• AP Language and Composition Summer Assignment


    Welcome to Advanced Placement Language and Composition. As you know, this is a college-level reading, writing, and speaking course and you are expected to do college-level work in both difficulty and volume. You will analyze the stylistic and rhetorical structure of mostly non-fiction works. You will learn to write persuasively with precision, concision, and clarity. This is not a creative writing or poetry class.


    The volume of work is generally estimated to be up to 50 percent more than a non-AP English course. At Tamiscal that means you will complete as many as 7.5 hours of homework per week in addition to our two-hour weekly class meeting. Part of any AP class includes required summer work in order to (1) adequately prepare you for the upcoming year and so that (2) the entire class shows up to school the first day with the same set of knowledge. Our goal is to make the best use of the limited class time we share together.


    This completed summer packet is due at your intake meeting the first week of classes at Tamiscal. Be prepared to discuss these assignments at your first official meeting. Review the formatting guidelines on page 7 for word-processed documents you will produce for this course. You must pace yourselves over the summer, not leaving this for the last minute. Create a packet that is tidy and easy for me to navigate and grade.

    NOTE: If you do not have this summer work completed by the first day of class (we will meet for a group intake with your parents on Thursday, August 23, from 1-3 PM in the Hub), you will be dropped from the class.


    1. Define the literary (not speaking) terms list below.

    Literary terms are labels for the precise language tools writers use to create meaning. Your understanding (and use) of these tools is crucial to your success in this course. While deconstructing a piece of writing, identifying the tool or technique an author uses is crucial. Knowing how and why they used the tool is even more crucial. Define each of these terms concisely and in your own words. Do not cut and paste a definition from an online source for each term without translating and understanding the term. You must interpret the definition for yourself. You must internalize it. Cut and paste this list into a separate document and add your definitions. You will use these terms this year when you analyze the readings and for many of the AP assignments, and the exam. You will also use these terms when you analyze the summer readings. When you search, use the literary/writing definitions. I’ve grouped like terms as best I can.


    1. Word Use and Meaning (all tools are used for a literary effect, even cliches)








    Colloquial Language



    Sensory Detail

    Figures of Speech/Figurative Language


    Extended Metaphor


    Abstract Language

    Concrete Language





    (Literary) Tone

    (Literary) Style

    (Literary) Theme





    1. Sentences and Paragraphs









    Climactic order

    Rhetorical question



    1. Literary Genres/Rhetorical Modes



    Short story
    Dramatic literature (plays)





    Expository essay

    Narrative essay


    Compare and contrast


    Process analysis


    1. Fictional Elements

    Point of View (POV)




    Rising action


    Falling action



    Ambiguous ending













    Flashback/Flash forward


    1. Argument and Persuasion


    Ethical Appeal (Ethos)

    Rational Appeal (Logos)

    Emotional Appeal (Pathos)





    Inductive Reasoning

    Deductive Reasoning



    Logical Fallacies


    II. Reading The Best American Essays of the Century (TBAEOTC), Joyce Carol Oates

    The AP folks expect you to have read hundreds of different essays written by hundreds of different authors about dozens of different subjects. This collection of twentieth century works are just the beginning of a year spent reading and analyzing essays and this text will provide a solid base from which we can build exposure to effective non-fiction work.


    1. Reader Responses for TBAEOTC

    1. Word-process reader responses (at least one page, double-spaced for each response) for the 10 separate essays (TBAEOTC) listed on the next page. You will write 10 responses, in order. Be clear and concise. Follow the formatting rules. Follow the SPAM elements in the score guide provided.
    2. Analyze each essay for all four aspects below and you must provide clear evidence to support your analysis. Use quotations from the piece to illustrate your point. Use page numbers. Be specific.
    3. Vary your analysis. Each essay likely has a different purpose and meaning – seek out these differences.
    4. Vary your application of the literary terminology. Do not repeat the same term more than a few times. Challenge yourself to find a variety of literary tools and techniques that makes each piece unique.




