Friday, December 18, 2015


You have a rewrite opportunity over break.


If you want to do it, you can pick either Metacognition or JFK and rewrite it to improve your grade. DO NOT submit something with just a few grammar corrections. Don't waste my time or yours.

  • the logical progression overall and within each paragraph
  • the use of evidence
  • the depth and insightfulness of your analysis/commentary
  • your voice
Use the writing links on the blog (look to the left and maybe scroll down a bit -- I don't think the links show up on the mobile version) to improve your writing and introduction and conclusion. 

Your original with my comments MUST remain intact. I MUST see the original to compare what you have done, or I will not accept it. 


Make a copy. From the original document, choose File/Make a Copy. Retitle it the same as the original with the tag Revision. You will turn this in by sharing it with me. 


Have a wonderful break!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Inheritance of Tools

Blog for Monday. Have a great weekend!!
  1. What is Sander's most engaging example of powerful diction? Explain why you think so. 
  2. Note 2 examples of Sander's use of parallel structures.
  3. Consider the organization of the essay, noting particularly the section about the gerbils (paragraphs 17-25). How does that section contribute to the overall effect?
  4. Discuss the significance of the gerbil section to the conclusion, which immediately follows.
  5. Read paragraph 20. Explain the purpose of Sander's reference to the grand events included there.
  6. Explain the rhetorical effect of the allusions that Sanders includes in paragraph 25.
  7. Read carefully the final sentence of the essay. Discuss the effectiveness of concluding with this selection of details.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Once More to the Lake

For many of us, E.B. White is in our imaginations through Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. He excelled at creating worlds for his readers, and in this piece we begin to see why.
We're going to get to know this essay pretty well over the next week along with Inheritance of Tools. Reading it and briefly discussing it in class today was a first salvo into that knowledge. The next step is to blog your answers to the following questions by Wednesday:
  1. Characterize White’s attitude in the opening paragraphs.
  2. Note White’s selection of details in paragraphs 1-6. Indicate a specific example and explain its effect.
  3. Indicate three or four examples of figurative language and discuss their purpose. 
  4. Identify at least one appeal to each of the five senses and explain the effect on each.
  5. Discuss the rhetorical purpose served by paragraph 10.
  6. Discuss the effect of the specificity of the details in paragraph 11. 
  7. The concluding sentence of the penultimate paragraph begins with “And.” What is the effect of beginning that way?
  8. Discuss the nature of the final image of the essay. What rhetorical purpose does it serve?
  9. Read the essay a second time and count the “and”s in it. Discuss the effect of their use.
If you were absent or need another copy of the essay, here it is: Once More to the Lake.

Secondly, there is a wistful cadence to this piece that makes it rather endearing and a bit haunting. Exploring that a bit, 

Note/Mark your favorite passage. This could be one you find especially well written, or it could be one that interests you for some reason (feature, subject, etc.). You don't have to put this on the blog, but be prepared to talk about it.
Be prepared to explain your favorite passage to the class on Thursday and to be asked to explain more if your comments stay on the surface.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hunger of Memory

Your task is this:
  1. Read the excerpt of Richard Rodriguez's Hunger of Memory.

  2. Write a reading response to Hunger of Memory on your blog. Use the guide linked in this post (it's also on page 33 of your AP Lang Handbook).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Wrong Answer

Finish reading the article entitled Wrong Answer in our Class Edit folder on Google Drive. Then make 3 comments. The comment types should be:

  1. Comment on how the author is making his appeal to his audience (a comment on his rhetorical strategies)
  2. Comment on the subject of his argument. Is there  a point your disagree with? Why? Agree with? Why?
  3. A reply to someone else's comment. What can you add to their observation to further the discussion about this article?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Education the Emerson Way

This is not due until Thursday when we will discuss this in class, so though it is a lot, you have 2 days.

Read Emerson's On Education on page 102 of The Language of Composition (TLC). In order to get a solid understanding of what he is on about, do Questions for Discussion on page 108 numbers 1, 3, and 5 on your blog. Once you're done with that, it'll be 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, 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 Tuesday evening (due Wednesday October 23). We'll discuss this in class on Wednesday, unless I'm miraculously somehow able to find time to grade your timed writes before class on Wednesday.

For some all-important context, please see this transcendentalism article from the Stanford website, quoted in part below.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, and Theodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, the Biblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism of Hume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era was at hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each person find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists, were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, and Walden; and, by the 1850s in an increasingly urgent critique of American slavery. 
Goodman, Russell, "Transcendentalism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).

