Course Syllabus

     Welcome to Ms. B's Class

& other information

Work: (704) 296-3800

Cell: (704) 557-6040


First Semester Second Semester
1st PLANNING 1st English I Honors
2nd English III Honors--AP Companion 2nd AP Language
3rd English I CP 3rd PLANNING
4th English I Honors 4th English I CP


 Welcome to AP Language and Composition!

Course Overview

The AP English Language and Composition course is designed to help students become analytical, rhetorical readers and writers. Students in this course are taught critically by focusing their attention on the choices that authors make in relation to social context(s), audience(s), and purpose(s). Most texts used throughout the year will be nonfiction and will come from a variety of formal and informal sources and genres (e.g., academic journals, advertisements, scientific arguments, letters, political cartoons, critical essays, charts, and graphs, etc.). In conjunction with reading and analyzing texts of such variety, students will also be required to produce formal and informal writings of the same sort.; consequently, the course helps students become skilled, rhetorical writers who compose their own choices that pay strict attention to social context(s), target audience(s), rhetorical mode(s), and overall purpose(s). 

AP English Language and Composition enables students to read complex texts with understanding, while also teaching them to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. The ultimate goal of building the rhetorical skills the class fosters is to help mold students into individuals who will actively and intelligently engage with the world around them. The AP English Language and Composition course helps students move beyond reading for mere comprehension, and it moves them past composing programmatic responses; it encourages them to think critically and purposefully about the rhetorical choices that authors make, and it leads them to consider the choices they make when deciding to add their voice into any given discourse: civil or academic. 

Students must take the AP Exam in May to receive AP credit on their transcript. A qualifying score of three (3) or better on the AP exam may earn a student college credit.

 Student Outcomes and Goals

After completing the course, participating students will have developed:

  • Close reading skills focusing on the rhetorical movements of authors. In doing such, students will be able to read critically while evaluating an author's style and means of producing certain effects on the desired audience.
  • The ability to produce complex thesis statements while subsequently supporting the aforementioned with evidence and commentary in a clear and logical fashion. 
  • The ability to synthesize information from various sources---formal and non---in order to strengthen their own arguments. This coincides with developing their own ability to rely on their own life experiences as ample means of support for their arguments. 
  • The ability to realize that authors make rhetorical and stylistic choices to achieve their purpose(s); consequently, students will move to be more purposeful in their own communications in order to adequately and/or effectively engage their audience(s) in any contextual discourse whether the opportunities for such arise withing academic or civil environments. 

Course Expectations

As this is a high school course operating at a college-level course, performance expectations are appropriately high, and the work is challenging. That is not to say that there will be more work throughout this course than a typical honors course; but rather, AP assignments will require responses that explore the uses and functions of language at a greater depth.

Materials,  Required Texts & Resources:

EmpowerED Family Portal: Provides parents with links to online resources and apps that students can access. 

  • Canvas (Learning Platform at Central Academy): Unit modules, assignments, and materials are accessed through our learning platform. Individual assignments will indicate which method of submission on Canvas is expected, if students need a refresher or have questions, they can access the Canvas Student Guide for specific instructions. It is the student's responsibility to ensure assignments are submitted on time and to contact the instructor if there is a problem. The Canvas Learning Platform logs every student log-in on Canvas which provides teachers with a list of when students log in to Canvas using their user ID. 
  • Canvas is used to grade assignments as well, however, the grades in Canvas, while accurate to the assignment, are NOT the teacher's grade book. The teacher's grade book includes categories of assignments that may be weighted differently and may include grades of assignments that did not use the Canvas Learning Platform. Therefore, students and parents should always check their child's true average on the Parent Portal on PowerSchool. 

Class Supplies

Course Binder with Labeled Dividers

  • 3-ring binder
  • highlighters
  • blue/ black pens

Students must maintain a course binder for this class. Incomplete binders will adversely affect exam preparation and a student's grade. The binder should include the following sections:

  1. Unit 1: Communicating an Idea
  2. Unit 2: Appealing to an Audience
  3. Unit 3: Understanding Context
  4. Unit 4: Analyzing Purpose
  5. Unit 5: Creating Coherence
  6. Unit 6: Establishing and Evaluating Credibility
  7. Unit 7: Comparing Perspectives
  8. Unit 8: Explaining Complexities
  9. Unit 9: Joining the Conversation

How Does a Unit Work?

Each unit is divided into sections to match the AP Course Description:

  • Reading and Analysis Workshops
  • Ideas in American Culture
  • Composition Workshops
  • Preparing for the AP Exam

Unit at a Glance

Focused Workshops on the Big Ideas

Each unit begins with four brief workshops in argument and rhetorical analysis, keyed to the Big Ideas and Enduring Understandings of the course. Each of these workshops includes content, instruction, and guided practice with a high-interest practice text. 

Putting It All Together

After each series of workshops, we take a moment to step back and model how the skills of the unit can be used to analyze a text. This is done through a modeled annotation of a mentor text. 

Ideas in American Culture---Uncovering the Ideas within the Arguments

One secret ingredient to success on the exam is ideas. It's not enough to just discuss a topic. To be successful, students need to express an idea about that topic. That's why ideas are at the core of every unit. After the Big Idea workshops come two ideas in American culture that explore some of the ideas and contexts that inform our cultural conversation. With a brief introduction to foreground and contextualize the ideas, and an Idea Bank to help students make relevant and contemporary connections, this section is all about critical thinking and guiding students to the next level of analysis and argument. 

