Bainbridge High School
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AP English Literature Syllabus 2019-2020
Welcome to AP English Literature! This is a college-level course that will demand your lively participation. Through our intensive study of important literary works, from Renaissance poetry to contemporary experimental prose, you will hone your critical reading skills and sharpen your ability to speak and write about literature. Reading and writing assignments will be mutually reinforcing—the critical analysis and creative writing assignments you complete will deepen your appreciation and understanding of literary artistry. Finally, the course will prepare you to take the AP English Literature exam on May 6, 2020. By year’s end, you will be erudite, sophisticated lovers of literature, able to express your ideas with confidence, clarity and elegance. NB: All students must register and pay for the AP Literature exam by November.
Course Objectives: As a result of this course, students will:
- Increase their facility with close critical reading, making careful observations of textual detail, establishing connections among their observations, and drawing interpretive conclusions from these connections.
- Discuss ideas in literature with compassion, investment and authority.
- Expand their awareness of different critical approaches and perspectives, thus increasing their repertoire of responses, enhancing their capacity to engage with literature, and exploring beyond the boundaries of their current dispositions, thus expanding the territory of their thinking.
- Analyze how meaning is embodied in literary form, and use literary and poetic terms to link technique and meaning.
- Develop and organize their ideas in clear, coherent and persuasive language, employing precise vocabulary, a variety of sentence structures, effective organizing and transitioning strategies, a balance of generalization and illustrative detail, consistent voice, and appropriate tone.
- Approach the AP exam with competence and confidence.
Course Overview for Fall Semester:
Major Skills Taught & Assessed
1. How our experiences shape us: Poetry and summer reading novel Frankenstein (reader response and formalist lenses)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a selection of poems
model college essays, critical analyses of Frankenstein, literary theory, Poetry: An Introduction by Michael Myer, The Discovery of Poetry by Frances Mayes
Poetry chapbook, poetry presentation, college entrance essay, timed write
Read & comprehend literature, Writing range, including timed writes, explanatory text, and poetry, Presentation of knowledge and ideas, collaborative discussion, literary analysis: thesis, structure, evidence, explanation and analysis, sophisticated diction and syntax, conventions, Give objective summary of informational text
2. The passing of time and how change happens
The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare; To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
A selection of poems, critical analyses of The Winter’s Tale, literary theory
A polished literary analysis with secondary sources, timed writes, creative project
Read & comprehend literature, Writing range, including timed writes and polished literary analysis, collaborative discussion, Give objective summary of informational text, literary analysis (see unit 1)
3. The moral evolution of an individual: book groups (moral and philosophical lens)
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Crime and Punishment by F. Dostoyevsky
A selection of poems, a selection of philosophical treatises, literary theory
timed writes, multiple choice
Course Overview for Spring Semester:
Major Skills Taught & Assessed
1. Societal structures and the individual: book groups
(sociological and cultural criticism lenses)
1984 by George Orwell, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
A selection of poems, literary theory
timed writes, multiple choice
2. How perspective affects empathy (postcolonial and feminist lenses)
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
A selection of poems, literary theory, student choice of a re-read
timed writes, multiple choice
3. Autonomy and Creativity: student-designed unit
Student choice of a literary work in any genre, of literary merit and HS level or above.
Student-designed writing project, presentation
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS & ACTIVITIES
Annotations: For each section of reading assigned for the course, you will make an annotation in response to the literature we read and the critical theories we examine. These annotations will be comprised of questions and answers, reflection, observations, connections, and vocabulary skill-building. You should do your own thinking, without looking up ideas from websites. Your annotations should: engage with the text, show you have read it with care and reflection, be logically developed, and use rich, effective vocabulary.
Ideas for annotation: Consider the main character’s development; note the significance of any new characters and main events; consider point of view (speaker, voice, perspective); create interpretive questions and answer them; evaluate the validity of a concept or point; look for passages that contain ambiguity and analyze the techniques (such as figurative language, imagery, and symbolism) that convey the author’s themes; don’t be afraid to disagree with the author or challenge an idea; if you encounter a line that you find particularly intriguing or beautiful, funny, or crucial to the story, indicate the line and explore your reaction to it.
Because we write to think, our initial observations and speculations can be the seeds of compelling insights and persuasive ideas. As such, these annotations will provide the material for roundtable discussions and can be the genesis of ideas for your essays.
Class Discussion: Your participation is essential to the success of this course—and will likely be one of the most rewarding aspects of the year. You will offer your own thoughtful reactions to literature, listen to others’ responses, pose informed critical questions, make connections, and demonstrate ongoing attempts to deepen individual and communal understanding. Come prepared, and be willing to share your experience, questions and insights.
