Advanced Placement English Language and Composition is an advanced placement course that high school students can take in place of the Freshman Composition courses offered at most colleges. The course focuses on rhetoric and argument, most clearly evinced in nonfiction.
Here are the required books for the AP English Language course for 2014-2015:
• Turchi, Peter. Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer. San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 2007, ISBN-13: 9781595340412 …for summer reading (listed is the paperback copy – feel free to get the hardback)
• Lunsford, Andrea A., John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument: with Readings. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010, Fifth Edition, ISBN-10: 0312538618 (make sure that you get the Fifth Edition with Readings)
• Cohen, Samuel. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011, Third Edition, ISBN-10: 0312609655 (you must get the Third Edition)
These three required books are due in class on Tuesday, September 2, or Wednesday, September 3.
For most assignments, students will download their papers to turnitin.com – they may have to set up an account using an email they check often. Here are the class identification numbers and passwords for the AP English Language:
AP English Language Period 1 class: 8474300 and Period1
AP English Language Period 6 class: 8474342 and Period6
For revisions of papers, give Mr. Thornton a hard copy, after you have looked at the turnitin.com site for his edits.
Here is the proposed yearly syllabus for 2014-15: AP English Language Syllabus for 2014-15
Here is a list of literary terms that students will be defining and learning throughout the year: Lit Terms AP 2014
The Literature Resource Center online database for research can now be accessed by DSA students – the password is denver: http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/denv71300?db=LitRC
Here is a blog that features a Word-of-the-Day from the New York Times: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/category/word-of-the-day/ This website features SAT words: https://www.number2.com/exams/sat/daily/word/ This website features words for a variety of subjects and tests: http://www.cram.com/tag/sat
Style and Usage Guide:
Here is an online style guide from Purdue University to check grammar and usage: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
SPRING SEMESTER, 2014-14
Here is the revised syllabus for second semester: AP English Language Syllabus Spring Semester
All missing and revised work must be submitted to the instructor by March 10 to receive up to 90% credit for the third quarter. Work submitted after this date is only eligible for 50% credit.
Week of March 2, 2015:
Students are encouraged to present their American songs this week.
Week of February 23, 2015:
Students began watching American Splendor, about which they are writing a review – this was originally due on March 3, but has been delayed to March 6, due to the snow day: Movie Review American Splendor
Students wrote an essay in class answering the following prompt – they were given forty minutes to do this: Robot Essay
Week of February 18, 2015:
Students will present their third SAT vocabulary story at the start of next week.
Students listened to most of “Shooting Dad” in 50 Essays read by Sarah Vowell on This American Life: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/81/guns
Students read “The Ways We Lie” by Ericsson in 50 Essays. By Tuesday, February 24, they will have to write an essay that mimics this format – they should write about anything that can be categorized in at least six ways, something that presents an ethical or moral dilemma, and they should try to include appropriate quotes to introduce each of the six subcategories. Students should include situations that range from personal anecdotes to public affairs. Submit this to turnitin.com. Here is a website that allows you to search for famous quotes: http://famousquotesandauthors.com/
Week of February 9, 2015:
Students read Ericsson’s “The Ways We Lie” in 50 Essays, noting its format, voice, and rhetorical development.
Students read the following essay, and planned a response to the prompt in class: Iyer Essay Assignment
By next Friday, February 20, students must write an essay in response to prompt #2 on page 534 in Everything’s an Argument: Pick an argumentative topic and write an essay “making nothing but fallacious arguments in each sentence.” Try to make an argument that sounds viable, even though you are using a slew of fallacies. Include ten of the fifteen fallacies discussed in the “Fallacies of Argument” chapter, chapter 17 in the fifth edition. These are the fallacies mentioned: scare tactics, either-or choices, slippery slope, sentimental and bandwagon appeals, false authority, dogmatism, ad hominem, hasty generalization, faulty causality, begging the question, equivocation, non sequitur, straw man, and faulty analogy. Submit this to turnitin.com.
Print a hard copy of your education reform proposal – before my edits on turnitin.com – double-spaced, and revise it according to Orwell’s guidelines from his “Politics and English Language” essay:
- (i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- (ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- (iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- (iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- (v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- (vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
Annotate your hard copy, revising it according to these rules, and submit this on Wednesday, February 18, in class.
