Monday, 2/24:  Bring The Great Gatsby and The Elements of Style (paperback edition) to class.  

TUESDAY, 2/25:  AP Language & Composition Pt. 2 RHETORICAL Essay, on loose leaf, 2 pages, full heading, 50 pts.  Read the brilliant and powerful words of Frederick Douglass below, ponder and reflect on how his language choices contribute to his passage's intended purpose and meaning.  Remember the rhetorical pyramid! 



- a bit

- a lot

- kind of, sort of

- till  (use until)

- bad, good, nice, big, get, gives, shows, stuff, things, always, very, really, too

- In conclusion

"There are two aspects of the new rubric I liked most. The first is the analytical nature of the rubric. Since the categories are broken down into three distinct sections, it is easier to consider each portion of this score separately.

Second, I found the new rubric particularly thorough in its explanation. Each reporting category clarified what types of responses would or would not earn a specific score for that category. The explanations were more focused and clearer for their descriptions."



By the end of the year you will be able to: 

1. analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques

2. apply effective strategies and techniques in your own writing

3. create and sustain arguments based on readings, research, and/or personal experience

4. write for a variety of purposes

5. produce expository, analytical, and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary sources, cogent explanations, and clear transitions

6. demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in your own writing

7. move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry, drafting, revising, editing, and review

8. write thoughtfully about your own process of composition

9. revise a work to make it suitable for a variety of audiences

AP Language & Composition Exam Tasks and Content

Section 1: Multiple Choice

  • Includes 5 sets of questions.
    • 23–25 Reading questions that ask students to read and analyze nonfiction texts.
    • 20–22 Writing questions, a new type of question, that ask students to “read like a writer” and consider revisions to stimulus texts.

Section 2: Free Response

  • Students write essays that respond to 3 free-response prompts from the following categories.
    • Synthesis Question: After reading 6 texts about a topic (that include a graph, chart, cartoon, etc.), students will compose an argument that combines and cites at least 3 of the sources to support their thesis.
    • Rhetorical Analysis: Students will read a nonfiction text and analyze how the writer’s language choices contribute to the intended meaning and purpose of the text.
    • Argument: Students will create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.


Friday, 2/14:  Vocab 10 quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 10 exercises (10 pts.) due Friday morning  by 8:15 a.m.

See the 2019 Pt. 1 synthesis essay prompt below, as well as sample essays, and scoring and explanations to prepare for synthesis essay:

Prompt & articles/graphs: 

Sample essays: 

Scoring (with explanations): 

ALSO:  New title assignment, 20 pts., 1 page minimum, on loose leaf.  

1 short paragraph on what you think of the title--explain how the adjective great suits Jay Gatsby, and give an example from the novel to support your response.  Is it all truth, some sarcasm, some exaggeration, irony?  All of the above depending on the reader?  Finally, in a longer paragraph, and make sure you use your vivid imagination with this one--come up with a new title for the novel, and discuss why your title is so appropriate and meaningful.  (The best title will earn 3 pts. extra points on the exam.)

In your Barron's AP Language & Composition book we will carefully read and review pp. 117 - 144 to prepare for this Wednesday's in-class AP Pt. 1 Synthesis Essay.

Wednesday, 2/12 AP Language & Composition in-class Pt. 1 Synthesis Essay, 100 pts. 

Go to link below, print out prompt and articles (pp. 2 - 8), then annotate with words and phrases (no sentences allowed).  Make sure you underline important quotes, then highlight the ones you will use on your essay tomorrow.  You are allowed to write ONE SENTENCE--your thesis statement.  DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT READ SAMPLE ESSAYS, EVEN GOOD ONES--THEY WILL KEEP YOU FROM USING YOUR OWN VOICE, STYLE, ANECDOTES, DICTION, ETC.

IMPORTANT:  If you can't stay until 3:00 to finish your essay, you may come to my room at 1:05 to get a head start (my E period Poetry class). 

In your Barron's AP Language & Composition book, carefully read the following pages to prepare for this week's in-class AP Pt. 2 Analytical/Rhetorical essay:

p. 36 How Essays are Scored  (p. 37 top only)

p. 82  Handy Self-Scoring Chart

pp. 147-149  

pp. 153-154  AP Essay Writing Style

p. 160  Handy Varying Your Sentences Box

pp. 162-164  Transitions & Concluding Your Analytical Essay


Travel Dates:  June 26 - July 4, 2019

Just four spots left!  See me for more details.

