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Welcome. Weekly updates provide AP English Language and Composition students at De Anza High School access to content and resources shared publicly on this site.


AP Lang Update and Quarter 3 Final Formative Assessment

4 min read

Greetings students and welcome to the final week of Quarter 3. 

In the YouTube video that this script is supporting, I'll be giving you a few news updates from the District regarding distance learning protocols and some reminders about the changes in AP testing. But primarily, I'm frontloading the work for this week: Part 2 of the Media Theory Project. In short, students have until the end of the school day on Friday, April 3rd (4:00 pm will mark the official end of Quarter 3) to submit the work for this reading challenge and creative proposal assignment. If all three sections are completed with effort and style, the work will replace student's lowest formative assessment score from Quarter 3 with a 100%.

I'll walk you through that assignment in a just a few minutes, but first some news and reminders:

Again the Quarter will end this Friday, so make sure you are communicating with your teachers about submitting late and incomplete work and feel free to inquire about alternative assignments, as teachers have been asked to offer those opportunities. Further, rough guidelines have been created by the district to implement a distance learning plan for all students in the district beginning at the start of Quarter 4; Monday April 13th, the week after Spring Break in which the entire district will be on vacation from their school-related duties.

According to their guidelines -- for the period of three weeks up until the building is scheduled to open on May 4th -- teachers are asked to offer 30 minutes of instruction for each class period per day and students are expected to complete 2-3 hours of work for all their classes per day. Teachers are asked to not give summative assessments but can enter formative assessment and skill building scores for a grade during this time. So students are being held accountable to learn what is being taught. 

As far as attenance goes, that question is not explained clearly, and regarding grades, the guidelines suggest teachers come up with innovative measures to measure mastery, so we are figuring this out as we go; but we can say that online school is mandatory at the beginning of Quarter 3, and sites are working to develop their own plans for how to make that experience fair for everyone. 

For this class, students will be expected to finish their novel over the next two weeks and submit their evaluation essay by the second week of required distance learning, so the new due date is Wednesday, April 22nd at 11:59 pm. More information and support about the essay will be available after spring Break. Writing essays is officially the key AP skill to learn, so hopefully the essay writing practice we do over the next month or so will help you in all your classes.

As far as AP testing, we know that all tests have been modified to a 45 minute exam that will most likely consist of FRQs across each subject. Dates have not yet been announced, but students will have the option to complete the exam online -- and at home if needed. It looks like AP Lang will require a rhetorical analysis FRQ, so if that is the case, we are going to practice mastering that genre the best we can before the exam date sometime most likely in May.

Now for the assignment this week.

Let's start with the concept of Media Theory. This branch of the social sciences has gained more prominence at the beginning of our current era of online communication beginning in the 1990s, although its beginning could be traced back to the 19th century -- and even further-- during massive explosions in technological innovation. Essentially, media theory studies how human behavior has been shaped by our interaction with the various forms of technology we use to communicate and express ourselves. Because we are living in a hyper-technological moment brought on the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to practice social distancing, we are in a position to look at ideas in media theory with an especially critical and nuanced lens. Everyone is online right now whether we like it or not, so our goal for the week is to understand the nature of some important debates regarding current trends in media and technology, enter into the conversation taking place in these debates, and in the end offer a proposal that may provide a solution to some of the problems we encounter in the world of media theory.

Let's just walk through the assignment now; see the Google Classoom posting for details.






Report from Sheltering in Place: AP Lang Update, Monday, 23 March 2020

8 min read

Greetings students and welcome to Week 2 of school without a shared building for school to happen.

To cite a report from The Economist late last week just to offer you some perspective, students in 100 countries around the world and 43 states in the U.S.A are not physically attending school today; when we are talking about somewhere around 1 billion young people, you are not alone in this.

I'm consumed in news about the COVID-19 pandemic and have been doing extensive research about laws regarding education and public policy, and I can admit like many others that I was wrong to underestimate the gravity of this public health crisis. I didn't really understand what was bound to happen, and I'm totally okay with that.

I'm following public health guidelines for social distancing and trying not to feel so isolated like everyone else; I search for laughs and have been reconnecting with old friends on the phone. I've been charged politically because the state of education is faced with bad options on all sides, and I doubt the competency of our leadership locally and nationally. I've been inspired to write and got a lot of serious work done last week, including an 8-page graduate level argument of evaluation on educational literature in APA style I will share with all of you at a later date. And for those of you who so lovingly asked, my health is quite good; I've actually been getting more exercise than I normally would, and I've been cooking some awesome meals. I've also been maintaining my work routines, including the morning alarm, with time to read a lot -- going back and forth from the screen and in print. I'm happy to be disengaged from all the garbage spreading on social media and the non-stop sensational reporting on televison news. My head is swimming with new ideas and insights.

So like many teachers in this school and around the world, Mr. Nugent is tyring to come up with new ways to keep students engaged in the class through technological means. School closures around the country have left us with severe social confusion and the entire idea of school itself clouded with doubt and uncertainty as we await clear answers about grades, attendance, how Quarter 3 will end, and what Quarter 4 will look like.

I'm going to try to address what I can through this message, focusing on my position on school work and what students have been saying, then I'll tell you about the new creative project we are going to engage in over these next two weeks before we officially go on Spring Break (the district decided to return to our original scheduled break from April 6th - 10th [as it stands now, we will return to school on the 13th, but that is being debated in government offices right now]) then, I'll give you some news about how AP and State Testing have changed for the year. 

This posting is intended as a draft script for a new YouTube account and video series that will be used to post updates and lectures remotely while school remains physically closed and courses continue online through "distance learning" protocols. 

First, I want to say again how thankful I am for the small sampling of students who have continued to engage with the course online, by responding to the posted question on the ethics of price gauging in the time of a crisis at the end of the week, and to the even smaller number who submitted their book club work at the beginning of the week. The low participation rates are heartbreaking, and that's an understatement. 

Period 2 proved to be the most engaged with one group actually collaborating, while only 1 student in Period 1 participated and 0 students in Period 4 -- damm that's harsh. Conversely, I've never been more excited to read student work, offer feedback on assignments, and respond to a student email. Know that I'm still at work every day from home, reading, planning lessons, writing, thinking, communicating with colleagues and engaging with other teacherly duties, so it's depressing to see so many students disengage from school altogether when I know you have an internet connection; these may be difficult times for our social and mental health, but taking a "corona-cation" just because you can is not the mark of an AP student preparing for college. Do your job, do school. 

The Check-In survey I posted last Thursday has become extremely vital to me as a teacher, and I learned so much from your responses, so thanks again. I'll continue to cast this weekly survey while we remain in a distance-learning situation to get a pulse on how students are doing and what can be accomplished during this time. Here's a brief report on my findings: 

Of the 81 students polled through Google Classroom, the survey received 33 responses (40%); the fact that less than half of De Anza's finest juniors did not even check in does not bode well for the success of distance learning.

On a linear scale of 1-5 asking how students were feeling -- physcially and mentally (with 5 being "very healthy") -- about 85% reported a rating of 3 or higher. This suggests that students are holding it down pretty well, but we really need to reach out and support the other 15% who are struggling with a new a potential new mental health crisis. And for the 30% who gave themselves a 3, we can't let them slip.

81% of students said they have a dependable internet connection, and 91% said they would at least maybe be interested in joining an online Zoom class where we can work remotely live through the popular video-conferencing platform. So we are going to do this.

For the first block schedule of this week, a new project about Zoom and how to do school online will be posted to Google Classroom with readings from the NY Times Learning Network, and then at the end of the week, I will host a Zoom class during our normal meeing times to complete the assignment together with support from your teacher and peers on the screen -- with the understanding that this will only work if students join. More to come on this next class and the extension next week with the next posting. 

When asked how their teacher and school can best support them right now, over 60% said to keep doing what I'm doing posting to Google Classroom and learning how to integrate new online teaching tools: done. Additionally 40% said to keep posting regular check-ins to maintain study routines: also done.

