Thursday, June 5, 2008

AP course outline

AP English Syllabus

The primary goal of the senior Advanced Placement English Class at Westbrook High School is to develop your abilities as independent readers and writers by giving you a college-level course during senior year. If you successfully complete the examination in May, you can qualify for up to one year's credit in English at the college you select.

Advanced Placement English is both demanding and intellectually stimulating. It requires the your best efforts consistently and puts emphasis upon your developing independence of thought and mature habits of critical thinking. Classroom discussion and active participation are vital and serve as a means of testing your ideas. Written assignments, both short and long-term, will be an important and frequent feature of the course. We work with both canonical and modern fiction and poetry, concentrating on learning how to encounter new works and respond in your own informed voices.

Summer Reading Assignment
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Finn by Jon Clinch
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Ernie's Ark by Monica Wood

Summer Writing Assignment
Students will write weekly blogs, and receive comments back during the summer on their entries. (see above for detailed instructions)

Grading System: Students will graded on reading guides, essays, on-demands, and tests, and in-class discussions of the course readings, using both the traditional scale (i.e. 100 point) and the AP essay rubric (1-9). Students will also be assessed on creative writing, in-class discussions, and group projects, generally using a “check” system.

Students are allowed to rewrite on-demands and essays for an average of the two grades. They must meet with me, one-on-one, outside of class time, to review the work to discuss surface errors and content concerns in order.

Expectations: Students will keep a notebook, which can be used on all quizzes and tests, and which can be submitted for extra credit during each text/section. At the end of each semester, students will create a portfolio of best work, and reflect on their development as a reader, writer, and thinker.

Fellowing: (peer editing program from Brown University) – Throughout the year, students work in pairs as they write and rewrite their early drafts on (take-home) essays. Students partner up, swap drafts, copy edit with editor’s marks, and offer a paragraph each of construction criticism and praise. They then return the papers to the original author for rewrites.

On-Demand Essays - At the beginning of the school year in the fall, we start with four (4) on-demand essays. Students are given specific prompts about the novels and their authors’ literary devices, and they will have 40 minutes for each prompt. Students will be able to use their journals on these in-class essays, as well as any original notes they generated while reading these books. Since it is a timed test, students will want to organize their reading notes and journals ahead of the start of the school year. I encourage them to feel free to email me during the summer with questions and/or comments about the assignment.

Students can rewrite the assigned on-demand, or they can choose a new topic. I offer them a copy of previous AP writing prompts (e.g. poetry prompts), ask them to locate the poem, read it, and write the 40-minute on-demand. If they choose to rewrite the same on-demand, they must meet with me to review their earlier miscues, outside of class time, for an average of the two papers.

A.P. “Boot Camp” or learning to write about literature
Primary Text: Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and the Essay (DiYanni)
Selected stories and poems from classic and modern writers

First assignment: Students are to read the glossary of literary terms in DiYanni text. They are encouraged to take notes, and may use them on the quiz.

ALSO, throughout: Students work on text-based vocabulary, read articles from New York Times (“Book Review” and “Magazine”), New Yorker, Harpers’, and Atlantic Monthly. Granted, this AP course is prepping students for a test in English Literature, but I will add non-fiction readings, vocabulary exercises, and grammar and usage development through The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

MIDTERM – Students take a released exam from the AP materials, as well as sections covering the texts we read this semester.

from selected titles:
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Tess of the d'Ubervilles OR Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Fourth Quarter – As the AP exam nears, we get away from novel reading and into digesting shorter texts (excerpts) and writing about them in timed sessions.

Practice Tests
Sample practice tests, as well as continued readings from periodicals

After the AP test
“Living Poet” project – A series of organized interviews with a living poet, and a cohesive written assignment based on these talks and augmented by research

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