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Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

Course Syllabus

Instructor: Chad L. Beam

Course Description:

elcome to AP English IV! As an AP English teacher, my goal is to
work closely with students giving them the opportunity to reason,
analyze, and understand literature in hopes that each student finds
themselves developing new confidence in their academic abilities while discovering
their previously unknown capacities for higher studies and academic success.

The Advanced Placement Literature and Composition course is designed to be a
college/university level course thus the AP designation on a transcript rather than H
(honors) or CP (College Prep). The focal point of this AP course is to sharpen the
three primary core skills of attentive reading, logical discussion and presentation, and
analytical writing.

Close, attentive, and appreciative reading is at the base of all we do; this reading is
expressed through discussion and debate, performance, and especially through critical
writing. But close does not mean myopic. The reintroduction of rhetoric into the
classroom prompts us to relate texts to their intended audiences, then and now, and to
consider concretely how the text makes its mark. As a new audience, our reader reactions
are made valid by way of our own experience with literature, interpretation of literature,
and evaluation of literature and yet they are open for investigation. We are invited to
similarly speculate on the biographical, historical, and social elements that bring authors
into being and give texts their distinctive shapes. The study of works from many cultures
and countries raises questions about the place of literature in forming identity and
community, and exposes students to the multiplicity of English usage. Students should be
encouraged to place their readings into an active nexus of interrelationship and
intertextuality. And last, we need to raise in the classroom the most important literary
question of all: How is literature a part of our lives?

AP LI TERATURE & COMPOSI TI ON MI SSI ON: By the end of this AP English
Literature and Composition course, students should be able to:
Close read, evaluate, interpret, and explain a poem, a prose work, and a play
o Proceed beyond visceral and emotional reactions
o Develop a critical, analytical, and synthetic, understanding of Literary Merit
o Recognize the multi-layered nexus of information in each work
Logically and effectively express these tenants orally and in writing. These well-
developed responses will, at their best, use literary terms, key concepts, and a
variety of tools to illuminate insights rather than simply to show students
familiarity with them.
It is important to note that while the course will provide AP exam preparation, the course
is NOT all about the exam. I f students focus their energy on mastering the core skills of
the course, the exam will take care of itself. Given the time and format limitations of the
AP English Literature and Composition Exam, not all aspects of student understanding
will be assessed. Context, for example, cannot be hastily supplied in an exam situation.
Understanding of literary history and generic range cannot be directly examined given the
enormous variations in AP classrooms, but these considerations and more will have
shaped the nuanced text-reading, logical debate, and the coherent critical writing abilities
of a student who is well prepared for next level thinking and analyzing. Skills learned
early in the course will continue to be practiced throughout the year, even if they are not
specifically listed again.

Primary Text
Roberts, Edgar V. Literature: an introduction to reading and writing. 4E, AP Ed. New
Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2008

To Kill a Mocking Bird ~ Harper Lee
How to Read Literature Like a Professor ~ Thomas C. Foster
A Prayer for Owen Meany ~ John Irving
Lord of the Flies ~ William Golding
Heart of Darkness ~ Joseph Conrad
Frankenstein ~ Mary Shelley
Their Eyes Were Watching God ~ Zora Neale Hurston
Aristotles Poetics ~ Aristotle
Hamlet ~ William Shakespeare
Vocabulary Workshop School Adopted Text (provided)
Other Shakespearean Plays
Short Fiction Stories

Academic Integrity
Cheating and plagiarism will never be tolerated in my class and will result in an
automatic 0 on that assignment and a parent/teacher/administrator conference. Essays
will be evaluated through Turnitin.com to check for plagiarism. All students should
complete all work by themselves unless the assignment is designated as a partner or
group project.

Absences and Make-Up Policies
Due to the rapid pace of AP English IV, the vast amount of individual reading, and the
invaluable information that students will receive during in class discussion, it is
IMPERATIVE that students attend class. While I understand that students are involved
in extra-curricular activities, I ask that each student take careful consideration of
his/her personal time management skills and study habits when choosing to miss class.
Given that each student exhibit clear and PROACTIVE communication, I will do
whatever I can to help students make up work that has been missed.

