AP English Language and Composition

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 2013-2014:
•    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 4.

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 is the class identification number and password for the AP English Language class:  6852587 and Period2
For revisions of these 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 2013-14: AP English Language Syllabus 2013-14

Students are responsible for knowing the following literary terms – a major assignment revolves around these:  Literary Terms AP 2013

The Literature Resource Center online database for research can now be accessed by DSA students – the password is denverhttp://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

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SPRING SEMESTER, 2013-14

Here is the revised syllabus for second semester:  AP English Language SPRING Syllabus 2013-14

MISSING and REVISED WORK for second semester must be submitted by May 14 to receive credit.  Students received Progress Reports in class the week of April 28, noting this date as the deadline for late work.

Week of May 19, 2014:

All seniors must bring in books that they have borrowed to class on Tuesday, May 20.

Week of May 12, 2014:

Students finished reading The Tragedy of the Commons by Hardin 1968.  All students should make sure that they have read this by Tuesday’s class, May 20.

Students started reading in class this article by Hardin:  The Tragedy of the Commons by Hardin 1968  Here is a followup by Hardin 25 years later:  Hardin 1998

Week of May 5, 2014:

All students in the AP English Language class will write an essay in class on Tuesday, May 20, which will serve as their final in the class, worth 10% of their grade.  This is especially critical for seniors, since it is their last day at DSA.  There will be additional assignments and grades for the juniors and sophomores in the class.

Students did this planning exercise in class on May 6 – all the essays referred to in this assignment are posted over the last few weeks on this website:  Race Class Prompt 2014

Week of April 28, 2014:

The due date for the final paper on the independent novel has been postponed to May 6 – submit this to turnitin.com.

Students started reading Obama’s race speech:  Obama Race Speech 2008

Week of April 21, 2014:

Students read this essay in class:  How It Feels To Be Colored Me by Hurston

Students will edit drafts of their papers in class on Friday:  Native Son and Intruder Edit

Week of April 14, 2014:

On Tuesday, April 22, students will take a practice AP English Language test, consisting of 33 multiple-choice questions and one essay.

In a unit on race, which pertains to the novels that students are reading, the second piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates focuses on Bill Cosby:  http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/05/-this-is-how-we-lost-to-the-white-man/306774/

An outline for students’ research papers is due on Friday of this week.

Students will take a literary terms quiz on Wednesday.

Students read this essay in class, and will write a response to it due next Tuesday in turnitin.comWomen’s Brains  Here is the prompt for their response:  Women’s Brains Prompt

Week of April 8, 2014:

Students will take a literary terms review test next week.  This will also cover some elements of style.  Students may want to look over this website, as well as their literary terms packet, before the test:  http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm

Here is an essay by Pico Iyer that students read in class – answer the prompt at the top of the piece in an essay to be submitted to turnitin.com by Tuesday of next week:  Iyer Essay Assignment

Here is the Shelby Steele article, “On Being Black and Middle Class,” which students will start reading in class:  Shelby Steele’s “On Being Black and Middle Class”  They should finish this by Tuesday of next week.

Week of March 24, 2014:

Here is a synthesis argument essay due on Wednesday, April 9 – bring a hard copy to class:  Citizen Responsibilities Essay 2014

Week of March 17, 2014:

By Sunday night, students need to submit five distinctly different prompts for their novel essays; submit these to turnitin.com.

For next Friday, March 28, 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 the afterlife, or some other deep subject:  Just Like Heaven by Paul Ford 2012  Submit this to turnitin.com.

The vocabulary post test will take place on Wednesday, March 26.

Students should bring 50 Essays to class on Friday, March 21, in case we move beyond Vocabulary Stories and Writing Prompts – they will be asked to write and turn in five different prompts or ideas for their research papers on the independent novels.

Week of March 10, 2014:

Students watched the first half of Spike Jonze’s film Adaptation – here are the guidelines for the review that must by submitted to turnitin.com by next Friday:  Movie Review of Adaptation

Week of March 3, 2014:

Students started reading Vowell’s essay “Shooting Dad” in 50 essays; they should finish this by next week’s Friday class.

Students need to finish “On Being a Cripple” by Nancy Mairs in 50 Essays by Friday’s class:  On Being a Cripple

Here is the assignment and schedule for the novel research paper:  Native Son or Intruder Assignment 2014
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
Existentialism
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, and Containing Chaos By 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 should get a copy of Native Son by Richard Wright or Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner and start reading.  These two books are the choices for a research paper this semester.  The instructor has copies that he can loan to students.

Week of February 24, 2014:

Students are reading “The Ways We Lie” by Ericsson in 50 Essays.  By Friday, March 7, 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/

Bring 50 Essays and Everything’s An Argument to class on Wednesday and Friday.

