AP English Language and Composition (English III) Dr. Carroll The Journal
Most professional writers keep a journal. It is generally a sketchbook or some kind of loose-leaf notebook. They use their journal as a way to collect material for their writing projects and to connect them with their work. It is an invaluable tool for self-reflection. Throughout this year, you will be writing a weekly entry in your journal. During the fall semester, the topic for the weekly journaling will be assigned to you. During the spring semester, you will be expected to write weekly on a topic related to something read or discussed in class. During the final six weeks of the year (and additionally on the final exam), you will write a reflective essay based on one or more of the personal experiences recorded in your journal during this year. Hopefully, the discipline of journaling will awaken your creativity and increase your sensitivity to the impact of your experiences. Guidelines for Journal Entries 1. Journaling should be done in a large loose leaf notebook of your choosing. This notebook should be brought with you to class. 2. The weekly journal entry should be single-spaced, with a four-line header as per MLA format. Place a # at the end of each week’s journal and skip a line before writing the next entry. Try not to waste paper—write on both sides of the page using blue or black ink pens that do not bleed. 3. Think of your entries as free writing. Do not stop to revise or edit your writing. The goal is merely to collect experiences. 4. Write in concrete detail. 5. A completed journal entry should be no fewer than 300 words in length. 6. Think of your notebook as an artist thinks of a sketchbook. It can be filled with fragments, random images, lists, scribbles, and even drawings. With few exceptions, the first ten (10) minutes of every class period will be used for journaling. Grading Criteria Although only the writer generally reads their journal, you will be receiving a grade on each week’s entry. Your grade will be based on the following criteria: Format (see sample journal for additional information) Adherence to the weekly topic Detail – lots of detail Evidence of thoughtfulness and effort ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: Reflecting on and writing about your life’s experiences for others to read is not the same as writing for yourself. Although this notebook and eventual reflective essay is based upon personal experience, self-reflection does not require you to make unwarranted self-disclosure. Furthermore, please understand that I am obligated to report to a counselor or a member of the administration anything I interpret in your journal as potentially being harmful to yourself or others. AP English Language and Composition
Name of Student English III AP Day A, Period 1 Month/Day/Year (xxxx) I saw a middle-aged gentleman jogging slowly along the highway on my way home from school this evening. It started me thinking about how I became obsessed with running. I guess the fascination began in college back in the 80’s watching my friend and mentor John Moder. September afternoons in San Antonio bear no resemblance to the cool, crisp (alliteration)* autumns I grew up with in Wisconsin. So it was that I marveled daily at John’s faithful persistence as he bounded out the door in his trademark attire of a torn white t-shirt, bleached grey running shorts, and Tabasco red bandana plodding down Camino Santa Maria towards Woodlawn Park in the obscene Texas heat. No sports drink or fancy supplements for John when he returned—just a glass of ice water and some time in front of the large hallway fan in the entryway of the house. After cooling off sufficiently, he would stroll quietly into the lounge where he would sit and watch the mindless musings of The Dukes of Hazzard while waiting for dinner to be announced. It was many years later, soon after the birth of my child, that I caught the running bug. Why did I start running? (erotema) Maybe it had to do with the memory of John during those days in college, and the peaceful serenity he had that seemed to me a by-product of his daily pounding of the pavement. All I know was that it became harder and harder for me to sit still. There was too much commotion in my life—a special needs child to care for, bills to be paid, multiple jobs to juggle. Running just made sense. In a world where life was too fast-paced, the sure, steady pace of running relaxed, focused, centered me. (anaphora) Running continues to keep me sane to this day. # (308 words)
*During the fall semester, your journal must include a minimum of three (3) rhetorical devices (schemes/tropes) for a 100. The devices must be underlined and labeled as in the sample above. Journals not including rhetorical devices will be graded no higher than an 80. The spring semester journaling requirement will be explained in January.
