• SYLLABUS

    This is an advanced English course at a college Freshman level designed for the student working above grade level who is university bound.  In addition to being an Honors level course, it also makes students eligible to gain college credit through the Advanced Placement Exam in May. Much of this syllabus comes from the College Board AP Language and Composition Course Exam Description, which can be found HERE.

    COURSE OVERVIEW:

    An AP English Language and Composition course cultivates the reading and writing skills that students need for college success and for intellectually responsible civic engagement. The course guides students in becoming curious, critical, and responsive readers of diverse texts, and becoming flexible, reflective writers of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes. The reading and writing students do in the course should deepen and expand their understanding of how written language functions rhetorically: to communicate writers’ intentions and elicit readers’ responses in particular situations. The course cultivates the rhetorical understanding and use of written language by directing students’ attention to writer/reader interactions in their reading and writing of various formal and informal genres (e.g., memos, letters, advertisements, political satires, personal narratives, scientific arguments, cultural critiques, research reports).

    Reading and writing activities in the course also deepen students’ knowledge and control of formal conventions of written language (e.g., vocabulary, diction, syntax, spelling, punctuation, paragraphing, genre). The course helps students understand that formal conventions of the English language in its many written and spoken dialects are historically, culturally, and socially produced; that the use of these conventions may intentionally or unintentionally contribute to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a piece of writing in a particular rhetorical context; and that a particular set of language conventions defines Standard Written English, the preferred dialect for academic discourse. 

    CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS:

    Course content is dictated by College Board Advanced Placement requirements and includes the following: 

    CR1 The course is structured by unit, theme, genre, or other organizational approach that provides opportunities to engage with the big ideas throughout the course: Rhetorical Situation, Claims and Evidence, Reasoning and Organization, and Style.

    CR2 The course requires an emphasis on nonfiction readings (e.g., essays, journalism, political writing, science writing, nature writing, autobiographies/ biographies, diaries, history, criticism) that are selected to give students opportunities to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.

     CR3 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 1 – Rhetorical Situation (Reading): Explain how writers’ choices reflect the components of the rhetorical situation.

    CR4 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 2 – Rhetorical Situation (Writing): Make strategic choices in a text to address a rhetorical situation.

     CR5 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 3 – Claims and Evidence (Reading): Identify and describe the claims and evidence of an argument.

     CR6 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 4 – Claims and Evidence (Writing): Analyze and select evidence to develop and refine a claim.

     CR7 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 5 – Reasoning and Organization (Reading): Describe the reasoning, organization, and development of an argument.

    CR8 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 6 – Reasoning and Organization (Writing): Use organization and commentary to illuminate the line of reasoning in an argument.

    CR9 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 7 – Style (Reading): Explain how writers’ stylistic choices contribute to the purpose of an argument.

    CR10 The course provides opportunities for students to develop the skills in Skill Category 8 – Style (Writing): Select words and use elements of composition to advance an argument.

    CR11 The course provides opportunities for students to write argumentative essays synthesizing material from a variety of sources. This, at times, will include utilizing research skills, and in particular, the ability to evaluate, use, and cite primary and secondary sources.

    CR12 The course provides opportunities for students to write essays analyzing authors’ rhetorical choices.  

    CR13 The course provides opportunities for students to write essays that proceed through multiple stages or drafts, including opportunities for conferring and collaborating with teacher and/or peers.

    CONTROVERSIAL TEXTUAL CONTENT:

    Issues that might, from particular social, historical, or cultural viewpoints, be considered controversial, including references to ethnicities, nationalities, religions, races, dialects, gender, or class, may be addressed in texts that are appropriate for the AP English Language and Composition course. Fair representation of issues and peoples may occasionally include controversial material, including current and recent politics. Since AP students have chosen a program that directly involves them in college-level work, participation in this course depends on a level of maturity consistent with the age of high school students who have engaged in thoughtful analysis of a variety of texts. The best response to controversial language or ideas in a text might well be a question about the larger meaning, purpose, or overall effect of the language or idea in context. AP students should have the maturity, skill, and will to seek the larger meaning of a text or issue through thoughtful research and discussion.

    REQUIRED TEXTBOOK (provided during registration):

    Shea, Renée Hausmann, et al. The Language of Composition: Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. Bedford, Freeman & Worth, 2019.

     

    AP WORKSHOPS:

    If permitted by county public health regulations, students will be required to partake in an AP Workshop. The workshop is a mock exam experience run by CHHS AP teachers, which uses previous years’ released AP exam materials and simulates the timing and experience of the actual exam. Workshops take place on two consecutive Fridays, though students need only attend one. Post-workshop, students will debrief the mock exam in class and prepare plans for individualized review leading up to the test. Students should make every effort to attend workshops in person, though with extenuating circumstances, they will be allowed to complete the workshop materials at home. In this case, we do recommend attempting to recreate testing settings as much as is possible at home. 

    LATE WORK POLICIES:

    These policies are consistent between all AP Lang classes, regardless of teacher. Because AP Lang requires extensive evaluation and reading of student work, please attempt to minimize late submissions as much as possible. Assignments missed due to excused absences may be made up without a loss of points, with one day for each day missed to make up work for full credit, and the possible exception of long-term assignments with prearranged deadlines. For regular late submissions (no absence), work submitted one day late will receive a 20% reduction in points, two days late at a 30% reduction, three days at 40%, and four through seven days at 50%. Work not submitted past the one-week window may not receive credit. Any student experiencing difficulty meeting deadlines or course requirements is encouraged to reach out via email as soon as possible. Our goal is to work together towards your success, always. 

