This page is to practice different elements for class and for the AP Language and Composition exam.

You can put up practice essays here peer review. Don't worry we won't bite... that hard... Separate each essay and revision with a horizontal rule. Please include which question you are responding to. You can find some practice essays here:
AP: English Language

In general, a couple of points of feedback:
  • Indent! Show where you are making paragraph breaks. Just hit the spacebar 5 times.
  • Put a link to the rubric for the prompt you're answering. Put a link to the prompt. And maybe link to the sample essays on AP Central.
  • Start off with a self-evaluation: "Here's what I think is good here; here's where I can improve. Comparing my essay to the top scoring essay(s), I see... or I'm not sure if I have achieved ... from the rubric."
  • More people need to participate! You can start by participating in any aspect of this: posting a link/prompt, challenging a classmate/friend, posting a response, giving some part of feedback, clipping key bits from the Scoring Commentary or samples.

Question 3
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)

In his 2004 book, Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton argues that the chief aim of humorists is not merely to entertain but “to convey with impunity messages that might be dangerous or impossible to state directly.” Because society allows humorists to say things that other people cannot or will not say, de Botton sees humorists as serving a vital function in society.
Think about the implications of de Botton’s view of the role of humorists (cartoonists, stand-up comics, satirical writers, hosts of television programs, etc.). Then write an essay that defends, challenges, or qualifies de Botton’s claim about the vital role of humorists. Use specific, appropriate evidence to develop your position.

First, good work practicing with these essays and having the nerve to subject your writing to public feedback. I hope this will set a blazing example for others. Nice work!! (that's specifically to Willene and Anisha for posting, and to Greg for supporting the practice)
I'm going to give three different kinds of feedback here:
1. analytical (descriptive)--"this is what I see happening"
2. prescriptive--"this is how I recommend you improve"
3. holistic--"this is what I think overall"

People often learn about the happenings in the news through comical representations of it like through Jib-Jab or Saturday Night Live. Alain de Botton claims that the chief aim of these and similar programs is not to entertain but, “to convey with impunity the messages that might be dangerous to state directly.” He also states that because such humorists can do this they are a vital function in society. This is true as many see these humorous portrayals only as entertainment and should something be said that is offensive or critical it is often pushed aside and just regarded as “funny.”
This is a good recap of the prompt. However, it seems there is an opportunity to make a stronger argument. It's not clear if this essay will defend de Botton's idea that humorists serve a vital function or if this is challenging the idea based on "many see these humorous portrayals only as entertainment and should something be said that is offensive or critical it is often pushed aside and just regarded as 'funny.' " The thesis should address both the idea of what the "chief aim of humorists" is and whether they are vital or not. Also consider breaking this into specific subpoints or subtopics.

Recently a Saturday Night Live (SNL) clip was done portraying Governor Rick Perry as under the influence of alcohol. The passive voice here (bolded) detracts from the sentence's meaning; give sentences more power by using vivid verbs. More on passive voice. This clip referred to a debate that he took part of in which he was described as giddy and uncharacteristically energetic. Reread sentences (when finished writing) and make sure they are clear. If you are at home/in private, read the sentence out-loud. SNL portrayed Perry as slurring his words and swaying back and forth on the set of the show. He was effectively being portrayed as a drunk. Since this portrayal was done on a program that is known for creating comic representations of the news, the clip was dismissed as funny and SNL received little if any criticism for this offensive representation of Perry. If this was done by Shawn Hannity, although, Hannity would receive criticism and be judged harshly for referring to Perry in this manner.
This is an interesting example because it makes an argument by comparison; put the concept of comparing Hannity and SNL upfront (rather than the narrative, which is currently upfront). There are then two issues I have with the argument: 1. it's hard to prove. Was SNL really not criticized for the Perry portrayal? Does it matter? Can a humorist be criticized and still basically "convey with impunity"? Also, it's hard to give proof or analysis of something that is hypothetical (argument by circumstance)-- whether or not Hannity would have been criticized. 2. The argument lacks the most important part: commentary. It needs a "so what?", or an explanation into why your reader should care about this comparison and what he should get out of it.
When first practicing writing arguments, have a solid A-P-C: assertion/claim-- proof/support -- commentary/impact. When creating an argument, consider if you have these elements and choose strategically.