Students should have read the following essay by George Orwell last semester:  Politics & English Language by Orwell  By Friday, February 28, they should revise their Intellectual Property essay according to these guidelines taken from Orwell’s essay:  Intellectual Property Revision  Make sure that you submit this to the turnitin.com assignment labeled “Revision.”

Week of February 19, 2014:

Bring 50 Essays to class on Tuesday.

By February 25, students should read the Sanders’ essay, “The Men We Carry in Our Minds” in 50 Essays:  The Men We Carry in Our Minds – students started this in class on Friday.

For your vocabulary stories, revise them according to these parameters:
•    Two parallel structures – not just the repetition of a word or phrase
•    One inverted sentence
•    Two long, complex or compound sentences, in close proximity to a simple sentence.
•    Eliminate “to be” verbs, as many as possible, including expletives – “it is” and “there are” – at the start of sentences.
Submit the original and the revised version, pointing out the listed changes.  Due on Wednesday, February 26.  The two remaining groups will present on 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.

Week of February 10, 2014:

For Wednesday, 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.

Read pages 515-535 in Everything’s an Argument, the chapter on “Logical Fallacies,” by Friday.  Also, look over Chapter 16.
Students finished reading “Serving in Florida” by Barbara Ehrenreich in 50 Essays:  Barbara Ehrenreich Serving in Florida Excerpt from Nickel and Dimed  There will be a quiz on this essay on Wednesday.  Bring this book and Everything’s an Argument to class Wednesday and Friday.

Keep in mind these guidelines for your writing:  Elegance Argumentation

This assignment on intellectual property is due Tuesday, February 18 – submit this to turnitin.com:  Intellectual Property Prompts    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

Week of February 3, 2014:

Students read “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift in class:  http://www.victorianweb.org/previctorian/swift/modest.html  There will be a quiz on this on Tuesday of next week.

Over the weekend, students must write the following essay – only spend forty minutes on this, and submit this to turnitin.com by Monday, February 10:  Open Question by Lewis on Friendship

Bring both books on Friday.

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 on Friday, February 7.

Week of January 27, 2014:

In class on Friday, students wrote an essay responding to an open-ended prompt – spend 40 minutes on this if you were not in class:  Robot Essay

Here is the assignment of a narrative take on an educational experience due next Monday, on turnitin.comEducation Narrative  I expect to be laughing out loud while I read these, since I have encouraged you to try on some humour.

Students read this essay by David Sedaris:  Me Talk Pretty One Day by Sedaris 

Week of January 21, 2014:

Students took a vocabulary pretest in class on Friday, as they began a unit on vocabulary.  Absent students need to make this up.

The education synthesis argument essay is due in class on Friday – another student will edit the paper before a revision is turned in the following Tuesday.  The edit sheet follows for those who are not in class – have another student edit your paper, or a parent.  Focus on language, diction and syntax, in addition to the recommendations of your editor, in your revision:  Education Essay Edit

Students read the Sherman Alexie essay from 50 Essays in class, and took a quiz on it.

Explanation on syntax and sentence types reviewed in class:  Syntax of Sentences

Week of January 13, 2014:

Here is the education essay that is due in class on Friday, January 24:  Education Essay

Bring both texts to class next Wednesday.

Here is the essay that students are expected to finish by Friday’s class:  Rose”s I Just Wanna Be Average

Here are the four major types of essays that we discussed in class, followed by examples:  Essay Types and Rhetorical Mode Examples

For Thursday, January 16, 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 should bring both text books to class on Tuesday.

Week of January 7, 2014:

For Tuesday, January 14, students have a series of short assignments to do – these should be turned in at the start of class:

  • 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.

Bring 50 Essays to class on Friday; we will be reading the Thoreau essay.

For Friday, 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.  Bring a hard copy of this manifesto to class.
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.
http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/manifesto.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY8kVa0qB9Q&;safety_mode=true&persist_safety_mode=1
http://www.americanhumanist.org/who_we_are/about_humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/21/art-manifestos-and-their-applications-in-contemporary-design/
http://cinetext.philo.at/reports/dogme_ct.html
Here is another version of the Futurist Manifesto, one that offers some details in a more rigid format:  FuturistManifesto2010

In class, students will be reading this essay on writing essays:  On Montaigne by Dubrava  For more essays by Ms. Dubrava, check her blog, http://patriciadubrava.com/

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FALL SEMESTER, 2013-14

Week of December 16, 2013:

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.

Week of December 9, 2013:

Here is a link to more literary terms, rhetorical devices:  http://virtualsalt.com/rhetoric2.htm

Here is the Orwell piece on language discussed in class:  Politics Of English by George Orwell

Students wrote an essay in class analyzing the rhetorical strategies in Jared Diamond’s essay in 50 Essays – they spent 40 minutes doing this, without the use of notes, only referring to the essay.  Here is the prompt: In paragraphs 1-9 of “The Ends of the World as We Know Them,” Jared Diamond reflects on the demise of powerful societies throughout history.  Write an essay analyzing the rhetorical strategies he uses to achieve his purpose in this column that appeared in the New York Times on New Year’s Day 2005.