Most notably, 40% of students said we should engage in an alternative creative project to end the quarter. Okay. Furthermore, based on minimal participation with the novel project, I am going to extend the essay to Quarter 4, with the expectation that students are still reading their books; it's such a nice distraction from the news, I swear. But for the next two weeks, we will explore a creative project on media theory and how to make proposals. As stated above, this will involve Zoom with more instructions to come. 

 Lastly to close out this first message and video with more promised to come, here's some educational news I know as of this last weekend. 

State testing has been cancelled for the school year with people like President Trump saying "students must be very happy to hear that." I find this unfortunate as the performances and data from these tests are elemental to keeping schools running, and no official postion has been stated as to how they will be made up; yet more interestingly, this has prompted a bigger conversation about the value of all mandatory testing in schools. 

SAT and ACT testing has been cancelled, and this is actually not that big of a deal in this country, where by nature, those tests can be taken any time, so you should take them once they are made available. I predict this will be over the summer. 

And yes, AP testing has been modified, but not totally cancelled. According to an article from the LA Times, the AP test will be modified to a 45-minute take home online exam in which you will receive comprable credit for the standard test for university credit -- serious mixed feelings about this. I understand equity issues, but to be fair to what has been taught in this class since August, I will do everything I can to give students the opportunity to take the real test. Scores will be private and a 100% summative assessment score will be offered for just doing it, just like I had planned on. 

That's all for now. Stay healthy and active in any way you can, and tell your friends to stay in school; I know it's online but your education doesn't wait for pandemics to end. Your maturity and dedication to learning is more important than ever. 



AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday-Friday, 6-7 February 2020

4 min read


Make sure you complete your rhetorical analysis of The State of the Union address by 11:59 pm tonight.

Lack of proficiency in the genre keeps many students from passing the exam and mastering it will help with multiple choice as well. Reference your work from Quarter 1, and your index cards to help refresh your memory on how it works; recall the sentence formulas, and refamiliarize yourself with specific rhetorial strategies and fallacies of argument. 


The Test:

  • It will take Mr. Nugent a few days to grade the Vocabulary Tests, but just after looking through a few samples, the overall performance feels strong.
  • If you are worried that you did very poorly, please come schedule a time to retake it before our President's Week break.
  • Although you should continue developing your vocabulary throughout your life time, it will not be explicitly taught for the remainder of the year. 
  • We will start working with grammar on upcoming Mondays. Our first lesson will review comma usage and unnaceptable errors that will get future papers rejected.



Today's Plan:

  • You should have finished reading Ch. 7 in our textbook to have a basic understanding of the Toulmin Argument.
  • Mr. Nugent will model a speech on the topic of Space Travel using the structure, then walk you through the outline he composed.
  • We will then work on our argumentative skills using AP prompts as starting off points for composing an argument of definition in class next week. This means you will need to read Ch. 9 in our textbook before next Tuesday/Wednesday to prepare.

The Infomerical:

You will have to create your own outline using the Toulmin Strucutre for your "infomerical" and submit a copy to Mr. Nugent before you give your speech.

This means you need 2-3 sources from opposing positions along with evidence from your book, and an infographic as your visual.

This is still an argument of fact, and the Toulmin strucutre should keep your viewpoint relatively objective, you can try to create your own infographic following the resources detailed for Project #1 on p. 173 in the textbook, or you can just find one online or in your book.

The logistics remain the same: 30 seconds to explain your image (infographic) then 3-4 minutes of speaking citing at least 3 sources and stating 5 facts. 


Extra Credit Speakers will begin next week:

Tuesday-Wednesday (10% bonus) Thursday-Friday (5% bonus) [If there is a lack of volunteers at the end of next week, students will be selected at random] The remaining students will deliver their speech following the break.

Now for the Speech:

Do Provide Feeback on the slip



Specificity in Argumentation

For the remainder of class, students will work both individually and in groups to create specific examples for an assortment of AP Original Argument Prompts.

You will receive a packet with 6 prompts, and you will need to provide 3 specific examples for each prompt that could be used to develop support for an original argument essay. 

We will do this using the pro/con T-Chart method. Mr. Nugent will model "Certainty and Doubt" on the doc cam before you begin.

Next, you will have 20 minutes to come up with three examples for the remaining five prompts using the T-Chart method. 

Lastly, you will get assigned a number that corresponds with a specific prompt. You will then meet with your new project group and collaborate to eliminate examples that are not specific enough -- combining forces to create a poster with the strongest three cons and three pros.

Once finished, the poster must be taped somewhere in the classroom and we will do a brief Gallery Walk adding symbols with markers to show our opinions on how specific the examples were. 

The Symbols

(*) Strong Example

(?) Makes you wonder / not sure

(x) Weak Example


For Homework: 

Submit your rhetorical analysis

Work on your research project and collect sources to start outlining your speech

Read Ch. 9 to come prepared for an in-class writing of a qualified argument of definition on one of the prompts from this activity. You get to choose the prompt, and specific instructions will be announced Monday.



AP Lang Lesson Plan: Tuesday-Wednesday, 4-5 February 2020

3 min read

Greetings and Good Morning.


First and foremost, today is your Vocabulary Test.

  • You have 10 minutes to review and study any terms for the last time once prompted and a timer is started.
  • As you can understand, after 20 weeks of study, it is expected that you learned how to use at least 20 of the terms you undertook independently, in addition to learning the ten final assigned key terms from Mr. Nugent.
  • Your graded quizzes will be passed back while this is happening.


  • Logistics Reminder:
  • Five terms from Nugent's assigned list from last week will be banked on the test.
  • The remaining twenty spaces must be recalled from the working application of your memory; additionaly, 10 of these terms must be used in a minimum of 5 sentences composed on binder paper with detailed diagrams of their parts of speech.
  • Lastly, 2-3 of the terms should have their etymology analyzed in detail on the last page of the exam. 




  • If you bomb this test, that's bad. It's currently worth 50% of your grade, as the two major essays you will write this quarter have not been assigned.
  • So, you may retake this test once more to demonstrate your mastery of advanced English diction.



  • You have 1 hour to complete this exam once prompted. Please clear your desks






Independent Research Project: "Infomercials Pt. 2": Toulmin Argument for Opposing Positions

  • Once your test is complete.
  • You must finish reading Ch. 7 "Structuring Arguments" from our textbook to prepare for your own "infomercial" that will argue an opposing position from your first speech using the structure of a Toulmin Argument.
  • Begin by reading pp. 130-131


  • Continue your inquiry by following the link to p. 551 and reading "Playing with Prejudice: The Prevalence and Consequences of Racial Stereotypes in Video Games" by Melinda C.R. Burgess et al. 
  • Become familiar with APA style (a more dominant technique for writing academic papers in the sciences), and in your journals, compose responses to questions #4-5 on p. 559; be sure to read the Steele essay excerpted from Whistling Vivaldi beginning on p.537 "(a classic in contemporary studies of education). 
  • Next class, Mr. Nugent will model a Toulmin Argument on his topic of space travel.
  • Student speeches may begin for extra credit at the beginning of next week and will officially begin the class before the Presidents Week break (Feb. 13-14th).

AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday-Friday, 30-31 January 2020

1 min read


Take a seat next to your partner for the Socratic Seminar today. Before we start with the seminar, Mr. Nugent will pass back some work from last week. Your vocab quizzes will come back to you on Monday as you continue to prepare for the test next Tuesday/Wednesday.

While you are waiting everyone needs to prepare at least three questions for today. The questions should confront the ideas in our readings and our essential question: when, if ever, is it ethical to lie? 

Once our work is passed back, Mr. Nugent will come around to check your research progress. You should have a folder or a section of your binder with 3-4 articles and 2-3 excerpts from your book with index cards containing citations and notable facts or quotes to show for homework credit. 






Study for your vocabulary test next Tuesday/Wednesday. Learn your words.

Finish reading your research book and begin looking for opposing views. 

Bring your laptops to class on Monday for counselor presentations on class choices for your senior year. 


Ethical Arguments: FRQ Practice Responses

2 min read

Dear AP Students.


