• Course Syllabus 2017-2018 – Ms. Ives

    Advanced Placement English: Literature and Composition

    Contact: eives@tamdistrict.org; www.canvasinstructure.com



    Welcome to AP Lit!  This class is equivalent to a freshman college level literature course covering literary works of notable and lasting artistic merit.  This course provides an overview and understanding of major literary movements, biblical and mythological allusions, major novels, prose, plays, and poetry primarily from western literature.  Taking this class will give you a weighted high school grade. 


    If you pass the AP Literature and Composition exam this May 2018, most universities and colleges will give you up to 4 college units of English credit.  If you already took and passed the AP Language and Composition exam as an 11th grader and you take the AP Literature and Composition exam as a 12th grader, some universities and colleges will additionally give you up to 4 college level units of elective, humanities, or literature course credits if you also pass the AP Lit test as well.  


    This class is designed based on the training and learning goals as directed by the College Board curriculum providing the tools and knowledge base to pass the AP Lit test.  Even if you do not take the AP Lit test, the skills you will learn in this class are essential tools for your success in college and career.  For instance, if you pursue a science major/profession, having the skills to read efficiently and pull out information to effectively write about a specific topic will increase your ability for triumph in academia and your professional life.  After taking this class, writing an essay is hopefully not going to be as difficult for you as it is right now.  You will be able to generate an on-command an essay, with analysis, on any topic about anything (at least that’s the goal!)  These skills will become part of your toolkit for success in providing what is asked of you by your future professors, field professionals, and to pass the AP Lit test.    


    • A 1” to 2” binder to contain all class HANDOUTS and written assignments. Bring binder/handouts to class every day.
    • LINED PAPER – for in-class essays and notetaking. Have lined paper available in your binder at all times.
    • Your assigned copy of the BOOK we are reading.
    • An open mind and heart. 

    NOTE: The AP Lit test is a handwritten test, so we will be handwriting ALL in-class essays.  No laptops please, unless you have an accommodation.  Handwriting quickly and clearly is one of the skills we will continually work on.


    60% = ESSAYS/MAJOR GRADED ASSIGNMENTS = graded essays, assignments, online discussions, leading a class discussion, the final.

    40% = PARTICIPATION = participation points are given for “ungraded” in-class essays, assignments, and participation in discussions.  Much of the class is conversation and analysis based.  Missing class is not recommended.  Please come to class, enjoy, and participate.

    ATTENDANCE = attendance is of utmost importance in this class and can affect your participation points.  Insights and learning that happen during class analysis discussions is learning that cannot be replicated if you are not here.  So come to class. J


    You will do short writes, respond to digital analysis discussions, in-class essays to AP prompts, and write longer essays based on each piece of literature we read.  All out-of-class assigned graded essays must be handed in ON TIME at the beginning of the class period, typed, in MLA format.  You will write many in-class essays to AP prompts.  We will practice these over and over again.   For these essays you will receive “participation points” and not a grade.  I do this, because I want you to practice writing and not feel pressured about getting “good grades” all the time.  What is important to me is that you practice writing.  This is another reason to attend class, to do the in-class essays and receive full participation points for them.  However, to keep you on your toes, I will on occasion grade in-class essays instead of simply giving participation points for doing them.


    • You will do a bountiful amount of reading, writing and analysis.
    • You are expected to finish the assigned reading before the class in which it is due and be prepared mentally for learning activities based on the assigned reading.
    • You are expected to participate in analysis discussions. We will talk.  A lot.
    • You should not be in this class if you plan on using Sparknotes instead of doing the reading. (I’m not kidding.)
    • Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any way, either from the internet or from each other. A plagiarized piece will receive an automatic zero and a visit to the Assistant Principal’s office.
    • I do not assign “busy work”. All assignments are thoughtfully constructed with the idea of deepening your understanding of literature and analysis.
    • NO DIGITAL DEVICES/CELLPHONES are allowed in my class. This is a hard and fast rule I hold to. You will be assigned a pocket that you can put your cellphone in my classroom.  If for some inexplicable reason you are not able to self-regulate and have your unauthorized phone device out during class I will take it and turn your phone into the AP’s office.
    • No FOOD in class, unless for medical purposes. Respectfully eat your lunch or snack before you enter the classroom, please.
    • Bathroom policy: during block periods, at an appropriate time, one student at a time may sign-out and take the bathroom pass.  Sign back-in when you return.  You are seniors.  No need to ask me permission to go use the loo, just respect the policy. 
    • Please come to class with open mind, prepared to think deeply and contribute to making this an excellent fun class culture!


    A due date is a due date.  I expect you to turn in all work ON TIME.   For any assignment not turned in at all, you will receive “0” points.   I accept late work, however, it affects your grade.  Your work will be marked down 10% (one grade level) for each day it is late, down to 60%.   This scale applies to the grade given for a late paper (i.e., a “B” becomes a “C”.)  You may not re-write graded essays turned in late.  I accept late work until the Friday before dead week (Friday, December 8, 2017 and June 1, 2018 this year.) 


