*make sure you also check out announcements and updates at All Cohen Classes Info




Semester Exam

Link to AP English Language and Composition 2012 Questions:

Link to Source D for Question 1 (not printed on AP Central):
http://www.helium.com/items/1552512-email-snail-mail-post-office-postal or


Studying for the exam advice...

Do two things:
1. Reread 3-4 readings (essays, excerpts, articles, etc.) from this year. Really read them. Analyze them. Think about their claims.

2. Know all the terms on your chart really well: the comparison, contrast, and repetition schemes/tropes you selected, the parts of a claim (Toulmin model), the parts of the rhetorical triangle (pathos, logos, ethos, context/exigence), the types of arguments, and the tasks you will do on the essays (definition of: analysis, synthesis, argument).

You can do it! Embrace the power of your spirit animal!


May Calendar

Macbeth Links

Online copies
OpenSource Shakespeare
Internet Shakespeare Editions from MIT

Shakespeare Searched: online concordance

Macbeth Resources
Macbeth in the Classroom from Folger Shakespeare Library
Guide from National Endowment for the Humanities: "Shakespeare's //Macbeth//: Fear and the Motives of Evil"

Extensive Guide with a lot of Links for //Macbeth//
Cliff's Notes video for //Macbeth// (*caution: viewing may destroy faith in humanity)

PBS Great Performances: //Macbeth// (can watch online)


Review Chart

  • The chart is due no later than the end of the school day, Tuesday, May 15th, 2012.
  • You can help each other work on the chart, but your work should represent independent, individual thought.
  • You should use the readings and excerpts we used this year (your classmates are collecting a list of these on the class Reddit)
  • The chart will be entered with a Test/Project weight (35%)

Here's the Reddit thread with a list of readings (contribute to it if you think of something not there!) and
Here's a list I'm maintaining



Look up more definitions and examples! You can share what you find on this thread on the class Reddit.

"Politics and the English Language"
"Why I Write"
by George Orwell

Also: Post Sentence Imitations in this thread on Reddit!


Sentence Imitation Exercises


A page reviewing conjunctions
Grammar Bytes! An amusing and helpful grammar site. Check out terms as well.

Rhetorical Analysis Table Grading

Complete this survey!
(before Monday, April 9th)

The results!

Speech Group Project


April Calendar


Portfolio Writing Progression and Self-Reflection


Tone Identification Exercise

Readings on Style

"Anger" (George Lakoff)
"Thinking in Pictures" (Temple Grandin)
"The Rhetoric of Advertising" (Stuart Hirschberg)


"A Modest Proposal"


Non-Fiction Project Check-Up


Practice Rhetorical Analysis


March Calendar


Non-Fiction Project


Brief Rhetorical Analysis

Here's a sample one-sentence rhetorical analysis of a cartoon that I did for 7th block:

Here are some sentences from the Internet and AP Central packets that I have marked for the elements your sentence should contain:

Also go to this thread on the course subreddit and post your group's sentence or revise a sentence.

FCAT Writes is tomorrow!
Here is a link to updates for the 2012 exam.

Reminder: Figurative Language Quiz
on Wednesday (day 2) and Thursday (day 1)
*Day 1: Remember to bring ALL of your style term cards (style basic terms, tone, and schemes/tropes) on Tuesday. Return MAUS I if you haven't yet
*All: study your figurative language terms! Your quiz will be matching definitions and identifying examples.


Job Opportunity!

Calling all Visual Documentarians, Ministers of Culture, and Designers!

For one of our upcoming readings for our continued rhetorical analysis unit, we will read one of the following:

Student often find these essays difficult to read. But once students read them, thoroughly and repeatedly, they often find them to be life-changing.

Your Job:
Read one of these essays well. Become its champion. Create an effective advertisement for it in the classroom. We will read whichever essay "sells" best.
Please send a message to me on which essay you would like to do. I would like each essay to be sold well so that other students have compelling choices. - cohenli cohenli


Online Help for Rhetorical Analysis

We will continue to practice writing rhetorical analysis essays this term, so it is important that you study.

Some resources:[1]

The best way to prepare, in my opinion, is practice, practice, practice . Post any practice essays to the Drafts page or to your class wiki. Keep going back to see feedback from your peers and to give each other feedback. Use past prompts from AP Central (the rhetorical analysis question is typically Question 2, but on exams before 2007, it may be one of the other ones).


Let's Talk about Your Grades

Please look at this comparison of 5 students in AP English Language and Composition.

Post a reply to the Reddit!
Please post your response to this question or any other thoughts on how to do better in the course in the course Reddit thread for this topic.
I hope this information will spark some discussion.



Definition and Examples
Satire definition and links to essays
Another comprehensive definition
Satirical Techniques and Definitions
Wikipedia's Satire page

Application and Analysis
NOW on PBS episode "Who's Laughing Now? American Political Satire"
packet on Analyzing Political and Editorial Cartoons


Join the course Reddit!

