Friday, January 30, 2015


Guest Speaker Debrief--compare notes and discuss what we observe in classmates' notes and how to improve our own next time

Peer Revision of critical annotation assignment--make comments on a peer's paper and then return to them for revision. Resubmit new copy with this version stapled to it in class next Wednesday.

Trip to textbook room

HW: Read "Introduction," "Dreaming Big," and "Home" chapters of The Pact and be prepared to discuss alongside excerpt from Malcolm X's "Learning to Read" on Monday. As you read The Pact, you are expected to take notes (post-it, separate reading journal, in a notes app like Evernote on your phone, etc.) regarding significant quotations, questions, responses and comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Guest Speaker: Virginia Hyatt, SMMUSD Purchasing Director and Sustainability Coordinator 310-450-8338, ext. 70-249

blank guest speaker notes sheet
Pust's notes from Ms. Hyatt's presentations

HW: Review Malcolm X's "Learning to Read" for discussion tomorrow. Bring your 5 thoughtful questions and your annotated reading, and bring your ID card to class tomorrow

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Answer questions about critical annotation of part of City of Santa Monica's website
Share topics ideas
Guest speaker notes - format and expectations
Reading----- "Learning to Read" by Malcolm X; annotate, use funneling technique, generate 5 thoughtful questions:
1. One question about "big ideas " or connections to Frederick Douglass or recent videos (Bales, Robinson)
2. One question about specific language or style review

Take aways
1. Prepare to ask thoughtful questions for the guest speakers--think about constructive, helpful ways to manage yourself in the event the topic isn't perfectly relevant to you and your life (manage your boredom nicely!)
2. Persistence can help one be different and also help to achieve goals. For example, Malcolm X was persistent in educating himself, and in the end he achieved much and inspired others

HW: Critical annotation, typed due Thursday. Bring hard copies to class

Monday, January 26, 2015


Video - Sir Ken Robinson: "Changing Education Paradigms"
Reading - Malcolm X: "Learning to Read"
- funneling (paragraph, sentence, word)

Then, generate 5 thoughtful questions: (you can add this to the bottom of your notes about the Robinson video)
- 1 about "big ideas" or connections to Frederick Douglass or the Ken Robinson video
- 1 about specific language or style choice (like our "Why Styrofoam?" or "why stratagems?" questions from last week

HW: Generate a list of 15 school or local community issues you would be interested in researching or solving.

Takeaways from the video:
The American education system teaches in an antiquated way. Schools teach laterally or convergently instead of divergently, which is a way of thinking that promotes creativity by accepting innovative answers to old questions. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are falsely prescribed, when oftentimes children are simply adapting to all the sensory overload in the 21st century. Building a generation of geniuses to lead the new century has to start with educational reform.

Friday, January 16, 2015


- One Word Vocabulary quiz
- Writing synthesis body paragraphs
NOTE: I revised my body paragraph claim to make it more narrow and give you all more

- Write the rest of the synthesis essay:

  1. hook (consider a personal anecdote--a great time at a museum or a bad time at a museum)
  2. transition/context (link between hook and actual topic/thesis)
  3. thesis/claim (which factors matter most)

•Your own body paragraph that contains evidence from 2 sources--Source A is required, then any source EXCEPT Source D. Keep in mind that while it should not contradict anything in Pust's sample paragraph, you can expand the argument or build on it as you see fit.
•Brief conclusion - For example, try answering the question "Why do museums matter in today's society?"

Take-aways of today:
1. We know our vocab words that we had questions about, including ascendancy (position of influence/control) and utilitarian (made for practicality rather than vanity).

2. How to write a Counterargument Thesis and how to use it to make a stronger claim in a synthesis essay:
- establish the counterargument in your thesis even if you can't fully refute it in your body paragraphs. This way you acknowledge the complexity of the issue.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


     1) Blog Updates - Thank you!
     2) AP exam registration - coming in Feb. This year, it's $91 per exam. Traditionally, financial aid has been available; more information on that as I get it. Apparently, you may already register online if you like...
     3) Volunteer spot sign-ups - Please sign up to meet with me about the fall paper and set writing goals for second semester
Click this button to access the calendar:

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

Examine synthesis source packet for "Museums" prompt--annotate Source A and Source B in class, paying attention to the "gifts" in the information box. Make a brief prediction as to what the source will contain based on introductory information. Then, as you read the source, notice the following:

1) Read the source, paraphrasing the ideas in the margins as you read to make sure you can understand and explain the information
1a) Highlight or mark unfamiliar vocabulary words, then look them up and begin to learn them! (NOTE: THIS step is for PRACTICE only. Do NOT spend time on this during a timed essay!!!!)
2) Underline or circle relevant or appropriate evidence that matches what you already brainstormed as you examined the prompt
3) Mark any surprising information as you read, perhaps with a star or something. Be on the lookout for surprises so that you can demonstrate a new, more informed viewpoint in your analysis.
4) Make notes about any overlap or parallels or contrasts with other sources as you read on.

Take-aways: Utilize information that shocks you or surprises you which will allow you to build and boost your argument. We are not always right when predicting what a source will be about and part of synthesizing is pulling together the different paragraphs to create a new understanding. When pairing sources one could use: differences, similarities, use 1 source that appears in both paragraphs (dream source), or one general overview and one that is more specific.

