Open vision bar
AP Literature

Center for Innovation (North and South Laurel High Students)


AP English Literature and Composition Syllabus


Teacher:  Ms. Deana Nantz


Course Overview


* This Advanced Placement Literature and Writing course is designed to immerse students into an English academic discourse community.  Students will critically read classical works of literature, evaluate author technique, write collegiate essays using analysis and synthesis, conduct writing workshops, improve test-taking skills, and develop a literary and rhetorical vocabulary. Think of this class as a way to broaden your world view by connecting to great authors of the past through meaningful reading, writing, and discussion.


*I may not choose the same novels (from a unit) every year or follow the same sequence of units; however, the same concepts will be addressed from whatever work of literature chosen.  You will always have a body of poetry to analyze, a weekly multiple choice practice, an outside reading assignment (that may include novel, play, or short fiction reading), and a writing deadline. 


*GrammarGrammar instruction will be taught through writing and will focus on improving skills, usage, and style.


*Our year is divided into 9-week quarters.  Expect two major unit tests and two major writing assignments for each quarter.  Term papers are due at the end of every semester.


*Successful completion of AP English provides one course credit.  Although it is not required that students take the AP Exam in the spring, it is highly recommended.  A score of three or above on the exam is accepted at Most colleges and universities as the equivalent of three colleges credit hours (1 course). 


*This course is designed to comply with the curricular requirements described in the AP English Course Description


1st Semester:  Composition and Theory

Course / Planner / Student Activities

August:  Introduction to AP English, poetry, and the elements of fiction

*Philosophy behind AP English, why we study literature, and what it means to belong to an English discourse community

*Independent reading assignment of a literary novel

*Assignation of Kennedy and Gioia’s AP Edition: Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing

*How to analyze modern poetry using the rhetorical triangle and DIDLS

*Charles Rafferty poetry featured in The New Yorker

*Emily Dickinson selections

*Musical Selections:  “Like a Stone” analysis by Chris Cornell

*Introduction to Schools of Criticism and focus on What is Formalism / New Criticism? with application to Oscar Wilde’s “Madonna Mia”

* Major Work:  A Doll’s House and the Elements of Drama

*Read “Marks” by Pastan and apply to Ted Talk (Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists”)

*AP Major Works Data Sheet

*Writing:  How to write a literary analysis using Claim / Data / Commentary

*Five Stages of the Writing Process

*Write poetry essay on Charles Rafferty’s poem, “Staying in Love”

*Conferencing and Revision

*Unit Test: Multiple Choice Exams independent novel (50 questions) A Doll House (50 questions) and Free Response Essay for A Doll House:  societal role in need of modification

September:  The novel, Compare and Contrast, and theme in Short Fiction

*Analyze the novel Wuthering Heights and compare and contrast to Romantic poetry. AP Major Works Data Sheet, notes on historical context, POV, characterization, syntax, backstory, and setting

*apply the biographical approach with discussion of Bronte, discuss epistolary style,  identify direct and indirect characterization, point of view, major symbols, irony, and map out plot (exposition-denouement), define new vocabulary,

*Poetry:  poetry responses continued and practice AP generated poetry exam with focus on symbolism

*Musical Selection:  Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know”

Short Fiction:  Analysis of plot, character, setting, point of view, symbolism, and theme in “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” and “Barn Burning.”

*Unit Exam:  Wuthering Heights 50 question multiple choice

*Essay focus on passage-based prompt (setting and character)

*Poetry:  AP released Essay 1 on “The Chimney Sweeper” compare and contrast two poems

*presentations:  nature vs nurture, William Blake biography and poems, and Marxism

October:  The Cult of Personality, Symbol and Allegory

*Short Fiction:  Analyze symbol and allegory in Poe’s “The Haunted Palace” also read Plato’s cave allegory

*Poetry:  New body of poetry for poetry responses (focus:  allegorical poets)

*Musical Selection:  NIN:  “Copy”

*Major Works:  Frankenstein and Death of a Salesman; (historical and author background, apply aforementioned literary devices learned in previous novel reading with the addition of allegory and antithesis)

*Writing:  Free Response Essays and begin working on term paper.