On Wednesday, students will practice and discuss literary analysis using an excerpt on Jane Austen from the PARCC test, intended for 11th graders: PARCC Practice Austen 11th
Here is the home site for PARCC: http://parcc.pearson.com/
Student groups wrote new stories using a different set of SAT vocabulary words. Each group presented its story, and was told to share the story with each other in the group, and revise it according to these instructions:
• Periodic sentence
• Elliptical sentence
• Use action verbs
• Eliminate all cases of passive voice
Each student should submit a copy of the original story plus their revision in class on Thursday or Friday, February 12 or 13.
Keep in mind these guidelines for your writing: Elegance Argumentation
Students should read the following essay by George Orwell by Wednesday, February 11: Politics & English Language by Orwell
Week of February 2, 2015:
Bring both books to class next Monday and Tuesday.
For the next few weeks, students should bring in a recording that speaks about how America is viewed, or what the American experience is all about. They should be able to project the lyrics to the song, along with playing a recording of it – they can email the lyrics to the instructor if necessary. They must also write a short essay delineating the American values that this song encompasses, and analyze the rhetorical devices and strategies. This essay should be turned in at the time of the presentation. If students want, they can add their song to the Spotify playlist “DSA AP American Songs.”
By Tuesday night, February 10, students should submit this speeh: Education Reform Proposal
On Wednesday, students did a quiz on the Sedaris essay, read most of the Swift essay from 50 Essays in class, but should finish this on their own: A Modest Proposal There will be a quiz on this at the start of next week.
Highlights from Chapter 12 on “Proposals” in Everything’s an Argument were pointed out, before students came up with reform proposals for education, or DSA specifically. This was done in advance of an exercise to create an education reform proposal later in the week.
Students discussed the strategies used by Sedaris to create humor in his “Plague of Tics” essay. There will be a quiz on this on Wednesday.
Week of January 26, 2015:
Students took a PreTest on the vocabulary words in the SAT packet that they are using to craft stories in class.
Students should finish reading David Sedaris’s “A Plague of Tics” in 50 Essays by the beginning of next week.
Another student will edit the education essay on Monday or Tuesday. The edit sheet follows for those who are not in class – have another student, or a parent, edit your paper. Focus on language, diction and syntax, in addition to the recommendations of your editor, in your revision: Education Essay Edit
Students received packets of SAT vocabulary, with which they are creating stories, using as many words as possible from different pages of the packet. Each group should make sure that there are two recorders, who can read and share stories digitally if revisions are requested.
Students took a quiz on the Alexie essay.
Week of January 20, 2015:
Here is the synthesis argument essay on education due in class at the start of next week: Education Synthesis Argument Essay
Students read Alexie’s “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” in 50 Essays – there will be a quiz on this next week.
Students should finish the Mike Rose essay “I Just Wanna Be Average” in 50 Essays by class on Thursday or Friday – there will be a multiple choice quiz on it: Rose’s “I Just Wanna Be Average”
Students did a work sheet in class, combining sentences: Sentence Combining
In preparation for a discussion on the politics related to instruction in school, students should read pages 922-948 in Everything’s an Argument.
Week of January 12, 2015:
Students should review Chapter 26 in Everything’s an Argument over the next few days – What Should “Diversity on Campus” Mean?
Explanation on syntax and sentence types reviewed in class: Syntax of Sentences
Bring 50 Essays to class on Thursday and Friday.
For Monday, January 19, students should write an essay following the guidelines set by the This I Believe organization, as outlined in the posted college curriculum – be personal, positive, tell a story, and keep it under 500 words. (The manifesto that you wrote was intended as a substitute for the credo mentioned in the curriculum. You can change your topic from what you focused on in the manifesto.) Submit this to turnitin.com.
Students did this worksheet in class on Wednesday – it is due at the start of class on Thursday or Friday: Wordiness Exercise
For Wednesday, January 14, students have a series of short assignments to do – submit these to turnitin.com, as a single assignment:
- Students started reading the Thoreau essay in class. Summarize the main point of each paragraph in a sentence – the essential sentence from Thoreau, or a sentence of your own crafting. Eight paragraphs = eight sentences: Thoreau What I Lived For
- Look over this college curriculum from the “This I Believe” website: This I Believe College Curriculum Find three essays to read, and summarize the main belief of each of these in a paragraph – that’s three paragraphs. Here is a link to the website: http://thisibelieve.org/
- Consider who your audience will be – beyond the teacher – for the essay that you will write. Check the curriculum for ideas regarding this. One or two paragraphs on this.
