Thursday, April 30, 2009


I regret to inform you that there will be no vocabulary test tomorrow.  This is indeed doleful news.  But as you are all able to cope with the vicissitudes of life, we shall indubitably make it through this Friday, made indigent in its loss of an opportunity to improve our verbal skills.  Alas alack!

No, do not importune me to reinstate the quiz, nor denigrate me for my bonhomie in the face of this tragedy. My mind is made up!  We'll move the quiz to Monday!  :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gender, Sports, Technology! Oh my!

Oh and community or immigration too. 

So look over the research paper assignment sheet and see what question appeals to you the most.  Make sure to take a peek at the essays in the conversation section that corresponds to that question as those sources may inform your decision.  The assignment sheet is the first link on this page.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Women’s Brains

Finish reading Women’s Brains by Stephen Jay Gould in our textbooks beginning on page 349 (we left off at “Sound familiar?” on page 351).

Then blog Questions for Discussion #1 as well as Questions on Rhetoric and Style # 3, 6, 7,  9, 10, and 11.

After that, go to, click on the link for Women’s Brains, and make two comments either directly on the text or continuing a discussion begun by someone else.  Remember you do this by clicking the little speech bubble next to the paragraph you want to comment on.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Synthesis Paper Notes

Good luck on your papers this weekend.  Remember that Easybib and MLA at OWL are your friends.  Scroll down to the bottom of the MLA at OWL site for various topics concerning formatting your paper.  See especially In-Text Citations: The Basics and In-Text Citations: Author-Page Style.

Here are further resources for writing and formatting your paper:

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Graded Synthesis Write

Remember as you work on your papers tonight that our first graded synthesis timed write is tomorrow.

Other than the timed write, we’ll take a look at another essay that might help with our paper. 

Happy writing and I’ll see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Computer lab

Remember that we will meet in the computer lab tomorrow to work on the synthesis paper.

Please come ready to be productive. It is beneficial for you to get writing done here as I can help you. It is not always easy to get computer time as other classes want and need it too.    If we have another day with as much messing around as today, that sends a clear message that we don't need or want the computer time and there is no need to schedule any for the next paper.  Please don't make me go that route!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Weekend Homework? So Mean!

meangirlsp01No that you have seen Caleb’s favorite movie, write a short analytical blog post in which you discuss the movie in relation to Denby’s argument in High School Confidential (page 709 in our book).  By the way, I'm not showing this movie to torture the guys, but because it lends itself well to analysis in light of Mr. Denby's article.

In addition to the short blog post on teen movies, read and blog the questions for conversation entries 4 & 5 on pages 782-787.  Do not worry about the Entering the Conversation questions.  Those are something else.

Have a great weekend and remember that school starts at 9:40 on Monday, NOT 7:40!

He Doesn't Like To Watch TV?

For your homework tonight, read “He Doesn’t Like To Watch” on page 779 and blog the questions on 781 (there are only 4 of them).

I hope the synthesis essay went well for you.  That said, this Museum one is a bit confusing and I think kids from places with large, famous museums have an advantage over kids from say Fife.  That’s why we used it as a practice.  Our graded timed writes will be on much more accessible topics.

There will be a blog post tomorrow for your weekend homework.  You’ll be watching “Mean Girls” and analyzing it briefly on the blog in light of Denby’s article we read right before Spring Break.  There will also be the last two conversation section entries to do over the weekend.

Mr. Kile will start the movie tomorrow about 5 minutes before class officially starts.  We're doing that so that you can see the end without staying after class (the human brain tends to like resolution).  Most of you are here 5 minutes early or more anyway, but just a heads up.

On Monday, we’ll go over the timed write and talk about the essay question in preparation for going to the computer lab Tuesday and Wednesday.

Remember that Monday is a WASL day so school starts at 9:40!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Synthesis Strategies Spring 09!

Here are the synthesis observations your class generated yesterday:

Purple Cobras aka Darth Levitt

The (In)appropriately Sized Group


The Super Awesome Flaming Group of Destiny (or something like that)

For your further reference:

Original AP Class

Last Semester

Super Synthesize It!

I know I said you’d be reading an essay tonight, but I’m retracting that.  Don’t worry, Kristian; it’ll be all right.  You’ll have one to work on tomorrow evening.  ;)

Tonight I want you to focus on preparing for the synthesis essay tomorrow.  You guys really cheated yourselves when you went for the easy way out today in class.  So tonight I’d like you to go deeper than you did in class today.  As Grab says, this is one of your keys to understanding what it means to write an effective, high scoring synthesis essay.  Instead of noting that a strong thesis is important to the essay, examine and try and quantify what makes a strong thesis.  Instead of noting that you need to use sources well, determine what it means to use sources well, et cetera.

Get specific. THAT is what is going to help you.    

Those of you blogging your group’s information, thank you and please email me when you’re done so I can collect the posts and make them available to everyone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wait! TV is bad now!!!!

Blog questions 1-6 on page 779 in response to the essay The Argument Against TV.

Also, in keeping with embracing TV last night while reading the pro-TV essay, tonight try NOT watching TV (Tivo it and watch it tomorrow).

So any parents reading this -- as part of their homework, your student should NOT be watching TV tonight .  ;)


Monday, April 13, 2009

TV makes us smarter!? Can you tell that to my mom?

Your homework is to read the Steven Johnson article Watching TV Makes You Smarter on page 766 in your books and do questions 1-5 on page 776.

At that point, hopefully you will understand his concepts well enough to explain it to your mom yourself.  ;)

Pop Culture Synthesis Essay

Our first synthesis 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.

We will talk about this in class as well and be working through the conversation section essays this week, but I wanted to give you a heads up on this assignment.  Also you may have noticed that the planning page says this paper is due April 24th.  I will be gone that Friday and Saturday at a National Boards class and so thought you might appreciate the extra weekend since I wouldn’t be picking them up until Monday anyway.  I hope that doesn’t inconvenience anyone. :)

Synthesis Paper Requirements:

  • 1200 words
  • MLA format (page style, in-text citations, and works cited page — see MLA at Owl and Easybib links under the AP heading to the left as well as this post for class MLA modifications for help on this)
  • Synthesize at least three sources from the conversation section (other sources are okay, but not required on this essay)

Due: Monday, April 27th


  • 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:
    • These revision guidelines
    • 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, convincing, awesome essay!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Spring Break: A Synthesis of Work and Play

Part 1: Read chapter 3 in our text book.  Then, blog your answers to questions 1-7 on page 68.

Part 2: After finishing the reading, blog a paragraph or so exploring your thoughts on what synthesis really is, the skills it requires, and what makes for a good synthesis essay.

Part 3: Relax.  Watch a movie on TV, not because you’ve wanted to see it, but just because it happens to be on.  Eat popcorn for lunch.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

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?

Have a great Spring Break!!  And don't forget to do the reading and blog posts noted in the other post!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Corn-Pone Opinions: Rules of the Herd cont.

Finish what you didn’t get done in class and then 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.