Sunday, April 13, 2008


Dear AP students,

First, thanks for a rewarding, fun, and fabulous year. I have really enjoyed sharing what I know about good writing, and have loved discussing great books and challenging issues with you. You are a talented, dedicated bunch, and I wish you all the best of luck in the final month as you prepare for the AP test, and beyond that as you finish the school year and begin the college preparation process.

I entered some grades into Pinnacle on Saturday; I will finish entering the rest on Tuesday prior to Open House. It's really important that you check Pinnacle on Tuesday night or sometime Wednesday--please double-check that I've entered grades correctly (you'll receive the scored work back in class). I'd appreciate it if you could email any questions or corrections to me at by Thursday evening--if I need to make corrections I'll come back in sometime before next weekend. Since pustlet is due to arrive on Monday, 4/21, I really need to make sure I take care of everything at Samo as early this week as possible.

Please remember that you need to take one of the Final Exam dates--if you did not attend this past Saturday, 4/12, please make sure you are signed up for Tuesday, 4/22 from 3:30pm to 7pm or Sunday, 4/27 from 9:00am-12:30pm. This practice test is NOT optional. If you are absolutely unable to make it to any of the three test date sessions, you need to contact me ASAP so we can discuss options. (And a special shout-out of thanks to the period 2 "heater crew" for bringing cake to Saturday's test--that was awesome!)

I promise to send pictures along as soon as we have some of our new little bundle of joy. Don't forget to vote for your favorite name this week!

Lots of love and best wishes for the AP test and beyond,

Friday, April 11, 2008


Pust's last official day!!!

Announcements: remember to report at 8:45am tomorrow in B200 (Kennedy's room) if you are taking tomorrow's final AP full-length exam. Bring paper, pencils, blue/black ink pens, snacks, and plenty of water. Get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy breakfast! (I know, I know...I'm already sounding like a mom...)

Grades will be updated throughout the weekend. Thanks so much for your patience!

Today's activity:
Review of satire and humor devices - article from The Onion, "U.S. Finishes 'A Strong Second' in Iraq War"

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Timed essay: "Synthesis 2.0" on global warming

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Vocabulary Quiz over Frederick Douglass and HF lists
Share sample introductory paragraph and thesis for "synthesis 2.0" prompt (importing a hardy but nonindigenous plant species)

HW: Bring blue or black pens for Synthesis 2.0 timed essay tomorrow! Review notes and stop by for extra help if needed (or email me). See notes below for extra help.

Introductions: Can still use introduction structure. Begin with a hook, then provide a little background or context. As you destabilize (flip), point out what is overlooked or often underestimated, or explain how in the past people have focused on the wrong criteria. When you assert your thesis, consider using an affirming transition like "ultimately" or "consequently" or "therefore," and then present what you think is the most appropriate course of action OR a list of things that must be considered and evaluated.

Body paragraphs: Open with claims! When you introduce evidence from the passages, remember to introduce quotations with meaningful half-sentences that help advance your argument. PROVIDE DIRECT QUOTATIONS whenever possible, and attribute them using parenthetical citations. When possible, make the sources interact with each other and point out how they contradict, reinforce, or further develop the issue.

Conclusions: Recommend a solution, policy, or course of action. Weigh the costs/benefits of a particular course of action. If all else fails, address the ultimate "conclusion question": Why is this issue particularly relevant to us today?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Review answers to multiple-choice practice (Swift & Plessy passages)

Introduce "Synthesis 2.0": discuss differences between this and "Synthesis 1.0"

Synthesis 2.0: NOT a simple defend-challenge-qualify

Instead, you are asked to weigh all of the evidence and make an informed recommendation or establish & rank the criteria by which a decision should be made.

The important thing is to assert WHAT should be considered or examined--to provide a focus and recommend a policy or course of action.

Like synthesis 1.0 (argument synthesis), you MUST use 3+ sources well and attribute sources clearly in order to receive higher than a 4.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Review structure of AP Test and scoring of final exam--have you signed up for a final exam full-length AP Practice Test day yet???

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Make sure to turn in any missing or late assignments and to make up any missing tests/test corrections by Friday at the latest. Get in to see me for a writing conference this week if possible--Tuesday @ lunch or after school, Wednesday @ lunch or after school, or Friday @ lunch or after school. Friday will be my last day!! (yikes!) Consider purchasing a copy of The Great Gatsby this week. We'll head to the textbook room on Friday, and you'll need the book (one way or another) by Monday, 4/14.

Share excerpts from successful argument essays on "tacit codes" prompt

Multiple-choice practice: Swift and Postman passages

HW: Complete multiple-choice practice.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Seminar Discussion: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, morality, racism, language, and power.

Turn in seminar preparation sheet stapled to half-page discussion reflection/self-evaluation sheet.

HW: Review notes and previous essays for argument essay tomorrow. Bring blue/black ink pens.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Sign up for AP Practice Test (final exam) day
Finish discussing Senator Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech
Begin seminar preparation - read analysis of speech "Obama Chooses Reconciliation Over Rancor" and the current events articles "Movement to Ban Use of the N-word Picking Up Support" and "Schools Make Effort to Ban the N-word."

HW: Complete HF seminar prep. Read and annotate Gloria Naylor's "The Meanings of a Word" and Charles Lawrence III's "If He Hollers Let Him Go: Regulating Racist Speech on Campus." Be prepared to discuss all of the texts tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Read and discuss rhetorical techniques in Senator Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union"
NOTE: We couldn't watch the speech in class due to technical difficulties, but you can watch it here via YouTube or read the speech transcript and watch it here via the New York Times.

HW: Finish reading and annotating speech--look for rhetorical techniques. (We found anthypophora and antithesis and anadiplosis today among other rhetorical treats! Good times, good times...and guess what? Over the weekend you'll complete a rhetorical terms entry from this speech, so read carefully...)

Get a head start on seminar prep for Thursday's class. Select one of four passages from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and write an 8-10 sentence response--what does Twain seem to be commenting in terms of race/racism through this passage?

Choose ONE of the following four passages:
1) last four paragraphs of Chapter 15: from "Jim looked at the trash..." to "...if I'd a knowed it would make him feel that way."
2) Chapter 23: paragraph from "I went to sleep..." to "...Jim was."
3) Chapter 31: from "Once I said to myself... " to "...I tore it up."
4) Chapter 42: from "...How's that? Where's the raft?" to "...goodness alive, Aunt Polly!"