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 Wednesday, September 2.
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 3: 10445012 and Period3
AP English Language Period 6: 10445045 and Period6
For revisions of papers, give Mr. Thornton a hard copy, after you have looked at the turnitin.com site for his edits.
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
Specific standards for college compiled by ACT – the English (pp.4-9) and Writing (pp.30-35) sections are most useful: College Readiness Standards
Style and Usage Guide:
Here is an online style guide from Purdue University to check grammar and usage: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
Here is the proposed yearly syllabus for 2015-16: AP English Language Syllabus 2015-16
Here is a list of literary terms that students will be defining and learning throughout the year: Lit Terms AP 2014
Here is a website dedicated to literary devices: http://literarydevices.net/
SPRING SEMESTER, 2015-16
Here is the revised syllabus for Spring Semester: AP English Language Spring Syllabus
Week of April 25, 2016:
Students reviewed the multiple choice test that they took in class. More practice tests are scheduled for next week.
Make sure that you’ve read “Women’s Brains,” posted last week.
The draft of the Research Paper was delayed a few days, due to testing. The final is now due in turnitin.com on May 3.
Students are taking a multiple-choice practice test at the start of the week. If you are absent for this, you are expected to make it up by making an appointment with the instructor – it takes about 65 minutes. (Students may be able to do this when the rest of the class is reviewing it at the end of the week.)
Week of April 18, 2016:
In class, students read the following essay by Gould: Women’s Brains
A draft of the research paper is due in class on Thursday or Friday of this week, for a peer edit before it’s turned into the instructor. If you won’t be here those days, try to bring it in on Wednesday. In any case, here is a copy of the edit, for someone to use to look over your paper before it’s turned in: Native Son or Intruder Edit 2016
Week of April 12, 2016:
Students read Obama’s race speech and discussed its rhetoric: Obama Race Speech 2008
Week of April 4, 2016:
Through the year, the class has heard these suggestions for writing routines – here’s the complete list on a link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one
Students read Shelby Steele’s essay in class: Shelby Steele’s “On Being Black and Middle Class” They wrote an essay on this at the end of the week. Students who missed class should only spend 40 minutes on this, and it should be written by hand and turned into the instructor next week: Steele Rhetorical Essay
An overview and prompt for your novel paper will be due at the end of the week – hard copies submitted in class, along with samples from research articles that you have investigated.
There will be a literary terms quiz the end of next week. Students may want to look over this website, as well as their literary terms packet, before the test: http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm
Week of March 21, 2016:
Classes read this essay by Zora Neal Hurston: How It Feels by Hurston
Students reviewed the rules for Research and Citation on the OWL from Purdue – this page is especially important to test your knowledge of the format for Works Cited: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/12/ Chapter 20 of Everything’s an Argument is a comprehensive guide to MLA formatting.
Week of March 14, 2016:
Although a list of five brainstormed prompts for the research paper on the independent novel was scheduled on the assignment for this week, students can submit these by next Wednesday, March 23, without penalty. Give the instructor a hard copy, or email these.
This is the prompt that students responded to at the end of the week: Citizenship Argument Essay They spent about 45 minutes on this; those who are making up this essay should spend no more time than that, and should turn in a hard copy to the instructor, or email it to Michael_Thornton@dpsk12.org
Students will briefly meet at the end of the week to discuss their novels. They will also write an argument essay in class, dealing with American themes.
Students read two essays, and started a third from 50 Essays: Sarah Vowell’s “Shooting Dad,” Scott Russell Sanders’ “The Men We Carry in Our Minds,” and Nancy Mairs’ “On Being a Cripple,” which they should finish on their own by Wednesday. There will be a quiz on one of these.
Week of March 7, 2016:
The end of the third quarter is Friday, March 11; grades will be posted Wednesday, March 16. If students want up to 90% credit for papers due during the third quarter, they must submit these by next Wednesday – after that only 50% credit will be available for third quarter work. The instructor grades continuously through the semester, so some credit will continue to be available.