Students will be writing a personal essay using this format later next week.
Week of January 6, 2015:
By Monday or Tuesday of next week, students should look over Chapter 6 and closely read Chapter 7, pages 131-207 in Everything’s an Argument. Bring in both books.
By Sunday, January 11, students must write a manifesto that strongly defends a belief system of theirs. This must include an overview or introduction that describes the personal reasons for stating these beliefs, followed by at least ten statements defining the tenets of their manifesto. Submit this to turnitin.com.
Following are several links to websites that detail a variety of manifestos… the first is the real text from the Futurists; the second is an animated version of the same. The Smashing Magazine entry offers a survey of manifestos.
Here is another version of the Futurist Manifesto, one that offers some details in a more rigid format: FuturistManifesto2010
In class, students read this essay on writing essays: On Montaigne by Dubrava For more essays by Ms. Dubrava, check her blog, http://patriciadubrava.com/ Students also read an essay by Lewis Lapham on essay writing, “Figures of Speech.”
On Friday, December 12, notices were sent for the third time to parents of students who have a D or F in Mr. Thornton’s classes, alerting them to the fact that the instructor would still accept work through Tuesday, December 16, if the work will allow the student to pass.
All late, missing, and revised work should be submitted the first week after Thanksgiving break, to receive credit.
Week of December 15, 2014:
Grading the Final: The 39 questions on the multiple choice section were reduced to 30 points, weighted at 20%, thus making this part of the test worth 6 points; the essay was worth 10 points. Together, these add up to 10% of a student’s semester grade.
The final on Wednesday and Thursday will consist of 30+ multiple choice questions focused on three essays or excerpts of about one page each; and an argument essay taken from the Intellectual Property unit, in which students will have to respond to a prompt relying on their own knowledge, observations, and experiences.
Week of December 8, 2014:
Students should be prepared for a discussion on the Hardin essay, and bring 50 Essays to class on Thursday or Friday.
In the Garrett Hardin article on the commons - The Tragedy of the Commons by Hardin 1968 – students were asked to read the last half of it on their own – from the section on “Pollution” through the finish. For each section, they should find the essential sentence or paraphrase the dominant idea; and find a parallel issue in contemporary society to which Hardin’s thinking can be applied.
Although the due date for novel papers is still listed in turnitin.com as December 9, papers will not be counted late if they are submitted by Friday, December 12.
Week of December 1, 2014:
In class, Period 6 students read these 11 prompts, made notes on their language, and chose the best and worst, explaining their decisions in one sentence for each: Ownership Prompts for Period 6
In class, Period 1 students read these 11 prompts, made notes on their language, and chose the best and worst, explaining their decisions in one sentence for each: Ownership Prompts for Period 1
On page 557 of Everything’s an Argument, there is a list of signal verbs, helpful in characterizing an author’s work as well as establishing your own tone in an essay. This list of tone words might help you in writing your research paper: Tone Words
Here is the edit for your research paper draft that should be completed by another student before turning both into me: Independent Novel Edit 2014
Students should bring in Everything’s an Argument on Wednesday, and Thursday or Friday.
Students will take a literary terms review quiz on Wednesday. Students may want to look over this website, as well as their literary terms packet, before the test: http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm
Students will critique each others drafts of their novel papers in class at the end of the week.
Week of November 17, 2014:
Outlines of novel papers are due in class Thursday or Friday – include your prompt at the top of the page.
Students finished reading essays that cover intellectual property: What’s Yours by Ralph Caplan and Victims From Birth by Wendy McElroy and The Internet Debacle by Janis Ian and Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem
Week of November 12, 2014:
As part of the Spotify assignment, students will present one of their songs with a quick explanation of how it relates to one of the rhetorical strategies. This should only be one or two minutes in length.
The Novel research due date has been delayed to Monday or Tuesday of next week, whenever the student is in class: an excerpt from three different critical articles that might be useful in the student’s analysis of the novel – hard copies in class. Critical Research must be authored, not taken from notes. The outline is not due until Thursday or Friday of next week – a hard copy in class.
Students began reading essays that cover intellectual property. They will have a synthesis argument essay to write regarding this. The articles quoted in this assignment follow: What’s Yours by Ralph Caplan and Victims From Birth by Wendy McElroy and The Internet Debacle by Janis Ian and Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem They read an excerpt from the Lethem article, but are encouraged to read the rest of the article posted here, along with the citations.
