• Practice Makes Progress


    AP English Literature and Composition is a writing-intensive course that focuses on reading, discussing, interpreting and writing about literature. Poems, short stories, novels, and plays will be analyzed for complexity with an emphasis on structure, style, and various literary strategies. Writing assignments include focused free write responses to prompts, close readings, small group presentations, and peer review worksheets. Students will complete process writing as well as multiple-choice assessments and free response essays in preparation for the AP Exam. The intent of this course is to not only assist students in acquiring the critical thinking and writing skills needed to successfully complete the exam but to foster a sense of intellectual curiosity and an appreciation of complex & diverse literary texts. 




    Ms. Randi Metsch-Ampel

    B.A. in History

    M.A. in American Studies, Concentration in Literature, History, and Film


    Ms. Metsch-Ampel is a lifetime education professional with 14 years of experience teaching high school English, and 10 years as an adjunct faculty member at Bloomfield College. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, and her masters’ degree from the University of Michigan. 






    Ms. Metsch-Ampel is available between 3:30-4 PM, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and by appointment.



    Students who successfully complete the AP English Literature and Composition curriculum will be competent in these skills:

    Skills Categories

    1. Explain the function of character.
    2. Explain the function of setting.
    3. Explain the function of plot and structure.
    4. Explain the function of the narrator or speaker.
    5. Explain the function of word choice, imagery, and symbols.
    6. Explain the function of comparison.
    7. Explain how literary elements create themes and meaning within a text.
    8. Develop textually substantiated arguments about interpretations of part or all of a text.

    Big Ideas

    1. Character
    2. Setting 
    3. Structure
    4. Narration
    5. Figurative Language
    6. Literary Argumentation
    7. Theme



    Critical Area 1: Students conduct sustained analyses of details regarding intentional choices writers make regarding characters, setting, plot, and overall structure (organization, sequence) that lead to complex interpretations of meaning.


    Critical Area 2: Students develop their skills in close reading (emotional experience, informed interpretation, critical evaluation) of literature.


    Critical Area 3: Students develop & express complex analyses based upon viewpoints and interpretations of works from a range of genres and time periods, referencing various literary strategies.


    Critical Area 4: Students make comparisons and associations that shift in meaning from the literal to the figurative.

    Critical Area 5: Students present (orally and in written form) interpretations of literature via arguments supported by text evidence. Written work will adhere to the MLA Style Guidelines.

    Critical Area 6: Students actively and respectfully participate in class discussions of sensitive, controversial topics.

    “Personal Progress Checks” (multiple choice & free response questions) at the end of each Unit provide student and teacher with information as to the overall level of competency in the Skill Categories & Critical Areas.




    Students will be expected to bring two notebooks, two pens, a two-pocket folder for handouts,  and current texts daily. 


    Students will be expected to bring a Chromebook daily.


    Google Classroom – Links to literature texts, videos, Google Slides, PowerPoint presentations, and other class materials will be posted regularly. 


    AP Classroom – Students will have access to various learning tools such as Personal Progress Checks (PPCs), Practice Multiple Choice Tests, and a Question Bank of Free-Response Essay prompts.


    Genesis – Grades will be available to students and parents through the Genesis portal. Students are responsible to check grades and be aware of their work regularly. 




    During synchronous instruction, students will be muted and unmuted when they raise their hand. Video sharing is encouraged, but not required, unless specified by administration. Students will be asked to participate regularly through the utilization of “nonverbal feedback" in instances when the camera may be off.  Points will be taken off participation/classwork grades if students do not share their videos and/or fail to respond to a question during synchronous instruction. Repeated instances will be reported to the administration. If a break is needed, students must notify the teacher so they do not mark students as non-participatory.  



    Homework (10%)

    Precis & Personal Progress Checks

    *Students should expect homework every day. Homework will be collected and graded on a 100-point scale based on completeness and accuracy. 


    Missing and incomplete assignments can be viewed on Genesis. If absent, each student will have two days to make up a missing assignment. After that, a 5-point penalty will be taken off any assignment for each day it is late. If a student is not absent, but failed to complete an assignment, they may request an extension by speaking with the instructor. A 5-point penalty may be taken off the assignment for every day it is not turned in. For example, a homework or classwork assignment that is late for a period of 5 school days, without being excused, is only eligible to receive a maximum score of 75. Additionally, parents will be contacted when you miss an assignment and administration will be notified. Excessive missing assignments will result in a disciplinary action.