The difference between humorists and non-comical critics is satire. If humorist are to say something that his offense or considered foul play, [a few typos/errors in grammar here] it is taken subliminally; [be carefully with diction-- this word "subliminally" make this a difficult argument to defend. You're not expected to know the science of everything you argue, but argue what you have a strong familiarity with or know a lot about. The consensus on subliminal messages is that while there is a phenomenon called "priming", and there are many stimuli in our environment that we are unaware of, it's been hard to prove that things we're not aware of have an effect on our conscious choices. A video on this. Here is an interesting article by Jonah Lehrer on "How Does the Brain Perceive Art?"] it is buried underneath humor and those who are likely to be offended are too busy laughing to be offended. Conversely, critics have nothing to hide their criticisms under. Even a double entendre is likely to elicit a shower of disapproval from peers and outsiders alike. As a result of this, most critics stay away from frankly disparaging people or events from fear of being shamed out of business. Humorists, although, can continue to do so with little condemnation so long as it is entertaining. In this way they are vital to society as they have the ability to say what everyone is thinking so-to-speak, and gradually draw out those who thing similarly. Humorists in a sense start a cycle that allows everyone to say what they think all with little criticism since they can say, “SNL started it.”
It seems like there is an argument by definition/categorization going on here. I see these groups as having separate purposes and effects in the argument: "humorists" and [non-comical] "critics". One issue is that the argument doesn't seem to employ/discuss the definition of satire. Also, there are a number of broad/vague statements that make the argument difficult to understand. For example, "allows everyone to say what they think" obscures who or what is at issue. I like the idea of humorists being able to put criticisms "buried underneath". Fully develop this claim: give specific evidence and then develop commentary that shows the impact/significance of the claim and evidence. In general, focus on proving a couple of assertions well and giving in-depth explanation rather than stating a number of shaky/unproven assertions.

Some good aspects of the essay: addresses the prompt directly, has some decent cohesion with the SNL example and argument by comparison (humorists versus unfunny critics), shows a real understanding of an idea at its core
Some detractions/weaknesses: I would like to see more thorough treatment of specific issues/arguments. The examples/evidence could be more convincing. The language is generally error-free, but some work on creating clearer sentences and using more active voice could make it more compelling.

Question 3
(Suggested time—40 minutes. This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)

The first Buy Nothing Day—a day on which people are urged to purchase no goods—was organized in Canada in 1992 as a way to increase awareness of excessive consumerism. A Buy Nothing Day has been held yearly since then in many nations. An online article, “Buy Nothing Day: 2006 Press Release,” urged worldwide acceptance of taking a “24-hour consumer detox as part of the 14th annual Buy Nothing Day” in order to “expose the environmental and ethical consequences of overconsumption” (“Buy Nothing Day,” courtesy Adbusters, Consider the implications of a day on which no goods are purchased. Then write an essay in which you develop a position on the establishment of an annual Buy Nothing Day. Support your argument with appropriate evidence.

Buy Nothing Day is a lesser known holiday that occurred this year on Black Friday, a day traditionally known for buying an extravagant amount of goods in preparing for the upcoming holiday season. Some urge the worldwide acceptance of this holiday in order to “expose the environmental and ethical consequences of overconsumption.” The implications of this holiday can be both beneficial and harmful although here the bad quickly overwhelms the good.
I'm glad to see you noticed this is a two task prompt: "consider the implications" (a more expository task of weighing arguments) and "develop a position". I would like to see more outlining of the specific arguments/issues the essay will address.

