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P. D. Jackson-Olin High School

AP Language and Composition
Ms. J. Edwards

Parents/Guardians and Students:

I am excited about being the instructor for AP Language and Composition this year. We anticipate having a
productive year filled with academic growth and achievement. In this classroom, each student is important and
expected to become motivated learners. Every day, students will participate in learning activities and
assessments that are geared towards accomplishing the learning requirements of this course; therefore,
attendance is very important​. If at any time tutoring or extra help is needed, feel free to contact me to set up
meeting times. I will be more than happy to aid in ensuring academic success.

Parents/Guardians, please take a moment to review the items listed below with your child. Please, sign and
return the notification of receipt. If at any time you would like to schedule a parent conference, contact me via
email or call the main office at 205-231-6431.
Class Rules
❖ Be Respectful! Respect yourself, others and the school's property.
❖ Be Responsible, Organized, and Prepared for class.
❖ Turn in all assignments when they are due. NO LATE WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED.
❖ Avoid use of cellular phones and electronic devices; technology may only be used for educational
purposes with permission.
❖ Consumption of food, candy and drinks is prohibited.
❖ Remain on task at all times. Sleeping is not allowed.
❖ Have Productive Fun! Enjoy your learning experience.

Class Procedures
❖ Come into the classroom, get seated and start on the warm-up activity.
❖ Complete culture-content articles and submit biweekly (homework)
❖ Complete all required reading assignments prior to class
❖ Keep notes and assignments in binder and arranged by date.
❖ If you are absent, copy objective, agenda and notes from a classmate before or after class or you may
access missed assignments on the class website within 24 hours of the missed school day. (Be prepared
for scheduled binder checks).
❖ Turn in assignments that are due at the end of the class period in the assigned area.
❖ Use the restroom before class; no hallpasses will be given!

Course Overview
Students in this introductory college-level course read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of
nonfiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through close
reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and text with a greater

awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities. Course readings feature
expository, analytical, personal, and argumentative texts from a variety of authors and historical contexts.
Students examine and work with essays, letters, speeches, images, and imaginative literature. Independent
reading and writing are required. Students prepare for the AP® English Language and Composition Exam and
may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both as a result of satisfactory performance.

Central course textbooks include ​50 Essays: A Portable Anthology ​ and ​The Language of Composition.​ Course
reading and writing activities should help students gain textual power, making them more alert to an author’s
purpose, the needs of an audience, the demands of the subject, and the resources of language: syntax, word
choice, and tone. By early May of the school year, students will have nearly completed a course in close reading
and purposeful writing. The critical skills that students learn to appreciate through close and continued analysis
of a wide variety of nonfiction texts can serve them in their own writing as they grow increasingly aware of
these skills and their pertinent uses.

During the course, a wide variety of texts (prose and image based) and writing tasks provide the focus for an
energetic study of language, rhetoric, and argument. As this is a college-level course, performance expectations
are appropriately high, and the workload is challenging. Students are expected to commit to a minimum of five
hours of coursework per week outside of class. Often, this work involves long-term writing and reading
assignments, so effective time management is important. Because of the demanding curriculum, students must
bring to the course sufficient command of mechanical conventions and an ability to read and discuss prose. The
course is constructed in accordance with the guidelines described in the AP English Course Description.

Course Planner

First Semester: Literary Influence on the Civil Rights Movement

First Quarter: Course Orientation, Introduction to Close Reading, and Rhetorical Awareness
Second Quarter: Accounting for Purpose, Deepening Appreciation of Rhetorical Strategies, and Intimations of Argument

Essential Question-- How does literature influence the social and legal outcomes of civil rights issues?

The course opens with establishing core skills, which consists of reading two memoirs and keeping a reading
response journal. With a focus on purpose, students find ways to recognize what’s remarkable in W. E. B. Du
Bois's ​The Souls of Black Folk​. They consider rhetorical context—purpose, audience, and strategies—as they
focus on close reading. They study the introductions to course readers and begin annotating, accounting for
purpose and context, and recognizing strategies and tactics. The entire class considers the substance and context
of the required texts.

During the second quarter, students encounter clusters of essays that are generally related by subject but are
markedly different in purpose and strategies. Students write a pair of major papers analyzing the rhetorical
differences seen in two such clusters. Additional works to analyze include based upon the unit’s theme include:
James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son,” F. Douglass, “Learning to Read and Write,” Z. N. Hurston, “How it
Feels to be Colored Me,” and Malcolm X, “Learning to Read.” In their close reading, students are expected to
recognize the author’s choices when using generalization and specific, illustrative detail, and later to be aware
of such choices in their own writings. Students develop the habit of accounting for their close reading in a

variety of ways—by producing descriptive outlines, “says/does” analysis, close reading response forms,
annotated photocopies of assigned texts/annotation pages, and double-entry notebooks/dialectical journals.

