Advanced Placement English Language and Composition
2012-2013 Course Syllabus and Class Policies
Doug Rutherford, Instructor
Appointments: after school, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:30
Advanced Placement English Language and Composition is a rigorous college-level class focusing on the study of rhetoric. Students will learn that practically “everything is an argument” and that those rhetorical messages affect us as citizens and consumers. Students will focus on writing as a craft, something more than function and formula. Students will apply rhetoric in their writing and speaking, effectively, but responsibly. The overarching goals are to:
§ To evaluate, practice, increase proficiency, and master at an individual rate your ability to be a creator of and an informed receiver of language and all forms of communication both verbal and non-verbal but with an emphasis on written language
§ To demonstrate sound logical thinking and critical judgment drawing on research, knowledge of the world, and personal experience
§ To develop to proficiency effectiveness of persuasive writing and independent thought
§ To practice to proficiency rhetorical analysis of both fiction and non-fiction across time and culture, evaluate argument, and create an argument with sophistication and nuance
§ To master all elements of composition including content, focus, conventions, and style
§ To experience regularly and practice to proficiency a timed environment for both multiple choice and writing assessments
Earning college credit and improving your semester grades
1) Students may take advantage of the dual enrollment opportunity offered by Chandler Gilbert Community College. Successful completion of the course will result in six credits of English: Both English 101 (fall semester) and English 102 (spring semester).
2) Students should seriously consider taking the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition exam offered in May.
· First, students who challenge themselves by taking this rigorous exam impress colleges. Along with SAT scores, it offers another indicator of your ability and your willingness to strive for excellence.
· Second, most colleges give you college credit for 4’s and 5’s on the exam, and some accept 3’s. It is up to you to research this (link available on class website).
· Third, it gives you a chance to raise your semester grades: a score of “4” on the AP exam earns an additional 3.3% on both semester grades; a score of “5” earns 6.6%. These grades will be changed on your transcripts after scores are received. This policy does not apply to semester grades below 76.7%. This grade change does not apply to grades earned for dual credit.
This outline is a general “map” of the course, what is studied, and the approximate time frames for particular units.
Primary Modes of Discourse for Writing: Personal and Academic
· Cause and Effect
· Division and classification
· Argumentative and Persuasive
· Students will practice the following modes, incorporating them, when appropriate into a researched, synthesized argumentative term paper the first semester
Instructional Focus: Argument and Synthesis Writing
Week One: Own Your Learning
· Reviewing the syllabus and course policies
· Using the website
· Syntax: recognizing and writing better sentences
· Handling Vocabulary and Grammar
· Reading: AP style m/c questions; Writing diagnostic and review
· Rhetorical Theory and the Rhetorical Triangle
o DIDLS and SOAPStone
· Research and MLA
· Annotating and Note Taking
· Socratic Seminars
· Timed Writings and Processed Essays
· The Culture of Cheating
Weeks Two-Three: The Language of Composition
· Chapter 1: An Introduction to Rhetoric
· Chapter 3: Synthesizing Sources: Entering the Conversation
Weeks Four-Fourteen: The Art of Argument
· Semester Term Paper
o Conducting Effective Research
o Planning and Outlining
§ The Models: Aristotelian, Rogerian and Toulman
· Focus Readings: Analyzing various short arguments on a variety of topics: culture, politics, environment, etc.
o Non-fiction book: student choice
o Non-fiction book: Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation
o Plato’s Republic: “The Allegory of the Cave”
o Martin Luther King: “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
o Bill McKibben: “It’s Easy Being Green”
· Focus Writing
o Semester Exam research argument: a formal paper: An academic, researched, documented argument. This will be an ongoing project; research will begin week four, and culminate with a finished composition in November. 15-30 paragraphs. This composition will count as the fall semester final, and 20% of the semester grade.
o Timed Writing: Question 1 on the AP exam: The synthesis argument
o Timed Writing: Question 3 on the AP exam: The open argument
Weeks Fifteen-Eighteen: The Art of Satire
· Elements of Juvenilian and Horatian Satire
· Jessica Mitford’s “Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain”
· A variety of short visual and prose selections
· AP exam question—satire
· Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn
· Chapter 2: Close Reading: The Art and Craft of Analysis
o Timed Writing focus: Question 2, rhetorical Analysis
· Students will read non-fiction essays, annotating for rhetorical strategies
· Students will write rhetorical analyses, both formal and timed-writings
· Students will construct mock M/C questions and writing prompts
· Representative Authors: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois, Joan Didion, Gary Soto, Joyce Carol Oates, Susan Sontag, George Orwell, Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf, Ellen Goodman, Paul Theroux, William Buckley, John Locke and Lewis Lapham, to name a few.
