Week of 9/16 Overview

AP Language and Composition:

Monday and Tuesday we will finish our extended discussion of MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Tomorrow you should have prepared an evidence and interpretation chart or a precis in your notes for paragraphs 33-44 for class discussion. We will determine what you will write in response to the final reading assignment (paragraphs 45-50) tomorrow.

Wednesday during class all students will receive their writing assignment over King’s letter and we will conduct a Socratic seminar. The writing assignment will ask students to explain how King makes specific rhetorical choices in order to strengthen his argument to the clergy and to opponents of his movement. In essence, you will be asked to write about what we have been discussing daily in class in 3 pages or less. The due date for the analysis will be Monday, 9/23.

REMEMBER, our first structured tutorial for the class will be after school on Wednesday, 2.20-3.20. In that tutorial we will discuss multiple choice and give all participants a chance to start drafting their analysis of King’s letter. For those of you who have a hard time  starting  the writing process, this would be an ideal session to attend.

Thursday and Friday we will continue analyzing how authors make arguments, but this time we will consider a well-known, pre-20th century argument–the Declaration of Independence. Certainly you all have studied it for its historical significance, but probably have not taken time to appreciate the intricacy of Jefferson’s argument to King George. While it bears some similarity to King’s argument, it is much shorter, much more direct, and far more formal, which will give us a chance to see how the arrangement of argument shifts based on the circumstances, mainly the audience and the time period in this case.

After we have finished with Jefferson’s argument, you can anticipate having to construct your own arguments on a contemporary issue–to that end, you might begin familiarizing yourselves with the New York Times’ Room for Debate. The link is also permanently available under “notable links” at the header of this website.

English 9 and 11:

We will begin our week with Unit 32, Lesson 3 of the Language! book and continue to discuss Gilgamesh, Tablet 2, in which you were responsible for tracking his behavioral traits. Tuesday and Wednesday will follow a similar pattern, using the first 15-20 minutes of class to practice language-based skills and then move to apply those skills to the core reading.

Moving on from Tablet 2, we will start reading about Gilgamesh’s adventures with Enkidu and the challenges they face along the way. Their first nemesis is Humbaba in the Cedar Forest. We are going to very closely track each big experience Gilgamesh has, and then how it changes or influences his behavior. Remember, the essential understanding for our unit is learning how each life experience has the potential to teach a lesson; this is absolutely true for both Gilgamesh and for everyday people.

To allow you all to track the experiences they face, we are going to devote a section of your notebooks to each tablet, and then require you to use those notes when we write your first big essay, a literary analysis which asks you to explain how Gilgamesh’s experiences change him, and teach him to be a better human being. You’ll remember from our background study that epic heroes return from their difficult journeys in a better condition than when they left. Keeping track of how this happens will be your goal moving forward.


Mr. Almon


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