A.P. Syllabus

AP English Language and Composition Syllabus

Mrs. Benner

2017-2018 School year


Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to develop your ability to read, write, speak, and think effectively at a mature college level and beyond. The course adheres to the guidelines set by the College Board’s Advanced Placement Course Description and prepares you to pass the AP Exam and earn college credit where applicable.

The AP Language and Composition Exam is scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


The essay requirements will reflect the AP Language and Composition Exam: Rhetorical Analysis, Synthesis/Exposition, and Argument as well as a final research paper.


You will:

  • Read from a variety of historical periods and disciplines
  • Identify audience, purpose, and strategies in texts
  • Analyze the types of arguments that writers use
  • Write formally and informally for a variety of audiences
  • Write expository, analytical, and argumentative essays
  • Understand your own writing process and the importance of revision
  • Recognize techniques in visual as well as verbal arguments
  • Synthesize ideas and information presented in notes and citations
  • Use the conventions of standard written English


The course work will be organized into units based on our textbook:

The Language of Composition and will include supplementary resources. Though each unit will have a primary focus, elements of the others will resonate. For example, there will be ample rhetoric analysis while studying expository techniques and plenty of synthesizing when focusing on argument.


Foundational Units:

  • An Introduction to Rhetoric
  • Close Reading
  • Analyzing Arguments
  • Synthesizing Sources


Thematic Units:

  • Community
  • Gender
  • Popular Culture
  • The Environment


            The Great Gatsby

By the end of the course, this work will evolve into a complex study of narrative techniques where you analyze and evaluate rhetorical and linguistic strategies and put them into practice in your own writing. You will develop close-reading strategies that will enhance your ability to analyze and evaluate authorial style. You will practice short, informal journal writing to develop awareness of your own cognitive processes and apply them to long, formal essay writing that moves beyond the limiting format of the

5-paragraph essay. You will develop research skills that enable you to evaluate primary and secondary sources as a means to synthesize information. You will study visual images and graphics via visual art, theatre, dance, photography, film, video, television, and political cartoons to supplement your study of analysis, exposition, and argument. You will receive intensive practice in grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and rhetorical strategies to improve your written and verbal skills.


Assignment Types:


Bell Work (3pts each)

Mini lessons derived from Voice Lessons and Rhetorical Devices are assigned daily and collected after the first ten minutes. It is imperative you are on time to class in order to receive credit on these assignments and gain knowledge that will benefit you on the AP Exam.


Essays (9 pts each):

These are the most valuable assignments. You will receive ample practice and preparation both inside and outside of class to score well on the AP Exam. There will be several essays assigned as timed writings based on released AP Exam essay prompts in Rhetorical Analysis, Synthesis/Exposition, and Argument. For each, there will be an opportunity to compare your writing to the released essay samples. You will receive and give peer feedback. Your final product will receive a score based on the AP College Board’s 9-point scoring guide. You will receive specific instruction on the writing and editing process. You will learn how to develop a solid organizational structure, control perspective, make clear assertions followed by development and/or textual support, use precise MLA citations where applicable, understand your audience, employ a variety of sentence types, and enhance your writing with a rich vocabulary. Your overall fluency will improve using techniques like parallelism, repetition, and emphasis with graceful transitions between ideas. The goal is to move beyond the 5-paragraph format into a more mature, elaborate style.


Paragraphs (5 pts each):

These are formal responses to the reading material. They will be of an analytical, argumentative, or expository nature depending on the reading we’re currently covering. The paragraphs will require you to present the context, reveal the author’s assertion, explain the writer/speaker’s mode of support, and articulate the relationship between author and audience by identifying the author’s tone.  


Journal Writing (5 pts per entry):

One-page journal writings will be required on a regular basis. They will cover a variety of topics using a myriad of sources including visuals. The idea is to allow for free-flowing cognition and to get you used to writing frequently. Grading will not be based on “right” or “wrong” answers but on the thoughtful commitment to the writing activity. Entries must follow the conventions and structure of Standard English.


Research (100 points):

You will be required to write a formal research paper on a local concern. You will use primary and secondary sources, apply MLA formatting, and create an annotated bibliography. You will be required to submit your topic for approval (10 pts.), submit two scheduled rough drafts (20 pts total), receive teacher and peer feedback and write a response outlining your plans for improvement (20 pts), and complete a final product for your final grade (50 pts).


