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Rhetoric Thesis

Enrollment and Placement

To help ensure that students enroll in the correct course levels, Scholé Academy requires many students to complete placement evaluations. Placement evaluations are only provided to students after the corresponding course registration has been completed. A placement assessment will be required in the following situations:

  • if the student falls outside of the stated age/grade range for the class.
  • if the student needs to demonstrate a certain level of skill and proficiency for the course.
  • if the student has completed prerequisite requirements somewhere other than Scholé Academy (e.g., at home or with another school). In this case, our instructors will need to verify that the student has adequately fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.
  • if a placement assessment has been recommended by a Scholé Academy instructor.

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. Parents are encouraged to connect with the Scholé Academy Principal and/or with the course instructor to make the best enrollment decision for their student.

Registration is not finalized until the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.

There is a $75 deposit built into the cost of each course.

  • Withdrawals requested before May 1 are granted a full refund, including the full $75 deposit.
  • On May 1 and before July 31 withdrawals are granted a full tuition refund less the $75 deposit.
  • On August 1 and before the drop/add deadline, withdrawals are granted a ½ tuition refund

View our full assessment policies and enrollment and withdrawal policies in the Student-Parent Handbook.

Rhetoric Thesis: For purposes of clarity, this course should not only be considered for high school seniors, but also for any student wanting to write a substantial thesis and corresponding speech for delivery.

Rhetoric Thesis prepares students to meet the challenges of college-level writing in the liberal arts tradition. The thesis paper is the culmination of classical students’ high school scholarship, as it provides an opportunity for them to showcase not only their content knowledge but also their ability to engage persuasively in “the Great Conversation.” The thesis process—from the initial stage of finding a topic to the final day of presentation—is a jungle within which many students quickly find themselves lost. This course is a step-by-step guide that leads students through the process of writing a thesis paper, helping them avoid the typical false starts and dead ends of the journey. The course instructor walks alongside students as they engage in the challenging task of preparing and presenting a thoughtful, original response to an issue. Grounded in classical rhetorical theory, this course guides students through the 5 canons of rhetoric, piece by piece, as they write the 6 sections of their oratio. Students will ultimately become thinkers who can combine their wit, wisdom, eloquence, reason, and ethics for future writing endeavors.

Placement: Please read about our new process above.

  • Students should have a working knowledge and familiarity with the informal fallacies (a good preparation would be Scholé Academy’s Informal Logic course or The Art of Argument text).
  • Students should be able to apply the principles of formal argument construction (along the lines of Scholé Academy’s Formal Logic course or The Discovery of Deduction text; also, Scholé Academy’s Persuasive Writing course or The Argument Builder text).
  • Students must have completed Rhetoric 1 or an equivalent course studying the nature of rhetoric for the modern student; the common topics; the rhetoric processes of invention, arrangement, and style; and a wide range of schemes and tropes.
  • Students enrolling in this course should also be proficient in the use of MLA writing standards, employing those standards consistently in their own writing when necessary. This style manual is widely accepted for college students and academics, and beginning to adhere to writing standards is essential for college-bound students.

High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in speech and debate, composition, or language arts.

Student Expectations:
This course is suitable for high school students, and particularly (although not exclusively) for 12th graders. To be successful in this course, you will need to have a few pre-requisite skills. Make sure each of these descriptions is true of you. If you aren’t sure, let’s talk, and I can help make sure the course will be a good fit.

  • Reads at or above a tenth-grade level.
  • Composes essays with confidence
  • Successfully completed Rhetoric I through Scholé Academy or has comparable experience in classical rhetoric
  • Listens, take notes, and is willing to engage in group discussions (extroversion not required!)
  • Capable of guided, independent reading and research
  • Types sufficiently well to transcribe a lengthy essay without frustration
  • Possesses basic computer skills—browsing, accessing assignments, scanning, e-mailing, and managing files
  • Has the intellectual and spiritual maturity to entertain opinions that are contrary to his or her own established beliefs

Q: Why do students need a thesis?
A: Dr. Alyssan Barnes, author of the Rhetoric Alive! series, addresses this question in her article From Sophomore to Senior: Why Students Need the Senior Thesis.

 

At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.

Syllabus

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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.

Schoology

  • Mastered
    • Be able to manage Schoology assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Schoology 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 Schoology discussion boards.
    • Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Schoology messaging.
    • Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.

Writing

  • Mastered
    • 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 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 build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
    • Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
    • Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Reading

  • Mastered
    • 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 listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.

Typing

  • Mastered
    • Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
    • Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
    • 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.

In-Class

  • Mastered
    • 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.
    • Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
    • 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.
    • Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.

Study

  • Mastered
    • Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
    • 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.).

Math Skills

  • Developing
    • After the instructor has provided instructions – the student should be able to use Wacom tablet (or other like iPad) to actively solve math problems during class, viewable to the instructor on Ziteboard.
  • Mastered
    • Understand that arriving at the correct answer is not the goal of mathematics review and practice, but rather understand that consistent application of the correct processes are the goals of review and practice.
    • Be able to deductively apply content and previously learned mathematics skills and processes to the understanding of newly introduced content.

*Required Texts:

Rhetoric Alive! Senior Thesis: Student Workbook: ISBN-13: 978-1600513572

Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln: ISBN-13: 978-0761563518

*Optional, Supplementary Texts:

Writing with Clarity and Style: 2nd Edition  ISBN-13: 978-1138560093; ISBN-10: 113856009X

Office of Assertion: An Art of Rhetoric for the Academic Essay: ISBN-13: 978-1932236453; ISBN-10: 1932236457

MLA Handbook, 8th Edition ISBN-13: 978-1603292627; ISBN-10: 1603292624**

Turabian Handbook, 9th edition  ISBN-13: 978-0226430577: ISBN-10: 022643057X**

APA Handbook, 7th edition  ISBN-13: 978-1433832734: ISBN-10: 433832739**

 

*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.

**Different subjects require different citation methods. Depending on what topic the students individually chooses, I will show them the appropriate citation methods. Once the student decides on a particular method, I will recommend they purchase that book, however it is not required.

Andy Newman calls western Nebraska home, that borderland where Midwest and West shake hands. There he has taught literature, composition, history, journalism, and the humanities for twenty years at the high school and college levels. His mind and heart have longed been pulled toward classical Christian education. And he is as excited as he is thankful to now be fully in its orbit and looks forward to working with students in the humanities, rhetoric, and logic.

His education is varied, having earned master’s degrees in history and English from the University of Wyoming and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, respectively. Most recently, he earned a MTh in Applied Orthodox Theology from the Antiochian House of Studies and a MA in Biblical Theology from John Paul the Great Catholic University and, in Fall of 2021, completed his coursework for the PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University and has moved onto the dissertation. A tonsured Reader, he is involved in parish ministry at Assumption Orthodox Christian Church, in Bayard, Nebraska, and is in the process to be ordained to the priesthood. a.newman.scholeacademy@gmail.com

 

Red checkmarkComputer: 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.

Red checkmarkHigh-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.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: 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

Red checkmarkZoom: 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. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

 

  1. Visit zoom.us/download.
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.

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Explore our courses!

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.

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