Your style terms will be easy if you use the class Reddit. Upvote the best definitions/posts.
Same info. here.

One of your fellow students started an AP Language Reddit!
It's not blocked by the school district and it's a great way to share links and use your peers' feedback to see which links and other information (questions, comments, whatever you like!) are the most popular/interesting.
And there is extra credit involved...
I will give a point of extra credit for each subscriber the reddit gets before February 20th to all subscribers (e.g. if 105 people subscribe, 105 people are getting 105 points extra credit, which is huge).
NEW RULE: You must submit at least once (a link, a self post, a comment) to redeem your extra credit points.
Also visit the site's "Reddiquette" page to learn more about the norms of the general community.

A nice "book trailer" and work of visual rhetoric. "The Information Diet" on the book of the same title by Clay Johnson.

(Day 1)
(Day 2)


Synthesis Essay General Guidelines

Synthesis Essay samples, commentary, and rubric for 2007 from AP Central

February Calendar


'Understanding Comics' by Scott McCloud

"State of the Union Address 2012: Infographically Enhanced"


Begin Rhetorical Analysis

Day 2

sample student response (*please note, this is not a complete essay, but a start to how you would show the effect of Mailer's techniques).
from: A Guide for Advanced Placement English Vertical Teams (circa 1992)

Day 1

Spiegelman, Art. "The St. Louis Refugee Ship Blues." Cartoon. The Washington Post 24 Jun. 2009. Web. 25 Jan. 2012 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/opinions/outlook/st-louis-refugee-ship-blues/static.html>.


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Final Paper Due Next Class
Two things:
1. Have ready, before class starts (and in this order):
  • Final Paper
  • Synthesis Question (prompt plus sources)
  • Rough Draft
  • Outline
  • Any other drafts (only if you think it would help your final evaluation)
  • Peer review (filled out by your peer about your paper, with both names on it)

2. Any class that gets 100% final paper turn in (i.e. hard copy, in class) will all get +10 points extra credit.
Congratulations to block 1! Good job!
Congratulations to block 7! Both classes deserve a big, "You're Awesome!"
Congratulations to block 4!
Congratulations to block 6!
All AP English Language classes are finished with their research papers!

One thing that applies to a few:
If you need to make up the peer evaluation we did in class, go to the Drafts page and follow the instructions.

More checklists: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/rewriting2e/default.asp#526483580468

Turn It In
Make sure you are registered for TurnItIn.com.
You will submit your rough draft and final research paper to the site to check for plagiarism.

Have a question about the research paper? Go to the Discuss! page and ask it!

Also remember, the key to research is, well, re-searching... Bedford St. Martins has excellent collections of links, as does the Library of Congress, and many other places (try Learning Tools as well). And use JSTOR and Questia!

May be relevant to many of you who are getting frustrated: "The Cure for Thinking is Work" (do you agree? if so, how might you break down your research tasks further so that there is less "thinking" and more "work"?)

Visit past posts in the Archive!

  • I have moved The "If-You're-Still-Looking-for-a-Source-Here-It-Is" Post to the Archive

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Sample Topic Outline

in Word (you can use it as a template)

Quoting and Documentation

//They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings// (Graff, Birkenstein, and Durst)

[[tel:12/22/11 - 1/10/11|12/22/11 - 1/10/11]]
Winter Break Blog Posts
Winter Break Posts have been archived here. If you haven't looked at them yet, check them out.

Research Schedule
Some students have asked for a timeline for our research work. Here is what is coming up in January:

As you work, you may want to see what people are talking about (to me, on the class wikis): Eavesdrop
More info on citations (from Edline --> (Contents section) --> Magnet Programs --> IB Diploma Programme)

Sources and Creating an Annotated Bibliography

The information on how to access JSTOR cannot be posted on an unrestricted site (i.e. on this wiki or the class wikis).
Please download it from your Edline page for this course. Please also refrain from posting the handout on any unrestricted sites.

Midterm Exam Information
Your Midterm Exam will consist of
  • between 53 – 56 Multiple Choice Questions: (4 passages with questions following) (50% of midterm grade)
  • 1 AP Free Response Question (argumentative) (50% of midterm grade)
To practice:
  • for the multiple choice, make sure you have done the practice questions provided by the College Board on AP Central in the Course Description (page 14): http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap-english-course-description.pdf . It is best to do these practice questions under a time limit (1 hour for 55 questions).
  • look at past AP Free Response Questions (1999-2011) on AP Central, particularly the argumentative type, and write practice responses and compare yours with the rubric and samples. You may also want to post practice responses to the wiki and ask for peer feedback. I will also give feedback to anyone who posts a practice essay response to his or her class wiki.

