Here you'll find general course expectations. To see expecations for the current term, click on the syllabus document in AP Lit Handouts.
Assigned Reading: It is vitally important that students read every assignment--with care and on time. It is essential that you plan time in your schedule for more quiet, sustained and deep reading than most courses require. Novels in particular require planning. Poetry, though usually not long, is dense and complicated, and should always be read at least twice. Thorough and recursive reading, many times close-reading with pen and notebook in hand, is called for to be prepared for discussion. Students who do not prepare with discussion notes will be excluded from participation in discussions. Largely, reading is assessed by evidence of preparation and participation. Consistent lack of preparation and participation will result in poor results.
Independent Reading: Three major works (generally more than 120 pages) from a select list are to be read throughout the year (one each quarter except not writing the research paper). For each, you will compose a two-page written response. The purpose of this assignment is to increase your repertoire of meritorious works and practice brief, analytical response, similar to that of the Open Response Question on the AP Exam.
As this is a literature and composition course, you will be expected to use every assignment that involves writing to practice your best composition skills. Virtually every class will some involve writing. A variety of styles, kinds, and purposes of writing will be practiced from standardized timed essays to blog posts, from creative sketches to a research paper. No matter the kind of writing assigned, your best composition skills should be practiced. We will work with various composition constructions, Standard Written English, sentence variety,rhetoric and diction. As a scholar, think of this class as an artist's studio, not a rhetoric manual -- a place where you can hone your craft and find your voice by studying and trying your hand at conventions, techniques and styles of great writers.
Critical Writing: Critical papers occur as in-class timed essays a blend of workshop/out-of-class essays. Each paper should include specific and well-chosen evidence to articulate an argument about a literary work focused on a clear thesis supported by evidence from the text and context. Specifically, these critical essays are based on close textual analysis of structure, style (diction, syntax, figurative language, imagery,symbolism, tone), and a variety of specific approaches to literary analysis (formalist, reader-response/ deconstructionist, social/historical/biographical, archetypal/psychoanalytic, and gender/feminist) contexts. Except for the timed-essays, critical papers must be typed, double-spaced, and proofread (especially spell-checked) and will be approximately two-to-four double-spaced pages, with the research-based, documented paper being 9-to-12 pages. Rough drafts for papers will be required in your portfolio. Out-of-class writing assignments and in-class timed-writing essays will include peer- and teacher-reviews in writing workshop periods will be part of the process. Model papers of past AP exams will be examined to evaluate quality.
Source Argument Research Paper on a Literary Topic: One of your critical writing essays will be a longer source research paper. It will be based upon a major literary author, major literary work or collection or works, or literary school or movement--and focused on an arguable thesis. Research helps students to formulate varied, informed arguments. As suggested by the College Board, a successful researched argument paper is one resulting from your sorting "through disparate interpretations on your topic to analyze, reflect upon, and write" persuasively about your own thesis. It depends on your bringing the experience and opinions of others into your paper in support of your argument. The topic should be new to you, a fresh inquiry, rather than one you've worked on for a previous class. (You may use the novel or author you selected as part of your summer reading, but this is not required.) The paper will require scholarly research of secondary sources, in-text citation of primary and secondary texts and MLA documentation.
Creative Writing: Students will be asked to write creative assignments--poems, scripts, storyboards, and short stories that take on the rhetorical forms and styles of the literature studied. These techniques include structure, theme, and style (diction, syntax, figurative language,imagery, symbolism, tone).
SPEAKING, LISTENING & REPRESENTING
Discussions, Socratic seminars, instructional presentations, dramas, oral interpretations, visual media, and multigenre projects are additional and required ways to explore and respond to literature in this class. In-class participation is predicated upon your preparation in reading and writing (notes, discussion items, media presentations). The emphasis in assessment of creative work is not on aesthetic criteria, nonetheless, an overall effect in presentation does contribute to a work's effectiveness; rather the emphasis will be on the student's knowledge and application of appropriate structures and styles as outlined within the assignment's parameters; that is, your capacity to understand, then apply the techniques of art used in the literature studied. Speaking, listening and representing creative works and presentations will be assessed on depth and contribution of inquiry as well as on effective use of best practices.
