• Advanced Placement (AP 4): Literature and Composition

    Survey of Literature: Sixteenth Century to the Present

    Course Objectives & Policies


    Course Description:  AP 4 is an engaging course designed for senior students who wish to examine the way writers of fiction, drama and poetry use language to influence and entertain audiences.  An intensive study of each work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as a study of the smaller-scale elements such as the work’s use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone, make up the core of classwork activities. Though the course is not directed solely toward achievement on the nationally-administered Advanced Placement English Exam, the aims of the program are consistent with those of the College Board: to provide the student with the academic equivalent of one year of English literature and composition at the university level.  Since this is a one semester course, consisting of two 9-week grading periods, students will be held to high expectations at a rigorous pace.



    Instructor: Mrs. Laura Compton

    School Telephone: 336-570-6400

    Email: Laura_Compton@abss.k12.nc.us

    Office Hours: After school Monday, 3:25-4:30



    An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology.

    Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense                

    Prentice Hall Literature: The British Tradition


    A Selection of Novels/Major Works*:

    Antigone, Sophocles

    The Awakening, Kate Chopin

    A Doll’s House, Ibsen

    Fences, Wilson

    Frankenstein, Shelley

    Hamlet, Shakespeare

    Importance of Being Ernest, Wilde

    Invisible Man, Ellison

    Native Son, Wright

    Pride and Prejudice, Austen

    Pygmalion, Shaw

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Stoppard

    Waiting for Godot, Beckett



    Summer Readings:

    1984, Orwell

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Twain

    The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare



    * Since notetaking (called annotation) in these texts-- a rigorous expectation for students--will become a frequent component of the course, please consider purchasing your own copies of these works so that you are free to mark and notate in the text. There is some flexibility about which texts we read in class, so students should wait for announcements or sign ups in class before purchasing their novels.


    Classroom Expectations:


    Materials-- Students should bring a hard-cover two-inch binder, divider cards, a composition notebook for journaling, loose-leaf paper, pen, pencil, and Post-It Notes (exempt where students are willing to purchase novels and major works). Anonymous tissue donations are appreciated.  A student’s failure to bring materials to class will result in a parent conference.


    Tardy policy-- Students are expected to be in the classroom and working on their bell work assignment when the tardy bell rings.  Students will be considered late if they do not present a valid pass.  A warning will follow the first tardy. Three tardy marks will result in detention. A fourth tardy will result in an office referral.


    Conduct-- Disruptive behavior, profane language, throwing objects, and bullying will not be tolerated.  Positive participation and attentiveness are expected.


    Grading Procedures:


    Grading policy-- Each assignment has a specific number of points attached to its worth and will be placed in the following categories with the following allotted percentages:


    Quiz 30%

    This category is for all quizzes and timed writings that mirror AP assessments.

    Performance/Task 30%

    This is a writing category for major papers, including the final writing portfolio.

    Classwork 20%

    This category is for all daily classwork assignments including discussion participation, informal writings, paraphrases and summaries, and poetry responses.

    Test 20%

    This category is for all comprehension tasks related to the readings, including literature-based projects, tests, and presentations. This would also include summer reading assignments provided they do not mirror AP timed assessments.



    Make-up/late work policy-- Paper and assignment are due at the beginning of the class day. Students are expected to make up work according to the guidelines in the student handbook.  Students that do not submit term papers will be required to send their parent an e-mail alerting their parent of the following details: what assignment is missing and what action plan the student has put in place to ensure the student will complete the missing assignment. Daily assignments and homework may not be made up when students are present in class yet fail to turn in work; likewise, major assessments with rubrics are given well in advance of their due date and must be turned in the day they are due.  A parent or guardian should write a letter to me if there are extenuating circumstances.


                Progress reports—Progress reports will be handed out half way through every nine week grading period.  I require that these reports be signed by a parent or guardian and returned in a timely manner.  In the event that a student loses a progress report, a note from a parent can stand in place of the original report.


                Academic honesty—At Southern Alamance High School, the faculty expects the highest standards of academic honesty.  Violations of academic honesty include the following:


    Cheating-- This includes seeking or giving unauthorized help on tests, papers, homework and other academic assignments.  No graded assignment should be lent to another student, including answers to reading quiz questions.  If another student asks what a reading assignment was about, please inform me at the end of class instead of being pressured into giving that student an unfair advantage.


    Plagiarism-- This is defined as using another’s words or ideas and representing them as one’s own, either knowingly or unknowingly.  In other words, by not documenting ideas or putting quotations around exact phrasing then documenting the source, a student is committing plagiarism.


                Misconduct in the area of academic honesty is subject to disciplinary action that can include, but is not limited to, parent conference, failure for the assignment, and referral to the administration.



