Writing & Rhetoric Year 5
Think of the progymnasmata as a step-by-step apprenticeship in the art of writing and rhetoric. In Writing & Rhetoric Year 5, students build on the sturdy foundation they have developed through the progym exercises in the Writing & Rhetoric series. In this course, students continue honing the art of persuasive writing and speaking with Book 9: Description & Impersonation and Book 10: Thesis Part 1. In the first semester of Year 5, students encounter description, which emphasizes the use of vivid language to describe people, nature, and processes. They also study impersonation, which introduces the modes of persuasion as a means of imitating the writing style and outlook of four famous individuals: journalist Nellie Bly, writer Henry Williamson, athlete Jesse Owens, and statesman Winston Churchill. In the second semester, students begin a formal study of the thesis essay, which is the culmination of the progymnasmata as it deploys every skill that came before to make the strongest case for an idea. In preparation for the final thesis essay, the class enjoys two weeks of readings and Socratic dialog considering the question “What is Beauty?” Throughout this course, students will strengthen and refine their skills in reading and annotation, discussion, composition, and delivery. Specific areas of focus include the modes of persuasion (pathos, ethos, and logos) and the use of various rhetorical devices.
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in English composition.
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 their essays.
- In addition to a strong command of grammar and syntax, students entering Writing & Rhetoric Year 5 should have an understanding of various rhetorical devices including contrary, synonym, hyperbole, metaphor, simile, periphrasis, anacolutha, and parallelism, with a mature vocabulary comprehension that is reflected in their writing style. Students writing at this level are comfortable with self-assessment and revising their own work according to rubrics and the like.
- This course is geared toward rising 8th–9th graders. Rising 7th graders who have completed the previous level of Writing & Rhetoric are welcome, though in many cases 7th-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 9th 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.
- 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 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 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 responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- 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 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 build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- 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 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 listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- 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 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 questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- 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 paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- 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 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.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- 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 responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- 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.).
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 9: Description & Impersonation (Student Edition)
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 10: Thesis Part 1 (Student Edition)
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Writing & Rhetoric Book 9: Description & Impersonation 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.
Allen Rushing has always loved story, and that love only grew when, at the age of 14, the Lord saved him. Since then he has joyfully studied the truth, beauty, and goodness of The Story found in Scripture and reflected in the great works, from Dante’s Divine Comedy to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. One of the delights of The Story is taking the time to delve deeply into it, which is why the “restful” philosophy of Scholé is so appealing to Allen. One of the reasons such an approach is natural for him is because of the way he was homeschooled K-12 in the Classical Christian educational tradition. Allen was able to expand on this solid spiritual and educational foundation through his undergraduate degree in Classics with a History focus; in the process of earning this degree, he enjoyed taking classes in Classical Latin, Koine Greek, Literature, Philosophy, and Theology. While in graduate school, he was able to broaden his historical knowledge base, gaining a greater understanding of Western civilization as a whole and focusing particularly on the periods of the Greco-Roman world, Late Antiquity, medieval period, twentieth century world history, the World Wars, and the Cold War. Since graduate school, Allen has taught the humanities from a biblical worldview. Some of Allen’s favorite ways of enjoying the adventure upon which the Lord has set him are reading, writing, building his house, climbing trees, playing ping pong, and spending time with his wife and two children. 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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This registration will be finalized when the student's placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.