AP English Language and Composition
Weekly Journaling Assignments: Fall Semester
Week 1: This entry is to capture where you are in your life. It might be a good idea to begin with a comment on your general situation as you sense it. Begin with a broad comment; then let your mind sweep through your recent life. Record specifics, bits of dialogue, frustrations, pleasures, questions, dreams – everything that comes to you. Be specific and date your entry. Week 2: In the previous entry, you described where you are in your current life. For this entry, you are going to record impressions of where you live. Try to capture the fleeting impressions and details. Record any associations you make. Perhaps your mind will connect you with other places where you have lived; work those details into your entry, but always come back to your immediate surroundings. Be specific and date your entry. Week 3: List personal items in your possession. Don’t just name individual items – include brief descriptions and associations you have with them. Start by emptying out the contents of your wallet or purse – or better yet, your backpack or locker. Arrange the items in whatever way suits you, then study them. Hold them. Read the writing on the ones that have writing. Smell the ones that have smells. As an alternative, go to the medicine cabinet in your bathroom, cosmetic drawer, or refrigerator. List jars, bottles, cans, and individual items. List your association with these items. Be specific and date your entry. Week 4: List current activities you do: attend classes, read, write papers, take tests; drive or ride to school; sleep and roll out of bed in the morning; talk with friends, teachers, parents; hold a job or play sports; draw, paint, or play a musical instrument; attend church or participate in community service; etc. Then from the list, select one or two to write about. Record everything that comes to you: how it feels to do the activity, why you like doing the activity, how long you have been doing the activity, etc. Record any associations you have with them. Be specific and date your entry. Week 5: Write about special places in your current life. Randomly list places that come to mind. These special places need not be your favorite spots; they may also be places you associate with discomfort, such as a doctor’s or dentist’s office. Perhaps one or two places on your list will be ―secret‖ places, spots where you may visit for a moment or two when the world seems to be coming down around your shoulders. Then select one or two to write more detail about. Record some associations with them. Be specific and date your entry. Week 6: Develop a list of memories from your past. Begin by sitting quietly and reflecting on the past. Then record in two or three lines a half dozen to a dozen of the strongest memories that come to you. They may not be big events in your life, but for the moment they hold your interest. Be sure to write legibly enough to reread your entries, and leave plenty of space around them. Finally, after you finish the list, reread it and write the approximate date when each event took place. Be specific and date your entry. Week 7: Take one of the entries from your memory list and expand it. Be specific about all the details, images, other individuals, associations, connections, and feelings related to this event. Date your entry.
AP English Language and Composition
Week 8: Develop a list of people to use for descriptive portraits. Spend a few minutes sitting quietly and allowing your mind to roam throughout your life history. As you make your list, add brief comments about the relationship between you and these individuals. Make sure your list is full of detail and observations. Be specific and date your entry. Week 9: Select one person from your list. Describe the person and elaborate on the relationship you have shared with him or her. Remember to include more than physical details. Include all that comes to you about the relationship. Try to develop a specific event that embodies some aspect of the person’s character. Be specific and date your entry. Week 10: Select a favorite personal photograph that connects with some aspect of your life – past or present. In as much detail as possible, describe the images within the photograph. Discuss how this photograph makes connections or associations with your life. You may want to describe the events or situations surrounding the time of the photograph. Be specific and date your entry. Week 11: Select a dream, fear, challenge, accomplishment, or decision that has had an impact on your life. It does not have to be something that has been life altering, but it has caused you to be reflective in some way. Be specific about all the details, images, other individuals, associations, connections, and feelings related to this situation. Date your entry. Week 12: As you conclude your writing for the second six weeks, spend some time reading over the journals you have written to date. You may wish to review what you have written and simply record your response to one or more of the previous entries. You may wish to take another event or individual from your lists to write about. You may wish to draw something that has special significance for you. Whatever you write about or draw, be specific and date your entry. Week 13: Choose a piece of music that has special significance for you. Reflect on the meaning the music has for you in light of the personal experiences you have so far shared in your journal. Be specific about lyrics, images, feelings, and associations related to the music. Date your entry. Week 14: Choose one of the quotes on the wall of this classroom. Describe in specific detail how the quote relates to a person, place, event, or situation in your life right now. Date your entry. Week 15: Make a list of all the groups you are a member of, from your family to a group of friends, to a religious or ethnic group. Describe how being a member of each of these groups affects you. Be specific and date your entry. Week 16: As the Holidays approach, write or sketch out some holiday memories that have special significance for you. Focus on one of these memories and spend some time reliving it in your imagination. Be specific about all the details, images, other individuals, associations, connections, and feelings related to this memory. Be sure to date your entry. Week 17: Review the first journal you wrote for this class (week 1). Reflect on this entry now, after having experienced these past few months of school. Follow the same format as you did previously, being specific and dating your entry. Week 18: Topic of your choice.