AP Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition Course Syllabus 2017-2018

Delran High School

Ms. Turse~kturse@delranschools.org

Hello, my name is Ms. Turse, and I will be instructing you for the 2017-2018 academic year. The following is the course syllabus for AP English Language and Composition and the breakdown of my classroom guidelines and expectations. We will review it together in class. Please share it with your parent(s)/guardian(s) and have one of them sign it. Keep it in your English folder as a reference throughout the remainder of the year.

We will be using Google Classroom throughout the year. I will post the daily Plan of the Day and include links to notes, PowerPoints, etc. In order to access this information, please log in to Google Classroom using your Delran login information. Then, click the + sign on the upper right hand corner of the page and click “Join Class.” I will provide the class code during the first week of school. 

The following syllabus is composed of information taken from the course overview and objectives in the AP® English Course Description published by the College Board and the AP® English Language and Composition: Syllabus 2 1058801v1.

Course Overview: An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

•        analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques;

•        apply effective strategies and techniques in their own writing;

•        create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience;

•        write for a variety of purposes;

•        produce expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary sources, cogent explanations, and clear transitions;

•        demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writings;

•        demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources;

•        move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, revising, editing, and review;

•        write thoughtfully about their own process of composition;

•        revise a work to make it suitable for a different audience;

•        analyze image as text; and

 •       evaluate and incorporate reference documents into researched papers.

Course Texts

Cohen, Samuel, ed. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/ St.Martin’s, 

Shea, Renee H., Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Autses. The Language of 
        Composition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2008.


Required Materials:                                            Suggested Materials                           
lined loose-leaf paper                                           3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper

blue or black pen                                                   folder



POST-IT NOTES!! (I suggest more than one color and two different sizes-small & medium. )


Tests, Projects, Presentations, Major Writings                           45%

Quizzes, Timed Writings, In-class writings, In-class projects    33%

Homework/Classwork                                                                 12%

Class Participation                                                                       10%


Daily Routine:

  1. Students will be in class and seated by time the bell rings or will be marked LATE. Three Lates = Teacher Detention 
  2. Students will copy the “Plan of the Day” in their notebook or binder as soon as they are seated. They will read the class objective posted daily on the board. If there is a “Do Now” assignment, they will complete it.    
  3. Students will come to class fully prepared with required materials. Students have time to visit their locker in between classes.
  4. Students may leave class with my permission and a hall pass. Students will not be given permission to leave class during tests, quizzes, or in the middle of an activity unless it is an emergency. All students who enter the room late must have a pass.


  1. All work will be completed on the assigned due date. Failure to complete homework results in a 0.

For major writing assignments and projects, every day late results in a 10-point deduction. This includes weekends.

2.   Students will write their name on all assignments and use blue or black ink or pencil.

3.   Students will follow the plagiarism rules outlined in the student handbook. Any student caught cheating in any manner will receive a 0 on the assignment.

4.   I am available to provide extra help to all students. Students must arrange a time to meet; I require a 24 hr. notice.


  1. Students will treat their peers, teacher, and themselves with consideration and respect. This includes using school appropriate language.
  2. Students will keep their cell phones, IPods, and other portable devices on silent and stowed.
  3. Students will follow all school policies especially those on harassment and bullying.
  4. Students will treat books and all other school materials with care.
  5. Students will take responsibility for themselves and their actions.
  6. Students will work to the best of their ability at all times.

Procedures for Absences:

  1. Consult the Plan of the Day on Google Classroom for the day(s) that you were absent. The plan will indicate whether there were notes, handouts, or homework assignments. It will also provide important due dates.
  2. Collect all handouts that were passed out while you were absent. Handouts will be placed in a designated area for you to pick up on your arrival back to school. It is your responsibility.
  3. Copy any missed notes from a reliable classmate or see me for my notes. Notes will often be posted on Google Classroom.
  4. See me to schedule a time to make up a missed test or quiz. This is your responsibility. After returning, a student has the same number of days to make up a test or quiz as he/she was absent. (Ex.: 3 days absent= 3 days to make up quiz/test) Any quiz or test that is not made up in the appropriate time frame will count as a zero. All tests/quizzes must be completed during the marking period that they were given. Students absent the day of a test announced prior to their absence may be given the test on the first day back.
  5. Complete assignments and hand them in on the assigned due date. Students are required to bring in a note from their parent/guardian if they are unable to meet a deadline due to absence (Ex: writing assignment, project, etc.)

