Allyson Ambrose, English
On the first day of school, English teacher Allyson Ambrose handed out this restaurant review from
the New York Times to her two classes of AP Juniors. What’s unusual about the article is that every sentence
is a rhetorical question:
“How did nachos, one of the hardest dishes in the American canon to mess up, turn out so deeply unlovable?
Why augment tortilla chips with fried lasagna noodles that taste like nothing except oil? Why not bury those chips
under a properly hot and filling layer of melted cheese and jalapeños instead of dribbling them with thin needles
of pepperoni and cold gray clots of ground turkey?”
For the second year in a row, she used this scathing and funny review, which went viral when it was published in 2012, to get her students’ writing juices flowing, assigning them the task of writing their own essays composed of rhetorical sentences. “The results are fantastic!” she says, “[B]eginning the course with a recent review from the NY Times shows students that rhetoric is all around them and that analysis can
Ambrose has been teaching AP English Language at Tech since 2006. She got her MA in English Literature from Fordham University, and became a National Board Certified Teacher and Tech’s Literacy Coach. She also wrote a book for McGraw-Hill titled 5 Steps to a 5: 500 AP English Language Questions to Know by Test Day.