Independent Reading Project: An American Classic
· Student choice/limited and teacher approved
· Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave
· Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature” and “Self-Reliance”
· from Machiavelli’s The Prince
Poetry (time permitting)
· American Voices: Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman
o Tone and Voice—how do rhetorical devices influence and develop tone?
· F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
o In conjunction with APUSH unit: The Twenties
Writing Instruction: The Art of Timed Writings
· Nine essays to a 9
Into the exit
· A final literary project, the “final” for the spring semester, and 10% of your spring semester grade.
· Response journals/Socratic Discussion preps
· Socratic Seminars
· Vocabulary (see below)
· Grammar warm-ups/exercises
· SAT prep (fall/spring semesters)
· Outside reading projects
Ongoing Writing Instruction
Garnered from reading in this class (fiction and non-fiction), students will “log” unfamiliar words. Four logs (80 words) per semester.
The Writing Process
One of the primary ways to become a better writer is through the revision process. Aside from timed writings, which are essentially “drafts”, all writing assignments will go through some type of revision process. Here are just a few methods I employ for revision writing:
Grading and Assessment
This class carries a cumulative semester grade, similar to a college class. A first quarter grade could be an A, but that is only an indicator of your grade at 9 weeks; thus, quarter grades are in reality progress reports—this may appear deceiving, as many major projects and papers are due during the second quarter of both semesters.
Writing: Timed writings (e.g. the essays you will write for the AP exam) are graded on a 9-point AP rubric (see appendix A). The rubric you are no doubt most familiar with is Arizona’s standard AIMS 6-point rubric (see appendix B), which incorporates the following traits: ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency and conventions. All timed writing will be evaluated on the AP 9-Point rubric; formal, academic papers will be evaluated incorporating standards and guidelines from the 6-point AIMS rubric, and the 9-point. The rubrics serve as much function as instructional devices as they do assessment.
If your grade falls below a C, due to missed work, excessive absence or level of difficulty, I will contact your counselor and parents.
Your grade is your responsibility—my responsibility is to assess your work and record it as accurately as possible. You should check your grade on a regular basis, before progress reports, and before grade reports, and alert me to any discrepancies to they can be remedied. Please print a copy of your grade, highlight the grades in question when you bring it them to my attention.
All assignments fall within the following two categories, weighted by their point value.
· Assessment: 70% of your total grade (demonstrate what you know)
o Generally, writing assignments that have been through revision
o Projects and Presentations
o Vocabulary sentences
o Major papers (turnitin required)
o Timed writings assessments
· Practice: 30% of your total grade (demonstrate how you’re learning)
§ Generally, assignments of lesser point value
§ Smaller homework assignments
§ Vocabulary logs
§ Reading logs/annotated essays
Semester Exams (finals):
· Fall Semester: A formal, academic, researched argument will count as the “final”, and comprise 20% of the 1st semester course grade. A multiple-choice test covering the last unit of study will be administered on testing day, and count as an assessment grade.
· Spring Semester: This will be a cumulative project based on the last unit of study. It will comprise 15% of your semester grade if you sat for the AP English Lang and Comp exam, 20% if you did not.
Rarely in AP; I will not “inflate” your grade with extra credit, although I may, and frequently do, award extra credit points for exceptional work on routine assignments. Ask yourself this question: why would I be requesting “extra work” when I didn’t bother to complete the required assignments? You have a chance in this class to boost your grade with optional assignments (see below).
Optional Assignments: Reinforcement
From time to time, assignments in this class will be counted as “optional”—that is, you may choose whether or not you want to complete them. Doing these optional assignments increases your total points possible. Because they are pass/fail (you either get the points, or you don’t) these assignments are a form of “extra credit” in that they increase your total points possible in the course, and those points are all “A’s”. Examples of optional assignments are after-school movies and writing contests.
Policies and Procedures
Cheating and Plagiarism
I will define cheating for you clearly, but suffice it to say that it will not be tolerated in any form, particularly plagiarism.
Consequences of cheating/plagiarism (see HHS handbook for details):
· First offense: You will receive an F for the assignment and your parents, counselor and National Honor Society (NHS) will be notified.
· Second Offense: You will receive and F for the assignment, and the administration will give you an out-of-school, three-day suspension.
· Third Offense: Removal from the class with an F for the course.
