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AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION 2007/8

George Bebensee/Room 237/phone 389-7390 x522


gbebensee@sayreschool.org

COURSE DESCRIPTION
This is a college-level course in reading, writing, and rhetoric for motivated students,
constructed in accordance with the current College Board AP guidelines. The major
objective of this course is to help students “write effectively and confidently in their
college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives.” (The
College Board, AP English Course Description, May 2007, May 2008, p. 6)
 We’ll read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of texts--expository,
analytical, personal, and argumentative essays; letters; speeches; images; imaginative
literature--deepening our awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through
close reading and frequent writing, we’ll develop our ability to work with language
and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening our
own composing abilities. (See details below.)
 We’ll write in a variety of modes for a variety of audiences, developing a sense of
personal style and an ability to analyze and articulate how the resources of language
operate in any given text. Because we live in a highly visual world, we’ll also study
the rhetoric of visual media such as photographs, films, advertisements, comic strips,
and music videos. (See specific writing assignments below.)
 This course views writing as a process, so major writing assignments will include
required drafts and revisions. We’ll review and discuss our works-in-progress during
frequent class and group workshops. You’ll conference with me often as you write—
at least once for each major writing project.
 In concert with the College Board’s AP English Course Description, we’ll learn to
read primary and secondary sources carefully, to synthesize material from these texts
in our own compositions, and to cite sources using conventions recommended by the
Modern Language Association (MLA).
 Most classes will begin with a five or ten minute freewriting, in which you write
anything in your mind without stopping. I’ll occasionally ask you to focus your
freewriting on a question, idea, or text. You’ll keep a freewriting file on your laptop
and compile your freewritings over the course of the year.
 We’ll have weekly vocabulary quizzes. Words will be drawn from texts we read in
class and from SAT word lists, and will include important rhetorical terms.

OVERVIEW
This course has three major components:
1. First Semester: Developing skills in rhetoric, analysis, and synthesis through the
study of mostly nonfiction texts
2. Second Semester: Further development by applying these skills to the study of
American fiction and poetry
3. The Junior AP English Demonstration in American Literature: The Junior
Demonstration, or Demo, is a year-long project that allows you to both follow a
personal interest and to demonstrate to your class and school community your
mastery of written, analytic, and research skills. Over the course of the school year,
you’ll explore a topic or a set of books within the field of American Literature--
chosen from a list of options or self-selected. To meet the requirements of the Demo,
you’ll write two analytic papers, the second of which is a researched argument that
requires the use of secondary sources, and keep a reading journal. The project
culminates in Junior Demo Colloquy in the Upper School Atrium. (See complete
description and Demo calendar following the syllabus.)

GRADING
For each term, your grade will be determined as follows:
Writing Projects 70% (Major projects must include drafts and revisions along with
a final grading version.)
Class Work 20% (Includes individual tasks leading to a larger product,
grammar reviews, annotation of texts, quizzes,
group work, participation in Workshop
activities and class discussions)
Vocabulary 10%
Semester final exams will constitute 20% of each semester grade. (See complete grade
descriptions following the syllabus.)

TEXTS
Conarroe, Joel, ed. Six American Poets. New York: Vintage, 1993
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 2004.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Mosses From an Old Manse. New York: Modern Library, 2003.
O’Connor, Flannery. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, New York:
Harvest/Harcourt, 1977.
Shea, Renee H., et al. The Language of Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2008.
Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle, New York: Dial, 1998.

FIRST QUARTER: Rhetoric, Analysis, and Synthesis (eight weeks)

Week One: Course Overview


Preview of the AP exam
Discussion of summer reading: The Grapes of Wrath
Writing: Grapes of Wrath: In-class essay, expository (one hour)

Week Two: Trip to Washington, D.C.


Task: Select a monument or other building that particularly strikes you and record
your observations and reactions to the structure in writing, in drawing, and, if
possible, in photos. You’ll be using your observations later to write a visual
analysis of your structure.