The focus of the holiday season has quickly become about buying gifts and other consumer goods. Religious people generally argue that the holiday season is being overwhelmed with the ideology of buy, buy, buy. The institution of a Buy Nothing Day would allow for a focus on things other than shopping. People could use the hours usually spent waiting in lines to worship and spend time with friends and family. Also in having a Buy Nothing Day, money isn’t spent. Each year, more and more money is being spent on relatively frivolous consumer goods before the holidays while others struggle to achieve daily necessities. The money usually being spent on gifts can be donated to charities that can help those who are struggling enjoy a time of peace during the holidays. A Buy Nothing Day could be of social benefit.
Watch the passive voice here (see comments on essay above). Also, while this capably lays out some different arguments to support Buy Nothing Day, the arguments really need more specific evidence and commentary (more on why this is important, what the proof shows, what the impact of the assertion/evidence is).

The holidays are becoming a huge source of revenue. Spending spikes every year around November and December when holiday shopping starts. These spikes allow for many people to be employed, and in turn for many others to be fed. Seasonal employment starts right around the when the spending spikes start. In creating a Buy Nothing Day, employees who usually are working to feed their families are at home, doing nothing since they can’t afford to do anything. These families then become a strain on society, a strain that could easily be alleviated if only there were more jobs. A Buy Nothing Day would also damage the economy. Millions of dollars would be lost in revenue, money that is so desperately needed when the economy is doing so poorly. A Buy Nothing Day could cripple the economy.
Instituting a Buy Nothing holiday has some good as well as bad effects, although the harm greatly outweighs the benefits. A Buy Nothing Day is of use socially in a time where the focus should be about spending time with loved ones and worshiping in that way one sees fit although, when such a day causes a huge lag in improving the economy the social implications are worthless. Even if all the money that was spent buying non-necessities were donated to charities, there is no guarantee that all the money donated would reach those in need. In short, A Buy Nothing Day although virtuous in thought is horrible in reality as it allows for the breakdown of an already fragile economy

Write a conclusion! Some points could be split off into another paragraph from this one (directly above), or a more comprehensive conclusion could give a more definitive view. Similar feedback from previous paragraph on developing more specific evidence and commentary. The argument on why Buy Nothing Day would be bad is clear, but it could be a lot more persuasive by developing more convincing evidence and developing some arguments on things that have occurred (and not just what could occur or is possible).

What's good about this essay: directly addresses the prompt and the structure generally follows the tasks the prompt lays out (weighs different sides and then develops position). It also has good arguments for both sides, showing an ability to see reasonable points on both sides of the issue.
What could be improved: Work on developing more specific, convincing evidence, bringing more beginning-middle-end structure and cohesion by developing stronger transitional connections and a stronger intro and conclusion. Most importantly, develop that commentary! This is the "so what" of the argument and it plays a huge role in convincing your reader and committing to specific ideas.

Which year is this? Could you give a link to the prompt so that I can read the passage, rubric, and samples? I'm glad you're posting practice and practicing the different types of argument questions! Keep it up!


In the following passage, the contemporary social critic Neil Postman contrasts
George Orwell’s vision of the future, as expressed in the novel 1984 (written in 1948),
with that of Aldous Huxley in the novel Brave New World (1932). Read the passage,
considering Postman’s assertion that Huxley’s vision is more relevant today than
is Orwell’s. Then, using your own critical understanding of contemporary society
as evidence, write a carefully argued essay that agrees or disagrees with Postman’s
assertion. (It's on page 34. There are no sample essays, I just found it while on the course description.)


We, as a society, predict what is in store for us in the future. Each time, we ask ourselves, "what will cause the degeneration of society?" Our prophecy is a who or what situation. Will someone come to rule and take away our freedom, as George Orwell predicted? OR will something within us, our own desires and resources, take away our ability to think, as Aldous Huxley and Neil Postman thought? The truth is, society is evolving fast. And as Huxley predicted, our own loss of imagination and dependency on technology and our desires will cause our own self destruction.
(bold) Focus on evidence from things that have already happened/current examples. It is difficult to argue about what will happen and the prompt really asks for an evaluation of the current state of things (not where we are going).

