Lincoln’s Oration

As we continue to examine primary source documents from the Realist period of American Literary history, we turn to one of the country’s most amazing Presidential writers, Abraham Lincoln.

We have discussed how a speaker’s audience, purpose and persona impact their writing and oration, as well as the way they employ rhetorical devices.

 

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Women’s Rights – Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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One of the major issues that we are examining during the Realist period is the fight for women’s rights. In class we will be examining the work of two women – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.

Each of these women worked to further the cause of suffrage and the abolitionist movement.

One of the main figureheads of the suffrage movement in America, Stanton wrote the ‘Declaration of Sentiments’, which were presented in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. Stanton not only fought for women’s right to vote, but also for women’s property rights, employment rights, custody  rights, and right to birth control.

 

Click here to read her ‘Declaration of Sentiments’

sojourner_truth_lc1In addition to Stanton, Sojourner Truth also worked to support the cause of suffrage and abolition. Born into slavery, Truth would have 13 children (11 of them sold into slavery themselves, never to be seen again) before escaping to freedom. She then took on the role of public speaker, and used her own experience to encourage others not only to support the abolition of slavery but also the equality of women. Though she was illiterate herself, her speaking was clear and powerful. Many different versions of her famous ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ speech exist today, but all of them share the similarity of tone and passion.

Click here to read her speech ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’

Also, please watch the amazing performance of Truth’s speech, performed at Kansas State University’s 8th Diversity Summit on April 1, 2011 by Ms. Pat Theriault.

BONUS: Did you know that the original document ‘The Declaration of Sentiments’ has been lost? Click here to listen to an AMAZING podcast episode from the ladies over at ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class’ to learn more!

Be sure to watch the second half of the ‘Women in the 19th Century’ Crash Course video below!

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Realism – A Reaction to American Romanticism

This week we are beginning our unit on Realism, the literary response to Romanticism. The style of Realism includes representing REAL life lived by REAL people (not the idealized life that Emerson and Thoreau presented), and a simple, direct language that everyone could understand.

Issues that we’ll examine throughout this unit include the struggles and trials of the Civil War, the last stand of the Native Americans in the Indian Wars, the suffrage of women and the emancipation of slaves, the influx of a new immigrant population, and the growing divide between the rich and the poor.

As we move through the unit please keep track of how these issues and themes play out across the texts and how they interact with each other in the individual texts.

 

If you would like to review the video notes from class today, please view it below:

 

 

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Walt Whitman – The Father of Free Verse, The Father of American Poetry – The Poet of Democracy

I usually attempt to remain unbais in my presentation of the authors, texts, events and ideas that we discuss in class – however, I cannot do so when it comes to Whitman. I love Walt Whitman. As we study his poetry in class I hope you can come to appreciate him as well – not just his style and the innovations that he brought to American poetry, but also for the message that his poetry contains.

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Walter “Walt” Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Click here to watch a brief background video over Whitman and his poetry.

In class we will be analyzing Whitman’s poem “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” and selection stanzas from “Song of Myself”. Please note, “Song of Myself” is essentially the American epic – almost 60 stanzas, so you will only be reading parts of it (though I encourage you to read it all on your own!).

Click here to access both poems.

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Whitman has the distinction of being one of the only American writer who, due to his long life publishing, is legitimately placed in two literary time periods – Transcendentalism and Realism. His early works, specifically Leaves of Grass, are obviously influenced by Emerson and the ideals of Transcendentalism, but as he aged and the politics of the Civil War took center stage in America, his style slowly changed and adapted to reflect the new literary tropes of the time. We will be reading early and later works of Whitman to help you observe the change in his style.

Click here to see the change in his writing style from the Romantic to the Realist period in his poem “Come Up From The Fields Father”.

