•                                                                                              Fall 2017

    Instructor:     Mr. Herberg

    Room:           C-5

    Phone:          (818) 735-3300, ext. 111

    E-mail:          rherberg@oakparkusd.org


    Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition

    Classroom Texts

    Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing (6th ed.) by Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. This text includes sample essays written by college students and has several short stories, poems and plays, which we will turn to throughout the year.



    Classroom Novels or plays

    We will read several of the following works, mostly chronologically but occasionally thematically: BeowulfSir Gawain and the Green Knight, Heart of Darkness, Oedipus Tyrannus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Sun Also Rises, The Stranger, Siddhartha, Hamlet, Brave New World, Catch-22, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice, Waiting for Godot. Your final reading assignment will be a work you choose from a list. Books not studied in class from the above list are, of course, candidates for your reading choice.


    Summer Reading

    Life of Pi.

    Semester Projects

    The first semester you will select a poem in our textbook and write a short 3-page, well-researched essay on it; the second semester you will write a well-researched, five-page essay on an author and his or her works.


    Course Overview

    On the surface Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition appears to be about acquiring the skills necessary to pass the AP exam, but if you plumb deeper, the real objective of the course is to gain a sure enough footing to do well in college-level literature courses should you decide to continue in literary studies, officially or unofficially. From our examination of great works, you will learn how literature is studied in universities today—whether the approach be analytical, historical, philosophical, political, cultural, or rhetorical. And you will learn the specialized language practitioners of literary studies use. As erudite as the approaches sound, keep in mind that the long range goal of the class is to increase your appreciation and understanding of literature as well as your writing ability to convey that understanding. This can be a daunting challenge, so just remember during a lull in your enthusiasm for whatever we may be doing in class that I always have your best interests at heart and have made choices for our studies on your behalf in the belief that our activities will help you and your classmates succeed at not only the AP exam but beyond it in ways that will benefit your reading from now on.


    We will rely on each other’s full participation to make this class work. Stay current with the reading and come prepared every class meeting to discuss your ideas, your emotional reactions, your opinions, and, perhaps, more importantly, your questions. Your insight into literature, especially of text you see as not interpretable or as ambiguous (which it may well be), will help our studies
     For most every reading assignment you will receive study guide questions, which you will either answer in writing or mentally parse during or after your reading. And, most importantly, in your composition book you will do focused writing on two passages or quotations of your own choosing from your reading as well as at the beginning of class in response to a quotation or subject provided for you.

    Also, be prepared to write—a lot and often. Although the academic community prizes articulate speech, articulate writing is prized more. All typed work must follow MLA style and, if researched, have a Works Cited page. All written work, whether in class or at home, must be left-justified and have your complete name, my name, the name of the course, the date, and the name of the assignment (the last centered as a title unless you have written an essay—in which case, you will center the title of your work). In-class work must be in pen. ANY WORK WRITTEN AT HOME MUST BE TYPED. Not following these instructions will cost you points.

    Some Classroom Rules and Discipline

    Choose to be tolerant. Be courteous and respectful to everyone in class. A a college-level class, in which intellectual thoughts are expected, there will be differing opinions at times. Never call another in class stupid or dumb, talk/shout across the room, or make remarks designed to incite others or agitate them by offending their religion, political views, interests, race, sexuality or self-worth. Though seldom an issue, cruel or time-wasteful remarks will result in a reprimand and/or a poor participation grade. It is important that we tolerate other people’s opinions and thoughts and ideas, especially since literature exposes our beliefs and opinions so often. I will do my best to keep you on task and make you aware if your words or discussion lose their educational value.

    One important rule to follow is that when I am talking, you are not. And when you are talking no one else is either.

    A note on plagiarism: Don’t. (If you have a question on plagiarism, see the Writers, Inc. text). Using the internet has sped up the process by which we can find relevant material for our studies, but, unfortunately, it has also led to widespread plagiarism. Any student caught plagiarizing will receive an “F” on the assignment and have a written record of cheating placed in his or her school file.
    In addition, our school has rather extensive policies on academic dishonesty that range from outright cheating, having a cell phone in proximity, or not following test protocol. Be sure to acquaint yourself with our expectations so that this is never an issue for you.

