AP Language & Composition

AP Language & Composition
Hawthorne Biography
Scarlet Letter Criticism
In Depth...Machiavelli Biography
Ripped from Your Papers #1
Ripped from Your Papers #2
Ripped From Your Papers #3
Ripped From Your Papers #4
Vocabulary Lesson 1
Vocabulary Lesson 2
Vocabulary Lesson 3
Research Sources
AP Practice Test Calendar
Multi Choice Tips and Hints
Ethos, Pathos, Logos - The Foundation of Argument
AP Language & Composition
Your Study Habits
Tone and Attitudes
Active Reading and Annotation
AP Prose Style Calendar
AP Prose Style Chapter Outlines 1-6
AP Prose Style Chapters 7-12
AP Prose Style Ch. 13-16
AP Glossary & Schedules
Glossary Presentations How To
Glossary Tests Study Tips
Passage Analysis Quick Guide
Patterns of Development Schedule, Term 2
Patterns: Description Notes
Narration Mode Notes
Example Mode
Process Analysis
Comparison Contrast Notes
Classification and Division
Cause and Effect
Outside Reading Schedules/Booklists (scroll all the way down)
Persuasive Speech/Researched Argument
They Say/I Say
They Say I Say Slides Introduction
Cornell Notes How To
Creative Writing

Welcome to Grossenbacher's AP Language & Composition!
E-mail address: vgrossen@egusd.net





TEACHERS: Ms. Gini Grossenbacher, Ms. Marla Magsig



The mission of Sheldon High School is to empower students to meet standards of excellence, which foster intellectual curiosity and ready them to be responsible, productive, employable citizens in a culturally diverse society.


TEXTS: Prose Style, Prentice Hall; Literature and Language Arts, 5th course, Holt Rinehart, & Winston; The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne; The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; The Crucible by Arthur Miller; The Language of of Composition, Bedford/St. Martin’s, selected college-level readings; student-chosen and teacher approved college-bound designated novels and non-fiction books


In keeping with the college-level approach to the course, students are strongly encouraged to purchase their own copies of all supplemental novels so that they may write in and keep their books. It is highly recommended that students purchase Diana Hacker’s Pocket Style Manual, Bedford/St. Martin’s.


TEXTBOOKS:  Please be advised that students are financially responsible for all textbooks and library books they check out from the library. This means that students must pay for all books that are lost or stolen from their possession. Students keep textbooks in their classrooms at their own risk. Many times a student gets a textbook mixed up with another classmate. When this happens, the student is still responsible for the book he/she checked out. If a student needs to pay for a book, payment plans may be arranged with the library. Call 681-7500 ext. 8088 if you have questions regarding the textbook policy. You may also access this at http://shshuskies.wordpress.com



Students in this introductory college-level course read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through close reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities. Course readings feature expository, personal, and argumentative texts from a variety of authors and historical contexts. Students examine and work with essays, letters, speeches, images, and imaginative literature. Since this course is taught at 11th grade, there is an emphasis on American non-fiction, with certain exceptions. Featured authors include Annie Dillard, Jhumpa Lahiri, Isaac Asimov, Amy Tan, Judy Brady, Anna Quindlen, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eric Liu, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Martin Luther King, Jr.., Jonathan Swift, Jonathan Edwards, Patrick Henry, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Bill Bryson, Charles Krauthammer, Sarah Coleman, Margaret Visser, Joan Didion, Zora Neale Hurston, J.D. Salinger, Arthur Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Students prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam in May and may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both as a result of satisfactory performance.




The course follows the guidelines described in the AP English Course Description. Course reading and writing activities help our students gain skill in textual analysis of author’s purpose, audience, subject, and resources of language: syntax, word choice, and tone. As students are on a 4x4 block schedule, students will have completed a course in close reading and purposeful writing in January and June. Students meet the challenge of reading fewer passages, but they read more intensely in order to fully prepare for the AP exam on Wednesday, May 14. The critical skills that students learn to appreciate through close and continued analysis of a wide variety of nonfiction texts can serve them in their own writing as they gain skill and practice. During the course, a wide variety of texts (prose and image based) and writing tasks provide the focus for an energetic study of language, rhetoric, argument and synthesis.


As this is a college-level course, performance expectations are appropriately high, and the workload is challenging. In addition to summer work, students are expected to commit to a minimum of five hours of course work per week outside of class. Often, this work involves long–term writing and reading assignments, so effective time management is important. Because of the demanding curriculum, students must bring to the course sufficient command of mechanical conventions and an ability to comprehend and discuss prose. As the exam approaches during Term 4, the instructors will hold intensive review sessions weekly in order to provide extra coaching for the May exam. Please continue to check my website at http://vgrossen.tripod.com/ for updates.



