Justin-Siena High School
Room 108/Writing Center
Advanced Placement Literature and Composition
2010-2011 Junior/Senior English Seminar
Course Syllabus and Expectations
AP Lit and Comp is designed to expand and develop skills in critical reading and writing
about literature. This course is equivalent to a freshman or lower division English course
at the college level. Students, with acceptable performance on the AP exam taken in
May, may earn credits and/or advanced placement in college composition. This
determination will be made by the college which you choose to attend and you should
make the inquiry early in your college application process. Literary works are chosen
from the AP English Course of Study for the English Literature and Composition Exam.
All reading materials are content level appropriate for advanced college freshmen. This
course stresses a sophisticated awareness of genre, theme, and style, focusing on British
writers, world literature, contemporary works, and American authors. Writing
assignments emphasize the refinement of personal expression and style and are, in
frequency and mode, equivalent to composition assignments at the freshman and
sophomore college level.
Students will develop the critical reading and composition skills necessary for
advanced college coursework and the Advanced Placement Examination in
English Literature and Composition. To do this, you will read and analyze poetry,
prose, critical essays and drama from a wide range of literary periods and
Students will understand, through close reading, how authors use elements such as
diction, imagery, syntax, details, and figurative language to convey theme.
Students will compose literary analysis and commentary.
Students will develop and improve vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills.
Students will understand how plot, setting, characterization, point of view, and theme
work together to create meaning.
Students will write and revise for a specific audience and evaluate writing using the
6+1 Traits Writing rubric.
Students will demonstrate an understanding of the Catholic traditions and Lasallian
heritage through faith development, engaging in social justice activities, and
discussions of moral and personal decisions through the examination of literary
characters and events.
Students will, through the reading and analyzing of various texts and the collaborative
learning model, develop global and multi-cultural perspectives.
Students will make responsible academic decisions and act with personal integrity.
The Bedford Introduction to Literature, Meyer
How to Read Literature like a Professor, Foster
The Odyssey, Homer
Hamlet, Shakespeare (in your Bedford)
Dracula, Norton Critical Edition, Stoker
Heart of Darkness, Norton Critical Edition, Conrad
Invisible Man, Ellison
Life of Pi, Martel
Three-ring Binder, with paper, dedicated to this course
One Composition Notebook dedicated to work in this course
Appropriate pens, pencils, and lots of sticky notes
Additionally, numerous essays, films, historical documents, poems,
short stories, and literary criticisms will be distributed.
*A very important note…annotation is critical to the understanding of a
novel and in the composition of literary analysis. I view the novels we will read in this
course as workbooks, therefore, you should expect to write in them, highlight
them, and take notes in the covers. In other words, you will write in your books.
Please view these as consumable materials.
Grades will be determined through a semester-long evaluation and assessment of
work completed and participation in discussions.
Literature Log – there will be daily quotes for you to respond to in your
composition book, analysis questions to discuss, dialectic journaling, and
responses to reading to record. “Spot” assessment will occur on a regular basis.
Additionally, this will be collected at the quarter and at the end of the semester
Vocabulary enrichment activities, grammar activities, reading study guides,
and literary terms definitions – these will be completed on a regular basis,
involve quizzes and presentations, and will be assessed on a daily/weekly basis.
Literary Analysis Essays – there will be several essays assigned each semester
as you “practice” for the AP exam and refine your analysis skills. You will also
complete four essays based on your choice of Independent Reading. These
essays may be revised for assessment improvement consideration
(see attached description).
Literary Devices Glossary Project – December/April due dates
Poetry Project – a major assignment for the Spring semester.
Discussion/Participation – there will be a number of ways to actively
participate in this seminar course including the sharing of thoughts, quizzes on
the readings, presentations, Socratic seminars, and group participation. Points,
of varying amounts, will be available and required for being an active presence
in the class each day.
"I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome . . . "
Bram Stoker, Dracula
Policies and Procedures:
Discipline: One rule/One word…Respect
If you are respectful, you will do your homework, prepare for class, be on time, stay awake,
refrain from talking at inappropriate times, interact courteously with one another, turn your
phone off and keep it out of sight, and use appropriate classroom language. Those who find
themselves challenged in this area and who obstruct the learning process of others may expect
specific correction from me and fair treatment with compassion and patience. I discipline
students as privately as possible, contact parents when necessary, and refer to administration as
appropriate. You should recognize the steps of due process which are outlined in the JSHS
Student/Parent Handbook as progress toward removal from this course without credit should a
need arise. For those who choose to be respectful, you will be rewarded with an excellent
Per the Handbook, no eating or drinking in the classroom other than at breaks with my ok. A
clear, lidded, water bottle with water in it is acceptable.
