Friday, December 19, 2008

Just a little something to tide you over...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!  It was a nice surprise to get 3 extra days of vacation.  We'll be grumpy in June, but it sure feels good now!

All right, let's get to business.  We're going to write a short paper toward the very end of class and this assignment is going to help you start thinking about it while practicing some analysis at the same time (we were going to do something from the book, but I thought there would be at least half of you that didn't have your book at home).  

Go to Read the 2 paragraphs "What is This I Believe" and "The History of This I Believe" on the first page.  Then browse through the many essays on the site picking one from the 1950's and one from more recently that you like.  Do the AP squared  process to them.  (Remember that? If you recall, the sides of the square are labeled purpose, persona, audience, and argument.)

To blog your responses without going through the time-consuming aggravation of making a quadrisected square, do something like this:


Outside: Sharing is the quintessential trait that makes us truly human.

Inside:  Details from the text that led you to say what you said on the outside of the box

Audience (I think you get the idea)

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!

So, who is most likely to watch all 34 bowl games: Richards, Rosas, Keeney, Howell, Moore, or Bunker?   My money's on Moore...or maybe Gendron.  ;)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will we ever have school again?

If we have class tomorrow (we'll have to see how much time we have), hopefully it will just be about passing back papers (at least of 3rd period as I'm not sure I'll be done with 2nd) and maybe getting the vocab test out of the way.  Ironically, I have more time to grade when I'm at school -- no little Charlie to play with.

I JUST got a call from FSD saying there is no school tomorrow!  I'll give your papers back when we have school again. Watch this blog tomorrow (Friday).  I'll have your small, just-something-to-keep-your-brains-from-atrophying assignment up by then.  Until then, have fun in the snow!

Megan,  Charlie is having a great time in the snow and I'm trying to grade essays while he's asleep.  Charlie and I finished playing in the snow a little bit ago and are baking chocolate chip cookies at the moment (he's very excited).

Mr. G

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dashing through the snow

All right.  The weather outside may indeed be frightful, but school must go on, albeit not without some changes.  So this week is going to look like this:

Monday: Timed Write!

Tuesday: Vocabulary 6 Quiz, guided timed write activity (using Hazlitt)

Wednesday: It's supposed to snow, but if we're here, we're having another timed write and play with fallacies.  :)

Thursday: Movie

Friday: Finish movie, eat party-type food if people would like to bring it.

All plans listed or alluded to above are subject to change.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy New Year, and Happy whatever else you may have going on.  ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fallacious D

Hasty conclusion like toy balloon: easy blow up, easy pop.
–Charlie Chan at the Race Track  

Your homework is to make sure you have the 3 scenarios on your blog.  

Here are 10 logical fallacies. Research them here or/and here and then create for your blog three short scenarios: two of which are examples that you make up of the fallacies below and one that is meant to be logically consistent. In class, we’ll examine these paragraphs and see if the class can guess which is which. Make sure that it’s not obvious that you’re using a fallacy. Make us work; make us better.

  • Begging the Question

  • Slippery Slope

  • False Dilemma

  • Post Hoc

  • Biased Sample

  • Gambler’s Fallacy

  • Hasty Generalization

  • Ad Hominem

  • Straw Man

  • Tu Quoque

Remember: DON'T label your scenarios as it will take the fun out of guessing what's what.

Also remember that the vocab test and the timed write have been moved to Monday!

Borrowed (stolen) from the wise and illustrious nstearns.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Researched Argument Synthesis Essay

Don't forget to bring whatever you need to work on your synthesis essay tomorrow, including your paper!  Also, the vocabulary test is moving from Friday to Monday this week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

MLA Format

Here is the Research Paper Format Example we talked about in class today.  Please address any questions not answered in that document, on, or in the Word 2007 citation tool to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers sixth edition found on the bookshelf in my room.

Remember we'll be in the computer lab tomorrow (12/9) so bring what you need to work on your paper!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Mexico and California

Hey guys, sorry this is going up a bit late.  We had a staff meeting. 

Anyway, take the introduction from Days of Obligation that we were working on in class and define what is being said in each paragraph.  Then I'd like you to examine how each paragraph/section builds on the one previous and leads into the one following.  How does he transition from idea to idea?  What are his techniques?

Bring it in tomorrow on paper. 


Plagiarism bad; original thought good

Synthesizing others' work with you original thought while giving credit where credit is due -- better!

Today we're going to educate ourselves on plagiarism.  This is something we need to pay attention to as we branch out from our book and use outside sources in this next essay.  To that end, everyone needs to complete the quiz under option number 1and the test under option number 2 (print your certificate) found at

Additional resources:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Women's Brains


Finish reading Women's Brains by Stephen Jay Gould in our textbooks beginning on page 349.

Then blog Questions for Discussion #1 as well as Questions on Rhetoric and Style # 3, 6, 7, and 9 (these all focus on structure).

Tomorrow, we'll talk more about this essay and have a synthesis timed write (not necessarily in that order). 

Tuesday Night:

Paraphrase and comment on each of the quotes (there are 10, including the briefer quotes in paragraphs 3,13, and 14).  Notice anything?

PS If you didn't complete Career Cruising in class last week, you have an incomplete (0) for the career cruising assignment.  All you need to do is show me you're at 100% and that incomplete magically transforms to a 100% A+ you rock in the grade book.

On Wednesday, we'll address some of your questions about the test format and scoring.