    Be on time to class. Three tardies (not in your seat when the bell rings) will earn you after-school detention, Saturday school, or trash pick-up, and more will escalate disciplinary action (i.e., one hour more for every additional tardy). Take note, missing class due to being in another teacher's class (even if that teacher allows it), at an event or elsewhere on campus will not be excused unless pre-approved. If there is a college visit at nutrition you want to attend, send me an email or drop by beforehand. If you are tardy unexcused on the day of a pop quiz in which roll has already been taken and I am in the process of handing out the quiz, you will receive a zero on it. 

    There is no eating or drinking allowed at all. Leave all food and beverages out of sight and put away, including water. If you need “to hydrate,” plan to do it before or after class. I reserve the right to confiscate any of the offending items. Also, cell phones or other electronic devices are collected at my discretion if they are in sight or go off in class. (They will not be taken to the office until 3:10.) Bring your book to class. Three "no-books" will earn lunch pick-up. You are allowed three bathroom passes a semester, so utilize time before and after class to your advantage. For every pass asked for after the maximum, whether you go or not, you will have to attend 7th period.


    Absences and Late Work

    If absent, find out what you missed from another student or see me during 7th. Make-up assignments for students with an excused absence are due no later than two following class periods. No late work is accepted from students who were absent because of a truancy or an unexcused absence. It is your responsibility to clear either of these and, if you need a grade change because you are eligible to receive credit, see me during 7th, not during class. No late work is accepted from students who simply didn't turn in the work on time. Try to make up lost points with extra credit. Students who are not eligible to do so but who try to submit late work will be penalized. See me during 7th the day following an absence if you do not know what you need to make up. Do not expect me to tell you what you missed before or during class time.


    Grades in the course will be determined by a point system. Many small exercises will be worth a small percentage (but add up). Tests will be weighted once (100 pts).). Mini-reports and essay paragraphs are worth 50 points but complete essays, like tests, are worth 100 points. Journals/Focues-Based Freewriting will be worth 10 points. The final will be worth 25% of the overall grade. On the first semester final, you should be able to recall specifics from any novels or plays read during class or over the summer. Finally, oral participation and classroom conduct will be worth up to 20% of the final grade. Consider pushing yourself to contribute even if doing so takes you outside your comfort zone.


    Extra Credit

    You may attend a pre-approved book reading at a local venue, write a 2-page report and receive 20 points, every 10-week period. (See me for required contents.) The second semester one of the book readings may take place at The LA Times Festival of Books, for which you will receive 50 points, but make sure you attend a reading, lecture or panel presented by someone who makes a living largely from writing on topics worthy of the humanities or sciences (see me beforehand if you are unsure whether an event qualifies). Outdoor, stage events do not qualify for full credit. The festival extra credit is due within two class periods of the event, which is usually at the end of March or the beginning of April.


    ESSAYS: You may receive a higher grade on an essay you wrote (usually 10 points) once every 10 weeks—if you bring the essay in during 7th period and go over it with me before rewriting it.

    *No extra credit will be accepted the last week of each semester.


    On a Personal Note

          This year we will be expanding our interpretation skills, examining literature through the eyes of literary theorists. Far from limiting your ability to comment on and interpret your reading, these ways of looking at literature will add considerably to your thought and writing. I favor short papers—approximately 2-3 pages—that are terse, compelling, and insightful. Plan on writing a paper every two to three weeks in addition to ongoing paragraphs and writing exercises.

          I will do my best to engage you with the works we are reading, show you how the writers constructed their works, and allow you to take a stab at producing your own creative works from time to time. In return, I expect your full participation as we immerse ourselves in literary studies. Although it is difficult to express the significance of literature in our lives, one professor, David Bleich, has attempted it,  saying that "each person's most urgent motivations are to understand himself." Reading, responding to, and sharing literature will help us in our fundamental pursuit of understanding ourselves. Or as another professor has said,  we must value literary studies or the subject would not still be taught at every university. With humanism in mind, I look forward to working together and discovering many new meanings from our readings, discussions and writing.
    ***********************************************************************************************************************************                                                   Please print out this section and return it to class the first week of school.
    I have read the syllabus for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition, shared it with my parents, and understand the expectations of the class.

    *Student Signature:_____________________________________________Date:_____________

     My child has shared with me the syllabus for Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition.

    *Parent Signature:______________________________________________Date:_____________