AP Language Updates

October 26, 2013

This week is shaping up to be an important one in AP English Language. 

With The Scarlet Letter as our centerpiece, we have been hard at work learning about developing sophisticated thesis statements, extracting the most relevant evidence from the text, and integrating those important textual elements into our own writing with style, logic, and smoothness of flow in mind.  It has been exciting to see so many eyes opened to a new understanding of what is so much more than a simple paragraph writing exercise. We are looking ahead to a Wednesday due date on this assignment.
As well, your children should also be budgeting their time to work on the Independent Reading Q1 assignment (that is due on Friday).  Unlike other typical "read for fun" assignments of the same name, this is a challenge on a much higher level. Having selected books from noteworthy authors listed on the College Board's AP Language Representative Authors List, your children are now engaged in writing in two very different voices. The reaction writing affords them the opportunity to write about what they learned from the book (moving a step closer to becoming a "Citizen Orator"; ask them what they learned!) and explore their own thinking in the process. The rhetorical analysis writing (in keeping with a prominent goal of the course as a whole) promotes deep thinking about purpose and language as they select a key passage and then write an analysis essay on that passage. 
So join me in cheering on your children who are in progress with both of these important assignments and encouraging them to think carefully about budgeting their time to do their best work within the deadlines. And, as they certainly know, I am happy to make time to conference with them this week as they need me. 


October 7, 2014

My name is Beth Gillin, and I'm the English Department Head at Stamford High School and your child's AP English Language and Composition teacher this year.


I'd love to take this opportunity to give you a sense of what we have accomplished so far this year in the opening month of school.  We have been off to a great start so far and have already tackled some important formative work that has set us in motion. Rhetorical analysis is a challenging skill and one that your children have readily embraced.  We have also worked to expand our academic vocabulary by learning about techniques that the most talented writers use.  


Currently, we are engaged in the reading and analysis of an important American novel, The Scarlet Letter. I will use this text as a springboard for close textual analysis (with special attention to the use of language, including examination of patterns) and for a writing workshop that will help your children experiment with using evidence in a sophisticated way. We are studying this book in a very different way than they have experienced in their past English classes.  Meeting the goals of this course in such a way will open your children's eyes to a new way of looking at literature. 


I'm sure you will be proud to hear that you children are all working hard and coming to me every day with great enthusiasm to participate in our daily activities. It took them no time to become comfortable working together in small and large groups to explore and discuss their findings.  This is all a testament, I'm certain, to their commitment to this class. I couldn't be more thrilled to share this good news with you and to see them every day in class. 


There are many ways to help your student succeed to his or her best ability at this early point in the school year:


Encourage your child to work slightly ahead of due dates, as I will gladly conference with him or her ahead of time to assist in any stage of the process of my assignments. 


Ask your child if he or she is taking advantage of my rewrite options. I always meet in person with the student at least once, ask him or her to commit to the changes we discuss, and require submission in hard copy and to Turnitin by the posted deadline. Rewrites are averaged with the original grade.


Promote reading about and discussion of important current events in the local, national, and world realms.  Students who do well on the AP Language exam are both knowledgeable and skilled. 


Remind your child that in English class, open-mindedness and hard work eventually pay off. Help them to understand that skills are built from trial and error and that self-reflection is a key part of the process of learning.  


I hope to see many of you at my Open House presentation, during which I will expand on of some of these points and cover some additional ground as well. I also look forward to continuing on with email updates as we move through the year.


Please always feel free to contact me. I am most readily available by email during and after school hours. Otherwise, my direct phone line at SHS is 203-977-4739.














Contact Information

English Department Head

203-977-4739 (office direct line)




Period 2 SAT Prep
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