AP Language and Composition

 Course Syllabus
Mr. Glover
Fall 2008
Room 252
Phone: (720) 423-6251
Planning:  1:25pm-2:50pm Purple and White Days


Course description: (from the AP English Language and Composition course description).  Standards at http://curriculum.dpsk12.org/standards/read_writing.pdf

 This is an introductory college-level course in which students will read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of non-fiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works.  Through close reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities.  Course readings feature expository, analytical, personal and argumentative texts from a variety of authors and historical contexts.  Students will also prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam and may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both as a result of satisfactory performance.


Because this is a college-level course, performance expectations are high and the workload is challenging.  Students are expected to commit to a minimum of five hours of course work per week outside of class.  This work will involve long-term writing and reading assignments, so effective time management is important.  The curriculum is demanding, so the students must bring to the course a sufficient command of mechanical conventions and an ability to read and discuss prose.  The course is constructed with the guidelines described in the AP English Course Description.

 This course will serve as an introduction to the discipline of writing and academic discourse and will introduce you to college writing, thinking, and reading tasks.  In this course you will:

  • Distinguish between private and public writing tasks.

  • Learn to substantiate, evaluate, propose, argue and persuade.
  • Learn that effective writing is based on clear, orderly thinking
  • Analyze and interpret examples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.
  • Produce expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from a variety of sources.
  • Demonstrate understanding of how to cite primary and secondary sources using established guidelines including MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.
  • Learn to recognize areas in which you make errors in mechanics and grammar and to develop editorial strategies for dealing with these errors
  • Move effectively through the stages of the writing process including inquiry and research, drafting, revising and review
  • Use strategies such as peer editing and revising for a different audience to produce a focused and effective final product
  • Reflect on the writing process and become cognizant of your own writing process.
  • Analyze images from a variety of sources as text (including advertisements, billboards, magazines, paintings, etc.)


  • Blue or black pens

  • Hi Liters of different colors

  • Spiral or composition notebook

  • Three-ring binder

  • Loose leaf paper (college ruled)

  • Student planner

  • 50 Essays:  A Portable Anthology by Samuel Cohen (textbook provided)



Students will come to class prepared to work every day with no exceptions.  Cell phones, pagers, CD players, and other similar electronic devices will not be permitted in class.  If these devices are visible or audible during class, they will be confiscated and turned over to a Dean.  Soda and candy will not be permitted in class; however, bottled water will be allowed.  All South High School polices will be followed in class, and each student will be respectful to his or her self and others in the classroom.

Course Requirements

The year is organized around 10 thematic units/workshops modeled from the textbook The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric by Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon and Robin Dissin Aufses.  Each workshop will last approximately two-three weeks and will ask you to write through a series of writing exercises that culminate in a final writing project at the end of the workshop.  In general outline, the workshops will ask you to explore your experience, analyze and interpret examples of good writing, and then respond to increasingly complicated writing tasks.  The workshops and writing tasks include:

  • Education                           Argument: Using Personal Experience as Evidence       

  • Work                                 Close Reading:  Analyzing Style in Paired PassageCommunity            

  • Synthesis:                            Incorporating Sources into a Revision

  • Gender                               Argument:  Supporting an Assertion 

  • Sports and Fitness              Rhetorical Analysis: Comparing Strategies in Paired Passages

  • Language                            Reflection:  Reflecting on “Different Englishes”

  • Science / Technology          Counterargument:  Responding to a Newspaper Column

  • Popular Culture                  Visual Rhetoric: Interpreting a Painting

  • Nature                                Visual Rhetoric: Analyzing a Political Cartoon

  • Politics                               Argument: Responding to a Quotation

Within these workshops, we will also be exploring the following rhetorical classifications with writing tasks based on modeling a professional example:

  • Narration

  • Description

  • Exemplification

  • Comparison and Contrast

  • Classification and Division

  • Definition

  • Process Analysis

  • Cause and Effect

  • Argument

First Quarter Sections and Sample Readings:  Education, Work, Community

Francie Prose, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read"
Margaret Talbot, “Best in Class”
James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers”
Kyoko Mori, “School”
Booker T. Washington, “The Atlanta Exposition Address”
Richard Seltzer, “The Surgeon as Priest”
Claudia O’Keefe, “The Traveling Bra Saleswoman’s Blues”
Ellen Goodman, “In Praise of a Snail’s Pace”
Thomas Carlyle, Labour
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Jane Howard, “All Happy Clans Are Alike: In Search of the Good Family”
Amitai Etzioni, “The New Community”

Second Quarter Sections and Sample Readings:  Gender, Sports and Fitness

Anna Quindlen, “Commencement Speech at Mount Holyoke”
Lori Arviso Alvord, “Walking the Path Between Worlds”
Virginia Woolf, “Professions for Women”
Gretel Ehrlich, “About Men”
Paul Theroux, “Being a Man”
Stephen Lewis, “AIDS Has a Woman’s Face”
Deborah Tannen, “There Is No Unmarked Woman”
Gay Talese, “The Silent Season of a Hero”
Theodore Roosevelt, “The Proper Place for Sports”
John McMurtry, “Kill ‘Em, Crush ‘Em, Eat ‘Em Raw!”
Kris Vervaecke, “A Spectator’s Notebook”
Rick Reilly, “The Real New York Giants”
Samuel G. Freedman, “For Fasting and Football, a Dedicated Game Plan”

