• Week of 10 September (Week 6)

    Posted by John Cano on 9/14/2012 4:00:00 PM
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  • Week of 3 September (Week 5)

    Posted by John Cano on 9/7/2012 4:00:00 PM

    For AP Language and Literature students, we focused on our first Literature Circle novel essay assessment.  In the middle of the week, we looked at sample AP essay prompts from previous years as well as essays written by students.  We analyzed what made an 8, 6, and 2 paper throught the eyes of AP readers--the essay graders.  I had the fortune of meeting about 10 of these readers over the summer and I found it valuable to present student samples so our students have an idea of what is expected of them.  The essay assessment was Friday of this week and will be scored using the modified AP rubric, which can be found on the Course Documents page of this site.

    AP Language students were exposed to the beginnings of Puritian Literature last week.  This continued with our first reading from a speech by Jonathan Edwards entitled "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."
    AP Literature students continued their journey through Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.  We read the Prologue, which introduced several of the influential characters of the entire piece.  We then discussed the primary character archetype of many pre-Renaissance literary pieces:  the epic hero.  For Chaucer, this is exemplified by the knight and his squire.  We are beginning to develop satirical connections between Chaucer's characters and the state of England at the time.  This will become much more evident in our reading of the Pardoner's Tale next week.
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  • Week of 27 August (Week 4)

    Posted by John Cano on 8/31/2012 4:00:00 PM

    In AP Language, students presented their vocabulary presentations based on the word list they compiled last week.  In these presentations, students were asked to work with their teams to devise a method to teach the terms to their classmates.  Teams had to teach their word appealing to three learning styles:  visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.

    We also discussed the Top 20 College-Level Grammatical Errors document provided by ACT.  We discussed each item and how it impacted their own writing.  Of the 20, seven pertained to additional, misplaced, and/or non-existant commas, four items identified verb, verb ending, or agreement issues, and three regarded pronoun/andecedent relationships.

    Toward the end of the week, we began discussing our first reading unit of the year:  pre-Revolutionary War literature.  In their AP U.S. history classes, students are covering Puritan and pre-Revolutionary War history, so their discussion in this class should deepen their understanding of the time period from a literary and rhetorical perspective.
    AP Literature students were introduced to the pre-Renaissance era writings of the Beowulf author and Geoffery Chaucer, author of The Canterbury Tales.  After reading his biography, students participated in an activity regarding characterization.  This required students to describe a person they knew with only sensory descriptors.  After five minutes of this description, students exchanged their results and were responsible for identifying the described person's personality, job, likes, and dislikes all based on the characterization provided by their classmate.  This practice of characterization will come in handy for students as they venture forward in class.
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  • Week of 20 August (Week 3)

    Posted by John Cano on 8/24/2012 4:00:00 PM

    In AP Language, we shifted our focus from autobiography to rhetorical devices.  Because the AP Language and Composition exam consists of three writing modes (synthesis, analysis, and argument), it is imperative students be able to identify the various academic terms related to rhetoric.  From a list of 118 words, students as individuals identified terms with which they were unfamiliar.  Afterward, as a team they created a general list of words they did not understand at first glance.  For many groups, this list was about half of the initial list given.  Finally, an ambassador representing one table went to other team tables to cross-reference their list with the other table's list.  I then compiled a master list, which can be found in the course documents page.

    In AP Literature, students turned their attention to the college research paper, which includes researching their destination, the school's demographic information, admittance requirements, funding options, living expences, and other essentials of attending college.  Also required is a generic personal statement which can be applied to many college and scholarship applications.
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  • Week of 13 August (Week 2)

    Posted by John Cano on 8/17/2012 4:00:00 PM
    As week 2 comes to an end, we have completed many required school protocol items, such as pre-assessment tests for reading and writing, permission slips, and our course Plan for Success.  You can find the Plan for Success in the Course Documents page.
    In AP Language, we annotated and analyzed two samples of autobiography; one from Mark Twain and the other from Benjamin Franklin.  Students will use these as models for their own autobiography.  A rough draft was due 16 August.  Peer revision took place Thursday and a final draft is due 23 August.
    In AP Literature, we explored options for a destination after high school.  While the emphasis was a college or university, students were encouraged to research technical and private schools which satisfied their program of study.  This research is several days long and includes a visual representation of their personal statements, destination's statistics, and career goals.  The course documents page has more information about this project.
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  • Week of 6 August (Week 1)

    Posted by John Cano on 8/10/2012 3:30:00 PM

    Hope you were as excited to begin the new school year as I was.  We accomplished quite a bit during the first week.  Monday, we broke with ice with an activity called "Two truths and a Lie."  We then dispelled some rumors and confirmed some information about what Advanced Placement really means. Students then began to complete a personality evaluation.

    Tuesday began with the completion of the personality evaluation.  Based on the results, students were assigned teams for optimal performance.  We then entered AP Boot Camp, a three-day grueling endeavor to break down previous academic schema and create new ones to help students succeed in AP.  Topics of discussion included Language Registers (Joos, 1967), Bloom's Taxonomy (1956), Costa's Levels of Questioning (2001), the Abstraction Ladder (Hayakawa, 1941), and Spheres of Writing.  Boot camp lasted until Friday.
    As the week concluded, students began class with reflective journal writing.  We then finished AP Boot Camp and discussed some classroom procedures.  Finally, students received their materials list and are expected to have them ready for Monday.
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