Informational Essay Outlining and Writing


Now that we’ve reviewed what an informational essay is and you’ve brainstormed your ideas for the following prompt:

      • Select two poems that you have read an analyzed from Fireside poets. Think about the themes and devices used in BOTH poems. Then write an explanatory essay in your own words comparing and contrasting how the poems, their style  and their themes are similar or different. Be sure to use information from BOTH passages in your explanatory essay.

it is time to begin the next step in the writing process – planning out and writing your essay.

Compare and contrast essay have two distinct structure, subject by subject or point by point. For the purpose of our essay prompt about, it is best if we look at point by point. Watch the video from class below if you need a review of these structures:

In class we took notes and reviewed exactly how to structure your paper:

*Notice that we also came up with a quick structure for your thesis, and I wrote an example thesis for you

In class we wrote clear thesis statements and used them to determine how many point (or paragraphs) we would have in our essay. As you work on your essay, please be sure to review the writer’s checklist I provided you to ensure you include all the required items:

Writer’s Checklist

Be sure to:

  • Introduce the topic clearly, provide a focus, and organize information in a way that makes sense.
  • Use information from the two passages so that your essay includes important details.
  • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
  • Identify the passages by title or number when using details or facts directly from the passages.
  • Develop your ideas clearly and use your own words, except when quoting directly from the passages.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to connect ideas and to clarify the relationship among ideas and concepts.
  • Use clear language and vocabulary.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • Provide a conclusion that supports the information presented.
  • Check your work for correct usage, grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

You can also assess your own work with the EOC grading rubric I will use – click here to access the prompt and the rubric. 

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019 Uncategorized

Putting it All Together – Analyzing Primary Sources from the Expansionist Period

In class this week we have been looking at documents from the Expansionist period – each examining a major event or key concept from the period. Below you will find your classmates’ presentations over the use of rhetoric in each of their primary source documents, as well as an annotated copy of the text. Finally, you’ll see my copy of the notes I took during their presentation on our foldable. NOTE: KEEP UP WITH THIS FOLDABLE. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO USE IT ON THE NINE WEEKS EXAM.




Expansionism Foldable

Your job is to read the two remaining documents and add annotations and analysis to your own copies. Then, with all of these resources I would like to answer the following questions for each document on the back of the foldable:

  1.  In the article about Lowell Mills, why does the author reference Patrick Henry when she says “ In the language of one of old, we ask when shall we be stronger?Will it be the next week,or the next year? Will it be when we are reduced to the servile condition of the poor operatives of England?”. Why is this allusions to a Revolutionary founding father effective?
  2. In “The Profession of a Woman”, why does Catherine Beecher use rhetorical questions so often? What effective does this have on the reader?
  3. Why is there a lack of logos, but many appeals to pathos and ethos, in President Andrew Jackson’s Second State of the Union Address?

Finally, let’s discuss the BIG QUESTION for these documents – What defined America during the Expansionist period? What changes from the Revolutionary period and Puritan period can we see in the primary source documents we have examined? Why are these changes so important in shaping the America we live in today?

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2019 Uncategorized

SOAPSTone Plus – A Review

We’re jumping right into rhetorical analysis this semester, and therefore you will need to briefly review the arch methods analysis using SOAPSTone Plus that we covered last semester. Below you will find a review and an example.


Arch Method

Arch Method Rowlandson




You can also click here to review an in-depth powerpoint over the SOAPSTone Plus analysis method.

Please let me know if you have any questions or issues over this review!



11th Grade American Literature Spring 2018 Uncategorized

“The Enduring Chill”

Rarely are we lucky enough to not only have a great story to read in class that’s 1) set in the South, 2) short enough to hold your attention span and 3) had a fantastic performance to accompany it…. but this week we are in fact lucky enough to have all three in Flannery O’Connor’s short story “The Enduring Chill”, and the performance of this story by Stephen Colbert at Symphony Space in New York last year.

Click here to access the short story “The Enduring Chill”.


