Friday, December 16, 2011

Break Reminders

A scene from somewhere where it isn't supposed
to rain over Christmas 
Remember that you have a paper to work on over break (cue music..."He's a grinch...").  It is due on the 6th at the end of the day.

I you want to take advantage of the rewrite/revise a paper opportunity, remember to make a copy of your original Google Docs version and edit the NEW one. That will be due on the 3rd when we get back.

Otherwise have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Enjoy the holidays and the bowl games!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Structuring Arguments et al

originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle 
For Monday, read Chapter 6 from Everything's an Argument. We'll discuss Toulmin and his method of argument using the text and another simpler model.

Here is the file that will allow you to play with your prospective AP test performance to your heart's content.

By popular vote, the SAT Vocab Final will be held after break. Though 4th period was fairly evenly split, 6th period went overwhelmingly toward after break. The test will NOT be the day we get back, but will be later that week or even the following week depending on our paper that is due that Friday.

Speaking of your paper, please choose your prompt by Monday.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Be verwy quwiet...we're hunting elephants

This minivan is now "rubbish"
Finish reading Shooting an Elephant on page 979 of TLC. We'll talk about this essay more next week. In the meantime, blog your answers to the questions on page 985.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hazlitt Angst

William Hazlitt  a self portrait
As discussed in class, we will have an additional optional timed write on Tuesday. If you are happy with your score, you do not need to write this one unless you want the practice. This score will replace your Hazlitt score, though I'll actually take the higher or the two. If you do not wish to take advantage of this opportunity, please bring a book or something to work on quietly while your classmates write.
4th period, happily we discovered in 6th period that the Hazlitt timed write was miscategorized as a take home paper rather than a timed write, so the damage is not as dire as you saw in class today. See GradeChecker for the accurate percentage.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hunger of Memory

Blog a personal response to one or more of the implied claims made in the preface to Hunger of Memory. Engage with his claim on a personal level (what you think) and relate it or contrast it with your own life and situation.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Surgeon as Priest

Your homework for Monday is twofold: 

  1. Blog answers to the eight Exploring the Text questions on page 204
  2. Separately, blog a reading response to The Surgeon as Priest. This is essentially a paragraph or two that shows your understanding of the meaning of a part of the text and its significance to the whole. Instructions are on the link.
4th period: the visual will come later.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sanctuary: For Harry Potter the Movie

So, Nikki Giovanni wrote a fairly odd piece she classified s a "not quite poem" about the first Harry Potter movie on page 760 of TLC. Please blog the answers to questions 1-4 and 6 by Wednesday.

Parody: Friday (one among so many), MacBook Air, and yeah, I'll not get the last twenty minutes back going, "Hmm, should I post this one? Nah, better look for something better. Wait, don't I need to get the emission checked on the car? Doh!" Or something like that.

Timed Write Tuesday is tomorrow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taking our time...

African or European? Well...I don't know.
Finish reading In Praise of a Snail's Pace on page 221 of TLC and do the following:
  1. Answer me these questions three--1, 5, and 8
  2. How is this a compare and contrast essay? What is Goodman comparing? Describe the technique the author uses to draw out this comparison.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Education: The Ralph Waldo Emerson Way

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Now that you've read Emerson's On Education on page 102 of The Language of Composition (TLC), and now that we have a bit of an idea as to what he is on about, it's time for some analysis of how he does what he does. To that end, thoughtfully respond on your blog to Questions on Rhetoric and Style 1-3, 5-6, and 8-12 on pages 108-109.

And as you do this and your other homework, remember that:
"Not less delightful is the mutual pleasure of teaching and learning the secret of algebra, or of chemistry, or of good reading and good recitation of poetry or of prose, or of chosen facts in history or in biography." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take delightful pleasure in this learning activity up through Wednesday evening (due Thursday November 10). Along with the vocabulary quiz 9, we'll discuss this in class on Thursday.

Though we'll stick with analysis, we'll also start talking about the argument question next week.

