Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gloucester Project (part 3): Real World Rhetoric Based on Research

{Note: All of the researched arguments about social issues have been commented upon and graded. Some of you need to fix a few things before I can give you a grade.}

Tuesday (May 27)
Take a look at the mind map (or web) that has (1) your guiding question, (2) what you think you need to know (or what will you need to interpret) in order to address the question, and (3) where you might find out what you need to know (or what will you need to interpret).

(1) Have you grown more confident and excited about your guiding question? If not, how have you changed your mind about your guiding question? How might you make it stronger?
(2) Have you found what you need to know? What have you found that is useful even though you weren't looking for it? What else do you need to know?
(3) Did you find the sources of information you wanted to find? Where else might you look? Who else might you talk to? What sources of information surprised you?

Share some of what you've learned and some of what you've been thinking about related to your topic and question.
Relate what you've learned and what you've been thinking about to the bigger issues faced by Gloucester as a whole.
Tuesday night through class time on Thursday
Write a proposal (500-1000 words) for using your research to create a substantial piece (or several smaller pieces) of real world rhetoric based on your research. Due Thursday May 29.

Your proposal should include (1) a specific description (including format, length, and participants in the project^) of the real world rhetoric* that you want to produce; (2) an explanation of how your  real world rhetoric will develop a clear, insightful position in response to the essential question about your topic that you've developed; (3) an explanation of how you plan to use the research you've gathered (and, perhaps, additional research you will gather) in your real world rhetoric; (4) an explanation of how the real world rhetoric will persuade, inform, and engage readers/viewers; (5) an explanation of how the real world rhetoric will reach beyond your teacher and AP classmates at Gloucester High School to a larger audience; and (6) a plan (with dates) for creating the real world rhetoric (in other words, what parts of the project will you get done by what dates?). Write the proposal as a letter to me from you (and any other group members if any). Use Google Docs to share the proposal with me.

^You may work with colleagues from C-block or F-block on the real world rhetoric. Make sure the project is ambitious enough to justify multiple group members.

*Possible real world rhetoric products:
>A series of commentaries written for local newspapers: "My View," letters to the editor, submissions to Good Morning Gloucester, etc.
>A documentary addressing your topic and question uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, etc. and/or shown at the Hive, Cape Ann Community Cinema, etc.
>A work of creative writing--short stories, script, and/or poems--made public on a website and/or performed at a public reading or on video/audio.
>A website and/or social media campaign addressing your topic and question.
>An exhibit, addressing your topic and question, shown at a library, website, other space...
>A tour, addressing your topic and question, organized, mapped, and recorded
>An educational curriculum, , addressing your topic and question, with unit map, assessments, rubrics, and lessons to share with teachers in the Gloucester Public School system.
Thursday May 29 through Thursday June 12
Create your real world rhetoric and annotated bibliography* to be ready for presentation in class Thursday June 12. 

*Annotations will include summary of the source, analysis of the source, and explanation of how the source contributed to the real world rhetoric.

 Make sure your real world rhetoric and/or annotated bibliography is ready by class time on Thursday, June 12. Also, make sure your revised* proposal is ready on Thursday, June 12. The rest of the project must be completed by the end of the day on Monday, June 16.

* Your revised proposal should include (1) a specific description (including format, length, and participants in the project^) of the real world rhetoric that you have produced; (2) an explanation of how your  real world rhetoric develops a clear, insightful position in response to the essential question about your topic that you've developed; (3) an explanation of how you have used research in your real world rhetoric; (4) an explanation of how what you have produced persuades, informs, and engages readers/viewers; (5) an explanation of how the real world rhetoric reaches beyond your teacher and AP classmates at Gloucester High School to engage a larger audience; and (6) a description (with dates) of everything you have done to produce the real world rhetoric. Revise the proposal in the form of a letter to me from you (and any other group members if any). Use Google Docs to revise the proposal you have shared with me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Gloucester Project (part 2): research and response

(1) What does the Gloucester in your head look like?
Monday in class make a literal map of Gloucester from memory.