Weeks Three and Four: An Introduction to Rhetoric (LOC 1-34)


An Introduction to Rhetoric
Key Elements of Rhetoric
The Rhetorical Triangle
Appeals to Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
Writing: Rhetorical analysis: Group in-class task: one hour
Consider the letter Albert Einstein wrote to sixth-grade student Phyllis
Wright in 1936 (LOC 9) in response to her question as to whether
scientists pray, and if so, what do they pray for. How
rhetorically effective do you find Einstein’s response? Explain your
answer in terms of subject, speaker, audience; context and purpose; and
appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos.
Visual Rhetoric
Writing: Visual analysis. 500 words.
Write an essay analyzing the visual rhetoric of a monument or other
building in Washington D.C.
Rhetoric in Literature
Organization: The Classical Model
Patterns of Development/Methods of Organization
When Rhetoric Misses the Mark

Weeks Five and Six: Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis (LOC 35-60)
Analyzing Style
Talking with the Text
Annotation
Dialectical Journal
Graphic Organizer
Close Reading a Visual Text
From Analysis to Essay: Writing about a Close Reading
Glossary of Selected Tropes and Schemes
Writing: Analytical essay. 1000 words.
Write an essay analyzing the rhetorical strategies John F. Kennedy uses in
his inaugural address to achieve his purpose. Peer review workshop of
draft/teacher conference.

Weeks Seven and Eight: Synthesizing Sources: Entering the Conversation (61-85)
Types of Support
Writers at Work
The Relationship of Sources to Audience
The Synthesis Essay
Conversation: Focus on the Community
Service
Identifying the Issues: Recognize Complexity
Formulating Your Position
Incorporating Sources: Inform Rather than Overwhelm
Writing: Synthesis essay. 1000 words.
Using the documents on community service requirements in high schools
in section 3.14 of LOC, write an essay explaining whether you
believe that high schools in general--or Sayre Upper School in particular--
should make community service mandatory. Incorporate references or
quotations from a minimum of three of these sources in your essay.
You will need to turn in one draft and one revision with your final
grading copy.

SECOND QUARTER: Questions and Answers (eight weeks)

Weeks One -- Three: To what extent do our schools serve the goals of a true
education?
Francine Prose, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read” 89
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Education” 102
Writing: In-class essay, analytical (one hour)
James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers” 123
Kyoko Mori, “School” 130
Interview: Kyoko Mori on Writing 141
Poem: Billy Collins, “The History Teacher” 143
Story: Sandra Cisneros, “Eleven” 144
Visual Text: NEA, from “Reading at Risk” 147
Tyler Wilcheck, “A Talk to High School Teachers” (Student Essay: Argument:
Using Personal Experience as Evidence) 164
Additional Resources: “Conversation: Focus on the American High School”
(LOC 150-163))
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: The Appositive 167
Exercise 5 (173): Identify the appositives in the sample sentences,
determine their effect, and then write sentences of your own using
the samples as models.
Writing: Personal Essay/Revision to Argument: 1250 words
Many see standardized testing as the answer to improving education in the
United States. President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind Program,” for
example, emphasizes testing as a means of pursuing and
measuring progress. Students, particularly in public schools, face all
sorts of mandated tests, and the SAT, ACT, and AP exams
often dictate school curriculums. What do you think? Write a personal
essay draft discussing whether standardized testing is an effective
way to bring about improved instruction and performance. Then, revise
your draft, broadening its scope beyond your own experience by
synthesizing your ideas with those of some of the writers we’ve
discussed in the last few weeks. Group peer review workshops/teacher
conference.

Weeks Four -- Six: What is our responsibility to nature?