No gum chewing in class – and no putting it under the desk when you get here. Dispose of it
politely prior to class, thank you.
I do take cell phones. I do take cell phones. I do take cell phones.
Teacher/Student and Student/Student Conferences:
Please feel free to make time to meet with me and your peers to discuss your writings and
readings. These conferences will be critical and, perhaps, the one significant difference between
good and excellent students. Remember, it is your responsibility to take an active role in your
education. Please note, that as you progress through your high school and particularly your
college years of education, your instructors may approach you differently. You are being
prepared to transition to the college academic environment and thus, the responsibility for
your education lies with you. I am available before school, at lunch, during FlexTime, after
school, and in the Writing Center (which serves as your classroom) to meet with you. That‟s my
job…you should do yours! All essays may be turned in to me prior to their due dates for
conferencing, discussion, and revision analysis.
Make-up Work and Attendance:
Daily Assignments - I will accept daily work only at the time it is due.
If you have an excused absence (as determined by the office) I will accept your work, as you
enter the class, which was due the previous day(s). You may earn discussion/participation
credit only on those days which you are actively present. Should you miss an assignment due to
an excused absence, it will be your responsibility to first contact a classmate for the assignment,
then check the file cabinet clip for any missed handouts and discuss with me the missed
assignments. This conversation must take place at a time which is convenient. Exams, tests, and
quizzes may be given as a make-up at my discretion, some may be waived, others may be taken
during a Study Hall or FlexTime period. Any missed homework assignments will then be
accepted on the next class day. All work will be considered due upon my collection request; all
late homework or literature logs will be accepted with a grade deduction of 50% unless prior
accommodations have been made. If you are to be absent for a pre-planned sporting
event, retreat, or excused absence not involving illness, you should meet with me
prior to your absence to discuss what work will be required to be made up and
which work will be excused.
Major Essays/Projects - Even if you are absent, you are bound by previously scheduled due
dates for the major essay/project assignments. If you miss a due date, your paper/project will be
due the day you return to class. Late essays will receive a 50% discount, and will
forfeit the revision for a better grade opportunity. Should you choose not to complete
one of these essays, you may not participate in extra credit opportunities.
**I will not assess papers which have not been submitted to Turnitin.com as
assigned, which may result in a late assessment.
On a personal note….with very few exceptions, I may make concessions for
unexcused absences and negotiate alternate due dates in consideration of fairness. I
fully understand the schedule of high school juniors and seniors and want to support the
building of your character through a variety of activities in your life. The very best way
for you to be successful in our course together is for you to be actively engaged in an
ongoing dialog about your participation. Please keep in mind however, your choices for
co-curricular involvement may require accommodations. You know when your schedule
will get busy, plan accordingly. There will, honestly, be times when you may have to
consider a lower grade in exchange for increased participation in co-curricular activities.
Acknowledge this as a very real possibility and deal with it.
I check my voice mail daily for messages from families and students. Please call the
school at 255-0950 x525 to leave me a voice message. However, the most effective
means of receiving a timely response is through e-mail as I check my mail frequently
throughout the day. I do not accept final assignments via e-mail without prior
arrangement! Please e-mail me with thoughts on your essays, questions not thought
of in class, etc.
Extra Credit Opportunities:
Understandably, there will be times each semester that you may either fall behind due to
outside activities, have difficulty engaging in a particular unit of discussion and, as a
result, may fall behind in your grade. You may complete an additional Literature
Response in-class essay exam for extra credit one each semester. This exam will be in
addition to all assignments presented in class and must reflect exceptional literary
analysis. No partial credit will be offered. You must plan in advance for this assignment.
I will also offer extra credit opportunities for attending and responding to the theatrical
productions at JSHS.
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.
Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
Grading Assessment and Requirements for Written Work:
Grades are computed on a point system.
All points earned in a semester determine the semester grade.
PowerSchool, as well as your own personal accounting, will assist you in keeping up to
date. Please check your PowerSchool account frequently and please notify me asap if
you discover an error in my computations (missteaks hpen!).
All major assignments must be typed or printed by computer following MLA
format. No handwritten essays are accepted with the exception of in-class essays
The grading system emphasizes written work, especially essays which involve all steps of
the writing process. Students may revise graded essays for a higher grade within a one-
week period of receipt and conference. The revision may raise the original grade a
maximum of 10%. To this end, appointments made with me for conferences can be
quite valuable. When turning in a revised essay, you must attach all
All late, formal, essays receive a 50% grade deduction. A paper is late if not handed
in at the time requested. Plan on printer problems prior to coming to class,
including running out of black ink! Always e-mail yourself your essays. Save „em on a
flashdrive too. Cover your bases.