(2) What issues will we need to explore more deeply in order to answer the question "What is Gloucester"?
* In class on Monday make a mind map (a.k.a. web) of the issues we will need to explore in order to answer the question "What is Gloucester?"
* Connect the questions to issues and connect the issues to sources: readings, experiences, and observations.
* Monday night (1) expand your map of the issues to include connections to all of the readings in the "Ways of Looking at Gloucester" packet

(3) Choose an aspect of Gloucester to examine more closely in relation to one of the questions that emerged from our discussion. (We decided that in order to understand Gloucester we would need to address the following issues.)

Possible Questions
How does tension between what is hidden or concealed and what is open or known affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between change and continuity affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between insiders and outsiders affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between "us" and "them" affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between connectedness and isolation affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between homogeneity and heterogeneity affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between nature and industry affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between care-taking and exploitation affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between leisurely enjoyment and rugged resilience (grit) affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between civic pride and civic critique affect the polis of Gloucester?
How does tension between beauty and ugliness affect the polis of Gloucester?

Possible Topics
If you're still not happy with your topic here are some more ideas that you maybe have not considered.


  • poetry (Charles Olson, Vincent Ferrini, Jeremy Ingalls, T.S. Eliot, etc.)
  • fiction (Peter Anastas, Jonathan Bayliss, Anita Diamant [on Dogtown], Rudyard Kipling [on Gloucester  etc.)
  • non-fiction (Judith Sargent Murray [on women's rights], Mark Kurlansky, Sebatian Junger, etc.)
  • music (Herb Pomeroy, Willie Alexander, etc.)
  • painting (Fitz Henry Lane, Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, Nell Blaine, John Sloane, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, etc.)
  • photography (Ernest Morin, Anne Rearick, Nubar Alexanian, Paul Cary Goldberg, Leslie Bartlett, etc.)
  •  sculpture (Walker Hancock, Paul Manship, etc.)
  • dance (Carl Thomsen, Sarah Slifer)
  • theatre (Israel Horowitz, Nan Weber)
  • film (documentarian Henry Ferrini, The Perfect Storm, Captains Courageous)
  • graphic narrative/comics (Greg Cook, Tony Millionaire, etc.)

  • ethnic and religious practices and traditions (St. Peter’s Fiesta, the Portuguese Crowning Ceremony, the first Universalist Church in America),
  • civic traditions (like Lanesville’s infamous parade, the Horribles Parade),
  •  public art and architecture (City Hall, Dogtown rocks, the Man at the Wheel statue, the Fisherman’s Wife statue),
  • civic institutions (schools, Fisherman’s Wives Association, St. Peter’s Club)
  • industries (trade, fishing, tourism, quarrying)
  • cultural figures (Hannah Jumper, Roger Babson, Ebenezeer Babson, Howard Blackburn, Judith Sargent Murray, A. Piatt Andrew, Ben Smith, Manuel Lewis, Newman Shea)
[You might also focus on culture in a particular section of the city.]

(4) Get started with your research into your topic & question. You'll need double-entry notes for five or more sources (at least ten pages of notes) by Tuesday, May 27.
* In class on Wednesday May 21 write a question to guide your research by combining the topic & question chosen in step 3. 
 Based on my observations in class on Thursday, I think it will be helpful to spend the first part of class on Friday doing a mini-lesson on what makes a good research question for this project. To create our research questions we're applying one of the big essential questions about Gloucester (see above) to a narrower aspect of Gloucester's polis. This question should be carefully crafted. Spend some time working on it. Make sure it's clear and focused. Ask a peer, is my question clear and focused enough that you could use it to guide research? If the answer is yes: dive back into researching a response to the question. If the answer is no: work on refining your question
* Put that question at the center of a map/web.
* Make a map of (1) the kind of information you hope to find on your question and (2) where you might go looking for that information. (See below for resources.)

