Friday, February 29, 2008

I Know Why the Caged Bird Can't Read...It's a bird

caged-bird.jpgRead the introduction to the education section on page 87 (only a page) and then read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read" by Francine Prose on page 89.

Then, blog (or write if your blog is still buggy) the anwsers to Questions for Discussion numbers 1-2 and Questions on Rhetoric and Style numbers 1-3 and 6-9.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So, like, what's going on?

Here's the deal.  Every so often on the AP Lang test, you will see a prompt in the free response section that does not have an accompanying text (don't think this is going to happen on the synthesis question, though).  For these questions, you must have prior knowledge of issues and events to draw on to form and support your argument.  To aid in that endeavor, we are going to institute a consistent practice.  Every Monday, 3 people will be responsible for bringing in a news or op-ed piece that they found interesting during the past week.  They will need to share it with the class, educating them on the issue and its context.

Toulmin that "dumb" article!

Do a Toulmin analysis on the “How Dumb Can we Get?” article.  Blog your analysis if you can and do it on paper if you can’t.  Use the attached handout to help you.

Toulmin Model

Access Issues

Unfortunately, Edublogs upgrades and changes are causing access problems for people even seeing the blog. It's one thing if people can't blog their assignments and have to turn them in on paper, but its another thing if they can't see the assignment. Therefore, for a while until Edublogs finishes their changes, I'm going to use my backup blog at http:\\ It has all of the posts and links and docs on it. Go there for tonight's homework.

UPDATE: They had a bug in the system today due to their new forum feature that they say they have fixed.  I posted the assignment here as well.  We'll still use this blog, not Noodle Strikes Back.  You might still want to take a quick peek at the backup site just to see how much of a geek I am, but it won't be updated regularly.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How Dumb Can We Get?

Dunce capRead Susan Jacoby's article on anti-intellectualism in America either in your packets or on the Washington Post. Then, I'd like you to read the transcript of Jacoby's online discussion with readers on this issue.

If you would like to read further, Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, writes a response here and a Forum blogger writes a response here.

Your task, having read at least Jacoby's article and the transcript, is to enter the conversation on your own blog (or on paper if you can't get in). Yours should be a thoughtful response that presents your own argument and engages with the thoughts of Jacoby and those that have already responded to her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tilting and other less violent means of argument

a_knights_tale.jpga_knights_tale.jpga_knights_tale.jpgBy way of introduction to arguments and since I am sick as a dog and probably won't be at school on Monday, we are watching a movie today (you've probably already seen part of it by the time you read this).  Your task is this, blog your analysis of one of the following two arguments made in the movie.  Consider the relationships between the speaker, audience(s), and subject.  Examine the appeal and how that appeal is constructed, evaluating its effectiveness.  This will be due the day after we finish the movie (probably Wednesday February 27th).

Chaucer's Argument to endear the crowd to Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein in

A Knight's Tale

 You're good. You're very good. My lords, my ladies, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion!

[crowd roars]

Today... today, you find yourselves equals.

[crowd roars]

For you are all equally blessed. For I have the pride, the privilege, nay, the pleasure of introducing to you to a knight, sired by knights. A knight who can trace his lineage back beyond Charlemagne. I first met him atop a mountain near Jerusalem, praying to God, asking his forgiveness for the Saracen blood spilt by his sword. Next, he amazed me still further in Italy when he saved a fatherless beauty from the would-be ravishing of her dreadful Turkish uncle.

[crow, boos]

In Greece he spent a year in silence just to better understand the sound of a whisper. And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, the seeker of serenity, the protector of Italian virginity, the enforcer of our Lord God, the one, the only, Sir Ulllrrrich von Lichtenstein!!!

[crowd roars]

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.


Sir Ulrich's letter to win back the love of Jocelyn in

A Knight's Tale

It is strange to think, I haven't seen you since a month.

I have seen the new moon, but not you. I have seen sunsets and sunrises, but nothing of your beautiful face.

The pieces of my broken heart are so small that they could be passed through the eye of a needle. I miss you like the sun misses the flower; like the sun misses the flower in the depths of winter.

Instead of beauty to direct its light to, the heart hardens like the frozen world your absence has banished me to. I next compete in the city of Paris, I will find it empty and in the winter if you are not there.