They share their descriptive outlines first with their peers in small groups and with me in conferences. Peers
respond to each other’s work by indicating portions of text that are effective as well as those segments that
need attention. Through this process, students learn to increase the coherence of their essays as they consider
how to better represent and convey their ideas. I ask students to represent how they move from the discussion of
one text to another by identifying their essay’s transitional phrases and how, specifically, they express and
develop their views. Collectively, the class deepens and varies its exploration of the term rhetoric,

Unit Lessons Focus:

Rhetoric--The rhetorical situation (occasion, context, and purpose; the rhetorical triangle; and SOAPS),
appeals to ethos/logos/pathos, rhetorical analysis of visual texts, determining effective/ineffective
rhetoric, and rhetorical terms

Close Reading-- Analyzing style, talking to the text (asking questions, annotating), analysis essay
(developing thesis), visual texts

Grammar--subject-verb agreement, verb tense, objects, compound subjects/predicates (syntax)

Midterm Exam-- In class timed essay (Practice Writing Task)

Practice Writing Task (Rhetorical analysis essay prep)-- After reading a variety of literary texts, write an essay
in which you analyze how the author’s language reflects and/or influences the legal and/or social progress
within the civil rights movement(s) providing evidence to clarify your analysis.

AP Writing Portfolio Prompt-- 2003 Question #2

First Semester Exam: At the end of the second quarter and first semester, students take an 80-minute exam
featuring two AP free-response questions from released exams— focusing on prose analysis and rhetoric.

Second Semester: Culture and Identity

Third Quarter: Understanding and Developing Argument
Fourth Quarter: Synthesis Essay, Focused Preparation for the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and Understanding the
Rhetoric of Cinema

Essential Question-- What defines you?

Throughout much of the third quarter, on an almost daily basis, students continue working with nonfiction:
argumentative essays, letters, and speeches. Drawing on texts from different cultural and historical milieus,
students increase their familiarity with the various rhetorical modes. In addition to considering the texts I’ve
selected, students are asked to locate, read, and cite (with annotations) four to six additional texts that offer
valuable insights. This task asks students to make use of their knowledge of the rhetoric of images and words.

The final cluster of essays and other texts studied are all associated with the concept of culture and identity. In
their final essays, students are expected to exercise and sharpen the research and rhetorical skills that ultimately

will support and illuminate their own arguments. Students go on to consider numerous image-based texts drawn
from broadcast television, selected websites, and periodicals that influence a culture’s perception of what it
defines identity.Students are directed to carefully evaluate, employ, and properly cite primary and secondary
sources, again using MLA documentation.

This unit’s culminating assignment asks students to move beyond the texts offered for whole class consideration
by writing a researched argument paper that asks them to draw upon their own researched sources. While also
considering apt personal experiences, they undertake purposeful research of their own as they articulate,
develop, and support their own position in response to a passage that offers a debatable definition of identity.
In connection with this assignment, students are asked to avoid assuming their own stances until they have
carefully considered varied but viable viewpoints on identity and related issues as offered by a range of
researched sources.

During the early stages of their work, they share their deliberations over their research in classroom-based study
groups. Then, prior to writing a first draft, they represent their discussions around and about their sources before
me in conference. They continue to receive support and collect feedback during the writing process from me as
well as their peers.

In their final essays, students are expected to exercise and sharpen the research and rhetorical skills that
ultimately will support and illuminate their own arguments. Students are directed to carefully evaluate, employ,
and properly cite primary and secondary sources, again using MLA documentation.

Focus Literature:
Major Work-- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Additional Works-- Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman,” Langston Hughes, “Salvation,” Maya
Angelou, “Graduation,” and Alice Walker, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”

Unit Lessons Focus:

Analyzing Arguments--What is an argument?, staking a claim (types of claims, from claim to thesis),
presenting evidence, shaping arguments, visual text as arguments, argument terms

Synthesizing Sources-- writing a synthesis essay

Grammar-- Clauses, Phrases, Modifiers, conjunctions, and punctuation.

Midterm Exam--In class timed essay

Practice Writing Task (Argumentative)-- Using the sources studied during this semester, write an
argumentative essay in which you answer the essential question of the unit--support, qualify or dispute the
author’s claim about how culture influences identity.

AP Writing Portfolio Prompts--

Argumentative- 2004B Question #3 (Group norms/rules)
Synthesis- 2009B Question #1 (Education/Individuality/Conformity) / 2011B “Green Living”
Semester Exam: AP Exam (participation)

Student Evaluation
Students are evaluated on the basis of major papers, homework, quality and character of class participation and
involvement, and AP-style writing prompts. Major papers count a great deal toward each quarter’s grade, but
other elements are also significant. Students earn both numbered scores and grades on AP prompts they take
during the year. The grade associated with particular AP essay scores varies according to the time of year, that
is, a very good essay written in November earns a higher grade than a similar essay written in April. That’s
because students are at work building the skills needed to succeed as the year proceeds. Student performance in
connection with important course components contributes to each student’s final grade for the course in the
following manner:

