• Syllabus: AP English IV (Literature/Composition)

    Instructor: Lisa Bullock                                                                  

    Contact: lbullock@industrialisd.org / (361)284-3226 x1225 (classroom)                                                                   Conference: 7th Period: 2:00 – 2:46 PM (exact time varies with daily schedule)



    AP English Literature & Composition engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative British and world literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style, and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone. Because it is essential to understand the social and ethical context in which works are written, we will also address the historical background of the various literary periods.

    AP English Literature and Composition is designed to be a college/university level course, thus the “AP” designation on a transcript rather than “H” (Honors) or “CP” (College Prep). This course will provide you with the intellectual challenges and workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English literature/Humanities course. As a culmination of the course, you will take the AP English Literature and Composition Exam given in May (required). A grade of 4 or 5 on this exam is considered equivalent to a 3.3-4.0 for comparable courses at the college or university level. A student who earns a grade of 3 or above on the exam will be granted college credit at most colleges and universities throughout the United States. 

    Pre-AP and AP English courses are fast paced and intense; since a large amount of reading material is covered, students enrolled will be required to complete more work at home than those enrolled in a regular English course.  Students are also expected to assume responsibility equivalent to that of a college student and keep up with all assignments and deadlines.  In addition to enhancing each student’s preparation for college, the AP classes specifically dedicate time to helping students prepare for success on the AP Language Exam in the junior year and the AP Literature Exam in the senior year.  These exams are notoriously challenging; it will take commitment on the part of each student, parent, and instructor to lay a foundation for mastery.  Scoring well on the AP Exams can earns the student college credit.



    The goal of AP English Literature and Composition is to prepare students for beginning-college writing through the fundamentals of rhetorical theory and analysis of a broad range of literary texts, focusing on British Literature through the ages.



    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to

    1.    Carefully read and critically analyze imaginative literature.

    2.    Understand the way writers use language to provide meaning and pleasure.

    3.    Consider a work’s structure, style, and themes as well as such smaller scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

    4.    Study representative works from various genres and periods and to know a few works extremely well.

    5.    Understand a work’s complexity, to absorb richness of meaning, and to analyze how meaning is embodied in literary form.

    6.    Consider the social and historical values a work reflects and embodies.

    7.    Write, focusing on critical analysis of literature including expository, analytical, and argumentative essays as well as creative writing to sharpen understanding of writers’ accomplishments and deepen appreciation of literary artistry.

    8.    Become aware of (through speaking, listening, reading, and chiefly, writing) the resources of language: connotation, metaphor, irony, syntax, and tone.



    ·         Timed essays based on AP prompts

    ·         Essay questions as required of college-level writers

    ·         Reading/responding to/ analyzing novels, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry

    ·         Imaginative writing including but not limited to poetry and imitative structures

    ·         Literary analysis papers – expository and persuasive

    ·         Personal essay

    ·         Graphic organizers, journals, paragraph responses, and questions



    The kinds of writing in this course are varied but include writing to understand, writing to explain, and writing to evaluate. All critical writing asks that you evaluate the effectiveness of a literary piece, but to be an effective evaluator, one must understand and explain. The essence of scholarship is the combination of these three approaches to writing.

    As this is a literature and composition course, practice your best composition skills no matter the assignment. Composition assignments will include statements, paragraphs, timed writes (essay tests), and formal essays (personal, expository and argumentative). We will work with various composition structures, Standard Written English, sentence variety, and word choice.

    What I expect most of all from our class is hard work on the part of the individual writer and careful reading and discussion on the part of the class.

    When an assignment calls for a “paragraph,” please check your work against the paragraph criteria below:         

    1.    Many times, you will be asked for your opinion or idea about an aspect of a work of literature. Whether you will post to a discussion board or hand write, be sure to use complete sentences with clear support for your ideas.

    2.    When a writing rubric is introduced for an assignment, please consult each rubric carefully before submitting your work.

