AP® English Language and Composition

Course Overview:

The Advanced Placement (AP®) English Language and Composition online course is an intensive two-semester college-level course that equips students to think and write analytically through various modes of discourse (speaking and writing). By the end of the term, students will have obtained and developed the skills necessary to earn a passing score on the AP® English Language and Composition exam administered by the College Board. We primarily structure the course—and choose texts—based on the instruction of critical reading, not just on familiarizing our students with canonical pieces of literature. We work within the framework of mostly nonfiction literature, and we honor great writers in the course. The choices of texts and their sequencing are based on reading skills, not the canon; we primarily focus on intricate reading and writing skills from a varied collection of literature in this class. Because our students live in a highly visual world, we also study the rhetoric of visual media, including photographs, films, advertisements, comic strips, and music videos. Many of the readings and writing assignments will be journalistic in nature and originate from first-­person memoirs, essays, op/ed articles, news, and editorials.

Semester 1 Concepts:

In the first semester, students will learn the fundamentals of rhetoric and rhetorical analysis. They will begin with a review of grammar focusing on clauses and then delve into the key concepts of rhetoric, including the SOAP®S framework and close reading techniques. The students will explore different rhetorical modes and the persuasive appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos. Additionally, they will analyze how diction affects tone and the overall meaning of a text. In the second unit, students will deepen their understanding of rhetorical analysis by studying connotation, syntax, and various rhetorical and stylistic analysis techniques. They will learn how to write timed essays, specifically for the AP® exam’s Q2 essay. The analysis of figurative language, diction, and the practice of writing rhetorical precis and assertion journals will further enhance their skills. In the third unit, students will continue to refine their rhetorical analysis abilities. They will study gerunds, write a full rhetorical analysis essay, analyze historical texts like the Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, practice writing compare and contrast essays, and tackle AP® exam multiple-choice questions. They will also explore concepts related to grammar, such as direct and indirect objects, appositive phrases, and agreement and tenses. Overall, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of rhetoric, develop analytical skills, and enhance their writing abilities throughout the semester.

Semester 2 Concepts: 

In the second semester, students will focus on different essay types and research skills. In Unit 4, they will learn about cause and effect essays, including the use of anecdotes and the cause and effect rhetorical strategy. They will also gain knowledge on writing cause and effect essays and creating effective essay outlines. Unit 5 centers around research skills, including the analysis of satire, understanding satire as an argumentative tool, and utilizing the DIDLS Prose Analysis Method. Students will be introduced to the AP® Argument Essay (Q3) format and learn how to conduct research, determine research topics, write research proposals, collect data, and organize research using outlines. They will also explore the distinction between primary and secondary sources, learn how to avoid plagiarism, and develop their research paper writing style. The research paper structure, from introduction to conclusion, will be covered, along with proper handling and citation of sources in APA style. In Unit 6, students will study other essay types, such as analyzing speeches and letters, creating argument essay outlines, utilizing pathos and logos in arguments, narrative writing techniques, descriptive writing with a focus on details and imagery, synthesis essay tips, interpreting writing tasks, evaluating visual texts and op-eds, and even writing op-eds themselves. The semester concludes with the process analysis essay, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of various essay types and skills in analyzing and writing different types of texts.

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