Oral and Visual Presentation of your Research Paper (25 points):

Using the same rhetorical and linguistic strategies you will have been developing for your essays, you will deliver a presentation that effectively uses visual aids (e.g. Powerpoint, or documentary style video) to support your assertions.


Rhetorical Device Terminology-33 terms (5 pts each)

You will receive a form and an example of the Rhetorical Device Terminology assignment. You will be responsible for knowing, identifying the devices in an authors text, and applying the strategies to your own writing.


Vocabulary Quizzes (15 points):

There are 15 weeks of vocabulary words from the Princeton Review: Word Smart SAT/GRE Collection. These lists of 30 words each are posted on my teacher page— http://www.sanjuan.edu/Domain/3994 under Resource Links/Quizlet. Quizlet is an online program that offers many study tools to help you learn. The words will not always come from the material you will be working on, though you will also be responsible for defining all unfamiliar terminology you encounter. It is crucial to develop a rich vocabulary and will be expected to use the new words within your writing.

Quizzes will usually be on Fridays and will require you to define the word and use it correctly in a sentence. You will only be tested on 15 of the 30 words for that week, but you must know all of them because you will not be told in advance which will be tested.


Grammar and Syntax Quizzes (5-10 points):

Mixed in with the vocabulary quizzes, there will be periodic quizzes on principles of grammar and syntax. You will use Quill.Org to complete a variety of grammar tasks online. We will sign up for the program in class.

We will also use the Grammar as Rhetoric and Style lessons found in our textbook.


Multiple Choice AP Exam Preparation:

You will engage in several multiple choice practice tests released by the College Board and other resources. You will examine your responses to those of your peers and discuss the results. This activity is essential in order to be prepared for the AP Language and Composition Exam.




A+ = 97-100%            D+ = 67-69%

A   = 93-96%                        D   = 63-66%

A- = 90-92%                        D- = 60-62%

B+ = 87-89%                        F   = 59% and below

B   = 83-86%

B- = 80-82%

C+ = 77-79%

C   = 73-76%

C- = 70-72%


Late Work:

            For most writing assignments and homework, late submissions will be accepted but only for partial credit unless you have an excused absence. If the absence is excused, you have one day to clarify the assignment with me, and an additional day to complete the work and turn it in. It is your responsibility to make up any assignments you missed due to absence.


Extra Credit:

Extra credit opportunities will be limited and will include writing a review on the Fall Theatrical Production offered at Del Campo High School.



            Students must have the following materials with them every day:

  1. A three ring binder with extra paper
  2. Notebook dividers—12
  3. Blue or black pens and #2 pencils
  4. Highlighters in a variety of colors
  5. Post-it notes
  6. Any and all relevant reading materials including:

Scribner’s copy of The Great Gatsby


Student Expectations

Since this is an advanced placement course, the demands on you will be greater than in other courses. You must be determined and intentional with your work ethic. The reading material will be more challenging and of a higher quantity, and the writing will be extensive. A minimum of five hours per week of homework can be expected with numerous projects that will exceed that amount. It is of paramount importance that you come prepared to class. A working competence in writing mechanics will be expected since this course is designed to take you beyond the formats you’ve developed in previous years. This course is equivalent to a freshman college composition course and you will be required to conduct yourself in a mature and studious manner. You will participate in collaborative work and discussions that require engagement and discipline.


Classroom Rules

  • When someone has permission to speak, everyone respectfully listens.
  • Do keep your headphones in your backpack unless otherwise instructed.
  • Do not engage in hate language that insults a person’s gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, or race.
  • Do stay focused and present until the bell rings. Packing up early is NOT okay.
  • Do arrive on time.
  • Do avoid texting or engaging in social media while in class.
  • Do engage fully in all academic pursuits.
  • Do work collaboratively with your peers.
  • Do approach every topic with an open mind.
  • Do come to class prepared.
  • Do your best work.
  • Do not plagiarize. Academic honesty is expected and if caught plagiarizing you will receive no credit on the assignment and will receive consequences. If you are found plagiarizing in college, you will be place on academic probation. Form good habits now.







