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How to Determine Placement

Classes are offered at levels which correspond to readiness rather than ages.

  • Writing for Novices Students in this class tend to be younger children who have not really begun the practice of formal writing, or they are looking to become more independent in their formal writing. We focus on writing paragraphs which follow clear organizational principles and which implement a checklist of varied writing techniques. Students still working on writing sentences may not be ready from this class, or may benefit from the immersion experience. Click on WritingForNovices for more details.

  • Novice Level II Through a variety of creative assignments which explore informative, persuasive, and expressive writing formats, students continue to develop formal writing skills. See NoviceLevelII for details.

  • Writing for Apprentices Students in this class have practiced formal writing, but they have not yet found a voice and/or they want to improve the organization and sophistication of their writing. This class is ideal for students looking for a gentle introduction to formal writing, those needing to discipline their prose and, those who are reluctant writers. Click on WritingForApprentices for more details.

  • Apprentice Level II This class provides a gentle introduction to writing the five-paragraph thesis-essay, with ample opportunities to develop critical thinking and minimal research skills. Students focus on a bibliographical character of their choice, building their paper from the inside out. Topic paragraphs follow clear rubrics, while topic/concluding sentences, introductions/conclusions, eliminating passive verb constructions and proper comma use are skills developed throughout the course. Click on ApprenticeLevelII for more details.

  • Apprentice Level III This class focuses on writing persuasive essays. Some research and much critical thinking skills are used, as well as logic and rhetoric exercises. Students also learn to move from "having an opinion" to providing grounding to their position, while mastering psychologically-effective techniques to soften and persuade readers to their perspective.

  • Internet Writing for Teens This course provides a balance to academic-oriented writing, while preparing students for a dominant form of communication for the present and future. Students learn to hone, focus and target their writing to their audience. A variety of magazine-style web writing formats are presented in weekly assignments: informative, persuasive, review, biographical and how-to styles. We also explore blog-style writing as well. Students can publish pieces as well, for small earnings on Helium.com. See InternetWritingForTeens for more information.

  • SAT Essay Writing This course was designed with rubrics scorers are trained in by SAT officials. All students who've taken this class have done exceptionally well on the essay portion of the SAT. Students develop checklists for the evidence they will need to take the SAT, from classical literature and current events. They take practice tests and learn how to write an effective short essay that proximates 5-paragraph essay standards, but works perfectly for the 25-minute SAT essay. This course can be completed in 1-6 weeks, depending on the pace you need. See SATEssayWriting for more details.

  • Mastering Essay-Writing This class is taught *on-line* with continous dialogue between instructor and student through weekly (and sometimes more frequent) email communication. Students ready for such a class have done extensive formal writing, have developed their own voice, but need more help developing methods for improving organization, logical analysis, supporting arguments with solid evidence, and adding varied syntactic techniques to raise the sophistication of their writing. Essay Writing remains the focus of this class. Click on MasteringEssayWriting for more details.

  • Masters II -- Research Paper Writing This new class leads students, step-by-step, in identifying resources, breaking down resources for speedy note-taking, keyword outlining, structuring, writing, and providing sufficient supportive evidence to create a meaty research paper. Students choose their own topic, with scope and length varying based on interest or other curricular needs. Younger students complete 3-5 page papers, with older students having the option of 10-15 page research papers.

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