    1. Analyze for one of the four aspects of SPAM (you may blend/change the order of SPAM elements):
    1. Stylistic devices and rhetorical (persuasive) strategies used in the piece. Use your literary terms list to identify and briefly explain what tool(s) the author used and why they used them. What effect on the reader does repetition or alliteration have? How do stylistic choices affect tone and meaning? How do stylistic choices affect the audience’s reactions?
    2. Purpose (thesis or main point) for writing the piece. What are your clues?
    3. Audience. For whom do you think this piece was written? How do you know? You must conduct research about the author, the era, and anything about the specific work (whether an essay or a film) that will inform your idea of who actually read or saw the work. Facts bolster your credibility.
    4. Meaning of the piece to you. This is where you can (briefly) elaborate about your personal reaction to the piece. Connect the meaning to history or literature or science or your life. Specific textual evidence is crucial to thoughtful analysis.


    More SPAM Directions to Live By.

    Include the author and the title of each essay in your introductions. Always refer to the author by full name first, then last name, or the author, the writer, etc. Explain what specifically in the essay is effective and how and why something was effective. Never, ever flatter an author and never, ever criticize an author. These are the best essayists of their generation and you, remember, are a high school student. And whether you like or enjoy (or not) the essay is not important. Ever. Be objective, clear, and concise. You are an architect studying the structure of each piece. You are a scientist studying a chemical reaction. You are a geologist studying stratification in a rock sample. Do not summarize. Summary is not analysis. Limit subjective rants.


    We will continue to analyze essays in this same structured method throughout the year. There are hundreds of authors on the must-read AP Comp list, and TBAEOTC contains a good number of them. Some will confuse and confound you. That’s okay. Don’t focus on what confuses you, look for what is effective or interesting or artistic or weird or powerful. At some point I will encourage you to use stylisitic language choices.


    SPAM Rough Drafts/The Writing Process.

    For every one of the ten SPAM responses, you must include a peer-edited rough draft (you must double-space your first draft so you can fit comments between the lines). Your classmate can edit any way you think is effective (digitial comments, writing comments, etc.). But I must see that you made changes, after you thought you’d crafted a pretty good draft. Again, write a SPAM response, print it, make corrections and changes, and then create a new draft. For each of the 10  SPAM responses, you must have a rough draft behind it. Use the SPAM score guide to check your work.


    Emailing SPAM Responses to Patchen (procrastination prevention).

    You must send me your first SPAM response (Corn-pone Opinions) so that I can give you some quick feedback. Send me this before July 1st. Send me #5 below before July15th. Send me #10 below before August 1st. You must use the SPAM score guide/checklist when you are done with your SPAM to make sure you’re following instructions. Send your SPAM sample to patchenhomitz@gmail.com


    TBAEOTC list of essays for analysis (10 out of 55 essays in the text).

    1. 1901: Mark Twain, Corn-pone Opinons
    2. 1925: H.L. Mencken, The Hills of Zion
    3. 1928: Zora Neale Hurston, How It Feels to Be Colored Me
    4. 1937: Richard Wright, The Ethics of Living Jim Crow: An Autobiographical Sketch
    5. 1941: E.B. White, Once More to the Lake
    6. 1949: Langston Hughes, Bop
    7. 1955: James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
    8. 1967: N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
    9. 1970: Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
    10. 1980: Richard Rodriguez, Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood
    11. Reader Response Score Guide (0-1 is bad, 4 is perfect; no one is perfect very often).

    Use this score guide to determine what you must do to craft a successful analysis of a writing piece.



    ·         Each aspect of SPAM analysis was addressed thoroughly and thoughtfully.

    ·         Student supported analysis with appropriate textual references; quotations formatted and framed seamlessly. Quotations were directly related to the student’s analysis.

    ·         Students identified author’s stylistic and rhetorical choices by using a variety of appropriate literary terminology.

    ·         Student conducted effective background research about the author, the era or period, and the piece of writing to determine audience and context.

    ·         Student made connections to historical, political, cultural, or his or her personal life, conveying a sense of scope larger than the text analyzed.

    ·         Student’s voice (personality) is apparent in the writing; student conveys their own defined sense of style. 

