AP Language and Composition Course Syllabus s



Mrs. Stanley







Office Hours

7:30 am – 3:00 pm M-F


It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to AP English Language and Composition.  I am excited to work with you, and I know we are going to have a fantastic term.  I look forward to seeing you grow as readers, writers, and thinkers and to celebrating your success with the AP English Language and Composition Exam.

The purpose of AP English Language and Composition is to enable you to analyze language and writing style and to write effectively and confidently in various modes and genres of writing.  We will focus on the types of writing that form the basis of academic and professional communication: analytical, argumentative, and expository.  The ability to read and understand complex texts is essential to good writing; to write well, you must be familiar with the techniques and devices that writers use to achieve a given purpose.  To that end, we will read and analyze a wide range of non-fiction texts and use them as our springboards for writing.  Over the course of this term, you will strengthen both your academic reading and writing skills.

Course Goals

By the end of the term, you will be able to…

Course Texts

Core Reading

The Norton Reader Linda H. Peterson and John C. Brereton Twelfth Edition

Ehrenhaft, George. Barron's AP English Language and Composition. Barrons, 2017.

**Please note that course texts are borrowed resources for the purposes of course study and cannot be kept by the student. Students that do not return resources at the end of the academic year will be charged a replacement fee.

Course Outline

1st Quarter

Unit 1 –Argumentation: Argument is a much more complex topic than most people realize.  As we read both classic and contemporary argument, we will discuss the techniques that authors use to develop and maintain an argument.  We will also study logical fallacies –the violations that weaken an argument and make it vulnerable to attack.

Unit Targets:

  1. Understand the basic structure of argument;
  2. Recognize various types of evidence and evaluate their credibility;
  3. Identify and counter logical fallacies;
  4. Develop an original argument using three types of evidence

Related Standards: Complete argumentative writing assignments that are based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres.

Formal Essay Assignment: Argumentative essay/debate on a social issue

*Possible Texts: “College is a Waste of Time and Money,” “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” “Civil Disobedience,” “Declaration of Independence,” and current events

Unit 2 –Research and Synthesis: In this unit, we will work intensively on how to conduct effective academic research and how to synthesize information into a cohesive essay that adheres to a clear and comprehensive thesis.  

Unit Targets:

  1. Read research and determine the most relevant evidence;
  2. Analyze visuals as texts;
  3. Cite sources using MLA style;
  4. Synthesize information in an original argument.

Related Standards: Analyze how graphics and visual images both relate to written texts and serve as texts themselves; present an argument that includes the analysis and synthesis of ideas from an array of sources.

Formal Essay Assignment: Research-based analysis and synthesis essay.

Unit 3 –Defining Good Writing/Definition: We will discuss rhetorical analysis and author’s purpose. In this unit, we will begin to study organization in more depth as we read some essays focused on extended definition.  In your writing, you will work on developing an organizational structure that suits your purpose.

Unit Targets:

  1. Analyze organizational patterns, including placement of thesis and progression of paragraphs;
  2. Explain how structure serves the author’s purpose in a definition essay;
  3. Develop an expanded definition using concrete examples and analysis

Related Standards: write essays that proceed through several stages or drafts, with revision aided by teacher and peers

Formal Essay Assignment: Write an expanded definition of a selected topic and/or analyze the strategies an author uses in an extended definition.

Unit 4 –Description, Analogy, and Satire: In this unit, we will read a variety of descriptive pieces and look at how the authors use language to convey a dominant impression.  In your writing, you will focus on developing a strong, individual voice.

Unit Targets:

  1. Determine the dominant impression being created in a descriptive text;
  2. Explain how diction and imagery create the dominant impression;

Related Standards: write in informal contexts (e.g., imitation exercises, journal keeping, collaborative writing, and in-class responses) designed to help them become increasingly aware of themselves as writers and of the techniques employed by the writers they read.

Unit 5 –Comparison/Contrast: As we look at the conventions of comparison, we will read comparison pieces from various periods and examine how writers develop cohesive paragraphs.

Unit Targets:

  1. Explain the concept of unity in a paragraph;
  2. Analyze the functions of comparison in various types of writing pieces;
  3. Revise paragraphs in an essay to improve unity and development;
  4. Write a comparison essay with a clear thesis and well developed, cohesive paragraphs

Related Standards: write in several forms (e.g., narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative essays) about a variety of subjects (e.g., public policies, popular culture, personal experiences; identify and explain an author's use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.

Formal Essay Assignment: Write an essay of comparison on a single topic.

Course Components

Reading Assignments:  Most of the assigned reading in here will be relatively short pieces which you will be expected to read closely.  When I assign at-home reading, it means the following day’s lesson will depend on your having done it.  You will need to annotate each essay we read, making your annotations or notes in your journal as well as answering questions for consideration that we will discuss in class.  If you fail to complete reading assignments, you will be doing a disservice to yourself and to our class, and it will show in your grade.  Failure to come prepared may also result in your being removed from our class.

PDP Journal Writing:  Because the only way to become a good writer is to actually write, I am going to ask that in addition to your formal writing in here, you also begin maintaining a journal of power devices (PDP).  You will need to keep a spiral notebook in which practice mirroring a skill we are working to develop. I will check the journal from time to time and will select entries for the major grade in that section. You will not know which entries I will be using for your grade, so please make sure all of your entries show your best writing and thinking.  Your composition book/journal is the easiest way to “pad” your grade if you are concerned about it.