On Thursday, we'll take a break from all this hard work to focus on eating turkey and pumpkin pie, unless of course you're having a traditional Maine Thanksgiving!

On Friday, sleep in and get some exercise to work off all that turkey, pumpkin pie, and lobster.

Friday, November 21, 2008


"midfielder Shelby Hutton saved the game for Fife in the Class 2A girls soccer state semifinals." TNT prep blog.

Good luck tomorrow, ladies!!!

Update: Congratulations ladies!  The Fife girls repeat as state 2A soccer champions!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Missing Persons

All right.  Due to the awesomeness of the girls' soccer and volleyball teams as well as the strong support for those teams, approximately half of both AP classes will have school-related absences tomorrow.  Ergo, I'm scrapping my original plans for Friday. 

We will also move the vocabulary test to Monday.

For those of you that will be here, we'll talk about the next paper and then do something fun.  (We have been working quite hard after all.)   ;) 

For those of you that will not be here, check out your next paper assignment: The Researched Argument Synthesis Paper.  Over the weekend, try to pick the question you will pursue (you have a choice betwen 4 different topic areas and 12 different research/synthesis questions).

Have a wonderful Tolo (and Twilight premier).

Good luck Lady Trojans!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vocab this week

We are on Vocab 4.  As an added bonus this week, our test will also include 5 words from last week's list just for kicks.  Whoo hoo!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Synthesis Thoughts

If, after our discussion in class on Thursday, you are still unsure how to approach a synthesis essay, take a look at the following documents:

Don't forget DGP tomorrow and your vocab test!!!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Synthesis Paper and Vocabulary

Tomorrow we have off for Veterans' Day.  While you are home, you may wish to begin your paper (we will be in the computer lab on Wednesday, though we'll meet in the classroom first).  As noted before, our paper will be on Entering the Conversation question number 3 on page 787 (in the popular culture conversation section we’ve been working on).  Note that you must use at least three of our conversation sources, though you may also use any of the pop culture essays and articles we've read in class.

Synthesis Paper Requirements:

  • 1200 words

  • MLA format (page style, citations, and works cited page -- see MLA at Owl and Easybib links under the AP heading to the right for help on this)

  • Synthesize at least three sources from the conversation section (other sources are okay, but not required on this essay)

  • Sometime during career cruising, have someone peer review your paper

Due: Thursday, November 20th


  • Remember that your argument is paramount and your sources are there to support you, not the other way around

  • Key notes on Synthesis in our book are in chapter 3, especially the last sentence before the new section on page 62; the paragraph beginning "Sources should enhance" on page 65; and pages 81-85

  • Finish early and revise! When you revise, think about the following:

    • organization

    • how your sources interact with your audience (see p.69 ff.)

    • transitions!

    • remember that this is an argument, it's just one that is both informed and formally supported

  • Write a clear, literate, awesome essay!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Singing in the Rain

While you're cooped up inside with the rain pouring down, you'll likely need something to help occupy your time while you take a break from the Wii or Playstaion.  Well, I've got just the thing.  

Read pages 81-85.  This is some really good stuff on writing a synthesis essay.  When you're done with that, it's time to start thinking about your first synthesis essay.  To that end, read Entering the Conversation question number 3 on page 787 (in the popular culture conversation section we've been working on).  Research what it means and blog what you believe it is asking.  We'll talk about it on Monday and start writing.  Whoo hoo!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sanctuary for Harry Potter

Read Sanctuary: For Harry Potter the Movie in your textbook and do questions 1-7.  Think about your interpretation of this essay before you get to class (you'll have to for #6).

Last year students had a bit of a hard time with this essay so I plan on taking a fair bit of time to discuss it tomorrow.  To that end, you may want to bring your questions with you to class (if you want to turn these in on paper, that's fine).

Synthesis Strategies

Here are the results of the activity we did in class on synthesis essays the other day. Extra credit to those who volunteered to post their group's results.  I've linked what the original AP class did as well for your edification.

Period 2

Period 3

Original AP Class

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What, easy homework again?!


Read pages 69-74 in the textbook.  There is an assignment in there, but don't do it.  It's a good assignment, though.  You can do it if you'd like.  No, you can't have extra credit if you do it; the gains in knowledge and skills should be reward enough.  :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We have a new president!

The first African American has been elected to our nation's highest office.  Incredible.  This is an historic day.

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

We've looked at several speeches so far this year and we heard a couple of good ones tonight.

Having just studied JFK's inaugural address, parts of Barack Obama's acceptance speech jumped out to me as being very Kennedy-esque.  Though it had strong echoes to JFK, it was also very much his own in tone.  I was rather impressed, but I'm interested to know what you think.

For those of you watching tonight, you also heard a very gracious concession speech by John McCain that struck a very different tone to what he put forth during the final month or so of the campaign.

Election Night!

There is no homework tonight!!!! 

Whatever happens tonight, we will elect either the first black person to the presidency or the oldest first-term president and the first female VP to the white house. 

This is big

It was only 90 years ago that women were jailed and beaten for picketing to get the vote.  As recent as the 1960's, there are documented cases of black people being lynched in America. 

For a black man to be on the cusp of becoming our president is huge.  For a woman to become the vice president is really big.  This is the type of thing you will tell your kids and grand kids about.  I'm old... You betcha!

Aside from all the issues in this election, how much this election means for the direction of our country, this election is one for the history books. 

Don't miss it. 

Watch history being made tonight.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Using Sources

In our textbook, read pages 62-68.  Blog the questions for the assignment.