Students reviewed the assignments that they have submitted to turnitin.com, and wrote two things that they need to work on based on the instructor’s edits of their papers. These were turned in during class on Wednesday.
Students should read the ministers’ letter and King’s response by Thursday or Friday – King’s letter is in 50 Essays as well as posted here: Statement and Response by King in Birmingham
Week of November 3, 2014:
Here are two examples of synthesis argument prompts – your novel prompt doesn’t need to be fashioned like these, but should include some of the elements, especially the reasoning or “overview”: Prompt Questions
In class at the start of the week, students read the Gettysburg Address in class – Gettysburg Address – and discussed its rhetoric in conjunction with this Power Point: Rhetorical Analysis Gettysburg Example They then spent 20 minutes using the prompt at the end of this handout, comparing the rhetoric of the Second Inaugural Address of Lincoln to his Gettysburg Address – this was handed in: Lincoln Rhetorical Essay
Students researching the Science and Nature Writers will present their findings on Wednesday, since many seniors are out for CMAS testing the rest of the week.
Week of October 27, 2014:
Students did this “Uncritical Inference Test” in class – it is followed by an assignment due next week: Cause and Effect Friendship Essay14
They also consulted the Literature Resource Center online database for research on their novels – the password is denver: http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/denv71300?db=LitRC
Students read the Staples’ essay in 50 Essays, and wrote a response to the following prompt – they spent an half-hour doing this: In paragraphs 1-5 of “Just Walk on By: Black Men and Public Space,” Brent Staples describes his experience of being stereotyped on the basis of sex and race. Write an essay analyzing the rhetorical strategies he uses to achieve his purpose.
Week of October 22, 2014:
Here is an article about writing from the recent Harper’s Magazine that was discussed in class: HarpersMagazine-2014-SpareDarlings
The students discussing the Political writers will meet for another few minutes the beginning of the week, and will present on Wednesday, October 29. The Science and Nature writers’ group will meet the end of the week, to present on November 3 or 4.
For next Tuesday, complete the two paragraphs – the anecdote and sketch – and the essay described in the following assignment: Narration Exercise and Essay
Week of October 13, 2014:
By next Wednesday or Thursday, students should have read N. Scott Momaday’s “The Way to Rainy Mountain” and E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake” in 50 Essays. There will be quizzes on both of these.
Here is the assignment and schedule for the research paper on your independent novel: Independent Novel Assignment and Schedule 2014
Week of October 6, 2014:
Students read an excerpt from Susan Sontag’s AIDS and Its Metaphors in class, and her “Regarding the Pain of Others” in 50 Essays. For Thursday, October 16, students should finish reading “Seeing” by Annie Dillard in 50 Essays and answer the third prompt on page 128 in their 50 Essays book: Compare Dillard on seeing to Susan Sontag’s discussion in “Regarding the Pain of Others” (p. 373)…. how do they understand the ways in which people see? Do the authors conceptualize the act of seeing as affected more by the person seeing, or the object seen?
One typed page is sufficient for this assignment. Only spend an hour writing this. Submit this essay to turnitin.com.
For Wednesday, October 8, students should write an essay, about one type-written page, explaining a process that they know inside out – it could be a favorite recipe, a technique from their art major, anything that involves steps that require the reader to follow. An example of this process divided into discernible steps is the following piece by Herman Melville: Melville on Process from Typee 2011 Submit this essay to turnitin.com. Only spend one hour on this essay.
Week of September 29, 2014:
Next week, students will read Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Pain of Others” and “Seeing” by Annie Dillard, and writing about these – both essays are in 50 Essays, if students want to read them ahead of time.
Review pages 107-111 in Maps of the Imagination, where the author discusses a scene from one of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s stories. Authors control the release of information in their books. Bring a graphic novel, newspaper cartoon, or comic book – some type of book where the story is told in panels – to class on Monday or Tuesday, to work on writing sequence: students must write out in words what is going on in 4-6 panels of a comic or graphic novel. Look at composition of the art – the colors, lines, movement, tone, dialogue – to determine the meaning underlying each panel. Where is the artist taking the reader? This is due in class on Thursday or Friday, October 9 or 10, with a copy of the storyboard that you analyzed.