Ask me lots of questions during class time.
Be resourceful. Use GHS library resources [mini-lesson on Tuesday], Sawyer Free Library resources [mini-lessons on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday], living experts [mini-lesson on interviewing on Wednesday], and reputable internet* sources [mini-lesson on Thursday].
*internet sources to consider
gloucestertimes.com (local daily newspaper)
ghwalk.org (Gloucester Harbor Walk website with information on 42 aspects of Gloucester art and culture)
quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/25/2526150lk.html (demographic, social, economic, and housing census information)
galesites.com/menu/mlin_n_glchs (Gloucester High School Gale Resources)
books.google.com (I've found a lot of good information and many full books by searching here.)

search for websites of organizations related to your topic (Gloucester Writers Center (this website has video and audio recordings of creative writers and researchers), St. Peter's Club, Cape Ann Museum, etc.)

think of video too: search for your topic using youtube and vimeo (No Pretty Prayer about the Sicilian community in the Fort; Polis is This about Charles Olson, his writing, and his relationship to Gloucester; The Greasy Pole (award winning documentary)

Something new (posted on Huffington Post today, Friday, May 23) for those of you looking at the relationship between the picturesque and the gritty in Gloucester:
Gloucester among "15 of New England's Most Picturesque Towns" (sic)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gloucester Project (part 1): Charles Olson, Polis, and Finding out for Yourself

In class over the next couple of days you will take active viewing notes on a documentary, Polis is This.
(If you miss a day you can find the documentary broken into six parts here.)

After watching and taking the notes on the Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place you should be able to discuss the concept of polis, Charles Olson's relationship to the concept of polis, Charles Olson's relationship to Gloucester as a polis, Charles Olson's ideas about the relationship between education and polis, and Charles Olson's ideas about the relationship between writing (particularly poetry) and polis.
For homework Monday night (May 13) you will read and annotate an essay called "To find out for yourself" that I wrote as part of a feature on Massachusetts poets (including Charles Olson). The text is an expository essay about the project you're about to begin, so it's a good place to start to find answers to your questions about both the big concepts and the specific details.

After reading and annotating "To find out for yourself," you should be able to discuss the relationship between Charles Olson and the Gloucester project, the relationship between the project and former students, the relationship between competing ideas about what it means to be from Gloucester, the relationship between visible and hidden aspects of Gloucester culture, and the relationship between Gloucester and you.
By class time on Friday (May 15) do the following in the comment box below.

Write down three aspects of Gloucester's polis (culture, arts, politics, economy, history, ecology, geography, geology, etc.) that you'd like to know more about and explain why. (Or, perhaps you'd like to focus on a geographical part of the polis: Lanesville, Annisquam, Dogtown, downtown, Portuguese Hill, East Gloucester, Ravenswood, Magnolia, West Parish, etc.)

Write two things you know about Gloucester's polis that other people may not know.

Write one substantial paragraph about your relationship with Gloucester's polis.
Thursday (May 14) you'll read and annotated a prompt and a packet containing different views of Gloucester. Be prepared to discuss this in class on Friday (May 15).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reminder: Independent Reading Quotation Responses Due Today

Here is a link to the assignment.

Share a Google document or print out your responses.
(Guidelines are the same as for the summer readings, except with a particular focus on developing insightful and specific rhetorical analyses of the passages you select.)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

AP Eng Lang Exam Reminders

Final preparation ideas
Review strategies (below)
Review rhetorical analysis vocabulary (here).
Review previous essay of your own or from previous exams (here).
Review previous multiple choice sessions you've completed.
Calculate good day/bad day scores (link below).
Visualize yourself practicing strategies and effectively completing each part of the exam.
Rest. Eat. Pack a snack, favorite pencils, and favorite pens. Get to school on time. Conquer the exam.

In C-block we didn't have enough time to calculate "good day" and "bad day" scores. I was going to post a formula but instead here's the link that Everest and Cody found to AP Pass. Look back over your work. Let's say on your AP multiple choice packets you got 28, 32, and 36 correct. Let's say that on your Consumerism and Commodification essay you got a 5, on rhetorical analysis essays you got as low as a 4 and as high as a 7, and on your most recent argument essay you got a six. Put the low numbers into AP pass. AP pass calculates a 3. Put the high numbers in AP pass calculates a 4. Remember these scores are approximate, but they'll likely help alleviate some stress and give you something to aim for.