Of interest...transcendentalism. If that article proves too heady for you,Wikipedia's is okay.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Some thoughts on argument analysis

  1. Published arguments seldom begin with a thesis (and may not end with one). Frequently, the thesis is only implied. 
  2. An analysis of an argument is rarely “right” or “wrong,” but some answers are much better than others. The answer that explains the text in the most thorough way is superior. 
  3. Thinking of yourself as a member of the intended audience for an argument is essential to analyzing argument. 
  4. Often when we reject an argument, it is because we are not part of the intended audience. 
  5. The analyst needs to pay attention to assumptions concerning the reader’s race, nationality, and gender. 
  6. Pay close attention to pronouns. They shift references. 
  7. An analytic explanation rarely occurs in a chronological order; it usually involves moving backward and forward within the text being analyzed. Using chronological order usually moves an analysis to summary. 
  8. While knowing Aristotle’s three modes is important, it is also important to know the work of Rogers (the psychologist) and Toulmin (the logician). 
  9. Whether or not an argument contains fallacies is not germane to understanding it rhetorically. 
  10. Analyses need to measured against the evidence of the text itself. 
  11. It is usually more important to consider what is implied. 
  12. When you read an argument, you should try to determine why it was written in the way it was written. 
  13. The analyst needs to determine whether the thesis is direct, indirect, implied, deliberately hidden, or subversive (A Modest Proposal is an example of a subversive thesis).

Don't forget to do the assignment in the previous post. Also, check out the link under writing on the left for notes on good writing entitled the YES Writing Guide .

Monday, October 31, 2011

Autumn of the Multitaskers

Take another look at the multitasking article and identify the overall claim/assertion (the glossary of The Language of Composition has a good definition if you need one). Then, identify the claim/assertion in each section of the article (handily, sections are indicated by a drop cap).  Blog your results by Wednesday.

By the way, Nate found a good NPR story on this subject. You can read it or listen to it here. Aside form looking at assertions, this topic goes well with our metacognition papers as we seek to learn how to use our brains most effectively.

Oh, and check the calendar...

Side note: Here is a really graphic blog on texting while driving that I found while looking for a picture of someone running off a road in Wyoming. ONLY for those with strong stomaches. It is the result of an accident. Seriously only for those with strong stomaches.

Oh, and I thought all of these cartoons were funny and I couldn't decide which one to use.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Writing your JFK paper

If you feel like you've been cornobbled by this JFK paper and are lost in a collieshangie with rhetorical devices, remember to step back, take a breath, and reacquaint yourself with the purpose you are dealing with in each paragraph/section. Focus on how he attempts to fulfill each purpose using rhetorical strategies. Remember that rhetorical strategies can include such things as diction & syntax, appeals (both classical and various, i.e. patriotism, pride, compassion, etc.), choice of detail, figurative language, imagery, organization, etc.

Remember the rhetorical situation: speaker, occasion, audience, purpose(s) as well.

Best of luck with this paper. Don't over-think it. Just identify a purpose and show how he tries to accomplish it in his speech.

Monday, October 24, 2011

JFK Paper

JFK Jr. salutes you
So, it's time to start the JFK paper. Your prompt is in the TLC book on page 57 at the bottom. This paper should be 900-1200 words long. You can, but do not have to, use the sample thesis.

Whatever you choose to focus on, remember to identify the purpose first and then seek to show how he uses various rhetorical strategies to accomplish that purpose.

Happy writing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Camelot: 'Tis a silly place

This weekend, do the questions in the TLC book on pages 55-56.  I'll check them off on Monday. We will be in the lab to begin our paper. The prompt is on page 57 if you want to get a jump start. Otherwise, just do the questions.
4th period, meet in the classroom; 6th period, meet in the study hall lab in the 400 building.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


You could spend a lot of time on YouTube watching these old videos. This one shows the effects of blasts on different types of houses.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting to Know JFK

Here is the link to JFK's inaugural address that we watched today in class. If you lost your hard copy for annotation or if you need to copy text for a dialectical journal or graphic organizer, then here it is as a pdf and Google doc.

Your homework is to annotate or create a dialectical journal or graphic organizer as demonstrated on page 40-47 of the TLC book. Please bring your books tomorrow as we will be using them again.

Read about a close call during the Cold War. Another account of the same incident.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Modest Proposal Argument

Revisit paragraph 29 on page 919 in its context (you've already thought about this in question #9). Using Questions for Rhetoric and Style on page 920-21 (maybe look at question 10 to help with this as well), write a short reflection (try to keep it between 150 and 200 words) on how Swift uses satire coupled with his true ideals, hinted at throughout the piece and especially in paragraph 29, to drive home his argument to his audience. Post this to your blog.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Homecoming weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Though a disturbing piece, A Modest Proposal is a brilliant argument — in part because it is so disturbing. Let’s take a closer look at how Jonathan Swift crafts his argument.
To that end, blog your responses to the following questions found on pages 920-921 in TLC: Questions on Rhetoric and Style #s 1-5, 7-9.