HW: Rhetorical Passage from Chapter 2 assignment due at 9pm PST to

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Announcement: blog updates!
AP exam registration - approximately $90 per exam; traditionally financial aid has been available--more info on this process soon
Volunteer spot sign up, please:
Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

Introduced synthesis!
Define task

HW: ch2 rhetorical analysis assignment due wed. Jan 14th @ 9 pm on turnitin.

Take away: there are many different and valid arguments for why a specific college is the best. The important step that will help you decide on your top 2 college's is deciding which reasons apply most to your individual situation and basing your choice on the frequency by which those reasons are present in each college.

What is synthesis?
A: gathering all the different factors that come in to play when thinking about a certain topic and combining/ ranking them to foam a clear argument.

Monday, January 12, 2015


     1) Blog Updates - Thank you!
     2) AP exam registration - coming in Feb. Typically around $90 per exam. Traditionally, financial aid has been available; more information on that as I get it.
     3) Volunteer spot sign-ups - Please sign up to meet with me about the fall paper and set writing goals for second semester
Click this button to access the calendar:

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

Discuss Rhetorical Passage from Chapter 2 with partners/small groups
Examine Pust's sample writeup discussing the end of Chapter 2 ("songs" part)
Annotated version of Pust's sample writeup to show what we reviewed in class (NOTE: I had to create an artificial "page break" partway through the paragraph because I made so many comments on the document! Please adhere to MLA format like my non-annotated sample)
Introduce Synthesis Essay

2 Take-aways:

1) Today in class we discussed the rhetorical devices being used by Douglass in his writing to help explain to his audience his purpose on how slaves were really treated. We learned and analyzed in an example how referring to people as "souls" makes slavery a more moral issue on how souls are being broken & thus is an offense to God. We reviewed how to analyze a metaphor and write about how rhetorical devices are used.

2) When introducing the Synthesis essay, we used the analogy of thinking about factors we might consider when choosing a college. By doing this, we were able to broaden our factors and prioritize them. This helps use visualize what we will be doing in the Synthesis essay where will learn to rank important considerations given to us in the prompt.

HW:  Chapter 2 Rhetorical Analysis assignment due Wednesday 1/14 by 9pm on

Friday, January 9, 2015


Blog updates: thank you!
Volunteer spot sign ups for January
Use this button to sign up from your mobile device!
Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

Finish escalating questions of ch2 of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
Introduce rhetorical analysis review assignments ( due Wednesday )

Chapter 2 rhetorical analysis assignment due on Wednesday ( by 9 pm
Read and annotate the passage this weekend--be ready to discuss

" the field was the place to witness his cruelty an profanity" ( page 55, Frederick Douglas )
The slaves in this book were dehumanised the entire day.
The site that they lived at was not habitable.
 Invariably means never changing
My  son invariably gives the same response to others about his career plans: he's not sure what he'll do or when he'll do it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Review TED Talk, Kevin Bales, "How to Combat Modern Slavery" if needed
Finish responding to Kevin Bales's TED talk questions and turn in assignment if finished.

Introduce vocab ch. 1+2 using the ppt of images and the vocabulary chart handout.

Begin escalating questions for ch 1 of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave.

-We should learn to become attuned to the analogies and comparisons speakers use to argue their points (e.g., these particular comparisons are chosen for specific reasons: Why "Styrofoam"? Why a "cup"? Why "potato chips and pretzels"? Why "a blood-stained gate"? Or more specifically, why a "gate"?).

-Douglass opens in paragraph 1 showing how slaves are dehumanized from the removal of their birthday/comparison to horses; Bales shows how that dehumanization continues today in modern slavery by asserting that some persons cost as little as $5/day, and by comparing enslaved people to "Styrofoam cups"

HW: review ch 1+2 of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave as needed; finish Bales questions (if needed)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Take notes--what is important? interesting? surprising? informative? central to Bales's argument?
*Mark down notes on some aspects of the TED Talk.

Respond to Ted Talk questions 
Go to Text book room and return books/get the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave 

Two main ideas from class:
1. How to combat modern day slavery/statistics of modern day slavery
2. Practice answering AP test questions: writing these short responses will build fluency and help us marshal evidence for argument essays later this semester.

Vocabulary chart to assist with unfamiliar words as you read

HW: Read chapters 1 and 2 of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass  and annotate/prepare for discussion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Welcome Back and Happy New Year!

Goal Setting and Reflection: Screenshot of Common App Teacher Evaluation & Word cloud of common words used in letters of recommendation. How might this shape your three goals for semester 2?

New Seats + Routines
- Blog

Overview of Semester 2:
Essay Types

Take notes--what is important? interesting? surprising? informative? central to Bales's argument?
*Mark down notes on some aspects of the TED Talk.

Talking points:
Slavery is alive and well! More people are enslaved today than any other period in history, but the smallest fraction of the total population than ever recorded. HOWEVER, this does not make it a trivial nor a self-eradicating issue. 

HW: Bring ID + books to return to textbook room tomorrow -- don't leave in lockers!