    Grading Scale--          A         90-100             B         80-89            C         70-79            D         60-69                     F          0-59    


     Learning Targets:


    Reading—Students will read deliberately in order to understand not only what is happening within the text, but how that meaning is generated through literary form. In order to formulate both comprehensive and critical perspectives of the literature, students must consider the textual, cultural, biographical, and historical contexts inherent in the work. Students will work to relate to the literature through experience, interpretations, and, ultimately, by evaluation.

                            Unit 1: Drama-Students will read for background and context as they explore the development of drama from its beginnings to the present time. Key terms include plotting, characterization, fatal flaw, irony, paradox, poetic forms and devices (the beginnings of drama are heavily integrated with poetry/odes), comedy, tragedy, and dialogue.

                            Thematic Unit 2: Motivation-Students explore how authors use language to create form and meaning, how authors depict the psychological dilemmas that inform a character’s motivation, and how the historical and cultural context (occasion) impacts the work’s content. We also look at what role catalysts have in propelling action. Key terms include motivation, character development, setting, imagery, poetic forms and devices.

                            Thematic Unit 3: Identity-Students explore how and why the search for self is an essential pattern in literature, what elements of society work to define the parameters of self, what elements of society act against an individual’s search for or understanding of self, and what literary elements are employed to create a notion of self. Key terms include narrative literary devices; point of view; the hero’s cycle; denotation and connotation, dialect and colloquialisms; and irony.

                            Thematic Unit 4: Immortality-Students examine how texts wrestle with the notion of immortality and mortality; how political, cultural, and historical shifts affect notions of mortality; and how mythological and Biblical notions of immortality inform the texts’ themes. Key terms include symbolism, allegory, fantasy, imagery, syntax, and voice.

                            Thematic Unit 5: Social Class-Students read satirical texts to examine how the content of a text can create social commentary. They deconstruct the roles that satire has in generating socioeconomic status, as well as how dialogue and imagery generate social class. Key terms include satire, tone, irony, humor, point of view, syntax, diction, and juxtaposition.



    Writing—The student writings in this course focus on critical analysis of literature and include expository (writing to understand), analytical (writing to explain), and augmentative (writing to evaluate) essays. Through creative writing tasks, students experience how particular literature is written. Inherent in all the writing will be an emphasis on style: student writing must demonstrate precision, correctness, and maturity. Style also necessitates that student writing incorporate appropriate and effective vocabulary; varied sentence structure; logical organization enhanced through cohesion by repetition, transitions, and emphasis; illustrative detail; and effective rhetoric, including control of tone and voice.

    Informal writings: Throughout the course, these informal and exploratory writings might consist of journal entries, narrative essays, anticipation guide responses, annotation exercises, free writing, or blog exchanges to generate discourse on literature.

    Paraphrases: As an important first step toward summary and comprehension, this technique will be assigned throughout the semester: the student restates what the author is saying in his or her own words. Paraphrasing is not an attempt to shorten, but rather to work with vocabulary connotations and context to alter syntax in an effort to elicit comprehension.

    Summaries: Assigned throughout the semester, these writings spring from paraphrases or close initial reads: First, the student looks through the text, noting important aspects. Next, students write a brief list of the texts’ major points, devoting a sentence or two to the students’ impressions of the text’s purpose or significance (including author and title), writing a sentence corresponding to each of the main themes of the text; and finally proofing, at the end, to ensure major relationships between these ideas are expressed with transition words between sentences (EX: more importantly, preceding, furthermore, also, revealed when. . .).

    Analytical essays: These are frequent assignments and include timed writings. These essays will endeavor to explain the literature of each unit. Students will draw from textual details in order to develop extended explanations and interpretations of the meanings that are in a literary text.

    Argumentative essays: These are frequent assignments and include timed writings. These essays require students to make judgments about a work’s artistry and quality, as well as a work’s social and cultural values.

    Poetry responses: Initial poetry responses are informal as students become comfortable with reading poetry. As students practice their discourse of poetry, the assignments become analytical essays (see above). One of the three analytical essays on the AP exam will be a poetry analysis.

    Timed writings: Students will respond to poetry, excerpts, and short story prompts in a timed (40 minute) setting throughout the semester. These writings are selected from prior AP examinations.

    Process writings: Students will write multiple-draft essays and undergo rounds of peer and self-editing and revision. Students are expected to integrate their MLA research skills. Students will compile these essays into a portfolio of student writing in which they reflect continually on their strength and growth over the course of the semester. For these essays, students must include with the final paper all drafts, revisions, and workshop comments.


    Please use the contact information on page one to let me know how I may help your young adult.  If a problem develops, I will contact you, and I may request time to remediate, assist, and coach your student after school.  Also expect to be contacted when your child misses an excessive amount of class (three class periods) due to illness or early dismissals.