Tips for Maximizing your Score on the Multiple Choice Section

Test-Taking Strategies
·         Remember that you have approximately one minute to spend per question. Monitor your progress and stay on pace.
·         Choose the best answer! Sometimes several options are mostly correct or debatable; sometimes none of the options are completely satisfying. Examine all the choices. Read carefully If any part of a choice is not accurate eliminate the choice. Then choose the best of the remaining options.
·         Understand that you need to get approximately half of the multiple-choice questions correct to have possibility of a 3 or better. (60% correct puts you in good shape for a 3 or better.)
·         The questions are of a varied level of difficulty, and they are mixed together—not in order of complexity. Don’t dwell too long on difficult questions. Move to other questions which in some cases will help you answer the move difficult ones.
·         Tackle the easier questions first. Skip any questions that befuddle you, mark them in the margin, return to them after answering the other questions in the section, eliminate as many obviously wrong answers as possible, and make a choice before starting the next reading.
·         Be careful bubbling your answer sheet. Be especially cognizant of skipped numbers and erase changed answers completely.

Reading Strategies
·         Many students benefit from reading the questions (but not the choices) first. You’ll be a more effective reader if you are reading with purpose.
·         Read footnotes and any additional information. Take advantage of all the help the test preparers have given you.
·         After you’ve read the questions and the passage, annotate the reading passage. A blank passage won’t help you to analyze the necessary elements in detail.

·         Analyze your answering and guessing techniques. Reflect on how effective you are when you change answers and when you guess from narrowed-down choices.
·         Reflect on what strategies have been most effective during the practice exams.

Adapted by Mr. Cook from Lisa Boyd, Salem High School (GA)


AP English Language Exam Writing Reminders
concept by Elizabeth Johnson Tsang, adapted for AP EngLang by Mr. James Cook

Read the synthesis prompt before reading the synthesis sources. Annotate the sources with the prompt in mind.

Remember the heart of the synthesis essay (Question 1) is the ability to use multiple sources (at least three) to develop your own response to the prompt.

Underline the key directions words in the question: what exactly are you to do and how are you to do it. (If the question says “such rhetorical elements as tone, etc.” then you may choose. If it says “tone,” then you must discuss tone.)

Remember the heart of rhetorical analysis (usually Question 2) is “what is the argument and how does the author use rhetorical strategies and techniques to achieve that purpose?” Use may use SOAPSTone to annotate. The mnemonic device will help you think of elements to analyze and help you avoid merely summarizing and paraphrasing.

Remember the heart of the argument essay (usually Question 3) is stating your position and using well-organized reasoning and evidence to support and develop that position.

Jot down a plan! Don’t start writing until:
·        you have something to say (bold, insightful assertion)
·        you know how you’re going to develop your assertion with specific support

Write the synthesis essay first but you can do the other two essays in any order.

Be bold and insightful in the introduction.
  • The intro must contain a clear statement of your main insight.
  • If necessary, leave a space of several lines, then go back and fill with a clear statement of your main insight or a precise word for that insight. (Some of you are better able to write a strong thesis statement after writing the body paragraphs of a rhetorical analysis. Know yourself.)

Q2 organization. (1) Break the reading into sections. Analyze section by section, beginning to end. (2) Create a body paragraph for each strategy. Make sure you capture a sense of the passage as a whole.

Remember that the AP Exam is asking students to recognize and create rhetorical complexity and nuance.

Q1 and Q2. Don’t describe or summarize unless you analyze.
(Don’t describe a technique or summarize a passage unless you analyze how it contributes to your main insight about the meaning.)

Q1 and Q2. The AP rubrics prefer direct quotations to paraphrase. If possible weave the quotations into your sentences.
  • Avoid leaving quotations dangling on their own.
  • If possible cite the line number of the quotations.
  • Remember for Q2: “quote like this” (line 12). & for Q1: “quote like this” (Source A).  (Notice the period after the parenthetical citation.) Or if you embed the citation in your writing: in line 12 the speaker says “quote like this.” (The period goes inside the last quotation mark if you’re citing the line within the text instead of within parentheses.

