One of the services I would like to offer the community is an 8-week introductory writing course for students ages 11-15. Here is an outline of the course and its objectives:
Introductory Writing Course Overview
The objective of the course is to provide an introduction to the writing process. I will emphasize the importance of excellent grammar and will assign a series of short readings from the book The Elements of Style which provides useful examples of how to write using proper grammatical forms. I do not intend to devote class time to grammatical exercises but prefer that we spend our time together actually in the act of writing and sharing our work.
I would like for the students not only to write both in and outside of class but also attempt to share aloud portions of their writing during our sessions. The class is designed to be an intimate, friendly, and supportive environment where a respectful and encouraging attitude will be the rule. To help make students more comfortable sharing their work I will present my own and invite their comments and observations.
I believe that one of the most effective approaches to becoming a better writer is not the memorization of grammatical rules but through the reading of excellent literature. I encourage students to emulate writing that they enjoy. It is my intention to read and share literary passages with the class and ask the students for their opinion, relying on their critical ear and eye. The students will be provided with copies of the passages I intend to share.
Above all, I would like this course to be as enjoyable as possible. We are gathering together to learn and share our ideas. Excellent writing comes in a variety of forms and students should feel that they are not being judged either by the teacher or one another. This is simply an opportunity to acquire skills together and to sample excellent writing.
During the course we will focus on the following areas:
Week 1: Composing strong sentences using the active voice.
Week 2: Writing in the first, second, and third person.
Week 3: Writing a formal letter and/or business email.
Week 4: Composing a concise and persuasive paragraph.
Week 5: Composing a short, multi-paragraph essay.
Week 6: Writing a longer expository essay.
Week 7: Composing a short story.
Week 8: Sharing a composition completed over the course of the 8 weeks.
At the beginning of the course I will discuss the one long-term assignment to be completed over the 8 week period. This assignment, in addition to the short readings in The Elements of Style, will be the homework for the course. During the final session we will share what we have been writing.
The longer written assignment, which will be expected to be 3-5 pages in length, is to be written on a topic of the student’s choosing and may take one of several forms:
1.) A short research paper on a topic of choice
2.) A short story
3.) A cycle of poems
4.) An expository essay on a chosen topic
5.) A journal of their observations on a chosen topic
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.
Each student will be provided with a copy of this book which they can borrow for the duration of the class. If the book is not returned or is damaged, the cost will be charged to the parent/guardian.