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

Preparing for the AP Exam – Free Response Question 2: Rhetorical Analysis

Section II of the AP Language and Composition Exam contains three free response questions, which students will have 2 hours and 15 minutes (or 135 minutes) to complete. Section II of the exam accounts for 55% of students scores. It is suggested that students spend:

  • 15 minutes for reading source materials for the synthesis prompt (in the free-response section)
  • 120 minutes to write essay responses to the 3 free-response questions

Prompt Types

  1. Synthesis: Students read several texts about a topic and create an argument that synthesizes at least three of the sources to support their thesis.
  2. Rhetorical Analysis: Students read a non-fiction text and analyze how the writers language choices contribute to his or her purpose and intended meaning for the text.
  3. Argument: Students create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.

You have been practicing the Rhetorical Analysis, or Q2, prompt all year without even knowing it! Every rheotrical analysis you have done up till point has prepared you for the Q2 free response questions, so breathe easy AP kids – it won’t be as hard as you imagine!

 

There are a few things you can do to to ensure you do your best on the Q2 Essay:

  1. Read the prompt carefully! The prompt is the small paragraph at the top of the page – it should tell you vital information such as who the author of the piece is/was, the title of the piece, when it was published and where. Sometimes the prompt give you more information, such as the historical context of the piece, the author’s perspective or position, or the purpose of the piece. The prompt will also tell you exactly what to write!
  2. Read the text and annotate it! This is what the essay is all about… and I can assure you that those of you who annotate the text will do better than those who do a cold-writing. Remember, you’re not just looking for every stylistic and rhetorical device they author has used – you want to pay attention to the ones that seem to be most effective in achieving the purpose or appealing to their specific audience. Don’t forget the canons – delivery, organization and arrangement can be the things that help you write a deep analysis and not a surface level assessment of the rhetoric being used.
  3. MANAGE YOUR TIME. Don’t spend 30 minutes annotating the text, even though it is an important step. Also, don’t spend 30 minutes writing the introduction. You will have 135 minutes for all three essays, so its important that you learn to manage your time and work quickly and efficiently.
  4. Don’t just list all of the devices you see – pick the most effective ones to write about, and write DEEPLY about them. You need to pick an angle to write you analysis from… don’t just go through the text in chronological order and list all the devices the author uses!

 

While I will be giving you feedback on your timed writing and you will be conducting peer review throughout the semester, I strongly suggest you meet with me after school or during lunch to review your writing at some point. The more one-on-one time we can spend on your writing the better, and unfortunately we just don’t always have time to do that together in class.

**NOTE – I will be uploading ALL of the past rhetorical analysis prompts from previous AP Language and Composition Exams for you in the ‘Resources’ tab. PLEASE PRACTICE SOME OF THESE ON YOUR OWN. We can only do so many in class together before we have to move on and study the Synthesis Essay and the Argumentative Essay….. I am more than willing to work with you after school if you choose to practice additional prompts on your own! 🙂

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Civil Disobedience – What is the relationship between The Citizen and The State?

As we continue to examine the question of “what is the relationship between the citizen and the state” this week we will do so informed by your reading of Henry David Thoreau’s famous text ‘Civil Disobedience’.

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After analysis of the text and discussion of the topic in Socratic seminar, you will have a choice again this week of three potential projects to complete analyzing and addressing the topic of civil disobedience. As you work on this project remember that you must cite at least three reliable sources, with one of them being Thoreau’s essays.

 

 

 

Project Option 1:  Definition/Exemplification – Visual Infographic

Examine an act of Civil Disobedience, focusing on the individual or group responsible. Create an infographic that:

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  • Describe the background of the law or governmental policy in question. What was the individual and his or her allies protesting?
  • In what specific acts of civil disobedience did they engage? Provide samples/examples through artifacts (visual or audio).
  • How did the government and/or the public respond to their actions? Cite evidence.
  • Impact on the world, society, and/or governmental laws and policies – Were the goals of movement achieved? Be able to justify your answer.
  •  What role did civil disobedience play in helping them to achieve their goals? Did their actions work against them in any way?

You infographic must have at least three sources cited, and must use a minimum of 10 images. You will present a copy of your infographic to each of your classmates. Remember, PiktoChart is a great website that easily allows you to create infographics. Click here to view an example inforgraphic.  

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Project Option 2: Compare and Contrast – Written Statement

Compare and contrast Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience” with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, focusing on their purpose, tone, figurative language and their definition of a ‘just law’.

Your response must be 1500 words, written in MLA format.

