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Fall & Spring Syllabi
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Ms. Hutcheson's AP Language Page

Here are the outlines and readings for the Fall and Spring Semesters. Fall's assignments are complete. However, the Spring syllabus is still under construction. Its basis is sound as far as readings and themes - but the specific assignments are still under construction and a few more readings will be added to the 4th nine weeks.

Print the Fall Syllabus and bring to the first day of class

AP Syllabus Fall Semester


home phone: 772-343-0747     


1st Nine Weeks


The personal essay will be our overall focus for the first section of the course. We will be working out of the Lopate book extensively, as well as using the Chomsky book and other assigned readings. We will be doing a great deal of reading, writing, and discussing, so be sure to keep up with your assignments.


Overall, our purpose during the first nine weeks is to develop our skills at writing about our perception of the world around us.



We will focus on two themes this first nine weeks: 1) media influence on culture and 2) gender issues and culture. Our first focus will examine how language use in various forms of media influences how we feel about everything from toothpaste to political candidates. We will read various satirical novels, essays, and articles, examining how the authors portrayal of their subject sways how we perceive those subjects. This examination will segue into our discussion of gender issues, since we still face confusion about how gender stereotypes influence our interactions within and outside our biological gender assignations. During this section of the course we will also read novels and essays examining the plight of women from the end of the 18th century through 19th century.


Readings: listed in approximate order

The Art of the Personal Essay Phillip Lopate

Media Control- Noam Chomsky


I will provide students with copies of the texts listed below:


Animal Farm - George Orwell

The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis

Gullivers Travels (section) - Jonathon Swift

'A Modest Proposal' - Jonathon Swift

various articles from Time magazine

various articles from The Onion



Chap. 11- 'The Creation of Patriarchy' - Gerda Lerner (handout)

'A Vindication of the Rights of Women' - Mary Wollstonecraft (handout)

The Awakening - Kate Chopin

'The Yellow Wallpaper' - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

'Professions for Women' - Virginia Wolff

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne


Writing: 25% of grade

We will focus on breaking the 1-3-1 habit, instead making sure that we fully develop ideas and write as much as need be written to adequately and interestingly convey our thoughts to a reader. We will copy passages from good essays (to get the feel of actually using different forms of syntax). We will also emulate various writers styles, to experiment with creating voice and tone. Finally, we will write our own personal essay.

1)      Summer assignment - 3 page personal essay (due first day of class) titled 'On Learning.'


2)      Write your own Modest Proposal using Swift's essay as a guide, propose your own preposterous solution to some problem facing the world today. Remember, your essay should confront the real problem while proposing an outrageous solution (3-5 pages typed, MLA format).


3)      End of 9 weeks - Write a personal essay titled 'On Being a Woman/Man.' Building on all we have covered this nine weeks, write a 3-5 page personal essay on what it means to be a man or a woman (typed, MLA format).


4)      Play Wormwood: as we read The Screwtape Letters, you will assume the persona of Wormwood and write three reports that prompted Screwtape's responses. You will also have the opportunity to assume the persona of Screwtape for one response titled 'Screwtape's Lost Letter to Humanity.'



Projects: 25% of grade

1)  Create your own satire (groups of 2 or 3) write and tape your own SNL-style skit satirizing what it means to be male or female. The twist is this: males will satirize females and females will satirize males (keep it clean please!). You will also be required to create a product and market it to the group you are satirizing using all the tricks of persuasion. You will need to make a commercial to insert into your skit and a hard copy ad to place in a magazine (same product). You will submit a written explanation of how you developed your ad (color, layout, design, etc.), examining the differences in creating advertising for different media (TV and magazine). Your skit must be 3-5 minutes long. Required elements SKIT: a written transcript of your dialogue and a VHS (or VHS-C) tape recording of your skit. AD: Written assignment and hard copy ad for a MS. or MR. magazine.


2)      Political Cartoon collection in a portfolio folder, collect 30 political cartoons spanning from the Civil War to today. Under each cartoon, include a brief summary ( 5 sentences) explaining what social or political idea is being lampooned by the artist.


Timed Writings: 25% of grade

To prepare for the test you will take early in May, we will do approximately 6 timed writings each nine weeks. You will have 40 minutes to read the prompt, plan your attack, and write a well-planned, interesting essay on a variety of topics. This first 9 weeks will focus on prompts that require you to examine your thoughts about a wide variety of topics, drawing on information you have gained about history, literature, politics, philosophy, and world events. Writing about events that happened 'at school' will not cut it for this essay - you must be able to relate your opinion to something recognizable of greater worldly significance.


**I highly recommend that you choose a news program to watch weekly: 20/20, 60 Minutes, Dateline and the like are all good sources of information about the world we live in. Reading a newspaper like the Palm Beach Post will also help you build a repertoire of things to write about. Reading Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report will also be invaluable to you.**


Miscellaneous: 25% of grade

Rhetorical vocabulary quizzes

Reading tests on assigned pieces

Using quotations and MLA format

Notebook checks for journal entries (15 not counting summer reading 15) and vocabulary log

Various class/homework assignments


2nd Nine Weeks:


We will spend the second nine weeks participating in Socratic seminars on censorship issues. We will still be using the Lopate book. We will also read 5 novels (4 assigned and one of your own choosing):


                        Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

1984 George Orwell 

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway         

*One selection from attached list of banned books*


After we have learned the proper etiquette and form of the Socratic seminar students will lead seminars pertaining to censorship issues about a variety of topics from video games to rap music, from art to literature.