Del Campo Academic Assistance and Extended Learning release period will be spent reviewing AP Exam questions. You will not be released on Monday’s.


Because the test is May 16th and you will have completed the AP course five months prior to the exam, I will be offering test preparation one day a week during

DCAAEL in the spring. My goal is for you to succeed on the exam in order for you to earn college credit. Your goal is to score a minimum of a three on the exam, preferably a four, ideally a five. Students who score a five are highly sought after by colleges and universities. A five is difficult to attain and requires hard work on your part.


Hand-Written Policy

            Because the AP exam requires you to write all of your essays by hand, it is imperative that you practice expressing yourselves through the hand-written word. In order to practice and improve writing fluency and cognitive fluidity, all work must be completed—unless otherwise directed—in black or blue pen. Any and all work that violates such will be given a zero until corrected to meet the aforementioned criteria. Furthermore, if an assignment is hand-written, but is not legible, the assignment will receive a zero. You will be given permission to resubmit the assignment within a deadline.


Primary Course Text (provided)


  • Shea, R. H., Scanlon, L. and Aufses, R. D. The Language of Composition. Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Boston-New York: Bedford/St.Martin, 2013.


Secondary Texts (provided)


  • Bullock, Richard, Goggin, Maureen, and Weinberg, Francine. The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings and Handbook, 4th New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2017


  • Dean, Nancy. Voice Lessons-Classroom Activites to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone. Wisconsin: Maupin House, 2000.


  • Fletcher, Jennifer. Teaching Arguments, Rhetorical Comprehension, Critique, and Portland, Maine: Stenhouse, 2015


  • Heinrichs, Jay. Thank You for Arguing. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2013.


  • McCuen-Metherell, Jo Ray and Winkler, Anthony. Readings for Writers, 15th

United States: Cengage Learning, 2016


  • McGuigan, Brendon. Rhetorical Devices: A Handbook and Activities for Student Writers. United States: Prestwick House, 2007.


  • Olson, Steve, and Bailey, Eveline. Fast Track to a 5-Preparing for the AP English Language and Composition Examination. United States: Cengage Learning, 2010.


  • Robinson, Adam. The Princeton Review Word Smart. New York: Random House, 1998


Please Purchase

Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1995 (Please buy the Scribner edition).


Tentative Course Schedule


An Introduction to Rhetoric

Units 1-4 Overview:

AN INTRODUCTION TO RHETORICAL ANALYSIS as described in the course Textbook.


We have designed the first four chapters of The Language of Composition to introduce the central

ideas in the book and to help students develop the habits of mind they will need to succeed in the

AP Language course. We envision most courses using The Language of Composition starting with

these chapters, which students will return to throughout the course. These chapters are designed

to acquaint students with larger issues, such as rhetorical strategies, as well as relevant terminology,

such as ethos and counterargument . They provide students with tools for reading critically

and actively and for thinking about how to use rhetorical strategies in their own writing.


In Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Rhetoric: Using the ‘Available Means,’” we introduce

the principles of rhetoric that students will apply to the readings and the writing assignments

in the rest of the book. In Chapter 2, “Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis,” we provide

approaches to reading texts closely, offer practice in reading both written and visual texts

rhetorically, and demonstrate how to turn analysis into writing. In Chapter 3, “Analyzing Arguments:

From Reading to Writing,” we introduce the major elements of argument and lead students

through the process of both analyzing the arguments of others and composing their own. In

Chapter 4, “Synthesizing Sources: Entering the Conversation,” we help students analyze source

material and synthesize that material into their own compositions. Visual texts play a key role

in these opening chapters, as they do throughout The Language of Composition . Courses in both

college and high school emphasize the importance of visual and media literacy, encouraging students

to approach visual media with the same critical skills they apply to written texts. Political

cartoons, charts and graphs, photos, and advertisements are a few of the forms these visual texts

take, and an objective of most English courses is to sharpen students’ skill in “reading” these

texts, whether as sources of data or arguments in themselves. In addition to individual visual texts

(such as the Toles cartoon of Rosa Parks entering “the pearly gates”), we include several examples

of written texts that incorporate visuals (such as the National Park Service’s Christiansted brochure).