We have lost our ability to think for ourselves. Say, for example, a girl is reading Pride and Prejudice. She comes across a word that she doesn't know the meaning to. Usually, and preferably, she would use context clues as taught in school. Or, she would look it up in a dictionary. But now, all she has to do is type the word into Google and immediately, the information is given to her. There was no need to even think. An interesting argument, and I like how it's focused on a particular issue-- whether we think for ourselves. However, it needs more commentary as it's not readily clear that looking up a word in Google versus the dictionary is not "thinking". Again, in the Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, it is discussed how society has lost all ability to use imagination. What we imagine is what is given to us through television, media, and the internet. Our thoughts and imaginations are a compilation of our own discoveries. Both Orwell and Huxley believed that this would happen to us. They both believed that our freedom to think would be limited. But, as Huxley believed, it was through our own decisions that our freedom to think for ourselves would be taken away. We choose to take the shortcut. TO what a show on nature instead of going outside to experience it ourselves. We cause this, not some outside force.I like that you're using an example from class reading (include enough source information-- the author's name, chapter if possible, some context). The part I've highlighted by italicizing is less strong; work with smaller, more specific ideas and fully explain them with evidence and commentary.
(bold) watch the passive voice! using strong active voice will make your sentences more descriptive, specific, and clear.

Our own self destruction comes down to us being dependent on what limits our freedom. Although we know that our society is degenerating, we have, in now way, tried to stop it. If we haven't tried to stop our deprivation of freedom, how is it not our fault? But, the reason why we haven't is because we are so dependent on our desires and what is degenerating us. We need the instant gratification, the movies and shows that take away our imagination, the Google and shortcuts. There was a news story on a child who tried to swipe a book like an iPad. As any high school student what their main source of information is. It will most likely be Google. I know this because I would say the same thing. We have become robots to the one thing that is depriving us of the ability to think for ourselves. As Postman and Huxley agree, what we love will ruin us.

We our causing our own degeneration. We have lost the ability to think for ourselves, but through the process, we have never tried to stop it. Society has become a place where every piece of information has already been given to us. We have already begun to lose our imagination and freedom of thought. But there is no ruler that has taken this away, no group of people that watch every move and listen to every word that we make, making sure that we do exactly as they want. The fact is, our oppression has to tangible cause. We have not become puppets for someone else, but for ourselves.
Good: strong organization using different ideas of "think for ourselves" and "what limits our freedom". I would encourage you to continue this type of detailed analysis, but go further into evidence and commentary.
Could improve: use your evidence more effectively. Give full explanation and specific details that will make your argument more persuasive.

I think it's really good and well thought out. There are some grammatical errors like our instead are but it doesn't compromise comprehension. Sounds like a 7. - Willene Willene

