May 18th to May 21st

AP Language and Composition:

5.18-19: Throughout Monday and Tuesday’s classes, we are going to use the Chromebooks to visit, read, and comment upon your peers’ final projects on their blogs. Please have your final product and the bolded question or thematic focus embedded in your letter, or throughout it, by tomorrow morning. Students from other class periods will visit your blog to comment; so, don’t wait until right before class to get it done.

  • Please bring headphones to class so that you can watch/listen to students’ final products without disrupting others’ focus. I will have some  headsets for student use as well.
  • We will use the “Student Blogs” page on my website in order to access other students’ blogs.
  • The goal  will be to visit the student projects in your class period as well as some projects outside of your class period by the end of Tuesday’s class period.

5.20-21: On Wednesday 5.20 periods 2 and 3 will write their course evaluations. On Thursday 5.21 period 5 will write their course evaluations. This will be done on Google Docs. Look for an invitation to the set of questions, which you will need to copy and paste and answer in your own document, which you share with me.

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May 11th to May 15th

AP Language and Composition

5.11: Your final letters are due today! It’s also graduation day; so, I will only see 2nd & 3rd period. I intend to go over a quick argument inventory, allowing each student to catalog the key reading, experience, knowledge he or she has that might be applicable to the analysis and argument essays on the exam.

5.12: AP Exam Eve. Take a deep breath. Work on project products.

5.13: AP Exam! Be in the library at 7.15 with blue or black pens at the ready. Everyone is welcome to come back to my room to eat lunch since your lunch period will have likely passed while you were taking the exam.

5.14-15: Work on your project products. Weather depending, we might go outside.

*All final project blog posts must be finalized by Monday morning so both your classmates and I can visit them and provide commentary.

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Project Letter Guidance


Your final letter is due by the morning of Monday, May 11th. The letter should cover the most important insights you have had while completing your project. The purpose of this project was to think about your own thinking, to be metacognitive. In other words, I am attempted to give you an opportunity to monitor your own learning, insights, connections, and observations. Now it is time to make your thinking visible in the letter and the final product.

Letter Prompt:

Considering the content of your project as source material, develop a position on how the content influenced your thinking. Avoid summarizing the content of your project–your thought process should be central. Cite no more than 2-3 lines of evidence from a source before addressing how it influenced you.

Suggested Arrangement:

While it might be endearing to begin with: Dearest Mr. Almon, I would suggest addressing the letter To Whom It May Concern since your classmates will also be reading your work.

Then, break the letter into three sections

  1. Provide an overview of the most important changes in your thinking, including insights, connections, observations, and patterns you noticed. (1 paragraph introduction)
  2. Work through the content, which had the most profound influence on your thinking. Hyperlinks to the content (if it is video or internet based) would be ideal. Cite brief evidence from the content, then elaborate on how it influenced your thinking. (Break this down into multiple paragraphs based on the major shifts in thought)
  3. Reflect on how your overall thinking has changed as a result of the process. (1 paragraph conclusion)
  4. Don’t forget to include a works cited–it would be ideal to include this as a hyperlink to a Google Document so it doesn’t take over the letter.

The Product:

Once your letter is complete, you will still need to add a digital product that represents your thought process. The product must be added to the post containing your letter by no later than Monday, May 18th. On Monday and Tuesday, we will spend time reading and reviewing the projects in class. Your content will need to be final by then so that your classmates and I can comment on your work. I won’t put my final score in the comment; however, I will give you specific feedback.

Your final obligation for the class will be to write a course evaluation during your final exam period–but more on that later….

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May 4th to May 8th

AP Language & Composition:

5.4: On Monday I will hand back your conformity v. individuality synthesis essays, and we will discuss argument & thesis statement structure, source incorporation, as well as transition & return language. In essence, this will be a basic review of argument structure and the language required to introduce and respond to source material in argument.

5.5: Tuesday we’ll practice one more open argument by working through a prompt together, writing a brief response, and then discussing overall structure. This is an open response question where you will want a plan before beginning to write, especially on test day. I will make suggestions and you are welcome to reflect on your past prompts in order to identify a strategy. We will also discuss strategy for quickly identifying evidence.

5.6: Wednesday I will give you a handout on rhetorical analysis structure. I will also provide you with a prompt we have not responded to this year, and we’ll work through it and write a brief response, much like Tuesday’s routine. We’ll also discuss analytical thesis statements, essay structure, and address any other questions you might have.

5.7: Thursday we will work through a final multiple choice practice set. I’m only going to use one set this time so we have more time to talk about strategy.

5.8: Since your final project letter is due next Monday (5/11), and that day will be hectic because of graduation, I’m going to give you the class period to work on your letter and to ask me any questions before you leave for the week. This should give everyone a chance to address the challenges of structuring the letter and explaining a lot of concepts in a brief space.

*Those of you in 2nd & 3rd period will see me on Monday’s half day (5/11). Please bring questions about your project product, which will be due Monday 5/18.

English 4:

5.4: Monday will be a final day to compose your essay on East of the Mountains. The final draft should be published on your blog no later than the time you get to class on Tuesday.

5.5: We will start the class period by self-assessing your essays. This will give you a chance to give me insight on how well the writing came together, and give me a basis for which to grade your work more efficiently.

5.6: The National Parks Documentary

5.7: The National Parks Documentary for Period 1. Final Exam for period 6

5.8: Final Exam for Period 1. Graduation practice last half of the day.

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April 27th to May 1st

AP Language and Composition:

4.27: Monday we will conduct a seminar-like discussion on the 7 sources accompanying the synthesis question on schools, conformity, and individuality. Make sure to have your source prepared so that your group can actively participate in the discussion.