Much of learning how to use sources well is about feel.  Pay attention to how sources are used in the sample essay in the assignment.  Most of us learn this skill through seeing examples of how professional writers did it and struggling through the hard work of making it sound right.  Oh, and it helps if you check out your sources so you don't end up quoting the website of a 5th grade science class.  :)

Vocab 2

Don't forget DGP.  A test cometh...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Homework for Halloween

Okay, read entries 3-5 in the conversation section on pages 779-787: He Doesn't Like to Watch, TV Turnoff Week, and Is Media Violence Free Speech?  Then blog answers to the 11 questions that go with those essays. DO NOT do the "Entering the Conversation" questions on page 787; those are much longer, paper-length prompts. 

Have a happy All Hallows Eve!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Do you argue with your TV?

Do a Toulmin analysis of The Argument Against TV and then blog the result along with the answers to questions 1-6 on page 779.  

Come prepared.  We are going to argue tomorrow!

Don't forget DGP and your vocabulary quiz tomorrow!!!

C'est tout!


For your amusement, a tad about swallows...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Argument Against TV

Blog the questions we started in class today (p. 776 Q 1-5) and read The Argument Against TV on page 777.

Think about these essays and the issues raised in them.  The better your understanding, the better your synthesis papers will be. More on that later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watching TV can make me smarter? Bring it on!

Read "Watching TV Makes You Smarter" beginning on page 766 in The Language of Composition.  Just read it and then be prepared to discuss and do some other work with it in class tomorrow.

Also, here is the vocabulary for the quiz on Friday: Vocab 1!

PS  Most of you had good comments on the Merchants of Cool posts.  Good job.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The dialectical relationship of the self to society

Based on our discussions of the dialectic to the right, blog your thoughts on this "feedback loop" between the self and society.  Use Frontline's video essay Merchants of Cool as a basis for your arguments. You may wish to consider the following questions in your write-up.

  • What do you think of the premise put forth by Frontline and by the dialectic model above?

  • Do you see an authentic way to take control of your relationship between the, or rather your, self and society?

Don't forget to do your DGP!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cell phone Zombies...?

Read The Mind-Blackberry Problem by William Saletan (it's a short article--no click-throughs).

For homework over the weekend, blog a short argument defending, challenging, or qualifying one of the claims made by Saletan.  Feel free to use information gleaned in Autumn of the Multitaskers as well as experience and observation to support your position.

Corn-Pone Opinions

This assignment may prove to be a bit long as there are many questions I’m asking you to consider.

Blog your responses to the following rhetoric and style questions found on page 721: 1-9, 11

For those of you curious about corn pone, I give you this recipe from

Corn Pone

A simple corn bread, generally made only of meal, water, and salt, without either milk or eggs.


  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon lard or shortening

  • water, enought to make a stiff dough


Mix together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Cut in lard and add enough milk to make a stiff batter. Form into cakes with hands and place in a greased baking pan. Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Corn bread and corn pone was a staple in the mountaineer diet.  With greens, called “salit greens,” meat and of course, cold milk from the spring house, this was good eating and friends were always welcome.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

High School Confidential

Blog your responses to the Rhetoric and Style questions 1-7, 9-12 on page 715.  Do your best.  We'll discuss this essay and the essay you'll read tomorrow on Friday.

See you on Friday!

PS If you left your book in the English computer lab outside the classroom, it's on my desk and the sub will have it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ah, don't you just love Autumn?

The leaves are changing, a chill is in the air, multitasking is dying...

We decided in class that the central claim of Autumn of the Multitaskers is that multitasking is on its way out, hence the Autumn reference in the title.  The article itself is divided into sections (conveniently marked by a drop cap) and each section has its own argument.  These arguments support the central claim.

Your task is to note the claim in each section and record that on your blog.  Refer to the sections by their number, for instance, "the claim in section one is..."

Then blog your analysis concerning how Kirn brings all of these claims together under his central claim.  This doesn't have to be long.  A list of claims followed by a paragraph or so analyzing how it's all put together should be sufficient.

Oh, and turn in or blog your How Dumb Can we Get? Graff template write-ups if you have not done so already.  I forgot to tell 3rd period to turn them in.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Autumn of the Multitaskers

Your homework tonight is to finish the Graff template on the article we read in class.  Then read The Autumn of the Multitaskers by Walter Kirn.  It is a 3-page web article so leave yourself some time to read it.  Also, there are a couple mature examples in the article, though nothing outrageous or that hasn't been on the news.  It is a very interesting article on how the brain works and how multitasking affects us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Toulmin Quiz on Tuesday!

George OrwellWe will be having a Toulmin Quiz on Tuesday to make up for the disastrous Stasis Questions quiz on Friday.  The information for the quiz will be taken from Everything's an Argument pages 147-171 and the Toulmin handout on the class info and docs page on this blog.

Seriously folks, the skill of culling the central concepts from a reading and being able to both remember and apply them is a basic academic skill.  Take some notes.  The minutiae is important only as it supports the major concepts.  You do NOT need to memorize the whole chapter.

Please let me know by Monday if you plan on taking the Orwell for Chesterfield "wonderful opportunity."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Structuring Arguments

Read pages 139-147 in Everything’s an Argument.  Review pages 147-171 as well.  We have already discussed the content of those pages in class, but skimming them and reading the examples will help you understand Toulmin better.

