Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Gatsby Doins

Image Credit: Mike Arnold via The Fox is Black

Over break you will finish the book.  On the Tuesday/Wednesday of our first week back, we will have our first Socratic seminar.  Each prompt will be defended via textual evidence.  In preparation for the discussion, you will prepare remarks on the following topics:

I)  A) Gatsby*
1. Which of the following would you argue best represents Gatsby:
A) Classic Romantic
B) Gangster-”lie down with dogs, you come up with fleas…”
C) Comic Character
D) Narcissist
E) Hero of the middle class
F) Other?
- It is essential to define these labels prior to making your comparison.
2.  Or which from the list above would argue against the most?

- To what extent did Nick succeed convincing you that he was “one of the few honest people I have ever known.”(59)?  
- Is Daisy a character worthy of our sympathy (before/after Myrtle’s death)?
5. Which characters have the most elaborate foil (Use Venn handout to help trace thoughts)  ?  Nick vs. Gatsby, Myrtle vs. Daisy, Tom vs. Gatsby, Tom vs. Wilson.

II)    Theme
1. What were this novel’s final statements on the following themes?*
Wealth vs. Poverty-
American Dream-
Illusions vs Reality-

2.  Cover Interpretation- Gatsby Cover Art- break down a cover as it relates to the novel’s themes.  
Cool Prezi on our cover

3. One of the best accents to the film is the clever soundtrack.  How do any of the following songs amplify a particular scene or include your own addition to the soundtrack and explain.
    No Church in the Wild
     Love is Blindness- Jack White (cover of U2)
    Crazy in Love-
    Young and Beautiful

  My choice--for now...
  I Can't Make You Love Me- Bon Iver cover of Bonnie Raitt

III) Author Style-
1.How did the structure of the novel (in particular 1st person narrator) filter reality presented to reader?
2.Among the various literary techniques layered within this novel, which emerged as the most unique to Fitzgerald's style?
3.  The Great Gatsby Vs. Winter Dreams  What are the most stark patterns in terms of theme and style as you compare these texts?

Discussion Rubric and Transitions

*Idea lifted shamelessly from the talented Miss Cordes

Great lectures to inform you more *wink*- This is what AP level students do...

Listen to The Big Read- Great Gatsby

Psychoanalysis of Gatsby(review)

and part 2 if you are interested or even

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gatsby and the socialization of wealth.

From the doc Kids + Money by Lauren Greenfield

Simple thesis- Chapter 2 is an indictment of the indulgences of the era.
To reflect this criticism, Fitzgerald slings several arrows in the form of symbols,setting and characterization. 

For tonight- Let's find the examples how Fitzgerald echoes this themes through the following:

  • symbol
  • setting
  • character actions-
-Others at party

  • Character words

Here is a link to the full documentary Born Rich.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Food Debate-Round One

Tonight: Read Jay Bost's  NYT article. Pay close attention to Bost’s structure just as we did with Singer. Mark up the article with your observations. Read the other submissions too.

Write- In your opinion, what was the most effective persuasion in this argument?  This was the winning essay.  What tipped the scales in its favor?

Curious web ad from Chipotle echoes Bost. They claim to walk the walk when it comes to proper stewardship of animal conditions.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Persuasion...Hollywood Style

Here we go again...this time you can team up with a partner (as in one other carbon based life form) to break down some rhetoric from a famous film.  Get started by clicking on American Rhetoric Movie Speeches.  This is a first come/ first serve list for films so there can not be any redundancy in our presentations.  The list begins now...tell me your selection before you get too far into the analysis.  You may not use any war speeches...We will cover that in January.  Break it down for us.  Create a brief Google Slide Show that covers the following rhetorical elements.
  1. Slide 1-Explain what we know about the speaker and their motive(s).  What do they want from the audience?
  2. Slide 2-Who is the audience?  What do they value?  Why might they be reluctant to move upon request of speaker?  or why might they be excited or intrigued?  
  3. Slide 3-Explicitly lay out the strategy of the speaker.  What must they do to "unlock" the audience?  Establish at least three unique strategies at play in this speech.
  4. Slide 4 +  What are the rhetorical devices in the speech?  How did this device amplify the strategy?
  5. Slide- 6?  One perfect paragraph to model how you would write this in the rhetorical analysis essay.
  6. Save the presentation in Classroom in the form shared with you.
  7. Don't worry about the sample being too short.  You are just walking us through an analysis at the start of the period.  This will sharpen the blade of analysis.
1. Read Winter Dreams by Wednesday-  Do not be brief in your written discussion of these prompts.  You have several days to read process and I expect depth in your responses.
Prompts for reading journal:

A.  What impact does the setting (time, location, season) have on the story?  
Areas to possibly explore include characterization, plot, theme, or conflict.  Be sure to use plenty of textual evidence and specifics.

