Writing Workshop

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Course Description:

In Writing Workshop, we will practice writing for the college level – exploring the process of personal, informative, and persuasive writing as well as the principles of good writing in general, including grammar. Class time will be divided into specific, focused writing and brainstorming tasks (independent work time), mini-lessons on different aspects of the writing craft, and peer revision and feedback. Each unit will culminate in a different type of essay: a personal narrative that can be adapted for college applications, an informative essay for which you will either write a how-to-article, a profile of an individual, or a report on a topic of interest, a persuasive essay where you’ll write a position paper on a controversial issue you are passionate about, and a rhetorical analysis essay in which you will analyze the rhetorical techniques of author Ta-Nehisi Coates. For samples and advice on craft and process, we will rely on the textbook, Writing: A Guide for College and Beyond.

Essential questions to be explored include: What is worth writing about? What makes a good subject? What qualities make feedback useful to a writer? How does reading help you to become a better writer? What can you do when you feel stuck with your writing? What are some approaches to generating ideas, drafting, and revising? What approaches do you like best? What are the essential components of a personal narrative? How do writers determine which sources are credible and useful in a research paper? What makes a good thesis statement? Conclusion? Intro? What strategies help you develop the patience and focus needed for an in-depth research paper? What issues do you care about passionately?

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GCAA School Wide Standards

  • As a school we have established a set of basic expectations that all of us are held accountable to. You are expected to follow these rules everyday. The GCAA School Wide Standards are:
  1. Report to class on time and attend all classes regularly.
  2. Accept responsibility for your learning:
    • Complete homework assignments.
    • Bring required materials to class each day.
    • Be attentive in class and listen, speak and discuss when appropriate.
    • Be open to acquiring and using new knowledge. Connect what you learn in one place to that which you learn in another.
  3. Respect the teacher’s position as leader in the classroom:
    • Follow the teacher’s direction.
    • Adhere to individual classroom guidelines.
    • Be positive about learning.
    • Build strong relationships with teachers and other students.
  4. Respect the authority of any adult in the building:
    • Comply with the directions and requests of any adult in the building, whether or not you know them.
    • Learn to value the dignity and worth of all individuals in the school community.
  5. Be considerate to and respectful of others:
    • Refrain from teasing, interrupting, or criticizing others.
    • Refrain from using vulgar or obscene language.
    • Refrain from acting out anger and frustration through fighting or other inappropriate behaviors. \
  1. Be considerate to and respectful of others CONTINUED:
    • Keep all food and drinks in the cafeteria except when authorized by a teacher and take responsibility for any wrappers, etc. of food eaten between classes.
  2. Cooperate with the specific rules of the school:
    • Dress in appropriate attire which does not distract or offend others (see Dress Code section of handbook).
    • Refrain from running in the halls, speaking loudly and banging lockers while classes are in progress.
    • Assume responsibility and accept consequences for your own behavior.
  3. Ask for help when you need it.
    • Your teachers, counselors, and administrators are here to help you; your activity sponsors and older students are resources.
  4. Respect the rights of others, especially to learn, by not creating excessive disruption in the halls, library, cafeteria and other common areas.
    • Obey the laws of society, including prohibitions against assault, theft, vandalism, possession of illegal substances and possession of weapons.

To honor and integrate the GCAA School Wide Standards into our classroom, we will adhere to the following rules in Musical Theatre Lit:

Listen the first time.
Follow classroom procedures.
Ask for help when you need it.
Express yourself in appropriate ways.
Come on time; come prepared.

Course Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply writing strategies to generate ideas for essays, outlines, and first drafts.
  • Apply revision strategies to make more specific and intentional choices regarding structure and language in your essays.
  • Analyze the choices made by your peers and provide specific, focused, helpful feedback.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of published essays.
  • Research credible sources and take efficient notes.
  • Create a correctly formatted Works Cited page according to MLA format and cite sources correctly in your paper.
  • Follow conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

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Instructional Materials
The following materials and supplies will be needed daily:

Writing: A Guide for College and Beyond, by Lester Faigley
Three ring binder provided by the student for looseleaf paper and handouts
Pens and pencils

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Unit I: Personal Narrative

Essential Questions: What is worth writing about? What makes a good subject? What qualities make feedback useful to a writer? How does reading help you to become a better writer? What can you do when you feel stuck with your writing? What are some approaches to generating ideas, drafting, and revising? What approaches do you like best? What are the essential components of a personal narrative?