· Definition: Generally speaking, late work is a bad idea; think about what this tells me about you as a student.
o Any and all work not turned in when collected in class, on the due date, will be considered late.
o Assignments that require an upload to turnitin.com, and are not uploaded when collected in class, on the due date, will be considered late.
o One day late: 10% off the assessed grade
o Up to five days late: 50% credit of total points, for C or better work
o Forgot to upload the assignment? Bring the receipt in the next day and receive a 10% penalty; up to five days for 50% credit.
o Four “unexcused” late assignments will be accepted per semester (these are tracked by the late work cover sheet—see below).
o For credit, all late assignments must be turned in with a cover sheet, and placed in the late work tray.
o No late work accepted 5 days past due date.
o Absolutely no late work accepted the last two weeks of the semester (including turnitin receipts).
o For block classes, one day late means the next day, not the next class period.
o Some assignments will not be accepted late (e.g. vocabulary and grammar). These will always be noted on the assignment calendar (NLW).
o Field Trips, school business, and known absences: be responsible. Generally, unless you make arrangements with the instructor beforehand, if an assignment is due when you are on a field trip or school business (sports, music, etc.), on or off campus, the assignment should be turned in beforehand; otherwise it may be counted as late assignment.
o I reserve the right to consider extenuating circumstances for late work. The key is to communicate with me beforehand, at least 24 hours.
What do the zeros in the grade book mean?
0 = unexcused/not completed and unable to make-up
00 = excused, but work must be made-up within the time allotted in the HHS Handbook
000 = failure to upload the assignment to tii. When receipt is turned in, credit for the assignment will be given, with a 10% penalty.
· All students are required to register with the plagiarism service turnitin.com. It is the student’s responsibility to register, and the student’s responsibility to maintain a correct and working email address.
· Failure to upload required work:
o Many assignments will require uploading. When required, if not uploaded by the closing date (at the beginning of the class period when the assignment is due), it will be given a “0” (if not completed) and a “000” is not uploaded.
o Assignments not uploaded will read as a “000” in the gradebook (STI). To receive credit, you must upload the assignment, and then bring in a receipt. The receipt should be turned in with a late work cover sheet.
o You will able to view your “incidence” once you have uploaded your assignment. All uploaded work must remain under a 25% incidence to receive full credit.
§ Blue/Green = no penalty
§ Yellow = 20% penalty
§ Red/Orange = no credit
o “Cheating” on an upload (uploading a different assignment other than the one turned in) will be considered cheating, and carry those consequences.
What did I miss? ABSENCES ARE YOUR WORST ENEMY, because when you are absent, what you miss most is instruction. I can give you the assignment(s) you missed, but you may not know how to complete it. It is your responsibility to check the class website to check what you missed the day you were absent, and make up the work. If you don’t in the allotted time (see below), it’s lost work, and lost points.
Excused absences: The Hamilton Student Handbook states that you have as many days to make up work for an excused absence as days missed.
Unexcused absences: Assignments, tests and quizzes missed due to an unexcused absence are left to teacher discretion; generally, you are allowed to make up the work.
Take note: unresolved absences (ones not called in) are considered unexcused. Tests and quizzes can be made up at any time, up to the benchmarks*. Zeros affect your grade tremendously, and your chances of getting an A are almost nil if you are missing work.
*Benchmarks are at progress reports, quarter grades, and the end of the semester.
The use of personal electronic devices (e.g., cell phones and MP3 players) is strictly forbidden in the classroom. If brought into the classroom, such devices should be off/muted, and stowed, bell-to-bell. Any device seen, or in use during class time will be confiscated and returned at the end of the day. Caught twice? Pick it up from the security office.
Tardies = ASD (After school detention)
Walking in the door after the bell is considered tardy. The consequence for not completing required assignments is failure; the consequence for excessive tardies is ASD. After two unexcused (you do not come in with an excused pass) tardies per quarter, you will be assigned ASD for each subsequent tardy; zero hour is allowed three per quarter.
Curricular and Professional Variables – It is important to understand that a syllabus is a document of intent of purpose, which through professional insights and institutional forces, may at times necessitate amendment; therefore, please understand that the goal of this syllabus is to function as a guide not a mandate and is subject to change at the professional description of the instructor.
Just dying to check that text message? I recommend you use these limited passes for the real reason—two passes per quarter. I hold the pass and keep the record.
· No passes until 10 minutes after the tardy bell; no passes 10 minutes before the dismissal bell.
· At a convenient break in class time, ask for the pass, sign out, and go.
Get Organized—suggested materials list
· One, three ring, heavy-duty binder—you should bring this binder to class every single class period, regardless of what we’re studying. Got a home computer? Set up a folder for this class… you’ll need it.