*Frankenstein Exam; Death of a Salesman Exam

*American Dream project (collage)

*AP Major Works Data Sheets

*AP released prompts emphasis on relationships and ambiguous characters

*Presentations on:  depression, narcissistic personality disorder, The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Paradise Lost, and biblical allusion

November:  Female Voice and the Psycho-Analytical Approach in the novel and drama

*Poetry:  Body of poetry carried on from October; AP practice test on allusion, meaning and idea, and tone

*Novel:  Their Eyes Were Watching God; AP Major Works Data Sheet, analyze internal, external, and societal conflicts; identify allusion, symbolism, metaphor, simile, and personification, and apply feminism

*Drama:  A Raisin in the Sun

*Musical Selection:  Coltrane

*Unit Test:  Novel MC and play MC

*Writing: 2 free response and term paper focus

December:  Essay 2 Short Fiction and Preparation for mid-term (3 weeks)

*Assessment concerning Raisin in the Sun may run over into December

*Finalize term paper

*Essay 2: short fiction group practice and scoring using AP rubric

*AP Major Works Data Sheet

*Apply Highlighter Method for CLAIM, DATA, AND COMMENTARY

*Final exam (Summative AP practice test; works of literature never seen before, apply learned analytical and writing skills)

*Christmas Break reading:  Jane Eyre


Grades:  Daily work and homework = 10-100 points; Major tests and Writings = 200 points; Term Paper = 400 points


Grading Scale: A = 90-100   B = 89-80   C = 79-70   D = 69-60  F= 59-0


Term Grade configuration:  90% coursework 10% final exam


January:  Introduction to the Renaissance, and the Sonnet

*Novel:  Passage breakdown of Jane Eyre (possible snow day packet AP Applied Practice with multiple choice focus)

*Poetry:  Body of Renaissance poetry to analyze for poetry responses; focus on Shakespearean sonnet (rhythm, meter, musical devices, pattern, paradox, overstatement, irony)

*Short Fiction: Selection from textbook

*Drama:  Read excerpts from Aristotle and his Poetics; build background knowledge on Macbeth

*Rocket Notes

*AP Major Works Data Sheet

*Writing:  Essay 2 (characterization and dialogue)

*Unit Test:  Jane Eyre MC only

*Movie:  Jane Eyre

After school meetings on Wednesdays:  extra practice and how to query and submit creative writing

February:  Renaissance Drama

*Creative Writing:  Write an English sonnet and employ a turn in the third quatrain or couplet

*Play:  Macbeth; Major Works Data Sheet; literary focus on the following:  vocabulary from text, Act I exposition, Act II, rising action, Act III crisis, Act IV, falling action, Act V climax and resolution; soliloquy, aside, mood, motif, characterization, theme, foreshadowing, protagonist, antagonist, irony, allusion, imagery, suspense, and tone

*View scenes from Macbeth

*Musical Selections from Black Sabbath (“War Pigs’) and Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” 

Presentations:  gun powder plot, King James, Shakespeare biography, and sonnet sequence

*50 question MC Macbeth exam

*AP released essay concerning characterization and scenes of violence

* After school meetings on Wednesdays:  extra practice and how to query and submit creative writing




March: Dystopia

*Novel:  1984 by Orwell or Brave New World by Huxley; Major Works Data Sheet; (concepts:  vocabulary from text, limited third-person point of view, Russian Revolution and Communism, Mid-century Totalitarianism, theme, atmosphere, simile, direct and indirect characterization, symbolism, compare and contrast characters, foil, climax, and paradox)

*Short fiction:  AP practice tests with excerpt (reading and essay)—once a week

*Poetry: Continue with poetry responses; project—write a paradox poem based on one 1984’s party slogans (experimentation with verbal irony)

*Unit Test:  1984 (objective, multiple choice, short answer, and essay centered on symbolism)

*Mock Exam (2017 released essays) 

*Analysis of mock exam

After school meetings on Wednesdays:  extra practice and how to query and submit creative writing

*Movie:  V for Vendetta


April:  Spring Break, Test Preparation, Flannery O’Connor, Modern Novel and play, and Research

*Poetry: New body of poetry will not be theme driven but contemporary

*Choose modern novel—Cormac McArthy, Stegner, or other literary novels and present a book talk

*Short Fiction:  Read selection of Flannery O’ Connor — concepts (theme, symbol, exaggeration and distortion)

*Read and analyze modern play, Doubt, by Patrick Shanley

*Timed Practice Testing:  From the CollegeBoard workshop materials and exam resources (including CD-Rom), skill and drill practice tests that cover section one and two

*Mock Exam results and analysis

*Writing:  Conduct research on literary criticism; argue a thesis from any school of criticism concerning major work of literature; add literary critics to support argument; using a collegiate peer conferencing guide, critique peer’s literary analysis; turn in literary analysis the day after the exam.


