Friday, October 7, 2016

I know why the caged bird can't's a bird.

Over the next few days, we will be looking again at this essay. I urge you to read it again before Monday. If you felt lost or like her argument was just that students don't get lame high school English books, you especially may want to read it again as it may take you some time to come to grips with her argument. On Monday, we will be working in groups on questions 1-3, and 5-10 of the Questions on Rhetoric and Style on page 100. This will also go on your blog.

The Graff template write-up of this due on Monday on your blog.

Good luck finishing your essays! Remember, they are due Saturday at 11:59, not tonight.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What was he thinking?

Having read Thinking as a Hobby, consider the different ways that the statuettes are positioned. Golding is pretty clear that their positioning indicates a philosophy of life held by he or the headmaster at various points in time. Think about the elements symbolized by these three statuettes: the thinker, the leopard, and the Venus de Milo.

Your task is to lay out the three different arrangements from the essay. Then explain what each arrangement means in the context of the article.  What philosophy does each arrangement represent?

I would contend he reveals more about himself than perhaps he meant to in the final arrangement. What might he have revealed that he did not intend?

Please blog your writing on this.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Students of the World

Doing well in AP Lang as well as life requires that you become a student of the world. Part of that entails reading and thinking about a wide range of ideas and issues. Reading in a generous, curious, and open-minded manner that allows you to learn and grow. Beware of reading in a way that simply deepens ruts, whether those be partisan, personal, or institutional. Read in a way to stretch yourself and to understand the world around you.

Don't be afraid to read things you think you may disagree with. Aristotle once said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Grow an educated mind.

To help us accomplish this, I've set up a Google Classroom that is private to us. There you can post things you've read. Articles, book summaries, poems, whatever. Seek out material that stretches you. Read material educated adults read such as the Atlantic, Harpers, the Washington Post, the New York Times, etc. Read what others post. Comment on the ideas in those articles. Discuss them with each other. Become students of the world.

There is a link in the upper right to Classroom. You have all been invited to join (see your school email or just go to, log in using your school Google account, and accept the invitation). You all have posting and commenting permissions. There are Google Classroom apps available in both the Play and App stores and Classroom is available online as well.

Get started.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Patterns of Development

Read pages 13-26 in the TLC book. Do the assignment on page 26 on your blog.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rhetorical Einstein

Even geniuses like to ride bikes!
In the Language of Composition book (the TLC book), read pages 1-10 and do the assignment on pages 9-10 for tomorrow.

Bring this in on paper. We will try to get our blogs set up in the next day or two.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Looking Deeper

Look at the article from Friday in terms of these three images. What is behind the author's words, opinions, fears, etc? What is the iceberg behind this essay? Write your thoughts about this on the actual essay or on an attached sheet if you don't have room.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ahhhh, Summer Reading!

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!

Why is there a picture of Ireland on this page? 

Because you have the opportunity to go to Ireland, Wales, and England over Spring Break this coming year!!! Click here for more information!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Destruction of Culture

You are working with the Chromebooks today to research pop culture artifacts from the past 15 years that help justify war, but “destroy culture”. There may be some intermittent discussion, but I don’t expect a ton. Some of you may need to talk out some options before you feel confident to proceed, but this is primarily an individual assignment.

Post your artifact and analysis of how that artifact connects to Chris Hedges’ argument in The Destruction of Culture to your blog.

This analysis should be 1-2 paragraphs. I'm looking at you Alyssa. Be clear and complete. Don't oversimplify, but keep is relatively short.

If you have not already turned in your prompt deconstruction packet, do so. I'll be by on my way home to pick them up.

Have a wonderful Spring Break! 

Note: When we return, we will have 27 school days before the AP Exam. It's go time!

On that note, the synthesis timed write Mrs. Dale will give you is optional but HIGHLY recommended that you do it over break. Give yourself 55 uninterrupted minutes. Set it aside for a while. Then go back to it and evaluate it as best you can. We'll discuss them when we get back.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Be verwy quwiet...we're hunting elephants

Correction: This is what you're doing in class tomorrow with the sub.
Get started on your essay Tuesday in class. Pick a prompt and treat it like a timed write. Write like mad for 40-45 minutes, and then presto you'll have a rough rough draft. :)  

Choose one of the following prompts for your argument essay.

Option 1
Shooting an Elephant concludes: And afterwards I was very glad that the coolie had been killed; it put me legally in the right and it gave me a sufficient pretext for shooting the elephant. I often wondered whether any of the others grasped that I had done it solely to avoid looking a fool.” Orwell implies that such petty and selfish reasons, if we are honest enough to admit it, often drive our actions. Write an essay in which you argue for or against Orwell’s position concerning human motives. Support your essay with evidence from your reading, observation, and experience.