    ·         Writing is mature; language choices are clear, concise, and academic; no common errors, writing flows from idea to idea and paragraph to paragraph.

    ·         Student has a clear and confident command and control of their own syntax and diction.

    ·         Annotation of piece shows constant and intelligent interaction with the text.



    ·         Most aspects of analyis were not as developed as a 4.

    ·         Each aspect of SPAM analysis is addressed, but less thoroughly and thoughtfully than a 4.

    ·         Student offered quotations as evidence of author’s choices.

    ·         Student used some literary terminology to identify author’s writing choices.

    ·         Language choices are mostly appropriate; few errors, flow is interrupted or less developed than a 4.

    ·         Student conducted superficial research to determine audience or simply guessed: all adults, literature human beings, all Americans, anyone with a pulse, etc.

    ·         Some language choices are less academic and mature: got, a lot, kind of, cliches, cheesy phrases, high school slang or colloquialisms (not on purpose for effect), etc.

    ·         Response lacks voice; the analysis is complete but there is no detectable personality.

    ·         Student has some command of their own syntax and diction.

    ·         Annotation is engaged but not always deep or constant.


    ·         Most aspects of analyis were not as developed as a 3.

    ·         Aspects of SPAM are thinly analyzed.

    ·         Student offered very little textual evidence to support analysis (or used very long quotations to fill page).

    ·         Student used few literary terms to identify basic author choices (diction and syntax).

    ·         Student’s language choices are immature; several common errors, little evidence of proofreading.

    ·         Student has poor command of word choice and sentence structure; response flow is choppy.

    ·         Annotation of original text is sporadic or simplistic (highlighted a few phrases here and there).


    ·         Most, if not all, aspects of analyis were not as developed as a 2.

    ·         Student summarized or retold the information from the text; analysis is missing or simplistic.

    ·         Student did not use a single quotation as evidence or support.

    ·         Student’s language choices are immature, redundant, and vague; paper riddled with common errors.

    ·         Annotation of original text is sporadic or non-existent.


    III. Understanding composition and a common sense approach to style (skip A & B if done jr. year).

    1. Reading chapers of On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.
    2. Read Zinsser’s Introduction and chapters 1-7. They are short chapters. Take bullet-pointed notes for each chapter (not the introduction), but only choose information that is new and useful to you. Yes, I’m asking you to eliminate the information that you already know well, and to only list what you think are the most significant points.



    1. Reading Elements of Style, by Strunk and White (get the book from me)
    2. This is a style, grammar, and usage book. I don’t expect you to curl up with this book in front of the fire or out on the beach, intimately absorbed in each unfolding plot point. No. I expect you to trot through this short book, taking note of advice you desperately need and ignoring some of the obvious points. It’s a reference book, so don’t labor over each page. But learn this stuff because I will point out those confusing or careless choices in your writing.
    3. Craft a concise formal outline of this short text, listing only the most significant points (in your opinion). If you don’t know what a formal outline looks like as a high school senior, figure it out.
    4. Watch this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNIZvTIyFy0


    1. Understanding the elements of a documentary film.
    2. Search the vast Internet for a website that explains the purpose and the structure of documentary films.
    3. Word-process a list or description of the elements that comprise a documentary film, as if you were going create a documentary of your own (you will). What is the recipe for a successful documentary?
    4. Watch Hoop Dreams, a film considered one of the best documentaries of all time. Watch this film closely and carefully for the elements you listed in #2 above. You may want to take notes.
    5. Write a SPAM response to Hoop Dreams, as if you’re analyzing an essay. Conduct research about the filmmakers, read about the film (research is how you determine audience), and craft your response. Do not, as always, judge the film or tell me if you liked it or not. That is not objective analysis.


    1. Create your weekly schedule grid for the fall (as best you can – you may have to guess).
    2. Include all proposed extracurricular or non-academic activities. Block out periods that you know you must attend for sports, dance, music, weekly appointments, etc.
    3. Include any work or volunteer hours you anticipate doing.
    4. Include your proposed core meeting time (one hour per week) and other class meeting times.
    5. This chart must be word-processed, clean, clear, and as complete as you can make it.
    6. You must have a legend that further explains what you’re doing.
    7. You must have your hours for each activity totaled for the week.


