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College Writing Curriculum Guide Summary

I.   Name of Course:  College Writing

II. Description of Course:

 College Writing is designed for students to develop their writing skill in a community of writers.  Students write, share, rewrite, talk about writing and write about writing.  They collect their observations and ideas in a journal and collect their writing in folders and portfolios.  At the end of each quarter students assess their effort, growth and progress toward their personal goals.  The activities in the course address student attitudes toward writing and learning as well as present specific techniques, strategies and processes for students to use in developing their own writing and their own pieces of writing.

III. Course Objectives:

Students will:
A. develop a positive attitude towards writing and themselves as writers;
B. develop skills and techniques they can use for beginning, revising and editing writing that serves a variety of purposes and audiences;
C. develop revision skills, stamina and an appreciation of the art of revision;
D. develop the ability to assess their own writing and the writing of others;
E. keep a journal that reflects their own writing processes, learning experiences and personal growth;
F. produce a portfolio of writing that reflects writing skill and growth;
G. produce at least four pieces of effective writing;
H. write at least one personal essay, one persuasive essay, one poem or short story and one nonfiction research-based article;
I. develop into more independent writers.

IV. Course Content:

College Writing is a writing workshop.  Students will write in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes including daily journals, exacting self-evaluations, notes, essays, short stories, poems and research articles.  Four or five pieces of writing in different forms will be developed in three to four week units that culminate in whole class or large group readarounds.  Forms include personal essay, persuasive essay, nonfiction feature news article, poetry and short story.  Each unit will consist of mini-lessons, reading and discussion of models, conferences and other writing activities. Students will analyze the effective strategies, techniques and topics of each model, and begin drafts incorporating those elements into their own work.  The most promising drafts will be shared in small group conferences, revised and edited.  The course is driven by a journal in which each student will write daily as homework.  The journal is a collection of each student's writing and thinking for the semester  including all drafts of papers and the self-evaluations.  Entries in the beginning are teacher-assigned exploring student strengths, weaknesses and processes.  They gradually become student-assigned as the students develop a sense of themselves as independent writers. Students will complete an extensive self-evaluation each quarter assessing their performance for class participation, journals, progress toward goals and portfolios according to clearly defined rubrics.  The product of the course is a portfolio that demonstrates each student's progress toward his or her goals.  Students must meet deadlines for all assignments

V. Assessment:

Each quarter students complete the aforementioned self-evaluation to assess their performance, giving themselves a grade for each area and overall, and justifying each grades.  Rubrics describing the criteria for each grade in each area are provided or developed.  The three areas assessed are Class Participation (25% of the grade), Journal (25%) and Progress Toward Goals (50%).

Final grades are determined by the teacher using criteria in the rubrics, student self-evaluations and evidence from the class, the journals and the portfolios.  The assessment focuses on improvement, production and participation.

VI. Course Materials

The course materials are student journals, other student writing, teacher-selected materials and student-selected materials that illustrate effective writing strategies and techniques.  Skill and/or technique oriented articles include "That Crucial First Draft", "What Dialogue Can Do For Your Story", "How Not to Write a Sentence", "Shaping the Short Story" and "Revising Your Fiction Manuscript".

Exemplary models are shared and discussion centers around ideas or techniques students could use in their own writing.  These models were written by both published writers and former College Writing students. Essays include "The Philosopher", "The Crane" and "Even Homeowners Need Heroes".  Short stories include "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", "Thank You, M'am"and "Say Yes".  Persuasive essays include "I am Not a Camera", "Three Years Gone" and "Reaffirm the Affirmative".  The nonfiction articles include "Fifteen", "Crime and Punishment", "You Could Die", and "A Silk Chute Wedding".

These articles and models change as more effective models are discovered or different students' needs arise.  These handouts serve as the text of the course and should be saved in a file or notebook.

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