Week of September 22, 2014:
Students read Bharati Mukherjee’s “Two Ways to Belong in America” in 50 Essays; they should finish Richard Rodriquez’s “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” over the weekend. Using Mukherjee’s essay “Two Ways to Belong in America,” students should analyze the strategies of comparison and contrast that the author uses in detailing her immigrant experience versus her sister’s. Use this analysis to compare Mukherjee’s ideas on “assimilation” to Robert Rodriquez’s position outlined in the opening chapter in his autobiography Hunger of Memory. Both essays are collected in 50 Essays. Make sure that you include at least five specific references to each essay. Spend some time outlining your thoughts and deciding on your approach, but try to write the actual essay in under an hour. Submit this essay to turnitin.com by September 30.
Two groups – “Autobiographers and Diarists” and “Biographers and Historians” - will present the common traits of these writers in classes at the end of the week. Students should be prepared to discuss at least one annotated excerpt from their four writers.
Students in both classes read Mukherjee’s essay in 50 Essays – there will be a multiple choice quiz on this at the end of the week. If you have not read “Two Ways to Belong in America” by Mukherjee, do so by Thursday or Friday, whenever your class meets. Students will also read the Rodriquez essay in the same book.
Week of September 15, 2014:
At the end of the week, students read another “moth” essay by Annie Dillard: Death of A Moth by Dillard Here’s Dillard’s explanation of her process in writing and editing this essay: Annie Dillard: How I wrote the Moth Essay
Here is the Representative Authors assignment that students will start working on this week: Representative Authors Assignment 2014
Students will write an essay in class on Wednesday comparing the Woolf and Petrunkevitch essays – the instructor will distribute the Petrunkevitch essay, but students are encouraged to print out both of them, or at least bring their copies of 50 Essays containing the Woolf essay. Make sure that you have read both before class on Wednesday. For those not in class, here is the prompt – only spend 45 minutes on this essay: Woolf and Petrunkevitch Prompt
Week of September 8, 2014:
Students will read Petrunkevitch’s “The Spider and the Wasp” in class next week. They read Woolf’s essay in 50 Essays and discussed her tone: Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth” and Petrunkevitch’s “The Spider and the Wasp” There will be a multiple choice quiz on the Woolf essay at the start of next week.
Here is a list of general essay types: Essay Types
Most of the “Literacy Autobiographies” have been graded in turnitin.com. Students must look at the instructor’s edits by Sunday, September 14, to begin the process of improving your writing by focusing on the recommendations listed in the paper.
Counselors will talk to students this week about writing college essays. Students must write a college essay of 300-500 words, due Monday or Tuesday, September 22 or 23. Your choice of prompt. List the prompt at the start of the essay, and write your name at the end of the essay. A hard copy of this college essay should be submitted in class, rather than sent electronically. Here is a link to some essay questions posted by the University of Chicago on its website: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/apply/essay-questions
A list of 100 essay prompts, from various colleges: 100 College Application Essay Prompts
Students read this essay by David Sedaris – it is another writer’s stab at capturing the languages we speak: Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris
In class, students looked at some examples of rhetorical techniques: Rhetorical Mode Examples
Students were given an assignment on literary terms to be completed over the next five weeks: Literary Terms Assignment
Week of September 2, 2014:
Students discussed “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” in 50 Essays at the end of the week. By next Wednesday, September 10, on turnitin.com, students should write an essay in which they discuss the various languages that they use in their lives, focusing on at least three different languages. Use the essay by Gloria Anzaldua as a model. Include definition, analysis, and examples of the languages. Consider structuring the essay along the lines of Anzaldua, using epigraphs at the start of sections, while mixing rhetorical approaches.
For Thursday or Friday’s class, students should read the essay by Gloria Anzaldua in 50 Essays: Anzaldua-Wild-Tongue
Here are the rhetorical approaches that we will focus on through the semester: Rhetorical Classes of the Essay
Last week, students took a practice AP English Language test. Many of the multiple choice questions used the following stems: Multiple Choice Stems Here are some tips on writing the AP essay: Writing the AP Essay
Week of August 26, 2014:
The following two articles were discussed in class – one suggests alternative approaches to writing, while the other article distinguishes between rhetoric and style: Alternative Essay Types 2011 and Rhetoric versus Style These two selections, shown in class, might help in reconsidering the format of your essays.
This is the summer assignment for 2014-2015: AP Summer Assignment 2014 A hard copy of this assignment is due in class on Tuesday, September 2, or Wednesday, September 3.
Here is the AP English Language course description, revised just this year: AP English Language Course Description 2014 Look over this before next week, to become familiar with some of the terminology used in this course.