    3.    As a Senior in AP English Literature and Composition, you should have a good command of Standard Written English. There will be mini lessons throughout the course dealing with complex grammar and usage issues, sentence constructions, and diction. Occasionally you may need some additional help with this. Consult with me when you have any concerns. There are many good online guides to grammar. The following link is one such guide: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index.htm


    Writing assignments will provide many opportunities: 1) Students will write a persuasive/literary analysis essay after each major unit reading assignment. 2) Students will analyze given reading selections that present information about literature, current issues and historical events—often focusing on universal themes. 3) Students will complete SARs (Summary, Analysis, Response) after reading/viewing various literary selections. 4) Students will complete various in-class discussion assignments, including but not limited to timed writes, short-answer responses, and statements. We will work with various composition structures, Standard Written English, sentence variety, and word choice.

    ·          Reader/Writer Notebooks

    Students will use reader/writer notebooks for most of the daily writing mentioned above. These notebooks will be checked periodically during the six weeks to ensure that students are keeping up with their notebooks. Completion grades will be assigned at these checkpoints.

    The following grading structure will be followed unless noted by the teacher during a specific grading period. Students must have all components of the reader/writer notebook complete in order to receive a 100. Forty-five points of this grade will be for the reflection, forty-five points will be for the annotations/notes, and 10 points will be for the organization of the reader/writer notebook. Students will receive a 40% daily grade at the mid six weeks checkpoint and a 60% major grade at the end of the six weeks.

    Timed Writings

    Students will be expected to complete timed writing assignments throughout the school year.  During class students will have 40 minutes to analyze a selection and respond to a prompt in essay format.  Students will not be allowed to take the assignment home if they are absent.  If they are absent on the day that it is assigned, they must make arrangements with their teacher to make up the assignment after school. The purpose of the timed writing is to prepare students for the essay portion of the AP exam which involves responding to three prompts within 120 minutes.



    The following schedule is tentative. In some units, we may not cover every reading/assignment listed, and in some cases I may add a reading/assignment based upon student/class need. Within the units listed below, corresponding essays and writing assignments will be completed.

    ◊ Unit 1         Anglo-Saxon Period & Greek/Post-Modern Influences

    § Genre Study/British Literary Periods/Voice Lessons/Critical Reading/Writing

    § Major Readings: Grendel, Plato, Aristotle, Dante, Oedipus Rex

    § Major Assignments: Socratic Seminar, Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essay, Comparison/Contrast Essay, Dramatic Script, Literary Period Presentation

    The course opens with an introduction to all elements and requirements included in the class syllabus. Students will begin the year with an overview of British literary periods and genre. The Anglo-Saxon Period will be covered, focusing on cultures, life styles, literature, and language of the times, while comparing these characteristics to our society and debating universal themes. In addition, students will complete an AP Diagnostic Exam in order to provide a benchmark from which we will track progress throughout the year to prepare for the actual AP Literature and Composition exam in the spring. Students will also discuss and complete activities surrounding the assigned summer read, Beowulf, including a look at Greek influences and a study of a post-modern novel that highlights a character in the poem. Finally, students will create scholarship essay(s) and a résumé to be used throughout the year for college applications and scholarships.

    ◊ Unit 2         Middle English Period

    § Major Readings: The Canterbury Tales, How to Read Literature like a Professor

    § Major Assignments: Exemplum Narrative, Persuasive Essay, Chapter Teaching/Presentation

    Medieval times ushered in change and adaptation, a concept all too familiar for seniors embarking on educational and career paths. Studying religious, political, and societal characteristics will give deeper understanding when studying our own societal characteristics. In addition, we will look at common patterns in literature of symbols, motifs, and themes.

    ◊ Unit 3         Renaissance Period

    § Shakespeare, Poetry

    § Major Readings: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, sonnets, docudrama, metaphysical poetry, dramas

    § Major Assignments: Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essays, Sonnet Dramatic Script, Research Paper

    We will spend a substantial amount of time on Shakespeare as knowledge and understanding of Shakespearean plays and sonnets are paramount to a well-rounded study of British Literature. Students will analyze various tragic and comedic heroes and compose individual works in the same format. This grading period will begin with an introduction to research (literary analysis/critical lens), culminating in the completion of a research paper.