Should a student miss a class for illness or academic field trips, he/she will have the
same amount of time absent to make up missed in-class assignments. Please note this
does not extend deadlines for students that know they will not be present on the day of a
previously announced deadline. If you know you will be absent on a date when an
assignment is due, you are required to turn it in the day before your absence or the work
will be considered late. All students are reminded of the Cleveland County Schools
Absence Policy. Six or more absences will result in failure of the course.

Instructional Organization
In an effort to embrace as much literature as possible, we will study literature in

It will greatly benefit students to maintain the highest of organization of class
materials, papers, etc. Please note that I will not make extra copies of handouts, so
be responsible for keeping up with all materials and for having them ready for
class. Students will be held accountable for acquiring notes and papers that they
have lost.

Student Management
1. Students must be IN THEIR SEATS when the bell rings in order to not be
considered tardy.
2. Bring all necessary materials to class daily.
3. It is the students responsibility to get any work/assignment that was missed due
to absences.
4. For this class, you will need:
a. 2 inch binder three ring binder
b. tab dividers
c. loose leaf, college ruled paper (white only)
d. pencil/pen (blue or black only)
e. flash drive or other device to store documents
f. composition book (Pride Piece Journal)

Performance Expectations
1. Be respectful of each other and of the instructor. Ideas in literature are varied and
rely on careful reader interpretation. Therefore, everyone should respect the
ideas/thoughts of others. Debates are healthy and enjoyable as long as everyone
understands that their opinion is not more privileged than anothers. In addition,
refrain from personal grooming, working on other assignments while in English,
and/or sleeping.

2. Be prepared---everyday! I cannot stress the importance of staying organized,
focused, and ready for class each day. I will challenge you and then push you
further so that you get the most from this course. By registering for this course,
you accept the responsibility of being in an AP course

3. Be responsible, self-directed learners! AP students do not have missing
assignments and do not need extra credit (nor is it offered).

4. Be honest with yourself and with me. If you need assistance, please see me. I
must assume that all is well with you unless you tell me otherwise. Be
assured, I will help you in any way that I can.

Performance Tasks
Read, analyze and respond to novels, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry
Write a personal narrative essay
Write On Demand essays based on past AP prompts
Write literary analysis papers expository, argumentative, persuasive,
Write daily journal entries and paragraph responses
Write poetry and other imaginative structures
Write collaborative essays
Peer grade student essays
Answer essay questions as required of college level writers
Engage in Socratic seminars and logically argue student made claims
Make class presentations
Participate in electronic class forums and discussions
Engage in cooperative learning groups
Create and manipulate graphic organizers
Create projects
Expand student vocabulary
Prepare for the AP exam

Homework assignments will include both reading and writing. Students can
expect homework (either on-going or nightly assignments) daily. Major
assignments will be penalized 10% per day late. Homework assignments turned
in late will receive a 0. As our time in class is valued, please have all papers
printed before class begins (not a computer file or disk), or the work will be
considered late.

Reading quizzes (often timed) are given after the assigned reading of a section or the
totality each literary work. Quizzes may be comprised of class discussions and/or class
notes, in addition to the text itself and may or may not be announced. Therefore, all
homework should lead to the anticipation of a quiz! Students should make every
attempt to arrive to class on time and consistently as quizzes cannot be made up.

Students are expected to do a great deal of reading; therefore, it is of great importance
that time management skills be in place to create the proper balance between study time
and athletic practices, chorus events, dance recitals, etc. Students are expected to
complete all reading assignments as these assignments will provide the foundation for
all other facets of our class instruction. Students should expect to complete outside
individual reading assignments while reading in-class course texts.

Incentive Reading
At the beginning of the year, students will be given an AP novel list. Any novel that a
student reads from the list in his/her spare time (aside from the ones we read in class)
will be counted as incentive reading and will provide the student with an opportunity to
replace a low quiz grade. In order to show proof of reading the novel, the student must
write an on-demand essay on that novel.

Writing about Literature
Students will compose both AP style essays (on demand essays) and Formal essays
(personal, expository, and argumentative) over the course of the semester. On
demand essays are in-class assignments, which follow the timed structure of the AP
exam and will be scored according to the AP 9-point scale used on the AP exam. The
essay prompts will have a thematic or analytical focus in which the student is
expected to respond with general rhetorical excellence that consists of effective word
choice, inventive sentence structure, effective organization, clear emphasis, and
excellence of argument (including exhaustive supporting evidence, and clear,
persuasive, elegant connection to your argument). The goal of every writing
assignment is to compose a quality essay that fully answers all parts of the prompt;
this is developed through fluency. Therefore, students will be writing to understand,
evaluate, explain, and express.