Example of our Research Process

Link to 2010 Free Response Questions (including Question 1, synthesis), sample responses, rubric, and commentary


Posted By: Richard,
MLA Formatted Research paper with helpful guide lines

You can find the sample synthesis "The Truth about Memoir" and many other helpful lessons in the College Board's booklet "Using Sources" at AP Central.

Also check out the Student Center online resources for The Bedford Reader (many of the research selections come from there and from The Language of Composition (a link to the companion site).

Create a Works Cited for "Fail" (Klosterman) essay

Chuck Klosterman's essay is from Eating the Dinosaur
You may want to follow the discussion going on in Block 4 on doing the assignment.
Also feel free to discuss the assignment on your own class wiki.

Guide to Creating MLA Citations

We will hopefully have time to listen to some of this in class, but there is an interesting Radiolab episode about Ted Kaczynski's time at Harvard, called "Oops".


Argument essay preparation

You will write an argument essay on Tuesday, December 6th (Day 2) and Wednesday, December 7th (Day 1).
It will be of the "aphorism" type. This is a type of argument question that asks you to respond to a quotation or aphorism that expresses a general view about some aspect of life. For examples, see:
Question 3, 1999
Question 3, 2000
Question 3, 2004, Form B
Question 3, 2009
Question 3, 2011, Form B
Use these sample questions and any other suitable examples you find online* to prepare for the essay. Consider posting practice responses to your class wiki and commenting on others' practice. Also consider annotating sample high-scoring responses to show what these essays do well.
*for example, Cliff's Notes guide for preparing for the AP Eng Lang and Comp exam lists all prompts starting in 1981 (AP Central starts at 1999).
As a pdf:

From pre-1999 FRQs, you may consider looking up Question 3 from 1983, 1986, and 1991.

Freakonomics and Arrangement scale

Freakonomics group assignment

For Day 2:
Freakonomics individual assignment

Freakonomics Radio
*many of the episodes supplement or relate to the topics discussed in the book*
Also check out this recent article from The New York Times, "What's in a Name? Ask Google", 11/25/11
Extra credit opportunity:
Read the article and write a one sentence response for extra credit.

Passages/Essays in Modes Packet
"The Holocaust" (Bruno Bettelheim)
"Fish Cheeks" (Amy Tan)
"Deconstructing Lunch" (comic by Roz Chast)
"Thorny Truths About Flowers" (visual analysis by Maharaj and Hohn)
"Marrying Absurd" (Joan Didion)
"How to Dump a Friend" (Lucinda Rosenfeld)
"Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa" (David Sedaris)


Revision Tips Packet

(for use in revising essays in portfolios)

Examples of the
best pronoun revision exercises
(all classes):


The APC Method

(handout put on projector in block 4)

Track the arrangement pattern

Extra Credit is Everywhere!
ANOTHER Enrichment Opportunity:
Freakonomics connection: article by Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones, from The Atlantic "Cities" blog: "How the Plummeting Price of Cocaine Fueled the Nationwide Drop in Violent Crime", 11 Nov 2011
What to do:
Read the article.
There will be a bonus question on your quiz on Wednesday (Thursday, day 2) related to it.

Keep up the nice work posting your work on pronouns!
More on extra credit in the "All Cohen Classes" updates.

Pronoun practice*
*This is from Elements of Language, Sixth Course, pages 129 - 132 in the exercise book.

The Thin Blue Line analysis questions on perception and language:

11/1/11 The Thin Blue Line
documentary notes
Blank chart:

Sample of about 5 minutes of watching and taking notes (from block 7):

Another sample, from later in the film (from block 4):

Summary of events/details (overview), Thin Blue Line, from about 20:00 - 35:00 (from block 6):

Artist's diagram of Errol Morris's "interrotron"

Information on //The Thin Blue Line// from the Errol Morris website

A link to Morris's blog at the New York Times's Opinionator (a collection of blogs)

Transcript of //The Thin Blue Line// (lacking names, but useful for getting direct quotations)

Some perspective for this lesson:
(from AP Central)
AP English Language and Composition: Using Documentary Film as an Introduction to Rhetoric (lessons, advice from teachers, samples)

FCAT Writing Calibration

Argument essay
write from the point of view of a character

"The Ambiguity of Henry James"
excerpt by Edmund Wilson

"The Pursuit of Truth"
(Mortimer Adler) and accompanying excercises:

1984 Argument Essay Practice
1984/Lionel Trilling quotation

9/29/11 excerpt from
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television

Radiolab episode, "Memory and Forgetting":

"The Singer Solution to World Poverty"

Link to New York Times article (where it was originally printed):

9/20/11 PowerPoints on

Argument, Visual Rhetoric, & Methods of Persuasion

From AP Central,
"Special Focus: Writing Persuasively"

on FCAT Writes and writing in general

A short list of "deadly sins" of conventions:

To help transform passive to active voice:

9/16/11 Notes on Outlining
"Letter from Birmingham Jail"
(tracing King's arguments and arrangement)

Great page from PBS on the Freedom Riders, from American Experience.

