Students work on several formal essays, including: narration, description, process analysis, exemplification, cause and effect, comparison/contrast, definition, argumentation, and researched argumentation. Students study and respond to several literary essays from various authors, among them E. B. White, Jamaica Kincaid, and others. Short stories such as Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “A Very Old Man With Wings”, among others, are also studied.
Public speaking components reflect our reading. Special attention is paid to the study and understanding of logical fallacies. Students keep a journal in which they write directed entries, take CLOSE reading notes and the class explores the basic elements of the writing process from pre-writing to proofreading and intensive revision, and reflect on their own growth as a writer. Homework each week generally consists of one or two typed journal entries and at least one additional longer writing assignment, including formal critical essays, creative writing, and other projects and presentations.
We investigate grammar and usage as they apply to an individual’s writing. Critical thinking skills, time-management, interpersonal, and metacognitive skills are stressed throughout the course. Our classroom method encourages discussion within a co-operative workshop environment emphasizing peer feedback. Students receive informal assessment during the semester focusing upon their particular needs and submit a complete portfolio of revised work for the final grade.