Period 4: Here's the link to that article I alluded to today that I said I'd link for you. In the Also See box, take a peek at The End of Men as well if this issue interests or concerns you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Academic Competition: Best in Class

There can only be one!
After reading Best in Class, please blog your thoughts on questions 1-2 and 4-6 on page 112 in TLC.  Also, remember we have a vocabulary quiz tomorrow.

For your planning pleasure, tomorrow you will elucidate your position on this issue in small groups and choose one of the following options (or create your own) and justify that position. In other words, clearly lay out your position on the issue of academic recognition and competition and provide support for that position in a clear, reasoned argument. We'll present those positions to the class.

We'll go over these positions in class, but I put them up here for your prior perusal.

Option 1: How we do things here at Fife. Top 10. Top 10 give speeches to the faculty and the faculty votes on the top 2. Renaissance recognizes two levels of performance as well as a semester to semester improvement.

Option 2: Traditional. Valedictorian gives a speech. Salutatorian may also speak. There can only be one valedictorian. Usually recognize a top 10%.

Option 3: Modified traditional. Multiple valedictorians (i.e. no tiebreakers if there are say five 4.0 students). Either all valedictorians speak or they compete before a faculty and/or student panel.

Option 4: Latin honors. Cum Laude (with honor); Magna Cum Laude (with great honor); Summa Cum Laude (with highest honor). At my alma mater, these awards were reserved for minimum GPAs of 3.70, 3.80, and 3.90 respectively, though I've seen Cum Laude designations as low as 3.25 or even 3.0 at some Southern universities (Alabama State, University of North Carolina, Kentucky State, and Vanderbilt).

Option 5: Some wise option of your own creation/choosing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Superman and Me

"I am breaking down the door."
Today in class you started discussing the metaphors used by Sherman Alexie in Superman and Me. I also asked you to consider the syntax and the rhythm of the language. My hint to you was that these two are related. Please blog your analysis of this little essay in the terms discussed above.

In addition, please blog your answers to questions 1-4;7-8 in the same blog post as your thoughts above. Another hint: questions 5 and 6 will help you answer the slightly more vague directions above.

This is a short piece. Read it again. Think both big picture and detail.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I know why the caged bird didn't read...

The essay was 10 pages long!
Your homework is to complete the Questions on Rhetoric and Style on page 100 of TLC.
Though we began them in class, you should all post all 10 questions on your blogs. Remember that these questions help train you in what to look for when examining a text. Creating habits of mind is what we're after here. In past years, it's been the students who thoughtfully engaged with this practice who improved the most and did the best on the AP test.

Addendum: If reading is assigned for the next day, please do the reading before class. Typically it means that the class activities that day depend on you having done the reading.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I know why the Caged Bird Can't Read...uh, it's a bird.

Finish reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Can't Read that we began in class today. Please read it with a dictionary handy (experiment: can a high school student use without also stopping to use facebook/spotify/tumblr/twitter/etc?); Prose's prose is rich and varied and can be either a delight or a difficulty depending on your reading vocabulary and fluency. Do your best to understand her argument and the moves she makes in that argument.

I know I told 4th period there would be questions, and there will be, but tonight I want you to just read and do your best to understand the essay and her language. Tomorrow we will discuss the essay and work in groups on the questions. Whatever isn't finished in class, will be homework. For Monday, please have blogged all assigned questions.

See the calendar. In order to make time for this and give you a bit more time to prep for the quiz, I'm moving the SAT Vocab 3 quiz to Monday.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

TW Score Defense

Please score your timed write and provide a defense for that score on your blog. The released information is shared with you via Google Docs should you wish to reference it again (log into your Google Docs and you will see 3 documents there). Remember that this is practice in evaluating your own writing. Be honest. The grade doesn't count this time, so you have nothing to lose. Shoot for a clear understanding of where you stand at this point in time.

Many of you in class today thought that one or more of the essays were overrated. Be careful of that. It does not mean you have higher standards than AP; it more likely means you don't have a clear understanding yet of what they are looking for. For instance, compare what the 7 does with the "Let us" clause to what the 9 does with it. The two are worlds apart. Also, any summary does not equal a 2, rather all summary without accompanying analysis equals a 2.

Don't forget the previous homework in the post below.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Toxophilus Unleashed

Roger Ascham
Read pages 38-48 in the TLC book and apply one of the techniques enumerated therein to the Toxophilus excerpt from this book written by Roger Ascham in 1545 and dedicated to King Henry VIII (the assignment is on page 48).

