AP English Language & Composition

    Nanci Bush 2023-2024


     Welcome to AP English Language and Composition!   

    This year, we will study rhetoric (the art of persuasion) with concentration on both purpose and function (the why and how).  You will practice reading for purpose,  learn to perform in-depth analysis of texts quickly, and develop a broad knowledge base of current (and past) issues, as well as a solid repertoire of techniques to convince others of your opinions.  These skills will benefit you not only on your AP test, but also in college and on various standardized tests like SATs and ACTs. Hopefully you will build necessary skills to learn to use your voice for change.  Essential skills like reading nonfiction, determining bias, analyzing visual messages, handling sources adeptly, and an in-depth understanding of how to receive and wield an argument have long been the core of AP English Language.  In addition, AP English Language requires learning to write powerfully and succinctly. 


    The AP English Language test is comprised of

    • a 60-minute multiple-choice section
    • followed by a 2 hour and 15 minute free response section (3 essays). 
      • a synthesis essay (similar to a DBQ), which requires evaluating both sides of an argument and then supporting a position,
      • an analytical essay (where you read a passage and analyze the techniques the writer uses to convey a message), and
      • an argumentative essay 

    The test requires that you demonstrate an ability to read closely, mostly for content, author’s purpose, structure, or style and that you think critically and write well.  Success on this test will not be measured by your ability to memorize facts and details, but by your ability to apply your reasoning skills.  Because the AP English Language test is a skills-based test, success will be measured by your incremental growth as a reader and writer, not by a power-studying weekend before the test.   




    “Pearls do not lie on the seashore.  To find them, you must dive for them.” 

    --Chinese proverb



    Course Objectives:

    • Students will read and analyze texts (primarily nonfiction) to see how they fit in a social & historical context.
    • Students will consider and discuss how an author utilizes language for an intended purpose and how language choices affect audience(s). 
    • Students will not only recognize the following rhetorical devices and effects in their own reading, but they will also begin to utilize them in their own writing: controlling tone, distinct voice, and appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure.
    • Students will write in a variety of genres (essay, poetry, story, journal) & styles (argumentative, analytical, exploratory, reflective, creative).
    • Students will improve their writing via practice, peer editing, teacher conferences, and revision. 
    • Students will analyze and apply argumentative forms with regard to writing.
    • Students will analyze and discuss visual texts for a more nuanced understanding of how writers/artists create an intended effect. 
    • Students will be able to document sources in researched essays and to evaluate the primary and secondary sources of other writers. 
    • Students will demonstrate active listening, speaking and discussion skills.
    • Students will review and prepare for the AP Language and Composition test, as well as the PSAT, ACT, and SAT.
    • Students will enhance their vocabularies.


    Units of Study:  

    This year, we will study rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis.  As per the revised AP English Language standards, the skills will spiral across nine units. The skills overlap considerably, but by spiraling the curriculum, your skill set will deepen.  In addition to summer reading (Sonia Sotomayor's My Beloved World or Trevor Noah's Born a Crime), the texts we will read include:  Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and many nonfiction selections.  After the AP Test, we will read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald,


    This year, course grades will be determined by categories; per Solon's requirement: 80% assessment and 20% other.  All points will be weighted according to their significance in the class; for instance, major papers (100 points), tests (approx. 50 points), Socratic seminars (40 points), quizzes (20 points), homework (10 points).  The grading scale that I will use in this class is the same as the school grading scale:  90-100 A, 80-89 B, 70-79 C, 60-69 D, and 0-59 F.  The Solon High School Policy is to not round grades, so if you plan to earn an A, please position yourself well within the A category.  

    Yearly grades will be based on percentages for each quarter (and possibly the midterm if you take it).  



    As per Solon’s testing schedule, whenever possible English tests will be given on Mondays and Thursdays.  To discourage absences on test days, make up tests will be harder than in class tests.   


    Late Assignments:                                                                                     !!!