Students will also compose Formal essays. These essays are outside analyses that are
built upon comprehension, critical essays, and informational independent reading
selections in order to demonstrate mastery of individual critical thinking/interpretive
skills. Most formal essays must be typed (double spaced, 12-point Times New
Roman font, 1-inch margins, MLA format), as college level assignments should
always look professional. All assignments are due at the beginning of class (No
Exceptions). Teacher/student conferences/feedback will aid in meeting writing
needs including enhancing transitions, developing apt word choice, and learning the
balance between generalizations and illustrative details. Grammar mini-lessons will
be implemented as needed to aid in complex sentence construction, usage issues, and
diction. In addition, vocabulary skills will be practiced weekly. In both essay
processes, students will participate and learn to effectively peer grade other student

Stand-Alone Paragraph
When an assignment calls for a paragraph, please check your work against the
paragraph criteria below:
Stand-Alone Paragraph Evaluation Criteria
Use these criteria to evaluate paragraphs that are not part of a longer piece of writing.
1. The first, second, or last sentence contains the main idea and key words from the question or
assigned topic. (The first sentence is usually preferable.)
2. Paragraph follows a logical progression of thought rather than a statement of being.
3. Paragraph contains two to four sentences about specific details or references to specific
images from a quotation.
4. Details are colorful, interesting, and appropriate.
5. The writing shows indirect psychological depth through insightful analysis and organized
6. Paragraph contains no run-ons or sentence fragments.

Hall Passes
In an effort to protect class time, I ask that you visit the restroom before or after class and
make arrangements to visit guidance, etc. before or after class. In the event that you
absolutely must go, write a pass on the correct day/date in your planner, bring the planner
to me to initial, and quickly and quietly excuse yourself. Anything that you miss in class
is knowledge that you must account for personally. In the event of a presentation of any
kind, enter and exit the room politely so as not to interrupt that presentation. No
planner, no Exodus!
System for Grading
The Cleveland County School grading policy will be implemented in this course:
A+ = 100-99 B+ = 92-91 C+ = 84-83 D+ = 76-75 F = Below 70
A = 98-95 B = 90-87 C = 82-79 D = 74-72
A- = 94-93 B- = 85-86 C- = 78-77 D- = 71-70

7. Paragraph is free of errors in agreement.
A. Subject/verbsingular or plural,
B. Pronoun selection correctsingular or plural
C. Pronoun selection correctsubject or object
8. Free of punctuation errors.
9. Free of spelling errors.
10. Free of punctuation errors.
Class Discussion
Socratic/Paideia seminar discussions are the primary way in which students will evaluate
and analyze texts; however, student led discussions (small and large group), journal
writings, and online forums will facilitate both prepared and spontaneous dialogue. During
these discussions, students will examine the structure of a text and its effect on meaning
and learn how to interpret literature by using various literary criticisms (social, historical,
psychological, gender, formalist, etc.).

I am available for parent/student conferences everyday during my planning period (8:00AM-
9:35AM). Additional time may be arranged, but I do ask for 24 hours notice. Please email
me at to confirm an appointment time. I will reply promptly, but not during instructional

System for Grading
Formal Essays, Projects & Tests 30%
On Demand Essays 25%
Quizzes 15%
Pride Piece J ournals 15%
Homework/Class work 15%

Literary Tools
Because the make up and brilliance of each text is multi-layered, students will learn to use
a variety of tools for analysis, synthesis, evaluation, interpretation, and emphasis. The
following list is comprised of the tools most common to my AP Literature & Composition
class. (More tools may be added as the year progresses)

Major Works Data Sheet
Literary Patterns (How to Read Literature Like a Professor)
Pride Piece Journal
Interrogative Discourse
PLATE Analysis
EIE Analysis
Stream of Consciousness Writing
Summary & Paraphrase
Prospectus Writing
Essay Peer Review
Stand-Alone Paragraph Writing & Rubric
AP On-Demand Essay
Dialectical Journey
Graphic Organizers & Charts