QUIZZES AND EXAMS In addition to in-class writing patterned after the AP Exam, you can expect quizzes and exams that ask you to synthesize your understanding of our study. These exams are designed to help you respond to literary questions that are less restrictive than the AP-based exams. A number of quizzes will be part of each quarter. These will be unannounced and given in the first five minutes of class; if you come in late you may not take the quiz.
VOCABULARY, WORD STUDY, AND USAGE Frequently the first five minutes of class will focus on vocabulary, word study, or some point of usage (grammar, punctuation, mechanics). You will collect this information in your notes and be assessed on quizzes and exams. Best practice will be to show examples of your learning in your written pieces when appropriate and effective, not just to be showy.
NOTEBOOKS, BLOGS, AND PORTFOLIOS Notetaking is the simply stated and complexly executed task of recording your thoughts on paper. Keep an organized and rich notebook of inquiry and study is a key component of this course because it serves as a repository of information and thinking for you as well as a portfolio of evidence of progress and participation for me. It is mandatory and counts for part of your grade. An instructor can't "see" his student's reading process except in what the student annotates. Blogs will be digital means to record your ideas as well as share them out with your peers. A blog entry is due at least every one-to-two weeks, depending upon our studies. Blogs, too, will be assessed by rubric, which includes a Standard Written English usage requirement. You will be responsible to assembling all of the above writing, notetaking, writing, projects, and assessments in a portfolio folder once per term as evidence of your progress and participation for grading purposes. Think of notebooks as daily, blogs as weekly posts, and portfolios as quarterly reflections of your learning.
GRADING Grading is based on your performance on and participation in:
In-class writings, notes on reading, study, lecture, and discussion, and activities
Out-of-class writings and other assignments
Homework, projects and in-class to demonstrate understanding
Quizzes & Tests (most quizzes are unannounced reading-check quizzes)
Completion of other class requirements (e.g. attendance, participation, reading assignments, evident commitment, demonstrating good habits of mind, progress)
Transcript recorded scores: Per school policy quarters are weighted as two-ninths each of the overall year average. Final exam is weighted one-ninth of the overall year average.
While grades are a fact of academic life, don’t let them rule or ruin your class life. Very few of us can perform at the top our game in every arena. Focus on your overall growth as a reader and writer over the course of the semester. Be content with knowing you did your best and you did it fair and square. One surefire way to mature as a reader and writer is to reflect on your goals and your results.
You won't always agree with your peers' or instructor's feedback, yet outside views can help you see your work from another perspective. This critical distance is essential to the evolution of your literary study and writing and much more powerful than any one grade. Marks are a judgment neither of you personally nor your ideas but rather of a piece of work at hand.
HABITS OF MIND
Students are expected to exhibit and develop "habits of mind" of scholars, the practices and behaviors that lead to university success:
Experiment with new ideas
See other points of view
Challenge one’s own beliefs
Engage in intellectual discussions
Ask provocative questions
Exhibit respect for other viewpoints
Read with awareness of self and others
Be attentive in class
Come to class prepared
Endeavor with industry, perseverance,and resiliency
Focus on learning not points lost or gained on any particular assignment
Cheating or academic dishonesty to be a serious violation of school rules and has adopted procedures to deal with students who:
Receive or provide information during a test.
Receive or provide information on tests given during an earlier period.
Use unauthorized material or aids on tests.
Use ideas or written material from other sources--students, professional writers, internet
notes/study guides--without acknowledging the source in your own writing.
Use or copy another student's homework, unless authorized by the teacher to do so.
Allow other students to use your work on assignments, unless authorized by the teacher to do so.
Student is given a zero on the compromised work.
Student is referred to Principal for disciplinary action.
Parent is notified.
Student fails the course.
Student is referred to Principal for disciplinary action.
Parent is notified.
Eligibility prerequisites include successful completion of English 11 Honors (American Literature Survey and Composition) at an (A level recommended) OR AP English Language and Composition (A or B level recommended). These courses included 3 week study and writing in response to such authors as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman,Twain, Crane, Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Salinger, Dickinson,Arthur Miller, Sharon Olds, Maya Angelou, August Wilson, Sandra Cisneros, and Barbara Kingsolver. And completion of Summer Reading.