11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018

Diagramming Sentences: Relative Pronouns (Adjective Clauses)

Before you can effectively write using the English language, or even analyze how others use writing effectively, you need to be familiar with the basic parts and components of the English language. I know grammar isn’t your favorite subject to study and learn (hey, it isn’t my favorite either), BUT knowing and being able to identify these smaller component of your own language will allow you to write more effectively and assess and improve your own writing as the year progresses.

This week we will be examining how to correctly diagram relative pronouns.

Relative Pronouns are words that introduce adjective clauses : who, whom, whose, that, which.

Relative Adverbs can also introduce adjective clauses: where, why, when…

An adjective clause is a subordinate clause that is used as an adjective. That means the whole clause modifies a noun or pronoun.

This is the house that Jack built.

That Jack built is a whole clause modifying the noun house That Jack built is an adjective clause.

Relative pronouns or relative adverbs link adjective clauses with the word in the independent clause that the adjective modified. The relative pronouns may act as a subject, direct object, object of the preposition, or a modifier within the adjective clause.

 

 

 

Now practice with the following ten sentences:

 

10th Grade Literature 11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018 Spring 2018

Synthesizing Sources On The Environment: Hungry Plant

As we work through mastering the Q1 synthesis essay this unit, we are going to hold Socratic seminar over a series of sources that focus on the environment. Ultimately you will all conduct a class debate at the end of the unit using (synthesizing) all of these sources.

Our focus questions for this unit are:

  • Do we have a responsibility to protect and preserve the environment ensure equitable access to natural resources for our fellow-man?

Our first source comes from the book ‘Hungry Planet’ by Peter Menzel. This piece of photojournalism focuses on portraits of families from around the world, and one week’s worth of groceries. This series highlights the differences not only in food culture by geography, culture and economic status, but also how ‘wealth’ is communicated through food and how what is perceived as ‘wealthy’ differs from place to place.

You may view these pictures via The Times by clicking here, or you can view the images below. You will need to be able to answer the following questions during seminar, as well as posing questions of your own:

  1. Which portraits are most similar to each other in terms of food representation? Does this surprise you?
  2. Which portraits are most similar in setting?
  3. Consider the number of people, or ‘mouths’, to be fed in each photograph. Compute the cost of feeding that many individuals based on the information provided. What does this tell you about the global economy?
  4. From your analysis of the photos, what inferences can you make about the countries depicted? Overall what does the photo-story tell us about global sustainability?
  5.  Look at the food-items depicted in the photographs – Does access to food always mean access to natural resources (fresh water, fresh vegetables and meats)?

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AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Preparing for the AP Exam – Q1, Synthesis Essay

This week we will be moving on from the Rhetorical Analysis Q2 essay and will begin working on the skills needed for the Q1 Synthesis essay. First, let me be clear: the skills of argumentation that you will be practicing the next four weeks will be used on the Q1 Synthesis and the Q3 Argumentative essay – they are both technically argumentative essays, with the key difference being that the Q1 Synthesis provides you with eight sources to use, while the Q3 Argumentative does not.

So what exactly is the Q1 Synthesis essay, and how is it different from the Q2 Rhetorical Analysis?

  • The Q1 DOES NOT require you to analyze an author’s use of rhetoric.
  • The Q1 DOES require you take a position on a given topic and defend, challenge or qualify that position.
  • The Q1 DOES provide you with eight sources to read and review for potential use in your essay.
  • The Q1 DOES NOT require you to use all eight sources, only three.

The Q1 essay was introduced in 2008, so there are not quiet as many examples for you to review on AP Central (there’s still ten years of samples though…). Your main concerns for the synthesis essay will include:

  1. Taking a CLEAR POSITION on the topic given.
  2. Writing a CLEAR THESIS for your essay.
  3. Reviewing the eight sources, and determining with three you want to use in your own essay.
  4. Formatting your paper as an argument, with a counterclaim.
  5. CITING YOUR SOURCES – including in your counterclaim.
  6. Making sure that your sources support your argument – not that you are simply rewriting the sources as your body paragraphs.

For more on the synthesis essay, see the video below. 🙂

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018