Rachel Carson, “Silent Spring” 798
Writing: In-class essay, argumentative (one hour)
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature” 807
Terry Tempest, “The Clan of the One-Breasted Women” 816
Chief Seattle, “Message to President Franklin Pierce” 823
Wendell Berry, “An Entrance to the Woods” 825
Wangari Muta Maathai, “2004 Nobel Peace Prize Speech” 834
Joyce Carol Oates, “Against Nature” 840
Writing: Descriptive Narrative/Comparison: 500 words
Using the memories Oates recounts as a model, write a brief
description of a nature memory of your own. Pay careful
attention to Oates’s use of generalization and concrete detail.
Group peer review workshop.
Poem: William Wordsworth, “The Tables Turned” 856
Story: Sarah Orne Jewette, “A White Heron” 848
Advertisement: Royal Dutch Shell, “Cloud the Issue or Clear the Air?” 857
Visual Text: Asher B. Durand, “Kindred Spirits” (painting)
Additional Resources: “Conversation: Focus on Climate Change” 862-887
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Cumulative, Periodic, and Inverted Sentences
Exercise 5 (899): Read the examples of sentences using unusual
sentence patterns. Choose three and write your own sentences, using
the examples as models.
Writing: Personal Essay/Argument/Synthesis: 1250 words
Write an essay that answers this section’s essential question: What is our
responsibility to nature? Develop your thesis, exposition, and
evidence by synthesizing your own ideas and the readings we’ve
examined. Group peer review workshops/teacher conference.

Weeks Seven -- Eight: What is the relationship of the individual to the community?
Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter From Birmingham Jail” 260
Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived for” 276
Peter Singer, “The Singer Solution to World Poverty” 319
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Parallel Structures 339
Exercise 4 (344): In-class group work: Read (and listen on the web:
bedfordstmartins.com/languageofcomp) the paragraph from Toni
Morrison’s Nobel Lecture, delivered in 1993 when she won
the Nobel Prize in Literature. Find examples of parallel structure;
identify whether the construction is a word, clause, or phrase; and
explain its effect.
Writing: Analytical Essay: 1000 words.
Select one of the three main essays in this section and write an essay
analyzing the rhetorical strategies the writer uses to achieve his
purpose.
Semester Exam

THIRD QUARTER: Developing as a Writer (ten weeks)

Weeks One and Two: Free Writing Time: 5 pages


The period January 3-11 is Writing Time. You will have no other assignments for this
class but to write. You are free to write in whatever form and genre you choose—poetry,
fiction, drama, nonfiction, personal, philosophical, humorous, etc. I will email you two
prompts per class period. You may choose to work on one or both of the prompts, or an
idea of your own. I encourage you to do new writing each day for the first four or five
classes. (See me if you’re working on something you want to stay with.) For the last two
class periods, I ask that you do not start any new writing, but rather work on revising
pieces you’ve written that you particularly like. You must turn in five pages of polished,
revised Good Writing--writing that reflects your consideration of some of the rhetorical
and stylistic study we’ve been doing--by 3:30 on January 11 for grading. This work will
constitute 10% of your 3rd term grade.

Weeks Three -- Six: Writing About Short Stories


Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses From an Old Manse
Writing: In-class essay, analytical--organization. (one hour)
Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories
Writing: In-class group essay, analytical--tone. (two hours)
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Coordination in the Compound Sentence 698
Exercise 4 (704): Select one of the passages, identify the examples of
coordination, and explain their rhetorical effects. Pay attention to
the way the writers use coordination to signal relationships, to
emphasize a point, or to vary the rhythm of a paragraph.

Week Seven: Mid-Winter Break

Weeks Eight -- Ten: Writing About the Novel


Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
Writing: Select one of the following:
1. Analytical Essay/Argument
Select one or two concepts you see Cat’s Cradle criticizing—science,
religion, truth, capitalism, love, purpose, America, granfalloons, for
example—and write a clear, concise, interesting 1250-word essay that
analyzes the text’s criticism and evaluates its reasonableness. Be sure to
consider the tone/method of the criticism (satire, irony, parody, humor,
exaggeration) and the substance of it (characters, actions, Calypsos,
desires). Support your evaluation of the criticism with both evidence from
the text and from your own experience and perceptions of the world.
2. Personal Narrative
Consider this epigraph from Cat’s Cradle:
“Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
Vonnegut creates a character who constructs a religion of lies, presumably
to help people live better lives. Do you think that’s a good idea? Do you
think we already live under a system of foma? Write a personal narrative
of 1250 words in which you identify one or more beliefs or truths you live
by that you suspect are or may be foma. How do we feel about that
situation? Be sure to consider purpose of your narrative and the rhetorical
situation in which you’re writing.
3. Construct
Develop a project of your own that demonstrates your considerable
understanding of or investigation into some central aspect of Cat’s Cradle.
Your project must include a significant written component. Discuss your
project with me before beginning serious work.
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Subordination in the Complex Sentence 999
Exercise 3 (1004): Select two of the passages and analyze the use of
subordinate clauses. Pay particular attention to how the writer
varies sentence patterns.

