Caroline Elston » Home


Welcome to Caroline Howard Elston's website for Yearbook, AP Language and Composition, and Honors English 11. I am excited about all of the instruction and projects this year, and about learning alongside my classes. I expect all of my students to wholeheartedly embrace reading, writing, and thinking. So often, I hear, "Well, I like to read about things I'm interested in." That's fine, but building memory, honing critical thinking skills, challenging difficult texts, formulating opinions, and communicating our thoughts takes hard work. The brain is a muscle; use it or lose it! In fact, research shows us that if we are not tackling texts that are "harder" than we like, we will lose ground. This self-sifting happens most often in the leap to junior year. Juniors, especially, must build mental muscle so that you won't slip through the sieve. We are in this together, so let's have fun while we moan and groan!
2021-22 Schedule of Classes
Advanced Placement and Composition -2nd and 4th periods
English 11 Honors - 1st and 3rd periods
Yearbook - 5th and 6th period periods
Plan Period - 7th period


How to Flow a Debate

You should have a legal pad and 2 different colored pens. This is 8 1/2 minutes of great step by step flowing.

AP Thursday April 30

Real time Q2 RA essay writing today. Log in to one of the 3 zoom meetings (10-2-6) and allow about 75 minutes. I will give you the prompt then.

HONORS Thursday April 30

Look at District Resources. If you are Opted in: see my former email. You have today to do the 2nd major and through tomorrow night for the essay and 2 minors.

AP Wednesday April 29

Come zoom at 10 or 6 and be ready to screen share your highlighted exemplars for Albright's commencement speech. Watch for email.


I hope that by now you have read, read, read, and read again the Allbright commencement speech til you feel like YOU deserve a diploma! It is important to dive deep and take your time understanding how to write a great RA so that on the test you can do so within the time frame.


Open the 3 attachments on my email:

  1. The student essays are called “exemplars” because they are examples of what earns a 1, 2, 3, 4,. 5, or 6 on the test. After each essay, you will see the notes from the AP reader explaining WHY the essay received the score it did. You MUST read these notes.  
  2. The new rubrics for all 3 essays are also attached (again) for your convenience and viewing pleasure; be sure you are looking at the Q2 Rhetorical Analysis rubric.
  3. Finally, you will see the Rhetorical Situation powerpoint  graphic {again} attached so you will have it imprinted in your brain.


Do this Assignment before the Wednesday ZOOM (If you do this right, it will take you a good hour):

  1. Highlight the remaining EIGHT essays in the way that I have highlighted the first one.
  2. As you do so, see if the students touched on all or most elements in the Rhetorical Situation.
  3. Try to imagine how each student must have annotated or decided what to comment upon in the speech.
  4. If you wrote an RA on the prompt, compare and self-score it.


SO, the NINE  exemplars from last week’s RA represent essays receiving the full range of points possible – even a ZERO-point essay.  The first one, which received a 6/6 points, has already been highlighted for you. The green highlights indicate the thesis statement (CRUCIAL!) and the topic sentences/transitions throughout. (You will FLAT OUT LOSE ONE POINT if you do not have a thesis statement.) Then – as you well know – each body paragraph must relate back and expand on one area of the thesis statement. And you know that THE THESIS MUST COME FROM THE PROMPT!


The yellow highlights indicate the student’s explanation of WHY the quote or reference is rhetorically effective within the rhetorical situation (LOOK AT THE POWERPOINT IMAGE from several weeks ago that identifies the rhetorical situation with all its components). You will notice that the lion’s share of the best essays explain why the speakers rhetorical choicesworked well. Notice that usually the student avoids labels like logos, ethos, pathos, but rather explains WHY a choice was logical, WHAT emotions were evoked and why, WHY the speaker had credibility, etc. Notice that the amount of sheer paraphrase is small; although you may be very tempted just to restate WHAT the speaker said, that is NOT analysis. Good analysis ALWAYS ties back to WHY the rhetorical choices made the MESSAGE effective to the AUDIENCE: what was the speaker thinking and what was the audience thinking? WHY were the listeners engaged and motivated to agree with the speaker?


Unhighlighted portions represent (precis-like) background information as in paragraph 1, references and quotes from the speech as in the body paragraphs, and summary information, if any, in the conclusion.


What you will clearly see in the example I have already highlighted for you is that – as we have learned all year – your own analysis is most of the essay, even more that the ¼ ratio I suggested. You just keep saying more and more, and tying all elements of the Rhetorical Situation to each other, culminating in WHY all of the speaker’s choices supports her MESSAGE.Obviously, you have to discern the message in the first place.


TWO SEPARATE ZOOM DAYS (Attend one each day. I will email the links):

  1. Wednesday at (pick one) 10 am  or  6 pm.                                                    I will try to allow you to share your own screens and highlights at that time; answer and discuss questions; look at a few passages and practice writing about each.
  2. Thursday at (pick one) 10 am, 2 pm, or 6 pm.                                              A full, timed practice writing. I will send you the prompt and passage in real time I will give you 15 minutes to read, annotate, and prewrite. Then, you will have 45 minutes in real time to write, and 5 minutes to submit to in real time. The meeting will remain open during this entire process.                                                                            I know this gives you an extra 15 minutes, but the next essay (next week) will allow less time. I expect everyone to show up this week, and so I will have the room open early to sign in and chat, but we will start on time.

I am proud of all of you for doing what it takes right now. I expect to see you on Wednesday AND Thursday. Check your email now, and respond that you received it.