Timed Writing: This course is designed to prepare you for the AP English Language and Composition exam.  A core component of that exam is a series of timed essays.  Writing under time pressure is also an essential skill for college-level coursework.  To build this skill, you will write a 40-minute timed essay almost every week in class.  The essay prompts will be similar to those on the AP exam, and they will be scored on the AP rubric.  

Process Writing: Because a major focus of this course is writing style, revising writing to improve style is also an important component.  The revisions and your reflection about each essay will be a topic of conversation during our writing conferences.

Writing Conferences: During the term, you will have two conferences with me to discuss your writing progress and to determine focus points for your following writing assignments.  I am also here for you before school, during lunch, during Titan 28 period, and after school, but to ensure that I am available for a conference, please schedule a time in advance.

  In our conference expect to receive the following instruction and feedback:

Be prepared to revise drafts of your writing based on our conference and teacher feedback.

Writing Portfolio:  This will serve as a final project.  Your portfolio will include selected timed essays, multiple choice assessments, revisions, and a reflection on your progress and your success in applying the concepts we have studied.  It is very, very important that you save all of your writing in here.

Graded Discussions:  Oral participation is a required component of this course.  I know that scares some of you, but sharing of ideas is crucial in this type of course.  You learn to analyze texts by doing it and by hearing others do it.  It will become much less intimidating as you get to know each other and become more comfortable in the class.  In a graded discussion, you are evaluated on how much you contribute as well as the quality of your contributions.


Your grade in this class will reflect your achievement of the goals identified at the beginning of this document.  You will see that the grades in the computer are categorized according to those goals.  The grades in the computer are calculated on a standard percentage scale, as follows:

90-100%=A                60-69%=D

80-89%=B                Below 60%=F


With that said, I am primarily concerned that you achieve the course goals by the end of the semester. Even if your early scores are lower than you would like, if you work diligently to demonstrate consistent improvement and have reached a level of mastery by the end of the semester, your grade will reflect that improvement.  I reserve the right to some subjectivity in grading, and that will work in your favor as long as you work to develop your skills.

Writing will comprise most of your grade in this course.  I will do everything I can to help you write A-quality papers, but please be aware that if you are not writing to passing standard on the AP rubric, you will not receive an A in this course.  That’s why AP courses are allowed an additional grade point.  The standards are higher than in a regular high school course.  However, I believe, as most teachers and many colleges do, that it benefits you to work through a more challenging course, even if you don’t end the course with an A.  I promise you that if you commit to the work in this course, you will be proud of your growth by the end.

That being said, I do not expect to give any grade lower than a C in this class.  There is a great deal of outside work, but I am not unreasonable in my expectations, and I expect you to demonstrate an academic attitude and academic pride and to do your best work.  If you are not completing your outside reading and assignments, you are wasting your time and mine, and in that event your grade will reflect that effort.  

The actual weight of grades in this course is as follows:

30% Formative Assessment

70% Summative Assessment


Because of the discussion-based nature of the course, your regular attendance is crucial.  Absences and tardies to class adversely affect your ability to understand content and affect your ability to adequately maintain a successful pace in the course. We move quickly, and if you are not present for each session, it will negatively affect your performance.

If you must be absent, the absence must be cleared through the office, and you will have the number of days you were absent to make up your work in order to receive credit.  When you turn in make-up work, please write the date(s) of your absence and the date you are turning the paper in.

If you miss a timed essay, it MUST be made up within the week, so I can get it graded before the next essay.  Otherwise, it will be recorded as 0.

Late Work

Homework and in-class assignments will not be accepted late except in the event of an excused absence.  As this is an AP class, you are expected to complete all work on time.  Failure to do so affects both your learning and the quality of the class discussion.  If you have an extreme circumstance that makes it impossible for you to complete a writing assignment by the deadline, please see me privately, in advance of the deadline, and we will discuss it.  As a guideline, the absence of ink in your printer is not an extreme circumstance.   Decide before you talk to me how serious your issue is.

As allowed by RJUHSD Board policy, long-term assignments –those assigned two or more weeks in advance –are due on the due date, regardless of absence.

Required Materials
  • A blue or black pen
  • 8 ½ x 11” notebook paper, white
  • A red or other color pen for editing
  • A set of highlighters (multiple colors, but especially: green, pink, yellow, and blue)
  • The book or selection you are reading
  • Your spiral notebook, dedicated only to this class—5-subject large notebook required (Mead)
  • 3x5 index cards OR Quizlet app

Final Note

        I walk into this room with extraordinarily high expectations for each one of you.  While all of you are here for different reasons, I believe you are all capable of achieving at a high level, and I look forward to seeing that achievement.   If you are struggling with any aspect of the course, or if you just want to talk more about your writing, please come and see me.  I welcome the opportunity to get to know you better.  

Technology/Chromebook Expectations
  • Students shall use technology (Chromebooks, computers, Laptops, etc)  safely, responsibly, and primarily for educational purposes. All content must be school appropriate.

  • Students shall adhere to Student Technology Agreement per Board Policy 6163.4.

AP Language and Composition

To confirm that you have read and understood all course policies and expectations, complete and e-sign the AP Language Course Signature Form on our Google Classroom

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