    Sample (yours should be much more detailed and specific than mine):



    You should mostly know your Tamiscal schedule of courses for the fall. Block out periods of time you will work on homework for each class at Tamiscal. You will have roughly 7.5 hours of English, five hours of social studies, five hours of math, five hours of science, etc. You will also likely have five hours of Spanish or another language. This is my weekly schedule as an example, so it is not the same as a student’s. And I try to take Saturdays off, that’s why that column is blank. Include totals for each category and create a key.




    Homitz Formatting Guidelines


    • Handwritten Papers: Do not handwrite a paper unless it is an in-class assignment or I tell you to.
    • Printing Both Sides: As long as your printer ink doesn’t bleed through. Save paper.
    • Font Size: 12-point font for everything, even your title. This is 12-point font.
    • Margins: About one-inch margins all the way around the text on your paper. Smaller margins work.
    • Title: Not always appropriate, but when you can come up with a clever title, and it seems appropriate, why not? In 12-point font. Every time. Do not bold or italicize your title. Space one time above and below your title, not any more spacing than that.
    • Font Type or Style: Times New Roman or New York Times. Every time. Uniqueness and individuality come from what you write, not from the wingdings or kookaburra font you chose to use in an essay. Uniformity allows me to focus on your writing not on the “artistic” expression of your font choice. Serif fonts are scientifically proven to be easier and faster to read. So there.
    • Spacing: For anything that will be read and corrected by your helpful teacher or peer editors, you need to double-space. When in doubt, double-space. If your paper is not going to be edited or commented on by someone else, then double-spacing wastes paper. Figure it out.
    • Heading: Top right. Single-space the heading. Do not handwrite a heading. Do not handwrite anything in a word-processed paper. Space twice below your heading and begin your text. Only place a heading on the cover sheet and your first text page.  


    Example:                                            Amelia Homitz

              Week 6: February 24-28, 2018

    English 2: Into Thin Air Essay

    Patchen Homitz


    • Paragraph Format: Indent for each paragraph and do not skip an extra line between paragraphs unless you are writing a memo, thank you letter, cover letter, or any other business communication. Shorter paragraphs are easier to read and can be used to affect pacing. You should try to contain one (complete and well supported) idea in each paragraph.
    • Pagination: Number pages beginning with page two. Do not use 1 on your first page, since your heading and title indicate it is the first page. Do not handwrite the numbers. Go to Insert pull-down menu and choose Page Numbers. Remove the check in the checkbox for numbers on the first page.
    • Underline, Bold and Italics: Do not underline or bold unless it is an MLA format you’re using in a bibliography. Use italics for titles of books and other periodicals. Quotations are used for quotations, sarcasm, and “foreign” words. You should bold terms for social studies outlines.
    • Proofread: There is no excuse for not reading your paper one time, slowly, preferably aloud, before you turn it or submit it online. No paper with obvious and impatient proofreading errors can better than a B.
    • Staple: Duh. Paperclips don’t cut it. Folding and ripping the corner doesn’t work (and looks crappy). Tape sucks. Think ahead: Staple the pages together at home.
    • Presentation: Make your paper clean-looking and easy to read. Doodling, coffee cup stains, etc., make your papers look sloppy and make you look careless.


    Contact Information: Email: patchenhomitz@gmail.com, Cell: 415.342.6262




    Economics/Marketplace Student Response Summer Version 2018


    Marketplace (marketplace.org) is a 30-minute weekday radio program produced by American Public Media and University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Journalism. The content of this program is business and finance news and information “for the rest of us.” You will learn about economics and you will learn about current events.


    Complete one Marketplace response (below) for each week from: the last two weeks of July, and the first three weeks of August (five weeks total). You should have one response for each of those five weeks. Since the program is broadcast once a day, you can choose any of the five, 30-minute programs during each week. Listen to the podcasts so you don’t have to wait for the program to air on KQED. This assignment will continue each week throughout the first semester.


