AP Lang and Comp B

CLASS INFO

College professors frequently lament the poor writing skills of the students who enter their classrooms, particularly straight out of high school. This course is designed to help you succeed in not only a freshman composition course, but in college altogether. To achieve this goal, students must learn to think critically, read analytically, and communicate with clarity and confidence. In this course, you will learn how to read closely and annotate a variety of formats, genres, and topics — including aspects of American Literature.

While students may earn college credit if they receive a 3, 4, or 5 on the AP English Language and Composition Exam (depending on their chosen college), the ultimate goal of this course is to prepare students for the rigors of college writing.

Note: I teach two sections of this class on different days. When possible, I will use the same entry for both Red and Gold days. When impossible, I will post a separate summary for each day.


Wednesday, 5/15; Thursday, 5/16

Today was our Socratic seminar on capital punishment. After completing the seminar, students wrote a reflection in class and turned it in before they left. They also turned in copies of In Cold Blood, and they had some work time at the end of class to prepare for the debate next week.

Monday, 5/13; Tuesday, 5/14

After debriefing from the AP test last week and reviewing the last four class periods, we discussed the final debate activity an the end of In Cold Blood. Students then began researching our last Socratic seminar topic — capital punishment. The book will be our primary text, but students should find other outside sources to use in discussing this topic with the class on Wednesday/Thursday. Homework: prepare for this final Socratic seminar.

Friday, 5/10 (Gold day)

Today was the AP test, so many students were absent. Those in class worked on finishing the reading in Capote as well as making up late assignments. Homework: finish the book for next class.

Wednesday, 5/8; Thursday, 5/9

Today was day two of the final for this class. Students had 15 minutes to read and annotate the prompt and sources for a Synthesis essay, and then 40 minutes to write the essay itself. Then they had 15 minutes to complete an abbreviated multiple choice test. Next week we will wrap up Capote and begin the debate activity that will take place on finals day. Homework: finish Capote the beginning of next week.

Monday, 5/6; Tuesday, 5/7

Today was day one of the final for this class. Students had the entire class period to write a Rhetorical Analysis essay and an Argumentative essay. Homework: prepare for day two on Wednesday/Thursday — a Synthesis essay and an abbreviated multiple choice test; also, Part IV of Capote is due at the beginning of next week.

Thursday, 5/2; Friday, 5/3

Students turned in their last take-home essays today, and then we dug into the AP Lang multiple choice test. I also handed out copies of the rest of the 2012 test, the one that students first attempted in August, as possible practice over the weekend in preparation for the final. We briefly discussed the argumentative prompt, and spent a little longer reviewing how to annotate and prepare for the synthesis essay. Homework: be ready for day one of the final on Monday/Tuesday next week!

Tuesday 4/30; Wednesday, 5/1

We finished reviewing Rhetorical Analysis via the Phillips prompt today in class — students in groups of three each wrote one supporting paragraph to back up the thesis written together during the previous class. I also gave out the Kennedy prompt as our last take-home essay and one last RA Review. Homework: complete the Kennedy prompt for next class; do not spend any more than 40 minutes on this essay!

Friday, 4/26; Monday 4/29

We continued our review of rhetorical analysis by looking at the Phillips Rhetorical Analysis prompt in groups — annotating, finding author’s purpose, writing a thesis, and looking for devices, strategies, and instances of ethos, pathos, and logos. Students will continue working on this essay in groups next class.

Thursday, 4/25 (Red day)

I was out sick today, so Ms. Harr talked through the calendar for the rest of the semester, including the final, which will be given the week of May 6 in preparation for the AP test on may 10. Then she led students in peer-reviewing each others’ essays on the de Botton prompt, looking for clear positions, acknowledgement of the opposition, and specific examples used as evidence. After this, students read a passage in Capote and examined the author’s use of rhetoric.

Wednesday, 4/24 (Gold day)

To keep this class from getting too far ahead of the other one, today was a work day for doing revisions to the research project or getting caught up on reading or any other late work.

