Thu/Fri–May 19/29–AP

HW: Revisions of Fascination Essay. Reading of Semester Nonfiction books. Completing Rhetoric in the Wild

What we’re up to:

  • Discussion on Queen of Versailles–How do Documentary filmmakers use rhetoric?
  • Introduction to the Play Unit
  • Introduction to American Plays
  • Readthroughs and Discussion

 

Ok, first, let’s finish Queen.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Describe your impression of the Siegel family. Be specific about how the filmmakers depict them in their choices of what to show, how to show it, how they use music and other cinema techniques.
  2. Who did you sympathize with and who did you not? Why do you think so?
  3. AO Scott said this, “Schadenfreude and disgust may be unavoidable, but to withhold all sympathy from the Siegels is to deny their humanity and shortchange your own. Marvel at the ornate frame, mock the vulgarity of the images if you want, but let’s not kid ourselves. If this film is a portrait, it is also a mirror.”
  4. What are the ways documentarians can manipulate our impressions? Are they fair? What is/is not ethical in these choices?
  5. Is this movie exploitative? Does it make it too easy to mock someone rather than think deeply and critically about society?

OK, now let’s talk American drama. We’ll look at 4 different classic American dramas:

We’ll do a readthrough where 4 groups will take turns reading the first 15 minutes of the play together. After each readthrough, we’ll ask these questions:

  1. How does the playwright introduce the characters? What do they do/say that gives the audience a sense of who they are?
  2. How does the playwright introduce the setting? What do we figure out is true about the play’s world?
  3. How does the playwright introduce the themes? What are the ideas and conflicts that are already beginning to be set up?

Next week, we’ll look at some more contemporary plays and small groups will choose their focus play.

Tue, May 10th–AP

What we’re up to:

  • Multiple Choice Practice
  • Review of AP

Let’s start by going through 3 sections (questions 1-37) of the MC.

Then, we’ll talk about how to make our own questions based on this prompt.

Use this list of question types to help.

Finally, let’s do a section-by-section final set of advice.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 5.44.44 PM rhetorical road map.011

We’ll look at an example of a rhetorical essay on People in Nature. In small groups, answer these questions:

  1. There is very little specifically mentioned about the audience. What can you infer about the audience from the text.
  2. What are the “moves” you see in Logos, Ethos, and Pathos?
  3. Explain how these moves are meant to appeal to this audience.

Next, we’ll practice some rhetorical analysis for short pieces and maybe develop some evidence for arguments.

  1. Write one paragraph that supports or refutes the claim: Students should be required to complete community service in order to graduate from high school. Use specific examples from your reading, experience, or learning to support your argument.
  2. Write one paragraph that supports or refutes the claim: Cities should ban the use of smokeless tobacco at all baseball games–including professional sports. Use specific examples from your reading, experience, or learning to support your argument.
  3. Write one paragraph that supports or refutes the claim: All sports and extracurricular activities should be free to students. Use specific examples from your reading, experience, or learning to support your argument.

Finally, and we won’t get to this, but it’s here. See the following types of analysis:

How to do a framing analysis

In small groups, imagine that you want to convince people that:

People should not-under any circumstances–use Twitter.

Write a short 2-sentence framing device what would capture the reasons why Twitter is bad.

After sharing, we’ll talk about how to write an analytical body paragraph which will explore the strategy behind framing devices. Some ideas to consider:

  1. You first must establish what is being compared to what. For example, Using Twitter is like arming 140 character time bombs with the potential of destroying your relationships every time you press return. This compares Twitter to a time bomb.
  2. Then, you connect the metaphor to author’s purpose–either overall or in the particular part of the argument–buy connecting other elements of the metaphor to elements that are relevant to the situation. Time bombs are unstable and unpredictable. Time bombs are violent and cause chaos. Time bombs cause anxiety and fear.
  3. Finally, you make a case for the indirect or implied elements of the framing devices and how they might influence the audience. Time bombs are the devices of supervillains–power-mad evildoers who revel in destruction, not unlike the mindset of teenagers who have too much time on their hands.
  4. Some common types of framing devices are identity frames, characterization frames, power frames, conflict frames, risk frames, and loss/gain frames.

