• AP Lang and Comp Coursebook

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  • AP Lang and Comp Syllabus


    AP Language and Composition

    Course Expectations

    Mr. Thornburg

    Email: rthornburg@amphi.com

    Classroom phone (520) 696-5402

    Google phone (480) 696-1922


    Course Philosophy/Description

    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    • Students will read and analyze challenging works of recognized literary merit, as well as speeches and historical documents.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.

    Texts: Writing and AP Practice:  Your Coursework Book, Composition Book (College Ruled)

    Literature: Bedford Reader essays, Historical Documents and short stories 

    Major works include A Long Way Gone, Outliers, The Beauty Myth, and The Glass Castle, and selected short stories and speeches.

      Types of Activities/Assessments

    • Reader Response—dialectical journal, annotating, reading logs/questions,
    • SPACECAT analysis & graphic organizer
    • In-class timed writings & practice AP tests
    • Text Analysis, Character Analysis
    • Participation—group work, discussions, etc.
    • Socratic Seminars/Philosophical Chairs
    • Quizzes (check reading completion/understanding)
    • Independent Reading—regularly!!

    Supplies Used

    • 1” binder for this class
    • Composition notebook (optional)
    • Flash drive/Google Drive
    • College-rule loose leaf paper
    • Blue/black pens
    • Post-it notes


    Guidelines & Procedures


    Classroom Expectations

    In order for you to attain the most from your classroom experience, the following rules, based on general courtesy and respect, will be enforced:

    • Respect the teacher, your classmates, and yourself;
    • Be on time and in your assigned seat by the time the bell rings;
    • Bring all necessary materials to class every day;
    • Be an active learner while taking this course;
    • Do not text, Snapchat, message, etc. during class.


    • Take responsibility for your learning. If an assignment is typed, save it to your Google Drive, formatting problems are not a valid excuse for missing a deadline (see information below).     
    • Format: All typed papers must use MLA formatting.  The majority of papers will be submitted to Turnitin.com, with the exception of timed class writes/AP Practice. 
    • Attendance: Attendance is essential for your success in this class. While students will be afforded the opportunity to make up missed assignments for excused absences, interaction during discussion is invaluable and impossible to replicate.  If you have a field trip, college visit, retreat, etc., see me in advance to arrange make up times for quizzes, tests and assignments.  Attendance is factored into your conduct/participation grade, and will greatly affect you if you miss class often.  

    Absences and Make-up Assignments

    • Please, please check Google Classroom before you ask me if you missed “anything” in class. If you are ill, and I haven’t posted an assignment, feel free to email me. Do not use class time to discuss absences. Make an appointment and we will discuss it before or after school.
    • If the absence is excused, students will have one day for every day absent to make up work.
    • If you are absent on a day that a major assignment is due, send the assignment with a friend/sibling, submit to Turnitin.com/email, or have a parent/guardian leave the assignment in the front office-your due date doesn’t change.

    Plagiarism and Cheating

    “Plagiarism refers to a form of cheating that has been defined as ‘the false assumption of authorship: the wrongful act of taking the product of another person’s mind and presenting it as one’s own.” (MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th edition, page 30).  Plagiarism not only cheats the author from whom you stole, but it cheats you out of an educational opportunity to grow and learn.  If you are unsure whether to cite a source after quotations, paraphrasing, or summarizing, please clarify with me.  If you do plagiarize, accidentally or maliciously, you will receive a zero for that assignment without the possibility of revising.  Other forms of cheating will also result in a zero.  Parents, Counselors, Principal will be notified.   Please refer to the school handbook or ask me if you have questions.


    Grade (%)      Letter Equivalent              Rating

    90-100                   A                                  Excellent

    80-89                     B                                  Good

    70-79                     C                                 Average

    60-69                     D                                 Passing

    Below 60               F                                  Failing

    Mentoring/Conference Sessions

    If you need help with your literary analyses, college essays, or other writing assignments, I will be glad to offer help at lunch, after, or before school.   Please schedule an appointment with me.  Many papers can only be revised if you see me to discuss problems/solutions. 


    Tentative Quarterly Schedule


    Quarter 1 – Rhetoric Boot-camp


    • Rhetorical Device Review- discussion and assessments
    • Speech & Rhetoric Boot-camp—approximately 6-8 speeches in a 6-week time period
    • Begin reading A Long Way Gone


    • Free Response in-class essays, AP Exam Practice writing
    • Rhetorical Analysis Exercises
    • Rhetorical analysis essay
    • Persuasive Speech Assignment

    Quarter Two – Close Reading and Annotation


    • Novel—Outliers-The Story of Success (1st week of 2nd quarter)
    • Rhetoric and Writing Style Focus


    • Argumentative writing-structure
    • Formal Free-Response in-class essays
    • Informal responses/discussion of themes
    • Editorial assignment
    • Complete at least three multiple choice practice tests before 1st Semester Final Exam.

    Quarter Three – Synthesis and Research


    • The Glass Castle Memoir
    • Selected narrative essays


    • Synthesis Essay (Q1) practice
    • Socratic Seminar-Beauty in Society (Sontag)
    • Rhetorical Analysis practice
    • Multiple Choice practice

    Quarter Four – Language                            


    • Selected essays/speeches from past AP Exams


    • AP intensive review—short stories, essays, speeches
    • Formal AP in-class essays, free response Q3
    • Glass Castle project final



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