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Supplemental Reading Ideas

As this syllabus is a work in progress, let's aim for audit approval in spring, after you've taught the class for one year. Texts will come up that you want to add, and I am sure you'll subtract some also. Plus, you'll have a better idea about how many and what types of essays you'll be assigning annually.


Course Information
Grade level: 11
1.0 Credits (1/2 per semester)
Prerequisites: Successful completion of English 10 and summer reading assignment

Course Description
AP English Language and Composition is primarily an American Literature course aimed at readying students for the AP English Language and Composition exam given annually in May. Students who fare well in this course are those who are self motivated and eager to push all their English language arts skills to college level competency. Texts for this course are a combination of genres, though primarily nonfiction and a mixture of old and new. Texts are chosen for their historical and cultural relevance as well as for their complexity, as AP level students must learn to read and analyze complex texts.. Extra emphasis is given to research, persuasive writing, and satire. Students will also be expected to complete a summer homework assignment that will get them ready for the rigor of the course.

  • Students will identify literary elements in order to understand and interpret complex texts
  • Students will become proficient in textual analysis and interpretation
  • Students will develop effective writing skills in a variety of genres for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • Students will synthesize information in their own compositions

Methods of Instruction
A variety of instruction methods will enhance student learning including direct instruction, inquiry-based research, in-class and online discussion, as well as a variety of reading, writing, and speaking experiences done both individually and collaboratively.

Various assessments include weekly SAT vocabulary quizzes, literary terms quizzes, group and individual research papers, online self assessments, impromptu writing and timed AP Language exams.

Standard SFHS Grading Scale

All assignments will be graded according to clearly communicated expectations and point values. Late assignments will be penalized one half grade every week late.

Assignment Overview

Essay Summary
  1. AP Language essay #1: set the foundation for improvement, introduce students to short quotation?
  2. AP Language essay #2: Fridman's America Needs More Nerds
  3. AP Language essay #3: Twain's Advice to Youth

Course Outline

Semester 1

4 weeks: An Emerging Nation: Colonial/Puritan/Revolutionary
  • Why I Write, Joan Didion: course introduction
  • The Crucible, Arthur Miller
  • "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," Jonathan Edward
  • Thomas Paine
  • Mary Rowlandson diary

Writing assignments:
  1. Online discussion
  2. Composition skills: rhetoric and emotive language
Extended essay based on discussion

Literary vocab: diction, tone, appeal, point of view, symbolism, theme, paradox, bias, cause and effect, assertion, ethos, induction, implicit, metaphor, fallacy

3 weeks: Aspiring to Greatness: Romanticism & Transcendentalism
  • "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience," Thoreau
  • "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Emerson
  • "Rip Van Winkle," Washington Irving
  • "Why I Write," by Joan Didion

Literary vocab:
allegory, hypothetical examples, figurative language, explicit, dilemma, counterexample, concrete vs abstract, abstraction, empirical, epigram, musing, neutrality, maxim, imagery, idealism

Writing assignments:
  1. Online learning assessment
  2. AP Lang Friedman's America Needs More Nerds

6 weeks: Realism and Satire
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," Harriet Jacobs
  • Frederick Douglass autobiography
  • "The Open Boat," Stephen Crane
  • “The Libido for the Ugly” by H.L. Mencken

Literary vocab:
satire, burlesque, apostrophe, colloquial, anecdote, mock

Writing assignments:
  1. Online learning assessment
  2. Lang/Satire: Twain's Advice to Youth

6 weeks: Modernism with Harlem Renaissance
  • "Chicago," Sandberg
  • How the Other Half Lives, Jacob Riis
  • "Ain't I a Woman," Sojourner Truth
  • Comparison: Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman's views of America

Literary vocab:

Writing assignments: online learning assessment, compare and contrast essay, writing prompts

Semester Exam: Practice AP Language exam

Semester 2

6 weeks: Post Modern and Contemporary
  • Dillard
  • Oates
  • The Best American Essays, Susan Sontag
  • "The Essayist," by E.B. White

Literary vocab:

Writing assignments: online learning assessment, writing prompts

6 weeks: Synthesis and Research Unit
  • Elements of Argument, Rottenberg

Literary vocab:

Writing assignments: online learning assessment, writing prompts

3 weeks: AP Literature Prep
  • Sophie's World