FOURTH QUARTER: Further Development and the Junior Demo (ten weeks)

Weeks One -- Three: Writing About the Novel


F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Writing: Your task is to design and write a clear, concise, detailed, focused, and
interesting 1250-word essay that:
1. has a reason to exist as an object in the world;
2. expresses (explicitly or implicitly) a thesis concerning The Great
Gatsby (you may, of course, refer to other texts);
3. supports its thesis with solid, relevant, and sufficient evidence;
references the primary text(s) through quotation, paraphrase, and
summary, using proper MLA format;
4. uses a non-textual element as a cover page.
You may choose and combine any form of essay (narrative, expository,
analytic, argumentative) and any modes of development (description,
exemplification, comparison/contrast, etc.) Your audience for this essay is
not a specific publication but rather people like us (fairly educated and
interested in what you have to say). You’re in control of things like voice,
tone, style, format. Be sure to experiment with some of the “Grammar for
Style and Rhetoric” work we’ve been doing. Assume your audience is
familiar with The Great Gatsby but might not have read it as recently as
you have. If you’d like to depart significantly from this task, please see me
to discuss.
Grading Criteria: We will develop grading criteria as a class on 3/17.
3/14 Workshop: developing a thesis
3/17 Workshop: planning and preliminary writing in class
3/19 Workshop: working draft/peer discussion/conferencing
3/21 Draft Due: Workshop: Group Feedback
3/28 Essay Due by 3:30 p.m.
Gatsby Party: The 11th grade class should determine a name and theme for the
recreation of a Gatsby party, which will be held March 26 at 7:30-9
p.m., with clean-up after. You will divide yourselves into these group
categories (suggest others if you choose):
 Art
 Music
 Dance
 Fashion
 Décor
 Food
 Invitations
 Party Planners
 Etiquette
Each group will be responsible for the interpretation of their subject for
the party. This task will involve some research. For example, the Art group
will determine what kind of art should hang on the walls, figure out how
to produce it, and hang it. The music group should determine what kind of
music should be playing at the party, what sorts of live music might be
possible, and the logistics of getting it there and getting it played. The
dance group might try to find a way to teach all of us some basic dances of
the period. Each group will be graded on its efforts and on the (more or
less) tangible products it produces.
The Grading Criteria will be:
1. Effort 45%: Has the group put forth good effort to produce a
tangible product for the party?
2. Product 45%: Is the representation (product) of the group well
researched and fairly accurate?
3. Reflection 10%: One page writing on your impressions of the party
after the event. Was it fun? Successful? What sorts of things did
you learn? Was research helpful? How was it working with a
group?
Faculty members attending the party will be asked for their evaluations.
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Concise Diction 592
Exercise 1 (593): Identify awkward or pretentious diction in the
sentences, and revise each sentence as you see fit to improve clarity.

Week Four: Spring Break

Weeks Five -- Seven: Writing About Poetry


Selections from Whitman, Dickinson, Stevens, Williams, Frost, Hughes
Writing: In-class essay, close reading/analytical. (one hour)
Writing: Multimedia Essay: Design a Webpage: Group Project
Your group will select one poem from a list of options and design a
webpage that is a multimedia, 21st Century close reading of the
poem. Your webpage should have sound, images, links, and, of course,
text. Your webpages will be published on the Sayre website.
Grammar as Rhetoric and Style: Precise, Direct, and Active Verbs
Exercise 2 (501): Identify the verbs and verbals in the two passages.
Explain how these verbs affect the tone of the passages.