The attached articles and websites should be examined in your research on Native Son:
“How Bigger Was Born” by Richard Wright
Irving Howe on Wright, Ellison, and Baldwin
Naturalism In American Literature
Sartre On Existentialism
Wright’s Use of the Leopold and Loeb Trial
Segregation in 1930s’ Chicago: http://hooliganyouthreviews.blogspot.com/2009/05/color-line-has-reached-north.html
Baldwin and Wright in Paris: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/02/09/090209crbo_books_pierpont?currentPage=1
The attached articles and websites should be examined in your research on Intruder in the Dust:
Avoiding Adjudication By Sassoubre
Debts Of History By Dussere
Man In The Middle By Polk
Negative and Positive Liberty By Dimitri
Signifying Ordering Containing Chaos Sugimori
Liberating Lawyers by Atkinson
Stream Of Consciousness By William James
The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash: http://www.wjcash.org/WJCash1/WJCash/WJCash/THE.MIND.OFTHE.SOUTH.html
Students watched The Fall, directed by Tarsem, in order to write a review due next week: Movie Review of The Fall
Week of March 1, 2016:
For next Friday, March 11, students should write ten paragraphs, modeled after the Ford essay in Harper’s, in which they attempt to tie together disparate descriptions through the use of similar themes, images, phrases, and concrete language. They are invited to focus on a deep subject besides the afterlife: Just Like Heaven by Paul Ford Submit this to turnitin.com.
Student groups should send the instructor a link for their vocabulary videos.
Here is the Novel Research Paper assignment, with a reading schedule and due dates for process elements – starting next week and extending through the start of May: Native Son or Intruder Assignment The instructor has plenty of copies of these two novels to loan.
To receive credit for the American Song assignment, the essay must be submitted and song presentation must occur by the end of this week.
Students should read this essay by Thursday or Friday, and be prepared to discuss it in class, in anticipation of writing an essay in this style: Just Like Heaven by Paul Ford
Students did an outline in preparing to write an essay in response to this prompt – they didn’t write the essay, only did the planning, spending 20 minutes: Iyer Essay Planning
Week of February 16, 2016:
Students who are submitting art essays for the Atlantic and College Board competition must bring in electronic copies of their final revisions by the start of next week. They must sit down with the instructor to submit the essay – it should only take a few minutes.
Students read “The Ways We Lie” by Ericsson in 50 Essays. By Friday, February 26, 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/
Conciseness in writing was reviewed in class: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/572/04/
Students took a quiz on the Eighner essay in 50 Essays, and discussed this in class.
Students are urged to send in their American song essays – after next week, these will be counted late.
Week of February 8, 2016:
On Thursday and Friday, students wrote a synthesis argument essay in class based on the “Intellectual Property” unit from the end of last semester – most of those essays were posted on this website during the week of November 9. The prompt came from those that students wrote in groups, and they spent about 40 minutes writing it:
Copyright law and literary critics have postulated that plagiarism and intellectual copyright violations are grounds for the dismissal of the artistic value of a plagiarist’s work. However, Christopher Hitchens writes, “If you think you know what plagiarism is, you are making a very large claim – the claim that you know what originality is when you see it.” Based on your own observations, intellectual knowledge, and reading of the Ownership Unit articles, compare the importance of originality versus imitation in the written word. You must quote or paraphrase from at least three of the five articles read in the unit.
By next Friday, February 19, 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.
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:
• Include a Periodic sentence
• Include an 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 turnitin.com by February 15.
Students created new stories using the SAT Word List; and they took a quiz on the Swift essay.
Week of February 1, 2016:
Students should finish the Eighner essay “On Dumptster Diving” in 50 Essays: http://scholarworks.umb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1539&context=nejpp
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.
Students read the Swift essay from 50 Essays in class: A-Modest-Proposal There will be a quiz on this at the start of next week.
Students must write a speech on education reform due Sunday: Education Reform Proposal
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.
Week of January 25, 2016:
Students read the following essay by David Sedaris in class – it can be used as a resource in your education essay due Friday night: Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris Students should also read “A Plague of Tics” – Sedaris ‘s A Plague of Tics – by Sedaris in 50 Essays by Monday or Tuesday of next week. There will be a quiz on it.
Students who missed any quizzes this semester must make these up on Thursday or Friday, January 28-29, to receive credit – quizzes on the Thoreau, Rose, and Alexie essays in 50 Essays. After this they will be marked “0”.
Students were assigned groups to work on SAT vocabulary words over the next few weeks. The packets of words are available as a hard copy from the instructor. Groups will be presenting stories using as many as the words from different sections of the list. Each group will also be asked to create a video in conjunction with a contest sponsored by the New York Times: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/14/student-contest-our-third-annual-15-second-vocabulary-video-challenge/ Although students will not be asked to actually submit their video to the Times, if they want to they should know that they must explain a word from the following list: Vocabulary Contest 2016 WordList
Students completed this exercise in class at the start of the week: Sentence Combining
Week of January 19, 2016:
Students read Alexie’s “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” – Superman and Me by Alexie – in 50 Essays. There will be a quiz on this next week.
Here is an assignment for a synthesis argument essay on education due in one week: Education Essay 2016
The instructor highlighted some of the essays from Chapter 26 in Everything’s an Argument. Students are encouraged to closely read the Horowitz, Fish, and Cohen essays, pp. 922-940, which focus on “intellectual diversity.”