As we continue to study arugmentative tactics including the use of lies and faulty logic, we are working towards creating stronger and more sophisticated strucutures for our upcoming speech and essays. In preparation for another practice Original Argument FRQ this quarter, we will continue practicing making arguments in response to quotes from famous authors.


Remember, when using the basic structure outlined below, get right into the argument; don't waste your time simply restating what the author said and paraphrasing:

  1. Read the quote and take a position on the idea
  2. Assert your position and make an original argument by stating a thesis
  3. Support this argument by outlining 2-3 examples from your life, experience, or reading that could serve as the body paragraphs of an essay

In his "Three Essays on Religion" Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attempts to bridge the gap between science and religion. He writes:

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

Carefully consider King's position on the relationship between facts and values (ethics). Then write an argument either that defends, challenges, or qualifies King's claim.


AP Lang Vocabulary Stew Project Finale and Homework Expectations

4 min read

Greetings AP Students.

This is week 19 of the Vocabulary Project, and by the week's end, all students are expected to have 100 new words documented in their journals. From this work, students can continue to use and recognize these terms in some meaningful context as they proceed as speakers, readers, and writers of English. 

The project will conclude next Tuesday, Feb. 4th (Period 1) / Wednesday Feb. 5th (Periods 2 & 4) with a final One Hour Vocabulary Test containing 25 words from our master list.

Next Monday, we will engage in a Vocab Test Prep Activity. 


Research Project Reminders and Expectations:

We should all be reading our library books on our topics; if you have lost connection to your research topic, reading the book is the best way to get engaged with the different arguments and history of the issue. 

Part 2 of the "Infomericals", where we create an argument of fact using opposing views and a specific structure, will begin the week before Presidents Week (3 weeks from now).

By the end of this week, students will have to show the beginnings of their research binder. The collection should contain print outs of the text with note cards for 3-4 articles and 2-3 excerpts or transcriptions from the book. These works may be cotained in their own folder or within a section of your binder. 

Next week, we will begin gathering research from opposing sides to make a counterargument from your original position. 




Expectations for the Vocabulary Test:

Basic: students should be able to recall a synonym, provide a brief definition, and categorize the part of speech for 20 words in the list they have worked with over the past 18 weeks. 5 additional words (2 adjectives, 2 verbs, and 1 noun) must come from the following list of ten key terms:

salient, adj.

supercilious, adj.

capricious, adj. 

ubiquitous, adj.

harlequin, n. 

vicissitude, n. 

syllogism, n. 

engender, v. 

garner, v. 

transgress, v. 


5 of these will be on the test: making 25 total.




Proficient: students should be able to write sentences using at least 10 of the words from the basic section of the test. Two terms may be combined in each of the sentences. Each of the sentences must be diagrammed using a system of the student's choice. At a minimum, the verbs, nouns, and adjectives should be discerned and identified



Advanced: students must research the etymology (origins) of 2-3 of their new vocabulary terms and write a brief analysis of how the word became a part of English usage. is a good resource. The analysis should contain a brief reflection on how this new understanding of the word's history impacts our undertstanding of why it is an important member of our lexicon. 







And now a Pop Quiz of three new words you have collected these past 18 weeks.

* This is modeled on the structure of the final just discussed. Just a miniature version.

Please clear your desks and the quiz will be passed out when all that remains on everyone's desk is a pen or a pencil, and nothing else.



Mr. Nugent will go over the questions and strucure at the doc cam before the quiz begins. 





* You have the remainder of class time to complete the quiz.








Find your textbook Everythings an Argument. The green one. 

Bring it class for the remainder of the quarter, we will use it on a weekly basis starting next class. For Homework read Ch. 5: "Fallacies of Argument". They are a form of logical lies, a kind of bullshit in a way . . . 


If you haven't already done so, do read Professor Frankfurt's essay On Bullshit posted on Classroom. It's a great example of an argument of definition; a technique we will study.

Complete the "Comparing Texts" document on paper or digitally to prepare for a Socratic Seminar at the end of the week. Details are discussed next class.


AP Lang Final Vocabulary Stew Activity 2020

2 min read

Greetings AP Langers,

The end of the semester also marks the beginning of the end of the vocabulary routine and these Monday activities. The project will conclude at the end of the nineteenth week with an in-class graded summative assessment using the 100 new words collected throughout the first semester. The guidelines for this final assignment will be distributed on our next Monday meeting on January 27th.

For this final Vocabulary "Stew" activity of the project, you are to work individually, with a partner, or with your small groups to compose an original argument thesis in response to the posted quote using three new terms collected in your journals.

  • One of these terms must be a verb, one a noun, and one an adjective.
  • Upon completion, students will be called upon randomly to write their thesis statements on the board and diagram the sentences using a system of their choice. 

Read the following quote by David Foster Wallace:

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.” 

Now compose and diagram a thesis statement that either defends, qualifies, or challenges Foster Wallace's position on the concept of freedom.



Original Argument Practice for Question 3 FRQ

1 min read

Dear First Period,

Before we attempt to wrap pt. 1 of our infomericals for this stage of the research project, we will have one more practice run with original argument in preparation for the final composition of the semester next class. 

Remember, get right into the argument; don't waste your time simply restating what the author said and paraphrasing:

  1. Read the quote and take a position on the idea
  2. Assert your position and make an original argument by stating a thesis
  3. Support this argument with 2-3 examples from your life, experience, or reading that could serve as the body paragraphs of an essay

The Greek philosopher Epicurus made an optimistic argument about the potential for life beyond earth with this statement almost 2,200 years ago.

"There are infinite worlds both like and unlike our own. . . . Furthermore we must believe that in all worlds there are living creatures and plants and other things we see in this world."





Now for our final speakers.

If we run out of classtime, students will have to arrange a time during an upcoming tutoring period to make up their speech. 


AP Lang Original Argument

1 min read

Good morning AP Langers.

Before we start speeches today, we will practice writing another response to an original argument prompt from the exam. Remember, get right into the argument; don't waste your time just restating what the author said and paraphrasing:

  1. Read the quote and take a position on the idea
  2. Assert your position and make an original argument by stating a thesis
  3. Support this argument with 2-3 examples from your life, experience, or reading


In her Book of Common Sense Etiquette (1962), former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt wrote,

“True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual, freedom and equality not only for Americans but for all people on earth, universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant striving toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.”

Carefully consider Roosevelt’s definition of patriotism. Then write a well-developed essay in which you argue your position on what it means to be a true patriot.


AP Lang Lesson Plan: Tuesday-Wednesday, 16-17 December 2019

3 min read

Greetings AP Langers,

To further prepare for your final Original Argument FRQ final composition scheduled for the end of the first week we return from break (Thursday, Jan. 9 [Period 1] / Friday Jan. 10 [Periods 2 &4], we will practice working with three more famous quotes.

For these warm-ups, you will continue to get around 10 minutes, but you need to let go of the first element of the structure so far. To do this, you need to be comfortable stating a strong thesis statement on demand. Just like in your speeches you are about to give, you argument should always be clear . .  .what's a thesis? Let's review.


Take out an index card or start a new journal entry.

Thesis Statement



Now for practice. Remember, get right into the argument; don't waste your time just restating what the author said and paraphrasing:

  1. Read the quote and take a position on the idea
  2. Assert your position and make an original argument by stating a thesis
  3. Support this argument with 2-3 examples from your life, experience, or reading.

The excerpt below is from William Hazlitt’s “On the Pleasure of Hating” (1826). Read the excerpt carefully. Then write an essay that argues your position on the value—if any—of hatred.

"[W]ithout something to hate, we should lose the very spring of thought and action. Life would turn to a stagnant pool, were it not ruffled by the jarring interests, the unruly passions of men. . . . Pure good soon grows insipid, wants variety and spirit. Pain is a bittersweet, which never surfeits. Love turns, with a little indulgence, to indifference or disgust: hatred alone is immortal."