    *Personal Progress Checks will be assigned at the end of each Unit and can be completed using the AP Classroom. Students (and the instructor) will receive a report with their scores on the specified skills to evaluate their progress. The practice book may also be used to prepare for the AP exam. This information will be used to build skills and to ascertain areas in need of re-teaching.


    Formative Assessments (20%)

    In-Class Writings / Quizzes

    Every 2-3 weeks, students will complete timed in-class writing assessments. These formative assessments will be based on materials and topics addressed in class. They will cover content, literary strategies, and relevant vocabulary (definitions & use in context). 


    Classwork (20%)

    Focus Free Writes, Topic Questions, Close Reading Exercises, Graded Discussions & Exit Tickets. 

    Class work will consist of a combination of whole class & small group analyses of text, 5-7 minute responses to focus prompts based on the assigned readings, Topic Questions (accessible via AP Classroom) and exit tickets as checks for understanding. A lot of class time will be devoted to analyzing and articulating the function of literary strategies such as diction, word choice, imagery, and symbolism in the assigned texts. Participation in these discussions is vital towards student learning and will be graded.


    Summative Evaluation (25%)

    Tests: Multiple Choice & Free-Response Questions

    Tests will be timed essay responses that follow the format of the AP English Literature & Composition format. They will be assessed using the 6 point rubric used by the College Board for free-response questions. Before taking these tests, students will have opportunities to score sample essays as well as those of their peers. There will also be opportunities for students to complete timed Multiple-Choice Questions accessible via the AP Classroom.


    Authentic Assessments (25%)

    Major Essays with Process Pages, Literature Reviews, and Presentations 

    *Major essays will be process writings. For each essay assignment, you will be required to produce three drafts: 

    1. Initial (Loose) Draft, - this will receive instructor feedback
    2. Second (Developing) Draft, - this will receive peer feedback 
    3. “Final” (Formal) Draft with Process Page. 

    You will be assessed on your ability to fully participate in the writing process so it is crucial that you submit all materials associated with the assignment.

    *The process page is a one-page cover sheet required for the final draft of each of the summative assessments (essays). The process page should describe the overall process of writing the essay. It is an opportunity to emphasize what you feel the strengths of the paper are. It is also a place for you to document the challenges you encountered from draft to draft. Below is a list of questions that the process page should address:

    • Restate the assignment.
    • What do you believe to be the strengths of your paper?
    • What challenges did you face?
    • To what extent did the peer review sessions help you with your writing process?
    • What have you learned from writing this paper?
    • What specific areas of improvement will you focus on for the next paper?

    *Literature Reviews will be assigned for longer fiction/drama texts and will focus on the following: main & minor characters, setting, plot, literary strategies/style, and at least three textual references of note.

    *Presentation towards Discussion. Each student will randomly be assigned the role of “Discussion Leader.” They are responsible for beginning the class on their assigned date, providing content and questions that should lead to lively discussion. They are expected to have prepared notes on the text as well as a “discussion plan” (to be submitted to the instructor). Familiarity with the content (references to specific passages) and the ability to facilitate discussion after sharing their insights are critical to a successful Presentation & Discussion.




    Pupils are expected to be honest in all of their academic work. To ensure the integrity of STEM Innovation Academy of the Oranges’ educational program, a strict adherence to our district policy of academic dishonesty will be enforced. Students are expected to be honest in order to learn and grow as responsible and ethical citizens. Any breach of this standard endangers the learning process and impugns the integrity of the entire school community. The purpose of education is to prepare students to become lifelong learners, and dishonesty undermines and inhibits that process. No forms of personal and/or academic misrepresentation are permitted. A student, whether cheating alone or helping another person to cheat, will be subject to the disciplinary procedure.

    Students will be expected to:


    1. Complete his/her own academic work;
    2. Refrain from sharing assignments unless authorized to do so;
    3. Refrain from engaging in plagiarism when doing research; and
    4. Adhere to classroom academic standards when testing.