    Word-process (type) your responses. Write your answers in complete sentences. Organize these responses in chronological order, and turn them in together. They should be single-spaced and each about a half-page of text. Do not cut and paste the questions, but use the numbers and letters below (I., 1., 2., II., A.) to follow this format and signify your answers. Always word-process unless otherwise instructed. You should be spending about a half-hour listening to the program and about 20 minutes completing this response. You will have a total of five of these Marketplace responses to submit in the last week in August (27-31)when you come to YOUR FIRST ECONOMICS MEETING (not your first AP intake meeting).



    Date of specific Marketplace show you listened to this week:


    1. Write a brief summary of one Marketplace feature story (these are the longer and more substantial stories in the program).


    1. Title of story or topic:

    Your Summary:


    1. Choose ONE of the above Marketplace stories to analyze and consider these questions:
    2. What is this specific topic’s significance to Marin County, to California, to the United States, to the world, etc.? You may discuss the political, social, and economic impacts or significance. Connect this story to something you know.


    III. You-Choose Marketplace Weekly Responses.

    Each week you will choose ONE of the below responses, rotating your answers for variety.   


    1. List one unfamiliar economic term or concept (e.g., NASDAQ, consumer price index, incentivize, etc.) you heard on this particular Marketplace program. Define the term in your own words. Explain how this term was used in the news story. In other words, what was the context?


    1. Unfamiliar term or concept:


    1. Definition:


    1. Context:


    1. Explain how one of the Marketplace stories directly relates you? How and why?


    1. Explain how Marketplace reporters used statistics, factual information, or personal testimony use to support or substantiate their stories? Do you think this evidence was adequate, convincing, and persuasive?


    1. Browse the Marketplace web page for more information and images. How do those images affect your reaction to any of the stories you heard? Import an image that you feel had an effect on you directly into your answer sheet/Word document.


    1. What question or questions did you have once you finished listening to this particular program? How or why did the economic information in this show provoke further questions for you? What was that question(s)?


    1. Make up your own prompt Marketplace prompt.


    Marketplace Example/Exemplar : September 28, 2015

    I. Summary

    1. Shell Backs Out, Oil Stays In (the Ground)
    Shell has put its Arctic exploration project on hold after concluding that the amount of oil
    the company has found is not sufficient to support further drilling at current prices. Arctic
    drilling is difficult and pricey, and if the expense of drilling outweighs the price of oil,
    then oil companies won’t bother with the region. If oil prices go back up, Shell may
    return, causing further ecological damage to Arctic ecosystems. So what solution have
    some environmentalists offered? Don’t let prices go up. If demand for renewable energy
    rises and demand for fossil fuels drop, then the price of oil will stay low and oil
    companies will stay clear of the Arctic.
    2. Inmates for Signage
    Many of the road signs in the U.S. are produced by prison inmates. Sign factories are
    built within medium security prisons, where inmates work with heavy machinery and
    hand tools to build the massive signs hung above highways. Individual state prison labor
    operations, such as North Carolina’s Correction Enterprises, employ thousands of
    inmates and make up to $100 million in annual sales. The signs are created at extremely
    low cost, as each inmate is paid at most 26 cents per hour. These low wages create
    controversy not only because of the questionable benefits to inmates, but the damage that
    they do to private businesses who cannot compete with the resulting low prices.

    II. Analysis
    A. State prison labor operations have both social and economic implications. While these
    operations claim that the programs benefit the inmates, giving them hands on experience
    and increasing the likelihood that they’ll find a job once released, the low wages offered
    by the programs are questionable. Because the number of people of color currently in the
    prison system is disproportionate to the number of white people, it’s no surprise that
    concerns often arise about the exploitation of incarcerated people of color for cheap
    labor. The system may also cause damage to the free market, as many private
    corporations cannot compete with the low prices offered by prison factories.

    III. Response
    6. The story about Shell’s withdrawal from the Arctic and competition between fossil fuel
    and clean energy made me wonder why oil companies aren’t investing in renewable
    resources. It seems inevitable that fossil fuels will become obsolete, and if oil companies
    like Shell want to stick around, shouldn’t they be placing a stake in the renewable energy