Option 2
Early in the second paragraph of the piece Orwell’s narrator says, “Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British.” And he concludes the same paragraph: “Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.” With these qualifiers, Orwell suggests that a duplicity accompanies authority, a difference between the expression of the public and the private self. Write an essay in which you defend, challenge, or qualify that position regarding human expression. Refer to your reading, observation, or experience to support your position.

Option 3
In paragraph 7 Orwell observes that “when the white man turns tyrant it is his own freedom that he
This might not be a rubbish van, but this van is now rubbish. 
destroys,” and that “He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” Consider the implications of these statements concerning human nature. Write an essay in which you support, refute, or qualify Orwell’s paradox and metaphor. Refer to your reading, observation, or experience to support your position.

Vital Statistics
Due March 3, 2016
750 words (2-3 pages)
MLA format required

Remember that this is an argument paper. You are not analyzing the essay per se, but arguing a position about a broader issue raised in the essay.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wait. Why did he shoot that elephant?

Ha! You thought he was going to get shot
 not take a shot, didn't you?
After reading Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell, please blog your answers to the five questions on page 985 of your TLC (The Language of Composition) books.

We will do more with this essay in class tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Joy 101

The joy of learning is as indispensable in study
as breathing is in running . -Simone Weil
Take the article Joy: A Subject Schools Lack by Susan Engel and write a paragraph-level response. Your response should include your claim (position) clearly stated, evidence to back up your claim, an acknowledgement of the counter-argument, and a rebuttal. How are you going to make sure it's all there? Well, use the following template* created by Dr. Kathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff to write your response. Post this response to your blog and have a great break!

The general argument made by author X in her/his work, _______________, is that _______________. More specifically, X argues that _______________. She/he writes, “ _______________.” In this passage, X is suggesting that _______________. In conclusion, X’s belief is that _______________.

In my view, X is wrong/right, because _______________. More specifically, I believe that _______________. For example, ___________. Although X might object that __________, I maintain that _______________. Therefore, I conclude that _______________.

*Yes, you have to use this template even if you will otherwise have all the elements there.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fallacious D

Hasty conclusion like toy balloon: easy blow up, easy pop.
–Charlie Chan at the Race Track 

  • The "Spot Fallacies" packet by Jay Heinrichs 
  • Language of Composition ed. 2 packet pgs. 97-109 
1) In order to augment the reading from our packets, research the following fallacies here* and 2) then research and find 7 examples of real life fallacies that fit into categories from the "Spot Fallacies" packet (summarized on the final 2 pages, but discussed throughout the packet). 3) Put those examples on your blog, but don't label them. Remember what they are, because we will talk about them in class and try to figure out what you've chosen. They can be images, video clips, texts, etc.

Side note: Beware of the "Spot Fallacies" author's alternate naming conventions as they are different than what most everyone else uses.
Look familiar?
  • Begging the Question
  • Slippery Slope
  • False Dilemma
  • Post Hoc
  • Biased Sample
  • Gambler’s Fallacy
  • Hasty Generalization
  • Ad Hominem
  • Straw Man
  • Tu Quoque
  • Red Herring
* Use the  Nizkor Project site and this site as well as your readings to help with this task.

I know many of these were mentioned in your reading as well, but it doesn't hurt to get some more information about them. I also know this is a lot of reading, but this task will be done over 2 class periods.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

To Do on Friday

William Hazlitt: a self portrait
These are as they were written for the sub. It's getting late and I want to go home, so I'm not going to change the voice to fit you as the audience. Perhaps it can be a sneaky object lesson in how a misplaced voice can fall flat. ;)

  • Please take roll
  • Distribute the prompt
  • Have a student read the  prompt and the passage to the class, but DO NOT DISCUSS OR COMMENT ON IT YET.
  • Give students 15 minutes to write the best, most insightful paragraph they can responding to the prompt. They should shoot for 10 sentences. Some will do more, some less, but shoot for 10 really good sentences addressing the prompt.
  • In small groups, they will read their paragraphs to each other. Read the actual words; do NOT just paraphrase.
  • Discuss what people in the  group wrote. What insights into the passage did the group make? What is still needed to understand the passage and effectively and clearly  address the prompt?
  • We’ll debrief on Monday. Have them keep their paragraphs; I will want to see them on Monday.

No homework!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

This I Believe

Your This I Believe essay is due at the beginning of class on Thursday Jan 14th. You will need two copies, one for me and one for you. 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 400-600 words (3 minutes).
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.

We'll begin presenting on Thursday. Please post to your blog and bring a copy for you.