Well, it was a pleasure to guide you through the wild ride that AP English Language can be; complete with rapids and shoals and a few slow moving pools. As a river guide will tell you (on the tough rapids), this is a self-rescue trip. And every one of you demonstrated your ability and willingness to take direction and save yourself if the need arose.
I was a little worried there when we came back from the Spring Break and our essay skills had deteriorated over the Hamlet episode, but with determination and will you all made improvements by leaps and bounds through that grueling 5 wk prep session that some of you called Hell’s Canyon-actually there is a real Hell’s Canyon on the Klamath River. Hell’s Canyon is a mile and half of continuous white water that will tax your skill, stamina, and sanity. Without too much need for cheerleading from me, you all came through nicely… maybe with a scratch or bruise, but such is the nature of extreme sports.
I too have been scratched and bruised through the year with a chaotic personal life and challenging job prospects in an uncertain economy. I hope I kept my attitude positive and my focus on your success. That is the essence of this wonderful and taxing job. I hope I was able to accomplish that.
Enjoy your summer, you’ve earned it. And I hope to hear from you and your future plans as college looms large in the near future.
I am glad to see you excited and ready to tackle an incredibly challenging year in AP English (and all your other APs)! I am looking forward to seeing your comments and concerns and learnings all up on the blog which is our class away from class. It’s a great place to vent (with due respect and consideration), comment, and ask questions that will help us all have a more invigorating class experience.
English’s provenance is EVERYTHING that can be written about, so now’s the time to make a commitment to yourself to be great at everything. No one can ever do it, but our lives are ennobled if we make that commitment and do our best to keep it.
Alright, so some of you are already waxing sentimental and growing misty eyed. And my grades aren’t even yet! Ay me!
Well, I had a wonderful time this year. Some great discussions and vibrant personalities. You make teaching what it is–great. I can’t tell you how many times I count my blessings that when I go home from work, I don’t want to rush out the door to happy hour or mire myself in hours of TV. I feel pretty accomplished and feel that some quiet time with the wife and dog are in order. And that is, of course, thanks to you.
Good luck to you all. I look forward to seeing your scores in July. (I have a good feeling about them). And enjoy your last summer of high school!
Oh, and I dropped the ball about the pun contest. So I will be taking suggestions and votes about the best ones and will be awarding a $10 and $5 starbuck’s card to the winners of 1st and 2nd places. So start campaigning. And keep those on the blog. You might get groans from you audience, or, if you’re in the LBC, a right cross to the jaw.
Take a look and see what you can do. Now you can respond directly to comments by clicking on reply; you can bookmark or digg or share any of these posts; you can add audio and video comments; and you should be able to keep up with the new posts via Twitter. I’ve also added a feed uplink to mreldridge.net so that that will always be displaying the most recent posts to the AP or Sophomore blog.
As a whole your most recent set of essays were done very well. Even a couple that were spectacular. Good job.
I do have a few notes though about things we need to still improve on:
Please, please, please observe your margins. There are 4; not just two that run along the left and top of your paper, but two other (neglected) ones that also run down the right and along the bottom. Please leave space there, too!
The best papers clearly stated what Mr. Douglass’s states of mind were in the thesis. Do not simply repeat the question by saying “he uses syntax and figurative language to convey his states of mind.” That’s just a cop-out! You need to have a theory based on your analysis before you write.
Syntax/Diction is used…Never ever say “Syntax is used…” If there are words, there is syntax (See Kolkin’s scribe notes). You can’t choose to use or not to use it. You can employ it, manipulate it; you can even use a KIND of syntax (tortured, straightforward, baroque, etc.). And we should all be using better verbs than the passive construction “is used” anyways.
Everyone needs to learn how to spell SIMILE. It’s S-I-M-I-L-E. It’s not similie. That’s just a weird way of writing smiley.
And my last note this time around is break up long quotations into smaller chunks. One paper I read had a quote that went on for 5 lines, but the whole paragraph was only 9 lines long! So there was more quote than anything else. As my teachers said: “I’ve read the excerpt, there’s no need to rewrite it for me.”
You can see I’ve been playing with the format. Our blog has so much information added to it so quickly, I thought that we just needed a clearer way of laying it all out.
So I’ve increased the columns to 4–I know I can see things more clearly now. I hope you can, too. I added an email subscription box. There are also RSS feed links under the Meta tab. If you know how to use these feeds, they can be helpful for keeping up on what’s happening. I also moved the Progressive Story over to its own page, so it will always be easily accessible, rather than quickly scrolling off the screen. I’ve also added a link for your AERIES portal. I’ve also begun adding tags, these are like subjects that are mentioned in your post. Eventually, once there are enough tags they should begin to change size with their frequency.
Are there other things you would like to see? Leave a comment and I’ll try to see what I can do.
So I don’t think I was clear about this weekend’s work. So here I am trying to clear things up. Thank goodness for technology!
So this weekend you should be
studying up on the next section of the Bedford Reader: Division or Analysis (which are the same thing);
Reading chapters 7-9 of The Scarlet Letter;
Completing study guides for chs. 7-9 (they are getting shorter: yeah!).
But, you say, we never got the handouts for the TSL study guide. Well, that was my plan. I’ve been making far too many copies and have received some strongly worded memos describing my nefarious transgressions. So, again, technology comes to the rescue. I am asking you to look up the study guides yourselves from the class website. If you don’t know how to get there, here’s the URL to the page with all the study stuff on it: http://mreldridge.net/TSL.aspx.
Just a hint: those of you who are wondering what’s going on with all of this TSL stuff, pay very close attention to the difference between the wilderness and civilization. Start formulating a thesis as to what Hawthorne thinks separates the two.