AP ENGLISH 
LANGUAGE & COMPOSITION 

On-Line for 2012-2013 School Year

 

We have four sections, taught by Lili Serbicki, Kathryn Walker, Maya Inspektor, and Debra Bell. Space in all sections is limited.

 

Section 1

Instructor: Lilianna Serbicki (LSerbickiAP@gmail.com)

Course fee: $600.

This course is open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders.

Required texts:

NONFICTION:

-One Hundred Great Essays (edited by Robert DiYanni)

-Selected Essays of Winston Churchill (found online)
-Ideas and Opinions by Albert Einstein (any edition)
-The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (any edition)

DRAMA:

-Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (any edition or online)

FICTION:
-
Animal Farm by George Orwell

SHORT FICTION (any edition, all are found online as well):

-Revelation and Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor

-Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

-The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin


REFERENCE/STYLE:
-Cliffs AP English Language and Composition prep guide, 3rd ed, by Barbara Swovelin
-The Elements of Style by Strunk and White

 

Tech needs: Students must have full web and printer access, Microsoft Office (or equivalent word processing capabilities), and be able to read PDFs. Skype capabilities suggested but not required

Length of course: Monday, August 27, 2012 to May 2013 (Exam Date TBA)

Hours of study each week: 8-12 hours, depending on the week and the amount of bonus material the student chooses to cover.

Course description: This course is designed for the proactive student who possesses a love of reading and composition. It will focus on analysis through discussion as well as individual writing.

The three main goals of this course build upon each other:

1. To recognize and understand both basic and complex elements of language and composition. These include elements such as irony, satire, parallelism, symbolism, Aristotelian Rhetorical Appeals, etc.

2. To analyze WHY those elements are employed and HOW they are used most effectively to express, debate, and explore ideas.

3. To create effective examples of these elements in our own writing.

This course seeks to achieve these goals through a study of both fiction and nonfiction. While non-fiction lends itself to concise rhetoric, fiction is often one of the most effective ways to express a concept or present an argument. For that reason, I am including a wide selection of both classic and speculative fiction.

My goal in AP English Language is to help students pursue knowledge and creativity in an active manner. I provide these active opportunities by offering optional creative fiction assignments, hosting live IM chats, and featuring an online “Dinner Party” analysis project. All of these opportunities are in addition to required short essay and multiple choice assignments.

One of the primary interactive activities in AP English Language is the spring Dinner Party project. In last year's AP English Language Dinner Party, I spoke as C. S. Lewis, inviting students (each in their own persona) to join me for lively “dinner and discussion” at “my” Oxford home, the Kilns. In reality, this discussion took place on a web forum that the students could access at any point during “Dinner Party week”. My guests included Patrick Henry, Martin Luther King, Jr., characters from Animal Farm, Jonathan Swift, and Marcus Brutus from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. We discussed social, political and philosophical issues adapted from previous AP Free Response questions. This was an excellent way for students to practice their research skills and develop their ability see from the perspective of another writer.

Class interaction is not limited to a single project; students in AP Language have the opportunity to participate in a live Skype chat two times a month. These webchats consist of  brief lectures, open discussion, MCQ analysis, and other activities. All Skype chats are optional; if a student is not able to participate, he or she can read my notes on the class webboard. This is an exciting and very “active” way to study!

This class is designed to be academically rigorous and exciting, while still remaining flexible.
Weekly assignments may include:

·        Short essays and multiple choice quizzes in preparation for the AP exam in May.

·        Reading assignments ranging from 30-80 pages.

·        Optional bonus assignments

·        Longer writing assignments including:

1.      Mandatory researched argument papers

2.      Optional short fiction projects: Once students establish their mastery of basic writing skills, they may choose to complete fictional responses to select course texts. These may include original short stories or a “retelling” of a course text from an alternate perspective. This allows students to transcend merely  retaining” important literary and rhetorical devices - they are able to use those devices masterfully in their own writing!

