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AP Literature and Composition Syllabus--2010

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					AP Literature and Composition Syllabus
Course Overview
    Intertextuality is the organizing principle of this course: the idea that a work of
    literature can often be understood better by comparing it to a related work of
    literature. We will study all of the major literary works in pairs:

  INTRODUCTION: PAIRED STORIES
  Carver’s                         Carver’s                                   September
           First-Person                    Third-Person
           Stories                         Stories
  TRAGEDY: SHAKESPEAREAN AND MODERN
  Shakespeare’s                    Shakespeare’s                              September –
           King Lear                       Hamlet                             October
  Shakespeare’s                    Smiley’s                                   October –
           King Lear                         A Thousand Acres                 November

  THE HUMAN PSYCHE: LIGHT AND DARK SIDES
  Shelley’s                        Bronte’s                                   November –
           Frankenstein                    Wuthering Heights                  December
  Woolf’s                          Cunningham’s                               December –
       Mrs. Dalloway                       The Hours                          January


  THE LEGACY OF SLAVERY: BLACK AND WHITE
  Faulkner’s                       Morrison’s                                 February –
           The Sound and                   Beloved                            March
           The Fury
  RELATIONSHIPS: THE DYNAMICS OF POWER
  Spark’s                          Mamet’s                                    April
           The Prime of Miss               Oleanna
           Jean Brodie
  Yate’s                           Albee’s                                    May –
           Revolutionary                   Who’s Afraid of                    June
           Road                            Virginia Woolf?
      In each unit, we first read the earlier work (in the left column of the above table),
      reading closely for themes, structure, style, and perspective on the macro level, and
      for figurative language, allusions, symbolism, tone, and irony of the micro level. We
      analyze the later, related work (in the right column of the above table) in relation to
      the earlier work, concentrating on differences in social and historical significance as
      well as the macro and micro criteria already mentioned. Students engage in a wide
      variety of frequent writing activities including online interactive journals, in-class
      paragraphs, out-of-class essays, and responding to essay prompts resembling those
      in the actual AP Exam. Discussions also take place in different formats including
      full-class discussions, Socratic seminars, and oral presentations.

Weekly Schedule
      Based on the philosophy that students perform better under a consistent,
      predictable structure, each weekly schedule remain basically the same. The agenda
      ensures that all students participate in significant discussion, listening, and writing
      activities each week.


   MONDAY            TUESDAY           WEDNESDAY           THURSDAY                FRIDAY

Poetry            In-class           Socratic            In-class           Practice for AP
presentations     paragraph          Circles             paragraph          Exam or
and discussion    Full-class                             Full-class         Focus on
                  discussion                             discussion         literary concept


      Poetry Presentations and Discussion
      Each Monday, a pair of students delivers poetry presentations and conducts a
      discussion of the two significant, related poems chosen from the following pairs of
      poets:

                            Sylvia Plath & Adrienne Rich

                            Walt Whitman & Allen Ginsberg

                            William Wordsworth & William Blake

                            Samuel Taylor Coleridge & Lord Byron

                            John Keats & Percy Shelley

                            John Donne & Andrew Marvell

                            Audre Lourd & Ntozake Shange
                            Elizabeth Bishop & Marianne Moore
                     Octavio Paz & Pablo Neruda

                     Wallace Stevens & William Carlos Williams

                     Henry David Thoreau & Ralph Emerson

                     Gwendolyn Brooks & Maya Angelou

                     T.S. Eliot & Robinson Jeffers

                     William Shakespeare & Edna St. Vincent Millay



A third student will recount relevant biographical information about the two poets.
The analytical presentations should take about 7-10 minutes/student and the class
discussion comparing and contrasting the two poems should occupy the rest of the
period. The students are assessed on the following components:


   Relevant autobiographical information
   A sensitive reading of two relatively short poems
   A discussion of the structure, imagery, and theme(s) of each poem
   A comparison/contrast between the poems
   Provocative discussion questions for the class


This activity gives students experience in the following areas:

       Speaking in front of the class
       Conducting a unified, sustained discussion
       Comparing and contrasting two poems which is a common essay
        prompt of the AP Literature and Composition Exam

In-Class Paragraph and Full-Class Discussion
On Tuesday and Thursday, students usually respond in writing to a well-focused
discussion question on the board. I’ve found that a 40-minute discussion following
student writing is almost always better than a 55-minute discussion alone.
Constructing an in-class paragraph gives students: 1) the opportunity to articulate
and organize their ideas and 2) practice in writing under pressure to prepare for
the AP Exam in May.