4.28: Synthesis in class write.

4.29: Writing day for the final project blog post. Please follow the handout I provided last week or adapt it to your purposes. This post will be due Thursday morning.

4.30: We will spend the first part of class self-assessing your synthesis essay. I would like to spend the latter half of class informally discussing your final project letter and product. Since you will have written your final blog posts, I am hoping we can start discussing how to get the final letter and product finished.

5.1: We’ll spend Friday practicing multiple choice.

English 4:

4.27: We will focus our discussion on Chapter 10 in which Ben gets off the bus, continues to help the sick apple picker, Emilio, and then they venture toward orchard country together.

Read Chapter 11 for Tuesday

4.28: Chapter 11 details Ben’s interaction with the man on the motorcycle and his wolfhounds. We’ll focus on his meeting with the people on the man’s orchard.

Finish the book for Thursday

4.29: Senior Fun Day.

4.30: We’ll focus Thursday’s discussion on the general patterns and trends as they developed throughout the book. Ideally, we should be able to outline Ben’s journey, his surroundings, and how they have affected his view of himself and the world around him.

5.1: Friday will be a writing day for your final update on the book. Depending on class preference, I may adapt this post to prewriting for your final essay, which will consist of content from your first three posts. We’ll talk and make a decision together.

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April 20th to April 24th

AP Language 

4.20: Monday will be different for each class period. Period 2 will have a project workday, Period 3 will finish presentations, and period 5 will finish a final presentation and then have time to work on final projects. Regardless of class period, I will provide everyone with a format handout for the final blog post due in about 2 weeks. This will be a planning post rather than an update on April’s reading, watching and listening.

4.21: All students will write an in class essay response to one of the open argument prompts the class presented last week and on Monday.

4.22: We will take the first portion of class to score your open argument response and then to reflect on the process. After scoring your writing, we will spend the remainder of the period completing a single multiple choice passage, scoring it, and then discussing the most missed questions. In anticipation of the Room for Debate project, please visit the site (linked twice below) and decide on an issue about which you are interested in arguing. Come to class on Thursday with an issue in mind to share with your group.

4.23: On Thursday we will begin a Room for Debate project formally. While this is not directly tied to the test review, it resembles a synthesis argument. You will be responsible for choosing a contemporary topic from the Room for Debate site, reading and assessing the sources, and then developing a position on the issue of your choice, using at least three of the sources on the site.

4.24: Continue Room for Debate project.

English 4: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past. ” William Faulkner

4.20: Monday’s discussion will focus on chapter 8, part 1 in which Ben recalls his service in WWII.

Read 8, Part 2 for Tuesday.

4.21: Tuesday we will finish the discussion of Ben’s war service and what it has to do with the present circumstances in the book. We will focus on the same question I asked about Chapter 4–how does Ben’s past inform how he deals with his present challenges, including his illness and Rex’s injury.

Read Chapter 9, Part 1 for Wednesday.

4.22: Wednesday we will discuss the first portion of chapter 9 in which Ben wakes up in the motel room, has to settle accounts with the vet who helped Rex, and continue his journey. THE THIRD SET OF NOTES ARE DUE! I will also provide you with the final set of notes for the final 4 reading assignments.

4.23: Thursday will be a writing day for blog post 3 of 4. The post must be complete by Friday.

Read the rest of Chapter 9 for Friday. This should be the first set of notes in your new packet.

4.24: Our discussion of the final part of chapter 9 will return to the relationship between Ben’s past and present. He has a discussion with a student on a bus ride, which resembles his encounter with the drifter and with the driver who dropped him off at the vet’s office. We should be able to establish a trend about how his chance encounters with kind strangers influence Ben.

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April 13th to April 17th

AP Language and Composition:

4.13: Bring an open argument question from the released AP Language exams located at this link. The open argument is question #3. Choose one, which connects most with your background knowledge and experience. This will enable you to quickly identify evidence.

We will get into small groups on Monday to start to complete an open argument project in which each group member takes a different side of the argument. If your prompt gives the option of defense, qualification, and refutation, then it is possible to have three group members; if there is only a defense and refutation option, you will need to form a partnership. Once your group has decided on a prompt, you will need to write the year, form, and subject on the white board so we don’t have overlap within classes.

4.14: Continue work on the argument. Tuesday should be spent identifying evidence and making sure that there will be smooth transitions between each speaker. Since each group member will deliver a different side of the argument, it would make sense to offer the defense and refutation; then, have the group member who is qualifying the argument speak last. No matter what, choose a logical progression that will allow the audience to follow the flow of your argument.

4.15: Assuming each group member has identified evidence and outlined their portion of the argument, Wednesday should be spent creating a visual, which the group can use to usher the audience through the different sides of the issue. You will still need to identify the rhetorical situation, and offer a basic overview of the issue at argument. This can usually be found directly stated in the prompt or implicitly offered in the quote that accompanies the prompt.

4.16-17: Both Thursday & Friday will be reserved for presentations, and reflection on the process you followed to complete the argument.

English 4: 

4.13: Discuss Chapter 4, Part 3. Read Chapter 5 for Tuesday.

4.14: Discuss Chapter 5. Read Chapter 6 for Wednesday.

4.15: Discuss Chapter 6. Notes DUE. Read Chapter 7 for Friday

4.16: Compose #2 of 4 blog posts in response to the essential question at the top of your notes. We will use the Netbooks in my classroom to write your blog post since all labs are reserved for testing. You can also bring your own computer if you would like.

4.17: Discuss Chapter 7. Read Chapter 8, Part 1, Pages 163-182 for Monday.

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