AP Lang & Comp - Rules and Policies

AP Language and Composition


Mrs. McDermott

      Welcome to AP Language and Composition.  This college level class is the equivalent of an introductory college composition class.  I have a mission in this class – to prepare you for the Collegeboard Advanced Placement Language and Composition test which you will take in May.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll earn college credit – that’s up to you – but I will promise that you can be well-prepared for the test, further AP classes and college classes.  I also promise to help you become a skilled reader, writer, and thinker.  You will be intellectually challenged and stimulated.  I assume that you willingly accept the rigor this mission involves and will give nothing but your best effort.AP Language is a rhetoric class. 

     Rhetoric is the “art of crafting effective texts for specific audiences” (Jolliffe).  In this class you will learn to:

·         Read texts from several disciplines and time periods critically to see how an author produces an effect on a particular audience.

·         Write texts in which you accomplish your purposes for a specific audience.

·         Develop research skills that allow you to evaluate sources, both primary and secondary, and synthesize key information from them in order to support your researched argument, complete with citations, in MLA (Modern Language Association) format.

You will write often and reflect on your own writing so you can grow into a mature writer who could enter any freshman or sophomore-level college writing class and succeed.  You’ll learn effective reading strategies and apply them to short, mostly non-fiction selections, too numerous to list here, and mainly arising spontaneously from current issues (you’ll really need to know your current events in this class!).  You will read fiction to analyze the author’s linguistic and rhetorical choices.   

Thematic Units

·         Politics – What is the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state?

·         Community – What is the relationship of the individual to the community?

·         Nature – What is our responsibility to nature?

·         Education – To what extent do our schools serve the goals of a true education?

·         Gender – What is the impact of the gender roles that society creates and enforces?

·         Popular Culture – To what extent foes pop culture reflect our society’s values?

Some of the texts we will read this year include:

·         Selections from The Language of Composition by Scanlon, Shea, & Aufses

·         Released items from previous AP Language tests

·         Supplemental newspaper columns, political cartoons, advertisements, film clips, artwork, websites, poems, articles, graphs and charts

·         The Things They Carried by O’Brien

·         “A Modest Proposal” by Swift

·         The Crucible by Miller

·         The Awakening by Chopin

·         Cold Mountain by Frazier

·         Their Eyes Were Watching God by Hurston

·         The Catcher in the Rye by Salinger

·         The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald

·         On Writing by King

·         Sections from The Aims of Argument by Crusius and Channell

·         Selections from The Bedford Reader by Kennedy, Kennedy and  Aaron

·         Sections from Everything’s an Argument by Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz

A note to parents:  Before selecting each book I have carefully considered it for its literary merit and ability to engage students.  However, great literature addresses important ideas and sometimes contains situations or language some people may find disturbing.  Please peruse the books your son or daughter will be asked to read.

I expect the following from you:

·         Come to class prepared with books, supplies and homework, ready to work

·         Thoughtful and completed reading and writing assignments

·         Work that is word-processed, on time, and professionally presented (when it goes home and others will read it), or neatly written in blue or black ink for in-class writing

·         Courtesy and attentive listening in discussions so everyone’s opinion can be heard and valued

·         Manage your course materials.  If you lose yours, borrow a classmate’s for photocopying

·         Manage your time and your assignments.  You can expect to have some type of homework every night, including weekends.  Assignments are due at the start of class.  If you need and deserve an extension on an assignment, see me or email me BEFORE the due date to negotiate a possible extension.  No deals on the sate an assignment becomes due.  Keep up with your grades on the internet and contact me promptly if there are any discrepancies.

·         A good attitude and an open mind

·         Generous intellectual contribution to all group work

·         Honesty and integrity in all class transactions

·         Ask for help or clarification with course work objectives whenever necessary

·         A make-up notebook will be in the classroom.  Check the notebook the day you return from an absence.  Having a pre-excused absence means turning in papers and taking announced tests BEFORE the absence and being prepared for class the day you return. 

Evaluation and Assessment

Course grades will be based on daily work, classroom participation, attendance, homework, objective and subjective quizzes and exams, papers, and your writing portfolio.  Ultimately, what counts is your ability to consistently apply the standards of quality work independently. 


Academic dishonesty, cheating, and plagiarism will result in  the appropriate penalties as prescribed by the Polk County School Board.  At a minimum, plagiarized work of any kind will receive no credit and you will have no opportunity to resubmit. 

Materials Needed

·         Blue or black pen (no writing in rainbow colors)

·         Pencil

·         Highlighters (yellow, green, blue, pink, orange)

·         1-inch 3 ring binder (and white college-ruled paper) with dividers and tabs (classwork, notes, vocabulary, writing, and handouts)

·         1 spiral notebook

Contact Information

Phone- (863) 648-3566

E-mail- rebecca.mcdermott@polk-fl.net

Teacher Website – http://mcdermottgjhs.educatorpages.com

**Email is the best way to contact me.  I try to answer an email the same day it is received.  If you email me at 10:00 pm, you won’t receive a response until the next day.  If you email me on a Friday afternoon, odds are you won’t receive a reply until Monday morning.   


This syllabus is subject to change in the event of extenuating circumstances.