AP Lang & Comp A

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.

Friday 12/13

Write Barry

peer review barry

wrap N&D

HW: pick up synth sources Monday

Wednesday, 12/11


N&D seminar

review RA

annotate Barry

HW: reflection

Monday, 12/9

Synthesis essay

peer review

seminar questions

Thursday, 12/5

review Locavores student samples

check annotations for Minnesota

start last practice synth

N&D/NPR stories

HW: finish N&D

Tuesday, 12/3

reading time

stamped essays

ACT practice

synth rubric

peer review

HW: finish Minnesota

Thursday, 11/21


check annotations

work on Locavores synth essay

hw: write Locavores & read to p. 160

Tuesday, 11/19

Friday, 11/15

Wednesday, 11/13

We discussed today’s reading in Nickel & Dimed, focusing particularly on how restaurant servers are paid, drug testing for low-wage employees, historical context of the book, and aspects of Ehrenreich’s writing that students found frustrating or annoying. Then we continued working through our synthesis prompt’s sources, continuing to list factors that link the sources and will help organize the essays when we write them next week. Homework: finish ch. 1 in Ehrenreich for Friday; I will check annotations.

Monday, 11/11

Students signed out copies of Nickel & Dimed, our next book that we will read together. Students read the introduction in class and then we discussed the premise of the novel. Then I handed out our first synthesis prompt and we annotated and discussed the general task, this prompt in particular, and just got started looking at the sources. We will continue this on Wednesday. Homework: read to p. 35 in Nickel & Dimed.

Wednesday, 10/30

I collected the historical research handout and gave students a second handout to begin working towards theme and an outline of an essay proving it. Students reviewed their This I Believe brainstorming, and then chose a statement of belief and began detailing the personal anecdotes that will illustrate the formation of this belief and/or the belief in action. Homework: complete the theme/outline handout for the independent novel essay.

Monday, 10/28

I began the discussion of the independent novel essay today, giving students a handout on which to do some historical research about their author and the setting of the novel. Then we got back into This I Believe mode. First students shared their listening documents from last class, and they commented on the essays their classmates had listened to and written up — some they had in common with their own, and some that were new and they had to listen to before commenting on. Then we did several brainstorming activities to try and move towards choosing a belief statement to write about. Homework: complete the independent novel historical research handout for next class.

Thursday, 10/24

Our second of the next several days in the Wired lab, we continued the This I Believe project by listening to one more essay together as a class, and then three of each students’ own choosing on his or her own, using a Google Docs template to shape and organize responses to each.

Tuesday, 10/23

We continued our practice with the Known-New Contract today, reviewing some more examples, and then examining the use of this pattern in a support paragraph from the Fridman essay. Afterwards, I introduced the This I Believe project. We moved up to the Wired lab, where we will be for the next several class periods, and students listened to and evaluated our first example TIB essay. Homework: finish your independent novels; I will check annotations on Thursday.

Friday, 10/18

We further discussed the AP Lang multiple choice test for a bit today. Then I handed back the Fridman essays, which I had scored using the AP 1–9 rubric, and we talked about those for a bit too. Afterwards, I introduced the Known-New Contract, and students worked through some introductory activities. At the end of class, we discussed an alternate method of organization for the RA essays. Homework: finish your independent novel by next Thursday.

Wednesday, 10/16

Students spent the first half of class writing the Fridman essay from the outlines they worked on last week. Meanwhile, I checked second-thrid annotations in independent novels. We then did some peer review activities with the essays, and we finished up with a small taste of the AP Lang multiple choice test. Homework: finish your independent novels; annotations will be due sometime next week.

Friday, 10/11

At the start of class, students turned in their seminar tickets for me to check. Then, they began work on the Fridman RA prompt — reading, annotating, and outlining, but not writing yet. Then I returned the tickets and we had our seminar on STEM programs in high schools. Students received the reflection and began writing it at the very end of class:

  • Imagine you are a parent of a high-schooler. Would you encourage your own child to attend a STEM school? What if it meant having to travel a long distance or not know anyone there?
  • This is an informal assignment, but I still want to see complete sentences and some semblance of claim/data/commentary.

Homework: Finish reading/annotating the second third of your independent novel; finish seminar reflections; all of this is due at the start of class on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 10/9

Students had a little time to prep questions for our Socratic seminar on STEM education on Friday. Students need to have three annotate articles as well as small/medium/large questions first thing on Friday if they want to participate in the seminar. Then we worked on a revision activity — turning a 4 into a 5 — using one of the samples from the Sanders prompt. At the end of class, everyone had a few minutes to read in their independent novels. Homework: keep reading and make sure seminar tickets are ready for Friday.

Monday, 10/7

I checked annotations on the first third of the independent novel today. While I was working on this, students read and annotated two texts on our next seminar topic — STEM in education. Student voices were notably absent in these two texts, so I asked students to look for a third text that might bring in student voices a little more. A third printed text needs to be brought to class on Friday. Then I reviewed how the scoring works on the AP Lang test, and we continued with the Sanders example essays. I also handed out and discussed my own rubric for Rhetorical Analysis essays. Homework: read the second third of your independent novel for next Wednesday.

Thursday, 10/3

We went over part two of the rhetorical devices today — Tropes. Students again took notes on the handout while I went over each one, giving examples and discussing the effect of each. Then students looked for examples of these devices in the Sanders prompt. After finishing with Tropes, students worked with a partner to find roughly outline three possible support paragraphs in a hypothetical essay answering this prompt. After turning these in, we started looking at the College Board scoring guide for this essay and some of the example essays I have to learn about the 1–9 scoring scale. Homework: make sure to finish reading/annotating the first third of your independent novel for Monday.

