“Keep your readers reading!” That’s the number one goal of writing, and the number one skill students will learn how to do upon completion of this beginning writing course, designed for middle schoolers and beyond. Through creative, low-stress, personally meaningful writing assignments, students will discover and develop their own voices on paper, while engaging their readers from beginning to end. Based around program author Debra Bell’s curriculum, Writers in Residence vol. 1 Apprentice, this course introduces students to building strong, descriptive sentences and clear, focused paragraphs, constructing them into interesting and informative 5-paragraph essays and fantastical short stories by the end of the year.
The variety of writing assignments and genres are what make this course so rewarding for the students. They can start this course never having written more than a paragraph and will finish this course having written creative stories, an essay, and biographies.
Over the 32-weeks of this course, our weekly online class meetings will serve as a writers’ group, where budding writers will learn and grow in their writing skills through lively group discussions, virtual skill-builders, and thematic games. Our writers’ group meetings also develop students’ presentation and public speaking skills, as writers are encouraged (never forced) to share their work with one another in this positive, encouraging, and safe environment. Assignments for the week are posted each Wednesday on our course page, with daily reading/writing homework given (approximately 30-45 minutes per day), and a weekly writing assignment due Tuesday before our next class meeting.
Homework is given each Wednesday after class, with assignments to be turned in before class the following Tuesday evening. Students can expect feedback on their work by Friday evening, the week it is turned in (Monday, for larger assignments). Final grades are based on class participation, weekly homework assignments, and major projects. I will send out a mid-year evaluation and end of year evaluation with additional parent communication as needed.
Who should enroll?
This class is geared towards middle school and junior high students, struggling writers, or older writers with little-to-no formal writing instruction/training. It is a perfect fit for creative and/or artistic students, or students who have previously struggled with a strictly formulaic writing program.
- High speed, broadband Internet
- Sound card and microphone (for live sessions)
- Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
Evaluation and Feedback
Students will receive specific feedback on their work the Friday following each class meeting. While students will not receive letter grades for their writing assignments, each weekly assignment is marked as complete or incomplete, and a numbered score provided on a reviewer’s rubric for each final draft of projects for your records. However, as your student’s writing coach, I will provide individualized instruction and guidance, as well as targeted feedback on each stage of the writing assignments, utilizing the rubrics in the course text. Emphasis on all writing will be on the strengths and weaknesses of each student’s work, encouraging personal progress and growth, with the end result being a strong writing portfolio which demonstrates excellent composition achievement for the year.
I will confirm registration with parents and provide a welcome email. All parents are welcome to join us in Canvas as observers and I respond to parents promptly via email or Canvas message.