Weeks Eight -- Ten: Work on Junior Demo/AP Exam Practice


The Junior AP English Demonstration in American Literature

The Junior Demonstration, or Demo, is a year-long project that allows you to both follow
a personal interest and to demonstrate to your class and school community your mastery
of written, analytic, and research skills. During the First Term, you’ll explore sets of
books and topics of interest to you in the field of American Literature--from the list of
options that follows or from your own affinities. At the beginning of the Second Term,
you’ll select your topic, design your course of study, and begin serious reading and
research. To meet the requirements of the Demo, you’ll write two analytic papers, the
second of which is a researched argument that requires the use of secondary sources, and
keep a reading journal. The project culminates in Junior Demo Colloquy in the Upper
School Atrium.

Essay and Journal Assignments for the Junior Demonstration


There are three major components of the Junior Demonstration—two essays, each worth
40% of the overall grade, and a reading journal, worth 20% of the overall grade.

Essay 1: Personal Narrative


In this essay, you’ll write about your personal response to some aspect of your reading. In
completing this assignment, you may not consult sources other than your primary sources
and Sayre English teachers. Length: 1500 words (about six pages)

Essay 2: Researched Argument


In this essay, you will expand your personal understanding of the works you have studied
by consulting a minimum of three outside sources. The sources may come from print or
internet sources. You should make sure, however, that each source is credible. You should
also be sure to address all of your primary sources and secondary sources. Use MLA
format for citation and documentation. Length: 1500 words (about six pages).

The Demo Journal


The journal is designed to help you reflect on your reading in a way that will be useful
when you begin drafting the essays for the Demonstration. Outstanding journals will ask
thoughtful questions of the text and show genuine interest in and engagement with the
material. In other words, it should be clear that you are wrestling with the texts in a
personal way. Journal entries should not be mere notes for your papers; it is important to
include your reactions to the texts.
Keep in mind the following guidelines when working on your journal:

1. You must complete a minimum of twelve 200-word entries.


2. All entries must be dated.
3. Three entries must be completed by November 15, six total by February 1st, and all
twelve must be completed by April 28th.
4. A grossly incomplete journal (i.e., three entries hastily written the day before it is due)
may result in a failing grade for the journal.
5. Journals will be graded after each of the due dates above.
Model Journal Entry
Entry One:
Brighton Beach Memoirs
Act One:
Here’s what sticks with me at the end of act one regarding characters:

 The father is the ideal father.


 The mother is a beautiful person, harsh, but beautiful.
 Eugene is annoying.
 I hate Norah
 Laurie’s in the play for really no reason
 Stan tries too hard.
 Blanche has no grasp on her life.

Norah and Laurie are the only characters that don’t do anything for me, and while Eugene
is annoying I’m glad he’s there. He is my only friend inviting me into this brave new
world of Brighton…
However, at the end of act one, I already know that this play is not about the
characters but about the relationships between characters. The dynamics in this house are
interesting, not for any reason, they just are. Even though it’s a play, you believe that they
are a real family and you wonder about things that happened before and after the play
started. What’s Christmas like at their house (ignore the whole Jewish thing)? Vacations?
Birthday parties? We’re lucky enough to be the friend sleeping over for a night watching
this family…laughing and crying with them.
One thing I’m confused about: Is Eugene a narrator? What’s the point of view of
this play? Are these Eugene’s memoirs? We see things that Eugene doesn’t see…don’t
we? Does he see everything? How does his age effect the narration? Is this an accurate
picture of the family?….all will be revealed. Maybe. [245 words]

Demo Timeline

Now: Begin looking over the list of topic options and thinking about additional
ideas you might have. Get some of the books that look interesting
in your hands and read around in them. Find your interests and
follow them.

October 15: Turn in your signed topic sheets. If you’re developing a topic of your own,
you’ll need my approval.

October 19: Public posting of final list of topics in the Atrium display area.

November 15: Three journal entries due

February 1: Three journal entries due

February 20: Essay 1 thesis and first paragraph draft due


March 17: Essay 1 due

April 9: Essay 2 thesis and first paragraph draft due

April 28: Final six journal entries due

May 9: Essay 2 due

May 14: Junior Demo Colloquy