Remember that we have a quiz on pages 20-32 of Everything’s and Argument tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thinking Rhetorically

Read pages 102-115 from chapter 5 of Everything's an Argument.   Come to class ready to dicuss those pages. We've already looked at some of this, so I don't expect it to stump you.  

Keep the argument prompt sheet I gave you.  We'll finish parsing the prompts tomorrow and you'll be presented with an exciting opportunity.  Whoo hoo!!!!!

Remember that we have a quiz on Everything's an Argument pages 20-32 on Friday.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shooting an Elephant

Good work today digging through the details of the first three paragraphs of this text.  As you get better at finding the interesting details, then we should work on the type of questions you can ask to help them all make sense.  I know I’m asking you to think a lot, but consider what those questions might be as you do tonight’s reading.

So for tonight, finish reading the rest of the essay found on page 979 of our textbooks, making notes on style, rhetoric, plot, character, and theme for tomorrow.

We will use these notes.

Don’t forget your DGP like I did today!  We’ll do Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s work tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kinds of Arguments 101

Read pages 20-32 in Everything's an Argument tonight.  Bring any questions or points of discussion to class on Tuesday.  

Though I'm only assigning pages 20-32, I high recommend reading the rest of chapter 1 for your edification and learning.

FYI Blog News: Edublogs is going to have some scheduled downtime to fix the problem of the inconsistent performance we've had since the host migration.  We'll use to communicate homework and the like starting Tuesday and continuing until they are back up.
Maintenance: We are conducting more maintenance this week starting from 10PM US EST Tuesday 14th October (that's 12PM Wednesday Australia - apologies to Australian/NZ/Indonesian users). We are currently working out the time required. Apologies again for the inconvenience, we are doing this to maintain service and fix performance issues and we can't thank you enough for your continued patience - The Edublogs Team

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Debate Extra Credit

As promised, I will be offering some extra credit surrounding the presidential debates.

Watch the 3rd presidential debate or read the transcript.  Then, based on the readings from Everything's an Argument, evaluate the type and quality of one specific argument from each candidate.  Also, evaluate each candidate's performance in the debate based on our argument and rhetorical studies up to this point.

Write up your evaluation and post it on the blog by Monday, October 20th.  That seems like a long time, but we'll be reading the Everything's an Argument chapters this week and the debate isn't until Tuesday.  The amount of extra credit will be based on the quality of your work.

Remember to cite any ideas, lines of argument, or collection of evidence that you cull from the media evaluations of the debates.  Use the MLA at OWL and Easybib links to the right in order to format your citations (you all did research note cards last year so this shouldn't be new).

Friday, October 10, 2008


Remember that your Lord Chesterfield essays are due on Monday.

600 words give or take 10%

Just make sure you’re answering the prompt, use either implicit or explicit textual evidence to support your points, and don’t fall into the summary trap. If you can do that and write it well, you should be in good shape.

Otherwise, have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Grading changes

Hello all,

After giving it some thought and consulting with several students on the sly, I've decided to change the way grades are calculated.  The Work category, is now called the Skill Building Work (cheesy, but descriptive) category and has gone from 35% to 30%.  The Papers category stays the same at 35% and the Timed Writes category shifts from 25% to 30%.

You might be thinking, "Hey!  But I do better on my homework than my timed writes. Isn't that going to lower my grade?"

The answer is no, probably not, and here's the reason why.  Your skill building work will be graded on a complete/incomplete/missing basis.  So, if you complete all of the work, you will get full credit in that category. Potentially, you could end up with 100% for 30% of your grade.  Nifty, eh?

"Uh, why are you doing this, Mr. Giddings?"  Good question, thoughtful student.

In college your grades will often consist of a midterm, final, and a paper or two.  I've been in classes that were based on as few as two graded assignments.  Does that mean we didn't work?  No way!  We worked way harder than in high school, because if we didn't we'd do poorly on the few graded assignments we had.  I'm moving this class a little bit in that direction. It will reward consistency as well as hard work and improvement.  Do not let up on the quality of your daily work.  As I promised at the beginning of the class, I won't assign you any busy work. Everything we do will either practice or test the skills we are developing for the AP test and for college.

Remind me to give you the rubrics for the Chesterfield paper tomorrow.  Could someone pass copies along to the swimmers?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lord Chesterfield Essay

As we discussed in class today, you will be writing an essay
answering the 2004 analysis prompt.  We've already written the timed
write, so you have an idea what you're up against.  This is your
opportunity to rewrite that essay, making it a strong, insightful essay
that fully answers the question.

Vital statistics:

Due Monday October 13th

600 words long, give or take 10%

image credit

Second Debate


Some of you may find it interesting and or beneficial to check out the factcheck information from the second presidential debate.  Here it is:

 For the 3rd debate, you may want to play presidential debate bingo. Here are a few options:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Here are some notes about the recent maintenance on Edublogs.  Thanks for being patient.  As James (the guy that heads things up over at Edublogs) says below, they are now hosted by the same company that does Youtube and Wordpress; it looks like things will be rock solid after this.

Notes on maintenance

In General on 8/10/2008 at 8:39 am
First up - my sincere apologies for the inconvenience that performance issues must have caused a lot of people these past couple of days.
Secondly, an explanation - basically we've been conducting a massive move of Edublogs to the premier US hosting company, Peer1, who host (among other sites) youtube, and other large web companies... they're the best that you can get.

While this went well at first, there has since been a configuration issue with the cluster that we've been working on night and day to fix up and which Peer1 are now dedicating an entire team to assist with.