I've linked the Toxophilus excerpt in a Google Docs version so you can copy the text into your Google Docs or Word if you wish. Using tables, you can do the dialectical journal or graphic organizer on Google Docs and you can annotate using comments. You may wish to bring something in done by hand, though. Not sure if you can circle and draw arrows in the way you may wish to in a Google Doc. I do encourage you to try your hand at the dialectical journal or the graphic organizer.

Since a number of people will wish to turn this in as a physical document, please print out your electronic efforts if that's the direction you take so that I receive all of the assignments in the same medium. Thank you!

Enjoy your trip back into the scientific observations and practical concerns of the mid-Sixteenth Century England!

Due Thursday (9/29) in class.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Turning in your papers on Google Docs

Please adhere to the following procedures copied from the Google Account Guidelines tab on this blog:
  • Name your Google Documents (process papers) this way:
  • Per# Last First Assignment Title
  • If the assignment is called "JFK Paper", my document title would look like this:
    Per1 Giddings Andrew JFK Paper
  • Share it with me (agiddings) using the Share link in the upper right of the document window. Allow me to edit and I can leave comments for you.
  • Share one file. Google maintains a revision history for everything done to a file. You do not need to submit a rough draft as it is incorporated into the file. Please submit only one file per paper.
Failing to follow these procedures makes my life harder and will result in your paper being ignored.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ever Procrastinate?

This is the most interesting thing I've ever read about procrastination. I am most definitely an incubator and I've worked hard to increase the time I start before something is due. Anyway, you might find this interesting. And it might help some of you with your Metacognition papers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Because what they do about this will affect you...

Check out this article. It's not very long and raises some interesting issues. It was written by the former governor of New York.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

For 4th period

So the question was asked, "What happens if I can't figure out how I think?" Immediately this song came to mind. You asked if I could post it, and so here it is. ;)

Disclaimer: Do not, under any circumstances, believe this to be true of you or your paper. It's just a song. That said, this one comes to mind too. ;)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Metacognition Essay

We'll set a due date next week.

Start thinking about the process you use in your thinking this weekend. Here is the assignment in case you misplaced yours. Have a great weekend.
Using the Golding essay Thinking as a Hobby as a starting point, write an essay examining your own thinking at the current time. Unlike Golding, do not seek to trace your thinking over time, but deeply examine the state of your thinking now. Analyze how you deal with pressure, stress, difficult intellectual problems, writing, etc. in order to get at how you think. You do not need to use Golding’s classifications, though you may if you find them helpful.

Word Limit: 900 words +/- 10%

Due: September 27, 2011

Before you begin to write, consider the following:
  • Your rhetorical situation: Speaker, Subject, Audience relationships; context; and purpose 
  • A proposed overall arrangement (of course you can use multiple arrangements if needed) 
Points: 40
Grading will focus holistically on the following elements:
  • Depth of analysis 
  • Organization 
  • Sentence structure 
  • Diction/Voice 
  • Conventions

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Who's Lady Di?

Lady Diana
Though most of you likely don't remember Lady Diana, our book does. In the TLC book, do the assignment that begins on page 28. You'll be reading 4 pieces and noting the following:

  1. the purpose of each text
  2. how the interaction of speaker, audience, and subject affects the text
  3. the effectiveness of each text in accomplishing its purpose
Due: Thursday, Sept 15

Thursday, September 8, 2011


The cat can't get to the blog...
As we work through our introduction to rhetoric, please read the section of TLC (The Language of Composition -- the white book) entitled Arrangement that runs from page 13-25 and blog the assignment on page 26. It may seem longish, but it is simply explanation with example, rinse and repeat.
Tomorrow, we will present our posters, take the rhetorical vocab quiz, and run out of time for the rest of it, putting it off until Monday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Labor" Day

the last fling of summer...
I hope you enjoy this weekend and get out in that 80 degree bliss. On Tuesday we'll set up our Google accounts and Blogger blogs. Your first assignment on the blog will be in the TLC book. Read pages 10-11 and post the assignment at the top of page 12.

Take a look at the calendar as I've filled in some dates for next week (you're welcome, Lauren). I'll collect summer assignments on the 6th and
we'll be starting our SAT vocab soon after we have our rhetorical vocab quiz (see calendar).

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Einstein Letter

Read up through page 10 in the Language of Composition  and do the assignment that begins on page 9 for tomorrow.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Assignment

Taking AP English Language and Composition next year? Looking for the summer assignment? Follow this link: summer assignment! Enjoy your summer and I'll see you in September.

If you have had trouble accessing the Google Docs, try this site. It's old and I don't use it anymore, but I updated the Summer Assignment page to reflect the current assignment.