In our classes, we frequently focus students’ attention on how the visuals in a newspaper

or magazine article add to, confirm, validate, or emphasize information in the written text. The

next step, one we hope the Suggestions for Writing encourage students to take, is for them to

incorporate visual texts into their own written work.



UNIT 1 (@3 weeks)


Using the “Available Means”

            Activity: Understanding Civil Discourse

The Rhetorical Situation

Lou Gehrig, Farewell Speech

Occasion, Context, and Purpose

The Rhetorical Triangle

            Activity: Analyzing a Rhetorical Situation


Albert Einstein, Dear Phyllis, January 24, 1936

            Activity: George W. Bush, 9/11 Speech

Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos


            Automatic Ethos

            King George VI, The King’s Speech (September 3, 1939)

            Building Ethos

            Judith Ortiz Cofer, from The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named


            Activity: Establishing Ethos


            Conceding and Refuting

            Alice Waters, from Slow Food Nation

            Activity: George Will, from King Coal: Reigning in China


            Richard Nixon, from The Checkers Speech

            Images and Pathos

            ACLU, The Man on the Left (advertisement)

            Humor and Pathos

            Ruth Marcus, from Crackberry Congress

            Activity: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Order of the Day

Combining Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

            Toni Morrison, Dear Senator Obama

            Activity: Appealing to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos

Rhetorical Analysis of Visual Texts

            Tom Toles, Rosa Parks (cartoon)

            Activity: World Wildlife Fund, Protecting the Future of

            Nature (advertisement)

Determining Effective and Ineffective Rhetoric

            Jane Austen, from Pride and Prejudice

            PETA, Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse (advertisement)

            Anne Applebaum, If the Japanese Can’t Build a Safe Reactor, Who Can?

            Activity: Tamar Demby, Alarmist or Alarming Rhetoric? (student essay)

            Activity: Federal Highway Administration, Stop for Pedestrians (advertisement)

Culminating Activity:

            The Times Man Takes First Steps on the Moon,

            William Safire, In Event of Moon Disaster

            Ayn Rand, The July 16, 1969, Launch: A Symbol of Man’s Greatness

            Herblock, Transported (cartoon)


UNIT 2 (@2 weeks)

CLOSE READING: The Art and Craft of Analysis

Analyzing Style

            A Model Analysis

           Queen Elizabeth, Speech to the Troops at Tilbury

            Activity: Looking at Rhetoric and Style 41

            Activity: Winston Churchill, Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Talking with the Text

            Asking Questions

            Ralph Ellison, from On Bird, Bird-Watching and Jazz

            Activity: Ralph Ellison, from On Bird, Bird-Watching and



            Joan Didion, The Santa Ana Winds

            Using a Graphic Organizer

            From Close Reading to Analysis

            Activity: Virginia Woolf, The Death of the Moth

Writing a Close Analysis Essay

            Groucho Marx, Dear Warner Brothers

            Developing a Thesis Statement

            A Sample Close Analysis Essay

            Activity: Christopher Morley, On Laziness

Close Reading a Visual Text

            Dodge, It’s a Big Fat Juicy Cheeseburger in a Land of Tofu (advertisement)

            Activity: Girl Scouts, What Did You Do Today? (advertisement)

Culminating Activity:

            John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

            Eleanor Clift, Inside Kennedy’s Inauguration, 50 Years On

            United States Army Signal Corps, Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (photo)


UNIT 3 (@3 weeks)

ANALYZING ARGUMENTS: From Reading to Writing

   What Is Argument?

            Tom Toles, Crazed Rhetoric (cartoon)

            Amy Domini, Why Investing in Fast Food May Be a Good Thing

         Activity: Finding Common Ground

     Essay in Progress: Selecting a Topic

Staking a Claim

            Activity: Identifying Arguable Statements

Types of Claims

            Claims of Fact

            Claims of Value

            Rogert Ebert, Star Wars

            Activity: Analyzing a Review

            Claims of Policy

            Anna Quindlen, from The C Word in the Hallways

            Activity: New York Times Editorial Board, Felons and the Right to Vote

Essay in Progress: Staking a Claim

From Claim to Thesis

            Closed Thesis Statements

            Open Thesis Statements 95 Counterargument Thesis Statements

            Activity: Developing Thesis Statements

Essay in Progress: Developing a Thesis

Presenting Evidence

            Relevant, Accurate, and Sufficient Evidence

            Logical Fallacies

                        Fallacies of Relevance

                        Fallacies of Accuracy

                        Fallacies of Insufficiency

            First-Hand Evidence

                        Personal Experience

                        Jennifer Oladipo, Why Can’t Environmentalism Be Colorblind?


