Avanced Placement Language and Composition Syllabus

[Course Description] [Assignments] [Grading] [Attendance][Course Competencies]
[Fall Semester][Spring Semester][Classroom Rules]

  Official Course Description:


AP Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. This course will focus on the study of American literature where students will not only become aware of the great, controversial, and beautiful ideas contained in America’s literary history, but also examine the interactions between the writers’ purpose, subjects, and audience expectations. Assignments will consist of expository, personal, and persuasive writing, oral expression, vocabulary development, and research and analysis. Most writing assignments and projects will involve an exploration and analysis of rhetorical and linguistic choices as well as literary, cultural, and historical topics germane to American literature from the Puritan to the Post-Modern Era.




Elements of Literature: Fifth Course.  Austin: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 2000.




The purpose of this course is to expose students to a broad spectrum of American literature, thought, art, politics, religion, philosophy, etc., in order to gain a greater understanding of the English language and American cultural history.

In addition to an intense examination of the rhetoric of American Literature, students will be expected to summarize, analyze, and evaluate the literature covered in written journals, essays, reports, projects, and oral presentations.


[Back to Top]



Major assignment categories include papers/projects, tests /quizzes (this includes both objective and short-essay examinations), vocabulary, and response notebooks.  Each student must pass the research paper assignment (mentioned in the course competencies).  Response notebooks (RN’s) are journals responding to questions posed about the literature read in each major literary period.  Several RN's will be assigned each week.


Test Make-up Policy: Students must contact me the day they return to schedule a make-up date for  their test.  Normally, a test must be made up within a day after returning from an absence (obvious exceptions made for extended illness, family crisis etc.).  If students are informed of a test prior to their absence it does not excuse them from taking the test the day they return.  For example, if they are aware there is a vocabulary test on Friday, and they are absent on Wednesday, they are still required to take the test if they return Friday. 


Late Paper/Assignment Deadline Policy:


Excused Absences: Students will turn in previously assigned work no later than the next scheduled class meeting following their return. Newly assigned work will be turned in no later than the following scheduled class meeting. For example, if the student is absent on Monday, returns to class on Wednesday, the missing work will be due that Friday.


Special Assignments: All AIMS and/or special assignment will be turned in on the assigned due date for full credit. In the case of excused absence* only, the work is due on the date of return, regardless of next scheduled class meeting, for half credit. If turned in beyond the date of return, the assignment will receive a zero.  If the research paper is not turned in on the due date, the student will receive a 0 for the assignment.  Also, if a student is absent on a scheduled date for a group project presentation, that student will receive a 0 for the project. 


*Cases of extreme emergency or extended illness will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


Unexcused Absences: Students will be accountable for information missed. School policy recommends that no credit be given.


For further clarification and examples, please refer to the English Department webpage under "Academics" on our school website.


 [Back to Top]



Grading is based on a point and percentage system.  There will be approximately 1000 points per semester; grades will count as followed: 90%=A, 80%=B, 70%=C, 60%=D, >59%=F. The final semester grade will be determined by a combined percentage of the eighteen-week semester grade (80%) and the final exam (20%).  You must have a 93% semester average to exempt the final exam. 


[Back to Top]



As per school policy, students will not receive credit for any work or deadline missed because of an unexcused absence.  As was previously stated, if students are absent the day of a scheduled presentation (group or individual) they will receive a 0 for the presentation or project.  Also, students will be dropped from the course at the sixth absence.  In addition, excessive tardiness will result in a variety of consequences listed in the student handbook.   Refer to the Assignments section of this syllabus for the make-up work and late assignment policies.




Refer to school policy. 




Refer to school policy listed on English Department page under "Academics" on Mountain Pointe Website. 


[Back to Top]



1. Trace the development of the major ideas and attitudes expressed in the literature of each period.

2. Identify major authors and works of each period.

3. Identify the characteristics of each literary movement.

4. List and describe characteristics of literary types written during each period.

5. Identify cultural, philosophical, historical, and religious influences on the literature of each period.

6. Analyze, interpret, and evaluate samples of good literature from each period identifying and explaining an

author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.

7. Create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience.

8. Write in a variety of genres and contexts both formal and informal, employing appropriate conventions.

9. Write an essay tracing the development of American literature from the Puritan Era to the New England

Renaissance (first semester only).

10. Write an eight to ten page literary analysis (using MLA documentation) based on a teacher-approved

novel written by an American author (second semester only).

11. Use strong composition techniques including proper mechanics, grammar, style, and structure.

12. Demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writings.




• Cultural Exploration - How are you a product of your culture?

