• Q3 Syllabus

    Comments (-1)
  • Q2 Syllabus

    may be slightly altered based on class consensus 

    Comments (-1)
  • Q1 Syllabus

    Comments (-1)
  • 2019-2020 Course Guidelines

    Comments (-1)
  • The Book List

    Choose five titles that interest you (after you've researched, of course) and bring your selections to the 400 hallway Wednesday morning to sign up.  Bon appetit! :)

    Comments (-1)
  • Master Vocabulary List

    Please PRINT this out and keep in your binder; I will check periodically to see if you're keeping up with your vocabulary. 

    Comments (-1)
  • ACT English Sample Test Questions

    For your health!



    Comments (-1)
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab

    This is a wonderful resource--please take advantage!  The Purdue Online Writing Lab shares writing resources and offers free help to those of you who have writing needs and questions (AKA everyone!).


    Comments (-1)
  • "Omelas" Annotation Guide

    Following this guide should really help you "get the most" out of this reading.

    Comments (-1)
  • STAAR Reading & Writing Practice

    Very helpful practice and various writing prompts!

    Comments (-1)
  • "The Death of a Frog" Student Essay Examples

    This word document contains two exemplary essays, one satisfactory, and the other unsatisfactory.  Comments are typed in the margin.  If your reading of the poem was different than those shown, do not freight--that doesn't mean yours wasn't good!

    Comments (-1)
  • English II STAAR Persuasive Scoring Guide

    Here is last year's writing prompt with student responses and grading guidelines; scroll all the way to the bottom for an exemplary essay.
    Comments (-1)
  • STAAR English II Released Test 2014

    For additional resources, visit: http://tea.texas.gov/Student_Testing_and_Accountability/Testing/State_of_Texas_Assessments_of_Academic_Readiness_%28STAAR%29/STAAR_Released_Test_Questions/ 
    Comments (-1)
  • Additional Practice: Effectiveness in Speeches & Commercials

    As practice, (NOT HOMEWORK), watch these videos and answer the following questions.  I wanted to do this in class, but we ran out of time. :(  This is GREAT practice to test your skills.  I've provided background information for each video.  The last video (Elizabeth Glaser) has questions and a writing exercise for you to try. :)
    Zach Wahls, a 19-year old University of Iowa student, spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum on House Joint Resolution 6 in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would end civil unions in Iowa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMLZO-sObzQ  
    ShamWow Infomercial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwRISkyV_B8
    Snuggie Commercial (what more could you ask for?!):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xZp-GLMMJ0
    1. What were some of the different methods of persuasion and argumentation in the videos?
    2. What appeals did you notices in the videos?
    3. For the videos that were really persuasive, what worked for them?
    4. For the videos that weren't so persuasive, what didn't work for them?
    5. What did you learn from the videos, or rather, what might you experiment with that you saw in the videos?

    *****Elizabeth Glaser was a major American AIDS activist and child advocate who got AIDS by a blood transfusion that was infected with HIV.  She had a son and a daughter who were both infected because she breast fed them, and her daughter died at the age of seven.  In this video, Elizabeth gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1992 and criticized the lack of funding and initiative to take down the AIDS crisis. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlyVKVYYC0I

    Subject: AIDS

    Audience: Democratic National Convention

    Purpose: to get America’s leaders to become more involved with not only AIDS but health organizations as well

    Emotional appeal:

    Ethical appeal:

    Logical appeal:

    Tone: How do you know?


    What rhetorical devices did she employ? 

    Was her argument successful?  Why or why not?  Write a brief argument defending your stance.  Be sure to include: an introduction, thesis, evidence (quotes from the speech, tone, body language, facial expressions, etc.), reasoning to support your evidence, organization, a counter-argument & rebuttal, and a sound conclusion. 

    Comments (-1)
  • Additional Practice: Spotting the Fallacy

    What is an argument?
    An argument is much less than most people imagine. It is usually not 
    --An absolute truth.
    --A revelation or brand new insight.
    --The last word.
    --Bad-tempered complaining.
    --An exercise in pure logic.
    --A chance to prove that you’re smarter than everyone else.

    And, most emphatically, it is not necessarily about some grand issue of concern to humankind in general.

    An argument is merely an essay that has a thesis, which a substantial part of your audience may disagree with and that seeks to convince them you’re right. That’s all, and that’s not much. To know your essay is an argument, look for three things:
    An opposition
    An implied should
    A call to action


    You must convince yourself that writing an argument is something you can do without becoming someone you’re not. Do that in four steps:

    Notice that you make arguments all the time.
    Shake the fallacy of the absolute and exclusive truth.
    Shake the fallacy of the final word.
    Begin with arguments that are easy to make.

    Avoid three logical fallacies.
    1. Post hoc (“after it, therefore because of it”) The fallacy of assuming that just because y follows x, x causes y.

    2. Either/Or thinking, also called the fallacy of the false dilemma. This reduces complex situations to two alternatives, one black and one white. (We didn't discuss this in class, so it won't be on the test.)

