Writing & Rhetoric A (Honors)

How can I share my ideas clearly and persuasively in the 21st Century?

Why Take This Course?

Writing A - Honors focuses on clearly expressing ideas.

Writing A – Honors focuses on clearly expressing ideas.

This course is designed to help you prepare to share your ideas clearly and persuasively in the 21st Century. To help you do so, this course focuses on two skill sets. The first is a skill set that revolves around seven foundational skills. The second is an emerging skill set that is proving relevant and essential in our time.

Foundational Skills

In this course, you will write persuasive and informational essays, although the course assumes you already know how to write five-paragraph essays. You will also learn how to develop your unique voice and creativity in academic essays, and we will read and discuss literature. This semester also focuses on developing speech and debate skills, recognizing the need for sophisticated spoken word techniques. Finally, you will begin to learn the craft of writing for blogs, websites, social media, and other modern venues.

This course will help you acquire seven foundational writing skills. You will be taught each skill in a live course, practice the skill in multiple small assignments, and apply the skill in each graded essay in the course. Your success is contingent on learning and correctly applying each of these skills. When you master these skills, you will be equipped to write engagingly and effectively throughout high school, college, and life. Mentors will provide you with an overview of these skills at the beginning of the course, and regularly remind you how what you are learning throughout the semester ties back into one or more of these skills. These skills are at the heart of this course, and you will be provided the feedback and support you need to master them.

Each of the assignment types used in this course is built around one or more of these foundational skills:

  1. Critical Thinking: I know how to think critically and express unique thoughts.
  2. Usage: I use proper grammar, mechanics, and spelling.
  3. Structure: I express my ideas in an organized manner that is well-suited to the genre.
  4. Style: I use language tools that add depth and interest to my writing.
  5. Voice: I learn what makes my voice unique, and I express my ideas in my own unique voice.
  6. Formatting: I learn and apply the MLA guidelines (or other applicable guidelines) for formatting and documentation.
  7. Research: I conduct research and synthesize multiple sources to drive my provable points.
  8. Rhetoric and Debate: I use appropriate rhetorical devices in speech and debate.

21st Century Skills

The world is shifting around us, and while many foundational writing skills are still relevant, an emerging skill set is becoming increasingly important, including but not limited to the following:

  • Quickly find relevant information online
  • Evaluate online information for credibility, accuracy, reasonableness, and support
  • Understand how and why modern media messages are constructed
  • Understand and utilize the most appropriate media creation tools
  • Use technology to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information
  • Use communication and networking tools and social networks appropriately to access and share information
  • Incorporate feedback effectively; deal positively with praise and criticism
  • Respect cultural differences and work effectively with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds

Williamsburg’s Honors Writing course is designed to help students gain both the foundational and emerging skill sets needed to succeed and lead in the 21st Century.

In this course, you will write persuasive and informational essays, although the course assumes you already know how to write five-paragraph essays. You will also learn how to develop your unique voice and creativity in academic essays, and we will read and discuss literature. Finally, you will begin to learn the craft of writing for blogs, websites, social media, and other modern venues.

Course Framework

Unit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4
How do I recognize and analyze other writers’ voices while developing my own?How do I craft an effective persuasive essay and an engaging persuasive speech?How do I craft innovative writing using 21st century genres?How do I craft an effective informative essay and an engaging informative speech?
Why is it critical that I receive and incorporate feedback on my writing? How do I do so?What is a five-paragraph essay? When will I need to craft five-paragraph essays in high school and college?What are 21st century genres?Why do effective and engaging writers perform research? How do I use research to develop my thesis?
Why is creative collaboration so important to a solitary skill like writing?How should research guide the position I take in my persuasive essay?
How do I select a topic for my persuasive essay that is neither too broad nor too narrow in scope?
How do I evaluate the characteristics of 21st century genres and determine best practices?How is the tone and style of an Informative Essay different from a Persuasive Essay?
How do I analyze a writer’s voice and use these insights to develop my own voice?What is a thesis statement? How do I construct an effective and engaging thesis?What are examples of 21st century genres?
Who are these genres’ intended audience?
How do I select a topic about which I am truly passionate?
What is rhetoric and how do I use it as a writer?How do I write a strong Introductory Paragraph?
How do I use a Dramatic Opener? How do I construct minor arguments that strongly support my thesis?
How do I craft 21st century genres? What writing techniques can I use?How can I use an outline to guide the development of body paragraphs that support my thesis?
How do I respond to an essay prompt related to a reading? How can I respond to an essay prompt effectively?How do I write a strong, well-crafted Final Clincher sentence?How do I appropriately develop my own writing style through 21st century genres?How do I quote other sources, directly and indirectly, without plagiarizing?
Why should I identify my audience? How can I adapt my writing tone and style to be uniquely compelling for my unique audience?How do I write a strong Conclusion Paragraph?What are the most important grammar and usage skills and how can I master them?How do I document my sources using correct MLA format?
What are the four writing personas and which one do I use most often?How do I properly format an essay according to MLA?How can I most effectively edit my own writing?How do I craft an informative speech that is both interesting and educational?
How can I use my understanding of the four writing personas to influence my writing style for specific audiences?How do I effectively translate an essay into a short, persuasive speech? What rhetorical skills will make my speech engaging and compelling?How can I receive feedback on my writing with a “growth mindset” instead of a “fixed mindset”? How can I give my peers feedback that is meaningful and constructive?
How do I develop and identify my own unique ideas, and craft my own arguments to support my thesis?How can oracy skills make me a more effective communicator?

Texts and Materials Students Must Purchase

AuthorTitle
Diana Pavlac GlyerBandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings
James C HumeSpeak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln
Various - Provided by mentorEssays and Short Stories

Details

  • Recommended Grade: 9th (Freshman)
  • Prerequisites: None - **
  • Versions & Estimated Weekly Hours: Classic: 4 Hours / Honors: 6 Hours
  • Format: Live
  • Credits: 0.5
 

**Students will complete a placement assessment during the first week of class to ensure they are in the writing course appropriate to their skill level.

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