Third Quarter Sections and Sample Readings:  Language, Science/Technology, Popular Culture

 George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
Marjorie Agosin, “Always Living in Spanish”
Peter Berkowitz and Michael McFaul, “Studying Islam, Strengthening the Nation”
S.I. Hayakawa, “Bilingualism in America: English Should Be the Official Language”
Loren Eiseley, “The Bird and the Machine”
T.H. Huxley, “The Method of Scientific Investigation”
Jacob Bronowski, “The Reach of Imagination”
Mihaly Csikszenthimihalyi, “The Future of Happiness”
Stephen Pinker, “The Blank Slate”
Ursala Franklin, “Silence and the Notion of the Commons”
Sven Birkerts, “Into the Electronic Millennium”
Elizabeth Royte, “Transsexual Frogs”
David Denby, High-School Confidential: Notes on Teen Movies”
Mark Twain, “Corn-Pone Opinions”
Brent Staples, “Godzilla vs. the Giant Scissors: Cutting the Antiwar Heart Out of a Classic”
Vine Deloria Jr., “We Talk, You Listen”
Danyel Smith, “Dreaming America”
Scott McCloud, “Show and Tell”
Teresa Wiltz, “Popular Culture in the Aftermath of Sept. 11 is a Chorus Without a Hook, a Movie Without  an Ending”

Fourth Quarter Sections and Sample Readings:  Nature, Politics

Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature”
Terry Tempest Williams, “The Clan of One-Breasted Women”
Chief Seattle, “Message to President Franklin Pierce”
Wendell Berry, “An Entrance to the Woods”
Wangari Muta Maathai, “2004 Nobel Peace Prize Speech”
Joyce Carol Oates, “Against Nature”
Jamaica Kincaid, “On Seeing England for the First Time”
Oliver Goldsmith, “National Prejudices”
Virginia Woolf, “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid”
Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,
Wole Soyinka, “Every Dictator’s Nightmare”


In general, your essays should be double spaced, typed pages.  You will leave this course with an understanding of MLA, APA and Chicago format.

We will also hold “mini-workshops” on the following issues important to college writers:

  • Thesis development

  • Paragraphs and transitions

  • Responding to timed in-class writing assignments (taken from AP exams)

  • Commas

  • Subject-Verb agreement/Tense

  • Sentences and end-stop punctuation

  • Quotation and the punctuation of reported speech

Writing Tasks

Most of the extended writing assignments in this class consist of two to four page papers that explore the different rhetorical patterns listed above.  There is an emphasis on the prewriting, writing, and revision format.  One-on-one conferences will be held during the prewriting stage to help with thesis development, outline and selection of source material.  After drafts are completed students will use peer editing to revise the draft and then submit a final copy for grading.  After final grading, the student has the option to further revise for both a higher grade and for use of the assignment in the 1st semester final portfolio.  Essays will be graded on the basis of style, syntax, grammar, focus, organization, and the modes inherent to the rhetorical category.  All these will be modeled by the writing examples studied in class and the resulting writing tasks that the students will complete.

Reading/Analyzing Tasks

Students receive instruction in the SOAPSTone strategy developed by Tommy Boley and included in the College Board workshop “Pre-AP®: Interdisciplinary Strategies for English and Social Studies” for use in analyzing prose and visualtexts.  This is a text analysis strategy as well as a method for initially teaching students how to craft a more thoughtful thesis.  In addition, we will be using the OPTIC strategy for interpreting visual texts.  The OPTIC strategy is highlighted in Walter Pauk’s book How to Study in College and provides students with key concepts to think about when approaching any kind of visual text.

Plagiarism Policy

The following paragraph must be submitted with proposals and all drafts of student assignments. Students must sign below the paragraph to indicate that they are aware of this policy:

Plagiarism is using another person’s thoughts and accomplishments without proper acknowledgment or documentation. It is an unconscionable offense and a serious breach of the honor code. In keeping with the policy, students will receive a zero for the plagiarized work.

Attendance and Tardy Policy

Regular classroom attendance is required to be successful in this course. On the third unexcused absence a parent/guardian conference will be required with the Counselor and the Academic Dean.  Students may be assigned to the Academic Success Room to complete missing course work and obtain tutoring assistance. Students with habitual attendance issues may be placed on an attendance contract, face legal intervention through State attendance laws or may be referred to an alternative school. Students who fail courses and do not obtain credits will be required to attend after-school credit recovery courses.  A habitually truant student over the age of 16 may be withdrawn from school by an administrator. The Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning will notify the parent/guardian by phone and mail. (An appeals process will be developed during the fall of 2007.)

 Also, it is the student’s responsibility to find out what materials have been covered in class when an absence occurs.  If a quiz is assigned (I will always give you at least one class period notice before a quiz) on a day you are absent, you are still responsible for being prepared for that quiz upon your return, even if the absence is excused.  Only vocabulary quizzes can be made up, and they must be made up on the first day of your return after an excused absence. It would be advisable to get at least one classmate’s phone number in order to find out what material has been covered in class.