Monday, 4/22 (Gold day)

We started class talking about the calendar for the rest of the semester, including the final, which will be given the week of May 6 in preparation for the AP test on may 10. Then students peer-reviewed each others’ essays on the de Botton prompt, looking for clear positions, acknowledgement of the opposition, and specific examples used as evidence. After this, we reviewed rhetoric in preparation for the final.

Thursday, 4/18; Friday, 4/19

Students had a few minutes of Capote reading time at the start of class while I checked the de Botton t-charts. Then students were split into pairs, similarly to the Mencken debate; today, though, they worked with their partner to outline a take-home essay, helping each other to acknowledge the opposition. We also spent a few minutes at the end of class talking about Part II of Capote. Homework: the de Botton essay is due the next time class meets; Part III of Capote is due Wednesday (B6)/Thursday (A4).

Wednesday, 4/17 (Red day)

Even though I was out of the building today, In Cold Blood annotations were due today. With the sub, students took their final ACT practice test before next week’s real test. Students also received the next Argumentative prompt. Homework: Part III of Capote is due next Thursday; the de Botton t-chart is due next class.

Tuesday, 4/16 (Gold day)

We had a shortened period due to the Rachel’s Challenge assembly. Students completed our final ACT practice test while I checked In Cold Blood annotations. Then I handed out the next Argumentative prompt. Students will write this essay, but only need to complete a t-chart for the time being. Homework: Part III of Capote is due next Wednesday; the de Botton t-chart is due next class.

Friday, 4/12; Monday, 4/15

After some time at the start of class to finish preparing, students paired off to participate in the Mencken debate and the debrief following it. We did a little bit of prep for our last ACT review, and then finished up with some reading time in the Capote text. Homework: Part II annotations are due next class.

Thursday, 4/11 (Red day)

Students peer-reviewed the Paine argumentative essay and scored their essays with the Argumentative Rubric. Then we talked a little bit about Part I of Capote, and I gave out the Mencken prompt which students will not write but will instead debate next class in small groups. Homework: begin Part II, which will be due next Wednesday.

Wednesday, 4/10 (Gold day)

I handed out the Argumentative Rubric, discussed it, and then students scored their Paine essays from Monday. Then we talked about the Mencken prompt which students will not write but will instead debate next class in small groups. Homework: prepare to argue both sides of the Mencken debate, continue reading Capote.

Monday, 4/8 (Gold day)

After reviewing the ACT Reading test from our practice test book and correlating which passage/question types yielded the best/worst results for everyone last week, students today took a new Reading test straight through, trying to use these correlations to their benefit. Then we peer-reviewed the Paine argumentative essay and talked a little bit about Part I of Capote. Homework: begin Part II, which will be due next Tuesday.

Friday, 3/29 (Red day)

We finished reviewing the ACT Reading test from our practice test book and correlating which passage/question types yielded the best/worst results for everyone. Then students took a new Reading test straight through, trying to use these correlations to their benefit. Homework: finish Part I of Capote and finish the take-home Paine essay, both for the day we return from spring break.

Thursday, 3/28 (Gold day)

Students reviewed their ACT answers from our ACT reading practice tests over the last several weeks and discussed the different passage types and answer types. The goal was to try and figure out which passages/questions each student does the best (and worst) on to try and take the test in a smarter way. There was also some reading time to get into the first part of In Cold BloodHomework: finish Part I of Capote and finish the take-home Paine essay, both for the day we return from spring break.

Wednesday, 3/27 (Red day)

I was out of the building. Students started reviewing their ACT answers from our practice tests over the last several weeks and discussing the different passage types and answer types. The goal was to try and figure out which passages/questions each student does the best (and worst) on to try and take the test in a smarter way. There was also a big chunk of reading time to get into the first part of In Cold Blood. Homework: finish Part I of Capote and finish the take-home Paine essay, both for the day we return from spring break.