Analyze the following framing device by Ben Carson on QP.

We need to get to the bottom of any problems of discrimination. But the larger issue here is, how do you react when something is wrong? If you have an unpleasant experience with a plumber, do you go out and declare a war on all plumbers? Or teachers or doctors? Of course not. And it makes no sense to do that with police either.

How to do a tonal analysis

Tonal analysis or examinations of diction hinge on exploring how an author uses particular word choices and how those word choices provide us insight into how the author sees his audience, opposition, or the world. Usually, the process goes like this:

  1. Choose words or phrases that seem particularly pungent. They are poetic or well-chosen or descriptive.
  2. Make sure you understand what those words describe or modify.
  3. What are the connotations behind the words you chose? Go beyond positive and negative and look for adjectival descriptors that capture nuance.
  4. Explain how the word choices have some sort of function. They give us insight in how the author wants to characterize someone or something.

Do a tonal analysis (QP) of this passage that uses an analogy to describe the mindset of the extremely rich:

Yet you gasp: one avaricious little boy is jealously guarding a mountain of toys for himself. A handful of other children are quietly playing with a few toys each, while 90 of the children are looking on forlornly — empty-handed.

The one greedy boy has hoarded more toys than all those 90 children put together!

“What’s going on?” you ask. “Let’s learn to share! One child shouldn’t hog everything for himself!”

The greedy little boy looks at you, indignant. “Do you believe in redistribution?” he asks suspiciously, his lips curling in contempt. “I don’t want to share. This is America!”

And then he summons his private security firm and has you dragged off the premises. Well, maybe not, but you get the point.

How to do a claim/evidence analysis

Here you need to be clear on three things:

  1. What is being argued (claim)?
  2. What are the reasons that this claim is argued to be true (reasons)?
  3. What are the assumptions behind this argument (warrant)?

So, if I make an argument that The Avengers is a disappointing movie because it only has one female superhero (who doesn’t have any magical powers), I’m implicitly saying that without a more gendered-balanced cast, I’m going to be disappointed. And I’m implying that you should be too. What sort of audience or culture would have a similar reaction?

Think about what aspect of the rhetorical triangle reward the choices or reason and warrant and why.

OK, analyze the logical argument in the following excerpt from The Week.

The novel phenomenon of American upper-middle-class helicopter-parenting, in which kids are scheduled, monitored, and supervised for their “enrichment” at all times, is now being enforced on others.

It’s an odd way to “help” a child who is unsupervised for five minutes to potentially inflict years of stress, hours of court appearances, and potential legal fees and fines on their parents. Children who experience discreet instances of suboptimal parenting aren’t always aided by threatening their parents with stiff, potentially family-jeopardizing legal penalties. The risk of five or even 10 minutes in a temperate, locked car while mom shops is still a lot better than years in group homes and foster systems.

OK, let’s talk about some other types of analytical examinations we might do are the following:

  • Syntax
  • Rhetorical figures like alliteration or anaphora
  • Ethos-type credibility arguments for oneself or against one’s opponents
  • Anecdotes
  • Appeals to particular emotions

Mon, May 9th–AP

1st period, this is our last class before you take the test, so let me know if you want to come see me at SAS tomorrow. In any event, I’ll post info on the AP Review Page or you can see the blog…

Everyone else, we’ll take a look at MC questions and final questions about the rest of the test.

Today, I just wanted to touch base on Synthetic essay. Here is my list of basic reminders about the Synth essay.

  1. Read the question closely. Remember it is an argument question, but answer the specific question they’re asking. For example, do they want a thumbs up/thumbs down, a “what factors should we consider to make a decision,” or make a proposal answer.
  2. The thesis should answer the question.
  3. Each body paragraph should have a minimum of 2 sources in it.
  4. A typical format for a body paragraph is topic sentence–>set-up of quote–>quote–>explain how the quote is relevant–>transition to 2nd quote–>2nd quote–>Explain why BOTH are relevant.
  5. Never forget to both give an attribution (Sherman argues…) AND a parenthetical citation.
  6. Common paragraph types are Support/Support and Critic/Support.
  7. Conclusions are afterthoughts.