Papers completed outside of class must be typed, double-spaced, have one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, numbered pages and a title heading (MLA format).


Homework is due when the student enters the classroom.  It is inappropriate in an AP course to complete homework in class on the day it is due or to complete homework from another class.


Technical Difficulties:  If the student experiences computer/printer problems, he/she should print in the school’s library before class (the classroom computer is for teacher use only and not available for this purpose) or submit a final draft written in ink by the deadline in order to avoid the “No late work” policy.  The instructor will hold this copy for ONE day until the student replaces it with the typed version.  Work written in class should be completed in dark ink (blue or black – no pencil) and must be clearly legible.


B.  LATE AND MAKE-UP WORK: With the constraints of the block schedule, the Sheldon English Department adopts a no late work policy on long term assignment deadlines. Students not in class on the day a long-term assignment is due should submit their work in the teacher’s mailbox in the main office with a date and time stamp (the administrative assistants in the attendance office can do this for you).  The stamp should reflect a date and time prior to the assignment deadline.  An excused absence does not exempt students from this policy. Daily assignments can be made up with an excused absence.  Students have the same amount of time to make up an assignment as all other students had to complete the assignment. 



    Attendance:  students are to sit in their assigned seats, ready to learn when the bell rings.  Daily attendance is essential in this course; simply making up the assignments will not make up for student presence in class.

    Please be aware of instructions on the side board or overhead.  If homework is due, turn it in to the green basket.  Be ready to work and respond quickly, have paper out and be ready to take notes every day.

    Students will need the required book(s), a three ring binder, binder paper and a student planner or daybook. The AP course handouts are extensive, so binder dividers are recommended. At times you will be asked to complete activities and download information posted on my website vgrossen@tripod.com (Grossenbacher) http://groups.google.com/group/magsigap11 (Magsig)

    Passes: There will be no hall passes except for emergencies.  Please take care of all personal business before class begins.

    Food and drink: There will be no food nor drink except water in a clear bottle in the classroom.


D. GRADING: Grades in the class are based on a points-earned system that allows for assignments to be weighted.  Grades are given for homework quizzes, tests, homework, presentations, written work, projects and participation.   Timed writing is a significant part of the grade.  It is always scored with the standard nine-point AP rubric. STUDENTS SHOULD KEEP ALL WORK to provide a check for possible recording errors.  Class grades will be awarded on the percent of points possible using the following scale and weighting:


A         100-90%           B          89-80%    C       79-70%             D         69-60%


                                                                               First Term                       Second Term


Timed/process writing                                                    35%                             35%    

Multiple Choice Tests/projects                                        25%                             30%    

Participation (Homework/class discussion)                      10%                             10%    

Outside Reading (Essays & Socratic Seminars)               20%                             25%

Summer Work                                                               10%                             n/a       


E. CLASSROOM DECORUM: Following the Sheldon High School English Department best practice, we keep a “safe space” environment in this classroom. Citizenship in this class calls for the highest possible standards of civility and respect: for self, others, property and the learning process.  All school and district rules and policies will be consistently upheld.  Excellent decorum goes beyond being on time and quiet when required.  An excellent student consistently makes substantial contributions to the learning community of our classroom.  He/she has a generous, open attitude and contributes to others with his/her help, responsibility, and participation in both large and small groups. Speaking ill of others in an AP classroom is highly inappropriate.


F. TARDIES:  Sheldon High School tardy policy outlined in the student handbook will be consistently enforced.  Students should familiarize themselves with this policy. Please note: the SHS tardy policy has been amended to read as follows: Parents wishing to excuse their student’s Tardy for a medical or dental reason must provide written proof to the Attendance Office from the Doctor of the appointment date and time along with the Doctor’s phone number in order for the Tardy to be excused.   


G. Academic Honesty: Trust is essential in a learning community and needs to be protected.  Students cheating in any way will receive a zero on that particular assignment.  A second instance will result in an F for the semester.   Instances of plagiarism will be referred to the Vice Principal without question.



H. Academic Code of Conduct - Plagiarism

Plagiarism occurs when a student copies or paraphrases someone else’s words, work, or ideas without giving credit to the original author/speaker “source”.  Outside sources which need to be given credit include, but are not limited to, books, websites, periodicals, newspapers, material from electronic databases, radio or television programs, interviews, speeches and/or letters and correspondence, including e-mail. If a student commits plagiarism in any portion of an academic exercise, the student will receive a zero on the assignment and also disciplinary consequences from the administration (see Student Handbook: Disciplinary Consequences For Behavior Violation Of Code Of Conduct). An academic exercise includes, but is not limited to, a homework/practice assignment, essay, and/or research paper.



The best time for students to get individual help is after school.  My office hours are posted on my webpage: vgrossen@tripod.com.


There will be no extra credit work in AP English.