Sample Responses
Advertising is everywhere. Advertising can be found on billboards, posters, it can be heard on the radio, and seen on television. These advertisements promote almost anything, from something seemingly small like a tissue brand to which candidate to choose in the next presidential election. And advertisements work in many ways. They may promote the bad or the good. Smoke or don’t smoke, stay above the influence or buy Smirnoff. So not all of the hundreds of thousands of advertisements are promoting society’s downfall and people must decide for themselves which advertisement to believe.
Without advertisements, many actions and products would go unnoticed. Advertisements provide a way for actions and products to become a focus in society. And while it may seem that only the negatives of society are advertised, this is not always the case. Take Source A, an advertisement to give blood. Without this advertisement, not many people would know what number they could call to give blood or that they could even give blood in the first place. Giving blood isn’t something detrimental to society; it’s something that society can do to “become part of something bigger than us all.” Also, tobacco companies promote “continued social acceptability of smoking” and have “persevered” through time (Source B). Some people may use tobacco as an example of advertisements at their worst because of how they promote smoking, a huge health risk, as something socially correct. But these people fail to realize the advertisements that counteract the expansion of tobacco. Tobacco-free Florida is one example, whose ads occur repeatedly on Pandora Radio between songs. As Source B states, there has been “an expanding awareness of health risks” and in the 21st century U.S. sales on tobacco declined. So the business of advertisements is sometimes more valuable to society than it may seem because of how its benefits can outweigh it’s wrongdoings.
Indeed, there is never just one advertisement for one type of product. Television plays advertisements for Clorox, Mr. Clean, Pledge, and Swiffer, just to name some of the cleaning products on the market. And it is up to the viewer to decide which product they will use. People have minds of their own, and although advertisements influence these minds greatly, there are so many advertisements working against each other that it is up to the viewer to decide which he or she believes to be the best. Unlike many people believe, advertisements cannot be at fault for the beliefs of a person. Such as the women in Source F, who comes to believe that powered milk is the best type of milk for her child. What Source F ignores is that even if it is a rural, poor area, if there is room for an advertisement about powdered milk, there is room for an advertisement for the many type of formula milk. This woman does not need to feel that “to be modern she has to feed her babies with powdered milk.” She has her own mind and if she truly felt strongly about giving her babies the best type of milk, she would not listen to the first advertisement she comes across.
So while critics of advertisements feel that ads influence too much, in fact, advertisements do not influence enough. This is because there are many advertisements that promote the opposite of what critics fear, beliefs and products that harm society. And while some people believe that advertisements negatively affect society’s views on what is the norm, the sheer number of advertisements prevents any one view from growing too large.

The essay wasn't formulaic and offered a variety in sentence structure. I found it hard to pinpoint the thesis but I was able to find the argument. The use of the sources were adequate and the quote integration seemed flawless. The essay was convincing but seemed a bit vague. - Willene Willene

Few can say that they have never been affected by an advertisement. Ads move people to action whether is is to participate in donating blood for the greater good or to run to a store to purchase an item that'll make one feel "in." As advertising's goal is to provide information and persuade, ads can be beneficial fostering free trade, however for the most part ads are propaganda as they entice people to do things they don't need to.
Fear is one the most persuasive feelings that exist. In illiciting fear in a person, one can move them to do many things. Fear of being seen as an outcast has long been something that moves people to change themselves so as to appear more homogenous with society. Advertising feeds on this fear and this is illustrated in Source D where it mentions, "Before advertisers told us to, who worried about dandruff? Who was embarrassed by teeth that weren't blinding white, toilets that didn't smell fresh, or water spots on drinking glasses?" One may stock up on such products such as Head and Shoulders shampoo, Crest Whitening Strips, or Cleaning Bubbles Scented Toilet Cleanser in an effort to make sure that they aren't looked down upon by their peers and are afforded the oppotunity to sneer at those who aren't able to use such products. The ads for the products make sure that the cunsumer is focused on the cosmetic aspect of many things in life and shifts their thinking away from the deeper qualities of a person which is found below the surface.
Advertisers are very efficient as they are able to create a base of loyal clientele that remain with the brand from childhood on into adulthood as Source D shows in saying, "'Reach a girl in her Seventeen years and she may be yours for life.'" Although, when it comes to makeup and coffee the thought may not seem repugnent, however when smoking is the topic of discussion one's view starts to change. The cigarette industry is was very effecient in creating a "mass market" and "targeting every conceivable consumer niche and developing an impressive array of advertising and promotional tools to reach them" (Source B). In working in this manner, cigarette companies are able to snag a generation with the thought that "Smoking is okay!" and "Everybody's doing it!" By the time smokers realize that this isn't true they are addicts and are, of course, loyal to their brand.
What makes matter worse is that many don't see advertising as an "attack." How many have watched the Superbowl just for the commercials and after the game discuss the commercials instead of the game? As Source E mentions, these are, "most vulnerable to the ad's attack" siince they are "rendered defenseless" by the thought that what they have just viewed was solely for their own entertainment. These viewers become the most succeptable to will of the ad are will be the first, in effect, to run out and by some Doritios before the big game and to beat up anyone who tries to touch them.
Ads are meant to inform and to persuade. Ads can persuade one to do good such as volunteering at the library or participating at an event for the homeless. These ads however do not scare the consumer into doing a good deed. Most ads raise awareness of a self-consciousness about an insecurity that they consumer may have and a consumer is duped into purchasing a product that may relieve that insecurity. However these insecurities wouldn't exist without ads. All ads are doing are getting a consumer to do something unecessary.