After school meetings on Wednesdays:  extra practice and how to query and submit creative writing


May:  AP test month and AP final

*Practice Testing:  A few days allotted for test preparation

*Project (poetry set to music) or Drama (direct and cut a scene from a play read this semester)

*Final Exam MC only




Instructor and class Ideology


Although AP English literature is double the work of a regular senior English class, it is doubly rewarding.  Hopefully, by the end of the semester, you will feel like a student of literature; you will feel confident discussing highbrow text orally and through a written medium.  By the end of the second semester, you will have made many connections to history, to other texts besides literature and, ultimately, to the human condition.  This class encompasses a variety of different subjects such as history, philosophy, music, and psychology.  You will enhance your entire coursework due to the strength of your reading and writing ability, sharpened in this course.  Plus, this class will aid you in the turbulent transition into a collegiate environment—possibly you will earn college credit by passing the AP exam, which will also make college life a little easier. 


How you will adapt:  You will need to find a routine that works for you.  You will have mostly long-range goals, but you will be pop-quizzed on occasion to see if you are reading in a timely fashion.  Failure to read the text is inexcusable.  If I see that you are simply not reading by the end of the first nine weeks, you will be moved to a regular English class.  The best way to start out on the right foot is to develop a time management plan for this class.  For homework, always be aware that you will have to break down a novel into four weeks, analyze poetry once a week, develop a working thesis for a composition, and support thesis with evidence from the text.  Map out your time wisely.  


Grading:  You will be graded objectively and subjectively.  Even if you are not a master test-taker in the beginning of course, you have quizzes and daily work that can raise your grade.  If you complete all tasks assigned, you will not fall short in this class.  Remember that a C means B in AP world.  Also, I will take into consideration writing improvement and class participation.  Do not be discouraged by red marks that will fill your world during the first semester of writing analytically.  Take criticism graciously and use the commentary provided to improve your composition skills. 




Movies via youtube or Amazon Prime:  A Doll House, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Macbeth, A Brave New World, Their Eyes Were Watching God, A Raisin in the Sun, Jane Eyre, V for Vendetta, and Doubt. 


Modern work will be pulled from on-line journals and The New Yorker


Literary Study notes will be provided from


Applied Practice English Curriculum and Integrated Test Preparation will be utilized. 


Collegeboard Practice material and scoring guides with sample scored essays will be provided. 



Timed practice with McGraw Hill’s 5 Steps to a 5 will be accessed. 


Various opening assignments will come from Nancy Dean’s Voice Lessons:  Classroom Activities to Teach Diction, Detail, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone




Group Acting Project:   Each class member will join a permanent acting group, and each group will perform during the course of the semester. One member from each group will serve as director for the performance; the director may or may not choose to act in the scene.


At least two or three weeks in advance of your scheduled presentation, your group’s director will edit any part of the play to twelve to fifteen minutes of acting time and annotate the script. Along with producing the final script, it will be the director’s responsibility to schedule rehearsals and block the scene. The director will be held responsible for interpretive unity, though I expect the actors to contribute ideas about interpretation in a workshop environment. The purpose of the projects is to provide a springboard for full class discussion of important aspects of the play, so bear in mind this responsibility as you go about your staging interpretation.   After all four groups have performed, we will hold a panel discussion in which you explain to the rest of the class why you chose the scene, how you went about editing or modifying the text, and what your group thought was important to communicate through staging choices. Your group will then field questioning about staging from the rest of the class.


It is important that the entire class in involves in the performance. As an  audience member, it will be you responsibility to raise questions and make critical comments about the performance. Acting projects will be evaluated both by me and by the other members of the class.


The week after your first acting project, each member of the group will turn in to me a 350 word analysis of your scene in which you discuss how changing your staging choices attempted to influence our understanding of the scene. The group’s director will turn in the annotated script along with a brief (350 words) discussion of what worked and what didn’t in the production.



 Helpful Hints:

  • Better preparation will result in better productions. Start early.
  • Groups will elect a director for each performance at the beginning of the semester.
  • Take risks; be hold and imaginative.
  • I don’t expect your performances to be flawlessly memorized.   I, DO, however, expect you to have done your best to memorize, and that your line prompts, whether written or provided by the director, or be unobtrusive! Grades depend on it.
  • Remember your grade will depend on the emotional and intellectual coherence of your production.  Turn everything into comedy, and you’ll have to defend why you did so in light of the broader concerns and tone of the play.
  • Rehearse at least once in the performance space, preferably several times.
  • Feel free to use costumes and props.
  • Your groups will be small, so if you would like to act our scenes with multiple roles, consider either doubling or borrowing other members of the class to play bit parts. You may even wish to recruit a friend or two from outside the class.
  • Avoid discussing your production with other groups! We’re interested in a variety of staging interpretation; consulting among groups will inevitably result in uninteresting similarities rather than interesting differences.





Works Cited


X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioa.  AP Edition:  Literature, An Introduction to Fiction,

Poetry, Drama, and Writing.   5th ed.  Pearson , NY, 2009.  Print.