Friday, October 16, 2015

Superman and Me

Today in class we read Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie. Reread this short piece paying special attention to the syntax and the rhythm of the language.

Please blog your answers to questions 1-4; 6-7. Hint: questions 5 and 6 will help you answer the slightly more vague directions above.

This is a short piece. Read it again. Remember as you analyze to focus first on the details and use them to reveal the big picture, then when you write (if we were writing an essay on this -- don't freak out; we're not), start with the big picture and explain it using the small details.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Toxophilus Unleashed!

Read pages 35-48 in the TLC book (read carefully for understanding, not for completion) and apply one of the techniques enumerated therein (pp. 40-46) 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 Wednesday in class (have the reading done for Tuesday!).

Remember we have TWT tomorrow!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Rhetorical Einstein

Even geniuses like to ride bikes!
In the Language of Composition book (the TLC book), read pages 6-10 and do the assignment on pages 9-10 for tomorrow

You should do this assignment on the blog. That means you create a new post titled with the assignment title and with your response in the blog body. If you have given me your blog address, I will get your assignment. If you haven't, I won't. Remember to hit "Publish" or it won't get to me.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

We Be Bloggin'

This year, you will turn in your daily type home work assignments on your blog and your larger process papers on Google Docs. In order to get going, you need to set up a blog. If you are technically adept or adventurous and like being a tad ahead of the curve, you can try and set your blog up early.

To do so, log into your Fife Schools account and from the top bar, choose More and then Blogger. Follow the prompts to set up your blog from there. It can be called whatever you want and you can play with the design to your heart's content, but remember that this is a school class blog you will use for AP English Lang this year and likely for AP English Lit next year. 

Setting your blog up early is not required. We will take time as a class to do this. Please do take some time to familiarize yourself with my blog. It has a lot of resources available for you in the links on the left and in Class Documents.

Also, please do not be alarmed or feel disoriented if my blog design changes. That will happen every so often.

Also check out the SAT prep at

Thursday, September 3, 2015

10 Questions

Bring your responses to these ten questions in tomorrow (Friday, September 4th). Like all assignments, they should be headed in MLA format.

  1. What is one of the most adventurous things you’ve ever done?
  2. What’s the furthest place you’ve ever been from your current home?
  3. What is something you like about yourself?
  4. What’s your favorite story (book or movie)?
  5. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?
  6. What is one thing you wish you had more time for in your life?
  7. When you are not at school, what do you spend most of your time doing?
  8. Name your most prized possession.
  9. If you could only listen to one genre/type of music for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  10. Think about the best class you’ve ever been in. What made that class different?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Ahhhh, Summer!

Welcome to AP English Language and Composition!

We have a summer assignment. Don't worry; it's not too onerous. It's a little reading, a little thinking, and a little writing. Be thoughtful, but don't make it more than it is. Follow the link above for instructions and materials. Have a wonderful summer and I'll see you on September 3rd!

If you have questions, please feel free to email me!

NOTE: The summer assignment link sends you to a folder with pdf files hosted by Google Drive. You can view them in your browser, but I strongly suggest downloading the Huck Finn articles to your computer and either printing them or opening them from your computer. The browser interface won't allow you to rotate the articles (they are scanned from a book and are flipped on their side). One student told me she had a hard time reading them as it was uncomfortable to turn her head. ;) You have other options!

What's a picture of the Roman Colosseum doing on this page?

Our last trip was to England and Paris! Next summer we are going to two of the most important cradles of Western Civilization: Greece (Athens, Delphi, etc.) and Italy (Florence & Rome!). If you are interested in joining us, sign up for the trip at

About half the crew on the banks of the Thames

Thursday, May 7, 2015

APUSH Test Format

Format of Assessment
Section I - Part A: Multiple Choice | 55 Questions | 55 Minutes | 40% of Exam Score
  • Questions appear in sets of 2-5.
  • Students analyze historical texts, interpretations, and evidence.
  • Primary and secondary sources, images, graphs, and maps are included.
Section I - Part B: Short Answer | 4 Questions | 50 Minutes | 20% of Exam Score
  • Questions provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know best.
  • Some questions include texts, images, graphs, or maps.
Section II - Part A: Document Based | 1 Question | 55 Minutes | 25% of Exam Score
  • Analyze and synthesize historical data.
  • Assess written, quantitative, or visual materials as historical evidence.
Section II - Part B: Long Essay | 1 Question | 35 Minutes | 15% of Exam Score
  • Students select one question among two.
  • Explain and analyze significant issues in U.S. history.
  • Develop an argument supported by an analysis of historical evidence.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Plagiarism Certificate