I feel as if I stayed with the prompt and that my quote integration was sufficient. I also felt as the essay was vague. - Willene Willene

Sample Responses
Sanders argues in his response to Rushdie that it is better to stay put and by doing so, "we have a chance of making a durable home for ourselves, our fellow creatures, and our descendants." Sanders effectively argues his point in using ethos and pathos to move the reader to see that his opposer's view is flawed and that he, in effect, is right.
In the beginning of his essay, Sanders gives a brief history of the expansion of the American people. In doing so he shows the audience that he is profficient in the subject that he is going to approach and gives them confidence that what he is going to say is worthwhile. However, as the essay progresses Sanders stops using the word "Americans" and starts using "we." He intergrates himself into the scheme to allow the reader to identify with Sanders and make the appeal seem like a concerted effort on the behalf of the American people to Rushdie.
Sanders continues by providing vivid imagery with a negative connotation to emphasize the detremental consequences of moving. He starts with the Spaniards and their "baggage" in saying, "The Spaniards devastated Central and South America by imposing on the this New World the religion, economics, and politics of the Old." He also mentions how colonists brought slavery "along with smallpox and Noraway rats" and how the Dust Bowl was caused by alien vegetation. This acts to create in the mind of the reader how much better it may have been if people had stayed put and easily leads them to believe that moving is the cause of many major problems that occur today.
Sanders is effective in addressing Rushdie's arguments. This is mainly a result of his use of ethos to make Sander's appear reliable and align him with the sentiments of the American people. He also makes use of immersive imgary to allow the reader to see the extent of the negative effects of moving. In all this he allows the reader to believe that by not moving, "we might begin to pay enough attention and respect to where we are."

I think that the essay answered the prompt and did not appear too formulaic. I felt that my proof was adequate but that I may have missed something more... pertinent. - Willene Willene

Sample Responses
People are generally selfish. Usually one is out to gain something even if it isn't a "conventional" gain. If incentives for charitable acts were terminated the charitable acts wouldn't be stopped however they would suffer a considerable loss. The few who continued to would still recieve some incentives, whether it be becoming favorable in the eyes of a peer or God or even just the opportunity to see a cute nurse draw blood. Charities stand on incentives and offering these incentives aren't immoral since without these incentives the acts wouldn't be carried out.
"Guess who's skipping Ms. Cohen's class and getting community service hours to give blood? This guy!" At high schools, students 16 and over are given the oppotunity to skip class, recieve communtity service hours and get some refreshments with the understanding that they are going to the colorfully decorated "Blood Bus" parked near the school to give blood. For many that is the only reason that they are giving blood, to recieve the already specified incentive. Yet some go "out of the goodness of their hearts" and the knowledge that they are going to "benefit the community." This in itself is an incentive, however. If it was advertised that the blood drawn was going to be fed to a blood thirsty vampire instead of aiding those in the community the turnout for blood drives would be non-existent.
It isn't immoral to be tactful about how you reach a goal. A goal as important as those taken up by most charities tend to be difficult to attain in themselves. Without incentives, these charitable acts wouldn't achieve the attention or action that is essential to be successful. Incentives are necesarry, after all how bad is something that ultimately leads to the greater good?

