• AP Lang and Comp Coursebook

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  • AP Lang and Comp Syllabus

    AP Language and Composition - Syllabus

    Class information:

    Teacher: Mr. Ryan Thornburg

    Room: 110

    Subject: AP English

    Teacher phone: 696-5552

    Teacher email: rthornburg@amphi.com

    Teacher website: https://www.amphi.com/Domain/4108 & https://sites.google.com/view/thornburgwebsite/

    Overview of the class:

    This course is designed to prepare students to communicate effectively in the 21st century. Students will explore complex topics by analyzing the rhetoric of both fiction and nonfiction texts from a variety of genres and time periods and learn how to apply what they learn to their own writing. Students will write analytical, argumentative, and narrative essays and strengthen their writing using thoughtful research, revision, editing, and rewriting. In a culminating activity, students will synthesize their knowledge to create a presentation that addresses a specific audience and utilizes a variety of media. This course will also focus on the skills necessary “to read primary and secondary sources carefully, to synthesize materials from [these texts] in their own composition, and to cite sources using conventions recommended by... the Modern Language Association (MLA)” (AP English Course Description 6).


    • Students will read and analyze challenging works of recognized literary merit, as well as speeches and historical documents.
    • Students will write in a variety of forms, for a variety of purposes;
    • Students will write intelligent and insightful responses/analyses of literature passages in both impromptu and prepared essays;
    • Students will articulate responses during small as well as large group discussion.


    Statement from CollegeBoard:

    Learn about the elements of argument and composition as you develop your critical-reading and writing skills. You’ll read and analyze nonfiction works from various periods and write essays with different aims: for example, to explain an idea, argue a point, or persuade your reader of something.

    Equivalent to: an introductory college-level literary analysis course

    Advantages to taking an AP course:

    This AP course carries a weighted grade when calculating GPA and student rank. Receiving a grade of 3, 4, or 5, out of 5, on the AP Exam at the end of the year will allow students to receive college credit for this course. Some college and universities only accept a 4 or 5, out of 5, to get the credit.



    AP English Language and Composition Competency Objectives:

    Big Idea

    Skill Category


    Skill Description

    Rhetorical Situation

    RS – reading


    Identify and describe components of the rhetorical situation: the exigence, audience, writer, purpose, context, and message.


    Explain how an argument demonstrates understanding of an audience’s beliefs, values, or needs.

    RS – writing


    Write introductions and conclusions appropriate to the purpose and context of the rhetorical situation.


    Demonstrate an understanding of an audience’s beliefs, values, or needs.

    Claims and Evidence

    CE – reading


    Identify and explain claims and evidence within an argument.


    Identify and describe the overarching thesis of an argument, and any indication it provides of the argument’s structure.


    Explain ways claims are qualified through modifiers, counterarguments, and alternative perspectives.

    CE – writing


    Develop a paragraph that includes a claim and evidence supporting the claim.


    Write a thesis statement that requires proof or defense and that may preview the structure of the argument.


    Qualify a claim using modifiers, counterarguments, or alternative perspectives.

    Reasoning and Organization

    RO – reading


    Describe the line of reasoning and explain whether it supports an argument’s overarching thesis.


    Explain how the organization of a text creates unity and coherence and reflects a line of reasoning.


    Recognize and explain the use of methods of development to accomplish a purpose.

    RO – writing


    Develop a line of reasoning and commentary that explains it throughout an argument.


    Use transitional elements to guide the reader through the line of reasoning of an argument.


    Use appropriate methods of development to advance an argument.


    ST – reading


    Explain how word choice, comparisons, and syntax contribute to the specific tone or style of a text.


    Explain how writers create, combine, and place independent and dependent clauses to show relationships between and among ideas.


    Explain how grammar and mechanics contribute to the clarity and effectiveness of an argument.

    ST – writing


    Strategically use words, comparisons, and syntax to convey a specific tone or style in an argument.


    Write sentences that clearly convey ideas and arguments.


    Use established conventions of grammar and mechanics to communicate clearly and effectively.






                Practice activities:

    0 or 1 or 2 points in the gradebook

    0 for not starting at all; 1 point for starting it and not completing it; 2 points for completing the practice

                Mastery checks - essays:

    All mastery checks are in essay form to be graded on a six (6) point rubric provided in the coursebook.

                Mastery reflections:

    0 or 1 point in the gradebook

    0 for not starting; 1 point for completing the mastery reflection

    Final Projects:

    Out of 20 points /4 = up to 5 points in the gradebook

    Rubric is provided and follows a similar mastery guideline as the mastery checks

    Final grades per semester:

    A point calculation will decide percentage of grade for the semester in which:

    90-100% of points gained from points possible = A

    80-89% of points gained from points possible = B

    70-79% of points gained from points possible = C

    60-69% of points gained from points possible = D

    50% or less of points gained from points possible = F

                Mastery grades:

    The grading teacher may add points to the overall grade to reflect improvement from the mastery checks to subsequent mastery checks.

    The grading teacher may also grade the student based on the student’s mastery of the eight (8) skill categories; whichever grades ends up being a higher letter grade should be used in the gradebook.

