English Language Arts
AP English Language and Composition
Students are engaged in becoming skilled readers of prose in a variety of rhetorical contexts and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their reading and writing make students aware of the interactions of writer’s purpose, audience expectation, and subject, as well as of the way genre conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.
AP Language and Composition Units:
Unit 1 A Study of Language: Students will engage with texts that have persuasive power and examine how the argument is created.
Unit 2 A Study of Argument: Students will understand that the effectiveness of argumentative writing relies on the strength of the claims and the supporting details as well as how effectively the author explains the evidence and establishes a link between the claim and the evidence.
Unit 3 A System of Education: Students will interact with texts that develop arguments regarding the purpose of education and the extent to which the current system of education serves the values of a true education.
Unit 4 A Study of Beauty: Students will interact with a cluster of texts that offer viewpoints on human beauty, to consider their own argument on the subject.
Unit 5 A Study of Monuments and Memorials: Students will use The Alamo Memorial as a case study for examining the rhetoric of a monument or memorial.
Unit 6 Rhetoric of Monuments and Memorials PBL: In this PBL, students will apply what they learned about monuments and memorials through the Case Study of the Alamo in Unit 5 to the design of their own monument or memorial.
This unit is an exploration of the “Hero’s Journey” in Homer’s The Odyssey. Students examine how heroic characters develop in a text and analyze how our understanding of heroism has evolved over time.
The Tragedy of Macbeth
This unit is a study of characters’ internal and external conflicts in The Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Students will explore the concepts of ambition and fate through real-life connections, analyzing how conflicting motivations drive humans to act in different ways.
Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
This unit is an exploration of the devastating effects of colonialism in Nigeria and the struggle between tradition and change in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Students will analyze how authors use language, form, and style to develop the point of view and express a unique cultural experience.
The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka
This unit is an exploration of the genre of “magical realism,” works of literature of other cultures. Students recognize the characteristics of the genre and explore how literature develops themes with social commentary and express “real human truths.”
Units of study include:
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet – an exploration of how patterns and contrasts in language reveal theme and develop motifs.
Fahrenheit 451 – an exploration of questions related to creativity, the evolution of literacy, and issues of censorship.
Henrietta’s Dance – an exploration of the myriad ways we leave a legacy – through our language, our families, our DNA.
Lord of the Flies – an exploration of what drives societies to succeed or fail; a consideration of how humans manage moral dilemmas.
Unit 1 “Flowers for Algernon” – Daniel Keyes
Students explore two related topics, the nature of knowledge and desire for improvement.
Unit 2 “The Tell-Tale Heart” – Edgar Allan Poe
Students explore the role of narrator and point of view and investigate motive and bias present in texts.
Unit 3 The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Students explore human interaction and conflict with animals and nature. The combination of anchor and related texts prepares students to develop their own arguments about human relationships with creatures and environments.
Unit 4 Sugar Changed the World – Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
Students explore the impact of sugar production and sugar trade on the economic and social course of world history. They will evaluate text credibility and compare and contrast texts to make informative claims.
The Giver – Lois Lowry
In this unit, students explore dystopian fiction and consider how authors use character and point of view to craft unique settings. Students consider the following essential question: Every society is built with the hope of perfection, but history has proven utopia difficult to achieve. What would constitute a perfect society, and what would you be willing to sacrifice in order to create it?
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland – Sally M. Walker
In this unit, students study a work of historical fiction and an informational text to understand the connections between history and literature. Students consider: Why do human beings pass stories to successive generations?
Behind the Scenes: or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley
In this unit, students study a fictional account of a slave’s story and compare it to an autobiographical account of a freed slave in post-Civil War America. Students consider how an author uses or alters history in historical fiction and consider: What lessons can we learn from reading historical fiction, and how do authors of this genre convey themes?
“How to Write a Memoir” – William Zinsser
In this unit, students study the way authors approach writing the stories of their lives as well as experiment with their own writing styles. Students consider the following: How can the stories we tell help us discover who we are?
“Stanford Commencement Address” – Steve Jobs
Students begin the year with a unit of readings on the importance of failure in finding success.
Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
Students examine Paulsen’s novel to explore the significance of vigilance in the face of danger.
Out of the Dust – Karen Hesse
Students analyze social and environmental issues of the Great Depression through the anchor text and multi-media presentations.
If Stones Could Speak – Marc Aronson
Students explore how archaeology supports our knowledge of prehistory and human history with the reading of the anchor text If Stones Could Speak, the study of an archaeological dig at Stonehenge, England, as well as multiple text in print and non-print media.