At the end of this unit, you will be able to: analyze the choices made by your peers and provide specific, focused, helpful feedback, create vivid and gripping imagery in your personal narratives, apply the building blocks of narrative to write a personal narrative essay, apply writing strategies to generate ideas for narratives, outlines, and first drafts, apply revision strategies to make more specific and intentional choices regarding structure and language in your narratives, and follow conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation in the final draft of your personal narrative.

Your end-of-unit project will be a personal narrative essay that you can adapt for college applications.

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Unit II: Informative Essay

Essential questions: What is worth writing about? What makes a good subject? What qualities make feedback useful to a writer? How does reading help you to become a better writer? What can you do when you feel stuck with your writing? What are some approaches to generating ideas, drafting, and revising? What approaches do you like best? What are different types of informative essays? How do writers determine which sources are credible and useful in a research paper? Why use MLA format? What is its value? What is the structure of an informative essay?

At the end of this unit, you will be able to: recall the components of good informative essays, recall several different types of informative essays, analyze the effectiveness of published informative essays, apply writing strategies to generate ideas for essays, outlines, and first drafts, analyze the choices made by your peers and provide specific, focused, helpful feedback, apply revision strategies to make more specific and intentional choices regarding structure and language in your essays, evaluate sample thesis statements and write your own thesis statements for an informative essay, research credible sources and take efficient notes, create a correctly formatted Works Cited page according to MLA format, cite sources correctly in your paper according to MLA format, craft strong, engaging introductions and conclusions to your informative essay, transition effectively between different ideas, organizing the body of your paper in a logical manner, and follow conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation in the final draft of your informative essay.

Your end-of-unit assignment will be: write a 5-6 page informative essay that is either a how-to-article, a profile of an individual, or a report on a topic of interest.

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Unit III: Persuasive Essay 

Essential Questions: What issues do you care about passionately? What qualities make feedback useful to a writer? How does reading help you to become a better writer? What can you do when you feel stuck with your writing? What are some approaches to generating ideas, drafting, and revising? What approaches do you like best? What are the qualities of a well-written position paper? How can you determine the most compelling evidence to support your position? How can you determine what are credible and useful sources? Why use MLA format? What is the value? What makes a good thesis statement? Conclusion? Intro? What strategies help you develop the patience and focus needed for an in-depth research paper?

 At the end of this unit, you will be able to: recall the different types of persuasive essays, recall the criteria of good position papers, analyze published position papers for the aforementioned criteria and create a reverse outline, identify a controversial issue that you are passionate about and can make interesting to outside readers, determine at least five credible sources and take effective, efficient notes to help you develop ideas for your paper, compose a thesis statement that takes a clear stand on a controversial issue, create a working outline that organizes your ideas for your paper, support your thesis statement with well-researched evidence and explanations, create an accurately formatted Works Cited page according to MLA format, cite sources accurately in the body of your paper according to MLA format, focus in-class during timed periods of writing and revision, provide specific, constructive feedback to your peers about how to improve your position papers, apply your peers’ and instructor’s feedback to significantly revise your work, and follow conventions of grammar, spelling, and punctuation in the final draft of your persuasive essay.

Your end-of-unit assignment will be to: write a 5-6 page position paper about a controversial issue of your choice incorporating at least five sources.

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Unit IV: Rhetorical Analysis 

Essential Questions: What is rhetoric, logos, ethos, and pathos? How does reading help you to become a better writer? What are your options when you feel stuck with your writing? What are the qualities of a well-written rhetorical analysis? What are the essential components of a rhetorical analysis? What is the process to complete a close reading analysis? What does a thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis look like? What is the standard structure of a rhetorical analysis?

At the end of this unit, you will be able to: recall the definition of rhetoric, ethos, pathos, and logos, analyze published essays for ethos, pathos, and logos, recall the essential components of a rhetorical analysis and apply these components in your own rhetorical analysis essay, analyze the structure and effectiveness of published rhetorical analysis essays, perform a close reading of a text, effectively integrate quotes from your text into your rhetorical analysis essay, create a working outline of your rhetorical analysis essay, focus and refocus during in-class drafting and revision activities, revise and rewrite your rhetorical analysis essay to fit peer and instructor feedback

Your end-of-unit assignment will be to: write a five-paragraph, thesis driven rhetorical analysis essay about Between the World and Me or “The Case for Reparations.”