    In an effort to discourage late assignments, and to be fair to all members of the class, all late submissions will be worth 50% of the original grade.  This does not mean that you will automatically receive 1/2 of the points on a given assignment; it means you will receive half of the points you earned.  Also, these assignments will only be accepted for five days after the initial due date.  Tests and quizzes need to be made up within the number of days absent, as per the student handbook.  For major assignments (more than one week prep time), your paper is due on the assigned day, regardless of absence.  Please submit it to Google Classroom (or the new My AP Classroom) by the beginning of your class period.  




    SHS teachers will be using turnitin.com as our plagiarism detection device again this year.  I will post the information in our Google Classroom account.  Please keep your password in a safe place for future submissions.  Your assignment is due by the beginning of our class period.  A homework grade will be given for submitting properly & punctually. If your paper has not been received in turnitin.com by the time an assignment is returned to the class, it will not receive any points. 


    Absences:                                                                                          !!!

    If you are absent, check the class calendar and Google Classroom to determine your homework assignment.  Also, message a classmate or email me to determine what occurred in class.  If you are going to have an extended absence, please reach out and we will determine a schedule for submitting your work.  





    Please bring your charged Chromebook to class each day.  You will use it when and as directed by Mrs. Bush to explore, as well as to expand and enrich your thinking.  Based on teacher recommendations from last year, each classroom will be equipped with a Cell Hotel.  At the beginning of each period, you will send your cell phone on vacation by stashing it in the appropriate pocket in the Cell Hotel.  Please be mature and polite in your use of technology.  



    There are various resources to help you succeed in this class: 

    • The writing lab—now in the big Study Hall—is staffed by an English teacher or NHS member at least one day per period per week.  Teachers can help with revising essays, practicing multiple choice (AP, ACT, SAT), etc. 
    • AP Classroom offers Daily Lesson videos to review key skills.  Mrs. Bush can also assign reinforcement items.  Be sure to discuss your needs with her.  
    • Know the news.  As difficult as it is for teenagers to develop an interest in what’s going on in the world, it’s a crucial aspect of your success this year.  Opt to read a daily newspaper or a weekly newsmagazine (New York Times, Time, Wired, NPR, etc.) by following them through your phone's "News" tab or via Twitter, or watch CNN or 60 minutes.  Following a few stories in depth will provide you with details to discuss on open-ended prompts that you will encounter on the AP test.  Occasionally, we will have assignments which force your attention onto current events, but for the most part, it’s an individual responsibility. 



    Chromebook, notebook, pen/pencil, required texts, several colors of highlighters, sometimes post-it notes, and a “good” eraser. 

    Summer Reading: 

    You should have read My Beloved World or Born a Crime this summer.  We will be discussing these memoirs the first few weeks of the year.  Please follow the class calendar for which days to bring your book to class.  If you did not attend Solon last year, please see me so that parallel arrangements can be made. 

    Career Passports: 

    The State of Ohio requires all juniors to complete a career passport.  This passport consists of information on your plans beyond high school, a resume, and reference letters.  A career passport, which will be helpful as you apply to colleges and search for jobs, is slated for completion around February.  (Seniors will work on completing the components of the senior project at that time.)  



    1. Be respectful of your classmates, guests, and teacher.
    2. Attendance.  Aim to miss fewer than three days per nine weeks.
    3. Come prepared.  Your AP score, as well as those of your classmates, depends on it.
    4. Do your best; seek help when you do not understand.
    5. The work you hand in must be your own.  Plagiarism will result in a zero on the assignment and a phone call to parents, plus other consequences per the school guidelines.
    6. No food or drink in the classroom or other learning environments.
    7. Follow all rules in the student handbook.

    Disciplinary Actions for Minor Infractions: 

    1. First infraction = verbal warning/teacher conference
    2. Second infraction = 30 minute teacher detention  (served within 3 days)
    3. Third infraction = discipline referral + phone call to parents


    *Any severe violation will result in an immediate referral to the office.





    I am looking forward to a great year with you!