The semester final on December 19 will consist of an essay and about 35 multiple choice questions, from a released AP English Language exam.

Week of December 2, 2013:

Students should bring both textbooks to class on Friday.

Week of November 18, 2013:

Students should bring a hard copy of their research paper draft to class on Tuesday, December 3.  Another student will review their paper according to the following guidelines:  Independent Novel Edit 2013

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

Week of November 13, 2013:

Bring Everything’s an Argument to class on Tuesday, November 19.

Students will begin a unit on ownership next week.  They should read this article by Tuesday, November 19:  Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem

Next Tuesday, an outline of your research paper is due, in class.  It should cover most of your book – be sure to include a copy of your revised prompt.

The instructor highlighted sections of Chapter 13, on style, in Everything’s an Argument; students should read this chapter on their own.

Students started reading the Pollan essay in 50 Essays; they should finish this by Wednesday, in preparation for a quiz.  Students should bring Everything’s an Argument and 50 Essays to class on Wednesday.

Week of November 4, 2013:

Here is an assignment to write an essay on a friendship, due next Wednesday:  Cause and Effect Friendship Essay

An overview and prompt for the novel research paper is due Friday.

Students spent 40 minutes writing an essay about the Staples’ piece in 50 Essays:  Staples Rhetorical Essay

Students on Tuesday also wrote 10+ prompts, ideas, brainstorms, possible research topics for their independent novel papers.

Here is a list of logical fallacies that students should know:  LOGICAL FALLACIES

This worksheet is due Friday – use the list posted above to answer the questions:  Logic Problems Worksheet

Week of October 28, 2013:

Here is an assignment on description and narration, due next Monday:  Narration Anecdote, Sketch, and Essay

For Wednesday, students should read the Staples essay in 50 Essays, started in class on Tuesday.  There will be an essay test on this essay next Tuesday.

Week of October 21, 2013:

Students read “The Way to Rainy Mountain” by N. Scott Momaday in class.  They started reading “Once More to the Lake” by E.B. White in 50 Essays; they should finish this essay on their own, by Friday.

Students should bring 50 Essays and Everything’s an Argument to class on Tuesday.

Week of October 16, 2013:

There will be a quiz on Tuesday on “Seeing” by Annie Dillard.

Here is the novel assignment and schedule:  Independent Novel Assignment 2013

Week of October 7, 2013:

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 Wednesday, October 16, students should read “Seeing” by Annie Dillard in 50 Essays.  For Friday, October 18, students should 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

Week of September 30, 2013:

For Tuesday, 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.

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 Wednesday, 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 Friday, October 4, with a copy of the storyboard that you analyzed.

Week of September 23, 2013:

Students read Bharati Mukherjee’s “Two Ways to Belong in America” in 50 Essays; they should read 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.

Here is the Representative Author’s assignment that students will be researching and presenting over the next month:  Representative Authors Assignment  If students are not in class on Friday, they should contact the instructor for a list of authors to research.

At the end of last 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

Week of September 16, 2013:

Students will read Petrunkevitch’s “The Spider and the Wasp” in class on Friday.  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”   Here is the assignment due on Monday, September 23:  Woolf and Petrunkevitch Essay  Submit this essay to turnitin.com.

In order to complete the Woolf and Petrunkevitch assignment, students must know what tone in literature is.  This list of tone words might help:  Tone Words

Students reviewed the multiple-choice practice test answers.

Week of September 9, 2013:

Here is the literary terms assignment due October 16:  Literary Terms Assignment 2013  Submit this to turnitin.com.

Students must write a college essay of 300-500 words, due Tuesday, September 17.  Your choice of prompt.  Write 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/essays/
A list of 100 essay prompts, from various colleges:  100 College Application Essay Prompts

This week students are taking an AP practice exam released by the College Board.  The grade for this exam will count in Infinite Campus, but will be weighed at only 10% of the total.  The instructor wants students to have a record of their score to refer back to.

Week of September 3, 2013:

Here are the rhetorical approaches that we will focus on through the semester:  Rhetorical Classes of the Essay

For Friday, students should read “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua in 50 EssaysAnzaldua-Wild-Tongue 

Students finished discussing “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” in 50 Essays on Friday.  By next Monday, September 9, 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.

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

Week of August 26, 2013:

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

This is the summer assignment for 2013-2014:  AP Summer Assignment 2013  A hard copy of this assignment is due in class on Wednesday, September 4.

This is the literacy autobiography that should be submitted to turnitin.com by Tuesday night, September 3:  Literacy Autobiography 2013.

Here is the AP course description – the English Language course is covered in the first half of this pdf, through page 48:  AP English Language course description