Instructor Qualifications:

I am a 2009 graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville with a BA in Communication Arts and a Minor in Philosophy. From 2009-2011 I served as the Web/Sales Coordinator for WTOV9, the NBC affiliate in Steubenville, OH.  My work included managing web traffic, designing and writing copy for web ads and creating effective commercial scripts. I joined the AP Homeschoolers team in 2011, teaching both AP English Literature and English Language during the 2011-2012 year. I also have experience teaching Creative Writing for AimAcademy (with Debra Bell). This year, one of my Creative Writing students won a Silver Key in the National Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. My other current projects include serving as the Fiction Editor for Life Matters Journal.

Please visit the following link to view reviews of my AP Classes from students and parents:

http://sites.google.com/site/mrsserbickiapclassreviews

 

Click here to read class reviews from this year’s participants in Lilianna Serbicki’s class

Click here to download an application for Mrs. Serbicki’s AP Language class

 

 

 

 


Section 2 (section full)

Instructor: Kathryn L. Walker

 

Tuition: $650

 

Course Overview: This is a college-level course to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Language and Composition exam by engaging in critical reading, writing, and discussion.  The stated purpose of the course (from the College Board) is to “emphasize the expository, analytical, and argumentative writing that forms the basis of academic and professional communication.”  To accomplish this goal, we learn to read texts closely to determine the author’s purpose and means of conveying his or her message.  In addition to literature, we engage in analysis of film, art, and audio recordings to better understand the processes of communication and persuasion.  Our goal is to develop skills in narrating, analyzing, and arguing through examining texts from various time periods and genres and through writing formal and informal responses to them in various modes. We also complete timed essays and practice tests to help prepare students for the AP exam.

 

Course Units and Texts

 

*Summer Reading: The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs

 

Unit I: Narration/Description

In this unit, we examine the tools of rhetoric, including terms like repetition, chiasmus, antithesis, hyperbole, and irony, as well as the narrative tools of plot, character, and theme. Narrative works range from Beowulf to Bill Cosby’s contemporary comedy. Our conversation focuses on discussing what makes a good narrative, analyzing and writing in response to narrative works, and creating our own narrative works in the form of Chaucerian-style retellings. Readings also include an emphasis on descriptive writing, including traits such as detail, diction, and point of view.

  • Beowulf (text and/or audio recording read by Seamus Heaney, translator)
  • Canterbury Tales : “The Clerk’s Tale”
  • To Russell, My Brother, Whom I have Slept With by Bill Cosby (voice recording)
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Patton
  • Descriptive Essays: “A Libido for the Ugly” by H. L. Mencken, “The Haunted Mind” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Ring of Time” by E. B. White, and “Portrait of a Londoner” by Virginia Woolf

 

Unit II: The Argument

We transition from telling to deliberately arguing here, and to that goal, we study logical syllogisms and fallacies through A Rulebook for Arguments to help students craft meaningful arguments. Our work focuses on argumentation through a variety of modes: satires, letters to the editor, persuasive essays, and argument refutations. Students craft an argumentative research essay giving their perspective on the purpose education ought to serve, analyzing the works of Newman and Dickens as they do so.  We also examine current journalism and events for class discussions and response papers.

  • A Rulebook for Arguments (4th edition) by Anthony Weston
  • Readings on Education: Selections from The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman, “History for Dollars” by David Brooks, and “The Useless University” by Matthew Milliner

 

 

 

 

  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift
  • “The Case for Torture” by Michael Levin

 

Unit III: Writing, Speaking, and Consciousness

In this final unit of the year, we examine the relationship of human consciousness to language, writing, and reading through the works of Orwell, Joyce, Wolfe, T.S. Eliot, and modern speeches and sermons. Through studying the role of the writer’s voice to persuade, engage, and argue, we work to use language deliberately to create the effect we want our readers to experience.  Reading and watching speeches allows us to examine how speechwriters work upon human language and consciousness. In one exercise, students compare modern art with stream of consciousness writing to identify similar mental processes the two art forms convey. As a capstone project, students craft an original speech to demonstrate the various skills they have acquired throughout the year.

  • “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell
  • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • Stream of Consciousness Short Stories: “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Elliot, “The Legacy” by Virginia Woolf, and “Araby” by James Joyce
  • Political Speeches: “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln, “Choices and Change” by Barbara Bush, and Ronald Reagan’s Berlin Wall Speech
  • Religious Speeches: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards, “The Wounds of Jesus” by C.C. Lovelace, and “Hell” by D.L. Moody

 

Technical Details:

·        Course assignments and interaction take place through a website specific to this course.