Monday, 3/25; Tuesday, 3/26

We had a lot of housekeeping items today. I collected the Second Independent Novel essays and reminded everyone about AP test registration. I finished up our conversations on 1:1 computing by describing the district committee I’m on and my own opinions on the matter. Then I passed out copies of In Cold Blood and explained the book a little bit and the reading for spring break. Then students made a list of books, historical and current events, and culturally-significant films and television they were more than passingly familiar with. The purpose of this list is to see how many sources students have from which to pull data on an Argumentative essay. I then passed out the Paine argumentative essay from the 2011 AP Lang test, and we briefly discussed the prompt. Homework: read part I of the Capote text and complete the Paine essay by the time you return from spring break.

Thursday, 3/21; Friday, 3/22

We finished today the ACT practice test we’d slowly been working our way through, and we will review and analyze your answers next week. Then students worked in class on finishing their 1:1 essays. I also distributed the assignment for the Second Independent Novel essay, and some students began those at the end of class. Homework: complete this essay on the Second Independent Novel for next class.

Tuesday, 3/19 (A4)

We started class by reviewing the different points students could argue in their 1:1 essays — basically, we listed off items from both sides of everyone’s T-charts. Then students looked back at the data they and their classmates had found (spreadsheetsummary) and wrote a draft thesis. I asked students to submit another form detailing their opinions on a 1:1 deployment, including a revised thesis. Then everyone outlined and began writing these 1:1 essays which will be finished in class next time.

Monday, 3/18 (B6)

We started class by reviewing the different points students could argue in their 1:1 essays — basically, we listed off items from both sides of everyone’s T-charts. Then students looked back at the data they and their classmates had found (spreadsheetsummary) and wrote a draft thesis. I asked students to submit another form detailing their opinions on a 1:1 deployment, including a revised thesis. Then everyone outlined and began writing these 1:1 essays which will be finished in class next time.

Friday, 3/15 (A4)

After a portion of a practice ACT English test, we continued digging into one-to-one student technology deployments as our next practice topic for Argumentative essays. Students used the iPads to do research and find defend and refute sources for this topic. While doing research, students collected and submitted links to a Google form, which will also allow others to see those responses (spreadsheetsummary). This will be valuable next week as students outline and write their first Argumentative essay. Homework: finish your independent novel for next time.

Thursday, 3/14 (B6)

After a portion of a practice ACT English test, we continued digging into one-to-one student technology deployments as our next practice topic for Argumentative essays. Students used the iPads to do research and find defend and refute sources for this topic. While doing research, students collected and submitted links to a Google form, which will also allow others to see those responses (spreadsheetsummary). This will be valuable next week as students outline and write their first Argumentative essay. Homework: finish your independent novel for next time.

Monday, 3/11; Tuesday, 3/12

Today was our Socratic seminar on the Facebook/Google data privacy issue. After the seminar, students began the following reflection: 

  • Will you change any of your online habits or usage of free software/services because of this conversation?
  • What have you learned about constructing a logical argument through these exercises and the Seminar today?

After this, I introduced a new topic for discussion — one-to-one technology initiatives. We discussed what this means, why it’s relevant, and students began a T-chart of the pros and cons. I also checked independent novel annotations. Homework: keep reading and complete the seminar reflection for next class.

Thursday, 3/7; Friday, 3/8

We continued our introduction to the Argumentative essay today, identifying the position of the outline you wrote last class (defend, refute, or qualify), and then writing two more outlines for the other two types. Students then reviewed the Times piece from last class and their own researched online sources for examples of acknowledging the opposition — an important component of crafting a convincing argumentative essay. We practiced this by revising one of the three outlines in a pattern I describe at the end of this slide deck. We will use all of your work from the last two classes — T-charts, outlines, etc. — as the ticket into a Socratic seminar on this data privacy topic. Homework: the second third of your independent novel is due next class; also, any of the in-class activities for the seminar ticket will be checked next class.

