Students in Fundamentals of Academic Writing practice the trajectory of the writing process from prewriting, drafting, revising and editing to final submission by mastering the skills of the first three canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement and elocution. Not only do students gain greater proficiency in the art of writing well-crafted sentences, coherent paragraphs and well-structured expository and argumentative essays, they also practice strategic reading, summarizing and paraphrasing textual evidence and embedding quotes. In addition, they learn to properly document both print and online sources using the MLA system. A variety of excellent fiction and non-fiction sources provide the content for student writing assignments.
Topics include: comprehensive sentence analysis, including parts of speech, parts of a sentence, and phrases and clauses; poetry appreciation and poetic devices; imitative writing; using scholarly sources and the topics of invention; avoiding plagiarism; selecting and properly citing effective textual evidence; crafting meaningful analytical connections; constructing effective expository and argumentative thesis-driven essays with emphasis on mastering the component parts of introductory, body and concluding paragraphs; and editing for correct MLA format, arrangement, grammar, mechanics and usage.
Prerequisites: While a basic understanding of grammatical conventions is a course prerequisite, the class spends time clarifying and reviewing various grammatical conventions/usage for the sake of clearer writing
Homework Habits: Students typically spend 3-4 hours a week on grammar and writing assignments.
Suggested Grade Level: 9, especially for high school students new to Wilson Hill composition or LA 4 students needing more confidence and practice