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Thursday, November 6

November 7, 2014

Argument: Did a new set of pseudoproof analysis to prepare for the test. We went over the “Flint” exercise verbally and you picked out the pseudoproofs — good job.

The test will be next Thursday. Here’s what will be on it:

1. “Letter From Birmingham Jail” — Know the primary claim. Be able to identify the types of appeals used (they’re all in there, except statistical — especially common sense, which contains elements of Rogerian argument). Be familiar with the secondary claims. Know what “Letter” was a response to, and at least the general outline of the history surrounding it. Here’s a handout that contains most of the relevant information; I reserve the right to ask a question or two about the David & Goliath excerpt I had you read about Wyatt Walker.

2. Rogerian argument — Know for whom it was named; why it was created; and the four parts of it, in its classic form. You will probably have to write a response to an argument I give you, using the four parts in order.

3. Pseudoproofs — You will have to identify 10 or a dozen, just as we have done in class. Here’s the handout if you need it. You won’t be able to use that, obviously, but I will give you a word bank.

4. Analysis — You will have to find pseudoproofs in a short written argument and write a brief response, a la the Flint assignment.

If possible, we’ll carve out 15 or 20 minutes sometime before Thursday to review the extra credit from last week, and answer any last-minute questions before the test.

New Media: Today we continued talking about the reading (Gee) from Tuesday. We didn’t get too far, so here’s the deal: we’re going to do this discussion for one more day: next Thursday (I know I said Tuesday in class, but we don’t have school, so…). Please reread the second half of the reading assignment (or read it for the first time if you haven’t), from page 24 on. Also be sure to research Gamergate, since it seems like only a few of you did for today anyway.

Two new blog posts are also due next Thursday – plan on at least 2 new ones every week. Let me know if you have any questions or problems.

Siren: Did an exercise to calculate the Fog Index, a formula that can figure out the grade level of your writing. In newswriting, you want to shoot for somewhere between a sixth- and eighth-grade level. That means short sentences, and never use a five-dollar word when a cheaper one will work as well.

We also talked briefly about the need to write in active voice, rather than passive. This means putting the subject of your sentence first, not the object, which is good practice in newswriting. (It can also lead to shorter, punchier sentences.)

This blog post was written to elaborate on the importance of using the active voice.


I wrote this blog post to make you start writing in active voice.

The second example is the one you want.

For next Thursday: read (and re-read, and re-read) page 55, the one-page bible of AP style.

Style: The style for next week is comedy. Here’s the sheet with the details: Style 11.6.14 – Stand Up Assignment. *Make sure it’s at least 2 minutes!*

Presentations begin next Thursday. Buckle up.

8th Grade:

Survey: Poetry: Quiz on formal poetry. For next Thursday (since there’s no school Tuesday), please read chapter 8 in your textbook, and bring with you the two poetry packets (Sir John Betjeman and Terrance Hayes) as well.

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