To get it over with, and so it is not a surpirse, here is your homework for the next four weeks including some time you will need to dedicate to reading a book over your break. Best practice: work extra hard this week so you have less to do while away from school. Always read. Always learn.

  1. Continue your vocabulary routine; you should be familiar with 80 new words that you can use in some meaningful context.
  2. Go to a library and find a book about your topic, start reading it, and be prepared to show it in class with a cited excerpt the week after we return
  3. Log in to AP Classroom and complete the Unit 2 Multiple Choice Question Progress Check; you get full credit just for completing it -- scores are only for your own purposes. 






Now for our infomericals.

We will get through as many speakers as we can today, if every one signed up does not get to speak, their speech will overlap with the next scheduled day; so on, and so forth.


  • You should have three credible sources with citation cards to support your argument; mention where the facts and information are coming from in your speech.
  • Don't just randomly select a photo from Google; print it out beforehand or put the image into a slide that you project
  • Greet the audience with your name and topic; end by thanking them for their time and ask if there are any questions

AP Lang Lesson Plan: Tuesday-Wednesday, 10-11 December 2019

5 min read

Greetings Students,

Grades should be up to date now as we move forward to our first Socratic Seminar on Thursday (Period 1) and Friday (Periods 2 and 4), and student speeches next week; again, if a student feels prepared to deliver their speech early for extra credit of one full letter grade, we will have time before the seminar begins and after journals and binders are checked. Mr. Nugent will model a speech today for students to see what is expected and then:

Another warm up writing exercise to continue practicing your skills with Original Argument.

Reminder: You will complete an in class Question 3 FRQ from a previous year's exam the week we return from break: this 60 minute writing task will serve as your Semester 1 Final. The day of the final will conclude with another mock AP reader convention and a reflective activity. For the warm up:

Your goal is to create a full page of writing in or around 10 minutes.

  • To strucuture these pieces begin by following this format:
  1.  Paraphrase / Restate the author's argument
  2. Assert your own opinion in response to the quote by either agreeing with the claim, disagreeing, or qualifying the argument (agreeing only to a certain extent)
  3. Support your original argument by providing 2-3 examples from your life, reading, or experience

"The United States is an odd country. It's citizens have a strong anarchic streak, and they also have an almost superstitious respect for legality. They worship amoral sucess, and they also love to moralize about right and wrong. They consider government and taxation to be deeply suspect, almost illegitimate, activities, but their most heartfelt response to any crisis is to wave their flag and affirm their unconditional love of country and approval of their leaders. Above all, they believe that America constitutes an exception in the course of human history . . ."

- Susan Sontag (1933 - 2004)




The Independent Research Project

By now, you should have chosen a topic and gotten it approved by Mr. Nugent. You should also have read a few articles to begin gathering facts and opinions about your topic for Step 2. Tip, don't settle for the articles you find, you are looking to present the three best articles for your speech. You should be accessing the research databases in addition to doing Google searches and keeping an eye out for videos, speeches, and other miscellaneous media to provide further context

So without ado, Mr. Nugent will model a speech on space travel. He will use one image, and then talk for 3-4 minutes presenting an argument of fact with the structure of a classic oration. Following the speech, there is a brief Q & A to clarify the facts from the sources and to make sure the class understand's the speaker's position. 





Let's Talk About Facts

Facts are at the basis of journalism, academia, and much of civic life in politics and government; a trend in contemporary media studies suggests that “fake news”, and highly partisan information parading as factual is spreading at alarming rates on social media platforms, blog posts, and message boards. 

As you continue on in your independent research, you will need to be sharp to learn how to identify false claims and information presented in an overtly biased or fallacious manner. The textbook mentions the term "crap detection" as a critical skill for today's online researchers. 


Task 1: Independent Website Evaluation

1. Document managers will need to pass out the Website Evaluation Worksheet

2. For the next 20 minutes, each student will use their tablet or phone to find two websites that could become sources for their project, and evaluate their credibility or accuracy by using the rating scale provided. Use Google and just try out the top hits -- just don't use Wikipedia, YouTube, or other massively popular sites. Find something interesting and see if it holds up to the criteria of the worksheet. 


Task 2: Collaborative Debunking 

1. For the next 20 minutes, with a partner or two, you will need to search for a rumor you’ve heard, or a news article you’ve read through your social media feed or other website to check how true the information you’ve read actually is.

2. To debunk fakenews or suspicious information, use one of the three nonpartisan fact checking websites linked on Google Classroom:,, and

3. With your partner or group member, write a brief response explaining the real facts; and then be prepared to share your findings with the class.



Socratic Seminar Set Up

For the remainder of class, you will need to partner up another student in the room to prepare for the Socratic Seminar next class. 

Mr. Nugent will briefly go over the rubric, and then you will need to create at least three questions regarding Plato's cave and how it applies to addiction in any form; including but not limited to, drug and alcohol dependency, and gaming. Be sure to review the readings and come prepared with marked texts and ideas to engage your peers with.

Mr. Nugent will be the first leader, but a team leader is a possibility if anyone is interested. There is also an open position to be a notetaker that captures the main points covered within the seminar.


AP Lang Original Argument Practice

1 min read

AP Students,

To continue practicing your skills composing original arguments, we will continue to assert our opinions in response to arguments posed by famous authors.

Your goal is to create a full page of writing in or around 10 minutes.

  • To strucuture these pieces begin by following this format:
  1.  Paraphrase / Restate the author's argument
  2. Assert your own opinion in response to the quote by either agreeing with the claim, disagreeing, or qualifying the argument (agreeing only to a certain extent)
  3. Support your original argument by providing 2-3 examples from your life, reading, or experience

“I find now that women have achieved some power and recognition they are quite the equal of men in every stupidity and vice and misjudgment that we’ve exercised through history. They’re narrow-minded, power seeking, incapable of recognizing the joys of a good discussion. The women’s movement is filled with tyrants, just as men’s political movements are equally filled.”

- Norman Mailer (Time Magazine Interview 1991) [He is the author of the story we read during Quarter 1: The Death of Benny Paret]


AP Lang Research Topics

3 min read

AP Langers,

Deciding on the topic for your final project is a big decision; you will invest a lot of time on this issue including the reading of a book and the composition of a 2500 word essay in April: choose wisely.

Study the shared spreadsheet on Google Classroom to see if someone else has your topic, or to make sure your name is on there and your project is approved. If your topic has not been approved, you will need to meet with Mr. Nugent to clarify the issue.

* Note: there should be no more than 2 students researching the same controversial issue in each class period.


If you haven't picked your topic or are just interested in doing something different, here is a list of a few  alternative controversial topics that no one has chosen yet.


Wolf/Wildlife Managment

Space Travel

Political Correctness

Insanity Plea

Federal Funding for Art and Public Broadcasting

Federal or State Control of Public Education

ANWR Drilling

Censorship in Media and Entertainment

Prison Reform


Affirmative Action




* Spend the first fifteen minutes of class looking over the Topics,

*then take out your journals to your Vocabulary section. Your goal is to have 55 new words by the end of the week that you can begin to integrate into your writing and speaking. At the beginning of quarter 3, around the end of January, you complete a final graded Vocabulary assignment -- TBA. 

* For today's Vocabulary Stew activity, we are going to try and begin our new original argument unit by asking each other a series of questions popcorn style -- using a new vocabulary term in each response to the questions posed. the idea here is start a conversation about issues that matter and move beyond simply telling a story. 


  1. The class must choose a controversial subject as our topic
  2. 2-3 student assessors will be chosen to grade the activity
  3. Mr. Nugent will ask the first question
  4. A student will be called on randomly and will have to stand and then offer a response to the question using a new vocabulary term 
  5. Once they answer, that student will popcorn another student by asking them a question that builds off their previous response 
  6. The student will then repeat the process by answering the question with a new vocabulary term; then again, coming up with a new question to popcorn another student with

AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday-Friday, 21-22 November 2019

4 min read

Good morning and happy last class before your Thanksgiving break with no homework just as promised. But, this also means that you have to work hard today and tonight to earn this well-deserved break.