B.  Describe Fitzgerald's characterization in Winter Dreams: (Dexter, Judy Jones and Devlin)   What motivates and preoccupies them? 

C..  Offer two claims about HOW Fitzgerald writes (beyond simple plot or character patterns).  Suggested topics: syntax, imagery, description / details, symbolism, structure / chronology, diction (careful!!). Use evidence from the story as support for your claims.

Some thoughts on your reading journal responses-

 As a rule of thumb, write until you have fully explored and answered each prompt.  Some prompts may elicit four-five sentences, while some may elicit a page or more.  It will not be uncommon for you to write 2-3 pages in an evening’s journal.  Come to class with your reading done, your entries completed, and ideas to present to your classmates.  As an AP student it is a given that you will read your assignments and complete your work on time; you are then expected to participate and share their ideas and analysis during class.

2.  Get a copy of The Great Gatsby by Thursday.
     A) Purchase at school bookstore ($15- preferred)
     B) If you know someone with a copy-borrow it.
     C)  BYOD- Here is a copy of it.  Not ideal for annotation purposes and your retinas if on phone.
     D)  If A-C are not possible...see me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Apprentice Writing + Reflection IRP 2014

Apprentice Writing + Reflection

So far you have successfully analyzed five editorials of a professional writer through the prism of rhetorical strategies.  Let’s take off the kid gloves and make our own editorial argument.  Here are the requirements for the Apprentice Work page:
  1. Argument can be of any topic you choose.  However, in the spirit of your writer, it should model their argument style (ceremonial, forensic, or deliberative).
  2. Word Count- 400-600
  3. Implement two distinct rhetorical moves from your writer.  Just as we used a “copy cat” style from our critics, try out the moves you studied so closely this past month. Highlight this in the text so that I can pick it out easier.
  4. Have a target audience in mind so as to create the language and appeals to bridge your message to them most effectively. Think back to the numerous models over the past 3 weeks.
  5. Post in the Apprentice Work tab on your editorial Sites page.
  6. You are expected to bring the same level of sentence variety and attention to diction as was reflected in your review writing.
  7. As this is a serious topic, you must also lean upon some form of logos at some point in your argument.
  8. Your topic will have controversy so be aggressive in your counter-arguments.

Model Student example- Matt 

As this was your portfolio using this technology like this, I need as much constructive feedback as possible.  Honest reflections about the process and the technology will promise to give more fluid shape to future projects.  Please don't be brief.

Requirements for the Reflections Page:  

  • Why did you choose this topic as the subject of your editorial?  What prior context do you have with this topic?
  • What did you learn about your understanding of rhetoric as you studied this writer?  Describe the “A Ha!” moment when you were able to crack their style.  Remember to be specific here.
  • Describe the writing process of your editorial.  Was it easier because you had this writer as a style mentor or did it pose struggles to your own writing (too restrictive...)?
  • What was the advantage to using this technology for this project?  Did I need to offer more more technical assistance or other forms of modeling for it?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Should we ban...?

Using Singer as your model, write your own brief 1 page editorial calling for the banning of _____.  Of course it will be polemic but that is what will make this fun to write.   Consider this a pre-draft to prime your mind for your editorial you write at the conclusion of the IRP.  Check out the Room for Debate series by the NY Times for ideas.


