Thursday, November 16, 2017

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 in the link above or on page 42 of your AP Lang Handbook.

Monday, September 25, 2017

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.

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

Due Tuesday in class.

Monday, September 18, 2017

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 Golding 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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

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.

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.

Then (this part is important) send me the address to your blog. NOT the address to the dashboard of your blog, but the web address to actually view your blog. Without this, I'll never see your hard work, and the grade book will fill up with sad little zeros. :(

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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

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 6th!

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!

Spring Break Travel
I will be leading a trip this spring break to Italy, France, and Spain. We use an educational tour company called Explorica to guide us and take care of all the details so we can explore and have fun.
So, if you would like to spend your spring break abroad seeing the sites in Rome, wandering the charming streets of Florence, holding up the Tower of Pisa, walking along the French Riviera, and exploring the eclectic wonders of Barcelona, then check out this trip!

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Great Gatsby Bookblog

For each chapter, you need to create a bookblog[1] entry that includes the following features:
  •          1 textual observation[2] on a theme in the novel, either how it is functioning for a particular character/situation or how it figures into Fitzgerald’s argument in the novel. Possible themes include: the corrupting influence of wealth, the hollowness of the upper class and of the American Dream. Also interesting to explore would be the question of the character of love and its worth, for example, what is worth doing or giving up for love?
  •         1 textual observation on character development
  •          1 textual observation about the use of symbol, metaphor, or color (color in terms of symbolism, meaning, etc)

You may find that a dialectical journal format works well for this, though I leave form up to you as long as it contains the elements listed above.

20 points a piece

Please use a common naming scheme for these: "Chapter 1 bookblog" and so on.

[1] A bookblog is a booklog done on your blog.  I have no idea if it’s a real word; I made it up one morning several years ago.  I do not claim originality though.  I imagine it’s been coined before.  J
[2] For the purpose of this assignment, textual observation refers to an analytical comment rooted in a specific text. Please provide the page number and include the actual text if possible (sometimes it is too long).  There are a number of sites that contain the full text of The Great Gatsby.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Bird and the Machine

  1. Blog your answers to the Questions on Rhetoric and Style on page 608 (there are 9 of them). 
  2. Using your answer to question 9 and our close read of the last two sections of the text on Friday (I know we didn't finish, but hopefully our discussion will allow you to see more than you already saw in your individual/partner close reads), write a short reflection on what the relationship between humanity and science & technology is and should be.
Sadly, Ex Machina, the movie Jalyn and I were talking about, is not available to stream on Netflix, but if you have Amazon Prime, it is included in your Prime subscription.

Check out and look through the prompt options so you can be thinking a bit about the issues you may want to write about.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Women's Brains

As we wrestle with the unpleasant, but important to understand Women's Brains by Stephen Jay Gould, work on the Rhetoric and Style questions 1-12 on pages 354-55 of the TLC book as well as the Discussion Question #1. They are due Thursday.

As you work with this essay, think about the implications of the ideas in the essay -- both those of Gould and of those he quoted. Are there echoes of those ideas alive and kicking today? How? When? Where? To what extent? ;) Append a brief reflection on those questions at the end of questions 1-12.

Next week we'll look at some more gender themed stuff while also hitting the test prep with another timed write and more multiple choice.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Surgeon as Priest

Your homework for Monday is twofold:
  1. Blog answers to the eight Exploring the Text questions on page 204.
  2. Get some sleep as Daylight Savings is extracting its revenge this weekend. Monday is a practice Synthesis FRQ that will take the entire period. Come on in, get out a pen and paper, and get ready to ruuuummmmmbllllllllle!

Friday, February 3, 2017


These are the claims each class identified from the text. Spend a bit of time thinking about these in terms of the article and in general in terms of our society. Be prepared to discuss, even if you don't usually talk.

Period 2
  • Self-governance is more essential than governance itself. (par. 5)
  • The press is a serious entity and should focus on real life, not fantasy.
  • The public needs hard information in order to self-govern.
  • The need to make money sometimes leads the media to sacrifice truth for what their audience wants to hear.
  • The American press has often been powerful and sometimes feared.
  • The marketplace can be the ally rather than the enemy of a strong, free media.

Period 3
  • Self-governance is more essential than governance itself. (Value)
  • The press should be a serious member of the media family. (Policy)
  • The need for public news has been a cornerstone of America’s system almost from the start. (Fact)
  • Abraham Lincoln articulated this content most succinctly (value) when he said, “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”  (Policy)
  • The issue of whether a free press is the best communications solution in a democracy is much too important at the close of this century (fact) and needs to be examined dispassionately. (Policy)
  • The choices (media choices) may be larger, but a case can be made that they are not deeper. (Value)
  • For the public to believe the press, their product must be credible. (Value) (Fact)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

News Bias Analysis

 Where we get our news seems to matter more and more. Many people, like my dad, live in news bubbles of questionable or downright low quality driven by partisan fervor and advertising profits. To be an educated person in our increasingly fractured society requires that we understand what the news landscape looks like and how the various entities form their arguments.

Your task is this:

  • Pick a news story that will have been reported on and discussed across the spectrum.
  • Read about that from one or more mainstream sources.
  • Then read about it in one or more partisan sources on each side.
  • Lastly, write up you observations about how their bias manifests itself. Refer to the texts to do so. Are the fringe sources telling the whole truth? Lies? Hyper-focusing on something and blowing it out of proportion? Using inflammatory diction? Mocking the other side? Etc. Etc.

Post this on your blog.

News Source Chart in Color (PDF)

As a side note, Bucknell University has this site to help figure out how to determine whether a site is credible or not.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Homework and Study Guide


Finish the reading on pages 127-131, doing both activities in the same post (pp 128-9 and 130-1).

Study Guide
Version: Winter 2016-17
Primary Study Points
Argument Stasis Questions / Types of Claims (Packet pg. 87ff)
  1.  Fact
  2. Value
  3. Policy
Be able to evaluate a claim and decide the type of argument it necessitates.
Aristotelian Triangle (textbook pg. 3ff)
Toulmin (Credible Hulk Packet pg. 18)

·         Know the 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 is getting rather long, though, so maybe I should stop asking questions. Maybe I'll shoot for a round number of questions. J

Friday, January 13, 2017

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 (Done)
  • Language of Composition ed. 2 packet pgs. 97-109 (Done)
1) In order to augment the reading from our packets, research the fallacies in the following bulleted list here* and 2) then research and find 7 examples of real life fallacies, one for each main category 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 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.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Thesis: Closed or Open?

  1. Finish the Staking a Claim activity we began in class on the issue of childhood obesity and the
    contents of vending machines in schools (see Staking a Claim box on pg. 94). Put those claims on your blog in the same post as the following.
  2. Then read pages 94-97 in the packet about theses. Do the activity on page 96-7. Be sure to follow all the instructions on pg 96 as it entails more than simply writing a thesis for each one. This goes on the blog in the same post as the claims above.
  3. Put these both on the blog in the same post entitled Types of Theses.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Arguably verifiable

Tonight start to look at claims. Read pages 85-86 in the giant packet 'o argument. Then do the activity in the box on pg 86 on your blog. Make sure you follow all of the instructions and rewrite the verifiable claims in such a way to make them arguable claims.

In class, we will go over this activity and start talking about claims of fact, value, and policy. If you would like to get a jump on that to make sure you understand the concept well, read pages 87-92 in addition to the other short reading.