IB Lang/ AP Lang

Summer Assignment

Congratulations! You’ve joined our new IB Lang course or you're taking one last spin in our AP Language and Composition class. Both are going to be great classes. Since English classes are typically skills-based rather than content-based, that means we have the freedom and flexibility to co-seat these classes this year. Whether you're going for the IB credit or sitting for the AP exam in May, you will be more than prepared by the time you finish this course.

But for now, it's summer!! And that's a great time to get a head start on the kind of reading, thinking, and writing you're going to be doing in this course. The summer assignment listed below is intended to introduce you to the rigors of the coming coursework and to give us an opportunity to “hit the ground running.” I can promise that I will make this course as meaningful and engaging as I can, but I won’t lie: this will be a tough year but a valuable year. While the IB course has a greater focus on fiction than the AP course, we'll find a good balance and plenty of opportunity to explore the craft of both fiction and non-fiction writers.

Please do not delay in beginning your summer assignment. It will take time, and you might even enjoy it. If you have any questions, please email me at mgerhauser@cmschools.org. I will check this email weekly, so please allow time for a response, and don’t email at the last minute when you need an answer the next day. And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: THE SUMMER ASSIGNMENT!!!

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Text: Fast-Food Nation: The Dark Side to the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. You will need to download, purchase, or otherwise acquire this text. It’s currently available on Amazon for under $10.

Context: Even though it was published almost 20 years ago, Fast-Food Nation is as relevant today as ever. Critics have said that Schlosser’s book “revealed how the fast food industry has altered the landscape of America, widened the gap between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and transformed food production throughout the world.” It’s also credited with helping to launch the food movement today as people scrutinize their food more than ever. Is it organic? Is it humanely raised? Sustainably sourced? Locally grown? GMO? This book changed the way millions of people think about what they eat.

Your Assignment: After reading Fast Food Nation, you will write an essay that considers Schlosser’s purpose, strategy, and effectiveness. Your essay should answer the following questions:

    • What is Schlosser’s purpose in writing Fast Food Nation? (consider this carefully. What does he hope to achieve? WHY did he write it?)
    • What strategies (or techniques) does he employ to achieve his purpose? (You may not have the vocabulary for this yet, but do your best to put into words the strategies he uses to make his case. For example, does he tell stories? How does this help? What is the EFFECT on the reader? Does he seem knowledgeable and trustworthy? Why? What does he do to give you confidence that he's not lying to you? Or is he biased? Is he trying to "sell you something?" etc.)
    • Is he effective? Does it achieve what you claim is his purpose? How? To what extent?

The Details: Although you’re answering the three questions above, this is an essay. It should be unified and cohesive in its analysis. Essays should meet the following requirements:

    • Minimum 2 full pages (heading, title, etc. don't count). Maximum 6 full pages.
    • Typed, double spaced, Times New Roman font, 12 pt
    • MLA Format (with internal citations and a works cited page - See owl.purdue.edu/owl for help. Click MLA guide on the left)
    • ALL quotes need to be cited. ALL information that didn't come from your own brain should be cited.
    • Due on the first day of class

Good luck! I look forward to seeing you in September! - Mr. Gerhauser