  • 1+-page minimum
  • Introduction-creative
  • Counter-argument ( Some argue...)
  • Use of logos (legitimate source- ex. Singer cites FDA study/ Proctor- Stanford Science historian)) 
  • Parallel structure 
Here are some possible ideas:
*Photoshopped photos in advertising
* Too many standardized tests
* Homework
* Unlimited political donations
*Teaching evolution/intelligent design
*Fracking-Keystone XXL
* Drone attacks
* Repeal ban on perfomance enhancing drugs (PED) in sport
* BCS playoffs

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

McWhorter- Rhetorical Analysis of a TED Speech

You may need to read/view the speech again to catch these techniques and strategies  You can complete this assignment on the McWhorter handout:
  1. What kind of argument is McWhorter advancing?
  2. As mentioned prior to viewing the speech, McWhorter is presenting a controversial idea to an audience likely reluctant to accept it initially.  Outline the structure of his evidence and its intended effect on the audience.  The paragraphs from his speech can be bracketed and summarized with your notes in the margin of the handout.   
  3. What other "bridges" does he build to his audience?  This is sentence level persuasion.  Annotate no less than 6 examples.  Briefly explain the intent of that persuasion.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Analyze this! College Commercials....

For the weekend:

  1. Choose one of the following college commercials to analyze:  Wittenberg-Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, or Texas.
  2. Prompt:  In order to recruit top tier academic talent, universities must pull out all the stops to grab the attention of a very thin pool of candidates and their parents.  Choose one of the following commercials and analyze the various rhetorical techniques used to persuade a prospective student to apply to their university.
  3. Write introduction- a)  Establish the wants/ needs of an incoming freshman b)  Establish the exigence of the university- what is their intent?  c) preview the strategies that will directly appeal to this audience.
  4. 2 paragraphs of rhetorical analysis.  Be very specific about visuals (exactly who is represented and why this matters) and voice over.  "The effect of this..., The intent is to..., This resonates with students because..."

And this is just for fun---

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Brooks Editorial Analysis

HW:  Read The Quality of Fear: What the Ebola Crisis Reveals About Culture by David Brooks

A)  What type of argument is this editorial?
B)  How would you describe the structure of evidence Brooks uses to support his thesis?
C)  Write-Find three forms of persuasion/ technique from the editorial.  Explain the intended effect on the reader.
D)  Write-Evaluate the thesis of editorial.  One paragraph response- Defend, challenge, or qualify Brook's claim.Remember to use the forms of evidence required in a free response.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Banneker rhetorical analysis

HW:  Two rhetorical analysis paragraphs of Banneker's strategy towards Jefferson.  Here are some ideas to organize:

 Strategy #1- How does Banneker “build a bridge” to Jefferson?
A)    What does Banneker do to reach out to Jefferson? 
B)    Rhetorical strategy #1- Textual evidence/ Rhetorical Device?
C)    Why would this work on Jefferson?

             Strategy #2- Appeal to….
A)    Describe the rhetorical strategy and its intended effect on Jefferson.
B)    Rhetorical strategy #2- Textual Evidence/Rhetorical Device?
C)    Why would this strategy specifically embolden one to work against slavery?

             Strategy #3 – Patterns of language to reveal Banneker’s tone.
A)    Do you see any patterns?  What is unique about this word choice and what positive effect would it have on Jefferson towards Banneker’s intent?
B)    Specifically reference the amount of times the pattern occurs and provide a sample.

C)    Why would this strategy specifically embolden one to work against slavery?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Suspense! Hitchcock on Halloween

1.  Any Chekov's guns?
2.  Watch 3;00 through 6;50.  Listen very carefully again to any back story that reveals an ominous tone for the remainder of the action. You should pick up on at least two issues.
3.  Now note the time where we see an escalation of tension.
#1- Hmmm
#2- Uh oh
#3  (curley panic) Gna gna gna
#4  YIKES!
# 5 Maximum squirm!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AP Editorial Project 2014

Writer Apprenticeship Final IRP #1 for 1st Semester

“Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.” -David Foster Wallace

Task:  Inspired by DFW's words on writing, we will continue our study of the craft. Our next project will involve you following a columnist from a major newspaper/ publication over the next few weeks.  The purpose of this project is for you to learn at the feet of a contemporary master of argumentative prose.  You will collect a minimum of five current columns and analyze the patterns of persuasion and style of this writer.  The editorial you select should not exceed 700 words, regular length of an editorial.  Using Google Sites and the template I provided, you will post the article and your annotations in your editorial analysis site.  Too easy!  

