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Here, you'll be able to check out what we're doing in class, download readings, handouts, and assignments, check your agenda, take a look at some of our class projects, and stay in touch with me.


My Essential Question
What is art...

SOURCE A: Danto and The Transfiguration of the Commonplace

The Danto Study Questions and Project

The Danto Project: Sample Ideas

SOURCE B: "Evolutionary Theories of Art"

SOURCE C: Art as Biological Adaptation

SOURCE D: Animal Paintings

SOURCE E: Homeless Man's Stylish Digs

SOURCE F: Rothko Exhibit

SOURCE G: Hamlet

...and what is it good for?

SOURCE A: "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World"

SOURCE B: The Norman Rockwell Museum

SOURCE C: Ekphrastic Poetry 

SOURCE D: "Selfies: an (Art)fistic Perspective

SOURCE E: The Third Chimpanzee

SOURCE F: "Everyday Use"

"Arthur Danto with Wise, Puffy Cheese Doodles"
by Irene Caesar, 2010

In The Transfiguration of the Commonplace, Arthur Danto sets forth a fully articulated theory of art.  Stated formally, the theory maintains that something X is a work of art if and only if: (a) X has a subject (i.e., X is about something); (b) X projects some attitude or point-of-view about what it is about (this may be described as a matter of X having a style); (c) X is rhetorically elliptical (generally, a metaphorical ellipsis); (d) X engages audience participation in the ellipsis by getting them to fill-in what is missing (an operation which can also be called interpretation); (e) X requires an art-historical context for interpretation (which context is generally specified as a background of historically situated theory).  This theory of art is an attempt to capture the essential nature of art.

AP Language Student Resources
Unit One: Adulthood: Our Place in the Global Village

Unit Introduction:

What does growing up mean to a high school sophomore?  Can't we just refuse?  If not, what does it mean to join the village of adults: those who see "seven generations hence."  Canonical in its voice, Salinger’s novel provides a framework to discuss the modern myth of Icarus, the boy who fell from the sky.  Drawing from a diverse group of texts, we will piece together ways to connect the past to the present and expose the universality of the ascension to adulthood: to the top of the beanstalk, reluctantly leaving Neverland, encountering children Lost without parents.  While Rebel Without a Cause captures the confusion and anxiety of an age, Thirteen acts as a harrowing warning to modern culture, reaping the deficits of a society of siblings.  We will invariably find ourselves in these familiar stories, applying their truths to our own lives.

Central Questions:

  • What does it mean to be an adult, and what is necessary in order to become one?

  • What are the consequences to children when they grow up in a world increasingly without mentors?

  • How do noble ideas such as duty, compassion, and pride lead us towards adulthood, and how are these qualities acquired?

  • How can the individual participate in the global village and contribute towards a benevolent common goal?

  • How do global economics cater to adolescence, and what are the consequences of its success?

Final Essay:

J.D. Salinger, in The Catcher in the Rye, argues that there must be a “great, great fall” ushering each of us into a world greater than that of adolescence. But what does it mean to join this village of adults?  First, drawing on your readings and class discussion, define what it is to be an adult. Then, using examples from Salinger’s novel, the 1807 version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, Barrie’s Peter and Wendy, and the film Thirteen, discuss some of the perils, both literal and symbolic, that we face as we abandon the “indolent, careless, and extravagant” identities of childhood.  Finally, discuss how your research project demonstrates the ability to transcend adolescence, give and receive “invisible gifts,” and contribute to the health of global village?

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Click here to learn more!

Join Ms. Vasquez & Mr. Firestein 

on an EF summer tour of 

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands

Summer 2021

Join Ms. Vasquez & Mr. Firestein 

on an EF summer tour of 

Ireland and Scotland

July 2020


The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Teen Repertory and More

The Human Spark
Explore the fascinating link between culture, language, and the development of the human brain, as we explore exactly what sets us apart from other animals on the planet. 
As you watch this episode, consider the relationship between the cultural, linguistically, technological, and biological development of Homo sapiens sapiens.


In addition to your required conference time, I will keep an open Office Hour every Friday at 10:00AM.  Stop by for extra help.  Click here to enter our virtual conference, hosted by Zoom.

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H English 9

H English 10

English 10

Peter Pan

AP Seminar


AP Summer Work