Course Planner

1st  and 2nd Marking Periods

The 1st and 2nd marking periods are dedicated to developing fluency in key aspects of argumentative writing, introducing critical thinking strategies and the canons of rhetoric, reviewing key style concepts, and exploring major themes in expository and argumentative writing. 

Assertion Journals

Students will receive quotes from writers whom we will be studying sometime during the course of the year. For each quote, students must provide a clear explanation of the writer’s assertion, then defend or challenge it, noting the complexity of the issue and acknowledging any possible objections to the student’s point of view. These “short writes” are only 300 to 400 words, just enough to practice a key concept in argumentation: acknowledging alternative points of view. Students will also create “short writes” analyzing the rhetorical devices used in the quotes. Finally, students will identify and practice using language that develops tone and style. As the students become comfortable with these informal pieces of writing, and as we review components of clarity and style, students must include one example of each of the following syntactical techniques in their assertion journals: coordination, subordination, varied sentence beginning, periodic sentence, and parallelism. As students develop a sense of their own style through sentence structure, they also learn organizational strategies such as parallel structure, transitional paragraphs, and appropriate balance and sequencing of generalization and specific detail. 


Students receive instruction in the SOAPSTone strategy. In addition, students are introduced to strategies for analyzing prose and visual texts in relation to three of the five canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, and style. Students practice these strategies with several different pieces of prose and visual text. 


Students will work to gain vocabulary and practice using new terms in context in order to develop a wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately. 


The course offers many opportunities for students to collaboratively practice the skills they need, derived from the College Board’s belief that learning can only occur if students have opportunities to check their understanding and clarify their thinking. In the fall semester, students will learn how to conduct a Socratic Seminar about An American Childhood by Annie Dillard and Growing Up by Russell Baker. They develop their own questions based on the Socratic Seminar models provided by the National Center for the Paideia Program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.


Because style is a major component of writing skill, students review the use of appositive phrases, participial phrases, and absolute phrases to improve the quality and sophistication of their writing. Initially, students complete sentence and paragraph-imitation exercises; later, they are expected to highlight their use of these phrases in their major compositions. In addition, students receive instruction in how to recognize and incorporate figures of rhetoric in a piece of writing, particularly schemes and tropes.

Exposition and Argumentation

Students need many models of expository and argumentative writing to see the possibilities for their own writing. The following list of readings is organized by the two quarters of study in the fall semester. This list is merely a sampling of what the students will read during this time frame:

First Marking Period: An Introduction to the Canons of Rhetoric

“An Introduction to Rhetoric,” Chapter 1 in The Language of Composition

“Everything’s an Argument,” Chapter 1 in Everything’s an Argument

“Shooting An Elephant” by George Orwell

“The Libido for the Ugly” by H. L. Mencken

“Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards

 “Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis,” Chapter 2 in The Language of Composition

“Reading and Writing Arguments,” Chapter 2 in Everything’s an Argument 

Second Marking Period: A Study of Justice

“Analyzing Arguments: From Reading to Writing,” Chapter 3 in The Language of Composition

“Second Inaugural Address” by Abraham Lincoln (2002 AP English Language and Composition Exam)

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr.

“How it Feels to Be Colored Me” by Zora Neale Hurston

“Graduation” by Maya Angelou

“Ain’t I a Woman?” by Sojourner Truth

“Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau

“The C Word in the Hallways” by Anna Quindlen

“Let Teen-agers Try Adulthood” by Leon Bolstein

“Arguments of Definition,” Chapter 9 in Everything’s an Argument

Essay Writing

The fall semester is geared to introducing the structure of arguments and varying styles of argumentative essays. Students complete three major arguments, each one consisting of 750 to 1,000 words: an argument of proposal, an argument of definition, and an argument of evaluation. These essays proceed from the proposal stage through formative drafts with feedback from teacher and peers to a final draft. The teacher will return each draft to the student with suggestions for revision. 