Of course, this is no excuse, just an explanation, but please be assured that all blogs, uploads, settings and alike are completely secure and that we're working our absolute hardest to get this resolved and fixed up for you as soon as is humanly possible.

Why are we doing this move?

Well, we've got a selection of amazing new features and tools to allow you to manage student blogs and classes which are pretty much ready for deployment. But in order to make sure that we can provide these to you without it killing the system, and to support current (and any extended) growth... there are almost a quarter of a million edublogs now - this had to happen.

Of course, it should have happened without this disruption, and for that we honestly can't apologize or thank you for your patience enough.



Monday, October 6, 2008

Form and Content

Blog your thoughts on the following:

In the first presidential debate between Obama and McCain, each were given 2 minutes to respond to each main question and then they had 5 minutes for the moderator to ask follow-ups and/or the candidates to offer clarification.  Each question had a total of 9 minutes between the candidates.

In the vice-presidential debate between Biden and Palin, each were give 90 seconds to answer each question with 2 minutes together for rebuttal and follow-up.  Each question had a total of 5 minutes between the candidates.

Given what you saw of the debates, how did the format of the debate affect the various candidates?  Did it help or hurt them collectively and individually?  What did it do for the quality of the debate?

If the blog isn’t working, go ahead and write your analysis on paper.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Homework

As Mr. Kile undoubtedly told you, your homework is to complete the Exploring the Text questions on page 935 of your text concerning the essay you discussed in class by Oliver Goldsmith entitled National Prejudices. I hope this essay from 1760 provided some fodder for discussion as we navigate the competing definitions of patriotism in our own country.

Please blog your answers to these questions.

Sorry for any problems the long outage caused any of you.  It's working as of Sunday afternoon, but if you did your homework earlier in the weekend on paper, that is fine.  If you are doing it now, blog it.  

Me like the faster blog....

Have a wonderful weekend and remember that the blog will have some downtime on Saturday for some hardware upgrades.
Scheduled Maintenance: [new time] Saturday 4th October from 8AM CST US (6 AM PST US / 11PM Saturday Australia) we're going to be upgrading the hardware that Edublogs runs on. The site will be unavailable for a few hours from that time. Apologies in advance for any inconvenience.

For those interested in reaction to the vice-presidential debate, here are a couple editorials:

New York Times

USA Today

Local viewing party reactions brought to you by the Tacoma News Tribune. Oddly, there's also a review of a film festival on the same page right after the write-ups on the two viewing parties.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What is going on out there?

Tomorrow is all about two things:  a practice timed write and learning a bit about what's going on in the world.  To that end, we'll be writing an analysis question timed write and reading and sharing from The Week.  No homework tonight, but make sure you bring your book to class on Friday!!!

If I don't get a post up for Friday, Mr. Kile has instructions for you.  Also, if you haven't seen the notice from Edublogs, here it is:
Scheduled Maintenance: Overnight on Friday 3rd October from 8PM EST US (5PM PST US / 10AM Saturday Australia) we're going to be upgrading the hardware that Edublogs runs on. The site will be unavailable for a few hours from that time. Apologies in advance for any inconvenience.

New hardware?  That's got to mean this blog will run faster.  Hip hip hooray!!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Write!! Revise!!!!

Just a quick reminder that your JFK papers are due tomorrow (Wednesday October 1st) as is your Summer Assignment.  Remember that after the 1st, all missing summer assignments go to irrevocable zeros.

Remember as you revise your papers, think about how each sentence flows into the next and how each paragraph leads into the next.  Make sure each paragraph serves a purpose in your paper, jsut as each sentence must serve a purpose in your paragraph.  Sometimes subtraction can do as much or more than addition to make your paper better.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Obama / McCain Debate #1

Note to both classes:  We'll meet in the Study Hall computer lab.  We're in for the whole time 3rd period, but in 2nd period we'll have to switch to the Library lab halfway through.  Sorry, but it's the best we could do to get you the time.

Since we're watching the debate, you might find it interesting to check out some of the fact-checking sites out there to see how accurate both candidates were the other night.

Friday, September 26, 2008

La Victoire Douce!

Remember that your papers are due on Wednesday. Not by design, your summer assignments are also due Wednesday. Remember that after that date, missing turns to a zero in the grade book. That's a firm deadline.

As you write your papers, keep in mind the tone t-chart we talked about. It will help you figure out what you want to write. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Everyone gets a horse in Camelot...

They ride horses in CamelotWork on your JFK papers tonight.  We will meet in the Study Hall Computer Lab both periods to maximize your writing time.  Oddly, we didn't talk about this in 2nd period, but 3rd period, as promised, here is the length requirements:  900-1200 words.

As I said in class, that is what we had last year and it seemed to work pretty well for students.  Use the notes we've been compiling all week to their best advantage to help you garner the evidence for this paper.

This paper is due on Wednesday, October 1

When you're stuck and wondering what to do, the paragraphs right after the sample thesis on page 57 of your text are very good.  They explain exactly what I'm looking for in your papers.

Here's to productive writing this weekend. May your whiny inner editor leave you alone and let you get your ideas on paper for he/she to look over later.  See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Diction/Syntax Reflection

Blog your observations and analysis of how diction and syntax create tone in a piece of writing.  Then record your thoughts as to how (there's that word again, Megan) one might write about tone in a paper.