     

    Mrs. Hernandez’ Standards-Based Grading Policies in a Nutshell (AP)

    Grades are not a judgment, and they are not compensation. They are communication about mastery of skills, rooted in the College Board Curricular Requirements and California Common Core State Standards. They are an accurate report of what happened during a given assignment or activity. Your grades do not define you, positively or negatively; they give you feedback about where you are on a path of learning. We are all traveling that path; we move at different paces and our paths may take varying directions.

    Self-Assessment

    YOU are the best person to assess your own progress; when students understand what success looks like and can measure their own work against levels of success, they can take ownership of their progress and make plans for growth. I am here to help you become a skilled evaluator of your work. 

    This means:

    • You will sometimes submit work that does not receive a grade; you may receive only comments from me, or directions for you to examine a grading rubric in a reflection.
    • You will spend time evaluating sample work, your peers’ work, and your own work.
    • You will sometimes submit work to me that you have already “graded” on your own; your self-awarded grade will need to be justified by our grading rubrics and/or the CA CCSS and may or may not be recorded in the gradebook – I will evaluate your work and return it to you with feedback about how accurate you were in self-evaluating.
    • I will repeatedly ask you the following question: “What are you supposed to be learning, and where are you in relation to that goal?”

    Grades Based on Mastery

    Your grades should be a clear communication of how well you have provided evidence of mastery of standards. Grades should not be based on anything else. Discipline happens separately from grading.

    This means:

    • Your “work habits” (WH)  and “citizenship” (C) scores matter in my class, and you will receive scores on assignments in these categories of the gradebook. You may often self-score and/or formally reflect in these areas.
    • WH and C scores do not affect your grade, but are reported on progress reports/report cards.
      • Examples of work habits: punctuality (on-time to class and in submitting work), bringing materials necessary for class, staying focused on in-class work and activities, keeping an organized notebook, etc.
      • Examples of citizenship: treating classmates, yourself, and me with respect at all times, contributing to group discussions and projects in positive ways, assisting other students who need help, leaving your desk area clean, etc.
    • Extra credit does not exist. You can not escape accountability for your learning in this system.

    Failure/Error As a Part of Learning

    When you first learned to walk as a baby, you fell. A lot. When you learned to ride a two-wheeler bike, you probably crashed at least once (or at the very least needed training wheels to prevent that). If you’ve ever tried baking the perfect cake, you likely created some lackluster or flat out ugly ones along the way. Failure is not the same as error. Error is a normal part of growth, and through it we can identify our weaknesses and work to improve upon them. There is no shame in error that results from an honest, true attempt at success. Failure occurs when a person stops seeing error as feedback.  

    This means:

    • Errors in learning will be “forgiven” in this class. As the year goes on, I evaluate your growth rather than averaging your scores. Though I am still required to give you an averaged A-F letter grade, I use several strategies to determine this score:
    • Each 6-wk grading period increases in point value; assignments in the first 6 weeks are worth less than the second 6 weeks, and so on. This allows you to make mistakes in the beginning, and have more value added to your later attempts.
    • I use two grading categories: Formative Assessment (20%) and Summative Assessment (80%). 
      • Formative assessment is any assignment that helps you form knowledge. It’s practice, or rehearsal - class activities, homework assignments, etc. It provides you with feedback about your progress. 
      • Summative assessment is when you show me how well you can do after a series of practice attempts. It’s the final game, showtime - the essay, test, final presentation, etc. It is an evaluation. You MUST submit these assignments in order to show mastery of skills and concepts.
    • I move assignments from the summative assessment category down to the formative when needed. I may also remove the point value or weight of an assignment previously recorded in your grade. 
      • EX: If you score a D on your first character analysis, a C on your second, then A’s on the next five in a row, this tells me that you have mastered the components of character analysis by the end of the semester. It makes no sense to leave a D and a C in the large portion of your grade. These D and C assignments would then be lowered in point total or changed in category. I make these decisions based on conversations with you and careful evaluation of your work. 
    • I allow and encourage redo’s and retakes at my discretion. I get to decide the parameters for when this is reasonable, but I promise I always work with your best interest in mind. 
      • Redo’s will only apply to summative assessments. A redo grade replaces the first attempt grade. 
      • In order to redo or retake an assessment, you must participate in some kind of relearning before we reassess. Yes, this means more work. Commit to your learning.
      • You will commit to a date/schedule of completion for any redo, and your parents will sign your redo contract. Failure to meet or communicate about this deadline with me lowers your Work Habits grade, and results in a one-on-one with me.
      • Redo’s may consist of alternative work that measures the same skill(s).
      • If you are repeatedly asking for redo’s in place of putting effort into learning the first time, you will meet with me (and possibly parents). This abuses our system.
      • No redos will take place in the final week of a grading period.
    • Missing assignments are not acceptable. You must try. Failing to try means you, your parents, myself, and possibly an administrator or counselor will be meeting to discuss changes.