  • Final drafts of the "My First Life Line" personal narrative are due by
  • 11:59 pm (Thursday, Period 1, Friday for Periods 2,4)
  • Independent Research Project Proposals are due by 3:30 pm Friday before Mr. Nugent leaves and begins his holiday break.

To start class today, take out your journals for another argument/assertion entry. These responses to complex and profound arguments from famous writers will build your skill in composing original argument essays in which you have to use your own knowledge and experience as evidence to support your claims. 

  • To strucuture these peices begin by following this format:
  1.  Paraphrase / Restate the author's argument
  2. Assert your own opinion in response to the quote by either agreeing with the claim, disagreeing, or qualifying the argument (agreeing only to a certain extent)
  3. Support your original argument by providing 2-3 examples from your life, reading, or experience


“The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of régime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way.”
― George Orwell, Politics and the English Language




Part II. Now for some work with grammar and style.

We can't really go much further unless everyone understands what a subordinate or dependent clause is. 


A. Take out an index card to create another key concept, or create another entry in your journal for the:

Subordinate / Dependent Clause

A basic definition: An incomplete sentence that cannot stand alone as its own; also known as a sentence fragment

Often times, these clauses begin with a subordinate conjuntion: when, after, once, whenever, because, if, etc.

E.G. Whenever the rain comes

The clause is subordinate to what comes after it -- or what comes before it -- so we need some punctuation, and another clause to complete the sentence. 

E.G. Whenever the rain comes, I sit cheerfully in my chair listening to the plump drops upon my roof. 

Notice how the second clause is independent, it can stand on it's own as a complete sentence, but it is complimented by the subordinate clause.

What else does the subordinate clause do? 

But then, don't we let these clauses stand alone fragmented by commas and often letting them stand alone by themselves? . . . especially in the book by Klinkenborg; take a look at the passage on p. 144 where it starts with "This would be impossible . . ."




So the understanding becomes: know the rules before you can break them.



B. Now we need our document managers to distribute the handout containing three passages from the "Some Prose and Some Questions" section of Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences About Writing

* We are going to finish talking about this book today -- but you are encouraged to return to it as the year continues, and there will be some review exercises that use its passages before the exam in May.


  • If you did the homework, you should have started to ask some questions about the style of these author's pieces: how do they work? what makes them effective? how are they structured? what elements stand out and help us discover things about the craft of writing?

We are going to read the three passages out loud as Klinkenborg suggests, with a particular focus in our annotations for each, and then we will discuss the questions he poses.

Finally, we we are going to ask our own questions to fuel a classroom discussion around style.


C. Independent Work:

* You may spend the remainder of class time as you see fit. Narratives are due tonight by 11:59 pm, and Research Project Proposals are due by 3:30 pm on Friday. 55 words are due at the end of the first week of December -- a true break from AP Lang.



Take your mind off of school for a little while and enjoy your family and friends.



AP Lang Lesson Plan: Tuesday - Wednesday, 12-13 November 2018

4 min read

Good Morning AP Langers,

Today, we will begin to discuss and prepare for your next writing composition and your first major assignment of Quarter 2 -- to be completed before the beginning of Thanksgiving break: a personal narrative about an influential person in your life. 

Yes, this assignment is in the spirit of gratitude that defines the heart of this holiday season. And yes, this is your opportunity to shine as a storyteller that can write about your own life -- cogently and effectively. 

Hopefully, you completed the reading challenge and provided detailed responses to the study questions posted on Google Classroom. If so, congrats, you have newfound insight and knowledge about these important authors and their narrative techniques and ideas. If not, you missed out, but you will not penalized because the assignment will not be formally graded. 





I. Journal Writing

To begin, take out your journals and begin a new entry titled:

Argument / Assertion Journal #2: 

  • Remember, these entries are preparing you for Question 3 on the AP Lang exam in which you have to write an essay in 40 minutes based on just one quote that makes an argument on a random topic. 
  • Your Quarter 2 final will be to compose an in-class Original Argument FRQ from a previous year's exam.
  • To strucuture these peices begin by following this structure:
  1.  Paraphrase / Restate the author's argument
  2. Assert your own opinion in response to the quote by either agreeing with the claim, disagreeing, or qualifying the argument (agreeing only to a certain extent)
  3. Support your original argument by providing 2-3 examples from your life, reading, or experience


"Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed...It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality."

From Native Son by Richard Wright


II. Reading and Analysis of a Memoir

How to Structure a Personal Narrative with Maya Angelou


A. You will recieve a copy of Chapter 15 from famous author, poet, performer, and activist, Maya Angelou's memoir: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Although the story contained within the chapter has no official title, it's commonly referred to as "My First Life Line", which is the name of your next writing assignment. 

B. We are going to read the story as a class, and then we will outline the structure of the narrative to serve as a kind of skeleton for the piece you are going to write over the next 10 days.

C. As we read, we will pause and make notes regarding the structure of the paragraphs, the story in general, and will mark appropriate passages regarding syntax and other rhetorical devices / narrative techniques. 

D. When finished, we will create an outline on the board of Angelou's structure which will be typed up and become a part of the rubric for your narrative prompt distributed next class. 


Homework to be completed by next class

Locate your copy of Verlyn Klinkenborg's Several short sentences about writing

Find five new key vocabulary terms from this book for this week's vocabulary routine; do this with any time remaining in class if you have the book; if not, begin with 3 from your master list and use at least 2 from the book

Then, read or reread pp.104-126

Consider his ideas regarding mental precomposiiton and the freedom of nonsequential first drafts, and then on a piece of binder paper, or in a new journal entry, follow his instructions for the "experiment" beginning on p.124:

"Copy or print out a couple pages from a nonfiction work you admire, something not purely memoir . . .underline each fact or assertion, every detail of landscape or character or time or causation . . . Then ask yourself, how does the author know these things . . . [then] make a list . . ." 

Be prepared to start writing next class






AP Lang Vocabulary Stew #5

3 min read

Happy Monday AP students,

Before we begin today, let's check in with a few matters. 

AP Classroom

  • All students must be registered with their own account for this course to take the AP exam May; the deadline for enrollment is soon approaching.
  • Due to outages throughout our community, I have extended the deadline the complete the progress check multiple choice assessment to tonight at 11:45 pm. I will be here after school today if a student needs to use school wifi to complete the assessment. 
  • Period 1. All 31 students are registered. Go you! As of 11:15 pm last night, 20 were completed. Not so great . . . 
  • Period 2. 25/29 students are registered. This means 4 of you are way behind and risk having to pay for your exam or failing this course . . . this matter needs to be resolved immediately. As of 11:19 pm last night, 18 assessments were completed.
  • Period 4: 17/19 students are registered. This means 2 of you are way behind and risk having to pay for your exam or failing this course . . . this matter needs to be resolved immediately. As of 11:21 pm last night, 8 students completed the assessment. 



"The Yellow Wallpaper" By Charlotte Perkins Gilman Stetson

If you haven't already done so, read the story and annotate to further your understanding of how the unreliable narrator uses story telling techniques to confuse, frighten, disorientate, or keep the reader in a state of suspense.

For periods 2 and 4. You did not get my lecture and my guided annotations for the first two pages, so we will spend a little more time reviewing the story next class. If you feel like you are not quite getting it, I'd recommend Crash Course literature with John Greene. The video is linked on Google Classroom.



Vocabulary Pacing

  • You should have 30 words defined with parts of speech and sentences in your journals; by the end of the week, you should have 35.



Creating a Collaborative Unreliable Narrative in Class

  • For today's activity we need 2-3 students with a tablet to open up a shared Google Doc with Mr. Nugent and the peers; this students will be the recorders of the story
  • We will also need 2-3 student assessors who will give scores to 2-3 individuals in class in addition to a class grade
  • The rest of the students will come up with sentences using at least on new word from their vocabulary journals to create an unreliable narrative
  • All 3 AP Lang classes will be in competition with each other to create the best story and the winners will earn higher scores for vocabulary routines
  • Remember, these narrators may be insane, confused, manic, or simply not have all the facts

Ponder this opening line from one of the great novels of the 20th century using this tricky device: 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

"They're out there."

