AP Language & Composition

They Say I Say Slides Introduction
Hawthorne Biography
Scarlet Letter Criticism
In Depth...Machiavelli Biography
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Vocabulary Lesson 1
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Vocabulary Lesson 3
Research Sources
AP Practice Test Calendar
Multi Choice Tips and Hints
Ethos, Pathos, Logos - The Foundation of Argument
AP Language & Composition
Your Study Habits
Tone and Attitudes
Active Reading and Annotation
AP Prose Style Calendar
AP Prose Style Chapter Outlines 1-6
AP Prose Style Chapters 7-12
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AP Glossary & Schedules
Glossary Presentations How To
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Patterns of Development Schedule, Term 2
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Narration Mode Notes
Example Mode
Process Analysis
Comparison Contrast Notes
Classification and Division
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Outside Reading Schedules/Booklists (scroll all the way down)
Persuasive Speech/Researched Argument
They Say/I Say
They Say I Say Slides Introduction
Cornell Notes How To
Creative Writing

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  Powerpoint Outlines


  They Say/I Say Introduction (Graff & Birkenstein)



  Writing is a social, conversational, democratic act

  To excel, you need to “enter a conversation about ideas”

  These are the basic moves of academic writing

  User-friendly templates help you make those moves as you train toward independence and competence as writers

  These templates open up and clarify academic conversation


  They Say/I Say – internal DNA of all effective argument

  Effective persuasive writers do more than make well-supported claims – “I say”

  They map those claims relative to the claims of others

  How will this help?

  This method will not just improve your writing, but also your comprehension

  Effective arguments are always in dialogue with other arguments

  Text: tough stuff

  In order to understand challenging college texts, you need to understand the views to which those texts are responding.

  College Students…

best discover what they want to say by:

Reading texts

Listening closely to what other writers say

Looking for an opening

                                    Entering the conversation

  In other words…

              Listening closely to others and summarizing what they have to say can help you generate your own ideas


  Think of a sport or activity it took you some time to master.

  You had to learn the basic moves.

  Those moves would be mysterious or difficult if someone did not have your experience.

  Accomplished writers have a set of basic moves to communicate sophisticated ideas

  Not formulaic

  Critical reading and writing go deeper than templates or formulas.

  You will need to

  Question assumptions

  Develop strong claims

  Offer supporting reasons and evidence

  Consider opposing arguments

  What will this do for me?

  Templates will give you the language for expressing deep habits of thought

  You will gain a language for expressing ideas in clear, organized ways


  Be responsive

  To make an impact as a writer, find a way of entering a conversation with others’ views – with something “they” say

  It is what others are saying that motivates our response

  Your own argument should always be a response to the arguments of others


  Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”


  You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

                                      Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

  Thoroughly conversational:

              King’s critics

              King’s response



  King’s Techniques

  King treats critics as motivating source of those arguments

  He quotes not only what they say, but what they might have said

  He sets the stage for his own argument


  Another Example

  They Say/I Say opens an essay about American patriotism regarding the national fervor after post 9/11

  Find They Say, then I Say…

  My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks away from the former World Trade Center, thinks we should fly the American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war.

                                                              Katha Pollitt, “Put Out No Flags”



  does not have to be a famous author

  Can be

              a family member,



              or blogger who has made a provocative claim


  Can be

              An individual

              A group

              A side of yourself – something you once believed but no longer do

              Something you partly believe but also doubt

  - Who is the “phantom” They Say?

  I like to think I have a certain advantage as a teacher of literature because when I was growing up I disliked and                              feared books.

  - Gerald Graff, “Disliking Books at an Early Age.”

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