Yeah, Write.

"That's not writing; that's just typing." –Truman Capote



Embedding a Video

See previous post for instructions on embedding a video from You Tube.

Another place to find great speeches is American Rhetoric. To embed a video from this site might be more complicated, but many of the speeches are also found on You Tube, so you could start at and find a speech you like then go to You Tube to embed it.

Or you can link to the video, just make it an active link. You must use the link feature (along the tool bar with font choices and formatting options when composing a post). It’s right next to the buttons for inserting pictures and video, which you should also experiment with.

If you choose to, you could download a video from You Tube using KeepVid and then embed it in a post using the insert video feature (it’s the little black directors “cut” symbol).

In short, you have many options, so please don’t just paste the long URL in your post and leave it at that. find a way to actively connect your audience to the speech you found, and say a word or two about the speech please.

College Board to the Rescue!

The College Board has just recently announced that they are no longer deducting points for incorrect responses on the multiple choice portion of the AP exam. That’s good news. Previously on top of just not getting the point for a question, you also lost a fraction of a point for each incorrect response resulting in a lower-than-you-actually-got score. Now, it’s fair and square. Huzzah.

In case you haven’t yet taken advantage of my links to College Board online, here are a few helpful reminders that they offer about this course and about the exam.

How to Read

How to Write

Last year’s exam has been released and you’ll be able to find it on their website along with answers and scoring guides. I have others as well. Also remember than the Princeton Review and Kaplan make great study books that have explanations, terms, vocabulary, practice tests with answer keys and explanations. These are worth their weight in gold. Go get one. If you cannot afford one, let me know and I’ll hook you up.


When were CRJs assigned? Oh, right, SEPTEMBER!


Since I know many you are disappointed with the grade you earned on your Literacy Narrative, I want to take a moment to remind you of a few things:

A) This is one assignment, and this score measures how well you demonstrated specific skills for a specific purpose on a specific assignment.

B) This isn’t the end. Next week you will bring in your essay and we will work on it. In doing so, you will be able to improve your score by fixing structural flaws and grammatical errors and you will be able to improve your writing holistically by working through some hard-core revision. This isn’t a full “rewrite” per-se, and you won’t go from zero to Tolstoy, but I believe wholeheartedly that this will be an important learning experience for you. Remember what I said in my syllabus?

C) The comments I scrawl all over your essays are my honest, in-the-moment, reader reactions. If they are indecipherable to you (you are not the only one), next week when we’re looking at your work I will be available to “interpret” for you.

Read my comments and let it all sink in. Be mad at me and complain about how “mean” I am, if you must, but then sit down and re-read your essay. Try to be objective. Is it really your best work? Do you see areas where you can build and change and polish? Am I really just “out to get you” or “impossible”? No, I’m not. Has your writing improved since you wrote it a few weeks ago? It probably has. Bring those new-and-improved skills to the operating table next week. In the mean time, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your weekend. I hope it is “spooktacular.”

Waiting for Superman

The new documentary,Waiting for Superman is stirring up some controversy and raising some important issues related to the current state of education in America. This article form the NY Times is only one of many articles in response to the release of this film.

English vs American

Listen to the interview (a couple minutes): 

Browse the free online dictionary:

(this is NOT an assignment)

Blog Design

As you’re learning the ropes of Blogger, please consider the contrast between your background and your text. Some designs might seem like a good idea until you have a whole page of it…then you find yourself suffering from eye strain. If you have a super awesome background and you’ve made the background of the posting box transparent, either make sure your text is fully visible and easy to read or consider making the background of the post only semi-transparent. Also, if you’re using bright colors for the text color…reconsider. darker text on a lighter background is easier to read. I realize that mine has a dark background and white text, but I’m also not posting essay-length pieces to be read. Few of you will even read what I post anyway. One more thing, when you bold your text and it’s small, it all just runs together.

To summarize, read and look at other blogs so you can best design yours to be eye-ball friendly.

Writing Assignment

Due Wednesday 7:30 am on your blog.

Clean up your initial reaction to the question of why I write (something we’ll do in class on Tuesday) and be sure to address/include the following:

With which author can you most identify: Orwell, Didion, or Goldberg (from class Tues) and why?
Quote some of the text from that author’s piece that demonstrates what you most like about it.
Why do you write? Explore the reasons and/or conditions for your own writing.

This will be officially assigned in class on Tuesday, but those of you who like to know what’s coming or want to work ahead, you may do so but you will still be required to be writing something during the alotted time in class tomorrow.

No length requirement but consider this: long enough to be significant, short enough to read without needing to take a Facebook break. This is an informal writing assignment (one of many) but I will be reading it and giving you credit based on your work. It’s mostly based on completion, but it does need to be quality completion. The due date and time is because we’ll be looking at them in class on Wednesday, so you’ll need to have yours done and posted.

Check Please!

I’ve linked your blogs (the ones I have anyway) down there on the right. Check to make sure your blog appears in the appropriate box (block 2 or block 3) and that the link works. I’ve not checked all of them yet. If your blog does not appear that is because (A) I do not have your URL yet or (B) your URL was incorrect or broken. I’ve seen some fun titles so far, I like it.

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