AP Lang & 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.

Thursday, 3/27

Here is our Socratic seminar for today: The state of Colorado is set to revamp how public schools assess students next year. Changes will include the addition of tests in the fall for seniors, new tests given twice in the spring in grades 9–11, and the administration of these tests electronically. Read the articles below about standardized testing. Then, find some of your own sources that speak to the various sides of the debate around standardized testing in Colorado and around the country.

Homework: complete the independent novel essay over break; due April 7.

Wednesday, 3/19

Arguable topics form.

Friday, 2/7

The final work day for the research paper. I reminded students of the MLA formatting requirement and talked a little bit about turning inquiry questions into thesis statements. Homework: finish the research papers for Tuesday.

Wednesday, 2/5

A short day for late start — students worked on their research projects some more, trying to move into writing portions of the support paragraphs (claim, data, commentary!). Homework: finish the research papers for Tuesday.

Monday, 2/4

Today was our third work day for the research project. Students worked on developing inquiry questions and beginning to collect actual quotes. Some students began writing, but I encouraged everyone not to start with the introduction — it’s easiest to write your intro and conclusion after you have most or all of the body of the essay written. Homework: read ch. 13–16 in Huck Finn.

Thursday, 1/30

Today was our second work day for the equity research project. Students narrowed down their topics and continued reading about them. I also checked annotations for the first four chapters of Huck Finn. There is no assigned reading for the weekend, but I would recommend either working on your project a bit or reading the next couple of chapters to get ready for next week.

Tuesday, 1/28

For our first work day, I introduced the research project and walked students through choosing a topic and beginning to gather sources and data. Homework: read ch. 11–12 in Huck Finn.

Friday, 1/24

We never got around to this last semester, so since we had computers I sent everyone to playspent.org today to try out a one-month poverty simulation similar to the experiments Ehrenreich documented in her book. Then we talked some more about the dominant culture and the research project. Students completed some pre-research activities around MLA format and evaluation of sources, which was due via Google docs by the end of class. Homework: read ch. 6–10 in Huck Finn.

Wednesday, 1/22

After a debrief of the Mock Exam last week, I started class today by playing a game today to illustrate inequity. This led into a discussion of the dominant culture, using Nickel and Dimed as a launching pad. And, this will take us directly into the equity research project, which we will talk more about on Friday and begin in earnest next week. Students then checked out copies of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and had some reading time. Homework: read to the end of ch. 5 in Huck Finn

Friday, 1/17

Today was the Mock Exam! Because it was a lot of work, I only had students watch The Great Gatsby in class. No homework this weekend.

Wednesday, 1/15

Today was our last day for multiple choice practice before the Mock Exam. We finished up with the Douglass passage from last class, and then we tackled a second passage and set of questions. We also talked through details of the Mock Exam. Homework: make sure you are in the small gym promptly at 7:30 Friday morning; have with you pencils for the multiple choice section and blue or black pens for the essay sections.

Monday, 1/13

After checking articles, we had our Socratic seminar over the eliminate-the-penny topic. Students wrote the reflection in class rather than for homework, and then we did some multiple choice practice to prepare for the Mock Exam on Friday.

Thursday, 1/9

We started class with another 20 minutes to research new sources for our Socratic seminar on the penny topic. We will hold this seminar next Monday. Then I introduced the Argumentative essay — we talked about how to approach it, where your data will come from, and how to organize it. Students worked in groups to practice everything short of writing the essay, which I suggested students attempt as an optional practice activity before the Mock Exam next Friday. Homework: three sources, printed and annotated, for Monday’s seminar.

Tuesday, 1/7

Our first day back from winter break — we went over the finals, which were generally good, and then students re-wrote their Penny synthesis essays, taking the opposition position that they had on the final. I also went over some upcoming calendar events (Mock Exam on 1/17, Saturday Study Session #2 on 2/1).

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