I feel as if this is my strongest essay but the length worries me. - Willene Willene

I like many things in this essay, especially the use of concrete details: the dialogue, specific giving-blood example.
There are some other things I'm seeing as strong: a focus on whether being driven by incentives is moral or not, and how someone can be motivated to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.
A few recommendations:
--consider how you can cover the scope of your thesis more completely. You may want to answer any possible refutations of your main claim or offer another type of example. I see your thesis as a version of "the ends justify the means", which many people object to as being overly pragmatic. Maybe consider qualifying your response by saying when the ends wouldn't outweigh the means.
--Try revising out all of the passive voice. We're going to do some lessons on this when we return from break, actually.
--Think about the other things you've read this year that have to do with incentives: Freakonomics, "The Singer Solution", and some incidents in MAUS.
- cohenli cohenli

Sample Responses for Question 1
A war has begun between teachers and technology. At times they are allies, and teachers gladly accept the help of technology. And at other times technology invades into the territory of teachers and moves forward against the defense of teachers. This issue of this war is that of students. How much should students use technology in school? And what are the effects, good or bad? Well, as Source F depicts, us students are too deep into the hole of technology for there to be any hope of us climbing out. So when a school is debating whether or not to implement a strong, technology based curriculum, instead of using the bad effects as reasons to not implement technology, schools should consider turning the uses of technology into benefits to students’ education.
Schools need to moderate how students use technology. Students should not be on their school provides iPad for the entire class. Nor should students have access to the “lies, garbage, and pornography so revolting you can’t even describe it” (Source E). Actually, the strong emotions of the author of Source E cloud his reasoning. When he claims that there is “no quality control“ on the Internet he forgets that website blockers exist. One extension for Google Chrome, and Internet browser, called Stay Focused, actually blocks websites either ultimately or for a certain amount of time. It also has an option that to change a setting to unblock a website or increase the time allowed on a website, one must type out a paragraph with no mistakes, backspaces, or copy and paste. There are also numerous parental blockers and, in the case of Palm Beach County, websites controlled by the district. So when using technologies in their curriculum, schools should block distracting websites so that students are aware that while they are in school, they should be focused on learning, not Facebook and Tumblr. And while the Internet give access to information at the “touch of a button,” students should not have unlimited access because this gives room for distractions and misuse of something that should be a benefit and a supplement to learning (Source B).
Also, schools need to moderate the time spent on technology in classrooms. Students should not spend all class period on a laptop or technology of the like. This may distract students from the actual, living teacher at the front of the classroom. As Source B asks, “how do we communicate with students today who have grown up with technology from the beginning?” If technology use is allowed from the beginning of class to the end, students will be so focused on the flashy, colorful screen that they will ignore everything else around them. So before using technology as “Teaching Tools,” schools need to determine how to moderate its usage until technology becomes complementary to learning, not a distraction.
And when the school is deciding how much time that students will have with technology in the classroom, they need to consider splitting the time in a classroom between interactive learning and using technology. All students can be like the boy in Source F, watching something happen. But there is a huge difference between watching and doing. The boy would learn a lot more about the bird if he were outside seeing it in action rather than watching it on a screen. The same goes for a classroom. To an extent, students learn by doing, practicing, repeating. Take an English class. There are about two ways to get better at writing. By reading and actually writing. If technology is the only device used in this classroom, a student is only reading and possibly watching. Half of the learning process for writing is taken away. So students shouldn’t sit hunchbacked staring at a screen for the entire class, they should spend some time actually doing the work. But then there are all the fancy ways to take tests, write essays, and just do general practice online. But these students can’t turn out like the author of Source D, who feels that although his handwriting is deteriorating fast and he feels that it requires too much effort to have to think, he feels content with this “situation.” If a student doesn’t take out the time to actually write and practice by hand, he will become “a typer, not a writer.” Schools need to consider the lasting effects of using technology on the mindset of students.
Indeed, students should not depend solely on technology. And schools must account for this. Moderation is the key. By moderating how, how much, and what students do in a classroom where technology has been implemented into the curriculum, schools can assure that technology will not cause lasting and harmful effects on students but will supplement the learning process of students and “get students more engaged in learning.” (Source A).