Tuesday, 10/1

I introduced a new prompt/passage today — the Sanders RA prompt from the 2007 AP Lang test. Apparently, this was the hardest RA prompt ever. So, we’re not going to write this essay, but we will use it to review some skills and practice some new ones. Again I read the prompt slowly to the class while they annotated for ethos/pathos/logos. We discussed author’s purpose. Then I began our introduction to rhetorical devices and strategies. We went through all the schemes while students took notes on the devices handout, and then students re-annotated the prompt, looking for these new elements of rhetorical analysis. Homework: you have a week to read and annotate the first third of your independent novel.

Friday, 9/27

I was absent today for a Legacy Foundation AP training. Students wrote their Marquart essays from their outlines in class. Those who finished early started reading and annotating their first independent novel.

Wednesday, 9/25

We reviewed our work on the Marquart essay from Monday. All students finished writing claims for support paragraphs, and I discussed how to write better commentary. While students worked on their outlines, I checked to see who had their independent novels, which were due in class today. Homework: if you did not finish your outline, you need to have it completed by next class

Monday, 9/23

At the start of class, we wrapped up loose ends on our discussion of the NSA/data privacy topic from seminar last week. Then I started walking students through the Marquart prompt. I read the prompt and the passage slowly out loud while students annotated for ethos, pathos, and logos and looked for clues to the author’s purpose. We discussed how she characterizes the Midwest and talked about how to write a good thesis for this essay. Then we discussed the structure of the outline for this essay and the B8 class started writing claims.

Thursday, 9/19

(Today was our first day back following the week-long flood break.)

I reviewed the rhetorical triangle notes from last class, and then students annotated a hard copy of the Jobs speech, looking for his use of ethos, pathos, or logos (each student chose which to look for). Everyone then wrote a single paragraph that could be a part of a larger essay on Jobs’s use of the Rhetorical Triangle in his speech. After these were turned in, everyone wrote questions for our Socratic seminar on the NSA and online privacy. Homework: please complete this reflection for next class

  • What in your reading of your additional sources helped you understand this topic more thoroughly? Give examples.
  • Has something you read or something one of us said challenged your thinking about this topic? Did you change your mind at any point? Why or why not?

Wednesday, 9/11

I reminded students that they need to purchase their independent novels and have them in class two weeks from today (9/25). I also reminded them that they need to read and annotate the New York Times article on privacy and the NSA and find two additional articles on related topics, print them, and annotate them. Next, I introduced the Rhetorical Triangle. Students watched Steve Jobs’s 2005 commencement address at Stanford University, then we discussed why his speech was effective using this framework. Homework: find, print, and annotate your additional NSA/privacy articles for seminar on Friday.

Monday, 9/9

Students read and annotated a story in the NY Times about the NSA for our next Socratic seminar, which will be on Friday. Then we talked about the Lincoln outlines, which were due today, and students wrote their Lincoln RA essays in class. Homework: find two additional articles about the NSA/electronic surveillance issue, due Friday.

Thursday, 9/5

I collected, checked, and returned the annotated Lincoln prompts today. While I was checking them, students chose one body paragraph from their year-round school essays and revised it to improve the use of Claim, Data, Commentary. Then we reviewed the Lincoln prompt/passage together, collectively annotating it and discussing it as we went, particularly the author’s purpose. Homework: create an outline for an essay you will write answering the Lincoln prompt.

Tuesday, 9/3

After collecting the reflection from our first seminar, we had one last discussion of the American Dream and Of Mice and Men. Then I introduced students to the Claim, Data, Commentary pattern to help them write strong paragraphs. We did some practice with this pattern, including color-coding of body paragraphs in the year-round school essay from the first day of class. Homework: annotate the Lincoln prompt for Thursday.

Thursday, 8/29

I shared some information today about our AP grant through the Colorado Legacy Foundation, including dates of the Saturday Study Sessions. Please share this information with your parents. Then we reviewed levels of questions again and students each wrote a list of their questions from Of Mice and Men. We then had our first Socratic seminar of the semester. Homework: answer the seminar reflection prompt in a good-length paragraph for next class; “If you had your essay to write over again, what would you do differently? Say differently? How has your perspective on the novel changed since you first started reading it this summer?”

Tuesday, 8/27

After checking the homework from last class, we went over the independent novel list and talked about obtaining those books. We then reviewed the three types of AP essays and talked about the annotations work students did with the sub on Friday. We also discussed ch. 1 of Mice. At the end of class, I reviewed with students the three levels of questions and the importance of asking good questions, and I shared instructions (B7, B8) for signing up for class announcements through Remind101.com. Homework: annotate the last chapter of Mice.

Friday, 8/23

I was away from school today. Students completed their third AP essay pre-assessment, the Argumentative essay. Then they worked on more annotations practice using a New York Times article about Facebook as well as the first chapter of Of Mice and Men. Homework: finish annotating ch. 1 of Mice for next class.

Wednesday, 8/21

Students took their second pre-assessment today, the AP Synthesis Essay. Then we talked about annotation and I gave students a handout/bookmark to help them with annotations of reading assignments throughout the year. Homework: bring your copy of Of Mice and Men to class on Friday.

Monday, 8/19

After taking yearbook photos, we reviewed the syllabus and the three types of essays they will write on the AP test. Then students took their first of three AP-style pre-assessment essays — Rhetorical Analysis. Homework: return the syllabus signature slip by Wednesday.

Friday, 8/16

After giving a brief overview of the course, I introduced articles from Time magazine and the Daily Times-Call about the possible benefits of year-round school. Students had time to start reading these articles in class. Homework: finish both articles; then write the best 5-paragraph essay you can arguing why you think SVVSD and school districts around the country should or should not adopt a year-round calendar; you must use at least one piece of evidence (direct quote) in each body paragraph, and you must use at least one piece of evidence from each text; this is due Monday.

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