August 20th to August 22nd

Welcome Back! Let’s get started on a lighter note with a quick YouTube clip from the popular speaker, Taylor Mali, on teaching. If you’ve been a student for any length of time you will also find it humorous. But onto other business…

AP Language & Composition:

Wednesday we will cover the essentials. First, I am going to ask everyone to actually read the syllabus and record the Top 5 most important pieces of information (there are no right answers here–just your interpretation.) We will then format your notebooks for the semester. Shortly after, I will provide everyone with a brief reading in order to answer the question: What is Rhetoric? This quick reading, and the following discussion, will provide a lead into your first writing assignment, the 2010 AP Language Exam Open Response, Question #2.

You will be asked to take Question #2: Benjamin Banneker’s letter to Thomas Jefferson home to read it, annotate it, and prepare questions to ask me on Thursday. We will spend as much of the period Thursday as we need to discuss what the prompt is asking and how to approach writing a response.

After discussion of question #2, you will receive 2010 Question #3, an open argument response to Alain De Botton’s argument about a comedian’s role in cultural discourse. The same pattern from Question #2 will follow: read, annotate, prepare questions and then discuss them on Friday.

Depending on the level of discussion on Friday, I may provide students with time to write essay responses to both prompts. Regardless, all students will be required to write responses to both Questions #2 & #3 in blue or black pen by Monday’s class. On Monday we will score your writing based on the College Board’s rubric for open response essays (if you are interested in this rubric, you can see it in advance linked to the AP Language page on this site.)

*Don’t worry, you’ll have time to revise these first two written responses, if you feel you need it.

English 4

This is a brand new class! Congratulations, you are lucky enough to be taking it for the first time.

To give you all a good idea of what the course entails, I will ask all students to complete a reading activity involving the syllabus. Following this brief reading activity, we will set your class notebooks up so that you have a means to get homework and participation points and to stay organized.

The first entry in your notebook, dated August 20th, will be a quote response. We’ll respond in two parts to the following Eleanor Roosevelt quote,

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.’

The quote embodies one of the main goals of the class, to give you access to timeless themes and ideas. We’ll discuss this quote with regard to the 4 main ideas in the course.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we are going to start the official assignments for the class with a Personal Reading History, which will require students to recall memories of their reading history and their importance. The purpose of this is to prepare you all to read challenging material in the class.

After allowing students to complete a timeline graphic organizer with their memories of reading, we will read Cathleen Schine’s article, I Was a Teenage Illiterate, a NY Times article recounting the author’s  memories of reading and what she gained from those memories. Then, each student will use Schine’s article as an example to write his or her Personal Reading History, using select memories from his or her past reading.

If the discussion and graphic organizer go well and we make quick progress, students will have time to write during Friday’s class period. This first essay will be due sometime early the following week.

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