Tuesday, 3/5; Wednesday, 3/6

I introduced the third and final type of essay on the constructed response section of the AP English Language and Composition exam today — the Argumentative essay. Argumentative essays ask you to take a position and support it with evidence. On the test, and in timed essays in class, the evidence must come from your memory or past experience. We talked about a sample prompt and the importance of using T-charts to organize your response defending, refuting, or qualifying a position on the topic. Today, we used the iPads to find evidence for our first, practice topic — Is Facebook using you? Students read an opinion piece in The New York Times and then did research to find additional online sources that speak about the same topic. After the research, students wrote a thesis expressing their personal opinion and then an outline for a hypothetical essay defending that thesis. Homework: continue reading in your independent novels.

Thursday, 2/28; Monday, 3/4

I gave one last synthesis essay today as a timed, in-class essay (for a formative grade). After students finished this, they read in their independent novels and I checked annotations for the first third. I also gave some suggestions as to the types of annotations students should be making as they read through the last two-thirds of these independent novels. Homework: read and annotate!

Tuesday, 2/26; Wednesday, 2/27

We finished the revisions to the “3” student sample response to the Locavore synthesis essay. We then looked at two more student samples — a 5 and an 8. We talked about what made these samples better than the 3. I gave students the last part of class for reading and annotating their independent novels. Homework: finish the first third of your independent novel by next class.

Friday, 2/22; Monday, 2/25

At the start of class, I collected copies of Nickel and Dimed and Huck Finn that are still out. Any outstanding copies of these texts need to be returned as soon as possible. Then we talked about the next independent novel and how long students will have to read them. I checked these for a grade. Our attention then turned to our next synthesis essay. First we practiced writing thesis statements together. Then, rather than simply writing a take-home, students read a real student example. Everyone then worked on improving on this student sample — we started this in class and will continue it next time. Homework: begin reading your independent novel; you need to be 1/3 of the way through the book in about a week.

Wednesday, 2/20; Thursday, 2/21

Course registration for next year took up about a third of class today. The rest of the time we talked more about the ACT and took a few more portions of a practice test. Homework: bring your second independent novel to class next time for a grade.

Friday, 2/15; Tuesday, 2/19

Today was our AP Lit-style essay test over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Students had the entire class period to outline, identify quotes, and then write the essay. Homework: bring your second independent novel to the next class.

Wednesday, 2/13; Thursday, 2/14

After discussing English course selection and registration for next year, we reviewed Huck Finn in preparation for the AP Lit-style essay test on Tuesday. Homework: review annotations and your notes from today’s review to be ready for the test.

Monday, 2/11; Tuesday, 2/12

After peer reviewing the space exploration synthesis take-home essays, looking particularly at the connection between sources in the supporting paragraphs, we conducted our Socratic seminar on gun control. At the end of class, I asked students to respond to the following reflection prompt: 

  • Why is this such a contentious issue in our country and not in others? (Australia, Europe, etc.)
  • What is the solution to this debate? Is there a solution? Can we find common ground? Should we?

Homework: finish the reflection, if you didn’t get it done in class; also, finish Huck Finn so we can discuss it before the test Friday/Tuesday.

Thursday, 2/7; Friday, 2/8

We had computers available today, so students got some time to research gun control articles for the Socratic seminar next week. We also checked Huck Finn annotations at this time. Students then took their first ACT “English” practice test, and we finished going over the synthesis sources for the take-home. The last 15 minutes of class were spent outlining and beginning the essay, on which I want all students to use at least two different sources in each supporting paragraph to really work on connecting the sources. Homework: seminar ticket and take-home due next class; finish Huck Finn for Wednesday/Thursday.

Tuesday, 2/5; Wednesday, 2/6

After some Huck Finn reading time, we discussed the timing of next week’s Socratic seminar and the current take-home essay (Monday/Tuesday for both), and we continued reading, annotating, and discussing the sources for the take-home. Homework: read to the end of ch. 34 in Huck Finn for next class; complete the take-home essay and your seminar ticket (find second article, annotate both, sm/md/lg questions) for Monday/Tuesday.