As we examine this text, please remember that you should be looking for how the themes of the Southern Gothic are present, how O’Connor uses irony and how she uses very simple diction and images to create very pointed and engaging imagery.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016 Uncategorized

Using Visual Rhetoric in Advertisements

As we dive into our next unit on rhetoric, it is important for you to be able to apply what you are learning about rhetorical appeals and how speakers use them to achieve a purpose to what you see around you everyday – ads and advertisements. In class we will be analyzing a series of commercials, over two decades, by Apple – you will be tracking how these ads use rhetorical appeals, and determine if they effectively appeal to their audience. Additionally, you will form an argument on whether you believe Apple’s use of rhetoric in their advertisements has improved over time, and why.

Please see the videos below from class, and continue analyzing and tracking the use of rhetoric.

Macintosh – 1984 Superbowl Ad

The 1st iPod Commercial – 2001

The 1st iPhone Commercial – 2007

Apple iPad 2 – 2011

Apple iPhone 5s – 2014

Apple iPad Air – 2014

9th Grade Literature Fall 2016 Uncategorized

The Odyssey – Traits of an Epic Hero

The Odyssey, a 3,000 year old epic poem by the blind bard Homer, focuses on the journey of the epic hero Odysseus. Having left his wife Penelope and his kingdom of Ithaca ten years earlier to fight in the Trojan War (detailed in Homer’s book The Iliad), Odysseus then spends ten years in The Odyssey trying to return home. Facing monster, mutinous men, Gods and Goddesses along the way, Odysseus must use all of his skill to return home and regain his family and kingdom.

Throughout The Odyssey Odysseus exhibits the traits of an epic hero in Greek culture – namely he has intelligence, physical strength, respect for the gods, and leadership. As you work through part 1 of The Odyssey, you will record citations from the text for each of the traits of an epic hero that Odysseus displays in your graphic organizer, similar to the one pictured below:


You will also need to make sure that you cite examples of Odysseus’ fatal flaw – namely, his pride and arrogance.

Remember, as we read through this story you must keep up with your graphic organizer – you will be able to use it when you write your essay over The Odyssey and it will be a great study guide for the final exam!

9th Grade Literature Fall 2016 Uncategorized

SOAPSTone Plus – A Review

We’re jumping right into rhetorical analysis this semester, and therefore you will need to briefly review the arch methods analysis using SOAPSTone Plus that we covered last semester. Below you will find a review and an example from Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative that we read together last semester.

Arch Method

Arch Method Rowlandson




You can also click here to review an in-depth powerpoint over the SOAPSTone Plus analysis method.

Please let me know if you have any questions or issues over this review!



AP Language and Composition Spring 2016 Uncategorized

Walt Whitman – The Father of Free Verse, The Father of American Poetry?

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.


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.

Born in Huntington on Long Island, Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and—in addition to publishing his poetry—was a volunteer nurse during the American Civil War. Whitman’s major work, Leaves of Grass, was first published in 1855 with his own money.  Whitman’s self-published Leaves of Grass was inspired in part by his travels through the American frontier and by his admiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson. This important publication underwent eight subsequent editions during his lifetime as Whitman expanded and revised the poetry and added more to the original collection of twelve poems. Emerson himself declared the first edition was “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed.”

Whitman published his own enthusiastic review of Leaves of Grass. Critics and readers alike, however, found both Whitman’s style and subject matter unnerving. According to The Longman Anthology of Poetry, “Whitman received little public acclaim for his poems during his lifetime for several reasons:  this openness regarding sex, his self-presentation as a rough working man, and his stylistic innovations.” A poet who “abandoned the regular meter and rhyme patterns” of his contemporaries, Whitman was “influenced by the long cadences and rhetorical strategies of Biblical poetry.” The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an American epic. He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892. After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. When he died at age 72, his funeral became a public spectacle.

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.


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 for later works from Whitman that we will be examining.

Additionally, there is a fantastic documentary by the PBS Program ‘The American Experience’ that devles into Whitman the poet in depth. For those of you that enjoy these poems or want to know more about Whitman in general, I would suggest watching it!

Click here for the American Experience documentary on Whitman.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015 Uncategorized