   Fabiola Santiago, In College, These American Citizens Are Not Created Equal

                        Current Events

            Second-Hand Evidence

                        Historical Information

                        Expert Opinion

                        Quantitative Evidence

            Activity: Identifying Logical Fallacies

            Activity: Dana Thomas, Terror’s Purse Strings

Essay in Progress: Using Evidence

Shaping Argument

            The Classical Oration

            Sandra Day O’Connor and Roy Romer, Not by Math Alone

Induction and Deduction


            Malcolm Gladwell, from Outliers


Essay in Progress: Shaping an Argument

            Combining Induction and Deduction

            Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

            Activity: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Declaration of


Using the Toulmin Model

            Analyzing Assumptions

            Activity: Identifying Assumptions

            From Reading to Writing

            Activity: Using Argument Templates

Analyzing Visual Texts as Arguments

            Polyp, Rat Race (cartoon)

            Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage (photo)

            Activity: U.S. Postal Service, The Heroes of 2001 (stamp)

Essay in Progress: Using Visual Evidence

Culminating Activity:

            Tom Toles, Heavy Medal (cartoon)

Michael Binyon, Comment: Absurd Decision on Obama Makes a Mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize

Essay in Progress: First Draft



UNIT 4 (@1-2 weeks)

SYNTHESIZING SOURCES: Entering the Conversation

            Activity: Reflecting on Sources

   Using Sources to Inform an Argument

            Laura Hillenbrand, from Seabiscuit

            Activity: Gerald L. Early, from A Level Playing Field

   Using Sources to Appeal to an Audience

            Steven Pinker, from Words Don’t Mean What They Mean

            Steven Pinker, from The Stuff of Thought

Steven Pinker, from The Evolutionary Social Psychology of Off-Record Indirect Speech Acts

Activity: Examining a Columnist

CONVERSATION Mandatory Community Service

  1. Neil Howe and William Strauss, from Millennials Rising
  2. The Dalton School, Community Service Mission Statement
  3. Detroit News, Volunteering Opens Teen’s Eyes to Nursing
  4. Dennis Chaptman, Study: “Resume Padding” Prevalent in

                        College-Bound Students Who Volunteer

  1. Arthur Stukas, Mark Snyder, and E. Gil Clary, from The

                        Effects of “Mandatory Volunteerism”on Intentions to Volunteer

  1. Mark Hugo Lopez, from Youth Attitudes toward Civic Education

                        and Community Service Requirements

Writing a Synthesis Essay

            Identifying the Issues: Recognizing Complexity

            Formulating Your Position

            Activity: Supporting a Thesis

Framing Quotations

Integrating Quotations

            Activity: Using Sources Effectively

Citing Sources

A Sample Synthesis Essay

            CULMINATING CONVERSATION: The Dumbest Generation?

  1. Mark Bauerlein, The Dumbest Generation
  2. Sharon Begley, The Dumbest Generation? Don’t Be Dumb
  3. Mizuko Ito et al., Living and Learning with New Media:

                        Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project

  1. Nicholas Carr, Is Google Making Us Stupid?
  2. R. Smith Simpson, Are We Getting Our Share of the Best?
  3. Steven Johnson, Your Brain on Video Games
  4. Clive Thompson, The New Literacy
  5. Roz Chast,


UNITS 5-8 (@ 4 weeks)

Modern, Classical, and Visual selections from each of the four chosen units in the text will be studied exposing you to a variety of works and voices. Each of the units will have an essay prompt that will be addressed in a timed writing.


Fitzgerald, F.Scott. The Great Gatsby. ( Final 4 weeks)


The Final Exam for this course will consist of a realistic practice AP TEST. You will have the multiple-choice section and the essay portion of the exam to complete.



Please read this with you parents and return the bottom portion.





Student’s name (print):________________________________________________


Student’s signature:______________________________________


Parent’s name (print):________________________________________________


Parent’s signature:_______________________________________


Parent contact information:




Cell #____________________________________________



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