Hope guides me; that is what gets me through the day and the night. The hope that after you're gone from my sight, it will not be the last time that I look upon you.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rock PAPER Scissors

Hey intrepid analyzers of text,

Remember that your essays are due on Monday. If, as you read over your paper, you notice mostly summary, abort and revise, abort and revise! Do not proceed on the summary course lest your grade be dashed to pieces upon the rocks as the siren song of the easy way out rings in its ears.

If you have trouble with conclusions, peruse this link (a sister page to the introduction page in the previous post).

If you're having trouble conceptualizing what your paper should be like, read the student essay on page 46 of your textbook. That essay does for the Santa Anna wind essay what you are being called upon to do for JFK's inaugural address. If you haven't looked at it, please do.

Happy writing!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A note about introductions

As promised in class, here is a resource from the University of North Carolina on writing introductions.  There are many theories about writing introductions, but some basic principles generally apply.  I hope you find this document helpful.

Choose this link for the pdf: writing introductions

or choose this link for the website

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

On Camelot and Dying Elephants

Welcome to this two part post in which I expound upon the homework for 2/12 and on the paper you're undoubtedly eager to begin.

Paper: The paper assignment is taken from our book on page 57. Yes, you may use the sample thesis as your own. The camelot.jpgpaper requirements are as follows:

  • 900-1200 words (3-4 pages, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1 inch margins)

  • MLA format (check out the MLA at OWL link to the right) Exceptions: omit the name/page numbers designation on the first page and use block paragraphs rather than indenting your first line

  • Your paper will be graded based on the content requirements from the book we discussed in class as well as organization, voice, word choice (diction), sentence fluency (syntax), and conventions.

The JFK paper will be due on February 25th. I know that seems like a long time from now, but such is the effect of Mid-Winter Break. We will have a peer review day in the computer lab on February 22nd, so you will need to bring electronic copies of your papers in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format so they can be read by the software in the computer lab. Happy writing! ^^

Homework: Continue the interrupted reading we began that was, ironically, interrupted by the end of class. Perhaps haveelephant-2.jpg your mom or little brother read the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs of George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant and note the following on the handout I gave you in class:

  • ¶ 2 -- Diction, tone, selection of detail, narrator's attitude, qualifications, and explain the assumptions of the author

  • ¶ 3 -- Ditto plus the development of the narrative

After that, finish reading the rest of the essay found on page 979 of our textbooks, making notes on style, rhetoric, plot, character, and theme.

Monday, February 11, 2008

2/11 Homework

Syntax questions 1-9 on JFK's inagural speech.  Remember that these questions are designed to help you with your paper.  The better job you do at this stage, the easier time you'll have with your paper.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Ask not when this is due...

jfk_anniversary_300.jpgAll right, here's the plan. (2nd period, disregard the first bit.)

  • Listen to JFK's inaugural address

  • First impressions

  • Annotate the speech

  • Discuss findings

  • Diction questions 1-4 on p 55 (what we don't finish will be homework--yes we will do the syntax questions--yes we will do all of them--no we won't do them until Monday--yes we will start working on them in class--yes it will help you to work together on these--no you don't need to start them early)

If you're still asking when it's due, the diction questions will be due Monday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Visual Rhetoric

Read pages 49-51 and bring in an example of a visual advertisement.  No need to blog your response, but if you want to upload a picture, that is fine.  Magazine ads work well for this.  Be prepared to do an analysis similar to the example in the text for the class tomorrow.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And the next day

For all you FBLA kids, we are going to spend time tomorrow talking about classical arrangement and then the various other types of arrangement discussed in Monday night's reading.  Then, we're going to examine the section on when rhetoric misses the mark and watch the scene from Pride and Prejudice discussed in the book, discussing that interpretation against the original.  Lastly, we're going to do some group work to examine the Diana pieces at the end of the chapter, focusing on SOAPStone and how the audience and speaker affected the pieces. 

Homework for Tuesday night will be to read pages 35-48 in our text and to do the assignment on page 48 dealing with the Roger Ascham excerpt from Toxophilus.  Have a great time at the FBLA conference!


I'm not sure I like this arrangement

For class tomorrow, you need to have read pages 13-26 in our textbook and blog the assignment on page 26.  We will also be discussing the issues presented in pages 26-34, so you may want to read those pages as well.