UPDATE: The Summer Assignment sheet says it is due on the 1st day of school. That was a remnant of past years and with school beginning prior to Labor Day, it will be due on Tuesday after the long weekend.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chapter 8 Questions

These are not required, but they are meant to stimulate your thinking about the chapter so we can have a more productive discussion Monday.

Please do not think that any and everything you say in a discussion must be "right". That isn't what discussion is for. It's NOT to show each other how smart we are. It is a place to build meaning together. No one has the full picture, but working together, we can discover more than we can on our own.

Again, these questions are not required, I simply told 3rd period I'd put up some questions to help them prepare so they could feel more confident. Don't forget the post below about your last bump assignment.
  1. How is the tone set for Chapter 8? 
  2. Interpret the simile “’Jay Gatsby’ had broken up like glass against Tom’s hard malice…” (Pg. 148/155) 
  3. Summarize the beginning of Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship, five years ago. 
  4. Why does Daisy give up on Gatsby? How does Gatsby learn of the relationship between Daisy and Tom? 
  5. In what ways can the letter from Daisy while Gatsby was at Oxford be considered Gatsby’s salvation? 
  6. After all that has taken place, how does Nick say he feels about Gatsby? What does he mean? Is he sincere? 
  7. In general, what is Nick’s attitude toward Gatsby? 
  8. What does Jordan do the morning following the accident? 
  9. What clues give Wilson the idea there is another man? 
  10. What conclusion does Wilson come to regarding his wife’s death? 
  11. Whom does Wilson associate with the yellow car? 
  12. What motif reappears in Chapter 8? What meaning is attributed to it? 
  13. Where does Wilson spend the day following Myrtle’s death? 
  14. Where do you think Wilson gets the information to track the car to Gatsby? Use evidence from the text. 
  15. How do we realize that Gatsby is no longer living in a dream and how is it foreshadowed who his killer may be? 
  16. How is Gatsby’s body discovered? 
  17. Why does no one find Gatsby earlier? 
  18. What do you suspect happened to Wilson?

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Final Bump

    Best flapper picture ever!
    Last semester we had This I Believe to provide a final boost. This term we have this.

    In The Great Gatsby it becomes clear that Fitzgerald has a particular view on the health of the American Dream. Engage with that view and based on your personal experience and any other sources you wish to consult, write a personal argument that defends, challenges, or qualifies Fitzgerald's fairly pessimistic view of the American Dream and our class mobility.

    Use the general requirements from the This I Believe post. Turn this in on the blog. I will not be looking for it on Google Docs.

    Due Wednesday June 15th.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    Final Study Guide

    Want the final study guide? Also, remember to read chapter 5 tonight. Be prepared to discuss it in the round.
    A lot of the handouts to study are here.

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011

    The Great Gatsby

    Reliable/unreliable narrators, the sweep and rush of the 1920's, and a devastatingly clear statement on the American Dream encompass much of what we will focus on as we read The Great Gatsby. Not to be overlooked in this novel is that it is gorgeously written.

    Those of you who had Grab, remember how she instructed you not to do your reading homework right before bed? You'll fall asleep. You'll miss a ton. Sticky-note this book. See what you can see and what you can put together.

    Tonight, read up to the bottom of page 15 where it says "Gatsby?" demanded Daisy. "What Gatsby?"

    If you're in 5th period or one of the 2 or 3 with the white book in 3rd, that ending line comes at about the middle of page 11.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    Pop Culture Research Paper

    Many of you have heard of the Junior Research Paper. You will be doing something slightly different. You will be writing a researched argument based on our work with synthesis papers that is focused on a general, educated audience. This will be a bit longer than your pop culture synthesis essay and require that you find and use credible outside sources. We’re going to do all of this BEFORE the end of May. (“Whew! You’ve GOT to be crazy, Mr. Giddings!” I can hear you saying it in your heads. Nah, if I were crazy, we’d read these papers at the next school board meeting while dancing around a May Pole juggling small woodland creatures. Thank God, I’m not crazy!)

    Your assignment is to write a researched response to prompt #3 from the Entering the Conversation section on page 787 of your textbooks. Since we spent half an hour discussing that prompt on Monday, I'm a bit concerned that some of you didn't know what the paper was about.