As Kristi pointed out, if a group hasn't started the syntax questions, they won't have much to say about tone.  In that case, limit your reflection to diction.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Journaling on JFK

Create a dialectical journal on JFK's inaugural address in which you analyze at least 5 passages that you find to be important in some way.  If you forget how to do a dialectical journal, refer to pages 42-3 of Langauge of Composition.

There are many copies of this speech on the internet.  Google "JFK inaugural address" and you'll have many copies to choose from.  I recommend cutting and pasting your selections into a table.  Don't forget to indicate the paragraph number of your selections.  If you blog it, use the paste from Word button and it will work like a charm.  If you forgot how to do that, ask Brett Howell; he's got it down.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Presidential Rhetoric

Read the article at entitled "The Hottest Rhetorical Device of Campaign '08".  Evaulate the article for it's ability to engage the average person with an obscure rhetorical device.  Then, try your hand at creating an example of antimetabole that you'd like to hear one of the candidates use (as in the invitation at the end of the article, but post it to your blog, don't email them to

Friday, September 19, 2008


I forgot to remind you in class, but remember to have the Monday work done for DGP sentence number 3 on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

PS Ask me about the PSAT on Monday.  I have some information for you.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

and the number of the counting shall be...three!

click me for a big versionOkay, light homework tonight.  Read pages 10-11.  It's only half a page of text on each page so you're really only reading one page.  Then, do the assignment on page 12.  I'd like you to fill in the rhetorical triangle in a similar manner to what we did in class today when discussing Mr. Collins' unfortunate proposal.  Then write up a short analysis that considers the classic appeals as well (Logos, Ethos, and Pathos).  It can be blogged, but your welcome to bring it on paper. We'll project them from my computer if they're on the blog or on the document camera if they're on paper.  Either way, be ready to talk the class through your reading of your political cartoon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Arranging your life, er...essay

Your homework tonight consists of reading pages 13-26 in your textbook and blogging the short assignment on page 26.  The early part of the chapter discussed the classical arrangement with an example.  We'll take a brief look at that tomorrow along with the Rogerian arrangement that isn't in our text.

Sorry that you're getting hit with so much information right now.  We'll be done with that phase soon and then we'll get quite a bit of practice using what we've learned.  So far, you are doing very well!

Go ahead and blog this assignment if you haven't done so already.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Papers and Einstein

First, finish your paper.  That's important.  It will be your biggest grade other than the summer assignment thus far.  I will grade it holistically, much like the AP essays.  My primary focus will be on your content and structure, though voice and conventions count for something.  As for format, follow these guidelinesYou won't be turning in formal papers on the blog.  Formal papers are turned in on paper.  This is your first formal paper.


In other news, read papges 3-10 in your text book and blog your response to the Einstein assignment on page 9-10.  Please don't forget to double check the link to your site on my page.  Make sure it works, otherwise I will not see your assignment.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Eye Benches by Louise Borgeois in the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WATake another look at your papers tonight with your classmates' comments in mind.  Remember that revision isn't editing, it is seeing your paper with new eyes, "re-vision-ing" it if you will.  Spend your energy on such things as structure, thesis, argument/content.  Check to see whether your essay answers all the concerns of the prompt, the what and the two hows.  The hows deal with how the author's use of personification accomplishes the purposes stated in the prompt.  You'll have to do some thinking about audience and purpose to get to the meat of this.  Good luck.

Final drafts are due Wednesday the 17th.

Don't forget to bring your books to class tomorrow (Tuesday)!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Everyone: We will be in the computer lab again on Monday.  You need to bring an electronic copy of your rough draft to class.  Best methods of doing so are a flash drive, the blog, or a CD.  2nd period will be in the study hall computer lab, while 3rd period will start out in the study hall and move to the library (sorry, we do what we can).

Blog Lollygaggers: I do not have blog information for the following students:  In second period we have Katherine and Nate (Katherine, I remember--just try to do it this weekend) and in 3rd period we have Chelsia and Mckenzie.  Let's get this done, guys.  We'll start using them to turn work in next week.

Everyone again:  Good luck on your papers this weekend and I hope you got enough done on Friday to go to the fair or something this weekend.  

Grades: There are about 24 F's right now, which is an unhappy thing.  Those are all a result of missing summer assignments.  Homework will get more regular in this class and others.  Don't put it off.  October 1st is a very firm deadline.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's all in the Implications

As was said in class today, we will be in the study hall computer lab.  Let's go ahead and just meet there.

Tonight for homework, do some thinking about the question and look at the text in light of the what and 2 hows in the question.  Perhaps annotate the text in light of our question.  If you do that, you'll be better able to get some writing done in the lab tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hunger of Memory

As we said in class, your task is this:

  1. Read the excerpt of Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory

  2. Using the "Reading int he Context of a Personal Economy" sheet, analyze your response to Rodriguez. In this activity, you're analyzing how you think and why you think that way.

  3. Write a reading response to Hunger of Memory. Use the guide linked in this post (it's the same one I distributed in class). This one will take the longest.

  4. Lastly, read Mortimer J. Adler's How to Mark a Book. Just read it. We'll discuss it a bit tomorrow. As you will notice, it provides some additional rationale and ideas for the annotation of text.


we'll be reading a short essay called It's all in the Implications by Pico Iyer. We'll write our first paper on that essay, getting started on that tomorrow. We are in the study hall lab on Friday to work on the paper. Get your AUP in if you haven't done so already!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What are they really saying?

Please finish getting your blogs up.  We will start using them to turn in work next week.  We are in the computer lab on Friday; turn in your AUP!!!!  And now for your homework:

Find an ad that catches your eye in some way and analyze it using the AP2 method.  Do NOT make a poster.  Just draw it on a sheet of notebook paper.  Remember, your claim goes on the outside of the box and the evidence supporting it goes inside. 

Once you have done that, distill your analysis into a short write-up (a couple of paragraphs) that explains the ad and how it interacts with its intended audience.


image credit

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ascham's Wind

Read pages 35-48 in our text and to do the assignment on page 48 dealing with the Roger Ascham excerpt from Toxophilus.  The excert is linked below as well as in your book if you would like to write on the text.


Tomorrow, we read pictures!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Evaluating Green

Okay, using what we examined in class today, evaulate your own essay.  Score it on the AP scale and defend that score using evidence from the text of your essay and language from the rubric.  Model your defense on the score commentary.

Also, try setting up your blogs again over the weekend.  Instructions can be found in the post below.


Please bring your books to class on Monday.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Fun, Oh Boy. Fun. You Could Die from It."

Quick blog note.  If you get the sorry we're fiddling with stuff message, it means they're doing some maintenance.  This is based in Australia so sometimes they do things at annoying times for us.  If you can't get it to work tonight, try again tomorrow.  I know there are other blog sites out there, but this one makes it through our school filter.  Be patient and don't stress.  Try once more before you go to bed and then, if they aren't done yet, we'll do it tomorrow.  This doesn't happen often, but what do you know, it happens the night we try and set them up.  Go figure.


Looking at the article we read in class today, identify the author's purpose. This isn't simply what she is trying to say, but why she is saying it.   Provide textual evidence to support your claim.

Then look at both her language (the words/phrases) she uses and her structure (syntax, sentence length, paragraph breaks, arrangement of ideas, etc).  Discuss how specific examples of her language and structure serve the purpose you identified previously.

All of this should be written/typed on paper (we'll start using the blogs for some of this once we get everyone set up and running).  For those of you concerned with length, the standard answer is "as long as you need to say what you need to say."  That isn't very specific or satisfying, but it's true.  Even so, you could probably write a paragraph for each of the purpose, structure, and language.  One example is sufficient on this assignment to establish each point, though, for example, if you think she uses structure in several different ways, you should provide evidence for each claim.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We be bloggin'

We be bloggin\'!All right folks, it's time to set up your blog.  Intructions are here.  Make sure you follow ALL of the directions.  If you have trouble, let me know.

You will use these to submit some of your homework.  You'll get a fair amount of your homework from my blog.  The blog can be very useful if you take a little time to learn how to use it. 

Some tips regarding the blog:

Pay Attention

Read each noodleblog post in its entirety.  I will do my best to give you clear instructions.  Do your part by reading them.

Hit Publish

When you publish your posts, hitting “save” only saves them.  You must hit Publish for your post to make it on your blog in such a way that others can read it (or give you credit for it).

Learn how to use the site

Visit and at least watch the video entitled “an introduction to using edublogs”.

Make Sure You’re Up To Date

Go back and make sure you’ve done all the assignments and all the parts of the assignments on this blog.

In the future, check this blog every day for announcements and assignments.  You are responsible for doing the work posted here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Welcome New AP Students

Welcome to AP English Language and Composition! If you're looking for the summer assignment, it is both at my FHS site and below.  My FHS site also has some FAQs concerning the summer assignment.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and I'll see you in the fall.

Monday, June 16, 2008


So long, guys! The class pictures are finally up at the pictures have been taken down.  If you want them, email me.

Alas, 2nd period took longer on the final than 1st period and I forgot to take a picture until after they left.  I included a set of pictures we took earlier in the semester, though.  Have a great summer everyone.  Relax, read a good book, sleep in...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Comparison Quandry

Since Ryann has been so actively comparing the two semesters and is constantly raising her blood pressure over it, I decided to take a look at the numbers.  So, I went back and compared the grade book from last semester to this semester.  Here are the numbers:

Semester 1
Papers - 7 (Did 3-4 page Synthesis paper)
Work - 41 w/50 pts possible EC
Timed Writes - 7 w/ 2 full credit and 3 ungraded
Classroom Contributions - 3
Total Graded Assignments: 58
21 students 2 A's and 5 A-'s

Semester 2
Papers - 7 + 1 for notecards (Did 3-4 page research paper)
Work - 38 w/80 pts possible EC
Timed Writes - 8 +1 as an empty AP score holder -- 2 full credit, 3 ungraded
Class Contributions - 3
Total Graded Assignments: 58
38 students; 4 A's and 8 A-'s

Reflections on the numbers:

1st semester did one more assertion journal; 2nd semester did one more timed write.  2nd semester did their assertion journals at home for homework; 1st semester did at least half of theirs in class in timed write style.  The top performing students have been about the same as far as their percentages go.  There is a higher percentage of A's 2nd semester, but also a higher percentage of D's and F's.  The level and amount of work assigned has been roughly the same, though 2nd semester read more narrative due to shifting the focus to American Literature after the test. 

Classess develop and change.  They exist in different circumstances and will be slightly different from year to year.  Fair does not equal the same, though as you can see, these two semesters have been balanced very similarly, in spite of their very different circumstances.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Review Assignment

All right guys, here's a chance to be creative and get points for studying for your final.  It's simple really.  Create a visual representation of the things we learned this year.  We brainstormed them on the board this morning so hopefully you wrote them down.  It can be anything from a video to a poster, a mobile to a PowerPoint.  You'll present these on Tuesday to the class.  You may work in pairs, but if you do so, you must check with me first.  This is primarily an individual assignment.  Only one group checked with me today, so I assume the rest of you are working solo. 