Here is the link for the test:

BEFORE you take the test, work through the xamples: They have 5 examples for word-for-word plagiarism and 5 for paraphrase plagiarism. Go through at least one or two each in depth before taking the tests. Pay careful attention to the details of what makes something plagiarism or not. If you don't, you may as well just take the test and guess, but I assure you that students who have done that in the past have only met with frustration. You don't have to review all 5 of each unless you're struggling to understand.

If you have taken the test too many times and they shut you out, clear your browser history and you'll look like a new visitor (make sure you're clearing the cookies too--that's what the site uses to identify your computer). When you complete it, please email the certificate to me. Make sure your name is associated with it. also has explanations if you're having trouble getting it from the Indiana University site. They also have a nice, fairly concise explanation of how to prevent plagiarism in your essays:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Merchants of Cool

Today in class we are watching Merchants of Cool as part of our pop culture synthesis essay preparation. If you are gone, this is the link to watch it online.

You may be aware that Frontline recently did a follow-up video to Merchants of Cool called Generation Like. It is here if you'd like a follow-up.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Credit Wizard

If you're trying to figure out what AP test scores are worth at different colleges, this tool might help you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Beauty and Meaning in the Quotidian

In paragraph 15 of Annie Dillard’s “The Stunt Pilot”, she suggests that beauty is often more likely discovered in the quotidian than in the extraordinary. Closely tied to that beauty is the meaning that we find in life as well. Considering Annie Dillard’s “Death of a Moth” and “The Stunt Pilot” as well as Virginia Woolf’s “Death of the Moth,” write a well organized essay in which you defend, challenge, or qualify that suggestion. Use whatever evidence you consider appropriate to support your argument. 

Please note that the prompt says to consider those three essays. That means that you should think about them and what you might learn from them as a means of informing your understanding. It does NOT mean you must use any part of those three essays as support in your essay.

Length: 650 words +/- 10%
Due: February 20, 2015
Other Requirements: MLA style, awesome writing, strong development, general AP rubric stuff. I’ll attach an AP Lang Argument Goobric to it when grading.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AP Semester Final Study Guide

Version: Winter 2014-15
Primary Study Points
Argument Stasis Questions (Packet p 87ff)
  1.  Fact
  2. Value
  3. Policy
Be able to evaluate a claim and decide the type of argument it necessitates
Aristotelian Triangle
Toulmin (See blog Class Info and Resources/Rhetorical Analysis Tools/Toulmin Model)

·         Know definitions and model
Be able to read a passage and identify what they are talking about, the effect of various rhetorical techniques, the tone, the style, authorial intent, underlying assumptions, etc. Essentially the stuff we’ve been doing all year. If you can answer the blog questions without undue stress, and you seem to get it when we talk about the timed write passages, you should be fine.

There’s more I could ask about, such as thesis types, organizational patterns and their benefits in different situations, and the like. The final was getting kind of long though, so I stopped asking questions. J

Thursday, January 15, 2015

This I Believe

Your This I Believe essay is due on Monday January 20th. You will need a hard copy for yourself as well as leaving a copy in the assigned file is your class google folder. As this is a radio show staple, it will be presented aloud. Here are the requirements adapted from the This I Believe submission page (I encourage you to submit them to This I Believe if you wish).
Keep the following in mind when you write your essay:
1.    Limit your essay to 350-500 words.
2.    Describe an event that shaped your beliefs or a person who inspired them.
3.    Avoid sermons and editorials—no soapbox declamations, please!
4.    Read more of the This I Believe essay-writing tips.

You can peruse multiple examples at Often the ones put on the radio are a bit better, but not necessarily so.

Andrea Kang's (Class of 2009) This I Believe essay. They re-posted it from its original posting so all of the comments are gone, but her essay is there.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Position Paragraph (or two)

Take a position on one of the issues raised by the Charlie Hebdo incident. Support your position with evidence from your life, your observations, and/or your reading. Make sure your position is clearly defined in a thesis statement. Don't hem and haw.  Below are pictures of the board from your observations and another article you might find helpful.
3rd period

5th period
Here's a Washington Post editorial you might find helpful: