Each nine weeks, we will be studying the writing of one news columnist. For the first nine weeks, you can choose any columnist you want. (The columnist must be alive and regularly producing new columns. You may not choose a humorist.)
Each week, you will present one of his or her recent columns in paper format. Each paper is worth 20 points, and they are due in class on Friday. They should be typed, and your word count must fall between 250 and 300 words. There will be an automatic five point deduction for any papers shorter than 250 words, or longer than 300.
Writing Assignment in MLA Format
(1) In the first paragraph, explain the issue that the column examines. What are the facts of the issue? What is your columnist’s opinion on this issue? How does your columnist’s opinion align or differ from your own.
(2) In the second paragraph, you will analyze the rhetorical strategies and techniques that the columnist uses to convey his or her point of view. This analysis should be similar to our weekly in-class essays and Double-Entry Journals, though it may not be as in-depth as those activities (especially at first).
(3) Finally, you will have one specialized task each week, focusing on a different writing skill or technique. This task will be posted in my room. It is your responsibility to make sure it is in your paper.
Writing Assignment due Friday, August 11, 2017
You must choose your first columnist by Friday August 11. In class on the 11th, you will turn in the name of your columnist, along with a half-page explanation of what type of columnist he/she is, a sampling of topics he/she has covered recently and why you chose him/her. You can find columnists in any major newspaper, or on-line with minimal searching effort. Nearly every national paper will list their columnists in the opinion section of their paper or website. Do not go to the Letter to the Editor section. Letters of any kind will not be accepted. These writers must be opinion/news writers. No sports or entertainment writers.
(These papers are also available in the media center.)
·The Wall Street Journal http://www.wsj.com/public/page/latest-opinion-analysis-columns.html
·L.A. Times http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/op-ed/
·New York Timeshttp://www.nytimes.com/pages/opinion/index.html
·The Boston Globewww.boston.com/globe
·The San Francisco Chronicle:http://www.sfgate.com/columns/
·The Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/columnists/
·New York Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/index.htmlIn addition, you can find a comprehensive listing of news columnists, sorted by their political leanings at:
Presentation on theme: "AP Language and Composition Study Session Notes"— Presentation transcript:
1 AP Language and Composition Study Session Notes
2 The Argumentative Essay
The AP English Language Exam's Persuasive/Argument essay, or Question 3, essentially requires the student to produce a clear, sophisticated response to a question that, at its heart, captures a large, enduring issue.Because of this, the process needs to focus not just on the expression of the ideas, but, primarily, the depth of the student’s perspective.This lesson will introduce three steps in that process: recognizing the true issues, creating a conversation to arrive at a sophisticated answer, and the organization of the essay, in that order.
3 2010 Argumentative PromptQuestion 3 of the2010 AP Exam asks students to defend, challenge or qualify a statement of Alain de Botton about humorists' role in society.To most students, this should be an accessible prompt, as they are familiar with many forms of humor, even if they have not yet considered the effect on society.For top scoring essays, the true work is done before the first line of the essay is penned.These activities are designed to guide students to the most sophisticated response they can produce, understanding that each student has a different capacity and base of knowledge from which to work.
4 Activity 1: Recognizing the Larger Issue
Sometimes Question 3 will directly capture the larger issue, and sometimes it will mask the issue in a more modern or topical spin on an enduring issue.Question writers may ask a question like "Do extreme views benefit a society?"-which is already the expression of the deep issueOr they may ask "Do social networking sites negatively impact interpersonal skills?"-which is a more specific question that requires the student to pull from it the true issues that the question raises.
5 Activity 1: Recognizing the Larger Issue
Practice in pulling the deeper issues from not only essay prompts but also literature in general will help the students understand that, in the end, they are entering a conversation that has been ongoing in the public sphere for a long time.The more they understand that concept, the more inclined they will be to broaden their perspective, which will ultimately lead to a more nuanced, sophisticated answer.The 2010 argument prompt straddles the line between directly capturing a general issue - the role of humorists in society - and suggesting large issues that students can discover, such as why a society would need the shield of humor to hide behind.
6 Activity 1: Recognizing the Larger Issue
The process of developing an argument requires you to understand that you are adding your voice to an ongoing debate.For many current issues, at heart lies a bigger issue that has persisted for decades, if not centuries.As time unfolds, the culturally engaged of all stripes (e.g., authors, artists, philosophers, politicians) contribute their own answers to the questions the issue raises.
7 Activity 1: Recognizing the Larger Issue
Examples:Thomas Jefferson with “The Declaration of Independence”-What is the ideal form of government?William Golding with Lord of the Flies-What is the true nature of man?Harper Lee with To Kill a Mockingbird-What influence does society have in shaping our prejudices? Or, what obligations do the just members of society have to other members of society?
8 Practice identifying the larger issue(s)
Should a driver's license be available to only those teenagers who are either currently enrolled in high school or who have graduated from high school?-Does success in education indicate responsibility, or, conversely, does a lack of success in education indicate a lack of responsibility?-Is driving a necessity in our society?-Does the inability to drive prevent people from the ability to support themselves?
9 Practice identifying the larger issue(s)
In the United States, should corporations be allowed to contribute an unlimited amount of funds to political campaigns?-Should a corporation's "voice" be protected as though it were a person's "voice"?-Does this idea of corporate participation reflect the intent of the framers of the Constitution?-What is the true intent of a representative democracy?-Are money and voice equivalent?
10 Practice identifying the larger issue(s)
With the ability to communicate instantly and to purchase nearly anything online, is the internet a positive or negative in terms of the social health of society?-What are the benefits and drawbacks of face-to-face communication?-Is community an abstract idea, a feeling, or is it a physical construct, a location?-Is physical isolation the same as social isolation?
11 Now consider in the 2010 prompt the larger issues that the question suggests:
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.Larger issues:-Does society need "dangerous" messages?-What does it say about a society that it needs humor to deliver these messages?-Does humor trivialize real issues?-Does humor reach a larger audience than earnest discussion?
12 Activity 2: Concession, Counterargument and the Conversation
A concession addresses what the other side’s argument is or may be.-By addressing it, you show your audience that you are sophisticated and considerate-You understand all sides of an issue, not just your own.A counterargument, after the concession, discusses why the other side’s argument is not accurate or appropriate.-Used correctly, the concession and counterargument can demonstrate your maturity and reasonableness.-Used incorrectly, it can show just the opposite – a mind that is closed and lacks insight.
13 Activity 2: Concession, Counterargument and the Conversation
Look at Patrick Henry’s speech to the Virginia Convention in 1775 as an example:“They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?”Concession: “They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary.”-Here, Henry acknowledges the argument of those who do not wish to fight the British.-By acknowledging their argument, not only does he show that he understands the points they make, and thus is open-minded.-The acknowledgement also provides him with an opportunity to refute that point, thus strengthening his own argument.Counterargument: “But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction?”
14 Activity 2: Concession, Counterargument and the Conversation
Practice coming up with concessions in response to the following topic:Your school’s dress codeWith which element do you agree or disagree? (choose one side)Put yourself in the shoes of someone taking the other side – what would be that person’s strongest argument against you?-Remember, don’t demonize – assume your opponent is a fair-minded person.
15 Activity 2: Concession, Counterargument and the Conversation
Coming up with valid arguments against your perspective can be difficult, but it will lead you to more sophisticated answers.The more you are aware of potential holes in your argument, the stronger you can make it by filling those holes.The conversation map is an excellent pre-writing strategy for working through the complexity of an argument, developing concessions and counterarguments, and forcing yourself to search out the most sophisticated answer you can find.Look at the following conversation map responding to the prompt “Should high schools have dress codes?”
17 Now, with a classmate, create a conversation map over this topic of humorists’ role in society, similar to the one provided earlier over a school’s dress code. Think about all the questions and answers that need to be considered before reaching a conclusion.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.