• AP English Language and Composition


    Dr. Strangelove Chat

    As we view this classic example of cinematic satire, share your insights in real time with your classmates (minimum 3 interesting comments/questions):

    1st period

    3rd period

    4th period



    Preparing for the Final Exam

    Our final exam consists of three parts, each worth 20 points:

    Part 1 - Pretend You're a College Admissions Officer

    Read an actual college application essay and write a letter of acceptance (or rejection) to the student.  Use the letter to discuss the specific strengths and weaknesses of the essay.

    Part 2 - Score an Impromptu and Create a Numbered Comment Sheet

    Read an impromptu response to an actual AP prompt and score the essay using a provided rubric (include a brief commentary justifying the score).  In the process, create a numbered comment sheet (#15 - 20 items) that demonstrates your understanding of the principles of effective writing.

    Part 3 - Quotation Discussion (5 x 4 pts each)

    Discuss the source and significance of five quoted passages from works we have read this term. Kafka’s “Metamorphosis,” Chaucer’s “Miller’s Tale,” and Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” will almost certainly be represented, as well as at least one poem we've discussed.



    As you develop your multimedia, multi-genre independent reading response, consider carefully the aspects of your nonfiction book that resonated with you.  The purpose of your approximately five-minute presentation is to share with the class the highlights of your experience reading the book.  What were some of the most interesting aspects of the book? What can you say about the author's writing style? How can you use visuals and sound to enhance your presentation?  Refer to this RUBRIC as a guide.

    Enter your preferred presentation slot HERE.  Rule of thumb: #1 - 8 will most likely present on Tuesday; #9 - 16 on Wednesday; #17 and up on Thursday.

    Schedule Change!

    Although I had announced that the "Metamorphosis" quiz would happen Tuesday and the college essay revision would be due Wednesday, let's push everything forward one day: the quiz will now be on Wednesday, with the college essay revision due Thursday. The posted syllabus reflects these changes.


    College Essay

    Coming up with a good essay for your college application will likely take many months, as you painstakingly rework various drafts and craft new ones.  For our assignment, draft one "fresh" essay (using the Common/Coalition App prompts) and repurpose another essay (written earlier this year), then choose which draft has more promise.  With feedback from your group members, revise this more promising draft and submit on Wednesday, May 29.  Spend some time looking over the many samples available online, including this excellent resource from Khan Academy and this extensive collection of submitted essays.

    SURVEY HERE! (3rd period only)


    AP Prompt Prediction Pool

    Make your best guesses about the topics of this year's AP English Language and Composition prompts.  Examine past prompts to discover patterns. Record your predictions HERE. You can review your classmates' predictions HERE.


    Mastering the Multiple Choice Section

    If you're looking for more practice exams, the Michigan eLibrary provides some great test prep material HERE (you have to register). In addition to practicing the multiple choice passages from the AP exam and analyzing the results, composing multiple choice items provides critical insights into the nature of the exam.  Review this excellent analysis of the types of multiple choice items you'll encounter on the test.  Also read Ellen Ryan's "Footnotes and Endnotes: The Rhetoric of Documentation" (pp. 35 - 47) to better understand the footnote items.


    AP Lang Vocabulary Bank

    Scour your old handouts for important terms and concepts and add them to our growing list of vocabulary highlights.  Include a clear definition and sentence with the word in context.  Feel free to give voice to your wit. Check the progress of both AP Lang classes here.


    Arts and Letters Daily - Rhetorical Analysis Paragraph and MC Item

    Use this link to submit your one-paragraph analysis of a rhetorically interesting essay from Arts and Letters Daily.

    You can read your classmates' paragraphs here.

    Use this link to submit your AP-Lang-style MC item. 

    You can enjoy your classmates' MC items here.


    "Consider the Lobster" Summary

    Write a clear, concise paragraph that encapsulates the main ideas of Wallace's famous essay.  What is his central argument?  Enter your paragraph HERE. You can read your classmates' responses HERE.


    Then, with your group, compose five AP Lang-style multiple choice items for "Consider the Lobster."  Create a single Google Doc and have each group member compose a single question (put your name by the question to get credit for it) - click HERE for more detailed directions; then, share the document with me.  You can review a helpful guide to the various types of AP Lang-style items HERE.


    AP-Style MC Item

    Enter your AP-style multiple choice item for Russell Baker's "The Plot Against People" HERE. Review your classmates' efforts HERE.


    Coca Cola Prompt One-Paragraph Response

    Submit your one-paragraph response to the Coca Cola prompt HERE. Check out your classmates' responses HERE.


    Nonfiction Book Title

    Select a nonfiction book to read by Memorial Day and submit the title and author HERE.  You can see your classmates' selections HERE.


    Synthesis Research Topic

    Submit your synthesis research topic and question HERE. Use the prompt template and source template to help you complete your project.  Here's a spreadsheet with everyone's research topic.


    Satire Project

    As you complete your various outlines and response logs, consider the role of satire in contemporary culture.  Does an art form that seeks to "hold up human vices and follies to ridicule and scorn" benefit society, or merely poke holes in it? The Harris essay provides a thorough overview of the main facets of satire and the key rhetorical strategies that satirists employ.  "A Modest Proposal" and "The Miller's Tale" allow you to delve into two classic satirical works.  Does an ironic advocacy of cannibalism and a farcical tale about infidelity and bodily functions serve a noble purpose? And how does the biting mockery of The Onion benefit those who read it (or are targets of it)?


    Trimester #3 Preview

    The second half of AP English Language will extend your ability to analyze the rhetorical choices that shape writers' (and speakers') messages while at the same time honing your argumentative skills.  Since we really have only about five weeks before AP Exam season is upon us, our work with Bedford, impromptus, practice mutliple-choice tests, and exam strategies must move on apace.  We'll study satire in earnest over spring break and write a few synthesis impromptus along the way. After the May 15 exam, we'll wrap up the research paper, write some college application essays, read a nonfiction book (your choice!), and dabble in some short fiction and poetry.


    Welcome to AP English Language and Composition!

    We begin our journey with an entire trimester of work under our belts and a longing to reawaken our inner-English students. I hope you have been ruminating on Orwell’s dark view of the future, as well as the content and style of your columnist's essays. We'll discuss these works and more during our first weeks together as we begin to develop a more incisive, active approach to reading and a more cogent, engaging writing style. You can access helpful resources for the course at the AP English Language and Composition student page.  I look forward to an exciting 2/3 of a school year with you!


    Rhetoric All Around You

    As you gain a fuller understanding of how rhetorical choices shape a writer's message, pay close attention to interesting examples of rhetoric you encounter daily.  Collect examples of notable language use in the world of politics, advertising, entertainment, day-to-day interactions, Facebook status updates, etc. and share them with the class.  
    Rhetorical triangle