 Monday, 2/10: The Great Gatsby reading exam #2, 100  pts. (on chapters 6 - 9).

Tuesday, 2/4: The Great Gatsby reading exam, chapters 1 - 5,  100 pts.  Multiple choice and literary paragraph response.

Wednesday, 2/5:  Gatsby body paragraph, 1 page on loose leaf, 10 pts.  Pick any substantial paragraph/page from chapters 3 to 5 that you think is especially lyrical and/or full of imagery and masterful diction and discuss.  Some of you will be selected to present your discovery to the class.  =)

We will continue to discuss King's letter.

Monday, 1/27:  Birmingham Jail"  annotation assignment, 10 pts. in your notebook.

Fill the handout with your marginalia.  Then, write your best intro and 1st body paragraph on one (or two or three) rhetorical strategies of your choosing.

Also:  "Letter from Birmingham Jail" worksheet in class, 10 pts.   

Tuesday, 1/28:  Vocab 9 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 9 exercises due (10 pts.) Monday midnight.

Thursday, 1/16:  "Letter from Birmingham Jail" quiz, 50 pts.  

Make sure you read the letter from the 8 Alabama clergymen that inspired King to write his masterful masterpiece of a response.

In your Language of Composition textbook, pp. 260 - 275.

You will write the essay in class Thursday (G period 30 minutes/F period 45) and Friday ( G period 45 minutes/F period 30).

You may take the text handout home and write as many annotations/outlining as you see fit.  

I moved the vocab quiz to Monday.

Below is an old test sample we will review. 

(See p. 10 for reading passage) 

Friday, 1/10:  AP Exam Pt. 2 Rhetorical Analysis Essay due, 2 pages on loose leaf, 100 pts. You will read a short nonfiction text, and analyze how the writer’s language choices contribute to the passage's intended meaning and purpose.  Text and question to come on Wednesday.

Thursday, 1/9:  Vocab Unit 8 exercises due by midnight (10 pts.).

Monday, 1/6:  "Sleep" handout with annotations, 10 pts.  1/2 page response in notebook.  After annotating the text (I came up with 18) please write a short intro (2-3 sentences) to a rhetorical essay based on this article in your notebook.

BTW:  I still have laryngitis.  =(

Also:  Bring The Things They Carried to class every day this week.


Please go to and pick a poem you understand, connect to, and LOVE.  Memorize it and recite it to the class on Thursday, December 18th.  Maybe you'll be the winner that goes to the Prep competition on January 8th!  See me for more details.

Wednesday, 12/18: "A Christmas Memory" quiz, 30 pts.  Please print out this masterpiece by Truman Capote.  DO NOT annotate, just get lost in my favorite short story ever. 

Tuesday, 12/17:  Reminder: If you revise your Nancy Mairs's "Crippled" essay intro (on the same sheet of loose leaf) you can get full credit.  Just follow my suggestions/revisions.  

Walt Whitman reflecton, 10 pts.

Friday, 12/13: Vocab 7 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 7 exercises (10 pts.) due midnight Thursday.

Monday, 12/16:  Please show me your rainy river notes and response sentences, 10 pts.

Thursday In-Class:  Please read the climax of the Rainy River chapter, pp. 53 - 57, write down observations in your notebook/novel, THEN, please pick 3 of your rhetorical devices and then write 2 sentences explaining the purpose and effect of each (as you would in an AP Language essay).  I'll check your notebooks tomorrow while you're reviewing vocab.  Don't forget the emotional impact his character has upon you, the reader.

Wednesday, 12/11: Annotate p. 21  (the "Freedom Birds" paragraph).  

Early Christmas present below.  New due date!

Monday, 12/9:  The Things They Carried descriptive/personal essay, 100 PTS.  TYPED.  2 PAGES. Times New Roman, 12 pt. size, full heading.  Imagine you are going to war tomorrow and can only take 3 personal items.  Describe each item in detail, and explain the reason why you want to carry it with you.  Remember, no cell phones, ipads, or gaming systems!  Also, you can't bring an entire photo album--it won't fit in your backpack. If you pick a photo, you must describe the subjects/setting in great detail.  Note:  2 photos gluesticked together back to back can count as 1 item.  

