Sunday, February 28, 2010

Denby on High School Confidential

highschoolconfidential195811345-f.jpgFinish reading the David Denby article High School Confidential: Notes on Teen Movies and blog your answers to the Questions on Rhetoric and Style 2-7, 9-12 on page 715 of the TLC book by Wednesday.

Tomorrow we have a wonderful opportunity to further hone our synthesis skills on Timed Write Tuesday. Whoo hoo!

Hey, while we're at it, let's lay out the rest of the week's schedule for the organized and the curious.

Wednesday: review the released material for the timed write and discuss the Denby questions.

Thursday: Dive head first into primary text analysis of pop culture by viewing Mean Girls.

Friday: Finish viewing Mean Girls and, if there is time, hold a short discussion on the film's relationship to the teen movie observations made in Denby's article. There will be an analytical blog post due over the weekend.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Revise Your Synthesis Timed Write

What you need to turn in on Monday:

  1. New & Improved Timed Write (this one is graded using the released rubric for this prompt)

  2. Old & Shabby Timed Write (maybe not so shabby, but you get the idea)

  3. Reviewer Feedback Sheet with Three (3!) reviews

  4. The prompt with the sources you used to write

Submit these all in one big bundle. :)

As I wrote on the board, items 2-4 allow me to see your process, evaluate where you are in the process of mastering this type of writing, and evaluate the effectiveness of the activity.  The assignment will not be considered complete if it is missing anything.

If you cannot find the question with the sources, here it is.

Synthesis Notes!

The collected wisdom of 2nd and 3rd period 2010!

First Period

Captain Napkin and the Bay City Rollers (Jacob, Stephen, and Robbie)


  • Extrapolate data

  • Cite Sources correctly

  • Strong voice

  • development


  • Incorrectly cite sources

  • Compare/contrast instead of develop argument

  • Simply quote or paraphrase

  • oversimplify

"Jerry Jordan's Jelly Jar and Jam Begin That Way" - Theodore Geisel

Josilyn, Jarele, Joe, Joyce


  • Cite sources correctly and use the appropriate sources that support the argument

  • Integrate quotes smoothly

  • Stay on topic. Make sure the prompt is answered

  • Use the required amount of sources


  • Going off topic and answering the wrong prompt

  • Analyzing sources  instead of using sources to support your argument

  • Plopping sources. Using sources that doesn’t agree with your argument


  • Think of the paper as an argument paper that uses sources to support the argument

  • Answer the prompt.  Before writing the paper, read the prompt and make sure you understand what it is asking

The Knights who say "Ni!"

Whitney Franks, Rachel Knight, Natalie Young, and Dulcerita Acevedo

  • Correctly cite three sources and expand to show how it supports your argument

  • Match argument with thesis

  • Read your essay if you have time

  • Use information outside of source (equals more points)

  • Take a stance that you can support the best (you don’t need to agree with the side you take)

  • Avoid not citing extra information

  • Avoid bad  grammar

  • Avoid sudden changes! You need to use better transitions

  • Avoid letting your counter-argument takeover your argument

  • Avoid over simplification with the quote

The Redundantly Elaborate Group

(Trae, Kaitlyn, and Alyssa)

Because our group was incredibly original and unique, we decided to think outside the box. Instead of writing up a redundant but elaborate paragraph, we simplified everything into one simple list.

  • Cite Sources

  • Weave Quotes

  • Avoid Overciting Sources

  • Avoid Not Citing Sources

  • Analyzing without Arguing, Avoid that

  • Use Elaborate Diction and Syntax

  • Flow the Argument

  • Synthesize quotes, don’t plop them.

  • Avoid over-simplification (kudos if you can find the irony in this rule)

  • Besides that, argument strategies

The Better Late Than Never Group

Hunter, Navi, Agnes, and Jack.

1. Cite your sources somewhere in the sentence that you're using them whether by name dropping or afterwards listing the source.
2. Make sure to use at least 3 sources that are given to allow your essay above the score of 4.
3. Stay focused on the topic.

1. Over address the counter argument.
2. Only elude to your sources
3. Oversimplify the source's information
4. Misinterpret the Information given by the sources.

1. Re-read citation sentences to make sure the flow works with your paper.
2. Expand on all information, what may seem obvious to you at the time might be left unanswered otherwise.

Second Period

"It's like I have ESPN or something..."

Adrianna, Haley, and Connor

Do’s: effectively address the prompt, take a position, use right amount of sources, cite sources

Don’ts: don’t repeat, don’t get off topic, don’t contradict yourself unless addressing counterargument, don’t oversimplify, don’t paraphrase

Strategies: make sure argument stays central and sources agree, underline useful things in sources, outline is it makes things more organized and faster, good handwriting

Team Awesome Super Thundercat Viking Warrior Team

Sarah, Lily, Christian, Taylor M.