· One set, divider tabs/sheets:
o Notes and Handouts
o Portfolio Archives (see master calendar)
o Blank paper
· pencils, pens, highlighters
· loose-leaf, college-ruled paper
· I recommend that you buy copies of novels we read for note taking and highlighting—page tabs/sticky notes are also great for making notations.
· Retain and file all your work for grade verification and portfolio archival
· You will need a working computer and internet access for this class. If this is an issue, see me. Yes, “technical difficulties” (internet down, printer problems) will make your work late; problem solve and plan ahead. Utilize your peers! PROCRASTINATION is your worst enemy here.
· Your grade is your responsibility. Check STI regularly, and alert me to any discrepancies, so they may be corrected. Retain all returned work as proof of completion and/or points earned.
· Keep a folder on your computer for this class; retain all your files.
· Purchase a flash drive; back-up your files at least once a week.
· The school's software will only open a Microsoft Word 96-2003 document; files must be saved in this format, or they cannot be opened on the school's computers.
· Printing seems to be the major point of contention here. Keep extra print cartridges on hand. If you printer malfunctions, be prepared to send your work to a peer for printing, or bring it to school on a flash drive to print in the library. I will not print work for you.
Tutoring and Personal Discussion
We will be doing some challenging and rigorous work in this class. I have to assume you grasp what I ask you to do. If you don’t, ask. Communication is the key. You should never be embarrassed to ask anything—no question is too simple or too difficult. I am always available for tutoring, if you’re having difficulties. If you are serious about improving your writing, you need to see me for personal instruction. Please make an appointment with me, but don’t wait until the last minute; teachers are very busy people with many other commitments. I am available after school by appointment, and have prep periods 2 and 6.
Time management and homework
We will do a considerable amount of multi-tasking (having two or more assignments concurrent). It is absolutely imperative that you manage your time—time to do your assignments, time to read and reflect. You can do this by utilizing an assignment notebook. Count on at least 4-6 hours per week for reading, reflecting and writing outside of class time.
Appendix A: A Generic AP Open Essay Rubric for timed writings
Give the writer credit for what he or she does well
Effective (A range)
9-8 9 is the top score, but there is little difference between a 9 and 8, both being scores for excellent papers which combine adherence to the topic with excellent organization, content and insight, facile use of language, and mastery of mechanics. 9 essays demonstrate uncommon skill and sometimes put a cultural/historical frame around the subject. Descriptors that come to mind while reading include masterly, sophisticated, complex, specific, consistent and well supported. These would be “A” essays.
7 7 is a thinner version of the excellent paper, still impressive, cogent and convincing, but less well handled in terms of organization, insight or vocabulary. Descriptors that come to mind while reading include clear understanding, less precision, less well-supported and maturing. This writer certainly demonstrates potential, but hasn’t quite got it all. Generally, this would be a high “B” essay.
Adequate (B range)
6 6 is an above average paper, but it may be deficient in one of the essentials mentioned above. It may be less mature in thought or less well handled in terms of organization, syntax or mechanics. Descriptors might include less mature, some difficulties, but just above average. Generally, this would be a low “B” or high “C” essay.
5 The 5 paper is a thinner version of the 6. Readers prefer to separate essays into top half or bottom half; the top half considered passing, the bottom, failing. The five defines that process. Descriptors would include superficial, vague and mechanical. Generally, this would be a “C” essay.
Ineffective (C/D range)
3-4 4 is an average to below average paper which maintains the general idea of the writing assignment, shows some sense or organization, but is weak in content, maturity of thought, language facility and/or mechanics. It may distort the topic or fail to deal adequately with one important aspect of the topic. The 3 essay compounds the weaknesses of the 4. Some descriptors that come to mind include incomplete, oversimplified, meager, irrelevant and insufficient. The essays are low “C”s or “D”s.
2 2 is the score assigned to a paper that makes an attempt to deal with the topic but demonstrates serious weaknesses in content and coherence and/or syntax and mechanics. It is an unacceptable grade. Descriptors include serious misreading, unacceptably brief, and/or poorly written.
1 1 is the score given to any on-topic response that has very little redeeming quality. It may be very brief or very long, but will be scarcely coherent, usually full of mechanical errors or completely missed the focus of the prompt. Descriptors include vacuous, inexact, and mechanically unsound.
0 0 is given to a response with no more than a reference to the task.
Use this in conjunction with your Writing Score Sheet.
6 The writing is exceptionally clear, focused, and interesting. It holds the reader’s attention throughout. Main ideas stand out and are developed by strong evidence/research/support and rich details suitable to audience and purpose.
5 The writing is clear, focused, and interesting. It holds the reader’s attention. Main ideas stand out and are developed by effective evidence/research/support suitable to audience and purpose.