  • Students interact with their peers and instructor through discussion boards and peer reviews.

·        I post video mini-lectures about the topics we’re studying during many of the weeks, as well as links to articles, videos, and documents with helpful information. 

·        I post the next two complete weeks’ worth of assignments at any given time, so students have a clear idea of what work to anticipate, and they can schedule it around their other classes and activities.

·        I return graded work promptly with thorough comments using the Comment function in Word.

·        Students work with their peers and instructor to revise their work in stages through topic proposals, outlines, drafts, and peer reviews.

·        Students learn and apply the principles of Modern Language Association (MLA) citations.

·        Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style serves as our text for the technicalities of strong writing, such as focusing word usage and sentence structure, crafting the thesis statement, and developing adroit transitions.

·        I post grades weekly to a Google doc spreadsheet (students’ identities are concealed through secret numbers) that parents and students have constant access to.

·        I maintain regular communication with parents through weekly email updates.

·        I send progress reports each trimester with specific grades and comments for each student.

·        I meet with students personally through Skype at their request to work with them through challenging assignments or any areas of need.

 

Workload: Weekly coursework generally includes about 100 pages of fiction reading or shorter selections from non-fiction works, a 1-3 page essay or work on a larger essay, participation on the class discussion board, occasional quizzes, video mini-lectures to watch, and Writing Spotlights, short readings that emphasize principles of composition.

 

Student Qualifications: Open to students in 10th-12th grade.  Students should be competent readers and writers, but don’t let the reading list scare you; we will work together through the difficult texts. Students need Microsoft Word and Internet access.

 

Class Schedule: August 29, 2012 through the AP exam in May of 2013. This class includes both asynchronous interaction through our class website AND includes regular optional live video discussions through Google+.

 

Instructor Qualifications: This will be my third year teaching AP Language and Composition online, and though the exam for 2011-2012 is yet to come, I’m happy to report that all my students who took the exam thus far have qualified earning 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s.  A graduate of PHAA, I hold a B.A in English from Hillsdale College, a M.Ed from Eastern University, and PA Teaching Certification for English 7-12. After teaching English for several years at Valley Forge Military Academy, I now live in Lancaster, PA and work as a consultant, evaluator, and online teacher in order to stay home with my children.  I have published work in First Things, Touchstone Magazine, Independent Teacher Magazine, and Veritas Press’s Omnibus curriculum. I would be happy to discuss any questions about this course. Please feel free to contact me at kathrynlynnwalker@gmail.com

 

Click here to read class reviews from participants in Mrs. Walker’s section of this class 

Click here to download an application for Mrs. Walker’s AP Language class

 

Click here to read testimonials about Mrs. Walker’s AP Language class

 


Section 3 (section full)

Instructor: Maya Inspektor (minspektor@pahomeschoolers.com)

Course fee: $650

Note: this course is open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders. I occasionally admit 9th graders who present exceptional credentials.

Required texts:

  • The Language of Composition: Reading - Writing - Rhetoric, by Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin Dissin Aufses
  • The Writer's Presence: A Pool of Readings, 5th Edition; McQuade, Donald and Atwan, Robert (Bedford/St. Martin). It's important that you get this edition so that readings and page numbers match up, as the 6th edition has already been released. I'm continuing to require the 5th edition in part because used copies are usually available for very little. Check Amazon.com for inexpensive copies, and let me know if you have any trouble obtaining this edition of the anthology.
  • CliffsAP English Language and Composition prep guide, 4th ed, by Barbara Swovelin
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White (This is the summer reading assignment. Any edition is acceptable, but be sure you buy a version by Strunk and White rather than one only by Strunk.)
  • The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller (any edition, even a free e-text.)
  • Hunger of Memory, by Richard Rodriguez (any edition)
  • Walden, by Henry David Thoreau (any edition, even a free e-text.)

Registration deadline: Applications will be accepted through August 1st, though the class may fill up sooner.

Tech needs: Students must have full web and printer access (broadband Internet recommended but not required), and they must be able to view PDF files.

Length of course: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 to Friday, May 17, 2013, including a fall break, a winter break, and a spring break. In August, students will have access to an option unit (for bonus credit) on writing an effective college admissions essay.

