AP Literature
Click here for Homework/Handouts

Welcome to AP Literature and Composition!
This year-long course follows the curricular requirements of the AP Course Description published by the College Board.  This class is a rigorous college level course and is NOT only about the AP test in May.  Instead, we will use the test as a framework to analyze and write about literature.   We will read the literature and then discuss and write about our experience, interpretations, and analysis of text.      
All AP students are REQUIRED to take the AP Literature test
~ Thursday, May 10, 2012, cost $78 ~

Classroom Expectations:  Our classroom is a sacred place.  The great though, laughter, and learning that occurs within its walls should remain the primary focus throughout the year.  It is important for you to know this is YOUR classroom.  Your voice, your opinions, and your feelings matter very much in this room, as do the voices, opinions, and feelings of everyone else.  We rarely learn in isolation and must often rely on others in order to succeed.  My only “rule” is RESPECT for one another and oneself.  Showing respect includes coming to class on time, coming to class prepared, listening to one another, voicing your opinion but also valuing another point of view, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

Cell Phones: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding cell phones.  If I see/hear your cell phone or see you using it under the table, I take it away.  You have only one chance.  I donít care if it was turned on or off or what-have-you.  I will return your phone to you at the end of the class period.  If you become a repeat offender and I am taking away your phone every day, I will simply give it to the main office and you will be able to pick it up there at 2:10.  If I am able to leave my own phone in my truck all day, without updating my Facebook status or texting my friends, you can sit through a 55- minute class without yours.  

Required Materials:
Be prepared to work hard in this class.  Learning is not often easy, but believe it or not, most of you will end up enjoying the challenges ahead.  When you look at the requirements for the class, you may feel overwhelmed.  Don't.  Take it one day at a time.  Use your time wisely.  In return for your hard work you will become better thinkers, readers, and learners.  I can prepare you for college, but only if you let me.  That means you must be committed to the class.

Feel free to explore ideas which interest you!  Donít worry if you make mistakes or if your work is not perfect.  I do not expect perfection in this class, but I DO expect hard and honest work.  We learn and grow at different paces.  In this class, you will not be measured by how your work compares to others, but how your work, ideas, and efforts improve, grow, and mature as the year progresses.

Course Overview: Tentative Course Plan: (subject to change)
Unit #1 Identity and the Coming of Age
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies.
Tan, Amy. Joy Luck Club.
Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye.
1999 AP exam - multiple choice sections given in class as practice
2003 Open Question Form B ñ given in class as practice
1991 Prose Analysis ñ given in class as practice
1987 Poetry Analysis ñ given in class as practice
Out of class essay -College Admissions
Selected poetry explication

Unit #2 Power and Control
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaidís Tale.
Morrison, Toni. The Song of Solomon.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men.
1999 AP exam -multiple choice sections given in class as practice
Unit #3: Tragic Flaws
Fitzgerald, F.Scottt. The Great Gatsby.
Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness.
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart.
1994 AP exam -multiple choice sections given in class as practice
Selected poetry explication

Unit #4: Fate and the Human Condition
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet.
Sophocles. Oedipus Rex.
1991 AP exam - multiple choice sections given in class as practice
Selected poetry explication
Unit #5: After the Test
Reading in this course is intensive and rigorous.  You will engage in close and careful readings and critical analysis of literature.  You will interpret literature based on a careful observation of textual details, considering the work's structure, style, and themes; the social and historical values it reflects and embodies; and elements such as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.  We will read a variety of text from various genres and time periods.  Our focus will be both wide and deep.  We will cover at least eight major texts over the course of the year as well as many short stories, plays, and poetry.  

Poetry is integrated throughout the course rather than being presented as an isolated unit.  My goal is to give you a richer understanding of the power of poetic expression with a wide range of poets and poetry.  You should leave my course with as much confidence in your ability to close read and construct meaning in poetry as you have in approaching literary prose. You will study a range of specific forms of poetry (i.e., sonnet, villanelle, sestina) and of literary elements (i.e., diction, figurative language, imagery, syntax).

This course includes an intensive study of works such as (but not limited to):
* These are plays and will be read aloud in class

Writing is an integral part of this course and the writing you do will reinforce your reading.  Paper guidelines can be broken down into three words:  write, revise, rewrite.  Good writing is not just limited to the actual act of writing, but also includes revising and writing.  We will work in writing workshop groups to revise and you will also have opportunities to workshop papers with me.