Take a few moments and write a draft sentence. Consider these questions to begin your story.

  • Who is asking the question?
  • Where is this narrator?
  • Who are "they"?
  • Where are "they"
  • How many of them are there?
  • Where is "out there"?
  • What is "out there"?
  • What is the tone of this statement?

Now to write the story.

Students will add sentences and recorders will document students responses in whatever manner or order they choose to create their Unreliable Tale.

It will need a name and a reader when completed for assessment.



Freshman Student Advocacy

1 min read

Hey Students,

Sorry I cannot be here with you today. There is a "Loteria" game for you to play to get more familiar with all of the resources we have available for you on this lovely DA campus. If you do not have the handouts, one of you can take the pass to get them from my box in the mailroom.

Don't worry about submitting any work to the sub, and take advantage of the extra time to work on one of your projects from another class -- especially those English essays you are all working on.

Just in case, you don't have access to the PowerPoint for this lesson, you can view it here on this link.

Have a great weekend and be sure to start bringing your charged tablets to every class starting next week -- no excuses.


AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday - Friday, 10-11 October 2019

3 min read

Good Morning AP students,

Mr. Nugent is working arduously on finishing grading all the papers and continuing writing conferences to give you explicit feedback on your work -- please be patient. If you can't make it to your scheduled conference, as a number of you have already missed your appointment, you will not be marked down, but the goal is to meet with all of you by the beginning of next week.


Today's Plan:

I. Check-In

II. Footnotes Quiz

1. Study the handout containing the enlarged footnotes from last class's multiple choice practice test and look over your scores.

2. Provide responses in your journals: tell me everything you know about each underlined section for each corresponding number in the footnotes. 


III. Final Reading and Writing Assignment for Quarter 1

1. Before you receive the prompt and reading to perform a rhetorical analysis of a long form piece of journalism about one reporter's experience at the Maine Lobster Festival, you need to know about an essential rhetorical device: Imagery.

2. Index Card # 8: Imagery

What do we know?






3. Read an excerpt from Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential from the year 2000. 

Read this passage about a Japanese fish market, and then provide a free response analyzing Bourdain's rhetoric. Consider how the author's choices convey a message and experience to his audience: how does he capture, or repel, his audience through the use of persuasive language? (10 minutes)

". . . the Japanese market workers had no compunction about looking you in the eye, even nudging you out of the way. They were busy, space was limited, and moving product around, in between sellers, buyers, dangerously careening forklifts, gawking tourists and about a million tons of seafood, was tough. The scene was riotous: eels, pinned to boards by a spike through the head, were filleted alive; workers cut loins of tuna off the bone in two-man teams, lopping off perfect hunks with truly terrifying-looking swords and saws that, mishandled, could easily have halved their partners. Periwinkles, cockles, encyclopedic selections of roes--salted, pickled, cured and fresh -- were everywhere, fish still bent from rigor mortis: porgy, sardines, swordfish, abalone, spiny lobsters, giant lobsters, blowfish, bonito, bluefin, yellowfin. Tuna was sold like gems--displayed in light boxes and illuminated from below, little labels indicating grade and price. Tuna was king."



The Prompt:

See the handout with the rubric, response questions, and readings to begin preparing for the final paper.

It will be due Saturday, October 19 at 11:59 pm.


AP Lang Vocabulary Stew #2: 9/30/19

2 min read

Greetings and welcome back after a tough weekend for you, our community, our families, and me.


* If we would like to journal about the events that transpired on Friday night and/or write a letter detailing our experiences to a specific person or a general audience, we can do that; alternatively, we can keep going ahead with our vocabulary games and create mad libs with our new vocabulary terms.


Instructions for Mad Libs to share with the class:

  1. Take out a sheet of binder paper and fold it in half
  2. On the bottom half of the sheet write a one paragraph story about any topic; leave at least ten open spaces for a variety of parts of speech
  3. Number the spaces and write what part of speech should be there
  4. On the top half of the paper, list the parts of speech that are missing
  5. Hand the story to a partner and have them use five of their new vocabulary terms to fill in the spaces; if they need more words, skip ahead for next week and incorporate new terms from the master list
  6. Once their list is complete, enter their new words into the story.
  7. Once completed, students will share their stories with the class
  8. Student assessors will give a grade to each partnership




AP Lang Lesson Plan for Thursday-Friday, 26-27 September 2019

5 min read

 Greetings AP Lang; it's time to write, but first, what is analysis?


I. Implicit/Explicit Visual Analysis


II. Review of Analysis Questions from Last Week

A. Go over Correct Answers


III. Ethos Card


III. Rhetorical Analysis of the Opinion Pages:

A. Editorial & Op-Ed Definitions.

What do we know? Take Notes


We define op-ed as “a page of special features usually opposite the editorial page of a newspaper; also : a feature on such a page.” The word is an abbreviated version of opposite and editorial, a reflection of where its placement falls in most newspapers.

* An editorial is a persuasive essay with an opinion that represents the viewpoints and values of the news organization in question; the authorshop of the writing is completed by a group of editors, often referred to as an editorial board.

** The op-ed page is the "special feature" section. It contains opinion essays attributed to an individual author/s; often, they are columnists that write for the newspaper regulary, or they could be guest correspondents offering a unique perspective on a current issue.

*** Your next assignment will ask you to become familiar with the style and message of both editorials and op-ed pieces. Later this quarter, you will begin to use this skill to begin an ongoing final research project that requires finding opinions on both sides of a controversial contemporary issue.


B. Textbook Activity

1. Open up your textbooks to p.105 and briefly review the introduction to the texts on the following pages. We will examine a model rhetorical analysis together. 


2. Reading "It's Not about You" by David Brooks

I. Student volunteers will read for the class.

II. Students will read along on pages 106-108, and should pay careful attention to the strategies Mr. Brooks uses to persuade his audience of his argument.

III. Think/Pair/Share

After the reading, students will think about if they were persuaded by Brook's argument; they should consider what elements -- stylistically, rhetorically, content-wise or otherwise -- were effective or not. Pair up with a partner and discuss your thoughts. Be prepared to share with the class.


3. Independent Reading of "Understanding Brook's Binaries" by Rachel Kolb. (10 minutes)

I. Students will read Ms. Kolb's rhetorical analysis essay on pages 109-111; they shall pay close attention to the blue notes in the margin of the text to understand the structure of her analysis. 

II. Read over and refer back to the writing guide on pages 112-117 to prepare for your first significant writing assignment this year. Add to your notes.


C. Rhetorical Analysis Essay: The Editorial & Op-Ed pages

1. Your writing task is explained under the response heading on p. 118. You must use your tablet or internet-enabled device to find an argument on the editorial or op-ed page in a recent newspaper, then write a typed essay in MLA format of 600-700 words that analyzes it rhetorically. 

I. Mr. Nugent will review the scoring sheet with you.


2. To begin your research, you are encouraged to use this resource (posted with the assignment on Google Classroom) to find a reputable opinion page from a major American newspaper. Some of the the links are dead, but most of them work. 


3. Read the headlines, conduct a search for key words of interest, or just browse through some recently posted editorials and/or op-eds to find an author with an opinion that you can write about. It's better to find something that you may not agree with.


4. Once an opinion piece is chosen, all students must fill out a SOAPSTone graphic organizer to review the basic elements of rhetorical analysis.

I. Before composing, follow Klinkenborg's advice and forget about an outline -- they usually get in the way of what's really important: writing. Alternatively, complete an argument/assertion journal that summarizes the original essay and provides your opinion of its argument backing it up with your own knowledge. The mistake most of you have been making with this style of writing it being too technical, show the reader that you know stuff -- about life, the world around you and the people that inhabit it, about books and music and politics and art . . . 