    Three of the following texts: 

    Fences, August Wilson 

    The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

    The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

    Sing, Unburied, Sing, (Jesmyn Ward)

    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston





    The following is a partial list of short stories (19th-21st century) that will be read, analyzed and written about over the course of the year:“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” & “Light is Like Water” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez), “The Continuity of Parks” (Julio Cortazar), "The Devil and Tom Walker" (Washington Irving), "The Story of an Hour" (Kate Chopin), "Becky"  (Jean Toomer), "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (Herman Mellville), "Everyday Use" (Alice Walker), "The Life you Save May Be Your Own" (Flannery O'Connor), "There Will Come Soft Rains" (Ray Bradbury), "The Necklace"  (Guy de Maupassant), "The Man with the Twisted Lip" and "A Case of Identity"  (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (Ambrose Bierce), "The Fall of the House of Usher" (Edgar Allan Poe), "A Rose for Emily" (William Faulkner), and 

    "Girl" (Jamaica Kincaid)




    The following is a partial list of poems (16th – 21st century) that will be read, analyzed and written about over the course of the year:“Introduction to Poetry” and “The Effort” (Billy Collins), “On His Blindness” (John Milton), “Sonnet 18” (William Shakespeare), “Sonnet 10” (John Donne), Sonnet 43” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning), “Yet Do I Marvel”, “Heritage” (Countee Cullen) , “If We Must Die”, “The White House” (Claude McKay), “Kabnis” (Jean Toomer), “Finna” (Nate Marshall), “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Wilfred Owen, “Remember,” Joy Harjo, “The Hill We Climb,” by Amanda Gorman.





    Module 1 - Introduction to Literary Terms and Analysis of Short Fiction

    Unit One – Intro. to Literary Terms & Short Fiction I: (10 Classes)


    CHR. 1.A


    SET 2.A


    STR 3.A & 3.B


    NAR 4.A &4.B

    LAN 7.A

    NJSLSA.L6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases 

    * “Everyday Use,” 

    Alice Walker

    *”Story of an Hour”

    Magical Realism: “Light is Like Water”(Gabriel Garcia Marquez), “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”(Gabriel Garcia Marquez), “The Continuity of Parks” (Julio Cortazar)

    Glossary of Terms

    *Focused Free Writes (FFWs) & silent close reading (with annotation) of a variety of short stories, including  “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” 

    * Close reading

    * Discussion

    * Writing & Analysis: begin with short analytic writing assignments, and build skills & knowledge leading  to full essays.

    Focus Areas: details that illustrate the setting, sequence of events as expressed via narration, initial assessment of character’s perspective & motives.

    *Diagnostic in-class essay

    *In-Class and process writing. Sample writing prompt: “Based on your reading & analysis of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, build an argument as to whether he is an angel. Be sure to include text evidence & focus on literary strategies that support your claim.”

    * Practice identification of literary terms

    *Personal Progress Check

    Unit Two – Poetry I: Intro to Poetry Across Centuries & Cultures

    (10 Classes)


    CHR 1.A


    STR 3.C & 3.D

    Figurative Language

    FIG 6.A & 6.B

    Literary Argumentation

    LAN 7.A

    “Introduction to Poetry” & “The Effort” (Billy Collins), “Sonnet 18” (William Shakespeare), 

    “Dulce et De Decorum Est,” Wilfred Owen

    “Sonnet 43” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

    “Sonnet 10” (John Donne)

    “Yet Do I Marvel?” & “Heritage” (Countee Cullen)

    “If We Must Die” & “The White House” (Claude McKay)

    “Finna” (Nate Marshall)

    Poems by Joy Harjo

    *Students work in small groups on analyses (using a graphic organizer) and then brief presentations of the treatment of love in Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116”as compared to Browning's “Sonnet 43.” Focus areas: Structure, Shifts, Uses of Simile and/or Metaphor.

    * In-Class Writing: AP Classroom Prompt

    *Personal Progress Check

    *Test 1 (MCQ)

    Module 2 - American Dreams and Nightmares

    Unit Three – Longer Fiction or Drama I: The Great Gatsby

    (17 Classes)


    CHR 1.A, 1.C, 1.D


    SET 2.A. 2.C


    STR 3.B, 3.C, 3.E & 3.F


    NAR 4.D

    Figurative Language

    FIG 5.C

    Literary Argumentation LAN 7.A – 7.E

    The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

    New York: A Documentary Film (Ric Burns)

    *Students examine the various techniques used by the author to create meaning in the text. By selecting a specific thematic thread and following its development, they will craft a well-written analysis, providing text evidence

    *Students will completed Small Group Critique (SGQ) of drafts (peer review)

    *Personal Progress Check

    *Major Essay 1(to be assessed using the six-point rubric)

    Unit Four – Short Fiction II: Perspectives on American Culture

    (17 Classes)


    CHR 1.A-1.C


    SET 2.A-2.C


    STR 3.C & 3.E-3.F


    NAR 4.A - 4.C

    Figurative Language

    FIG 6.D

    Literary Argumentation

    LAN 7.B - 7.E

    "The Devil and Tom Walker" 

    (Washington Irving)

    "The Story of an Hour" (Kate Chopin)


     (Jean Toomer)

    "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (Herman Mellville)

    "Everyday Use" ( Alice Walker)

    "The Life you Save May Be Your Own" (Flannery O'Connor)

    "There Will Come Soft Rains" (Ray Bradbury)

    *In-Class Writing. Prompt: Choose one of the short stories read for this Unit. Build an argument as the position the text takes on a fundamental American value, like equality, self-reliance, or freedom. While defending your thesis, address at least 2 of the following: diction, relationship between character & setting, narrative perspective (POV), and/or structure. Be sure to provide adequate text evidence.