All students will be granted three tardies in each class per grading period.  On the second tardy, I will inform parents of the current tardy status and the next consequence.  On the fourth tardy, a referral will be given to the Dean of Students listing the dates of the tardies and the date of parent contact.  The student will then receive an assignment to Saturday School.  On the fifth tardy, the student will receive an in-school suspension and a parent conference for re-entry into school.

Homework and Papers

Homework will be assigned throughout the semester and will usually consist of writing and/or reading assignments.  All written homework will be completed and turned in the following class period unless otherwise indicated.  I will not accept homework later than one day from the due date, and homework turned in one day late will receive half credit.  In the case of excused absences, arrangements will be made to allow for make-up work.  Longer writing assignments will be given due dates in advance.  Each day a paper is late it will be dropped one letter grade.  Although we will focus on revision for all writing assignments, it is in your best interest to turn in first drafts will be accepted for every paper completed in a timely manner to help raise your grade, if a paper is more than one week late the maximum points possible for that paper is 50%. 


Your final grade for each semester will be determined by

  Workshops (50%):  The 5 workshops (10 for the year) each count for 10%.
Research Paper

(25%):  Due the last week of class, your portfolio will include revised rewrites for at least two of your papers, along with the original paper with teacher comments, and an explanation for your choices and the changes you made to the essays.  A third paper from the semester will be re-written to reflect a change in audience.  At the end of the second semester the portfolio will be replaced by a 7-10 page argumentative research paper based on a topic of the students own choosing.

  Tests/Vocab (15%):   Weekly vocabulary quizzes and any major tests.
  Daily writing (10%):  Each day you will participate in a journal/dialectical journal/freewrite/etc. writing activity.

Grades will be measured by the standard letter grade scale.  The following is the grading scale adopted by DPS for the 2008-2009 school year:

A    – 93-100%
A-   – 90-92%
B+  – 87-89%
B    – 83-86%
B-   – 80-82%
C+  – 77-79%
C    – 73-76%
C-   – 70-72%
D    – 60-69%
F    – 59% and below


A note on submitting assignments in electronic format or via e-mail

Since I am a firm believer in students learning how to function in an increasingly digital environment, I gladly accept assignments saved on USB drives, CDs (no 3½ disks, please) or via e-mail; however, if your document will not open on my computer and is submitted at the last minute, the assignment will be considered late.  If your e-mailed assignment does not show up in my inbox, it will be considered late.  Check with me for Word format compatibility questions and possible blocking issues of e-mailed assignments. 

Also, please remember that I am here to help you.  I am available 30 minutes before school, during lunch and during my planning periods.  You may also contact me via e-mail with any questions you have and I will respond as soon possible.  I want each and every one of you to be successful in this class! 

Supplemental Texts

In addition to 50 Essays and The Language of Composition, we will be using materials, strategies and assignments from a number of different textbooks and collections.  All of these titles (single copies) will be available in the classroom for students to examine, use and check out.

Anson, Chris M., Robert A. Schegler and Marcia F. Muth.  The Longman Writer’s

  Companion.  New York: Longman, 2000.
---. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers.  New York: Longman, 2000.
Behrens, Laurence and Leonard J. Rosen.  Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum.
  7th ed.  New York: Longman, 2000.

Connors, Robert and Cheryl Glenn.  The New St. Martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing.

Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.


DiYanni, Robert, ed.  One Hundred Great Essays. 3rd ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008

DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy II.  Frames of Mind: A Rhetorical Reader with
  Occasions for Writing.  Boston: Thompson Wordworth, 2005

DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy II.  The Scribner Handbook for Writers. 2nd ed.  Boston:

  Allyn and Bacon, 1998.

Gibaldi, Joseph.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 6th ed. New York:

MLA, 2003.

Goshgarian, Gary, Kathleen Krueger and Janet Barnett Minc.  Dialogues: An Argument

Rhetoric and Reader. 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 2000.


Kitchen, Judith and Mary Paumier Jones, eds.  In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative

Nonfiction.  New York: Norton, 1996.


Lunsford, Andrea and Robert Connors.  The Everyday Writer: A Brief Reference. Boston:

Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.


Miller, Robert K.  The Informed Argument. 7th ed. Boston: Thompson Wadsworth, 2007.


Ramage, John D. and John C. Bean.  The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing. 2nd ed.

  Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.
Reid, Stephen.  The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers. 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice

Hall, 2000.

Roskelly, Hephzibah and David A. Jolliffe.  Everyday Use: Rhetoric at Work in Reading

and Writing. New York: Pearson Longman, 2005.

Sims, Norman and Mark Kramer, eds.  Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best

American Nonfiction. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995.




AP Language and Composition

 Course Syllabus
Mr. Glover
Fall 2008
Room 252
Phone: (720) 423-6251
Planning:  1:25pm-2:50pm Purple and White Days

Please sign and date below to indicate that both you and your parent/guardian have read and understand the information and policies contained in the AP Language and Composition course syllabus.



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