    ◊ Unit 4         Renaissance Period cont.

    § Shakespeare, Poetry, Critical Perspectives

    § Major Readings: Shakespeare’s Hamlet, sonnets

    § Major Assignments: Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essays, Macbeth, Shakespeare Sonnets, Metaphysical Poetry, Script/Docudrama/Poetry/Research Paper/Critical Perspectives Project

    In addition, we will continue to track AP Exam progress and address weaknesses individually and as a class.

    ◊ Unit 5         Romantic-Modern Period

    § Major Readings: Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Frankenstein, Jane Eyre, Excerpts from Tennyson, Browning, Dickens, Hardy, Wilde; Excerpts from Blake, Wadsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Heart of Darkness, Excerpts from Defoe, Swift, Voltaire, Wollstonecraft

    § Major Assignments: Literary Analysis Essay, Poetry Composition

    After delving into the Romantic and Victorian Ages, including customs, culture, major works, we will focus heavily on preparation for the AP Exam as well as increase our poetry analyzation, as this section of the test is often a weakness for students. Students will increase readiness for college-level work and understanding with a transition to the modern period. 

    Students will increase readiness for college-level work/AP Exam with powerhouse novel Heart of Darkness

    We will continue to track writing progress and address weaknesses individually and as a class, while focusing on the Romantic Period and encompassing reading/writing.

    ◊ Unit 6         Modern & Post-Mod Periods

    § Major Readings: Heart of Darkness, Excerpts from Eliot, Lawrence, Thomas, Yeats, Shaw, Orwell, Achebe, and a focus on multi-media writing

    § Major Assignments: Persuasive/Literary Analysis Essay, Portfolio Development, Media Project                                        

    To complete the year, students will become familiar with modern and post-modern writers/works as well as evaluate and learn from their own work up to the present in order to view their writing as relevant and crucial to the improvement and progression of our society. In other words, they will see themselves as the next source of study. In addition, we will study media to enhance their transition into the job market.                               


    I may not follow the exact sequence nor teach the same novels/readings outlined here each year, and I may add or subtract texts as the year progresses, depending on student need. Here is a preliminary list of novels, dramas, and anthologized material:

    ·         Beowulf/Grendel

    ·         The Canterbury Tales

    ·         Heart of Darkness

    ·         Pride & Prejudice

    ·         Hamlet

    ·         Rime of the Ancient Mariner

    ·         Poetry – as selected

    ·         Short fiction and essays – as selected

    ·         Modern novels – as selected

    ·         How to Read Literature like a Professor

    ·         Textbook: British Literature (Holt/McDougal)



    Literature textbooks and or novels will be checked out to the student throughout the year. As always, the student is responsible for any school materials checked out to him/her. The student will be responsible for reimbursing the district for any lost or damaged items.



    • 60% grades = major grades may include (but are not limited to) such items as vocabulary exams, major projects, essays, reader/writer notebooks, Daily Grammar/Device exams, and major compositions.
    • 40% grades = daily grades may include (but are not limited to) such items as AR, daily work, reading quizzes, homework, writing evaluations, notebook/binder checks, and literary term evaluations.

    Students will have at least 10 daily grades and 3 major grades each six weeks.

    Note: On various assignments, students will benefit from grading rubrics tailored to their weaknesses. Their grading criteria may differ from that of their peers. Students will be expected to revise assignments. The teacher may lower a student’s final score on an assignment by one letter grade if the student does not make appropriate corrections by the assigned deadline.  Various rubrics and holistic scoring will be used to provide students with a variety of evaluation structures. Students will always be informed of the grading plan for a specific assignment.