Friday, 2/1; Monday, 2/4

Along with a presentation from the counseling office about scholarship opportunities, we had sort of a hodgepodge day: another portion of the ACT practice test we’ve been working through, reading and annotating a reading for the next current events seminar on gun control, and beginning work on the next take-home essay. Homework: complete your equity research project, due next class.

Wednesday, 1/30; Thursday, 1/31

Today was the last work day for the research project. Students also have over the weekend to complete this assignment.

Monday, 1/28; Tuesday, 1/29

Work day three of four for the equity research project and paper. I tried to help students nail down their inquiry questions at the start of class. We also did another short ACT practice test.

Thursday, 1/24; Friday, 1/25

After reviewing the research topics and steps, students had the bulk of the class to continue their research. Homework: read through ch. 29 in Huck Finn.

Tuesday, 1/22; Wednesday, 1/23

Ms. Woodley kicked off our first day of research by going over strategies for initiating research and talking through some of the various database resources available through the Skyline Library Media Center. After I reviewed the research topics and went over suggestions for the order of steps through which to proceed, the rest of class was for beginning the research process.

Thursday, 1/17; Friday, 1/18

After discussing some ACT strategies and doing a partial practice test, I introduced the Equity Research Project that students will start next week. Homework: read ch. 20-24 in Huck Finn.

Tuesday, 1/15; Wednesday, 1/16

As a prelude to the equity research project, we reviewed MLA format and talked about how to determine the credibility of online sources. Homework: read ch. 16-19 in Huck Finn.

Friday, 1/11; Monday, 1/14

We reviewed three released student essays from the DST synthesis prompt, talking about the scoring guidelines and what each essay earned (and why). Following this was our first current events Socratic seminar of the semester. Students were given the following reflection prompt at the end of class: 

  • What were some of the other connections your classmates made to the articles they brought in?
  • How could you use these classmates’ articles/connections help support your own position on pilotless airplanes? How would you connect these sources on a hypothetical synthesis essay?

Many students finished their reflections before the bell; the rest took them home to finish and bring back next class. Homework: finish your reflection, if necessary; read and annotate ch. 13-15 in Huck Finn.

Wednesday, 1/9; Thursday, 1/10

At the start of class today, we went over some important dates and other information about the AP Lang & Comp test in May:

  • Exam day is Friday, May 10
  • Registration February 25 – March 28
  • Exam cost is $89
  • For students on free/reduced lunch, exam cost is $13
  • Scholarships available through Skyline Education Foundation — applications in counseling office

I also briefly showed off this site and talked about the scoring of the AP Lang & Comp test. Then I went through a short lesson on discourse patterns to try and help students understand why academic writing is the way it is, and also as a basis for some other culture/equity conversations we’ll be having in the coming days. At the end of class, I checked annotations in Huck Finn and we discussed the beginning of the book. Homework: read ch. 11-12 in Huck Finn and complete your seminar ticket (sm/md/lg questions + second, related article) for next class.

Monday, 1/7; Tuesday, 1/8

Students received their second essay from the first semester final today — the synthesis final. Since students did reasonably well on these and we still haven’t finished studying this type of essay, I only asked that one supporting paragraph be revised rather than the entire essay. These were collected during class. I also passed out our current event reading for this semester’s first Socratic seminar. Students read and annotated this article during class and wrote questions as part one of the seminar’s entrance ticket. Part two of the ticket will be one related article as outlined in class. Homework: read through the end of ch. 10 in Huck Finn for Wed/Thurs; complete the seminar ticket for Fri/Mon.

Thursday, 1/3; Friday, 1/4

I signed out copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the students who did not get one before break. I then gave back the Rhetorical Analysis essays students wrote for their first semester finals. We talked about what kinds of improvements everyone could make to try and increase their score by at least one point (AP 9-point scale). Students then worked on revising these essays — some finished and turned them in by the end of class, while others took them home to complete as homework. Homework: please read and annotate through the end of ch. 5 in Huck Finn; finish your RA revision if you did not do so in class.


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