Bring both books to class on Thursday and Friday.
Here is a piece that suggests readers become empathetic reading essays: Acquiring Empathy Through Essays
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”
Week of January 11, 2016:
For Wednesday, January 20, 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.
On Wednesday, January 13, students have two short assignments to do – submit these to turnitin.com, as a single assignment, due Friday:
- 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 at http://thisibelieve.org/ and summarize the main belief of each of these in a paragraph – that’s three paragraphs.
Bring 50 Essays on Wednesday for the Thoreau essay; bring Everything’s an Argument on Thursday of Friday.
Here is the article that was discussed in class: On Montaigne by Dubrava Students also read an article by Lewis Lapham on essay writing, about which they took notes regarding his rhetorical strategies – it was called “Figures of Speech” from the November, 2010 issue of Harpers.
Week of January 6, 2016:
Students started reading the Thoreau essay in 50 Essays: Thoreau What I Lived For
By Sunday, January 10, 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
Here is the link for the writing contest sponsored by the Atlantic and College Board: https://www.collegeboard.org/writing-prize
FALL SEMESTER, 2015-16
Week of December 14, 2015:
Students read the rest of the Hardin article, posted below – if you were not in class this week, finish reading this on your own. Here is a postscript that Hardin wrote in 1998, on writing an interdisciplinary essay: Hardin 1998
Week of December 7, 2015:
Students are reading this Hardin article on the Commons: Hardin”s Tragedy of the Commons
Week of November 30, 2015:
Students took a multiple choice quiz on the McKibben essay in 50 Essays on Thursday and Friday. Students who missed this need to get it from the instructor.
In order to have time to grade the final, and because orchestra students will not be in classes during finals week, the final will be administered next week, on Thursday and Friday, December 10 and 11.
Students looked at the highlights of Chapters 18-20 in Everything’s An Argument, focusing on plagiarism, evaluating and documenting sources. They are encouraged to read these chapters in detail, especially as they finish writing their research papers.
All missing and revised work should be turned into the instructor this week if the student wants to guarantee that it will be graded by the end of the semester.
Students should have a hard copy draft of their research paper in class on Thursday or Friday, for an edit: Independent Novel Edit 2015
Week of November 16, 2015:
The outline for the novel paper was originally due on Wednesday of this week – students can still get this in on time if it is submitted by Friday to turnitin.com. All submissions should be to turnitin.com. Some details for the development of the thesis are expected in this outline, however you want to format it.
Week of November 9, 2015:
Students began reading essays that cover intellectual property. (On Thursday and Friday, they read the Caplan and Ian essays in class.) 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 The Internet Debacle by Janis Ian and Victims From Birth by Wendy McElroy 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.
Week of November 3, 2015:
There is an essay that examines causality in the end of a friendship due the end of next week, November 13, in turnitin.com – only the essay should be turned in, not the “Uncritical Inference Test” that precedes it: Cause and Effect Friendship Essay
Students have a Prompt and Overview for their novel paper due on Friday, November 6, in turnitin.com. They have three research article excerpts due at the end of next week, to be turned in on Thursday or Friday.
Students were asked in class to submit five possible subjects for their novel paper – these were quick, brainstorming ideas.
In class, students looked at this Power Point: Rhetorical Analysis Gettysburg Example They then spent 40 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, or shared in email or as a Google doc: Lincoln Rhetorical Essay
Students started reading King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” looking closely at how it can be analyzed in terms of ethos, logos, and pathos; they should finish it before the next class: Statement and Response by King in Birmingham
Students discussed the differences between substance and style when it comes to writing – one is more about storytelling, and perhaps logic, whereas the other one is more about image and figuratively communicating a message. Here is Mark Twain discussing both: Twain’s Two Views of the River
Week of October 26, 2015:
After studying these LOGICAL FALLACIES in class, students should complete this worksheet, citing the fallacies that pertain – this is due in class on Wednesday, November 4, or Thursday, November 5: Logic Problems Worksheet
Students did this exercise in class on Wednesday: Wordiness Exercise
Although the instructor expects some duplication in the definitions and examples for the Literary Terms Handbook – many students have traditionally found online sources to copy and paste – many of this year’s students have submitted others work wholesale. Some papers are 100% plagiarized. Because of the proliferation of these copied submissions, Mr. Thornton has decided that if any student has submitted more than 50% of their paper from a single source from DSA, she or he will only receive 50% credit, as long as all definitions and examples are in place. The students whose papers were copied will receive a reduced grade of 75%. Students can talk to the instructor if they have questions regarding this decision.
