Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

AP Test Study materials page- go and download

Look at the tabs to pages above. You will see that there is a tab for historical FRQ and DBQ prompts. Go to that page and download the two documents.

Use them for study purposes.

Short writing assignment due Friday

Providing specific details and analysis to support your answer, write a 250-300 word response to this prompt:


It is often remarked that the 1950s were a time of conformity. Yo what extent is this true? Consider evidence that both supports and opposes this position.

Evaluate the tension between the pressures for conformity/consensus and the pressures for dissent/individuality during the decade of the 1950s.

I would suggest a 3-4 paragraph format– one paragraph for forces of conformity, one for forces of dissent, and one paragraph evaluating the predominance of each.

Uses of introductory paragraphs as outlines in essays

Let’s imagine that we were given this statement to defend in an essay:

Defend this statement: “The Mexican War and its aftermath was the turning point that led the US inevitably to Civil War.”

To defend this statement and support it with facts, we could generate the following specific pieces of evidence and evaluate the significance of each one: Mexican War-Civil War outline

And then, we could take what we consider to be the most important facts and generate an introductory paragraph that actually also serves as an outline for our overall essay, such as this: Intro example- Mexican War

Here are some of the benefits of this approach:

1) You create a strong introduction that actually ANSWERS THE DARN QUESTION (ATDQ).

2) Many of you, under pressure of time, consider writing an outline as a waste of that valuable time, which is a pretty big mistake to make. This method allows you to USE the outline to perform a vital function– answering the darn question, specifically and fully, at the outset of your essay.

3) This will also help your organize your thoughts., which will actually help you use your time wisely. As you move from paragraph to paragraph, you have already created a roadmap for yourself.

4) Readers– especially AP Readers– are human. They will only spend 3-4 minutes reading your entire essay, and another minute or two evaluating it. A strong, specific introductory paragraph that demonstrates the depth of your knowledge will help establish that you actually know what you are talking about at the outset, and incline them more favorably to your overall essay, making it more likely that you will get a higher score. You will have given the reader a framework through which to understand what you know.

5) If you DO run out of time while writing your essay, you have already laid out your full argument, so the reader will still see what you would have written, had you had the time. This will minimize the damage.


Questions to model analysis –from

These were what we worked on in class on Friday to help you develop the social and economic analysis sections of your essay:

1. Analyze whether the existence of groups such as the Society of Cincinnati, Masons, etc., indicated difficulty with social unity in the post-Revolutionary War period.

2. Analyze whether the Whiskey Rebellion and other protest movements ultimately indicated that sufficient change had taken place economically during and immediately after the Revolution.


(I propose these questions because many of you not only seem to have discerned less information about these two areas, but also because you also need to consider utilizing the tactic of prolepsis in writing an essay that is fully developed and sophisticated. And if you don’t know what “prolepsis” is… LOOK IT UP!)

FRQ Outlining assignment for EVERYONE

Especially given the reworking of our Monday schedule, this is for everyone to turn in to me by the beginning of class on Monday. You are to write an OUTLINE only, which should show your basic paragraph structure to organize your information. An FRQ when WRITTEN COMPLETELY should be at least a solid 400-500 words, so your outline should be able to support that length of analysis at a MINIMUM.

You need to write an OUTLINE for one of these two FRQ prompts. The outline would include a potential specific thesis, at least 15 statement pieces of relevant historical information or analytical statements ( have at least three minimum of each).

Although the 1960s are usually considered the decade of greatest achievement for Black civil rights, the 1940s and 1950s were periods of equally important gains.
Assess the validity of this statement.


The Bill of Rights did not come from a desire to protect the liberties won in the American Revolution, but rather from a fear of the powers of the new federal government.
Assess the validity of this statement.

This should take no more than 15 minutes, and needs to be ready on Monday.

Your chapter 41 questions are due on Tuesday. You are welcome.

10 steps to remember when writing FRQs and DBQs

1. Read and analyze the prompt. Determine EXACTLY what the prompt is actually expecting you to do. Underline key terms in the prompt, and rewrite the question if you have to. Do NOT skip this step!

2. Before looking at the documents, rough out a very basic answer to the prompt (a draft thesis) and an outline. You may revise this as you gather more information.

3. BRAINSTORM! You MUST generate Outside Information (OI), which is NOT provided to you!
During prewriting, spend some time writing down any people, places, laws, or events that happened during the time period before you look at the documents. This will also help you understand the documents better by refreshing your knowledge about the time period

4. Then use the documents to brainstorm more information— make notes on the context, the person speaking, the topic. See if the date on the document has any significance. Determine what each document means, and how it relates to the essay question. Group the documents within your outline.

5. Start writing. You might want to actually start writing the body of the paper first, so leave some space to go back and write your introductory paragraph, which should end with your very specific topic sentence that fully addresses the prompt– that’s why I suggest you might want to wait so that you can refine it as you write your essay. Make sure you focus on the question. After you’ve brainstormed, anything that does not advance your argument and deal directly with the questions is just a waste of precious time.

6. Cite documents, but avoid quoting from them. Show that you understand what the author was saying by paraphrasing. Also use the documents to support your argument, don’t just run through them in a laundry list. Readers hate that.

7. Develop a strong, clearly stated thesis that ANSWERS THE QUESTION. Take a stand– don’t try to be wishy-washy.

8. This thesis should be at the end of a strong introduction that uses a quote, an anecdote, or an image to grab the reader’s attention and make it stand out from the rest of the papers.

9. KEEP TRACK OF TIME! Try to leave yourself some time to read over your essay and make sure you haven’t left out any important information.

10. Remember, ANALYSIS, not narrative, is what the reader wants to see.

Possible essay topics for 5th period final

It wouldn’t hurt all classes to rough out an answer to these, but here are the essay topics that 5th hour will face on their final:

I would strongly suggest that you outline these– it will also help you study in general. Use of specifics will be a major way you earn points.

A. Explain and trace the problems of unity faced in America from its founding through Reconstruction.

B. Compare and contrast the “achievements” of Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan as major contenders for the title of “worst president of the semester.” Ironic that they bookended one of the greatest ever….

C. Explain the development of political parties in the United States through Reconstruction.