Write in present tense--"I am leaving for war tomorrow.  I'm bringing..."  You can be home about to leave or as if you just arrived.

Remember, 3 things that are special and meaningful and will somehow keep you grounded, as well as close to your loved ones, and your true self!  Maybe one of your items or a 4th item can be a specific emotion, memory, name, etc., not necessarily an object.  Feel free to use your imagination.  Also, no military items (guns, ammo, first aid kit, and so on) needed.

5 paragraphs--each item gets a body paragraph.

Please note:  You must mention the novel and Tim O'Brien briefly in your intro, you must have a quote from the book in your conclusion that connects to your motivation of your 3 items somehow, and you must annotate your own essay after you print it out (use several rhetorical strategies like O'Brien--repetition, hyperbole, allusions, etc.).  

FRIDAY, 12/6:  Bring your AP Barron's book to class.  We will be working on 2 exercises (Diagnostic Test 1).

Wednesday, 11/27:  Vocab Unit 6 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 6 exercises due midnight Tuesday (10 pts.).

Monday, 11/25:  Draft reflection, in-class, 1/2 page minimum, notebook, 5 pts.  Please read the conscription handout, then answer the following question: if there were a draft tomorrow and you had to go to war, would you go?  Or would you go to Canada, or Europe, or South America, etc. to avoid it.  Why? 

Thursday, 11/21:  "My Glass Case" reflection (no pun intended) 1 page min. in notebook, 10 pts. What is the most joyous and/or loving moment of your life? Really dig deep and try to find it. Be sure to use vivid details and most of your senses in describing this moment you want to preserve forever.

Tuesday, 11/19:  The Things They Carried reading exam on the first half, 100 pts.  Multiple choice questions with a rhetorical strategy analysis of a page from the novel. Stop after the chapter "The Man I Killed." Make sure you have 10 annotations throughout.

Thursday, 11/14:  Vocab Unit 5 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 5 exercises due midnight Wednesday (10 pts.).

Friday, 11/15:  AP Language Exam Pt. 2 essay intro paragraph on loose leaf, 10 pts.

In the handout, Nancy Mairs, who has multiple sclerosis, calls herself a "cripple." Read the passage again carefully. Then write an essay intro in which you analyze how Mairs presents herself in this passage. In addition to discussing the significance of Mairs' choice of the word "cripple" to name herself, you should consider such rhetorical features as tone. word choice. and rhetorical structure. 

Tuesday, 11/12:  Veterans Day poem reflection, 1 page in notebook, 10 pts.  (Also, please finish the annotations handout from class.  BTW--so proud of my juniors!)

 "Facing It" Reflection.   Read the famous poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, and write a 1 page reaction to it in your notebook.  Make sure you discuss his emotions and why he's feeling them.  Make sure you discuss how he focuses/REFLECTS upon key images to get his theme of despair, loss, and regret across.  Make specific textual references to at least 4 lines to support your responses. How does the title have a double meaning?  How does he use enjambment for an "extra meaning"? Pick 2 lines where you liked his enjambment the best.  (Please go to link below before you read the poem.) 

Wednesday, 11/6:  Ralph Waldo Emerson handout reflection, 1 page minimum, in notebook, 10 pts.

From the handout, pick 3 quotes you would consider making your yearbook quote.  Why and how do you connect to your 3 choices?  Also:  What quote would be Holden's favorite and why? 

Tuesday, 10/29:  Saving Holden creative essay!  2 pages typed, double space, full heading, 100 pts.  

You will learn more about voice, tone, style, point of view, setting, natural dialogue, and symbolism from this cool assignment!  

You must create a new scene with a new symbol with YOU as a new character who helps save Holden from himself--his anxiety, his grief, confusion, inability to face change and maturing.  You will write this scene in 1st person as Holden.  Make sure to use just enough godamn's, etc. to really capture his informal voice.  

Make sure you give him something, or show him something, or do something for him that is symbolic (and put this sentence in bold).  Your scene must also have imagery and meaningful dialogue and a clear setting. HAVE FUN!  

Wednesday, 10/30:  Vocab 4 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 4 exercises due midnight Tuesday.  

Tuesday, 10/22:  In-class AP multiple choice exercises, 10 pts.

Bring The Catcher in the Rye to class, or 5 pts. off.