• Historical Exploration in relation to literature

• Focused Journal Writing

• Elements of Grammar and Style

• Writing Process




•Five-paragraph Essay

• Research Project (required for course credit)





            Completed Composition

• Speech and Oral Presentation

• Vocabulary Development

• Literary analysis (essays, letters, journals, short stories, poetry, drama, and novels)



            New England Renaissance

            Realism and Regionalism           



            Oral Expression

            Individual Speeches

            Panel Presentations

• Computer Applications


[Back to Top]



Continuous: Vocabulary units 1-8


Writing: Essay (rhetorical analysis, model RNs); research process

Unit 1: Weeks 1-3 Introduction and Puritanism
1. Course expectations, literary analysis, defining rhetoric, diction (poetic and prose), and style
Readings: Ralph Ellison, Sandra Cisneros, Robert Frost
2. Examine Martian Chronicles: American culture, style
3. Puritanism: Theocratic social structure, lifestyle, and influence on American literature/thought, schisms in Puritan society, audience, subject and purpose, rhetoric and style, diction and syntax
Readings: Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible
Assessment: essay on Puritanism

Unit 2: Weeks 4-5
1. Transition to secular society
Readings: Roger Williams
2. The Age of Reason/Enlightenment
Readings: Ben Franklin, satire, antithesis
3. Observations from abroad, culture
Reading: DeTocqueville audience, purpose, tone
Assessment: essay on Age of Reason


Unit 3: Weeks 5-6

1.       Romanticism

Readings: Folk tales (“The Devil and Tom Walker”), Poe (“The Raven”, Principles of Poetry and Philosophy of Composition, “Fall of the House of Usher”), the Fireside Poets (Bryant, Holmes, Longfellow, Whittier, Lowell)

Assessment: exam over Romantics


Unit 4: Weeks 7-8

1.       Transcendentalism/Rise of the individual

Readings: Emerson (“American Scholar”, “Self-Reliance”); Thoreau (Walden)

Assessment: essay on Emerson, Walden presentations


Unit 5: Weeks 9-12

1.       Anti-Transcendentalism/indifferent God, fatalism

Readings: Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter, “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment”), Melville (Bartleby, Moby Dick)

2.       Introduce second semester research novel

Assessment: Test on American Renaissance


Unit 6: Weeks 13-14

  1. New American Poetry

Readings: poetry of Whitman and Dickinson


Unit 7: Weeks 15-18

  1. Assign semester essay and peer edit
  2. Grammar/Composition review and remediation
  3. Review for final exam

Assessments: semester essay, grammar presentations, final exam


[Back to Top]



Continuous: Vocabulary units 9-15, including analogies

Writing: Essay (literary analysis, RNs); research process, formatting


Unit 1: Weeks 1-5

1.       Research paper: literary analysis on selected novel; research process (MLA documentation)

Assessment: 8-10 page research paper


Unit 2: Weeks 4-7

1.       Realism, Regionalism, Naturalism plus independent novel

2.       Readings: Douglass, Harte, Jewett, London, Crane, Bierce

3.       Independent novels: The Awakening, The Red Badge of Courage, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Assessment: novel quizzes, RN’s


Unit 3: Weeks 8-12

1.       Modernism/disillusionment

2.       Readings: The Great Gatsby, Anderson, Hemingway, Faulkner, Porter, modern poets

Assessment: exam on Modernism


Unit 4: Weeks 13-15

1.       Social activism

2.       Reading: The Grapes of Wrath

Assessment: quizzes, group presentations


Unit 5: Weeks 15-18

1.       Contemporary literature plus Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant

2.       Readings: Story stories: O’Connor, Malamud, Kingston, Barthelme, Cisneros; film: The Hudsucker Proxy

3.       Assessments: quizzes, final exam


[Back to Top]




Dear Students and Parents,


A primary objective in my class is to create a safe and orderly environment where each student has an equal chance to excel and achieve his or her goals. Every student deserves a chance at a positive educational experience and no one student or group of students has the right to jeopardize that experience with poor behavior.  In order to insure a positive and orderly educational environment, the following classroom guidelines are to be respected.  Thank you for your cooperation and have a great year!


Classroom Rules


1.         Please be in your seat and ready to go when the bell rings.  You will be marked tardy if you are not in your seat when the bell rings.


2.         Please do not bring any food or drink into the classroom or in the halls.


3.         Please do not throw objects of any kind in the classroom.


4.         Please, no cross talk (speaking while another student or I am speaking). We each deserve respect and consideration when we are speaking! 


5.         Please do not use profanity. Also, do not insult, badger, or tease other students.


6.         Please be prepared for class with books, paper, pen etc.


7.         Please do not display insubordinate or belligerent behavior towards the teacher (verbally attacking or arguing with the teacher or refusing to follow a reasonable request).  This behavior will result in a parent phone call, a referral to the office, and possibly expulsion from the class.


8.         Do not have newspapers, magazines, makeup, CD players, electronic toys, cellular phones, etc. out in class.  You will be warned once, and then the items will be taken.  (Parents, please do not text message or call students during class.)


9.            Destruction or theft of my or the school's property will not be tolerated!  This means you don't write on my desks, spit gum on my floor, or carve your sweetheart's name in my door etc.      


10.        Other guidelines may surface as the year goes on, but just try to use common sense when you are in class and everything will be fine.


[Back to Top]