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AP English Language and Composition/ENG 121
English 10 Honors: American Literature
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English 12/LIT 115

English 10 Honors: American Literature English 10 Honors: American Literature

The original handouts are copyright ©2000-2010 by Rolf M. Gunnar unless otherwise noted. Educators, please feel free to use any of these handouts. Send comments to the e-mail address on my home page. Click on the title of the assignment in the menu on the left side of the page to see the handout.


Scroll down for links to the class expectations, a glossary of grammar terms, an explanation of the Hero's Journey archetype and an outline of American literary periods.


Course Objectives:

            The objectives of this course include developing students’ understanding of the history and cultural progress of our country through literature conveying the perceptions and experiences of primarily American authors.


Students will be able to:

  • Analyze and contextualize the evolution of American culture through literature reflective of American literary periods from the Puritan era through modern times by exploring the customs and norms of each period as revealed through unique perspectives from a variety of authors; 
  • Improve their analytical skills by understanding rhetorical strategies: that form is related to function, that meaningful writing requires authors to choose the most effective voice and genre according to their purpose and audience;
  • Ascertain an author’s purpose and flesh out the specific strategies and techniques the author employs to achieve accomplishment, and understand that effective writing (including fiction) conveys an argument;
  • Express maturity in their own writing through a variety of sentence structures and syntactical methods as well as through sophisticated diction; 
  • Demonstrate proficiency by exceeding the writing, reading and literature benchmarks as outlined in the Jeffco Public Schools Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) documents for Language Arts;
  • Incorporate and understand the language associated with AP English, the next step in their academic progression.


Note:  The focus of this class is depth rather than breadth.   While every effort will be made to address all aspects of the syllabus, time constraints, student absences, and unforeseen circumstances may require revisions to the syllabus as the school year unfolds.  The learning goals of each unit should be addressed; however, some pieces may be removed or revised.  Please check the “Schedule of Classroom Activities and Assignments” page on my website for the weekly schedule.


Primary Learning Goals:

By the end of the semester, students will:

  • Learn to appreciate literature by reading aesthetically and not just efferently (simply to glean information);
  • Analyze, compare and evaluate various works of literature – read between the lines;
  • Understand that effective authors of fiction, nonfiction and poetry carefully consider their stylistic choices as they pertain to purpose and audience;
  • Discern and analyze the rhetorical strategies authors employ and consider applying some of these strategies to enhance their own writing when appropriate;
  • Demonstrate serious engagement with the readings through close reading and analytical writing;
  • Participate in active class analytical discussions / seminars;
  • Express analysis and practice writing skills through academic writing assignments and in-class essays;
  • Express themselves through creative writing and free writing;
  • Apply steps of the writing process as they write;
  • Apply spelling, proofreading, basic grammatical and editing skills to augment their writing;
  • Continue to develop sophisticated sentence structures and syntax – subordination and coordination:
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the basic design and types of multi-paragraph essays;
  • Transcend the five-paragraph essay form;
  • Improve their vocabulary skills primarily in the context of the literature;
  • Develop and apply the study and research skills necessary for academic success;
  • Develop and apply oral and presentation skills;
  • Develop and apply listening skills;
  • Arrange writing conferences for individual instruction;
  • Demonstrate their comprehension of the material through regularly scheduled quizzes and tests
  • Develop test-taking skills through multiple-choice quizzes and constructed responses
  • Understand strategies necessary for Pre-AP, strategies applicable to the AP English Language and Composition as well as the AP Literature and Composition courses.

Related Files

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Related Links
    CSAP Rubrics
    These will help you determine the strength of you writing.
    Glossary of Grammatical Terms
    This handy web site encompasses an extensive list of grammatical and stylistic terms. Click on the links for grammar and punctuation advice as well as other resources.
    Perspectives in American Literature
    This is a very useful site for contextualizing American literature, authors and literary periods. According to the site, it was "[f]irst published as a book (hence the site's format), this ongoing project is now available only online; it is a research and reference tool, not a term paper factory. Useful to Americans who have no or limited access to university libraries and academic databases, it is also helpful to international readers interested in American literature."
    The Hero's Journey Archetype
    A major theme of the American Literature curriculum is "Coming of Age." The Hero's Journey archetype elucidates a common pattern of human growth and experience reflected in many of our reading selections including "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "The Catcher in the Rye." This website explains the stages of the adventure.
    The Hero's Journey and Star Wars
    George Lucas collaborated with Joseph Campbell in modeling the original "Star Wars" after the stages of the Hero's Journey.

Mr. Gunnar's English Classes
Jefferson County
Conifer High School
10441 County Hwy 73
Conifer, CO 80433

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