Have a great weekend.  Only 5 days left!!!!

Mackenzie, do you want to finally do your memorization on Monday?  If anyone else hasn't gone and wants to fix that, lets go Monday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Second verse same as the first!

Henry the Eighth I am I am...I got married to the widow next door...

She's been married seven times before and every one was a Henry....

Well folks, I'm out again! This cough just won't go away. Bletch.

1st period, you're doing what second period did yesterday and vice versa. So, you’re reading Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor in the short story packet. Also read the intro on Flannery O’Connor and Southern Gothic lit that comes before the story as well as the piece on Good Country People that comes after it. Then answer the questions at the end of the story. You should do all the reading before answering the questions. Yes you can work in groups. Yes everyone must have their own set of answers. The questions are due tomorrow. ALL of that is fair game for the final.

You may not work on your research papers in the English lab until you finish this assignment.

2nd period, it's your turn in the lab. You are in the LIBRARY lab, not the study hall. There is a Civics final going on in the library while you're there so you will probably not have access to the books. Sorry I’m not there to field questions. Google is your friend for MLA questions. Also don't forget about Remember with Proquest you have to click the blue button on the left to get to the login screen.

Sorry to be gone again. I will be there tomorrow come hell or high water.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

If I don't make it, tell Charlie to eat his veggies....

I've taken a turn for the worse today. This bites!

Anyway, 1st period if you're reading this, it means you're in the lab already. Good. Sorry I'm not there to field questions. Google is your friend for MLA questions.

2nd period, you’re reading Good Country People by Flannery O'Connor in the short story packet. Also read the intro on Flannery O'Connor and Southern Gothic lit that comes before the story as well as the piece on Good Country People that comes after it. Then answer the questions at the end of the story. You should do all the reading before answering the questions. Yes you can work in groups. Yes everyone must have their own set of answers. The questions are due tomorrow. ALL of that is fair game for the final.

You may not work on your research papers in the English lab until you finish this assignment.

Sorry to be gone again. Hopefully I’ll be there tomorrow.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


ch080602I won’t be at school today (6/2).  I’m really sick with some sort of coughing marathon and conjunctivitis (pink eye).  I’m going to stay home and try to kick this (geez it’s been a fun weekend…).   Anyway, you’re watching the Great Gatsby today.  We can talk about the research paper tomorrow if you have any questions.  Don't forget about Proquest as a nifty source.  Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bring your books!

Old booksBring your Fahrenheit 451 and your Language of Composition books to class on Thursday! We will be taking them back to the library near the beginning of class.

image credit

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Schedule Adjustment!

We will be dropping The Great Gatsby from our schedule this semester.  Oh, stop your whining!  We will take the timed write tomorrow and then you'll have the remainder of the period to help each other prepare for the memorization.  Memorization presentations will be Thursday and Friday.  Then we will be broadening our scope by looking at a range of 20th Century Literature via the short stories of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Hurston, O'Connor, Cisneros, and Alexie.  These stories, intead of Gatsby, will appear on the Final.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sprint to the Finish!

both-may-and-june.JPGWell folks, the AP test is done! But alas, our week-long break has come to an end. We are going to be cramming the last two units of Junior English into the final month of school. Because of this insane schedule, I've mapped out most of what we will do for you in the attached files. Click on the calendar thumbnail for May and June. Then the first document has the F451 assignments, the second is the Junior Research Paper packet, the third is an example of the format that paper should take, and the last is a flowchart of the research process. We will talk about all of this on Monday and then, as you can see, we run like crazy.

  1. 451-assignments-2008-ap-juniors.pdf

  2. junior-english-research-paper.pdf

  3. research-paper-format-example.pdf

  4. research-process.pdf

P.S. You may be wondering what we will be doing with Gatsby other than talking. Well we are going through it so fast that we'll confine our work primarily to reading, class discussion and in-class activities. Gatsby, along with many other things, will make a prominent appearance on the final.

P.P.S. Most, if not all, of the dates on the calendar above are subject to change at my whimsy and the seeming caprice of school activities.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good luck!!!!

Well, test day is finally here.  There are about 35 of you taking the test.  Remember, relax.  You can do this.  If it makes you feel better, your classmates that decided for whatever reason to forgo the test will be with you in more than spirit...bwuhahaha.  Break a leg, ou en Fracais, Merde!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Homework Fast

happiness_of_katakuris.jpgIn the days coming up to the test and in the days immediately following, there will be no homework!soccer_state_celebration1.jpg  Nothing at all until the evening of May 19, then we'll sprint to the end with the junior research paper and two novels.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Fun?  Absolutely!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dumpster Diving!

Identify the different sections of Eighner's essay and note the character and purpose of each one.

Think about something you know how to do.  Write a process analysis piece that explains how to do it, why someone would do it, and what lessons can be learned from that activity, รก la Dumpster Diving.  No, it need not be nearly so long.

Due Thursday, May 8 on your blog. 

inspirational-discover-dumpster-diving-poster-c12085747.jpgPoints of interest:

Lars Eighner's article

Interesting posts on Dumpster diving: here, here, here, and here.

Come to class tomorrow with a blue or black pen and limber fingers for your very own practice free-write-a-palooza!