There will be frequent opportunities for you to write and rewrite formal, extended analytical papers as well as a longer research based paper. You will also complete timed in-class responses for AP Exam practice.  You will keep a writing portfolio of completed and graded essays and these portfolios will be used each quarter for a reflective evaluation of progress.

Overall we will do three different types of writing:
All papers should be typed using Times New Roman 12 point font and double-spaced.  Use black ink on white paper.  There are NO exceptions and I refuse to accept anything else.  Research papers MUST include a sources cited page and use in text citations with MLA format.  If you are unclear on MLA format, please see me!

Every week or so, we will do AP-styled timed writing or a multiple choice test in class.  These will be approximately anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes in length and will be graded so we can review them during the following class.  During our second and fourth units, we will be doing a full practice AP Exam.

I will provide instruction and feedback on your writing assignments, both before and after you revise your work.  Writing instruction will be guided by clearly designed rubrics. You will be provided formal, direct instruction in grammar and usage when common problems surface in assignments and more informal, small group or individual instruction on other less common problems.  My goal is to help you develop:
Classroom Discussions:  Discussion in our class is lively, interactive, and student-centered.  Types of discussion may include: formal Socratic, literary circles, small group discussions, fishbowl discussions and seminar discussions.  We will minimally spend five classes discussing each book.  Discussions are student directed, but will generally include:
Issues of identity, gender, and privilege

Due Dates: You will have approximately two to three weekends to read an assigned text.  Short stories and shorter novels will obviously take less time.  On the book completion due date, please come to class with the novel and any notes and questions you have about the text.  It is expected that the book will be completely read by this time!  Since this course is heavily discussion-driven and the class is relatively small, it will be immediately apparent if you did not do the reading.  

Late Work:  To be regarded as on time, all work must be completed by the beginning of the class period on the day it is due. NO WORK, including writing portfolios, is accepted late.  If you do not pass it in the day (class period) it is due, you will earn a ZERO. Homework is considered part of your daily work grade: it is either complete or not complete. “My computer/printer doesnít work” is NOT a valid excuse for late work.  Almost all of your assignments will be given out many days in advance.  If you are having trouble with your home computer, you may email the paper to me as long as I receive the paper via email (and can open the document) before your class begins.  If you do not receive a confirmation email from me, then you cannot assume I received the work.

Make Up of Work (taken from the SVHS student handbook):
Missed work due to excused absences must be made up within three days.  Extended absences may result in more time available for makeup.   No credit is awarded for work made up after an unexcused absence.  If you are absent, YOU must come to ME.  I will not chase you for missed assignments.  It is your responsibility to make up your work.  After three days, the assignment becomes a zero.

Assessment:  Students with grades below B- (85%) will need to conference with me before continuing to the next quarter.  If you are not earning at least an 85%, you are either not working hard enough or you might find the workload is too overwhelming.  I reserve the right to switch you to English 12 if you cannot maintain a B-.

Your grade is based on the following:
Participation and Attendance:  You are expected to participate in each and every class.  This means you are actively engaging in relevant academic discussion, coming to class prepared (materials and assignments), and completing all daily tasks.  The attendance policy fits in here ñ if you arenít present, you cannot participate!  For my class, absences do affect your participation grade. You are responsible for completing any work you missed while you were absent.  You are required to be in class on time.  If the door is closed, you are late and I am not going to be pleased.

Tests/Quizzes:  Before we start class discussion on the texts, students will complete a quick reading check.  If the class consistently does well on these and therefore proves to me that the reading actually is getting done, reading checks will no longer be necessary.  Your midterm exam will be a timed practice AP exam, consisting of multiple choice items of literary analysis and three essays (prose and poetry analyses and an open question).
College Support:  The MSDA #55 School Board expects that ALL seniors will apply to at least one school of higher education.  The guidance staff will absolutely support you in the application and admission process.  In addition, much of our focus during Quarter I will be on completing college essays and applications. Even if you do not plan to attend a college, both the process of writing a reflective piece of writing and the act of filling out an application are beneficial life-skills.
Resource Requirements:  The school ensures that each student has a copy of all required readings for individual use inside and outside of the classroom. ~

**My syllabus (above) has been accepted by the College Board as of November 2008!  Yay!