classic”.  These interviewees also provide the student with the titles of 3 books they believe are classics.
  • Students research in academic journals and the popular media any discussion about their book or author.
  • Students write a persuasive paper stating that their book will or will not be deemed a classic.
  • Students create, using some form of technology, a presentation for the class.
  • Students have ample time in the computer lab and on the classroom computers to work on their projects and edit them.
  • Students are encouraged to seek their peers’ opinions on their work.
  • Students will meet with the teacher to discuss options, edits, etc… Teacher is available in the computer lab and in the classroom to assist students throughout the writing process.
  • Students must turn in weekly progress of their project to the teacher as part of the project final grade.
  • Students will present their findings to the class near the end of the school year.
  • Daily journal writing about a topic as appropriate for the unit.

Course Texts and Materials:

Textbooks (provided by the school)

Glencoe Literature: The Reader’s Choice, British Literature.  New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2007. 

Roberts, Edgar V. and Henry E. Jacobs. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, Fifth Edition.  New Jersey: Pearson 1998.

Novels and Plays (This is a sampling of literature that will be read. Other titles may be added as necessary.)

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

How to Read Literature Like a Professor – Thomas C. Foster

Oedipus Rex – Sophocles

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

Hamlet – Shakespeare

Frankenstein – Mary Shelly

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

Importance of Being Ernest – Oscar Wilde

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

1984 – George Orwell

*All titles are available through the library and the local bookstore.

Various supplementary texts and materials

Dean, Nancy.  Voice Lessons:  Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone.   Gainesville, Florida:  Maupin House, 2000.

Ehrenhaft, George.  Writing a Successful College Application Essay.  3rd Edition.  New York:  Barron’s, 2000.

O’Brien, Peggy, ed.  Shakespeare Set Free:  Teaching Hamlet and Henry IV.   New York:  Washington Square

Press, 1994.  

Rankin, Estelle, and Barbara L Murphy.  5 Steps to a 5 AP English Literature.  2nd Edition.  New York:  McGraw 

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