Projects: 25% of grade

1)      A diorama depicting an important scene from Fahrenheit 451. It must be creative and strongly visual. It must also have a 3x5 index card containing the significant passage from the text and explaining why you selected this scene as important.


2)      Complete the following

A)    A dictionary of Newspeak (see p. 70 - include words from the text and 15 words of your own devising). Package it for Orwell's society.


B)     Write a newspaper article recreating a significant moment in history changing the outcome from a negative to a positive (or vice versa) as if you had Winston's job at the Ministry of Truth (p. 34-43).


Writing: 25% of grade

1)      Students will research the 1920s and write a 5 page research paper using proper MLA format for quotations and documentation. They will not only research the Jazz Age as a whole, they will also relate their findings to the novels by Hemingway and Fitzgerald.


2)      Students will write a personal essay titled 'On censorship' (3-5 pages, MLA format). They will refer to their independent reading during this assignment.


Timed Writings: 25% of grade

This nine weeks, we will focus on writing the rhetorical strategies essay. In this essay, we examine the rhetorical devices an author uses to convey their opinions to the reader. In particular, we examine imagery, diction, syntax, figurative language and the effect those devices have on a reader. We will also learn how to craft an effective introductory paragraph for this essay type, one that has a clear thesis that identifies (with specificity) how we are going to respond to the prompt. In a sense, this essay type builds off of our previous focus on propaganda, since, by now, we should be questioning the authors motives, purposes, and biases. It also puts our extensive rhetoric vocabulary to use.



Reading tests on assigned pieces

AP Reading Comprehension tests

Check AP Prep book (CliffNotes) will assign sections to be completed

Notebook check for journal entries (15) and vocabulary logs

Socratic seminars (rubric attached)

Various class/homework assignments


Socratic Seminar Grading Rubric




Total Points


Uses text- Examples/ evidence from videos, notes, and textbook. Use them during the Socratic Seminar. Refer to them for evidence. Evidence and examples are essential to your grade and are a habit of mind you should have. Use the texts for your evidence.

Number of Comments- How often did you speak? Did you interrupt people? Don't talk to the teacher, talk to the class. You will lose points if you are talking while others are trying to score points.

Use habits of mind- Repeat the question in the answer, give evidence, state connections to other topics, state the significance of what you are saying, "what if", and state the other side. Be obvious in the use.

Quality of Comments - A quality comment offers a new idea, not yet expressed, or the comment takes a new approach to previously stated ideas and the comment applies the habits of mind.

Evaluation Rubric -80 points possible, teacher may give points in between divisions (ex. 11/15)

A. Number of comments

no comments.
0 points

1 comment
5 points


12 pts.

4+ comm.
15 pts.

B. Quality of comments.

Does not comment
0 points

repeats others comments

original ideas expressed
10 pts.

original, deep comments, new ideas, reasons, uses the habits o of mind
15 pts.

C. Text Reference

no reference to texts
0 points

2 references to text
8 pts

3 references to text
12 pts.

4+ references to text
15 pts.

D. Clearly demonstrates "Habits of Mind."

no habits of mind demonstrated
0 points

2 habits demonstrated

3 habits demonstrated
12 pts.

4+ habits demonstrated
15 pts.

A___+B___+C___+D___+ = Total _______/80

AP Syllabus Spring Semester

Hersey 772-343-0747

3rd Nine weeks


In the 3rd nine weeks, we will focus on the classics of drama. We will begin with two Greek tragedies,

1)      Agamemnon - Aeschylus

2)      Medea - Euripides

learn a bit about drama from Aristotle (Poetics, Chapters 2-8, and 13-15), and move on to two Shakespearean tragedies,

1)      Hamlet

2)      King Lear

Students will also need to purchase one (1) from each section of the following texts to read as well:


            Oedipus Rex - Sophocles

            The Bacchae - Euripides



The Revengers Tragedy - Thomas Middleton

            Doctor Faustus - Christopher Marlowe

            Titus Andronicus - Shakespeare





4th Nine weeks


In the 4th nine weeks, we will look at the autobiography and historical fiction, through the eyes of those who came before us. We will also return to the seminar idea; students will be assigned different essays or chapters from prominent writers and philosophers. In groups of 2 or 3, students will teach their assigned reading to the class creating visual aides, handouts, study guides, and tests.



Autobiography & historical fiction

Narrative of the Life of a Slave Frederick Douglass

Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

The Color Purple (Speilbergs film adaptation)


Student Teaching

A Resistance to Civil Government - Henry David Thoreau

"Letter from Birmingham Jail" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Excerpt from "Crito" - Plato

"Chap. 3: Panopticism" - Michel Foucault

"The Banking Concept of Education" - Paolo Freire

"The American Scholar" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ways of Seeing" - William Berger