    If are absent, it is your responsibility keep up with the assignments you miss.  I post literally everything on Canvas every day and you have access to my google slideshow I present while I teach.   You are responsible to independently keep up on all work while you are absent.   Hence, when you come back to class after being absent, you are expected to show up with the assignments you missed in-hand.    If you return to class after being absent and ask me what you missed, I will direct you to Canvas.  If you show up empty handed, after an absence, my late-work policy kicks in.  You will be marked down 10% each day until you turn your work in.  The one exception to this rule is in-class essays written to AP prompts.  You can schedule with me to make these up during a tutorial in a timely fashion.


    As Hemingway said, “writing is rewriting.”  Revising, editing, and rewriting your work is an excellent and important tool to improve your writing.  I have created a system that supports you to rewrite effectively.  You may rewrite your graded major essays as many times as you wish bring up your grade and improve your academic writing. 

    Here is my rewrite protocol:

    1. Get a REWRITE conference worksheet (from classroom or on Canvas under “class documents” module.)
    2. Book a rewrite conference to meet with me during tutorial, lunch, before or after school.
    3. Complete the REWRITE conference worksheet and staple it on top of your original essay.
    4. Bring your completed worksheet and your original essay with you to our conference and we will discuss how to improve your work together. DO NOT do a rewrite of your essay on your own before we meet to discuss your writing.  I will not read it.
    5. After our conference, revise your essay, print it out, staple it on top of your rewrite worksheet and your original essay and turn them all into me. I will not grade a rewritten essay that does not have all three of these elements (revised paper, conference worksheet, original draft(s) of your paper attached.)
    6. I will not accept a rewritten essay unless you follow this protocol and meet with me in advance to rewriting.
    7. Despite all the rules. I highly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity!  It is a great process to go through.


    This course is designed and taught thematically with an emphasis on archetypal core readings moving between a range of American, British, and World literature.  Below is a reading list of major texts we will attempt to cover this year.  Note: this list is subject to change at any time.


    Foundational Greek Classic Tragedy

    “LYSISTRATA” by Aristophanes (Ancient Greek tragedy)


    Illusion vs. Reality

    NATIVE SON, Richard Wright (American) (Naturalism, distortion)


    Fate and Free Will

    HAMLET, William Shakespeare (England) (English Renaissance) (Tragedy)                                 

    ATONEMENT by Ian Mc Ewan (England) (Contemporary literature)


    Society and Class structure

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen (England) (Victorian Romantic literature)

    THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald (American) (Modern literature) or THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck (Contemporary American)


    War and Trauma

    CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff (American) (modern literature)

    Dystopian society

    BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley (England) (modern science fiction)

     You will have a CHOICE BOOK assignment while we read “Hamlet” during class time.

    We will also continuously read and write analysis of many works of POETRY and other shorter PROSE throughout the school year. 



    The best books of literature have much moral ambiguity.  If you do not understand this term, look it up before you start this class.  Much of what we will read will force you to confront uncomfortable issues and circumstances about our humanity and what it is to be alive.  Much of the literature we are going to explore may challenge and bring into question your own personal, religious, and ethical morals.  That is what good literature does.  It causes you to think and think deeply.  It breaks the mold and asks questions of our humanity.  What does it mean to be alive?  We will do an in-depth study of Biblical and mythological allusions in literature. Please note – the Bible is being studied as literature – not for religious purposes in this class.  I ask that you not judge, moralize, or shut down what we read, but instead, be open to what the author’s purpose was in writing it, even if you do not agree with it.  By taking this class, you are agreeing to not be affronted, but, rather be open to analyzing and having a mature open mind to what we are reading.  If you do not think you are able this, then this is may not the right class for you and you should switch out before it is too late.


    Please know that I am very accessible to you and respect students who advocate for themselves and talk with me with any questions, clarification and have something to communicate.  I will answer all e-mails on the day sent before 6pm; after 6pm, I will respond to your e-mail the following day.

    Finally, this is your class.  I am your teacher and I am here for you and will do my utmost to serve your learning.  Your opinions and thought processes matter to me for your growth.  I am a guide for your discussions, but they are ultimately yours.  I look forward to your participation, your opinions, your arguments in our discussions, and working with you this year!


    LMS = CANVAS  www.canvasinfrastructure.com

    We will be using www.canvasinfrastructure as our LMS (Learning Management System) in this class.   I post everything we do every day in class on Canvas.   As stated above, if you are absent, you are given this digital opportunity of learning independence and expected to keep up on classwork by checking the Canvas calendar and assignments.  Please write down your Canvas username and password and keep this syllabus in your binder, in case you forget it:


    Canvas username:_______________________________________

    Canvas password: _______________________________________


    I have read and agree to ALL of the above information included in the syllabus for AP Literature and Composition 2017-2018 and I am willing, committed and ready to take this learning journey.  As a parent/guardian I give permission for my child to take this course.   We are clear on Ms. Ives’ classroom expectations, grading policies, and basic rules and moral ambiguity disclaimer.



    Ms. Ives