4 The writing is clear and focused. The reader can easily understand the main ideas. Evidence/research/support is present, although it may be limited or rather general.
3 The reader can understand the main ideas, although they may be overly broad or simplistic, and the results may not be effective. Supporting detail is often limited, insubstantial, overly general, of occasionally slightly off-topic.
2 Main ideas and purpose are somewhat unclear or development is attempted but minimal.
1 The writing lacks a central or controlling idea or purpose.
6 The organization enhances the central idea(s) and its development. The order and structure are compelling and move the reader through the text easily.
5 The organization enhances the central idea(s) and its development. The order and structure are strong and move the reader through the text.
4 Organization is clear and coherent. Order and structure are present, but may seem formulaic.
3 An attempt has been made to organize the writing; however, the overall structure is inconsistent or skeletal.
2 The writing lacks a clear organizational structure. An occasional organizational device is discernible; however, the writing is either difficult to follow and the reader has to reread substantial portions, or the piece is simply too short to demonstrate organizational skills.
1 The writing lacks coherence; organization lacks coherence; organization seems haphazard and disjointed. Even after rereading, the reader remains confused.
Voice (sometimes interpreted as “tone”)
6 The writer has chosen a voice appropriate for the topic, purpose, and audience. The writer seems deeply committed to the topic, and there is an exceptional sense of “writing to be read.” The writing is expressive, engaging, or sincere.
5 The writer has chosen a voice appropriate for the topic, purpose, and audience. The writer seems committed to the topic, and there is a sense of “writing to be read.” The writing is expressive, engaging, and sincere.
4 A voice is present. The writer demonstrates commitment to the topic, and there may be a sense of “writing to be read.” In places, the writing is expressive, engaging, or sincere.
3 The writer’s commitment to the topic seems inconsistent. A sense of the writer may emerge at times; however, the voice is either inappropriately personal or inappropriately impersonal.
2 The writing provides little sense of involvement or commitment. There is no evidence that the writer has chosen a suitable voice.
1 The writing seems to lack a sense of involvement or commitment.
6 Words convey the intended message in an exceptionally interesting, precise, and natural way appropriate to audience and purpose. The writer employs a rich, broad range of words, which have been carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed for impact.
5 Words convey the intended message in an interesting, precise and natural way appropriate to audience and purpose. The writer employs a broad range of words, which have been carefully chosen and thoughtfully placed for impact.
4 Words effectively convey the intended message. The writer employs a variety of words that are functional and appropriate to audience and purpose.
3 Language is quite ordinary, lacking interest, precision and variety, or may be inappropriate to audience and purpose in places. The writer does not employ a variety of words, producing a sort of “generic” paper filled with familiar paper filled with familiar words and phrases.
2 Language is monotonous and/or misused, detracting from the meaning and impact.
1 The writing shows an extremely limited vocabulary or is so filled with misuses of words that the meaning is obscured. Only the most general kind of message is communicated because of vague or imprecise language.
6 The writing has an effective flow and rhythm. Sentences show a high degree of craftsmanship, with consistently strong and varied structures that makes expressive oral reading easy and enjoyable.
5 The writing has an easy flow and rhythm. Sentences are carefully crafted, with strong and varied structure that makes expressive oral reading easy and enjoyable.
4 The writing flows; however, connections between phrases or sentences may be less than fluid. Sentence patterns are somewhat varied, contributing to ease in oral reading.
3 The writing tends to be mechanical rather than fluid. Occasional awkward constructions may force the reader to slow down or reread.
2 The writing tends to be either choppy or rambling. Awkward constructions often force the reader to slow down or reread.
1 The writing is difficult to follow or to read aloud. Sentences tend to be incomplete, rambling, or very awkward.
6 The writing demonstrates exceptionally strong control of standard writing conventions (e.g., punctuation, spelling, capitalization, paragraph breaks, grammar and usage) and uses them to effectively enhance communication. Errors are so few and so minor that the reader can easily skim right over them unless specifically searching for them.
5 The writing demonstrates strong control of standard writing conventions and uses them effectively to enhance communication. Errors are so few and so minor that they do not impede readability.
4 The writing demonstrates control of standard writing conventions. Minor errors, while perhaps noticeable, do not impair readability.
3 The writing demonstrates limited control of standard writing conventions. Errors begin to impair readability.
2 The writing demonstrates limited control of standard writing conventions. Errors begin to impair readability.
1 Numerous errors in usage, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read. In fact, the severity and frequency of errors are so overwhelming that the reader finds it difficult to focus on the message and must reread for meaning.