Areas of annotation for each column:
  • Speaker’s tone and possible tone shifts
  • Rhetorical strategies
  • Organization and arrangement
  • Methods of appeals
  • Intended audience reactions- laughter, anger, confusion

Questions to guide your observations for analysis:

  1. How does the title inform the piece?
  2.  What is the thesis and where is it?
  3. What introductory technique(s) did the author use?  Is the technique weaved through the essay?  How?
  4. Our texts have reflected some of the purposes of argument.  Using the language of your text, identify the purpose (s) of this argument.
  5. What appears to be the balance of ethos, pathos, or logos in this editorial?
  6. Comment on the method of conclusion.  What can you learn from this method of closing?
  7. What appeals are in the argument?
  8. After studying this piece, what, if anything, would you like to emulate as a writer?

Look no farther than New York Times Opinion pages or the syndicated columnists from Yahoo News Opinion for your selection of writer.

Remember that the "I" in IRP stands for Independent. Outside of today there will be limited time to work on this project. This means that there is a level of trust and academic maturity required to meet the demands. If you wait until the last few days to complete the analysis of the writer, the project will suffer as your analysis will be weak as will your Apprentice essay. On the flip side, keeping a disciplined regiment of analysis of a new editorial piece every 3-4 days will pay off as you will be less stressed and will allow for a proper reflection on the technique of your writer. This reflection will make the drafting of the Apprentice essay smooth.
Model Editorial Project and Apprentice Essay from Matt Wenz

Due date- November 21 (Project Free over break) or December 1.
Expect one drop in where I verify that you are keeping up with the intent of this project.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm Coming Home...

Prompt: In 2010, LeBron James, arguably the most gifted professional basketball player of his generation, stunned the sports world as he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, team from his home state that originally drafted him, and competed for the Miami Heat where he subsequently won 2 championships. In the summer of 2014, LeBron James optioned out of his contract and rejoined the Cavaliers. Read the following open letter LeBron penned to the fans of Cleveland. Then write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies James uses to win back the allegiance of the fan base.

 HW:  Write two rhetorical analysis paragraphs uncovering the strategy from LeBron's letter home.
A) How does James build the bridge to the fan base?
B)  Textual evidence?
C)  Why would this technique work on this audience?  *snap*

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spooky Friday Film Study- ALMA

This weeks submission for Gary Oldman's Touch of Evil performance... I want you to dwell in this performance before you write your description.  Submit over the weekend!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

A) Touch of Evil description
B) Two more paragraphs for rhetorical analysis
Strategy #2- Appeal to….
1) Describe the rhetorical strategy and its intended effect on Downe’s wife.
2) Rhetorical strategy #2- Textual Evidence/Rhetorical Device?
3) Why would this strategy specifically appeal to someone who is currently in poverty?

Strategy #3 – Patterns of language to reveal Downe’s tone.
A) Do you see any patterns?  What is unique about this word choice?  
B) Specifically reference the amount of times the pattern occurs and provide a sample.
C)  What positive effect would this tone have on Downe’s intent?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downe to the basics!

Sorry 7/8

HW: Write a rhetorical analysis paragraph from Downe's letter. Look over your annotation notes and start with this outline:
Strategy #1- How does Downe “build a bridge” to his wife?
A) What does Downe do to reach out to his wife? 
B) Rhetorical strategy #1- Textual evidence/ (Rhetorical Device-if there- comment on its function to amplify the strategy)?
C) Why would this effectively persuade her ?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yes! Halloween Week Starts in AP!

I love this short horror film as it does so much more with less.

HW:  Read the questions from the Queen Elizabeth passage (10-13).  Read through the AP MC types of questions and link them to the question.
For example: Q1= Meaning & Purpose

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Draft Outline for Review

One minute horror movie adapted from 2 sentence horror story...eeek
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.”
-Juan J Ruiz

Preliminary outline- to include preliminary opening idea (Wells), articulated support paragraph ideas

Not acceptable example:
                       III.  Actors
                                         = Terrible

This is a better start:

                        III. Actors confirming every tired cliche of action films
                             A) Actor X- Reluctant hero-Love turns his heart for good
                                  1) Sample of cheesy dialogue
                                     a) "Cassandra I never knew what love was until I looked into your beautiful blue eyes..."
                                     i) Insert sarcasm

                             B) Retired Assassin comes back for one last job.
                                 1) # times we hear how he was the best
                                     i) "Do you know who you are messing with?!"
                                 2) Big boss sends out younger/eccentric team to "neutralize" our hero.

This outline reflects sharper observation and an obvious strategy to organize the critique.