Hours of study each week: Approximately 10-12 hours. (We don't meet at set class times; rather, you will have assignments due by midnight on most days of the school week. I will also post an instructional message every weekday morning by 8 AM EST; usually this message involves a student response. I do accommodate student travel plans and special events.)

Who should apply: Students with a love for words, argumentation, and reading who would like to invest time and energy into exploring language more deeply. As this is a beginning college-level writing course, students should come in with the ability to write with few grammar errors. They do not need extensive experience with formal literary analysis or essay writing.

Course description: This highly interactive course is designed to prepare students for the AP English Language and Composition exam in May. Students will learn to understand complicated texts and write with complexity, clarity and polish. Essentially, the goal of an AP English Language and Composition course is for students to develop maturity, both as readers and writers. To reach this goal, this course will involve extensive reading, writing, and online discussion.

Reading and writing nonfiction lies at the heart of the AP English Language and Composition exam. Students should anticipate reading 30-50 pages (mostly engaging nonfiction essays) and writing one essay (or the equivalent) weekly. I think students will be happily surprised to discover just how engaging nonfiction writing can be, from Helen Keller's dramatic autobiography about emerging from a silent, dark world to Sherman Alexie's humorous account of how Superman helped him learn to read. We will also study image as text, critiquing Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoons and photographs. Students will track down logical fallacies in politicians' speeches (not too hard of an assignment, I'm afraid!) and read satire from Jonathan Swift and Langston Hughes. Nonfiction readings prepare students for readings in every discipline of college study, but that doesn't mean they need to be dry! In addition, students will choose novels, plays, and nonfiction works to study either independently or in interactive book clubs with their classmates throughout the year.

Course writing will vary greatly. During the year, students will compose journal entries, discussion question responses, argumentative papers and analytic essays. They will also write several personal creative narratives. They will write a challenging researched argument paper that they can submit as an entry to a scholarship competition. Throughout the year, I will emphasize the writing process, as students move from prewriting to drafting and revisions with the help of extensive critique from both their classmates and from me.

Finally, let's not forget one of our ultimate focuses: throughout the year, but particularly at the end, students will engage in guided test preparation for the AP English Language and Composition exam.

Our readings will center around two driving questions:

1. How does language and literacy change who we are? For example, how did learning the word for “water” change Helen Keller's experience of water? How did the acquisition of English change Richard Rodriguez's identity?

2. How can we use words to change the world? How do we critically examine the words used by politicians? How to writers craft arguments? What is Henry David Thoreau trying to accomplish in his story of retreat from society? How can we harness the tools of rhetoric to persuade others of our arguments?

I have been very proud by my students' performance in the past. For the past few years, over two thirds of my students have earned scores of 4 or 5 on the exam at the end of the year (with 5 as the most common grade). In addition, my students have won $9000 in college scholarships for the Peace Essay Contest entries they completed as part of the class. I look forward to even better results in the future!

Instructor Qualifications: This is my fifth year teaching online AP English Language, and I feel I grow into a better teacher every year. I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, majoring in English nonfiction writing and Psychology. I obtained a Masters of Education in Secondary English from Carlow University, studying homeschooling English programs for my master's thesis. I taught at a private school in Pittsburgh for the past two years and had a wonderful time teaching this online course (as well as online AP English Literature) during the past two school years. In addition, I taught creative writing classes at the School of Advanced Jewish Studies in Pittsburgh and served as an SAT tutor for a major test preparation company. I have always loved writing nonfiction and once served as memoir editor of the University of Pittsburgh's undergraduate nonfiction magazine, Collision. My husband and I live near Haifa, Israel, with our young daughter. As a past participant in many online AP courses, I'm thrilled to have returned as a teacher!

Details: I am happy to respond to any and all questions about the class. My e-mail is minspektor AT pahomeschoolers DOT com. (Note: my spam filter occasionally diverts e-mails from certain addresses coming to this account. If you don't hear back from me within a few days, please try sending a message to yiyehtov AT gmail DOTcom or contact me via PA Homeschoolers.)

Click here to class reviews from participants in Mrs. Inspektor's section of the class.