    • 1200 words long 
    • Full MLA format (see MLA OWL link to sample pages on the blog) 
    • Use at least three sources from the conversation section that corresponds to your topic 
    • Use at least 2 outside sources – acceptable sources include: 
      • Books (Google Books okay)
      • Reputable periodicals such as Harpers, The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Seattle Times, etc. 
      • Any ProQuest resource (see here for the login info
      • Other essays from our book outside the pop culture conversation section
      • The Merchants of Cool
      • Interviews with knowledgeable individuals
      • Many websites are questionable sources and Wikipedia is verboten. 
    Due June 3, 2011

    These papers will graded with the concerns of the AP synthesis rubric in mind, though since this is not a rough draft an increased emphasis will be placed on format and conventions.

    For the article about the brain and persuasion we discussed the other day, click here.

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Pop Culture - Remember that?

    In your books, do the last 4 essays of the pop culture conversation section and all the questions for them. Please blog your responses by Wednesday May 18th.
    We'll talk about our paper on Monday. Oh yeah, we'll talk about our "the AP test is over party" on Monday too. We'll have the party on Timed Write Tuesday for symbolic effect. :)

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Internet Personalization

    At all disturbed by The Merchants of Cool we began watching today? Beware the rise of the filter bubble. The following video is one of the TED talks and this one is particularly interesting. If you ever use Facebook or Google to stay in touch with people and the world around you, you should listen to this video. It's only 9 minutes. Take a look.

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    TV makes you smarter?! Bring it on!

    This weekend, read Watching TV Makes You Smarter on page 766 and do the questions on page 776. Maybe watch some TV. After all, the AP test is coming up. ;)

    By request, I'm identifying the grammar sections in the book that would be the most beneficial to you on the AP test. Those grammar sections are the ones in chapters 10 and 12-13. See the table of contents for page numbers. Look them over before the AP test and make sure you get it. I will take those grammar sections for extra credit up until May 20th.

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Any artists out there?

    Do any of you write poetry, short stories, or plays?  Do you take pictures? Do you paint or sculpt or something else?

    Mirror Magazine (available at Spring Fling) showcases the talents of FHS students. We would like to feature as wide a selection of student work as possible. If you'd like to be in the magazine, send your work to me (note it's for Mirror), email it to, or just give it to me.

    You don't have to be brilliant to be included in the magazine -- you just have to go to FHS.

    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Watching Mean Girls in AP? That is so fetch!

    Cady being groomed by her frenemies.
    Now that you have watched these cutouts of high school royalty crash through their school creating angst-filled drama wherever they go, it’s time to analyze what’s going on.

    Remember the rhetorical triangle, context, and purpose. Though several Saturday Night Live alums have roles in the movie, Tina Fey (she wrote the screenplay) takes the film far beyond the typical SNL star vehicle (way deeper, but not nearly so funny as Tommy Boy). What is she doing in relation to the Denby article? How does this movie fit in with what we’ve read? Go beyond matching up characteristics of the movie to the article to real rhetorical analysis.

    Your homework this weekend is to write a blog post analyzing this film in the terms discussed above. Have fun!

    Check out this analysis review framework for Monday too.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Show and Tell

    To practice working with visual texts, read the graphic essay beginning on page 737 of TLC and blog the questions 1-8 on page 737.

    For those interested in story, check this out! I want it as a poster!

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Timed Writes and the AP Test

    Tuesday 3/19 we will do an analysis timed write. The original plan was to do one of each analysis and argument over the next two weeks. We are doing analysis first just in case the class decides they want more practice at analysis before the test (it has been a little while). Regardless, when we have our practice test, you'll write an argument, an analysis, and a synthesis.

    As we get closer to the test, please communicate to me where you feel unprepared and we can spend some time on it. I have plans, but we can be flexible.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    High School Confidential

    For Monday, blog the Rhetoric and Style questions 3-7; 9-12 on page 715. If anyone has the time and inclination, watch Election and report back to the class. Is it as good as Denby says it is?

    Remember that we will be registering for next year's classes on Monday. We'll meet in the room and head over to the computer lab where Mrs. Johnson will guide you through registering with the Career Cruising software.

    5th period: I am sick and tired of talking over you. This is possibly the most disrespectful class I've had. If you do not find a mature place to operate from next week, you will have the dubious honor of becoming my first AP class with a seating chart. One of your classmates believes I should use junior high classroom management strategies with you and is all right if I can't trust this class to use the executive functions in your brains to moderate your behavior. If you can't get it together, I will start writing individuals up and calling home to parents. And I will make sure you have so much to do after the AP test that you have no time to screw around. I'm sure we can find something else to do with the end of the week besides watch a movie to pair with this essay.

    Chris, you left your book in the classroom. It's in the library now (we checked it in to find out whose it was).

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    For Friday

    Don't forget that Grammar Chapter 7 on p. 420 and following is due Friday.