Each student is responsible for participating frequently and substantively in class
discussions. Comments should be based on close reading and careful annotation of
the text. Students are expected to extend or disagree with their peers’ ideas
successfully. Logical critical reasoning and compelling evidence are the
cornerstones of effective contributions to class discussions.
   Socratic Circles
   Each Wednesday, students have the opportunity to interact with each on a more
   intimate basis. Approximately half the class form a circle surrounded by the other
   half of the class. The inside circle conduct a structure discussion in which each
   student has specific responsibilities while the outside circle evaluate the
   effectiveness of the discussion. For example if the topic is to analyze Quentin
   Compson’s character in the second section of The Sound and the Fury, some students
   may have the task of extolling Quentin’s personality while other students may have
   to critique it. Still other students may play the roles of Caddy, William Faulkner, or
   the book’s editor. The goals of Socratic Circles are: 1) interactive engagement by all
   students and 2) honing critical reasoning skills. Each student in the outer group
   assesses the speaking and listening performance of one student inside the circle.
   Midway through the period, the inner and outer groups switch locations.

   Practice for AP Exam and Learning Literary Terms
   Every other Friday students practice writing one of the three types of essay prompts
   for the AP Literature and Composition Exam in May. Sometimes, the topics will be
   actual prompts from previous exams. 9-point AP rubric will be used to assess the
   practice essays to measure the students’ progress. We will also devote time to
   practicing the multiple-choice portion of the exam. On alternate Fridays, students
   study important literary terms and concepts, completing accompanying exercises, in
   The Norton Guide to Essential Literary Terms. Students will also practice sentences
   combining techniques involving appositives, participles, and absolutes to ensure
   that their sentences are vigorous and varied.




Literary Works
Below is a synopsis of the essential discussion questions and intertextual questions
considered to facilitate: 1) in-depth analysis and 2) effective comparison and
contrast of texts. While these questions are certainly not exhaustive, they cover
both macro concepts (theme, structure, style, and perspective) and micro concepts
(figurative language, allusions, symbolism, tone, and irony).



Where I’m Calling From
          Essential Questions for Carver:
           1. What fundamental questions does Carver ask about human nature?
           2. Why is Carver so interested in the dynamics of marriage?
           3. How does Carver employ his minimalist style to intensify the dramatic
              impact of his stories?

          Further Questions for Carver:
           1. What are some significant differences between Carver’s first and third
              person narratives?
           2. Are Carver’s female voices as convincing as his male voices?
           3. Do you prefer Carver’s minimalist tales or his later post-Lish fully
              developed stories?

Hamlet and King Lear
          Essential Questions for King Lear:
           1. What are Lear’s serious character flaws that will bring about his
              downfall?
           2. What important similarities and differences exist between the two
              father/child relationships?
           3. What serious questions and answers does this play provide about the
              issue of growing old?

          Intertextual Questions for Hamlet:
           1. How does Hamlet’s tragedy as a young man compare and contrast to
              Lear’s tragedy as an old man?
           2. How do the female characters influence the tragic destiny of the two
              protagonists?
           3. The fool is sometimes referred to as the son that Lear never had. How
              would Lear and Hamlet have fared as father and son?




King Lear and A Thousand Acres
          Essential Questions for King Lear:
        1. In what ways is the play more sympathetic to Lear than to his
           daughters?
        2. Compare and contrast the evil natures of Goneril/Regan and Edmund.
        3. Examine disguise as a plot device and theme in this play.

       Intertextual Questions for A Thousand Acres:
        1. In her modern retelling of King Lear, how does Smiley transform the
           tale by choosing one of the daughters as the narrator?
        2. How does Larry Cook compare to King Lear as an aging father? In
           what ways do you sympathize with one more than the other? How is
           Jesse analogous and antithetical to Edmund?
        3. Does Smiley ascribe some different characteristics to modern
           American tragedy than Shakespeare conveys in King Lear?


Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours
       Essential Questions for Mrs. Dalloway:
        1. In what ways is Virginia Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness narration
           more or less realistic than the standard third-person limited
           omniscient narrative?
        2. How do dialogue and description of setting function differently in this
           novel than in Jane Eyre and other more traditional novels that you
           have read?
        3. How does Virginia Woolf’s portrayal of female and male characters
           compare to Charlotte Bronte’s depiction of the two genders?

       Intertextual Questions for The Hours:
        1. The novel is an homage to Mrs. Dalloway. How successfully has
           Cunningham achieved his goal to emulate Woolf’s style and themes?
        2. In The Hours how does Cunnigham develop the theme of the
           triangular relationship among the author, the characters, and the
           reader?
        3. Whereas Woolf hints at homoerotic relationships in Mrs. Dalloway,
           Cunningham presents several openly gay and lesbian characters in
           The Hours. To what extent does sexual orientation inform the themes
           and agendas in the two novels?




The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Oleanna
       Essential Questions for Miss Jean Brodie:
        1. In what ways is Jean Brodie a good and a bad teacher?
        2. How does Miss Brodie’s attraction to fascism influence her craft?
         3. How does Jean Brodie influence her various students in the short term
            and in the long term? Does some of this influence relate to her
            inability to separate her personal and professional lives?