What do you need to do/ be able to do?

  • Answer the prompt and take a position on what your argument will be.

  • Support your claim with the provided sources.

  • Usage of your own examples or anecdotes arte helpful and give a more personal appeal.

  • Cite your sources.

  • Stay on track and make sure that the thesis ties into the essay.

  • Make sure that it is fluent and smooth, not choppy.

What are the pitfalls you need to avoid?

  • Summarizing/ paraphrasing

  • Weak thesis

  • Plopping quotes

  • Not relating to your thesis

What strategies do you suggest for glorious speech?

  • Make sure to double check prompt/ directions before and after essay to make sure you have met all of the requirements.

  • Break down and organize your argument and make sure thesis supports all of your claims.

  • Good handwriting

Helen of Troy and the Super Friends of Attica

Nicole M., Taylor F., Helen, and Cody


  • Use the right amount of sources as directed by the prompt (3 usually)

  • Relate sources to the thesis

  • Stay on track with your sources

  • Enter the conversation of the topic at hand

  • Develop a STRONG thesis – Give commentary on sources

  • Use sources that relate to thesis

  • Use your own examples

  • Be fluent, not choppy

  • Answer prompt


  • Oversimplifying

  • Plop quotes

  • Use sources that divert from thesis

  • Be repetitive

  • Go off on tangents

  • Forget to cite sources

  • Summarize

  • Contradict yourself (unless it’s a counter argument)


  • Answer the “So what?” question

  • Make a call to action and give a relatable solution

  • Make your own argument and use the sources to support

  • Make sure to double-check the prompt

  • Break down and organize your argument and make sure thesis supports all of your claims

  • Smooth transitions

  • Highlight or underline what you want to use in the sources

  • Control language

Nicole and her Ninja Warriors of Alexandria

Alex, Nicole S., Scott, and Britany

1. Develop your position, the graders like reading a well developed paper that is going somewhere instead of being a hit and run.
2. Use the correct amount of sources, anything less and you will be DQed AP style, which basically means a score no higher than a 4 I do believe. Along with having the correct NUMBER of sources you also need to know when its appropriate to use one and how to use it so its beneficial to you, none of this sticking the thirty word quoted source in the center of your paragraph business.
3. Your writing should flow as if you are writing with water, yes water, that is the type of fluency thy AP graders desire.
4. Transitions should be silky smooth as well, a rocky transition is distracting, as are spelling issues and grammatical errors.
5. State your position and stick to it like glue, when you’re wishy-washy it makes you sound like you’re BS-ing your way through your paper, and apparently they don’t like that. Sad. I know.

1. Do not contradict yourself in your paper, as said above, stick to you story like you are in deep trouble and have a high paid lawyer.
2. Go off on tangents. While these are fun with friends, the grader is not your friend, they are actually the enemy. The enemy that will demolish you if need be
3. Over simplification is a no-no.
4. Summarize the sources you have, they gave you the sources to use as part of your argument not to summarize like hey yeah, this is their argument and I agree. No. You are using their argument to agree with yours not the other way around.
1. Read the directions.
2. Read the directions again.
3. Go through your sources and circle or highlight–or whatever floats your boat– the information that might be useful to you later on in your essay, this way as your writing you don’t have to take the extra time to re find what you wanted to use.

The Jess's of Maddisen Courtney

Maddisen, Courtney, Jesse, Jessica


  • Effectively take a position

  • Provide 3 sources and support them

  • write with maintained focus

  • answer prompt


  • simply paraphrase or miss quote sources

  • let sources contradict thesis

  • go on tangents

  • be not insightful

  • use no sources or wrong amount


  • using own experience and knowledge

  • going above and beyond to fully develop point

  • control language

  • smooth transitions

  • manage time

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So, what exactly is AP looking for with synthesis anyway?

All right. Once you have your lists of Do's, Don'ts, and Strategies, have someone in your group blog your group's list and then email me when it's up. I will compile everything into one post so everyone has access to the class' collective wisdom.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Quoting, formatting, and requirements -- oh my!

When you reference our text, use the essay option from the chapter /  anthology category at (located in the choose a source menu). It will create a citation like this:

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. "The Future of Happiness." The Language of Composition : Reading, Writing, Rhetoric. By Renee H. Shea, Lawrence Scanlon, and Robin D. Aufses. Boston: Bedford/Saint Martin's, 2007. 623-29. Print.

As far as quoting from a discussion, there isn't a super clean way to do that. Use the Lecture / Speech option and choose speech. Just fill in the information. Then for the in-text citation, use the first word of the works cited citation.

For everything else, use the MLA Toolkit you got earlier int eh year. If you lost yours, there is a pdf version linked in Class Info & Docs.

Happy writing and remember, you need to turn in all your rough drafts with your final paper this time. Please attach the rubric as well.