    3. False Analogy, fallacy in which x and y are alike, but not in the features that matter to the argument. (We didn't discuss this in class, so it won't be on the test.)

    Spot the flawed logic in the following statements:

    Herbert Hoover single-handedly created the depression.

    FDR caused World War II.

    Surveys showed that married men are happier than unmarried men.

    Many people who go to the dentist have a lot of cavities.

    Marijuana use should remain illegal because it’s a first step toward the more serious drugs; most heroin addicts started with marijuana.

    If you’re not for recycling laws, you don’t care about your environment.

    In the coming election you have a choice between voting for me or voting for fiscal irresponsibility.

    People trapped in the ghetto have two choices in life: be a menial laborer and starve or take to crime.

    It’s incredible to me that in a culture that bans cockfights and bear baiting, we permit the same sort of thing with human beings.

    Gun control is wrong because the Constitution guarantees our right to keep and bear arms.
    Comments (-1)
  • Additional Practice: Constructing an Argument

    The Classical Argument since rhetors began teaching Greek farmers strategies for appealing their cases to Greek courts in the fifth century B.C., the classical argument has stood as a model for writers who believe their case can be argued plausibly and logically to an open-minded audience. This format is still in use in much academic writing today. In its simplest form, the classical argument has five main parts:
    1. The introduction, which warms up the audience, establishes goodwill and rapport with the readers, and announces the general theme or thesis of the argument. ·
    2. The narration, which summarizes relevant background material (context), provides any information the audience needs to know about the environment and circumstances that produce the argument (context), and set up the stakes-what’s at risk in this question. In academic writing, this often takes the form of a literature review.
    3. The confirmation,which lays out in a logical order (usually strongest to weakest or most obvious to most subtle) the claims that support the thesis, providing evidence for each claim.
    4. The refutation and concession, which looks at opposing viewpoints to the writer’s claims, anticipating objections from the audience, and allowing as much of the opposing viewpoints as possible without weakening the thesis.
    5. The summation, which provides a strong conclusion, amplifying the force of the argument, and showing the readers that this solution is the best at meeting the circumstances.
    Each of these paragraphs represents a “chunk” or section of the paper, which might be one or more paragraphs; for instance, the introduction and narration sections might be combined into one chunk, while the confirmation and concession sections will probably be several paragraphs each.
    Here are some suggestions and strategies for developing each section of your classical argument.
    The Introduction
    The introduction has three jobs: to capture your audience’s interest, establish their perception of you as a writer, and set out your point of view for the argument. These multiple roles require careful planning on your part. You might capture interest by using a focusing anecdote or quotation, a shocking statistic, or by restating a problem or controversy in a new way. You could also begin with an analogy or parallel case, a personal statement, or (if you genuinely believe your audience will agree with you) a bold statement of your thesis. The language choices you use will convey a great deal about your image to your audience; for instance, if you're writing about abortion, audiences will react differently to language about “pro-lifers” than they will to language about “people who oppose abortion” or “profamily supporters.” This introduction usually funnels down into a solid, clear thesis statement; if you can’t find a sentence in this section that explicitly says what point you are supporting, you need to keep refining the introduction.
    The Narration (Body Paragraphs)
    In the narration, you want to establish a context for your argument. This means that you need to explain the situation to which your argument is responding, as well as any relevant background information, history, statistics, and so on that affect it. (For instance, the abortion argument might well mention Roe vs. Wade, more recent cases, legal precedents, and even public opinion polls.) Once again, the language with which you describe this background will give the audience a picture of you, so choose it carefully. By the end of this section, the readers should understand what’s at stake in this argument—the issues and alternatives the community faces—so that they can evaluate your claims fairly.
    The Confirmation
    This section allows you to explain why you believe in your thesis. It takes up several supporting claims individually, so that you can develop each one by bringing in facts, examples, testimony, definitions, and so on. It's important that you explain why the evidence for each claim supports it and the larger thesis; this builds a chain of reasoning in support of your argument.
    The Refutation and Concession (Counter-Argument & Rebuttal) 
    This is sometimes a hard section for writers to develop; who wants to think of the reasons why an argument won’t work? But this can often be the strongest part of an argument, for when you show your audience that you have anticipated their potential objections, and have an answer for them, you defuse the audience’s ability to oppose you and persuade them to accept your point of view. If there are places where you agree with the opposition, conceding their points creates goodwill and respect without weakening your thesis. For instance, if you are supporting parental notification for abortions, you might concede that there are times when girls shouldn’t be expected to get their parents’ permission, such as in abuse or incest cases. But then you might suggest that a court-appointed counselor give permission instead so that the young girl gets an adult’s support in making this decision.
    The Conclusion
    It is tempting in the conclusion just to restate the claims and thesis, but this does not give a sense of .momentum or closure to your argument. Instead, try to hearken back to the narration and the issues. Remind your readers what’s at stake and try to show why your thesis provides the best solution to the issue being faced. This gives an impression of the rightness and importance of your argument, and suggests its larger significance or long-range impact. More importantly, it gives the readers a psychological sense of closure; the argument winds up instead of breaking off.
    Comments (-1)
  • Additional Practice: Counter-Arguments

    counter-argument is an argument opposed to your thesis, or part of your thesis. It expresses the view of a person who disagrees with your position.