III. Use any remaining time in class to begin a first draft of your essay. 


1. Continue Vocabulary routine for Monday's activities.

2. Compose a first draft of your rhetorical analysis to bring to our next block schedule class meeting for peer review. (8/1 for 1st period, 8/2 for second and fourth periods)

* This could be handwritten; if typed, bring in a printed copy. Your final drafts are due the same night of your peer review by 11:59 pm.


AP Lang Vocabulary Stew: Monday, 23 September 2019

1 min read


Take a seat in any group you want, but you cannot be isolated, today's activity requires small group work.

Today, we will work through our first "Vocabulary Stew" Monday, so make sure you have your journals out complete with five new words defined from the master list with a sentence. Remember, every week, you need to learn five new terms to be completed by the end of each week for 20 weeks.

Today we will play an old creative writing game called consequences. You will create a subconscious story with group members and your new vocabulary words. 

But first your homework:

Read Ch. 1 in our textbook Everything's an Argument (pp. 3-27). In your journals, take any notes as necessary and then explain the Stasis Theory. Identify the four questions in the theory, and provide an example for each.


Student Advocacy Plan: Friday, 20 September 2019

1 min read

Greetings Advocacy Students,

Mr. Nugent apologizes for not being present today, he was unable to make it to school. 

Your signed syllabus is due today for a point in PowerSchool, please turn them into the sub. These grades will be recorded once Mr. Nugent returns on Monday

Enjoy the DA Weekly attached here.

To continue building community here at De Anza, we are asking students to help contribute ideas fro the design of a new mural here at De Anza. Use the provided handout to contributea an idea for a design. They may work collaboratively but must put all their names on the design to earn credit; these are due by the end of class for another point in their advocacy grade.

Beyond that, they may use the remainder of time as a study hall.



AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday - Friday, 19-20 September 2019

2 min read

Good morning AP students, you have a big assignment today that you are expected to complete independently in class and submit to the inbox by the end of the block period. 


I. Syntax Card 

A Definition: The grammatical concept where elements (words) are put together to form constituents (phrases or clauses) / Simply Stated: Sentence Structure; how sentences are put together

Notes: Think of . . .  

parallelism: repetition of exact grammatical structure

anaphora: repeating a sequence of words at the beginning of successive clauses

e.g. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

staccato: short, sharp sentences / for dramatic effect/emphasis

Starters for writing about Syntax:
This series of _____________ clauses creates a feeling of _______________. 


II. Homework

Read Klinkenborg pp. 64-107 by Monday to prepare for essay writing next week.



III. A Study in Contrasts Formative Assessment

A. Grab copy of the handout "Diction, Tone, and Syntax" 

B. Grab a copy of the readings "A Study in Contrasts" 

1. Read the passages paying close attention to the authors' word choices and techniques

2. Follow the instructions to compose four original sentences on a sheet of binder paper on diction and tone (two for Andrist and two for Coffin) using the sentence formula taught.

3. Answer the "Questions for Analysis" for both authors and submit your reading packet along with your sentences by the end of class. 

 * Complete your sentences on a sheet of binder paper and staple it to the back of your reading packet when you are finished. 



AP Lang Lesson Plan for the week of Monday, 16-20 September 2019

1 min read

Monday (9/16/19):

  • Counselor Presentations
  • Reminder to bring Tablets to next class to register for AP Classroom
  • Vocabulary Stew Instructions
  • Dear Mr. Nugent Instructions (Students must write a letter in response due on Mr. Nugent's birthday, Thursday, 9/19 by the end of fifth period)



Tuesday-Wednesday (9/17-9/18) 

  • Check-In/Review
  • Differentiated Activities
  1. Binder/Journal Checks
  2. AP Classroom Log-In 
  3. An Exercise on Tone Independent Work
  • Grab a copy of the handout with the reading from Thomas Paine
  1. Read closely paying attention to the five clues for discovering an author's attitude (tone) and provide examples for each clue
  2. Rewrite a portion of the passage changing Paine's tone in some perceptible way and be prepared to share and explain your revision.
  • Work with a partner or two to compose a tone sentence 
  1. Use the sentence formula taught to analyze one of the authors we have studied in class so far
  2. Once finished, write your group's tone sentence on the white board, and be prepared to present it to the class

Mr. Nugent provides feedback on the sentences shared with the class






AP Lang Lesson Plan

3 min read

Greetings AP Lang Students,

Today, we will start with some music and poetry to add a new dimension to our sentence diagramming and the grammatical features of rhetorical analysis. 

  1. We need Document managers* to help Mr. Nugent pass out papers (graded work and tone words today); we will start with two students who can take on some extra responsiblity and earn a little extra credit. 
  2. We also need a task master* who is responsible for understanding the objectives and explaining them to the class every block period.

* These jobs will rotate on a monthly basis.






I. Who is Billie Holiday and why did Langston Hughes write a poem for her?

Let's listen to one of her most famous songs "Solitude" to get a feel for her voice, and yes, her diction and tone.

A. In a new journal entry prepare to compose a short reflection to fuel a discussion

1. Consider the following questions in the below while listening

Think/Write then Pair and Share

  • What are your visceral (from the gut) reactions to Billie Holiday's song?
  • Did any words stand out for you that conveyed her attitude toward her subject; list those words? And what or whom is her subject?
  • Could you identify her unifying emotional content -- her tone? Describe this attitude in a sentence or two.

2. Record your repsonses, pair with a partner to discuss, and then be prepared to share with the class . . .





3. Now let's look at Langston Hughes' poem "Song for Billie Holiday"

A. Document managers will pass out the handout the poem

B. A brave and confident student will stand and read the poem with feeling capturing the author's tone and purpose

C. Mr. Nugent will then read pp. 61-62 in Klinkenborg

1. In a new journal entry make a list of comparative questions about Hughes' poem, and then answer them

For example, start with syntax:

How many stanzas are there?

How many lines in each stanza?

What are the lengths of the sentences, are there special spacings?

How do they flow, what is their rhythm, do they rhyme?

Then get into diction and tone:

What words are most interesting -- make you think and stop? 

Where are the verbs and nouns -- do you need to make a list, what other parts of speech attract you?

In what context are they used . . . ???? Keep going. Ask lots of questions. And then answer them of course; or have your partner help you answer them . . . we are never in this alone. 


D. Work Collaboratively, then be prepared to share your findings with the class.


II. After we go through this process. We will transition to composing analytical sentence formulas for analyzing Langston Hughes and our notorious British critic William Hazlitt. 


AP Lang Lesson Plan: Thursday - Friday, 12 -13 September 2019

3 min read

Greetings AP Lang Students,

Today, we will start with some music and poetry to add a new dimension to our sentence diagramming and the grammatical features of rhetorical analysis. 

  1. We need Document managers* to help Mr. Nugent pass out papers (graded work and tone words today); we will start with two students who can take on some extra responsiblity and earn a little extra credit. 
  2. We also need a task master* who is responsible for understanding the objectives and explaining them to the class every block period.

* These jobs will rotate on a monthly basis.






I. Who is Billie Holiday and why did Langston Hughes write a poem for her?

Let's listen to one of her most famous songs "Solitude" to get a feel for her voice, and yes, her diction and tone.

A. In a new journal entry prepare to compose a short reflection to fuel a discussion

1. Consider the following questions in the below while listening

Think/Write then Pair and Share

  • What are your visceral (from the gut) reactions to Billie Holiday's song?
  • Did any words stand out for you that conveyed her attitude toward her subject; list those words? And what or whom is her subject?
  • Could you identify her unifying emotional content -- her tone? Describe this attitude in a sentence or two.

2. Record your repsonses, pair with a partner to discuss, and then be prepared to share with the class . . .





3. Now let's look at Langston Hughes' poem "Song for Billie Holiday"

A. Document managers will pass out the handout the poem

B. A brave and confident student will stand and read the poem with feeling capturing the author's tone and purpose

C. Mr. Nugent will then read pp. 61-62 in Klinkenborg

1. In a new journal entry make a list of comparative questions about Hughes' poem, and then answer them

For example, start with syntax:

How many stanzas are there?

How many lines in each stanza?

What are the lengths of the sentences, are there special spacings?

