Writing & Rhetoric Year 4
Students taking this course continue in the trajectory of the Writing & Rhetoric series using Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison. During the first semester, students learn how to craft essays praising a virtue (an encomium) and blaming a vice (vituperation), focusing on the following skills: discerning the main idea; utilizing hyperbole and thesis; incorporating background and supportive detail, biography, and autobiography; noting the good and poor qualities present in a person or event; contrasting virtuous behavior and vice, and crafting effective conclusions that encourage readers either to emulate virtue or eschew vice. After completing the first semester, students spend approximately six weeks focusing on a research paper unit. Students will learn the seven steps to writing their own research paper: selecting a topic, getting an overview of the topic, outlining the paper, rounding up sources, taking notes, organizing note cards and completing an outline, and writing the paper while avoiding plagiarism. In the second semester, building on their skills, students develop the art of comparison, learning how to craft a comparative composition that sets two persons, events, ideas, texts, or objects side by side for assessment. In this exercise, students may either offer praise of two things paired together or praise one while criticizing the other. In learning this art of comparison, students also study elements of critical analysis, assessment, and judgment. After completion of this course, students are well on their way to becoming master writers and effective orators. For a closer look at the texts used in this course, please follow these links and click “Look Inside”: Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
- This course is designed for students who have built a strong foundation in writing and are familiar with the progymnasmata (the “preliminary exercises” on which the Writing & Rhetoric series is based). Students who have successfully completed the previous books in the Writing & Rhetoric series will be ideally prepared for this course. Incoming students should be familiar with elements of the persuasive essay (narrative, descriptive, and expository). Students should feel comfortable with discussing ideas and making connections to the text, outside reading, and life. Students will be expected to write on average one essay a week and refine the skill of annotation to become more discerning readers.
- Students should be comfortable typing essays, although neatly handwritten essays are acceptable.
- Students in this course should have a strong command of grammar and a basic understanding of syntax before enrolling.
- This course is aimed at rising 7th–8th graders. Rising 6th graders who have completed the previous level of Writing & Rhetoric are welcome, though in many cases 6th-grade students require additional support from a parent in conjunction with the course.
- If your student is new to the Writing & Rhetoric series and/or beyond 8th grade, we ask that you contact us for a placement recommendation.
For further information on the Writing & Rhetoric series, please see the Classical Academic Press FAQ page.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- With Parent Support
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
- Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
- Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
- With Parent Support
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation (Student Edition)
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 8: Comparison (Student Edition)
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation Audio Files
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 8: Comparison Audio Files
These audio files allow students to engage their sense of hearing and their listening intelligence as Greg Lowe delivers the readings aloud in a thoughtful manner.
Commonplace Journal (This can be a spiral-bound notebook, bound journal, or loose-leaf notebook.)
Mr. Belfry Optional Course Texts:
1. Additionally, some course content will utilize the text, Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft, Ph.D.
2. Papers and essays will be submitted using basic MLA formatting guides. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers — 7th Edition may be a helpful resource.
Ash White holds a BA in English and theater from Mary Baldwin University, and has taught literature, writing, and logic at the middle and secondary level for nearly 15 years. Ash is passionate about classical education and homeschooling, both of which are flourishing in the Shenandoah Valley, where she and her husband, Jon, make their home and perform in the local music and theater scene. If you visit their house, you’ll find it difficult to determine which is largest: their library or their record collection! email@example.com
Kirsten Fortier holds a BA in Education from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. The bulk of her experience comes from 18+ years of classically homeschooling four sons K-12 who have now transitioned successfully through college, into careers, and enjoying life. She has taught in various settings including at home, in co-ops, in brick-and-mortar schools, and online. Most recently she enjoyed the role as the Director of Curriculum at a small classical Christian school. She now looks forward to a part-time career teaching restfully at Scholé Academy. Her passion for classical education is especially apparent when she is developing in others a love for the humanities and all that is good, true, and beautiful. In her free time, she enjoys visiting her children and grandchildren, hiking, camping, and researching family genealogy. She and her husband live in Michigan with their two dogs, one cat, a handful of chickens, and two hives of honeybees. firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Grace Johansen is teaching Introduction to the Art of Poetry, Formal History of Poetry, Writing & Rhetoric Level 4, and Well-Ordered Language Level 1. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa., and her Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Richmond. She worked as a journalist in Washington, D.C., for over 13 years before pursuing writing and editing in all forms of media. She hopes to help inspire her students to discover the many ways they can use their own words to express themselves with truth, goodness, and beauty. Alison lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Her dedication to her faith and children influences every part of her life, from teaching Sunday school and writing a children’s picture book, to exploring the beauty of God’s world with her family. If they aren’t birdwatching and enjoying a walk outside, you might find them reading together or playing their favorite instruments: the piano, flute, guitar, ukulele, and drums! You can learn more about Alison in her Scholé Academy video and blog post about fortitude in poetry. email@example.com
Christian Herring holds a B.S in History from Western Carolina University, an M.Div from Hood Theological Seminary, and a Th.M in Church History from Liberty University. He has been teaching in a variety of settings from churches to prisons to a hybrid-model Classical Christian school, since 2005. He loves sharing his passion for history, the Bible, and great literature. His teaching philosophy revolves around reading great books, having great discussions, and writing great papers. It is his conviction that education is an essential part of discipleship, no matter what the specific subject matter is, therefore the Christian worldview brings itself to bear on all areas of study. Furthermore, all areas of study contribute to forming us into wise, virtuous, and godly human beings. Christian and his wife and four children call central North Carolina home. Mr. Herring typically enjoys a cup of hot tea during class. firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.
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Our Assistant to the Principal will be in touch with you after your enrollment to help you with next steps, including any placement evaluations that may be required for your course selections.
This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.