    Mastery of at least seven (7) skill categories = A

    Mastery of at least five (5) skill categories = B

    Mastery of at least three (3) skill categories = C

    Mastery of at least one (1) skill categories = D




    Classroom Expectations

    Punctuality: Students should be in their seats by the time the bell rings

    Preparedness: Students should have all materials out and ready by the time the bell rings

    Respect: Students should respect peers, peer property, school property, and the teacher at all times

    Participation: Students should actively participate in class, including listening, writing, and discussion based activities.



    Practice activities:

    Through the first week of each quarter, students will be shown activities available for them to use when reading texts. After the first week of each quarter, a reading list and timeframe will be given to students and the remaining time in the quarter will be devoted to practicing activities aligned with mastery guidelines and goals. Practice activities will be performed on texts in the provided coursebook, but may also be texts that students bring to class.

    Each student must produce at least three (3) but no more than six (6) practice activities before attempting a mastery check. A student may produce up to 2 practice activities per text and cannot repeat the same practice activity for 2 texts in a row.

    Practice activities include:

    SPACECAT charts; T-charts; figurative language work; writing and quote usage; summaries; theme charts; theme explanations; motives chart; writer research; loaded language; connections and relations explanations; and more

    Mastery checks:

    Students must produce 3 practice activities before each mastery check, and must produce a mastery check before producing any more practice activities. Mastery checks may be performed on any text or image in the coursebook or any text or image that a student brings to class.

    Students may not re-try any mastery checks. Students will have more opportunities to complete mastery checks after completing 3 more practice activities.

    The intention for mastery checks is for students to see their progress towards mastery of each competency objective.

                AP Exam:

    Every student enrolled in AP Language and Composition will sign up for the AP exam to be held at the end of the school year.



    Submitting assignments:

    All practice activities must follow the submission format to be collected by the teacher. The submission format serves multiple purposes such as: 1) ensuring that the student and teacher know which assignment type and text the submission is associated with 2) to ensure that the same type of assignment cannot be repeated on the next text.

    Submission format:

    Students will need to follow this format – At the top of the page (white space) include the following information:

    Name; title of text; name of practice activity; skill being practiced.

    Students may submit multiple practice activities on the same piece of paper if they are all on the same text and if the name of practice activity and the skill being practiced are present for all practice activities.


    Amphi’s plagiarism policy:

    Academic integrity, scholastic honesty, is essential for the assessment of student learning and the evaluation of teaching practices.  We educators need to know what a particular student and a particular class have learned and the extent to which our curriculum and instruction is sound.  Academic dishonesty is an obstacle to this intent.  Academic integrity is violated when a student obtains credit for, or is evaluated on, work that is not his or her own. 

    The two most common forms of academic dishonesty that we encounter in the classroom are cheating and plagiarism.  Every student must be informed by both the school and the individual teacher as to what constitutes academic dishonesty and the consequences of such.  When cheating or plagiarism occurs, it is important that the incident be recorded, appropriate school staff and the student's parents be notified, and a grade of F or zero be assigned.  Depending on the seriousness of the offense, punishment could range from zero for that particular piece of student's work, to F for the entire course, or an administrative office referral.

    CollegeBoard’s plagiarism policy:

    The use of media (e.g., video, images, sound), data, information, evidence, or program code created by someone else in the creation of a program and/or a program code segment(s), without appropriate acknowledgment (i.e., through citation, through attribution, and/or by reference), is considered plagiarism. A student who commits plagiarism will receive a score of 0 on the performance task.

    To the best of their ability, teachers will ensure that students understand how to ethically use and acknowledge the ideas and work of others, as well as the consequences of plagiarism. The student’s individual voice should be clearly evident, and the ideas of others must be acknowledged, attributed, and/or cited.

    Contacting the Teacher

    Students who wish to contact the teacher with concerns or questions about course content can email the teacher at the listed email address. Students may also make an appointment to meet with the teacher before or after school by filling out an appointment request form found in class.


    Projected schedule:

    Quarter 1 – start of semester 1




    Review Big Ideas/skill categories/ and skills, rubrics, and activities for the year

    Review arguments, rhetorical appeals, rhetorical devices

    Set goals for producing work in class to meet mastery goals


    Analyze 6 speeches for ‘rhetorical boot camp’

    Writing workshops – rhetorical situations / quotes






    6-12 practice activities and mastery checks

    Mastery checks – rhetorical analysis essay



    Mastery reflections

    Quarter 2




    Review arguments


    12-24 practice activities and mastery checks


    Writing workshops – argument structure; thesis and LOR; paragraph writing

    Mastery checks – argument essay






    8 – Finals Week

    Mastery reflections

    End of semester speech

    Quarter 3 - start of semester 2




    Review synthesis and research


    Topics in the world


    12-24 practice assignments

    Research for synthesis paper

    Writing workshop – using appeals, devices, style





    Mastery checks – synthesis essay


    Mastery reflections

    Quarter 4




    Vocabulary projects and presentations


    AP review – synthesis, rhetorical analysis, and argument

    AP review – skills

    Writing workshop – style





    Final projects on a book from the course


    8 – finals Week

    Final project presentations



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