Please feel free to contact me by the methods listed below:

    By e-mail: vgrossen@egusd.net or mmagsig@egusd.net  – we check this often, and it is generally the best way to reach us.

    By school phone: 681-7500 ext 8148  - (Grossenbacher)

                                          681-7500 ext 8170  - (Magsig)

    E Grades is a communication tool that allows parents/guardians/students to access student grades. Please Go to Sheldonhuskies.com for the egrade link. I will post egrades after each three week grading period.


BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHT, Tuesday, September 9th from 6:30-8PM. Please plan to attend to receive further course information and to meet your student’s teachers. We look forward to meeting you!


Please sign and return:


" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have read, understand and accept the policies outlined in this syllabus.


____________________________                _____________________________

Student Printed Name                                                Parent Printed Name



______________________________                        ______________________________

Student Signature/Date                                  Parent Signature/Date





The AP course in English Language & Composition engages Sheldon students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposees. 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.

Events and Announcements
Updated 1/09/09
AP Language and Composition Exam May 13, 2009 at Sheldon, 7:30 a.m.
Specifics will be announced later in spring.
AP full practice exams: March 17 and 18 beginning at 7:30 a.m.
This is CAHSEE reverse minimum day. Note: the same test will be given each day.
Come in the morning and get the full experience of the AP exam before the real test! Students who take advantage of this opportunity are better prepared for the real test.
SUMMER WORK Meetings for Fall/Spring 2009-10 students!
Dates & Locations:
Tues. March 24 - R10 with Mrs. Grossenbacher
 Wed. March 25 - 317 with Ms. Magsig
AP Refresher sessions:
Location: R10 (Mrs. G.'s room)
Tuesdays: March 31,  April 14, 21, Monday April 27, Tuesday May 5
Times: 3:10 - 4:00.
Content: We will practice and review multi-choice exams and timed writes not covered in the AP course as preparation for the exam.

January Teaser:

1. What was the date of Kennedy's Inaugural Address?

2. Find an example of logos, pathos, and ethos in this speech.

3. What effect does Kennedy's use of Biblical allusions have on the speech and the audience?

4. How is John F. Kennedy's presidency currently compared to that of Barack Obama?

5. To which mythical kingdom was the Kennedy presidency compared?

SAT Words to Know for January


abstrusedifficult to understandadroitdexterous; deftalacritycheerful willingness; eagernessamalgama combination of diverse elements; a mixturearchaiccharacteristic of an earlier period; old-fashionedcandidcharacterized by openness and sincerity of expression; unreservedly straightforwardchicanerya trick; deception by trickeryconciliatoryappeasing; soothing; pleasantconcordagreement (Antonym: discord)crediblecapable of being believed; plausibledeartha scarce supply; a lackdebaclea sudden, disastrous collapse, downfall, or defeat; a routderivativea byproductdirgea funeral hymn or lamenteffronterybrazen boldness; presumptuousnessentouragea group of attendants or associates; a retinueepitomea representative or example of a class or typeeruditiondeep, extensive learningexpedientappropriate to a purpose; speedyfallacya false notionfelicitousadmirably suited; aptgaffea clumsy social error; a faux pasgrandiosecharacterized by greatness of scope or intent; grandhusbandrycareful management or conservation of resources; economyidiosyncratica structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or groupimpetuouscharacterized by sudden and forceful energy or emotion; impulsive and passionateimpetusan impelling force; an impulseinscrutabledifficult to fathom or understand; impenetrablejocularcharacterized by or given to jokinglavishcharacterized by or produced with extravagance and abundancemagnanimitycourageously noble in mind and heartmodicuma small, moderate, or token amountorthodoxadhering to the accepted or traditional and established faith, especially in religionpartisandevoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or causepedanticcharacterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rulespejorativedescribing words or phrases that belittle or speak negatively of someonepenchanta definite liking; a strong inclinationplacidcalm or quiet; undisturbed by tumult or disorderportentan indication of something important or calamitous about to occur; an omenprospectusa formal summary of a proposed venture or projectquiescentbeing quiet, still, or at rest; inactiverepugnantarousing disgust or aversion; offensive or repulsivescintillatingbrilliantsolicitousanxious or concernedsophistrya plausible but misleading or fallacious argumentsubterfugea deceptive stratagem or devicesycophanta servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential peopleubiquitousbeing or seeming to be everywhere at the same time; omnipresentveracityadherence to the truth; truthfulnessvignettea short scene or incident, as from a movie

- Princeton Review

Meet the AP Challenge!
What is a faulty analogy?

Bring the first to bring in a definition and example to class, ready to teach the class. The first student with the correct answer will be published on this website!

Green Bouncing Apple

January: Author of the Month - President Barack Obama - for a video and text of his Inaguration speech, go to http://www.rightpundits.com/