High school English is a time for students to read literature and then synthesize all they have learned about analyzing literature into an essay. This is no easy task, and oftentimes, students are expected to produce a quality essay before they have learned how to do it. We break it down into digestible components, so students can master the concepts and skills. This is a multi-week, intensive writing class. Students will learn to write coherent, organized, and effective essays. The instructor gives authentic and constructive feedback that helps students correct their mistakes and fine-tune their skills. Some class time is used for “workshop” time, which we have found gets students going, increasing the likelihood they will complete an essay.
Each class includes explicit, direct instruction with teacher modeling. Students are guided toward mastery of multiple writing skills and understandings so that they grasp the concepts and become independent. Students are held to a high standard of academic writing, including the use of grammar and the construction of sophisticated sentences.
Students should know how to write a 5-paragraph essay and have an understanding of how to elaborate on main ideas. Two classes for building these skills are:
A. Foundations of Essay Writing:
B. Essay Essentials:
High School Writing Series:
This class is part of a series that prepares students to do dual enrollment college classes or are entering college. The series gets progressively more difficult and are scheduled in order. You can still jump in whenever you’d like! Completion of all of these classes, which takes about 6 months will cover all necessary high school writing! They make up a complete high school writing plan.
Live: Foundations of Essay Writing (5 weeks/10 classes)
Self-Paced: Essay Essentials
Live: Argumentative Writing (5 weeks/10 classes)
Live: Pen to Paper: Essential High School Writing – The Literary Analysis Essay (3 weeks/6 classes)
Live: This, That, & the Other: The Historical Research Essay / Term Paper (7 weeks/14 classes)
Live: The College Essay (4 days)
Day 1–After a review of various genres of writing, students begin to understand that literary analysis is argumentative writing. Using a short film, the instructor models the literary analysis paragraph. Then, building critical reading skills, students read and discuss a short story, analyzing it for the theme and the way the author developed the theme. After doing some pre-writing and thinking, they write a practice paragraph.
Day 2–The class reads the short story “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl, which is a high-interest horror story. Students learn the most difficult component of the essay: the introduction. They learn various techniques for hooking their readers, how to introduce their broad topic and then how to narrow it, and how to end with an effective thesis statement that stakes a claim while giving a concession. The instructor models these difficult components of the intro before they write their own introductions, all while receiving helpful feedback from the instructor.
Day 3 & 4–Students learn how to develop a body paragraph. It is here they delineate evidence and analysis. They learn to integrate their evidence, which are quotes from the literature, in a way that is coherent and flows with the rest of the text. They have workshop time to write and get support from the instructor. At this point, they are writing their body paragraphs.
Day 5–Students learn how to write a concluding paragraph that leaves their reader thinking. They do the opposite of what they did in the introduction. In the conclusion, they will broaden their topic so that their essay has a larger significance.
Day 6–Now it’s time to revise and edit the essay for word choice and sentence fluency. The instructor will teach various techniques to make students’ essays stronger with powerful word choices and unique and stylistic sentence structures. They will learn how to format an essay to follow the MLA style guide, including a Works Cited page. Students also learn the importance of the revision and editing process using editing technology.
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