In other news, we will begin our run of timed writes up to the test in May next week. Whoo hoo!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Instructions for over the break

Work on your paper and look at super bowl commercials (see the previous post).

On Thursday, bring in what you have on hard copy for us to work on. Friday the actual rough draft is due, but I want to have a day to work where Reiser and I can give you some feedback.

Have a good break!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Everybody Loves Super Bowl Commercials!

image6177962While you are hanging around, surfing the internet with nothing to do over mid-winter break, you'll no doubt end up on some site watching Betty White play football or the Doritos dog shocking the guy on the park bench (message -- the importance of sharing?). No doubt as you watch these commercials, chuckling to yourself or perhaps occasionally ROTFLing, you won't be able to help yourself from thinking things like,

"The audience of that commercial is obviously middle-aged men who wish they still played football the morning before the Super Bowl because...." and "the humorous juxtaposition of the guys playing football with their elderly stand-ins in the football game dramatizes the lack of energy experienced during sports when you're hungry...." and "this commercial is/is not effective with its target audience because...." etc.

Well, since you'll likely be doing that already, blog your rhetorical analysis of one of the Super Bowl commercials. Please provide the link in your blog post to the commercial you choose to analyze. You'll find them arranged by quarter on this site.

After the final draft of our paper is due, we'll take a look at these in class.

image credit

Gender resources

Here are the sites we referenced this morning to help you as you put together your gender papers. This is by no means exhaustive--they're just the ones we talked about.

The following will help primarily with paper option 2. The graphic at the end should help with option 1. Remember if you want to focus more on gender issues for males, the conversation section of the gender section in our book has several essays grouped around that very topic. I hope this helps.


The Retro Housewife commenting on the list above (She notes she has moved her newer posts here if you need to dig into her blog for any reason)

Wife and Mommy blog

The Happy Housewives of Lambton County

Husband Appreciation Day!

1960's Wife

Gender picture

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gender Essays/Discussion/Paper

For those of you in Junior Conferences today, read Professions for Women by Virginia Woolf  (p 356) and I Want a Wife by Judy Brady. Start taking notes on the reading using the Gender Discussion Notes graphic organizer. You will need to bring that to use during the discussion on Thursday and it will be due immediately after the discussion. We also talked about our next paper. You'll need to use two of the sources listed in the paper instructions and two quotes from the discussion in your paper (read the paper handout and the discussion notes graphic organizer).

Click on and download all the links above.

Take care and I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting to know Synthesis

Thank you for your work today in the discussion of work itself. I appreciate your ideas and willingness to dive into the myriad of issues that surround our topic today.

As we begin to learn about synthesis, your homework this weekend is to read Chapter 3 in the TLC book up to page 74.

2nd period asked if we might continue this discussion on Monday. Let's do this: if on Monday after the weekend there are still issues you would like to talk through, let's do it. I will prepare something else if, after a couple of days, you're okay with where we had to end (ah, the tyranny of the clock!).

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Work Discussion: Things to Consider

Be prepared to discuss these issues in reference to yourself and the essays (Labour, Serving Florida, and Surgeon as Priest).

  1. What are your ideas about and philosophy of "work"? What is it for? What does it mean to you? How do you want work to integrate into other parts of your life, i.e. family, friends, time off, hobbies, recreation, etc.?

  2. How do you reconcile the "ideal" concerns of work with the "real" concerns like paying the mortgage?

  3. What do you want to be and how does that fit in with your ideas surrounding the questions in point 1? If you don't know what you want to be, what is important to you about your life? How does your idea of work fit into that? What types of professions allow you to be the type of person you want to be?

  4. How do you view different professions? for example, less "educated" professions versus more "educated" professions? What factors influence your views?

  5. How does Orwell's implication that we wear masks and our faces grow to fit them influence all this? For example, how might being a police officer change your personality? Being a doctor? A librarian?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Reading Response: Surgeon as Priest

Sorry this post is up a bit late. Your homework is to blog a reading response to The Surgeon as Priest. Remember that this is a paragraph or two that shows your understanding of the meaning of a part of the text and its significance to the whole.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Visual Analysis

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now, we’re not going to write a thousand words, but pick two of the pictures below and compare them. Compare their visual elements. Compare their argument. Compare their effect on the viewer and the way those effects are created. As we just read Richard Selzer’s The Surgeon as Priest, how do the images you chose to analyze relate to that essay?

Really analyze these images. Don’t stop with something like, “This picture shows a scary looking surgeon and reinforces people’s fears about going under the knife.” Continue on with how that effect is created. What specifically in the image makes the surgeon look “scary”? Don’t forget colors, lighting, angle, medium, and other effects.

Please blog your analysis.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version of the entire image.

surgeon (1)surgeon-putting-on-masksurgeonsSurgeon young