        Intertextual Questions for Oleanna:
         1. As a teacher, how is John similar to and different from Jean Brodie?
         2. How do Carol in Oleanna and Sandy in Miss Jean Brodie compare as
            students, as people? To what extent are they victims/products of John
            and Jean Brodie?
         3. When you examine Oleanna as a satire of excessive political
            correctness, what connections can you make to this phenomenon in
            Berkeley?


The Sound and the Fury and Beloved
        Essential Questions for The Sound and the Fury:
         1. How does Faulkner address race and racism in this novel about his
            homeland, the South?
         2. How is Faulkner’s stream-of-consciousness technique similar to and
            different from Woolf’s?
         3. To what extent is objective reality discernible in this novel in which
            the three Compson brother’s tell such astonishingly different tales
            about the same events?



        Intertextual Questions for Beloved:
         1. Toni Morrison wrote her Master’s Thesis on Virginia Woolf and
            William Faulkner. What thematic and stylistic influences can you see
            from Mrs. Dalloway and The Sound and the Fury on Beloved?
         2. How does Toni Morrison address race and racism differently in her
            portrayal of the black and white characters than Faulkner did in his
            novel?
         3. Compare and contrast Baby Suggs and Dilsey as matriarchs, Sethe
            and Caroline as mothers. Contrast Denver with the Compson
            children, focusing on Denver’s isolation and the Compson children’s
            constant proximity to each other.




Revolutionary Road and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
        Essential Questions for Revolutionary Road:
         1. How does the title of the novel apply symbolically and ironically to
            Frank, April, and their relationship?
              2. John Givings is supposed to be the insane character in Revolutionary
                 Road. Explain how he actually functions to reveal the madness in
                 other characters and in suburban life.
              3. Identify the strengths and weaknesses in April and Frank’s marriage.
                 Do you blame one character more than the other for their tragedy?

             Intertextual Questions for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf:
              1. To what extent are George and Martha – Frank and April twenty or
                 thirty years later? How does not having or having children affect the
                 couples differently?
              2. Compare/contrast the major battles that threaten the two couples’
                 relationships.
              3. At the end of the play, George and Martha walk upstairs together.
                 Why doesn’t Yates let this happen in his novel?



Writing Activities
   The first step to succeeding in the course is close reading, the second is
   perspicacious interpretation of the text, the third is effective discussion. The last
   and perhaps most important skill is writing powerfully about the literary works. In
   this course, the students write frequently and thoughtfully in a variety of formats to
   ensure consistent progress.

   In-Class Paragraphs
          Writing an in-class paragraph before a class discussion give students practice
          in organizing their thoughts and writing under pressure. I am convinced that
          writing cogent, well-organized paragraphs is essential to successful
          performance on the AP Literature and Composition essays.

   Interactive Journals
          Students use Moodle to post a weekly reflection on the text they are reading.
          Each week, students respond to a well-focused question they pose to
          themselves about the literature. As with their in-class paragraphs, the
          writing should exhibit compelling critical thinking and ample evidence from
          the text. In addition to posting their own thoughts, students must respond to
          the post of at least one peer each week. These online reflections hopefully
          bolster the quality of classroom discussions. Since each Moodle entry will
          have a deadline, students must practice self-discipline and punctuality to
          succeed.

   In-Class Essays
          Every other Friday, to practice for the AP Literature and Composition essays,
          students practice writing one of the three types of essays on the actual
         examination in May. This gives students the opportunity to learn what
         qaulities different essay prompts require for successful responses. We also
         go over student responses to previous prompts to understand why they
         received a particular score the AP 9-point rubric.

  Out-of-Class Essays
         This activity affords students the greatest occasion to think deeply and revise
         their writing thoroughly. Students write four out-of-class essays each
         semester, two on single literary works, and two comparative papers. For
         each essay, we follow the writing process: brainstorm, evidence cards,
         outline, rough draft, peer edit, and final draft. Students must turn earlier
         stages of their writing along with the final draft. Examples of out-of-class
         essay topics can be found on pages 11-15 of this syllabus. I will read and
         provide suggestions for improvement on each student’s rough draft before
         s/he revises her or his work.



Assessment
  All in-class and out-of-class essays are evaluated according to the 9-point AP essay
  rubric.
  Oral presentations and shorter writing assignments such as in-class paragraphs are
  evaluated according to the following point scale:

         5: Exceptional     4: Good      3: Satisfactory    2: Poor     1: Unacceptable


  Each marking period grade is determined by the following percentage weights:

         Participation in Class Discussions                       25%
         In-Class Paragraphs                                      15%
         Moodle Journals and Responses                            15%
         In-Class AP Essays and Multiple Choice Practice          15%
         Out-of-Class Essays                                      25%
         Oral Presentation                                         5%

				
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