Acquiring Grades
Assessments (weekly) – quizzes, tests, essays/written reflections
Writing Projects - learning-performance based assessment each nine weeks
Homework (daily) – reading assignments and online class discussions
Participation/Classwork (daily) - if tardy students miss activities, they will lose daily participation points
Final Exams (2 semester exams) – [test 1: December; test 2: May] - Practice AP Exam

Grading Scale
90-100 = A Grade Categories (percentages)
80-89 = B Classwork (50%)
70-79 = C Assessments (40%)
60-69 = D Homework (10%)
0-59 = F

Classroom Materials
You are ​required​ to have the following items with them in class on a daily basis:
● Highlighters
● College ruled paper
● Pencils/Pens (Black or Blue)
● Color pencils/ Markers
● Binder with dividers
● Textbook and Resources
● Planner and Portable Charger (optional)

Binder/Notebook Requirements:
The following sections must be present in your binder/Notebook:
1. Class (Cornell) Notes/Assignments
2. Homework - “Cultivating Content” articles and research notes
3. AP Test Prep (Multiple Choice Practice)

Student Expectations:
​Are you ready to ​BOSS UP​?

Make-up Work Policy

Attendance is very important in this course. Because collaborative work is incorporated within
instruction, certain make up assignments may differ from the original assignment (but the assignment
will uphold the same academic expectations). If a class day is missed, the student is responsible for
acquiring the missed objectives, vocabulary and activities. ​With an excused absence​, students may
make up a test within THREE days of the administered test. If the student is previously informed of an
assignment before their absence and they are absent on the due date, the assignment is due upon the day
the student returns. If a student misses an uninformed assignment, he/she has up to FIVE weekdays to
make up the work. ​LATE WORK WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED ​and work not submitted will result in a
failing grade (Zero). To acquire assignments and schedule a make-up day see me after class or visit the
class website ​​ , locate the missed assignments, comment under the
assignment that you wish to make-up and a make-up deadline will be issued. Please allow up to 24 hours
for daily assignments to be posted. If you fail to request an opportunity to make-up missed work, you
will receive a zero for the assignment.

Academic Dishonesty Policy:

Dishonest academic behavior will result in a failing grade for the assignment, a written office
referral and/or phone conference with parents. ​Plagiarism will NOT be tolerated!
In-Class intervention and student conferences will be held on Skinny Days (Fridays)
In accordance with school policy, you will receive progress reports from all teachers at the mid-point of each
9weeks. If you would like a detailed progress report that includes all grades recorded up to that point, you must
request this from me at least 2 days prior to “Skinny Day.”

Disciplinary Plan
In the event of classroom rules being broken, the following plan of action will take place:
First Offense: Warning and Student Conference after class. Student and teacher discuss behavior improvement
plan--signed by student.
Second Offense: Parent Communication. Parent is contacted for a phone conference.
Third Offense: Office Referral and Parent -Teacher Conference. Behavior Contract.
(More serious offenses that violate the code of conduct booklet will result in an immediate office referral).

Technology Involvement
Certain homework assignments will require students to participate in class discussions and involvement on the
forum on the class website ​ and the textbook site . Students will also be required to submit assignments such as essays on the
academic platform ​Google Classroom ​The websites are accessible from mobile devices (android,
smartphone, iPhone etc.), tablets and personal computers. If you lack internet or public library access, please
contact me.
Please make note of your Google Classroom information below:
Class pd: __________ Google Classroom Code: _____________________

Login Name: _______________________________ Password: _______________________

P. D. Jackson-Olin High School

AP Language and Composition

Notification of Receipt
Please sign and return only this page of the syllabus. If you do not return this page signed within one
week, you will receive a zero for a quiz grade and your parent/guardian will be contacted.

The state has adopted more stringent standards known as the Common Core Standards. The rigor and
pace of the class will be much different than what students may be accustomed to. It is very important that
students take notes, do their homework, and participate in class!

I have read all of the information in the course syllabus and agree to abide by all of the items listed. I agree to
take notes in class, participate in class, complete the classwork, and to do all homework assigned to me. I
understand that failure to do my work will result in a failing grade for this course.

_____________________________ _________________
Student Signature Date

I have read all of the information in the course syllabus. As a parent/guardian, I understand that it is my
responsibility to motivate my child to work to his/her highest potential in this class.

_________________________________________ _____________________
Parent/Guardian Signature Date
_________________________________________ _____________________

e-mail address Contact Number


1) What do you use to access the internet at home? (Circle all that apply):
Desktop Computer/Laptop Tablet Smart-Phone/iPhone none

2) Have you ever participated in an online forum/discussion board for educational purposes?
Yes No

3) What social networks do you actively use? (Circle all that apply):
Facebook Twitter Snapchat Instagram Other: _______________

4) 4. How comfortable do you feel using technology to submit assignments?

Very Comfortable Comfortable Unsure Uncomfortable Very Uncomfortable