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Ever feel a bit dumb? Who hasn't? Don't despair!!!

    Intelligence isn't static. The brain operates a bit like a muscle that gets stronger the more work it gets. If you haven't already figured that out just by working hard in school, the article above should help explain it.

    Oddly enough, sleep and exercise both improve the brain's functions. Go figure. If you're interested in learning more about how the brain works and how you can make yours work better, I recommend checking out Brain Rules.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Third Period

    You do not have this assignment sheet yet. You need it. Notice you wrote on the 3rd option last night.

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    That Assertive Angel

    For your homework, blog your response to the following prompt:

    Assertion Journal: The Angel in the House

    Defend, challenge, or qualify the following assertion noting the complexity of the issue and acknowledging any possible objections to your point of view: the angel in the house is dead and no longer lives in the imaginations of either women or men.

    Remember to explain the assertion, provide support for your position, and address the counterargument.   Responses should be 250-350 words.

    Friday, March 18, 2011

    I Want a Wife

    Mr. Mom: 1983
    If you were out singing or jamming away (do they sing on the bus on band trips?), we went over our grammar (sorry you missed that, eh?) and read I Want A Wife. Please read that short, short article before Monday.

    I hope you all had a great trip.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Notes on the AP Synthesis Prompt

    Synthesis Reminders from the book
    2010 Notes

    2011 Notes on the AP Synthesis Prompt
    Below are the synthesis notes posted to your respective blogs.

    3rd Period

    Summertime, Summertime, Sum-Sum-Summertime! (Summer and...?)

    • Using many of the sources given, or at least the required amount.
    • Addressing the prompt correctly.
    • Developing a position and making sure that position is clear.
    • Provide other backround information.
    • Address the sources and expand on them.
    • Answer "so what?"
    • Don't over-use the sources.
    • Don't summarize.
    • Unrecognizable thesis.
    • Misunderstanding the sources.
    • Not citing the sources used.
    • Not developing a position.
    • Not using any of the sources.
    • Not following a thesis.
    • Under-developed points for the argument.
    • Being too simplistic.
    • Using the sources smoothly rather then "plopping" them.
    • Thesis discusses the complexity of the issues.
    • The explanation of the context is clear to the reader.
    • Not getting overwhelmed by the sources used.
    • The conclusion addresses what the reader should continue to think about instead of summarizing the paper.

    Nightrider, Kit, and the Three Amigos (McCrea, Stephanie, Madison, Cori)

    What makes a good essay?
    -Complex thesis (acknowledging both sides of the argument)
    -Form/Develop a position (clear and strong)
    -Understanding the sources and explaining the signifacance of each to the thesis
    -Relating author of sources to their position
    -Give your own opinion, not just the authors' opinion
    -Combine your argument with the authors' but make sure yours is the main focus

    What to avoid:
    -overwhelming the reader with sources
    -replacing your argument with the sources
    -plopping quotes
    -summarizing sources
    -misunderstanding sources
    -large quotes without commentary
    -simplifying sources
    -repetative conclusions/summary
    -abrupt transitions

    -Use specific data if available
    -Take time to analyze sources and plan exactly what information you want to include
    -Use sophisticated language

    The Boys Are Back in Town (Chris, Will, Mark, and Luke)

    1.What makes a good essay?
    • They contextualise the issue at hand for readers
    • Cite at least three sources
    • effectively supports their position by effectively synthesizing
    • thesis establishes a position
    • Recognizes the complexity of the prompt
    • sources enhance argument
    2.What to avoid?
    • Over using sources
    • failing to cite sources
    • repetitive conclusions
    • lapses in diction and syntax
    • summerizing sources
    • sources replace argument
    • use many type of information to support your argument
    • develope your ideas with facts
    • cite or refer to anecdotes
    • cite quantitative data
    • cite an expert testimony
    • keep your position central
    • analyze the rhetorical situation in order to determine what is appropriate when it comes to sources
    • be sure to use good hand writting [sic]

    Park Place (Ashley and ...?)

    What makes a good essay?
    Cite your sources.
    Make a position and support it.
    Don't steal the sources argument. Use their points to support yours.
    Use quotes, don't paraphrase.
    Use three or more sources unless, try two difference sources per paragraph.
    Use whole quotes or at least edit them so they're not so long
    Avoid repetition and oversimplification
    Be careful of in-formalities
    Read the prompt more than once and makes sure you read it correctly.
    If you're going to use big words, know how to use them and how to spell them.
    Multi-faceted argument.