Test Practice: In order to hone your ability to analyze a passage of literature and compose a response quickly, we will practice timed-write essays based on previous AP prompts in class nearly every week. We will evaluate these in class using College Board scoring guidelines. We will also practice multiple-choice response questions several times during each semester, individually and in groups, with the aim to discuss the ambiguity inherent in each passage and to prepare for the AP exam in May. One complete three-hour practice exam will be given in the spring.
Essays: You will write and revise a number of essays in a process that includes peer review in order to create formal, extended, polished literary analysis. You will also write a personal narrative college admissions essay. Throughout the year, you will improve your writing skills through regular practice, incorporating increasingly sophisticated sentence style and structure. I will provide instruction and feedback on your writing assignments, both before and after you revise your work. Our writing process generally follows this pattern: 1) Direct writing instruction, including reading model essays. 2) After a complete draft is complete, we will have a peer-editing session to help refine both ideas and writing style. 3) You will turn in a polished draft to me, which I will comment on. 4) You may revise and submit your paper one final time.
Literary Terms: Your success on the AP exam presupposes your familiarity with key literary terms, especially those which describe poetry. Through frequent analysis and discussion (and occasional quizzes), your competence and confidence will increase. Each unit will present you with new vocabulary, arising from our anchor texts and also from our discussions of literary analysis terms. You will be expected to incorporate these new terms as your writing becomes more sophisticated.
Creative Writing: Well-constructed creative writing assignments will help you see from the inside how literature is written. Examples of these creative assignments include poetry and a one-act play.
Class Expectations: I expect you to come to class on time, fully present and prepared to respond intelligently to the literature we’re studying. Bring the text we’re discussing to each class. Please do not distract yourself or others with cell phones or other electronic equipment. Cell phones should be turned off and put away for the duration of class, unless I specifically state that they may be used for a certain activity.
Academic Policies and Procedures
Academic Integrity (from the BHS Student Handbook): Honesty is a compelling principle by which we operate all aspects of student and school life. Academic honesty is highly valued at BHS. Students should not cheat or plagiarize, nor should they tolerate such among fellow students. Students do not receive credit for work that is not their own. Cheating is defined as an attempt to earn credit or receive a grade for coursework in a manner other than defined as acceptable by the teacher. Plagiarism is the taking of language, ideas or thoughts from another person or resource without acknowledging the source. Students who use plagiarized papers or projects or are involved in any other form of cheating will be subject to reduction in grades and/or disciplinary action for a first offense. Because of the serious nature of academic honesty, violations of this code may result in loss of credit for the assignment with a recorded failing grade. It may also entail loss of credit for the course with a recorded failing grade, removal from the course with a failing grade, and/ or additional appropriate disciplinary action.
Grading: Weighted Categories
Quizzes and Tests (Exams, Essays, Papers, Projects, and Presentations)
Standard BHS Grade Scale
I accept late work, but please do your best to turn work in by the deadlines. That way, I can give you useful feedback and this will also help you avoid the stress of making work up. If you know you will be out of town or have extenuating circumstances, please make arrangements with me before the due date.
If you know in advance that you will be missing class, ask me beforehand about what activities and homework assignments are planned for that day.
For an unexpected class absence, follow this procedure:
- Check our google classroom to see what you missed and need to catch up on.
- Ask your classmates to explain what you missed.
- Email me or check with me before school, at lunch, or after school if you have further questions.
- In the case of an excused absence, all make up work or tests should be completed within one week from the day(s) absent - not the day posted on Skyward. You should ascertain what you have missed and should schedule make up quizzes and tests as soon as possible.
Submitting Assignments: You will be expected to turn in some assignments on Google Classroom, while others will be turned in to the in-basket in hard copy format.
Sensitive Materials (books, videos, movies) - One of the goals of this course is to expose students to a variety of perspectives and modes of expression. Thus, it is possible that students may find some books, videos, or movies objectionable. I encourage students to discuss with me the material they think may be objectionable; in extreme cases alternative assignments may be designed.
Communications of assignments and exams: I post a summary of lessons and links to assignments in Google Classroom. My BHS web page has the Google Classroom codes for each section; please check Google Classroom for information you might need and if you have questions, please email me. If you need extra help in class or clarification on a certain assignment, please talk to me! If you wish to meet with me outside of class, please make an appointment in advance to ensure we have adequate time to meet. The best times for meetings are before school and after school.
- Please come prepared; bring materials (i.e., book, pen, paper, etc.), complete assigned reading before class, and turn in assignments at the beginning of the class period on the due date.
- You are responsible for your role in the classroom community: add to discussion, listen to others respectfully, and do your part in group projects.
- Show respect for yourself and others. Do your best work and encourage others to do the same.
- Please do not distract yourself or others when using electronic equipment.
- Two composition books (These must be dedicated to English. One is for daily warm-up writing and must stay in the classroom; the other is for annotations.)
- 3-ring binder (at least 1”) or a section of a larger binder
- Notebook paper and pen/pencils