The conclusion is of lesser importance if you have a strong, insightful introduction and have developed supporting evidence from the poem. But if you have time to offer a strong, insightful, unifying conclusion then do it that indicates the significance of the point you have made; leave the reader with a good impression. [Avoid repeating the introduction. For closure, ask yourself “so what?” – “what’s the big idea I’m asserting in this essay and why does it matter? – and conclude something.]

Try to write to the third page.

Understand the holistic grading rubric:
·        Does the student’s response show an understanding of the prompt’s purpose?
o       Q1 Did the student synthesize at least three sources into a well-developed response to the prompt?
o       Q2 Did the student develop an understanding of how the rhetorical techniques and features contribute to the argument in the passage?
o       Q3 Did the student understand the issue presented in the prompt and develop a well-organized argument on the issue using convincing support?
  • Did the student answer (all the parts of) the question asked?
  • How well-written and well-organized is the essay?

Miscellaneous Reminders

Put the titles of shorter pieces, like poems, speeches, articles, political cartoons, chapter titles, and essays within quotation marks: “A Modest Proposal,” “Old Father, Old Artificer,” “”On Seeing England for the First Time,” etc. Underline the title of longer works like novels, plays, documentaries, book-length memoirs, book-length arguments: Nickel and Dimed, All Souls, Hamlet, Lord of the Flies, Grendel, The Merchants of Cool, etc.

Errors: strike out neatly with one lime line.

Write with a black (or dark blue) pen.

Friday, May 2, 2014

AP English Language and Composition Exam Preparation

AP English Language and Composition Exam Multiple Choice (practice)
1. 1996 "Queen Elizabeth" (take home)
2. 2001 "I am a woman" (take home)
3. 2013 "Ellen Terry" (in class)
4. 2007 "With imagination" (take home) [Due Tuesday, May 6]

Q3 (Argument) AP English Language and Composition Free Response
1. By Thursday, May 1 complete a Q3 (argument). (Here is a link to details.)
2. In class on Thursday (May 1) review several Q3 argument (and SAT argument) strategies, including creating clear, nuanced positions and developing specific, persuasive support.
3. In class on Monday May 5 for C-block and Tuesday May 6 for F-block, review feedback from Mr. James Cook.

Q2 (Rhetorical Analysis) AP English Language and Composition Free Response
1. On Monday, May 5, bring in two passages from your independent that are rhetorically interesting. Be prepared to talk about the argument that the passage contributes to and how the way the passage contributes to the argument is interesting and, perhaps, effective. How do the strategies contribute to the argument? 

READ THIS: Think about what argument the passages are making and how they make the argument. Think about diction, syntax, voice, style, tone (attitude), organization, suggestive detail, supporting detail, use of research, use of observation, use of experience, appeal to reason (logos), appeal to character/trustworthiness/credibility (ethos), appeal to emotions (pathos), or anything else that makes the passage's way of making an argument interesting. 

2. On Monday, May 5, make sure you have access to your Hamlet Q2 (an analysis of a passage that you chose) and your "On Seeing England for the First Time" Q2 (an analysis of how Jamaica Kincaid uses rhetorical strategies to suggest her attitude toward England). We'll use these essays to remind us about Q2 strategies.

3. By class time on Tuesday, May 6, you should have written or selected a prompt, and you should have looked at examples of Q2s that you have written and/or that are posted on here. You also might want to review rhetorical strategies here.

4.  By Wednesday, May 7, complete a Q2 either by writing your own prompt for a passage from your independent reading book or by completing a Q2 from the past (find them here). Bring it to class. 

Q1 (Synthesis) AP English Language and Composition Free Response
1. On Wednesday, May 7, make a plan (map/outline) in response to a Q1 (synthesis) from the past.
2. On Thursday, May 8, make sure you have access to you Consumerism/Commodification Q1 and your research-based argument. We'll use these to remind us about Q1 strategies.

On Thursday, May 8, in class we'll have a confidence boosting, anxiety alleviating general review of AP Exam strategies. (To prepare to this review rhetorical strategies vocabulary found here.)

On Friday, May 9, you'll be in room 2210 by 7:30 with sharpened pencils, black pens, and a snack for intermission. Then, you and your peers will teach the College Board to fear the intellectual power of Gloucester High School Fishermen.