    Nicole and Riley's Synthesis

    What makes a good essay?
    -Cite your sources
    -Make sure the quotes blend in and make sense
    -Choose a side in the argument
    -Quotes support side

    What to avoid?
    -Quotes from source are too long
    -Not citing your sources (plagiarism)
    -Misquoting source
    -Abrupt transitions

    -Using sources smoothly
    -Citing sources
    -Use facts and data

    5th Period

    D is for Dynamite! (Paola, Jessica, Dency)

    1. The use of not only language control but also the effective use of sources and clearly choosing a side to create your own argument is the way you successful get a higher score on your essay.  They have to efficiently stay on topic throughout the entire paper and provide good conclusions.  To go from a 5 to a 6, the essay has to be a little more organized and it has to to have more thought behind it.
    2. A lower essay is very simplistic in not only their use of sources but also the vocabulary.  They use sources, but they oversimplify them and simply summarize them.  They tend to sway back and forth between arguments.
    3. You can have a higher score by creating a general outline with a thesis, not oversimplifying, and having a general idea of what sources you should use.

    The 3 question thing in class (Dalton, Yusuke, Dustin, Kelin, Chris)

    1.) What makes a good synthesis essay?
    -  Sophisticated argument with synthesis of sources

    a.) 5 to a 6?
    -  You must connect your sources to your argument better

    b.) 6 to a 7 or 8?
    -  More complete, purposeful arguments and synthesis of sources.  Convincing argument.

    2.)  What are characteristics of a lower essay?
    -  Off topic, tangent, incorrect or amount of sources, not taking a position, misunderstanding, lack of control.

    a.) Pitfalls you should avoid?
    -  tangents, not citing sources, summarizing.

    3.)  What are some strategies that you could employ to achieve success?
    -  Plan before you write, answer every question on the multiple choice portion, annotate text before you start writing.

    Narwhal Notes from "The ADD Class" (Kelli, Bryce, Mac, and Delaney)

    What makes a good synthesis essay?
    -Short quotes from the sources. Lengthy quotes are bad.
    -Use sources logically. If it doesn't support your point, don't use it!
    -Have a clear thesis. A quote from another source is not a thesis.
    -You can use the points made in sources, but you need to focus on your own.
    -Make a clear connection between sources and thesis.
    -Show that you have an advanced understanding of what the sources actually mean.

    What makes a lower synthesis essay? (Things to avoid)
    -Do not just "plop" quotes. Explain why they are relevant and how they support your argument.
    -As with any essay, do not write extremely long and overly complex sentences
    -Do not just summarize the sources! Make your own!
    -Avoid misinterpreting the sources

    What are some strategies to achieve success on the AP test?
    -Budget time wisely between all three essays. Leave the best for last.
    -On multiple choice, if you don't know it, leave it for last!
    -Stay on topic! In all three essays, going off on a tangent will not benefit you!
    -Waste as little time as possible reading the prompts. But do not just skim it; misinterpreting the prompt leads to horrible failure.

    The Dark Side has Cookies. What you got? (Natalie, Brooke, Shanice, and Megan)
    1. Interact with the sources, develops their own argument rather than paraphrase the articles, more fully developed argument, good voice and development of argument, officiant language, contains enough evidence of more-than-adequate synthesis, and have direct citations.
    2. Does not directly cite the sources, summarizes what the article say instead of creating an original their own argument, does not develop a unique position , writes a comparison/contrast essay of the articles, does not conclude their statements/argument, oversimplifies the argument, does not have control over writing style, inadequate response to the topic, abrupt transitions between paragraphs, quality of argument is uneven.
    3. Don't just summarize, go in-depth and explain fully, develop your own argument, be careful when citing and quoting from the provided text.
    Arrows point you in the right(?) direction (Olivia, Grace, Monica, Jasmine, Alicia, Montana)

    1. what makes for a good synthesis essay?
    - sophisticated in their argument & synthesis of sited sources
    - effectively support decision
    - site atleast 3 sources
    - they don't merely summarize issue

    2. what are the characteristics of a lower essay?
    - overwhelmed by sources
    - summarize instead of making own argument
    - have no recognizable thesis/weak
    - sources not always sited
    - writer misunderstands/misquotes sources
    - large direct quotes without any commentary or explantation

     (Grace's arrows)

    3. what are some strategies that you could employ to achieve success on the AP test?
    - contextualize the issue
    - thesis is complex
    - go beyond citing sources and begin developing argument
    - flowing argument that clearly states pount in argument
    - best essays don't just summarize whole essay, they answer question "so what?"