All essays are accompanied by a profile or information page and a rubric (scoring guideline). Each rubric has a self-assessment component to help students learn how to be better assessors of their own writing development.

Timed Writings

During the fall semester, students complete several timed essay questions. The College Board reports that they have found that integrating the timed writings into the natural progression of the course helps build students’ confidence and expertise. The timed writing essay questions will consist of questions gathered from past AP exams.

Analyzing Visual Arguments

Students learn OPTIC, a new strategy for analyzing visual arguments, which is fully described in the Teaching Strategies section below. In addition, Appendix B in Seeing and Writing presents key guidelines and questions for reading images, advertisements, paintings, and photographs that help students complete a close reading of visual text. Each student will provide three examples of visual text (advertisements, cartoons, etc.) and will write a short analysis of each using the OPTIC strategy.

Exposition and Argumentation

Students continue to work with examples of expository and argumentative writing to use as models for their own writing. The following list of readings is organized by the two quarters of study in the spring semester. This list is merely a sampling of what the students will read during this time frame:

Third Marking Period: A History of the Essay as an Art Form

“The Ways We Lie” by Stephanie Ericsson

“Professions for Women” by Virginia Woolf

“On Seeing England for the First Time,” Jamaica Kincaid 

“The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria” by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 “Causal Arguments,” Chapter 11 in Everything’s an Argument.

Fourth Marking Period: A Final Look at Argumentation

“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathon Swift

“An Presidential Candidate” by Mark Twain

“Facebook Friendonomics” by Scott Brown

“Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted” by Malcolm Gladwell 

“The ‘F’ Word” by Firoozeh Dumas

“Visual Arguments,” Chapter 15 in Everything’s an Argument

“Fallacies of Argument,” Chapter 19 in Everything’s an Argument

Essay Writing

The spring semester continues to acquaint students with various argumentative structures: causal argument, argument of proposal, and visual arguments.

Timed Writings

During the spring semester, students will continue to complete several timed essays to develop skill in writing rhetorical analysis essays. As in the fall semester, the timed writings are integrated into the natural progression of the course.

Plagiarism Policy

See Student Handbook.

Subject-Occasion-Audience-Purpose-Speaker-Tone (SOAPSTone)

This is a text analysis strategy as well as a method for initially teaching students how to craft a more thoughtful thesis. The SOAPSTone strategy was developed by Tommy Boley and is taught in the College Board workshop “Strategies in English Writing— Tactics Using SOAPSTone”:

Speaker: the individual or collective voice of the text

Occasion: the event or catalyst causing the writing of the text to occur

Audience: the group of readers to whom the piece is directed

Purpose: the reason behind the text

Subject: the general topic and/or main idea

Tone: the attitude of the author

Syntax Analysis Chart

A syntax analysis chart is an excellent strategy for style analysis as well as an effective revision technique for a student’s own writing. One of the key strategies mentioned in The AP Vertical Teams® Guide for English, published by the College Board, the syntax analysis chart involves creating a five-column table with the following headings: Sentence Number, First Four Words, Special Features, Verbs, and Number of Words per Sentence. This reflective tool not only helps students examine how style contributes to meaning and purpose but also helps students identify various writing problems (repetitiveness, possible run-ons or fragments, weak verbs, and lack of syntactical variety). In addition, students are made aware of their own developing voices and use of diction.

Overview-Parts-Title-Interrelationships-Conclusion (OPTIC)

The OPTIC strategy is highlighted in Walter Pauk’s book How to Study in College and provides students with key concepts to think about when approaching any kind of visual text.

O is for overview—write down a few notes on what the visual appears to be about.

P is for parts—zero in on the parts of the visual. Write down any elements or details that seem important.

T is for title—highlight the words of the title of the visual (if one is available).

I is for interrelationships—use the title as the theory and the parts of the visual as clues to detect and specify the interrelationships in the graphic.

C is for conclusion—draw a conclusion about the visual as a whole. What does the visual mean? Summarize the message of the visual in one or two sentences.

Grading System                                    

A         100-90

B         89-80

C         79-70  

D         69-60

F          Below 60

Contact Information:

I strongly welcome and encourage parental communication. Please do not hesitate to contact me through e-mail me at kturse@delranschools.org.
             **Let’s work together in order to make this year a success! Good luck!**