 

 

Project Option 3: Rhetorical Analysis – Protest Medium Presentationcbde8e01070568d58d7e0316db4b41ed

Acts of Civil Disobedience do not just take place in history books, but occur everyday around us. Find an example of modern civil disobedience from the last 50 years, and examine it. This can example of civil disobedience does not have to be limited to The United States, but can come from the global community.

  1. Conduct a rhetorical analysis of a protest medium from that act of civil disobedience – this could be a poster, a song, a poem, spoken word, a series of tweets, a speech or a visual demonstration. Determine if the protest medium was effective or not, and present this analysis of your selection to the class.
  2. Create your own protest medium for the topic, using rhetoric effectively to achieve your purpose. You may create a poster, record a song (at least 90 seconds long), write a poem, perform spoken word (at least 90 seconds long), write a tweet-stream (at least five tweets long, 140 characters with pictures), write a speech (at least three minutes long). If you do not read or perform these protest mediums, you must submit a recording of them.
AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Modern Political Rhetoric – ‘What is the relationship between the citizen and The State’?

As we continue our examination of the question ‘What is the relationship between the citizen and The State’, we turn our attention to modern political rhetoric. You guys will need to continue improving and building your analytic skills, as well as making connections between texts, ideologies, history and politics.

In our last series of rhetorical analysis, you will first examine the speeches of President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, former President Ronald Reagan, and the Amendments to the Constitution.

Next, using reliable research sources, you need to find an example of a speech from a US President or elected official that most closely defines or represents the relationship between the citizen and the state as you interpret it. You will need to annotate the speech and note where the language and rhetoric of the document connects to the Amendments or compares/contrasts with the speeches you analyzed this week for Socratic Seminar. As you analyze the speech you’ve picked, focus on the following questions:

  1. What is the speaker’s purpose?
  2. Do they achieve their purpose effectively through rhetoric?
  3. How does their rhetoric define the relationship between the citizen and the state?
  4. How does the speaker’s rhetoric align with that of our founding documents?
  5. How do the speaker’s rhetoric encourage, or not encourage, citizens to be active in their relationship with the state?

You should then write a reflection discussing how the interpretation of  our founding documents, or our Nation’s ideals, or the relationship between the citizen and the state, changes over time. You should reference the speeches you’ve analyzed in this reflection – the one you’ve selected, and the three I provided to you (Reagan, Trump, Obama). You should also reflect on how culture/technology/and beliefs influence that interpretation. At the end of this reflection, hypothesize what elements of our modern culture most impact our interpretation of our founding documents.

You will submit the annotated speech, and submit the typed reflection in the Google Classroom.

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Rhetorical Analysis: Politics – What is the relationship between the citizen and the State?

From ‘The Language of Composition:Reading, Writing, Rhetoric”: 

“Politics, the process by which groups make decisions, play part in all human interactions. When we study history, the social science, religion or business, we learn about politics; whenever we read the newspaper or watch the news on television [or online], we see politics in action; and when we discuss issues with our classmates and friends or involve ourselves in our community, we engage in politics […] Thus one could argue that politics is the cause of all social change.

Democratic governments, such as the one under which we live, exercise power through the will of the people. With that power comes the responsibility, even the responsibility to dissent if necessary. So what is the nature of patriotism in democracy? Is it loyalty to the government of loyalty to the ideals of the nation? How is American patriotism colored by the fact that our country was born out of a revolution? […]

Educated citizen – the root word of the word politics is the Greek word for citizen – must know about the politics of the world as well as the politics of their own country. “

As we begin our first unit over Rhetorical Analysis, we will be examining a series of speeches, letters, articles by, and about, politicians and the political systems that surround us and our relationship with them.

Each Tuesday you will be analyzing and writing on a previous AP Language and Composition Free Response question that relates to this topic. Each Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we will be conducting Socratic Seminar, projects and class discussion over extended readings that address the same topics.

democracy2Please see the list below for the texts you will need to analyze and engage with over the course of this unit, while we ponder and examine the question “What is the relationship between citizens and The State?”. These texts provide us a selection of “interrelationships amount citizens, their states, and the world” and well as “voices delivering sardonic criticism and lofty idealism; you will encounter the immediacy of personal reflections on the nature and experience of war” and you will read contemporary pieces by our current national leaders.

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Elections

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

The Modes of Writing – Review

Now that you have presented your modes to the class, please review your classmate’s presentations below for help or guidance as your write your own essay in each mode style.

You may also access this text, which provides an overview of each type of mode of writing. 

You may also watch the video below on the different modes of writing.

https://www.educator.com/embed/dlqjtEc

Lesson provided by Educator.com

 

AP Language and Composition Spring 2018