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teenagers editing for sentence fragments

The 7 Types of Sentence Fragments

Because grammar has boundaries and rules, teaching it is actually a reprieve from the subjectivity of analysis. I’m fully aware (and teach) that language is a fluid, constantly evolving thing and that the rules themselves have their own cozy little home in classism, racism, and misogyny; but sometimes, a sentence…
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AP English Language multiple choice

How to Explain Question Stems to Students

Let’s talk about closets. AP English Language teachers know that I love a good metaphor, and I throw them around willy nilly when it comes to multiple choice. Rods and Hangers In my small bedroom closet, I have one four-foot rod. I’m a clothing minimalist (mostly because no one sees…
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How to Practice AP Lang MC Remotely

As part of my AP Lang multiple choice series, I’d like to dive deep on just ONE synchronous strategy in this post. For this one, we’re looking at team competitions for practice. Remove the Incentive to Cheat on AP Lang Multiple Choice Rather than require a sudden moral evolution of…
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How to Outsmart the AP Multiple Choice Distractors

“Foils bought my house.” A friend whose husband writes standardized social studies tests said that line to me over lunch one day. Between expensive mouthfuls, she explained that anyone who is really good at writing THE foil answer choice can write his or her own ticket. Apparently, they are VERY…
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AP English Language multiple choice

5 Tips for AP Language Multiple Choice Prep

AP English Language multiple choice test prep can be miserable, but you can spread out the misery or even eliminate it. Because I am a nerd, I actually LIKE getting students ready for the multiple choice section of the AP exam. The clean-cut nature of time management and test-taking strategies…
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EXHAUSTED ENGLISH TEACHER ASLEEP AT DESK

When it is time to leave teaching?

I have a ceramic sign hanging in my home office, and it reads, “Leap and the net will appear.” My mom gave it to me when I left my second school. I had already leapt, and she wanted to assure me that a net was down there because I wasn’t…
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rhetorical analysis in AP English Language

Why Start with Rhetorical Analysis?

Whether school is on a traditional year-long schedule, a 4×4 block, or a modified block with A days and B days, there is a case to be made for starting with rhetorical analysis. Reason #1: Rhetorical analysis is the foundation of everything we do in AP Lang. On Day 1…
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SPIRAL NOTEBOOKS FOR RHETORICAL ANALYSIS

How to Spiral Rhetorical Analysis

What is spiraling? The concept of spiraling clicked for me when I was a curriculum specialist. (For three years, I came off the front lines and served as Secondary Writing Curriculum Specialist for a large district in North Carolina. I served the ELA teachers at 47 middle and high schools…
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BOY THINKING OF EVIDENCE FOR RHETORICAL ANALYSIS

4 Ways to Improve Evidence in Rhetorical Analysis

Call it a concrete detail, evidence, support, or proof. What defends a debatable idea is REAL, TRUE, FACTUAL, and APART from debate. If the topic sentence defends the thesis, and the concrete detail is strong, commentary will be (almost) a breeze. If the concrete detail is weak, irrelevant, general, or…
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formulaic writing templates

Formulaic Writing: The Beauty and The Dangers

Mrs. Stewart, my high school AP Lit teacher, passed recently, and I grieved. That woman taught me formulaic writing; she reined in my verbosity (though some of you might disagree) and got me to calm down and get to the point. She did it with a formula, THE five-paragraph essay.…
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How to get UNSTUCK in Rhetorical Analysis

You’ve been there: Your student mopes up to your desk for a rhetorical analysis writing conference, and the graphic organizer section for commentary is blank. Blankety blank blank. Nuthin’. The student is frustrated. You’re frustrated. You can’t steer a ship that’s not moving, right? Here’s the deal: Students get stuck…
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TEENAGERS ARGUING WITH TONE

3 Engaging Ways to Introduce Tone Analysis

Tone is my favorite thing to teach in the whole rhetorical analysis process. Because tone carries meaning, it’s the end-all, be-all. Miss the tone, miss the meaning. I spend two to three block class periods right at the beginning of first semester helping high school students wrap their heads around…
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