I feel like it's better than my last synthesis essay but I feel that it still falls short of the top scores and is more of a 5. ~Anisha
I felt as if the first few lines of the opening paragraph were really engaging. The sources were integrated well and were well used. The grammar was an issue but did not obscure comprehension (sound like you were writing this really quickly). It seems to be lacking in organization and this may be why is seems to fall short of the top scores, however I think its a 6. - Willene Willene

Question #2
Sample Responses
Benjamin Banneker, an author and son of former slaves, appeals to Thomas Jefferson in a letter that he wrote to Jefferson in 1791. Banneker puts forth that Jefferson’s own words and actions are enough to argue against the “cruel oppression” of slavery and that Jefferson has changed from a “tender” man to one who counteracts God. Through a respecting and praising manner Banneker draws Jefferson in with the intention to suddenly shift to a more critical tone that attacks Jefferson’s hypocrisy.
In the first word of his letter, Banneker establishes that he respects Jefferson. Throughout the essay, at the beginning of each paragraph, Banneker addresses Jefferson as “sir.” Banneker does this in order to attract Jefferson to the letter and to show Jefferson that he does not think that he has any more authority than Jefferson and that his intention is not to be demeaning. With this is also intends to have a mature conversation with Jefferson, not one of tirade. Also with the intent to draw Jefferson in, Banneker entices him to reflect on how well off he is. He talks of Jefferson’s “present freedom and tranquility” but to recall the time where he was not so fortunate and was reduced to a “State of Servitude.” This immediately draws Jefferson in and reminds him of the horrors he used to go through. Then Banneker immediately gives the reasons for Jefferson’s new state of living. He says that it is a “blessing of Heaven.” This establishes common ground between him and Jefferson, that of God. Banneker will also use this later in the letter as a reason why Jefferson is a hypocrite. As a final way to assure Jefferson that this letter is not a letter meant to attack him, Banneker praises Jefferson for what he has accomplished. Banneker speaks of the “true and valuable doctrine, which is worth to be recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages” and Jefferson’s “tender feelings” to show that Banneker does not view Jefferson has heartless. This all makes up the first half of Banneker’s letter, where it then transitions to make Banneker’s main point.
After praising Jefferson for his “true and valuable doctrine” and remind him of his “present freedom,” Banneker turns the letter into a more critical one and uses the common ground that Jefferson and he share against Jefferson. This sudden change happens when Banneker contrasts how Jefferson was to how he is. And he calls this change “pitiable.” But what he calls so pitiful is that Jefferson once believed in the “benevolence of the Father” but now he “counteracts his mercies.” Banneker uses this approach to tell Jefferson that by accepting slavery he is going against views that he once held, views that Banneker shares. This adds a more personal touch to the essay and shows the direct influence that Jefferson’s actions have on Banneker. He finally appeals to Jefferson’s “tender feelings” but using “groaning captivity,” “my brethren,” and “cruel oppression” to describe the horrors of slavery contrasted with the fortunate life that Jefferson has. He also uses “my brethren” to emphasize to Jefferson that it is his family that have been negatively affected by slavery. The description of the horrors of slaver and by arguing the similarities that Jefferson and he share, Banneker makes his point against slavery.
After finalizing his argument that telling Jefferson that he has taken part in a “most criminal act” even though slavery and oppression is what Jefferson once “professedly detested in others,” Banneker keeps the same respectful letter by beginning the conclusion with “Sir” and stating that Banneker is aware of how much Jefferson knows. By effectively balancing a critical and praising tone, Banneker succeeds in using religion as a common ground between him and Jefferson to argue against slavery.

Compared to the samples, I generally discussed the same strategies as the 8 but the essay itself was not as well written. I put myself nearer to the 5 and 6.
I felt as if the essay fully reflects the intent of Banneker and is in itself well written. The transitions were effective and the ideas put forth well developed. The conclusion seems a little weak as compared to the rest of the essay but I don't see what prevents the essay from being a 7 or even an 8. - Willene Willene

Questions to consider for giving feedback:
--how do you think the essay compares to the samples?
--what would you score this? (use the rubric and the samples)
--where is the essay strongest-- in its argument? kind of evidence used? style? is there a certain part that's stronger than others?