Grading and Evaluation:
The following is a breakdown of semester one grading according to GCAA policy:

Homework: 10%
Classroom Assignments & Formative Assessments: 30%
Summative Assessment: 60%

Absence Policy

Your attendance in this class is crucial to your learning. If you miss class due to an excused absence, please check in with me during the next class period about what you missed. The work that you missed will be promptly due the following class period; after that it is considered late and credit will be docked. We won’t talk about missed work at the beginning of class; I will give you a packet of any missed work with your name on it that you can review independently after your warm up. Then, during independent work time, we’ll discuss your questions. If you miss class due to an unexcused absence, we will need to have a conversation about your circumstances to determine if your work can be accepted.

Late Work Policy

Work that is turned in by the end of the school day on the day it is due will be given full credit. Otherwise all late work is 30% off (docked 3 letter grades).

School wide Grading Scale:

A       90-100%
B       80-89.9%
C       70-79.9%
D       60-69.9%
F       0-59% 

School wide Plagiarism Policy:

Rationale

GCAA values academic integrity and honesty. They are fundamental to the teaching and learning process. Teachers and administrators have the full expectation that all work be entirely the result of the student’s own efforts. Plagiarism, cheating or other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Collaboration and cooperation are not the same as cheating or plagiarism. Teachers will inform students when collaboration is an acceptable option. The determination that a student has engaged in academic dishonesty will be based on specific evidence provided by the classroom teacher or other supervising individual. Students found to have engaged in academic dishonesty will be subject to disciplinary action at the classroom and/or building level, specified in the plagiarism policy that follows.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty (not exhaustive)

  • Copying someone else’s homework and/or giving your work to another to be copied
  • Working together on a take-home test or homework unless specifically allowed by the teacher
  • Looking at another student’s paper during an exam
  • Looking at your notes when prohibited
  • Taking an exam out of the classroom unless specifically allowed (either in person or by using electronic means)
  • Using notes or other outside information on an exam unless specifically allowed
  • Giving someone answers to exam questions during the exam
  • Passing test information from an earlier class to a later class
  • Giving or selling a paper or class work to another student
  • Quoting text or other works on a paper or homework without citing the source
  • Handing in a paper purchased from a term paper service or from the Internet
  • Handing in another’s paper as your own
  • Taking a paper from an organization’s files and handing it in as your own
  • Changing a test, a paper, and claiming it had been graded incorrectly
  • Presenting another student’s work as your own

Examples of Acceptable Behavior in the Creative Process

  • Discussing the assignment with others for clarification
  • Discussing ideas and details for understanding
  • Exchanging drafts of work for critical peer response
  • Participating in classroom activities pertaining to the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing and publishing

Consequences of Plagiarism

  1. Whenever a teacher reasonably believes, based upon significant evidence, that a student has plagiarized part or all of an assignment or infringed upon copyright protection, the teacher shall evaluate the nature and extent of the plagiarism or copyright infringement, advise the student of the existence of the violation, and state the penalties to which the student may be subject:
  • Indicate in writing to the student and the student’s parents, with a brief statement of the circumstances, that the teacher has a reasonable belief that the student has engaged in a violation.
  • Require the student to rework the assignment entirely, using his/her own ideas and style.
  • Refer the student to the proper school authority for any additional counseling or discipline consistent with any other policy of GCAA.
  1. Whenever a teacher reasonably believes, based on significant evidence, that a student has knowingly assisted another student in plagiarizing part or all of an assignment, the teacher will evaluate the nature and extent of the assignment lent to the student who plagiarized and inform the student that he/she may be subject to the following penalties:
  • Indicate in writing to the student and the student’s parents, with a brief statement of the circumstances, that the teacher has a reasonable belief that the student assisted another student in plagiarizing.
  • Refer the student to the proper school authority for any additional counseling or discipline consistent with any other policy of GCAA.
  • In addition to disciplining the student according to the provisions of the policy, the teacher will continue to emphasize to the student the value of honest authorship.
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