In the "what is rhetoric" packet of readings, the section on the Toulmin Model comes from this packet from AP Central:


FCAT Writing Rubric

AP Writing Rubrics

Each AP essay has its own rubric based on the specifics of the prompt.
The College Board has posted rubrics for individual free response questions here:
Here is a "standardized rubric" that covers each of the three essay types you will see on the exam
(Expository/Synthesis, Argument, Rhetorical Analysis):

Rubric for Argument Essay #1 ("The Singer Solution to World Poverty" prompt, Free Response Question #3, 2005)

and more (samples, commentary, etc.) at: AP Central.






Class Policies and Procedures

This is important for all students to understand and notice in every class. These objectives link what we do to the "big picture". Please edit here if it helps clarify.

Key Resources

Difference Between Goals and Objectives

Goals are broad objectives are narrow.Goals are general intentions; objectives are precise.Goals are intangible; objectives are tangible. Goals are abstract; objectives are concrete.Goals can't be validated as is; objectives can be validated.
Goal: To know about the human body.
Objective: LWBAT name 200 of the 206 bones in the human body without referring to the textbook.

The ABCD's of Learning Objectives

includes four characteristics that help an objective communicate an intent:
  • Audience - Who will be doing the behavior?
  • Behavior - What should the learner be able to do?
  • Condition - Under what conditions do you want the learner to be able to do it?
  • Degree - How well must it be done?
AudienceThe learners:Identify who it is that will be doing the performance (not the instructor).
Behavior (Performance):What the learner will be able to doMake sure it is something that can be seen or heard.
Condition The conditions under which the learners must demonstrate their mastery of the objective:What will the learners be allowed to use? What won't the learners be allowed to use?
Degree (or criterion)HOW WELL the behavior must be done: Common degrees include: Speed, Accuracy, Quality
the above on "Difference between goals and objectives" and "The ABCD's of learning objectives" are from: http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/id/developObjectives.asp

*please also visit a summary of the goals and objectives on this wiki.


Cool cross section and other illustrations from Stephen Biesty


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    A Wordle of the text of Turn of the Screw. Some of the patterns are interesting. This essentially shows, graphically, the most commonly used words in James' text. Some, such as "looked", "see", "saw", "felt", and even "little" are telling. Consider doing a wordle by chapter or using another means of graphic representation.
    Turn of the Screw
    You can also make one of the text of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" and other essays we read in class

    Text from:


    General Reading and Writing

    From PoeWar Writing Career Center, Fifteen Writing Exercises
    A British site "Language in Use" on words, linguistics, and writing


    Introductions: The Introductory Paragraph
    Conclusions: The Concluding Paragraph
    More helpful advice: See "General Information" links here
    Collection of links on Argumentation and Critical Thinking

    Other Schools' Websites

    DCHS AP English Language: terms (especially stylistic), current events, reading lists, and more
    Mr. Gunnar's English Class: AP English Language specific handouts, MLA help, and more
    Dr. Chad C Osbourne's AP English Language: a nice collection of links
    An Internet Hotlist by Mary Filak: another good collection of links
    From Colleges:
    English Composition 101 from Vincennes University: good information on writing and analysis
    "Write Space Resources" page on AP English Language and Composition from the University of Michigan

    Really Useful

    If you haven't check out Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL):

    Forest of Rhetoric (website on classical rhetoric; has many definitions)
    Rhetoric at EServer has many useful resources, such as this listing of rhetoric reference sites.

    And More

    The Phrase Finder, which includes information on where common phrases and expressions come from
    The Spaceage Portal of Sentence Discovery (good name, huh?)


    I listen to a lot of podcasts (search for them on iTunes) and radio shows. Some you may want to check out:

    On the Media
    *a GREAT resource for the class. Check out this well designed website. A sample segment on Edward Tufte, who studies the representation of information.

    This American Life

    Grammar Grater from Minnesota Public Radio

    Fresh Air (Geoff Nunberg, a linguist, is a frequent contributor)

    Science Friday
    Here's something interesting from Science Friday: Science Diction: "Clone"

    Track blogs and the news!

    I recommend setting up an RSS Reader, or a site that will compile "feeds" from different sites you can follow for information on current events, rhetoric, tools for learning, and whatever your personal interests are. I use Google Reader, but please investigate different options and use what works best for you.

    Some samples:
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    1. ^ Thanks to Anisha Jagnarine, Greg Kruppa, Mohamed Elbashir, Colton Papierz, and AnaMaria Torres, who posted many of these links to the Reddit