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JHS English Composition

This course teaches the student to be a discerning reader by focusing on writing skills- the ability to compose a simple, standard
academic essay complete with cited research and devoid of grammar and spelling errors.

What's In This Class?

This class is lecture and discussion-based, with an emphasis on being able to effectively communicate observations and
thoughts. The core principle of writing is to promote understanding, and students will be challenged to improve the quality of
their writing by making it more accessible without compromising their academic integrity.

This class is based around on effective reading, writing, and listening skills. This includes developing strategies for research,
brainstorming, peer review and effective criticism, avoiding intellectual traps, narrative structure for nonfiction writing, and the
revision process.

Class Goals:

 To improve and develop skills in both reading and writing through the insightful analysis of texts.
 To learn various forms of rhetoric and argumentation that will be the basis of their writing and debate.
 To improve skills in reading, composition, rhetoric, listening, speaking, grammar, usage, vocabulary, and spelling.
 To promote an environment of academic integrity and pride in workmanship.
 To analyze and improve individual writing and reading by keeping an ongoing portfolio of work.

Desired Student Outcomes:

 Students will use Objective Tone: no direct references to the 3 “R's” -- reader (you, etc.); writer (I, etc.); or
writing (this quote; in this essay; etc.)
 Students will avoid unnecessary repetition of words or phrases, as with “chaining” (echoing previous sentences
in subsequent sentences)
 Students will construct topic sentences that contain general ideas and support thesis statements in essays.
 Students will provide supporting details that are specific and relevant to topic sentences.
 Students will analyze and interpret their supporting details in an effort to explain and validate their argu ments.
 Students will develop and explain ideas that create a convincing argument that is clear and sound throughout.
 Students will construct paragraphs that are clearly and logically ordered.
 Students will construct sentence structure that is varied and enhances style.
 Students will construct paragraphs that include smooth transitions.
 Students will construct paragraphs that flow well from paragraph to paragraph.
 Students will construct a Final paragraph that provides closure.


Students will study and practice the description, and exposition modes of writing. Extensive time will be spent on the
development, organization, and clear articulation of student ideas and analysis. Students will also continue to search for
authentic voice, expand stylistic techniques, and refine grammatical and writing skills.

Language Building

Students will focus on writing different sentence types in order to strengthen their writing styles. Targeted lessons about
various conventions in writing (such as run-on sentences and sentence fragments) will be given as deemed
necessary from their writing samples. Students will build their working vocabulary through a study of the challenging words
they encounter in the course, as their independent reading, as well as from selections given by the teacher.

Due to the fact that my classes will have ready access to computers each day, students will be conducting research projects of
various lengths throughout the quarter. They will learn how to evaluate the validity of sources as well as how to incorporate
new ideas into projects and essays without plagiarizing.

Policy on Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of the words, facts, ideas, or opinions of someone else without specific acknowledgement of their source.
It is the attempt-deliberate or unintentional-to pass off as one’s own what in fact has been borrowed. To fail to indicate
sources of information and/or to fail to identify them constitutes plagiarism. Any work which has been plagiarized will receive a
0 and the student will forfeit the right to re-do the assignment for credit. Academic dishonesty in any form will not be

Classwork & Homework (25% of total grade)

This category might include all work begun and/or completed in class, warm-ups, class discussions, group activities, Socratic
Seminar sessions, student journals, participation and other assigned tasks. Class notes also serve as Classwork assignment –
students are expected to take notes in Cornell format. In order to encourage this method’s widespread use, extra credit will be
awarded to students who use this method in other classes as well.

Assessments (35% of total grade)

This category might include tests, quizzes, presentations, projects and quarterly or unit assessments. These may include written
analyses, expository papers, research assignments, public speaking tasks, or formalized debates.

Final Project or Exam (40% of total grade)

This category deals with the final comprehensive project or exam, including any performance, written, or other project-specific
tasks throughout the class, such as benchmark assessments.
JHS Composition Scope and Sequence
With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen
writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach,
*Active Reading Sills
focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
Section One *Active Listening Skills
*Peer Editing and Collaboration Skills
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present
the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact
and collaborate with others.
*The 5-paragraph Structure
Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated
Section Two *The Types of Writing
question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused
*Crafting an Introduction
questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.A Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the
claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2.A Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow;
organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include
formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when
useful to aiding comprehension.
*Introducing Claims
Section Three CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.8
*Credibility in Research
Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search
terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or
paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and
following a standard format for citation.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection,
and research.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.A Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the
claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.B Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant
evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of
the topic or text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2.B Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts,
definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
*Presenting Claims in a Logical Order CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2.C Use appropriate and varied transitions to create
Section Four *Providing Relevant and Concrete Details cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
*Transitioning Words and Phrases CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.3.C Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses
to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and
show the relationships among experiences and events.
Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language
to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection,
and research.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.C Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and
clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
*Punctuation and Grammar
Section Five Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the
*Creating a Formal Tone
Establish and maintain a formal style.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.1.E Provide a concluding statement or section that follows
from and supports the argument presented.
Section Six *Writing an Effective Conclusion CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.2.F
Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the
information or explanation presented.