How do they flow, what is their rhythm, do they rhyme?

Then get into diction and tone:

What words are most interesting -- make you think and stop? 

Where are the verbs and nouns -- do you need to make a list, what other parts of speech attract you?

In what context are they used . . . ???? Keep going. Ask lots of questions. And then answer them of course; or have your partner help you answer them . . . we are never in this alone. 


D. Work Collaboratively, then be prepared to share your findings with the class.


II. After we go through this process. We will transition to composing analytical sentence formulas for analyzing Langston Hughes and our notorious British critic William Hazlitt. 


AP Lang Sub Work: Monday, 9 September 2019

2 min read

Dear Students,

As most of you know, Mr. Nugent is out on Monday because he is with family at his Grandfather's funeral. 

On his side desk there are copies of a reading. It is a recent edition of a language and grammar column known as "Johnson" printed every other week or so in the "Books and arts" section of The Economist, an international weekly newspaper. The author's name is never mentioned in this newspaper, but just so you know, it is written by Lane Greene. Mr. Greene is a linguist, journalist, author, and speaker of nine languages that you should become familiar with. In this edition "Johnson" reviews a new book by David Adger, Language Unlimited.

Your Task to be completed by the end of class (you may collaborate to discuss ideas, but everyone needs to submit their own response):

  • Read the column
  • Write a brief response on a sheet of binder paper in black ink 3/4 of a page in length
  • You may consider one, some, all, or none of the following prompts to help guide your composition:

What makes human language different from animal communication?

Based on the evidence, do you think humans are born with an innate ability to produce grammatical language despite any disabilities? 

What can people learn by studying linguistics (the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language [Merriam-Webster])?

How does Kanzi, the bonobo, appear to understand language and why?

Explain Chomsky's theory of "Merge" and provide examples. 


AP Lang Homework #2: Due T/W 10-11 September 2019

1 min read

Read Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences about Writing up to page 60 where it says "Do it. It's interesting." Then go to p. 151 and read the passage from John McPhee's Coming into the Country. 

Follow his advice and either copy it (McPhee's excerpt from p. 151-152) down on binder paper or in your journal, or make a copy, and then diagram McPhee's sentences. You may use your own system or follow Klinkenborg's system. Just make sure you get through all the parts of the speech: verbs, nouns (and pronouns), articles, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections. 

You will have to turn this in on the first day of the block schedule next week. 

For First period, that is Tuesday. For Second and Fourth period, that is Wednesday.


AP Lang Homework

1 min read

Read Klinkenborg's Several Short Sentences about Writing up to p. 36 where it states ". . . how perceptive you become."

Then revise a sentence by Faulkner and Woolf from our readings, or two other writers you know and admire. After revising a sentence for the two authors, write a brief response describing what you changed and why. You don't need to know everything, but remember that you are simply trying to answer Klinkenborg's question "Why is this sentence this way?

Complete your revised sentences in your journal. It is due on Friday, tomorrow.


AP Lang Writing Exercise #1

1 min read

For your first revision of the year, you will need to revise a paragraph that you have written in one of your first two compositions.

After reading Klinkenborg's first 14 pages pages up until ". . . as a revelation" in Several Short Sentences About Writing, you need to pick one of your compositions and rewrite one of the paragraphs deleting at least 10 words in that paragraph. Read through your writing carefully and make the sentences shorter. Remember to follow his advice and "remove every unnecessary word."

Make this assignment a new journal entry and show Mr. Nugent your work when completed. 


English 2 Final Project Check-In

2 min read


Be sure to sit next to any partners you will be working on the final project with, and take out your journals to respond to the following questions; be prepared to share out as a group.

Do Now:

What is your research topic for the final project?

Who is in your group?

How does it relate to social justice?

At this point in your research, what ideas do you have for a solution to the problems raised by the issue, aspect, or element of society identified; what do you propose needs to be done in the future?


After each group shares out their responses, and Mr. Nugent records the topics on the board, we will continue with creative presentations to wrap up the Independent Reading Project.






English 2 Final Project Group/Independent Work: 30-31 May 2019


Good Morning,


We will spend the first hour of class working on researching your social justice topic; in addition, students should be putting together a digital presentation to demonstrate your findings and persuade the audience of your proposal on the day of the final.

If there are any creative presentations left, we will set aside the last half hour of class to complete them.


Framing Questions for Independent/Group Work

1. Do you have three to four credible sources to draw information from regarding your topic under investigation?

2. Have you figured who you will interview? This person should be an authority on the topic in some way.

3. Do you know your central argument? What exactly are you persuading the audience of? What do you want them to believe and understand about your topic?

4. How will the presentation come together? Has someone started a draft of a slideshow? What images will you use?

5. How will the information come together in a persuasive way? What elements of rhetoric will you use to further convince your audience of your message? How will your presentation stand out?







Research IAB: Question #1 / AP Lang Plan (21-22 May 2019)

4 min read

The following prompt is the first question from the Research IAB. Spend no more than 3 minutes reading and selecting the best answer.

A student is writing a research report for English class about the history of Labor Day. Read both sources and the directions that follow.

Source 1: "The Day that Marks the End of Summer" by Heidi Hegel-Crowe

For many years nearly all school-aged children in America associate the end of the summer with the Labor Day holiday. For some students, the first Monday in September still signals the beginning of a new school year. For other students, their school year begins weeks before Labor Day. However, students who attend these schools usually have the day off from school as a way to honor and recognize all the different poeple who work in America. Some communities celebrate with parades while others use the time to gather with family and friends. 

Source 2:  "Labor in America: The Humble Beginnings" by Andre Jackson

On June 28, 1894, the Congress of the U.S.A passed an act that officially recognized the first Monday in September as Labor Day. Prior to this act, several states set aside time to pay tribute to their workers. States like New York and Oregon are credited with being two of the first states to acknowledge the need to formally recognize the contributions of employees. Eventually other cities, especially those with large populatons, joined in on the idea. Over a century later, Labor Day is an official holiday that still celebrates America's workforce.

The student took notes from both sources. Which note correctly paraprhases information from both sources?

A. The United States government did not intend for Labor Day to be a day of fun.

B. Several States decided not to observe Labor Day because they did not have large populations of workers. 

C. Created by the United States government, Labor Day is an official way to honor and acknowledge Americans workers.

D. New York and Oregon initiated national discussion about a holiday for workers because they had large industries that relied upon American workers.





AP Lang Lesson Plan: 21 May 2019



I. Take out your PIQ graphic organizer from last class and your journals.

II. Select one of the four PIQs you feel most connected to at this point; you will have ten minutes to compose a free write so that you can begin the drafting process now. 

1. Don't worry about getting all the details right and perfecting the grammar and syntax; just write and see where it takes you. 








I. Use your device and navigate to Google Classroom. Under the most recent post, click on the document titled SAMPLE PIQs. These are four model PIQs curated by the College and Career Center in line with the UC expectations. 

A. We are going to read the second entry (a response to question 4) as a class and then analyze the author's purpose and techniques. 


II. We will then read the Sample Exemplar on the other document and repeat the process. This extended personal statement was used to apply to private schools.





Conferences/Independent Work

I. As Mr. Nugent continues conferencing with students about grades and possible revisions for the final paper, you are encouraged to continue drafting your PIQs.

A. If you have not submitted your final paper yet, you are no longer in the procrastination stage and have entered the failing stage. 


II. You need to bring a rough draft of four PIQs (handwritten or typed) to class next Tuesday for teacher and peer review.

A. These do not have to be polished, but there should be at least one that stands out as a candidate for your final submission in the silent gallery presentation on the day of the final. This final submission will have to be revised, formalized, and printed out for presentation on the final day. This personal statement will earn feedback and contribute to a final class discussion.

B. Free writes or outlines count as drafts, and you already have one free write that only took you ten minutes to complete; you got this.

C. Refer to the handout, and you may choose to write a PIQ in response to one of the three alternative prompts available. 




Bring your tablets to next class to complete the Research IAB. Students with fully charged tablets will earn extra credit.