    *Personal Progress Check

    *Test 2

    Module 3 - The Human Experience

    Unit Five – Poetry II: (17 Classes)


    STR 3.C

    Figurative Language

    FIG 5.A & 5.B, 5.D

    FIG 6.B – 6.D

    Literary Argumentation

    LAN 7.B – 7.E

    “The Hill We Climb,” Amanda Gorman

    *In small groups, students explore the figurative language, historical allusions, imagery

    In-Class Writing. Prompt: Explore how literal & figurative language – specifically symbols and imagery - create multi-layered themes in this poem.

    *Students will complete SGQ (rounds of peer review)

    *Major Essay 2

    Unit Six – Longer Fiction or Drama II:  Fences, August Wilson

    (17 Classes)


    CHR 1.A, 1.B, 1.E


    STR 3.A – 3.B, 3.D-3.F


    NAR 4.C-4.D

    Figurative Language

    FIG 5.A, 5.C

    Literary Argumentation

    LAN 7.B – 7.E

    Fences, August Wilson

    *Using a graphic organizer, students keep track of when shifts occur in the play that reveal important pieces of the layered plot.

    *In-Class Writing. After completing several close readings, students will address the following prompt: Based on the soliloquies, dialogue, and plot development in the play, build an argument as to what Wison is articulating about the nature of family, relationships, race and racism in America, human existence, and relevant topics.

    *Literature Review

    *Personal Progress Check

    * Major Essay 3. (Evaluated using the 6-point analytic rubric)

    Module 4 - Perception and Reality

    Unit Seven – Short Fiction III: Literature of Psychology and Suspense

    (17 Classes)


    CHR 1.A & 1.E


    SET 2.B & 2.C


    STR 3.A-3.C, 3.E


    NAR 4.A-4.D

    Figurative Language

    FIG 5.B & 5.D

    FIG 6.A & 6.C

    "The Necklace" 

    (Guy de Maupassant)

    "The Man with the Twisted Lip" and "A Case of Identity" 

    (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

    "The Yellow Wallpaper" 

    (Charlotte Perkins Gillman)

    "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" (Ambrose Bierce)

    "The Fall of the House of Usher"

     (Edgar Allan Poe)

    "A Rose for Emily" (William Faulkner)


    (Jamaica Kincaid)

    *In-Class Writing. Prompt: Using multiple texts from the unit, students will craft an analysis of the ability of authors to  capture the inner workings of the human mind. Students will be required to reference structural features and literary devices from the chosen texts, and demonstrate how they are manipulated to create this effect. 

    *Personal Progress Check

    *Test 3 (FRQs)

    Unit Eight –Longer Fiction III: The Kite Runner and/or Sing, Unburied, Sing

    (17 Classes)


    CHR 1.B, 1.E


    STR 3.C-3.E


    4.B & 4.C

    Figurative Language

    FIG 5.B & 5.C

    Literary Argumentation

    LAN 7.B & 7.C

    LAN 7.D &7.E

    The Kite Runner 

    (Khaled Kosseini)

    *Close reading, individual & group analyses of literary elements, historical allusions,  and multi-layered themes. 

    * Essay writing (Evaluated using the 6-point rubric)

    *Personal Progress Check

    *Literature Review

    Practice/prep for multiple choice section of AP exam

    *AP English Literature & Composition Administration

    Unit Nine – Capstone Project (Research Report/Presentation)

    Literature Review (APA Style Required)

    Based on Major/Track

    Collaborative Session with faculty in other disciplines

    Workshops/Consultations with groups of students

    I, the undersigned student, have reviewed with my parents the expectations of the AP English Literature & Composition class as outlined in the syllabus and accept the terms and expectations as they are laid out.

    I understand that my parents may be contacted if I am found to be in serious default of my expectations, solely for the purpose of correcting the problem before my grades are negatively impacted. 



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