    As part of the Industrial High School English Department Curriculum requirements, students are required to read and test over Accelerated Reader books to earn points. Each student is responsible for earning the number of points designated at the level for each grading period. In addition, all English students are required to test over AP AR books during two of the grading periods. When AP is required, the student is not responsible for having all AR points come from AP sources. The student merely has to take and pass one test over an AP AR book. Regardless of how many AP AR tests the student takes, the total number of points must equal to the points required for the designated grade level. If the student has not passed an AP AR test during the designated grading period, the highest grade attainable for that grading period will be a 70. A list of AP titles is available in the library. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS ASSIGNMENT. AR tests may be taken in the library. Students must have a copy of the book with them in order to take the test. It is the responsibility of the student to make arrangements to take tests. The AR dates will be clearly posted in the classroom, as well as on their teacher’s website; the cutoff period for earning points will be at 3:40 pm on the day that the points are due. There are no late points accepted for this long-term assignment. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. If a student is absent on the day that the points are due, the student is still responsible for having their points by the deadline. Extra AR points from one period will not carry over to the next period. Students must come to class prepared to read. Students will receive 1 daily (40%) grade based on the completion of 12 AR points for a given AR period and 1 daily (40%) grade based on the average of all of the AR tests taken for that grading period.

    AR Extra Credit: A student may earn five extra credit points in the "daily grade" category if he or she earns all AR points by the AR early due date. In addition, if a student doubles the required number of points, he/she will receive an additional five (40%) extra credit points. However, the maximum number of AR extra credit points a student can earn per A.R. grading period is 10—five points for early date and five points for doubling the required points.



    ·         Freshmen      6       

    ·         Sophomores   8        

    ·         Juniors 10

    ·         Seniors 12




    Homework is a vital part of these courses. Each student is expected to complete all homework assignments. Incomplete homework will definitely be reflected in the student’s overall average.




    Please refer to the Student Handbook for district policy.



    Cheating will not be tolerated. If the instructor suspects cheating, the paper(s) will be taken up and the student(s) will choose from the following: 1) take a zero, or 2) reschedule and complete an alternative assignment/exam/quiz within two school days of the infraction. If the instructor knows cheating is occurring, the grade will be a zero with no opportunity given for the student to make up the work. A parent call/conference and or an office referral will result for a repeated offense. Please be reminded that plagiarism is cheating.



    The following rules will ensure student success and improvement:

    1.    Always bring your supplies.

    2.    Respect yourself and others.

    3.    Be in your assigned seat when the bell rings.

    4.    Follow directions the first time they are given.

    High School students have been in the education system long enough to understand appropriate and inappropriate classroom behavior. The following actions will be taken if a student is disrespectful (such as class disruptions, foul language, discourteous or rude remarks):

    ·         First offense – verbal warning

    ·         Second offense – lunch or after school detention

    ·         Third offense – conference with the principal/parent


    NOTE: Indy Lunch - (in connection with 2nd offense above) When a student shows no effort during group work or in-class/homework assignments, I will assign Indy Lunch.  Indy Lunch consists of the student coming to my classroom during lunch and completing an independent assignment during that time (the student must remain with me for Indy Lunch until the assignment is completed).  

    If at any time inappropriate behavior is of a nature that requires the intervention of a third party in order for the class to continue with the least amount of disruption, the instructor reserves the right to remove the student via referral to the office.



    The following supplies should be brought to class every day:

    ·         wide ruled notebook paper

    ·         pens/pencils   

    ·         1 three-inch 3-ring binder

    ·         1 composition book

    ·         1 pkg. of dividers

    ·         1 blue folder with pockets/brads (only if you do not have one from last year)


    In order to keep supply cost down, I am asking students to bring the supplies listed below for their class period:

    ·         3rd Period: 1 pkg. of blue/black pens


    Please organize your binder/dividers in the following order:

    Daily Grammar



    Graded Papers

    AP Practice





















    AP English IV


    Please provide the information below and note the contact method you prefer so that I may contact you if needed. I am often able to respond to emails faster than to phone calls during the school day.

    Contact #1_______________________________

    Relationship to student___________________

    Phone #______________________ Email_____________________________

    Contact #2 ______________________________

    Relationship to student ___________________

    Phone #______________________ Email_____________________________

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions pertaining to your child’s progress in class or you have any questions pertaining to the course.


    Please sign below to indicate you have read and understand the English Department Syllabus:

    Student Name_______________________ Student Signature______________________ Date____________

    Parent Name_______________________ Parent Signature_________________________ Date_________­­­­___