In small groups, read the following prompt on museums and work together to classify the sources. For each source, explain which factor(s) it would support and which selection from the text would be most useful.

Individually, write a thesis statement and one body paragraph.

Finally, let’s look at an essay that got a 9! and what the scorers had to say about it.

If we have time, we’ll look at one more synthetic prompt.

TH/F–May 5th/6th–AP

HW: Prepare for the EXAM! See the AP resource page above.

What we’re up to:

  • Practicing the Argument prompt
  • Practicing the Synthetic Prompt

OK, let’s start today by talking about the Argument prompt. A teacher named Ms. Burke has a good, step-by-step look at how to think about this prompt. Her page is here. I’ll summarize her points this way:

  1. Figure out the Question they are asking
  2. Create a “Post-it” Outline.
  3. No “Sponge Bob” Yes Socrates
  4. Fire the first Five
  5. Be original but not too weird

 

Ok, as a class here’s the 2010 prompt:

In his 2004 book, Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton argues that the chief aim
of humorists is not merely to entertain but “to convey with impunity messages that might be dangerous or impossible to state directly.” Because society allows humorists to say things that other people cannot or will not say, de Botton sees humorists as serving a vital
function in society.
Think about the implications of de Botton’s view of the role of humorists (cartoonists, stand-up comics, satirical writers, hosts of television programs, etc.). Then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies de Botton’s claim about the vital role of humorists. Use specific, appropriate evidence to develop your position.

Small class questions:

1) What exactly is being asked here? Be specific and don’t oversimplify.
2) Create a post-it note outline of 3 body paragraphs
3) Develop a list of specific examples, one can by hypothetical.

Share.

Then, we’ll look at the example of an 8 on the AP exam. It’s on page 3. Read it and decide WHY it got an 8 and not a 9 nor a 4 for that matter.

Time for you to do this individually! On to QP!

Finally, I just wanted to touch base on Synthetic essay. Here is my list of basic reminders about the Synth essay.

  1. Read the question closely. Remember it is an argument question, but answer the specific question they’re asking. For example, do they want a thumbs up/thumbs down, a “what factors should we consider to make a decision,” or make a proposal answer.
  2. The thesis should answer the question.
  3. Each body paragraph should have a minimum of 2 sources in it.
  4. A typical format for a body paragraph is topic sentence–>set-up of quote–>quote–>explain how the quote is relevant–>transition to 2nd quote–>2nd quote–>Explain why BOTH are relevant.
  5. Never forget to both give an attribution (Sherman argues…) AND a parenthetical citation.
  6. Conclusions are afterthoughts.

Synthesis Essay

We’ll look at a model Synthetic essay, this one about the use of technology.

See the model 8 essay. In what ways did the writer follow my advice?

 

 

Tue/Wed–May 3rd/4th–AP

HW: No HW. But you can take a look at  any of the SAT prompts located here. to practice possible argument prompts…

What we’re up to:

  • Shakespeare!
  • Taking the AP Rhetoric Prompt
  • Preparing for the Argument prompt

 

Let’s start by looking at the Shakespeare prompt. In small groups…

  • Decius. What is his “theory of mind?” How do you know? What does he use to convince JC?
  • Calpurnia. What is her “theory of mind?” How do you know? What does she use to convince JC?
  • As a group, write one body paragraph on either Decius or Calpurnia.

Then, it’s AP time! We’ll do some quick reminders of best practices for AP Rhetorical prompts.

Finally, I’d like to talk Argument prompts. We’ll look at a number of examples and then try to generate relevant examples and thesis statements.

For each one, I’ll ask you to write a complex thesis and note three possibilities of evidence.

 

 

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