Click here to download an application for Mrs. Inspektor's AP Language class.


Section 4 (section full)

 

Instructor: Debra Bell (debrabell2000@yahoo.com). To Apply: request an application from the instructor.

Teaching Assistant: Sarah Poel (Sarah received a “5” on this exam. This will be her second year as my TA for AP Language.)

Tuition: $650

Important Details

  • Open to students in 10th-12th grade
  • College-level class leading to AP testing in May
  • Students should be ready for college level work, reading and responsibility
  • Potential for 6 college credits based upon AP test score
  • Assignments are due Friday midnight your time zone, but not considered “late” if received before the following Monday morning. Technically, I’d like them in on Fridays but the weekend “grace period” is available when needed.
  • 34 weeks. Course begins week of August 29, 2012
  • To apply, request a student application from the instructor

Collaborative Groups: Students are encouraged to work collaboratively on many assignments. This strategy has helped prior students make significant gains in their critical reading scores and essay writing, plus it is fun. Groups will be determined shortly after the class begins, and students have input into their group assignment. Students can opt-out, but most realize this is a powerful learning tool and I provide support and technology that help make these groups work well.

Communications: I provide recorded video lectures for core course content; in addition, we have a class website and forums where we discuss the texts and posts comments on each other’s work. Several times a month I host “optional” live discussions during office hours where students can ask me questions and I can review their work through screen sharing. These are also recorded and provided to all students. I am additionally available to students through g-chat and Skype, and I do one-on-one tutorials at student’s request.

Office Hours: TUESDAY/THURSDAY 2-3 PM EST, other times by request.

Technical needs: Google Account – I use Google applications extensively in this course. The course website is a password-protected Google Site. Broadband, high speed Internet and an e-mail account that accepts large files a must. Weekly assignments are downloaded as PDF files from the website.

Time Commitment: The qualified student will spend 5-10 hours per week on this class. This accounts for reading the assigned texts, answering multiple-choice questions, writing short essays and discussing class work and reading assignments with others in the forums.

Class Meeting Time: Students do not "meet" at a scheduled time, but all homework is due by Friday evenings, midnight your time zone. I update the website syllabus and send out weekly class updates via e-mail by Monday morning. Homework is not technically late if received before I update for the week. 

Qualifications: By the time this course begins, I will have a PhD in Educational Psychology from Temple University; I also have a Masters in English. I am permanently certified to teach in PA, with experience at the high school, community college and university levels. I have been a writing teacher for more than thirty years and a professional writer for more than twenty.

Course Description

The main reason I’ve developed the course is to give students an opportunity to grow as critical thinkers and effective writers of reflection and argument. (See: Stephen Toulmin’s The Uses of Argument as one approach of interest).

Here is a bit of an overview of what we will be doing:

·        Students will learn to recognize and use a wide range of rhetorical strategies in their writing.

·        Students will write reflective and argument essays.

·        Students will make several arguments using new media and post these online (e.g. videos, photo essays, posters).

·        Students will organize into collaborative groups in order to read, write and discuss/debate topics of interest. Each year what we read, write about and discuss comes from what is in the news and what the current class of students is interested in talking about. It’s very lively, organic and fun.

Course Objectives:

  • To prepare students to succeed on the AP English Language and Composition exam.

·        To help students write with elegance, perception and persuasion about life and culture.

·        To help students recognize the rhetorical and linguistic choices writers make when composing non-fiction for narrative, expository or argumentation purposes.

·        To prepare college-bound students to confront divergent opinions on campus; and to make their own contribution to the broader culture through writing that is winsome and well-reasoned. 

Required Texts

Everything’s An Argument with Readings (5th edition) by Lunsford, Ruszkiewicz & Walters
ISBN:  
0312538618 or 978-0312538613

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition. ISBN: 1603290249 or 978-1-60329-024-1

Ideal Students

·        10th grade at least and 15 years old. The content of this course requires emotional maturity and consideration. We write about and respond to what others have said on a wide array of subjects where a range of opinions exist.

·        Committed to collaborating with others weekly. I do accept a few students whose schedules do not permit them to be a part of weekly collaboration.  Please discuss this with me when you apply.

 

Click here to class reviews from participants in Mrs. Bell’s section of the class.

 


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