AP Language and Composition

Parents may join the class Google Site.  Contact me by email ([email protected]) if you need the class code.



AP English Language and Composition/Research

Course Syllabus – 2021-2022

North Buncombe High School

Emily Gill


The hardest part is the writing. Brevity requires compression, and compression requires struggle and sweat.  “I apologize for such a long letter,” Mark Twain once said. “I didn’t have the time to write a short one.”



Course Overview

• read broadly among a variety of authors, rhetorical purposes, and eras

• engage in the study of writing as an art

• learn to employ the fundamentals of argumentation


The course is a text-centered analysis of a variety of works of nonfiction and fiction, including the “reading” of visual texts (such as political cartoons) and documentary film. We are engaging with the big ideas through claims, evidence, reasoning, organization, rhetorical situation, and style.


AP English Language and Composition is a year-long course leading to the administration of the AP Examination in May.  The exam is prepared and scored by the College Board, a division of the Educational Testing Service.  Contact your college choices about credit for the exam. Your scores on the AP test do not affect the grade in this class.

                Academic work ethic ensures college success.  The skills and knowledge you gain in this class will transfer readily to other academic situations. You will be exercising analytical and critical thinking skills through complex reading and writing assignments and be asked to keep up with a variety of tasks that are assigned over long periods of time – an excellent exercise.  Keep your planners handy!


Note to parents:  This class is tough.  Give your kid a pat on the back for just attempting it.  And don’t worry about the AP test.  It’s not until May, and we have plenty of time to prepare.

Student attendance is important, so help your student to attend regularly and to complete assignments.  All assignments, both reading and writing, are designed to build the skills necessary to read and write well in college. Students are expected to write multiple drafts of essays to improve their writing skills (and grades). Most days, there is a reading quiz or other assignment to complete on Google Class.  If not, the calendar has upcoming due dates.  There is ALWAYS something to do.  Ask to see the monthly reading and writing schedule. Check power school.  This is the last chance you get to “hound” your kids.  Enjoy!  Finally, email me to set up a meeting or just ask a question any time. 


Expectations for students: 

1.  Complete reading to prepare for class discussions.  If you don’t read, you effectively “miss” class the following day.

2. Write all essays and revise them at least twice. This is the only way to become a better writer.

3. Be on time:  You will be given due dates and reading lists with each unit.

4.  Be present:  The correlation between good grades and attendance is all too obvious.  If you can’t attend, check google class for assignments.



10% reading quizzes

30% designer vocabulary

60% essays with revisions; tests


ABSENCES - 5/5 rule:   5 points off assignment for each day late

Assignments will not be accepted after 5 days

Check online daily for assignments on GOOGLE CLASS. 

The onus is on you to reschedule a test

Chronically late assignments will warrant a parent meeting.


Materials:  notebook with tabs; blue or black ink pens; pencils; highlighters


Academic Dishonesty (a.k.a. cheating):  Although you are often asked to work in collaborative groups, the work you submit must be your own.  If you are unclear about a collaborative assignment, feel free to ask.  Consequences for cheating include a zero for the assignment, a phone call to your parent or guardian, and a referral to the principal. Please see the NBHS Cheating Policy in the student handbook.


Regular Features of the class:                       

Reading:  A reading calendar with due dates and assignments will be provided for each unit. 

Answer questions as indicated at the end of reading selections

Expect quizzes on due dates


Multiple choice practice quizzes from released AP tests.  You will read, annotate, and discuss with other class members before answering the questions, but ultimately, you will choose your own answers.


Writing with AP released essay prompts: You will write and revise essays and do peer-reviews using the AP rubric for scoring.  All essays revised for a higher test grade. 


Mini lessons on organization, grammar, and conventions (as needed)


Writing Conferences:  Schedule with time with me on Google meet or in person.


AP test preparation:  Time management, essay tests, multiple choice. 


Socratic Discussion:  offer your opinions frequently and be courteous to others as they offer theirs. 

1. Every honest seeker of truth and wisdom is welcome here.

2. Challenging someone’s beliefs is not the same thing as attacking a person.

3. Assume that the people you disagree with are motivated by a pure and perfect love for truth and justice. 




Reading and Writing Units for AP Language 2021-2022


1.  Pre-course reading and Introduction to rhetorical analysis:

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

                Rhetorical Analysis of 6 articles: current topics

                The Language of Composition text – reading about and creating a vocabulary for studying rhetorical                                              analysis


2.  Gender Stereotypes - Pair with Synthesis Essay (drafts, peer edits, and revisions)

Guiding Question:  What is considered stereotypical behavior for men and women?  How are expectations for behavior different for men and women in our society?  How do those expectations affect people’s attitudes about living as a man or a woman?

“Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin – discussion

The Awakening  Kate Chopin – copies in the media center or you may purchase one

Language and Composition text. Submit your answers to the questions in your digital notebook.

 “I Want a Wife” Judy Brady (539-541)         Qs 1, 2, 5, 6

 “Professions for Women” Virginia Woolf (525-529)

                Rhetoric and style questions 1-6 and 9, 11

 “The Speech of Miss Polly Baker” Ben Franklin (532-534) HW Qs  3-11

 “There is no Unmarked Woman” Deborah Tannen (552-556) HW Qs 1-6

 “Letters” John and Abigail Adams (535-538)   HW Qs 1, 3-6

 “Mind over Muscle” David Brooks (577-579)             Qs 1-3, 5

“Marlboro Man” (567)       photograph           Qs 1-4

“Being a Man” Paul Theroux (567-570)         Qs 1-4

“Chancellor Seguier on Horseback” Kehinde Wiley (562-564) painting  Qs 2-6

 “About Men” Gretel Ehrlich (570-573)         Qs 1-5

Additional online articles and videos as assigned

Film: Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (we’ll watch this together online if I can figure it out ๐Ÿ˜Š)

3. The Economy and the Middle Class- Pair with General Argument essay (drafts, peer edits, and revisions)

Guiding questions:  What are the problems that people face in pursuing a middle-class lifestyle in America?  What are some of the solutions that the authors offer?

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Language of Composition text

From  Serving in Florida,  Barbara Ehrenreich (394)  Q: 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12

 “On Dumpster Diving” Lars Eighner (421) Qs 1-11

 “How to Restore the American Dream” Fareed Zakaria (460) quiz question in class

Ruskin – from Roots of Honor (413) handout with annotations

Thoreau – from Economy (474) handout with annotations

 “World Economic Forum” cartoon (374)      Qs 1-3   

from Hungry Planet photographs (958)          Qs 1-3

Roger and Me dir. Michael Moore (1988)


Midyear exam on Economy unit with Synthesis and General essays and multiple choice


4. Civil Rights Voices in America - Pair with Rhetorical Analysis essay (drafts, peer edits, and revisions), Google Sites project using Library of Congress Sources, and Equal Justice Initiative essay contest

 Gil Scott Heron.  “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” (music)

Kelly, Florence. Speech before the Convention of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association,    Philadelphia, July 22, 1905.  (RA Prompt)

Chavez, Cesar.  Speech on the 10th Anniversary of the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr. (RA prompt)

Thoreau, Henry David. “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”  (1016-1033) Qs 1-6 I Language book

                Use annotation guide at end of essay

Douglass, Frederick.  “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”

Annotate for SOAPSTone, Biblical allusion, metaphor, etc.

Booker T. Washington “Atlanta Cotton Convention Speech,” 1899 (417)

Qs 1-9 in Language book and annotation guide

Wolfe, Thomas. “Child by Tiger” (Perrine 24) Qs 1,2,6,8

                Poems: William Blake, “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”

Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man.

Baldwin, James. The Fire Next Time

                Baldwin video “Death of the Heart” 1:06

                                “The Fire Next time – a Message to Black Youth” 30:45

                Essays: Stokely Carmichael, Julian Bond, Toni Morrison

Film: “I Am Not Your Negro” Dr. Raoul Peek (2016) Amazon

Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (280)

Qs 1,3,5,6,7,8,11 in Language book

Gordon Parks: Photography project – the Jim Crow South.

Art: Romer Bearden and Kinde Wylie

Music:    Louis Armstrong

                Ella Fitzgerald “Miss Otis Regrets”

                Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit”

                Gil Scott Heron “The Revolution Will Not be Televised”

Malcolm X:  Film. Malcolm X. (1999) Lee, Spike, director. 

Video and text of speeches: “Any Means Necessary”

                                                “At Columbia University, 1963”

                                                “After the Firebombing, 1965”

Video:  Interview with Mike Wallace (1965) post-Mecca

Video: Michelle Alexander. “The future of race in America: Michelle Alexander at TEDxColumbus” (23:38)

Gladwell, Malcolm.  “Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted.” (344) Qs 1,2,4,6,11,12


Additional units:

                Southern Identity


                Humor and Satire

                Self-directed poetry project to prep for AP Literature (after AP exam)



The following resources are used in AP Language from year to year. Copies will also be handed out in class.


Reading about Reading Ch. 1-2

General/Argumentative Essay

General Essay notes

peer editing general essay

format for general essay

Synthesis Essay Resources

synthesis essay formula

notes on synthesis essay


peer editing

making outline for exam

Rhetorical Analysis Essay Resources

RA graphic organizer

RA notes

On-going assignments for AP Language



transition words

parts of speech

Rhetorical Terms

comma rules

close reading strategies

essay scoring rubric

embedding quotes