Monday, 10/21:  Henry David Thoreau handout reflection, 1 page minimum, in notebook, 10 pts.  Please put a check or star next to the quotes you love, then circle your 3 favorites.  In 3 well-written paragraphs, discuss the meaning/power/purpose of each, and who the intended audience might be.  Finally, is he using a particular rhetorical strategy?  

In 1845, Thoreau received permission from Emerson to use a piece of land that Emerson owned on the shore of Walden Pond. He bought building supplies and a chicken coop (for the boards), and built himself a small house there, moving in on the Fourth of July. He had two main purposes in moving to the pond: to write his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, as a tribute to his late brother John; and to conduct an economic experiment to see if it were possible to live by working one day and devoting the other six to more Transcendental concerns, thus reversing the Yankee habit of working six days and resting one.  His nature study and the writing of Walden would develop later during his stay at the pond. He began writing Walden in 1846 as a lecture in response to the questions of townspeople who were curious about what he was doing out at the pond, but his notes soon grew into his second book.    

Thoreau stayed in the house at Walden Pond for two years, from July 1845 to September 1847.Walden condenses the experiences of those two years into one year for artistic unity. During these two years he also spent one night in jail, an incident which occurred in the summer of 1846 and which became the subject of his essay "Resistance to Civil Government" (later known as "Civil Disobedience”).  That same year he also took a trip to Maine to see and climb Mount Katahdin, a place with a much wilder nature than he could find around Concord.

Friday, 10/18:  Vocab Unit 3 quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 3 exercises due (10 pts.) midnight on Thursday.  Note:  Exercises have been sent.

Friday, 10/11:  AP Language & Composition essay due. 100 pts.   This will be an AP Exam Part 3: Argument essay.  See below for prompt.

ALSO:  The Catcher in the Rye Part 2 Exam (chapters 14-26), 100 pts.


Question 3 Suggested time—40 minutes. (This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.) 

The term “overrated” is often used to diminish concepts, places, roles, etc. that the speaker believes do not deserve the prestige they commonly enjoy; for example, many writers have argued that success is overrated, a character in a novel by Anthony Burgess famously describes Rome as a “vastly overrated city,” and Queen Rania of Jordan herself has asserted that “being queen is overrated.” 

Select a concept, place, role, etc. to which you believe that the term “overrated” should be applied. Then, write a well-developed essay in which you explain your judgment. Use appropriate evidence from your reading, experience, or observations to support your argument. 

Wednesday, 10/2:  "Thank You, M'am" Reflection, 1 page in notebook.  Describe a time in your life where you did an incredible act of kindness for someone, or someone did something so kind for you as to change your life (or at least your day!).  10 pts.  (Make sure you write down the exigence, audience, and purpose of your piece.)

Wednesday, 9/25:  Vocab Unit 2 exercises due midnight.

ALSO:  "Mother to Son"

- Express the theme of this poem to the best of your ability. 

- Why is a staircase the perfect symbol for the poem's theme?  

- Discuss at least 4 "stair images" in the poem, and how they show specific real life challenges for the son, especially at this time in America (the 1920s).

- Why is the dialect so crucial in this poem?  

- How does this mother and son remind you of Mama and Walter in A Raisin in the Sun?  

Monday, 9/30:  Vocab Unit 2 Quiz (30 pts.).

Monday, 9/16:  IN-CLASS

Langston Hughes poetry reflection due, 10 pts.

On loose leaf--to be collected.  

Read "Lesson From English B" twice, slowly and carefully.  Your assignment is to be the Columbia University professor/instructor and give the "paper" a grade, then write a one page (minimum) response to your student Langston Hughes as to why.  You must comment on at least 3 specific lines from his poem.  Also, please make one connection to A Raisin in the Sun.

Tuesday, 9/17:  Vocab 1 Quiz (30 pts.) and Unit 1 exercises due midnight Monday.  The exercises were sent out Thursday morning.

In the WSJ article "Business Wakes Up to the Magic of Sleep," Jason Gay defends his appreciation of sleep, as well as its importance, with a light and humorous tone throughout.   His witty use of similes, hyperbole, allusions, and diction also strengthen his argument in an entertaining and memorable way. 

Welcome to a challenging and rewarding, eye and mind opening literary year!  

The first week of school we will be registering for the AP Language & Composition exam and setting up your AP account.

You need to have an account with the College Board (most should already have an account).   If you do not have one, you need to create one on over the weekend.