Students read the Staples’ essay in 50 Essays in class at the start of the week.
Week of October 21, 2015:
Students took quizzes on the White and Momaday essays – see the instructor to make this up.
Submit the literary terms assignment to turnitin.com – if you wrote it by hand, turn in a hard copy to the instructor next week.
Week of October 12, 2015:
Here is the independent novel assignment and schedule: Independent Novel Assignment
Students should bring 50 Essays to class on Thursday and Friday. They will read the White essay, “Once More to the Lake,” and the Momaday essay, “The Way to Rainy Mountain.”
Week of October 5, 2015:
By the first class of next week, students should have read “Seeing” by Annie Dillard and “Regarding the Pain of Others” by Susan Sontag in 50 Essays.
For Sunday, October 11, 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 28, 2015:
Critics and Essayists will meet in their groups on Monday and Tuesday, to prepare their presentations on Thursday and Friday.
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 will write out in words what is going on in 4-6 panels of a comic or graphic novel. This should be turned in to the instructor, with a copy of the comic panels, at the start of class on Wednesday, October 7.
Students should read “Aria,” the essay by Richard Rodriquez in 50 Essays by Thursday or Friday’s class. Students should focus on how the author structures the essay, the devices he uses to create tone.
Students read the essay by Mukherjee in 50 Essays, and took a multiple choice quiz on it. It serves as an example of comparison and contrast in structuring an essay.
Students discussed the importance of crafting their own argument supported by the resources in the AP synthesis argument essay.
Here is the explanation of induction and deduction discussed in class: Induction and Deduction
Week of September 21, 2015:
Here is the Representative Authors assignment that students will work on during the next six weeks – the instructor will assign authors to each student: Representative Authors Assignment 2015 On Monday and Tuesday, the Autobiographers and Biographers will meet to plan their presentations.
Students spent forty minutes in class outlining and writing this essay comparing the Woolf and Petrunkevitch pieces: Woolf and Petrunkevitch Analysis
Students started reading another “moth” essay, this one 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 If you haven’t finished reading this last essay, make sure that you do before class on Monday or Tuesday.
Week of September 14, 2015:
Students read Woolf’s essay in 50 Essays: Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth”; they should read Petrunkevitch’s “The Spider and the Wasp” before class next week. They will have to compare the two next week in class.
In order to discuss the Woolf and Petrunkevitch essays, students must know what tone in literature is. This list of tone words might help: Tone Words
Here is a general rubric for scoring AP essays: AP General Rubric
Week of September 8, 2015:
Next week, students will review the practice AP test they took in class. They should bring 50 Essays to class on Thursday and Friday.
Next week students will review guidelines for college essays. Students must write a college essay of 300-500 words, due Tuesday, September 22, in turnitin.com. Your choice of prompt. List the prompt at the start of the essay. Here is a link to some essay questions posted by the University of Chicago on its website: https://collegeadmissions.uchicago.edu/apply/essays/ Another list of 100 essay prompts, from various colleges: 100 College Application Essay Prompts
Week of August 31, 2015:
Students finished discussing “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” in 50 Essays on Friday. By next Friday, September 11, 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. Structure the essay along the lines of Anzaldua, using epigraphs at the start of sections, while mixing rhetorical approaches. Submit this to turnitin.com.
Students took a look at these guidelines on style from Kurt Vonnegut: Vonnegut on Writing
Next week, students will take an AP English Language practice test. This will cover at least two periods during the week. Many of the multiple choice questions use the following stems: Multiple Choice Stems Here are some tips on writing the AP essay: Writing the AP Essay
Here is “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” from Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua, which is also in 50 Essays: Anzaldua: Wild Tongue They should finish reading this by Wednesday. In class on Wednesday, students analyzed on their own this essay regarding its rhetorical approaches – they took notes in preparation for a discussion the next class session.
Here is a handy list of approaches to writing essays: RHETORICAL CLASSES OF THE ESSAY
Week of August 25, 2015:
Students should try to get books by next week, when the instructor will check whether they have them. They will be reading an essay from 50 Essays, so they should at least try to bring in that one at the start of the week.
The class will look over this description of the course next week – students might want to peruse it before then: AP English Language Course Description 2014
Students will discuss maps and look at parts of Maps of the Imagination in class on Thursday and Friday, so they should bring that book. A hard copy of this summer assignment is due in class on Monday or Tuesday, August 31 or September 1, when they should also bring the book to class: AP Summer Assignment 2015
Students should carefully read the syllabus by class on Wednesday, August 26. They should examine last year’s website by the weekend, before the instructor erases it.
The following two articles will be 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
Here is a concise summary of the “entirety of fictional elements”: Entirety of Fictional Elements