I will not assess an essay if you fail to submit it to Turnitin.com as requested and
therefore, it will be considered late. Late essays may not be revised for additional credit.
Plagiarism and cheating will earn a zero on any assignment or test, as well as
consequences as outlined in the JSHS Student/Parent Handbook. Cheating includes
copying another‟s Study Guides, sharing answers on a worksheet, or turning in work not
your own creation. Rely on the quality of your own thoughts and voice. For
every written assignment, be sure to document your sources carefully. We will use
Turnitin.com. Please note that I read exhaustively the same sources you would be
tempted to use. Talking with your classmate(s) or having notes or a cell phone on your
desk or near your working area during a test will be considered evidence of cheating.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Guidelines for Writing the Independent Reading
Literature Response Papers
Quarter One Paper due _________________________________
Quarter Two In-Class Essay Exam _________________________________
Quarter Three Paper due _________________________________
Quarter Four In-Class Essay Exam _________________________________
*due dates for these may alter slightly per my decision in accommodation of whole class student learning and sanity
Per stated policy, late papers or papers not submitted to turnitin.com, receive a
50% grade deduction. A paper is considered late if not turned in
at time of collection or assessment.
The Independent Reading assignment for this course has been designed to provide an
opportunity for you to choose the novel or play you want to read, either alone or in a reading
study group. Some of the novels listed below are available through the JSHS library, most are
available through your public library, and all will be available through a bookstore. I am happy
to loan texts to students who choose to be responsible and return them. You are required to read
and write about one novel, play, or epic poem that relates to our studies each quarter. Should
your selection not appear on this list, please check with me prior to beginning your reading. My
decision to “allow” you to read a particular selection is based on experience and guidelines
provided by the College Board of selections having “literary merit.” Keep in mind, your selection
must be of appropriate reading level, a novel or play, and have substance sufficient to write an
analysis paper. Previously read novels may not be chosen for this assignment. Your third quarter
selection should be your most challenging, but more on this later!
Your Analysis Essays (Summer, Q1, and Q3):
You must present an argument (thesis statement) around which to structure your paper. Keep in
mind that you will be writing 4-5 pages on your topic, so make it something you are interested
in, as well as something you can sustain over a period of time without repetition. Here is when
secondary sources may be relevant. We will review these opportunities in class. For a thesis to be
arguable, someone should be able to argue against it. Make sure you tell the reader the “what”
and the “why” of your thesis. Do not summarize or re-tell the story. Assume that whatever novel
you are writing about, I have read. When writing a paper, you should always consider your
audience; in this case, I am your audience.
As you are trying to prove a point in your essay, you need evidence. This evidence should be in
the form of quotations from the text (properly cited) and, perhaps, related information. Avoid
plot summary. Instead, focus on using examples from the novel or play to support your thesis
and main points of the essay. You should use a minimum of four cited sources from your reading
and supporting resources. Your final essay will include a Work(s) Cited page. Above all…make a
claim and support it.
This paper should be 4-5 full pages in length. Per MLA formatting guidelines, there is no cover
page, your paper, with one inch margins, will be printed in black ink, 12 font in Times News
Roman or very similar font, and will include a list of Work(s) Cited. (No footnotes are used in
MLA). Give your paper a catchy title…it‟s as effective as a thesis statement!
Your In-Class AP Essay Exam (Q2 and Q4):
I will provide you with an AP Exam Question 3 (Open Ended) prompt. You will have 45 minutes
to compose your essay using the text you have chosen, in advance, to read.
Suggested Independent Reading Options
(must be something not previously read)
You may read and respond to an additional one for extra credit per semester. Please check with me
prior to selecting your reading materials.
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Willa Cather, My Antonia
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
Michael Cunningham, The Hours
Michael Dorris, A Yellow Raft in a Blue River
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
William Faulkner, Light in August, As I Lay Dying
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
Myla Goldberg, Bee Season
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Joseph Heller, Catch-22
Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, Farewell To Arms
Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Kite Runner
Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Aldus Huxley, Brave New World
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
Charles Johnson, Middle Passage
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Franz, Kafka, The Metamorphosis
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Cormac McCarthy, The Road, All the Pretty Horses
Art hur Miller, The Crucible
Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Billy Budd
Toni Morrison, Sula, Jazz, Beloved
George Orwell, Animal Farm
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead*, Atlas Shrugged*
Philip Roth, The Human Stain, The Counterlife
William Shakespeare, any play not previously read
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden
Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Alice Walker, The Color Purple
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
Virginia Woolf, Orlando, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One’s Own
There are many more novels and plays from which you may choose. Please feel free to make your own suggestion, but
keep in mind you should be choosing something of significant literary merit appropriate for a college prep senior
English literature course. There are many fine examples of contemporary literature as well!
*Scholarship essay contest available