Practice Texts That Build Understanding and Context

Within the two ideas in American culture, we'll pair texts that explore those ideas. These often include a classic text and a contemporary text, or two voices that present different perspectives on the idea to spark conversation.

Composition Workshops---Applying AP Skills to Writing

One of the things that make AP English Language so unique is that all of the key skills apply not only to reading and analysis but also to student writing. That's why each unit has a one-to-one correlation between what's taught in the Big Idea workshops and what's taught in the Composition Workshop. 

Preparing for the AP Exam 

Instruction in Writing Free-Response Essays

This invaluable section of the unit is more than just test prep items. It's a detailed guide to writing for the AP Exam. Each Preparing for the AP Exam section beings with a mini-workshop on a key AP Exam writing skill, such as the following: 

Essay Type Key Skill
Unit 1 Rhetorical Analysis Writing and Supporting a Defensible Thesis
Unit 2 Argument Establishing a Line of Reasoning
Unit 3 Synthesis Incorporating Evidence from Sources
Unit 4 Rhetorical Analysis Writing Commentary
Unit 5 Argument Creating Unity and Coherence
Unit 6 Synthesis Synthesizing Evidence from Sources
Unit 7 Rhetorical Analysis Explaining Significance
Unit 8 Argument Acknowledging and Responding to Opposing Arguments
Unit 9 Synthesis  Demonstrating Complexity

AP Style Multiple-Choice Reading Questions

Every unit also includes a set of multiple-choice reading questions to help students practice reading for rhetoric, argument, and understanding. 

AP-Style Multiple-Choice Writing Questions

Each unit includes multiple-choice writing questions to help students deeply familiarize themselves with this new type of assessment. 


Classroom Policies

Late Work

All work must be submitted at the beginning of the class period on the day it is due. Missing homework will result in a zero grade for that assignment. Late work (e.g., essays, projects) will be accepted at the teacher's discretion (see honesty policy). Students have five calendar days to make up missed texts, timed writings, and quizzes. A number one (1) will in recorded in PowerSchool until the missed test, timed writing, or quiz is made up. After the five calendar days, the one will become a zero, and the assignment can longer be turned in. Absentees must take the initiative to acquire and complete missing work. Other extenuating circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Hand-Written Policy

Because the AP exam requires students to write all of their essays by hand, it is imperative that students practice expressing themselves through the hand-written word. In order to practice and improve writing fluency and cognitive fluidity, all work must be completed---with the exception of online assignments---in black or blue pen. Any and all work that violates such will be scored as a zero until corrected to meet the aforementioned criteria. Furthermore, if an assignment is hand-written, but is illegible, the assignment will be scored as a zero; however, in such cases, the teacher may offer an opportunity for the work to be made up. 

Essay Writing

Essay Grading

All essays will be graded at an AP standard. The grading scale is from 1-6; since there is an expectation of improvement as students progress through the course, grade equivalents will change from the first to the second semester. 

Essay Score Rough AP Exam Grade

First Semester

Class Grade Equivalent

Second Semester

Class Grade Equivalent

6 5 95-100 95-100
5 4 88-94 83-94
4 3 80-87 71-82
2-3 2 70-79 61-70
0-1 1 60-69 50-60

Process Writing

Expository writing is the instrument that carries students' voices to their audiences. Workshops and student-teacher conferences have been programmed into the course; ultimately, with the aid of peers and mentors, students should come to see writing as a multiple-step process that requires research and multiple revisions. Students will be taught how to move through the planning, process in order to produce drafts that will be peer edited. Upon the peer-edit---in conjunction with teacher commentary---revisions will be expected, ultimately moving the student to engage in a final revision in order to submit a polished draft. 

Timed Writing 

Throughout the year students will complete numerous timed essays to develop skill in writing argumentative and analytical essays. These writings are integrated into the natural progression of the course. Timed writing is accelerated and, therefore, distinct from more deliberate expository writing processes. Students need to learn how to gather, organize, and express their ideas quickly in order to succeed on standardized tests, on college exams, and in the workplace. 


Throughout the course, students will learn to evaluate, select, and synthesize source material based on validity and purpose. The research component of this course is intended to help students incorporate ideas from credible authors to increase the validity of their own arguments. During initial research, students will be explicitly taught how to search for, find, and evaluate credible evidence. 

Citation and Documentation Standards

All written work for the course will adhere to the citation and documentation standards set forth in The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Eighth Edition). In particular, major essays will include in-text citations and Works Cited pages that are properly formatted. With that, timed-writing exercises and other assignments should include seamlessly woven direct quotes and paraphrased references that competently credit authors and their works. Ultimately, students should recognize that citing sources is not merely an administrative function; rather, it is a necessary step toward producing essays that are rich, informative, and, above all, free from plagiarism.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism = Failure!!! No excuses, no exceptions. Plagiarism is stealing or "borrowing" someone else's work or ideas and presenting them as your own. Using a document or part of a document written by another student is plagiarism. Buying an essay from one of the services that sell such documents is plagiarism. Using a document published on the Web is plagiarism. Having someone else write an essay for you is plagiarism. If you plagiarize, you will fail the assignment, your parents and the administration will be contacted, and you will be subject to other disciplinary action as outlined in the CATA Student Handbook. Plagiarism is both stealing and cheating; both acts are unacceptable. 


Course Summary:

Date Details Due