Course: AP English Language (with American focus)

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Units and Lessons

Nuclear Energy Synthesis / DBQ Unit Resources: 32

In this interdisciplinary unit, my students studied nuclear chemistry in their Chemistry class while they read Hiroshima in English. Then, they chose a synthesis/DBQ task that focused on either nuclear power plants or the dropping of the atomic bombs and read a variety of non-fiction sources appropriate to their chosen task. See the task description for more information. This task is very aligned to Common Core.

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Argumentation mega-unit (2nd argumentation unit) Resources: 61

This unit includes several major texts/movements: Kindred (Octavia Butler), assorted poetry and short stories of the Harlem Renaissance, and Black Like Me (John Howard Griffin). It has an explicit focus on understanding race and racism on a level that's appropriate to fairly sophisticated 11th or 12th graders in a classroom with a high level of trust between students and between students and the teacher. With respect to skills, this unit focuses on the identification of an author's argument in fictional texts and literature. Because I spend most of the year in the course working with non-fiction texts, this is really the only time in the year that we really focus on applying these skills within other genres.

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Argumentation, part 1 Resources: 34

This unit uses the book How Does It Feel to be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America to develop students' skills at identifying argument structures and developing their own. This unit also includes a significant component on satire, formal logic, and logical fallacies. Lastly, this unit is significantly project-based, Common Core-aligned, and differentiated. Although all students were asked to read the full text, the text was most relevant for students who chose (or were chosen) to write an argumentative essay. Other project choices included creating a Moot Court simulation or preparing for (and competing in) parliamentary style debates.

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Civil Rights and Affirmative Action Synthesis / DBQ Unit Resources: 44

My students began this unit by researching and presenting about a particular American civil rights movement (African American, Latino/Chicano, Women's, GLBT, Disabled, Asian-American, Native American/AIM) to provide the necessary context for the history of affirmative action. Then, they were asked to read and consider a wide variety of critical perspectives on affirmative action and to complete a DBQ / synthesis task on the future of affirmative action. There was also a focus in this unit on understanding how to work with charts, graphs, and tables as evidence/sources in synthesis tasks.

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Rhetorical Analysis and Political Campaigning Unit Resources: 53

In this unit, my students learned all about rhetorical analysis (including the Aristotelian triangle) and were asked to apply it by analyzing a current political campaign (this was during election season). They presented their analysis as either a partner presentation with Powerpoint or as a process-essay. Students who did not write an essay during this unit were required to write an essay during the following unit -- no one "got out" of writing. This unit is Common Core-aligned. The texts in this unit include the US founding documents, the English Bill of Rights, and a plethora of significant American speeches.

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Research Paper Unit Resources: 22

My students worked on this almost every Friday (in a two-period Humanities block) over the course of the spring semester.

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Capstone Documents and Files Resources: 8

This isn't actually unit, it's the descriptions of the capstone tasks and rubrics from all of the other units in this course. All of these tasks are aligned to both Common Core and to the demands of the AP English Language exam.

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