Ms. Eckstein: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Stapleton: email@example.com
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From the NC Standard Course of study: [AP Language and Composition is] an Advanced Placement course in English Language Arts intended to provide the equivalent in content and difficulty of a college-level introductory English course. Students who choose to enroll in the course may opt to take an AP examination in May to validate their academic experience and to receive college credit as determined by individual institutions of higher education. Colleges and universities reserve the right to determine if students will be awarded college credit for their performance on the examination. Students are responsible for knowing the acceptable score at the college of their choice.
Students in Advanced Placement English Language and Composition will become skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer's purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing.
In addition, students in AP English Language and Composition analyze literature, with an emphasis on United States literature, as it reflects social perspective and historical significance by continuing to use language for expressive, expository, argumentative, and literary purposes.
From Eckstein & Stapleton: Think about Cheez-Its. Cheez-Its are good. You know that, I know that – everyone knows: Cheez-Its are good. But why are they good? Less of a food, a Cheez-It is actually a salt delivery system; there is salt added to the dough of the cracker, salt added to the cheese in the cracker, then the cracker itself is coated with, of course, salt. Eat a single Cheez-It and you can actually taste the three levels of salt kicking in at different stages. In other words, bliss.
A truly deep understanding of the magic of Cheez-its requires that one understand the process behind the cracker; learn enough, and you might even be able to whip up a batch of Cheez-Its on your own. And the same can be said of effective writing and argumentation. One can appreciate the power and the effectiveness of, say, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but to appreciate the genius behind the speech – to appreciate the speech as art – one must closely examine how the text achieves its effect. This, in essence, is what AP Language and Composition: a class dedicated to the study of rhetoric, argumentation, and effective communication – of where language derives its power.
The Summer Reading Assignment
Stapleton's spring semester discussion threads are open - scroll down and click on the button!
The 2017 summer reading assignment will center on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, which in 2015 was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and won the National Book Award. Written as a letter from Coates to his teenaged son, the text is a book-length essay about race and the experience of being black in America. Because of the expectation that students conduct an annotations-heavy close, analytical reading of, among other things, Coates' rhetorical style, it is strongly suggested that they purchase a hard copy of the text.
In addition to studying this book, students will first be expected to read a selection of three shorter texts - which are linked to below - that discuss, among other things, the importance of active, close reading and the value thorough annotation – both essential skills for success in the class.
Additionally, the three will help you approach Between the World and Me.
Finally, students enrolled in the course will be expected to participate in several online forums where Between the World and Me will be discussed from multiple different angles (scroll down!).
Tips and Advice
(For successful discussion posts.)
Be thorough. The expectation is that all of your points and observations are supported by explicit references to the text. The more specific you are, the more depth you're able to plumb, the better your posts will be.
Be credible. For many of you, this is the first impression you'll be making - with regard to both me and your peers. Capitalization. Punctuation. Spelling. EVERYTHING matters (this is, after all, a writing course).
Be organized. For example organize your ideas into paragraphs - no stream of consciousness! (Also, if you think this is the type of assignment you'll be able to dash off on your phone, you're wrong.)
Be focused. If you're sprawled out on your bed, phone in hand, and plan on responding to the prompts in that fashion - between constant SnapChat/Instagram/Twitter notifications - you're almost certainly not going to produce your best, most thoughtful work.
Be credible (part II). If you want to support your arguments with outside information - references to history, statistics, etc. Know your stuff. Avoid making sweeping, oversimplified generalizations about things like the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow, Reconstruction, Emancipation, and slavery. Understand when events happened in relation to one another.
Be respectful. Of your peers. I mean of course, right?