In this course, students will learn writing in conjunction with critical thinking and speaking. Fun in-class learning activities and time to share their creative works truly nurtures a joy of writing! Students will be taught through incremental steps, first by reading and enjoying beautiful writing, then by imitating lovely writing, then playing with writing to make it their own, and finally, standing on their own two feet with their own original writing.
During the first semester, students will study and continue to grow in the development of the art of persuasive writing and oration. In addition to guiding students through the writing of their own essays of praise and criticism, this semester also leads students step by step through a research project about a fascinating person. While students are learning about a remarkable life, they will also be learning how to learn. This research is achievable and the natural next step as students gain the skills of reading a variety of texts on a research subject, taking notes, creating an essay from these notes, and citing their sources.
Second semester, students will be writing well-crafted, six-paragraph expository essays comparing two subjects. Comparisons can be made between people, historical events, ideas, inventions, animals, foods—just about anything, really. The purpose of these essays is to analyze two subjects and use this comparison to demonstrate similarities and differences between them. In these essays, students will be making use of a range of writing skills, including the ability to inform, to describe, to narrate, and to analyze.
Using books 7 & 8 of Classical Academic Press’s “Writing and Rhetoric” curriculum, students will learn to:
· Discern the main idea
· Use hyperbole and thesis
· Incorporate background and supportive detail
· Understand the difference between the genres of biography and autobiography
· Note the good and poor qualities present in a person or event
· Contrast different behaviors after weighing their merits
· Craft effective conclusions that encourage readers either to emulate or avoid specific behaviors
· Learn to write a research paper in all its parts, including making notecards, outlining, integrating sources, and citing sources
· Compare subjects of American history from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression of the 1930s
· Use topic sentences for organizing paragraphs and information
· Create analogies for powerful appeals to emotion
· Incorporate supportive facts, details, and quotations
· Annotate texts and write brief narrative overviews
· Craft effective conclusions that encourage curiosity for future study
· Work on delivery in public speaking—volume, pacing, and inflection
· Build copiousness through sentence variety and rhetorical devices, including analogy, simile, metaphor, chiasma, hypophora, parallelism, and anastrophe
· Engage in group discussions that foster critical thinking
· Improve essays using oration as an aid to revision