WHA is fully committed to student mastery in writing. The following outlines and summarizes our approach to writing instruction, beginning in the 5th grade and ending in the 12th grade.

Key points about our writing approach:

  • Our primary focus is essay writing.
  • To teach essay writing is to teach thinking.
  • All students can learn to write essays with proficiency and eloquence.
  • Writing instruction is most effective when provided in a process that emphasizes ability, not just age/grade level.

Writing in Great Conversation (GC) Courses:

  1. Every GC teacher is committed to the importance of writing as part of learning how to think.
  2. Writing expectations are consistent with grade level.
  3. The GC 1 and 2 courses correspond to the level of writing instruction provided in Language Arts 3 and 4 (School of Logic level) respectively.  This writing instruction is designed to prepare students to eventually write well-formed academic essays by the end of 8th grade.
  4. The GC 3 – 6 courses require a minimum of four academic essays per year. The essay topics will increase in complexity and difficulty as the student progresses from GC 3 to GC 6.
  5. In order to reinforce key essay writing skills, students in GC 3 – 6 will also have regular “Thesis-Driven Paragraph” assignments as part of their writing grade in the course. Additionally, these courses incorporate at least two “Discussion Board” assignments per month.  While these are not formal writing assignments, students are expected to use proper grammar and style (no texting language) in their efforts to discuss with others a key topic.
  6. WHA is committed to excellence in both expository and persuasive essay writing.
  7. We believe students should be trained, not only to persuade an audience with respect to a thesis, but also to thoughtfully and effectively interpret the meaning of a particular text in ways that are relevant for a given topic.