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Quarter Two American Literature Project

AP English Language and Composition

Quarter Two Syllabus

Dates: October 18-December 17; 43 days

Topics: Nature and Education

Writing Focus: Description and Analysis

During quarter two, students will read several examples of nonfiction writings on nature and education, focusing on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. As students read and discuss these works, they will continue to study the authors’ rhetorical and stylistic decisions, the relationship between author and audience, and the relationship between diction and tone. Additionally, students will write two essays this quarter as they study the methods of description and analysis. As students study descriptive writing, they will respond in their journals to description in photographs and paintings, putting into words the images portrayed by artists. At the end of quarter two, students will take their second practice AP Language test, using questions and writing prompts from a previous AP Language exam.

The American literature project for quarter two will require students to read one of the following eight novels: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, The Awakening, My Antonia, O Pioneers!, Ethan From, and Moby Dick. Students will read these novels outside of class and work in literature circles throughout the quarter, eventually presenting on the novels at the end of the quarter. For more detail see the Quarter Two American Literature Project explanation below.

Quarter Two Course Readings:

Ralph Waldo Emerson, ^ Nature (excerpts)

Henry David Thoreau, Walden (excerpts)

William Cullen Bryant, “Thanatopsis”

E.B.White, “Once More to the Lake”

Ethan Canin, “Fly-Fishing for Doctors”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers”

Billy Collins, “The History Teacher”

^ The Bedford Reader, Chapter Five (Description)

The Bedford Reader, Chapter Nine (Analysis)

Literature Circle Novel Choices:

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Edith Wharton, ^ Ethan Frome

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

Willa Cather, My Antonia

Quarter Two Writing Assignments:

    1. Descriptive Essay: The prompt for students’ descriptive essays is inspired by Ethan Canin’s essay “Fly-Fishing for Doctors,” from chapter five of ^ The Bedford Reader. Students will begin by journal writing to the following prompt: What memories does summer conjure up for you? Is summer the prominent season of your childhood memories? Was a particular summer special in some way—whether positively or negatively? In your journal write about your summer memories, focusing on recalling details. I will introduce Barry Lane’s model for the writing process entitled “The Mountain of Perception and the Sea of Experience” as a means for organizing and recalling the details of memorable experiences (Lane, 41-43). Students will compose an essay based on their journal writings in which they share memories of summers in general or of a specific summer. The essays should be grounded in descriptive details that contribute to a dominant impression.

    2. Analysis Essay—In-Class Writing

Students will write analyses of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The American Scholar” and ^ Nature based on the following prompt:

Consider the following quote from the introduction to Emerson’s book Nature:

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchers of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should we not also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?

Your task: Summarize the main idea in the above passage. Then, using examples from both “The American Scholar” and ^ Nature further explore and explain the ideas that run throughout this quote, the speech, and the excerpt we read from Nature. In your conclusion, tell me what you think (without using first person—just say it) our generation can learn from Emerson.

Quarter Two American Literature Project:

Students will be placed into literature circles dependent upon the novel that they choose to read outside of class during the second quarter. I will provide students with project details during week two of the quarter. (Source: Daniels, Harvey. Literature Circles: Voice and Choice in the Student-Centered Classroom. Stenhouse, 1994.)

Quarter Two Weekly Schedule:

October 18-22 Introduction to Romanticism

Begin discussion of quarterly topic: Nature

William Cullen Bryant, “Thanatopsis”

Henry David Thoreau, ^ Walden

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

October 25-29 The “Week of Poe”!

November 1-5 Introduction to literature circles

Test over American Romanticism (11-2)

E.B. White, “Once More to the Lake”

Ethan Canin, “Fly-Fishing for Doctors”

Bedford, chapter 5

Introduction to descriptive essay project

November 8-12 ^ Descriptive essay rough drafts due (11-9)

Planning meeting for literature circles (11-10)

Descriptive essay working drafts due (11-12)

November 15-19 Review test over tropes and schemes (11-15)

(midterm) Descriptive essay final drafts due (11-16)

Literature circles begin!

Walt Whitman

Emily Dickinson

November 22-23 Conclude study of Whitman and Dickinson

(Thanksgiving) “Picturing Poetry Project” due 11-22

November 29-December 3 Begin discussion of quarterly topic: Education

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

Bedford Chapter 9

^ In-class write on Emerson (analysis)

December 6-10 James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers”

Billy Collins, “The History Teacher”

Colleen Wenke, “Too Much Pressure”

Last literature circle meeting! (12-10)

December 13-17 ^ Literature Circle Presentations!

Practice AP exam

December 20-22 We’ll discuss practice AP exam responses

Mid-year survey

Grading Scale:

AP Language and Composition will follow the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy grading scale:

A 93-100

B 85-92

C 77-84

D 70-76

F 69 and below

Students’ work will be evaluated according to the following categories and percentage weights:

50% Major Assignments—Essays, in-class writings, quarterly American literature projects, practice AP exams.

40% Minor Assignments—Homework, reading quizzes, vocabulary quizzes.

10% Participation—Journal writings, participation in class discussion, attendance.

**Students are responsible for completing class assignments on time. Late work will be marked down 50% if handed in one day late. Therefore, a 100-point assignment turned in a day late can receive no grade higher than a 50%. Students who are absent are responsible for inquiring about missed assignments. Students will have one day for each day missed to make up assignments. Students will be expected to make up weekly vocabulary quizzes the day they return to school, as quizzes will be given every Wednesday. I will post weekly schedules on my website so that students can easily keep track of class work missed during an absence.

Dear Parents,

Learning is a cooperative effort that should include the student, parents, and teachers. You know your child better than anyone and I will rely heavily on your input. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. The best way to contact me is by email. My address is homlor@tjca.org. In addition, you can call the school at 828-657-9998. If you would like to keep up with what your child is working on in class, you can check the school’s website at www.tjca.org under the teacher outlines link. I will keep weekly schedules posted, along with assignment descriptions.

I look forward to working with you!


Holly Omlor

** Please sign and return this page to Mrs. Omlor no later than Friday, October 22nd. Turning in this form will count as a homework grade. After Friday, students who have not returned this form will receive a zero.

I have read and understand the contents of the student parent packet for AP Language and Composition.

Student signature________________________________________Date_____________

Student email_______________________________________Phone________________

Parent signature_________________________________________Date_____________

Parent email________________________________________Phone________________

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