    Where does the counter-argument go?

    The short answer is a counter-argument can go anywhere except the conclusion. This is because there has to be a rebuttal paragraph after the counter-argument, so if the counter-argument is in the conclusion, something has been left out.

    In practice (there are exceptions), the rebuttal is usually not the concluding paragraph, which means that generally the counter-argument is anywhere but the last two paragraphs.

    Counter-arguments can be very effective in introductions, especially if you are arguing against a popularly held view. However, it’s also very common to place them after the presentation of the case for the thesis. In other words, they would go after all of the main points that support the thesis, but before the conclusion—in the third-to-last paragraph, with the rebuttal in the second-to-last. This is probably the most common position.

    Generally, unless there is some compelling reason specific to the particular argument being made, it does not make sense to put the counter-argument in the middle of the case for the thesis. In other words, you would not typically present two points in support of the thesis, then the counter-argument and rebuttal, and then more points in support of the thesis.

    ***Here are two outlines showing the most common placement of the counter-argument. The first is probably the most common:***

    1. Introduction
    2. Supporting point #1
    3. Supporting point #2
    4. Supporting point #3
    5. Supporting point #4
    6. [there can be any number of supporting points]
    7. Counter-argument
    8. Rebuttal
    9. Conclusion
    1. Counter-argument, which also serves as introduction
    2. Rebuttal, which would usually include the thesis statement
    3. Supporting point #1
    4. Supporting point #2
    5. Supporting point #3
    6. Supporting point #4
    7. [there can be any number of supporting points]
    8. Conclusion


    How should the counter-argument be introduced?

    It’s important to use clear signals to alert the reader that the paper is about to express a view different from (typically, the opposite of) the thesis. Since the purpose of the whole paper, including the counter-argument, is to support the thesis, these signals are crucial. Without them the paper appears incoherent and contradictory.

    Generally, the counter-argument will begin with a word, phrase or sentence to indicate that what follows is not the author’s view. These can range from the very simple—sometimes the single word “But” or “However” is sufficient—to quite complex whole sentences:

    In his majisterial work on representation in western literature, a foundational text in the discipline, Auerbach argues that the mixture of styles is an essential ingredient of all modern realism, a view that has found wide acceptance in the half-century since its publication.

    Notice, however, that even this sentence is careful to attribute these views to other people, and to call them “views”—in other words, to subtly hint that they are not facts or truths.

    In general, the strategy is to make it clear quickly that this is someone else’s view. Typical introductory strategies include the following:

    • Many people [believe/argue/feel/think/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
    • It is often [thought/imagined/supposed/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
    • [It would be easy to/One could easily] [think/believe/imagine/suppose/etc.] that [state the counter-argument here]
    • It might [seem/appear/look/etc.] as if [state the counter-argument here]

    Another common approach is to use a question:

    • But isn’t it true that [state the counter-argument here]?
    • [Doesn’t/Wouldn’t/Isn’t] [state the counter-argument here]?

    You can also cite specific writers or thinkers who have expressed a view opposite to your own:

      • On the other hand, Fund argues that...
    • However, Ngugi has written, ...
    • Dangarembga takes the position that...


    How should the rebuttal be introduced?

    If the counter-argument requires careful signaling, so does the rebuttal. The essay has just done a 180° turn away from its thesis, and now it is about to do another 180° turn to complete the circle. The reader needs warnings and guidance or they will fall off or get whiplash—you’ll lose them, in other words, because the essay will seem incoherent or contradictory.

    The common strategies for introducing the rebuttal are the mirror image of those for introducing the counter-argument, and they all boil down to the same basic concept: “Yes, but....” They can be as simple as that, or as complex as this example sentence:

    While Auerbach’s claim seems initially plausible, and is backed by the copious evidence provided by his astonishing erudition, it is marred by an inconsistency that derives from an unsupportable and ultimately incoherent definition.

    In all cases, the job of this transitional language is to show the reader that the opposing view is now being answered. The essay has returned to arguing its own thesis, strengthened by having taken the opposition into account. Here are some typical strategies. These are generic examples; they work best when tailored to suit the specifics of the individual topic.

    • What this argument [overlooks/fails to consider/does not take into account] is ...
    • This view [seems/looks/sounds/etc.] [convincing/plausible/persuasive/etc.] at first, but ...
    • While this position is popular, it is [not supported by the facts/not logical/impractical/etc.]
    • Although the core of this claim is valid, it suffers from a flaw in its [reasoning/application/etc.]
    Comments (-1)