High School Essay Writing Workshop

Rationale
In the Middle and High School Essay Writing Workshops, students turn off their phones and turn on their brains to the world of reading, writing and critical thinking. An intensive one-week summer program designed to help students master the components of reading comprehension and analytical essay writing, the workshop is based on years of real classroom experience about how teenagers actually learn and engage with the language arts.

Who Should Attend?
Whether your student devours complex reading texts and is highly verbal, or approaches
stories and writing assignments with reluctance and a lack of confidence, the program
offers differentiated, personalized instruction for a range of learners. Expect your student to be
pushed to reach new skill and thinking levels.

Curriculum (subject to change):
Monday:  The Perfect Paragraph
Introduction to the “perfect paragraph.”  Students will read a short excerpt from a work of fiction and then write a perfect paragraph response, using the template provided.  Instructor will provide immediate feedback and review for students all components of the perfect paragraph, including how to identify a theme.  Homework:  Read an assigned short story and type a perfect paragraph in response to the story (teacher provides writing prompt).

Tuesday:  “Jewel” Quote Selection and Analysis
Students will build on the perfect paragraph and practice the skills of picking a “jewel quote” in response to literature and writing compelling analysis of that quote.  Emphasis will be placed on moving beyond plot summary and learning to focus on the author’s themes and literary devices.  Homework:  Read an assigned short story and select three jewel quotes related to the author’s theme in the story.  

Wednesday:  The 4-Step Opening Argument and Outlining
Introduction to the four-step opening argument with visuals, guided practice and exemplars.  Students will use this opening argument format for their formal five-paragraph essay.  Homework:    Read a new text and select three jewel quotes in service to the author’s theme.

Thursday:  Rough Drafts and Revision
Students will write a two-paragraph rough draft of an analytical essay in-class with teacher’s ongoing feedback and review based on the short story assigned as homework.    Emphasis will be placed on using the perfect paragraph format, jewel quotes and analysis that relates to the thesis.   Homework:  Type complete rough draft.

Friday:  Final Drafts and Writer’s Conferences
Students will peer edit final drafts and attend individualized writer’s conference meetings with instruction (and parent if requested).  Teacher will give each attendee an individualized rubric for review during their next year in middle or high school.

Instructor: Lucy Filppu, English Teacher, Palo Alto High School
Contact: pawritingacademy@gmail.com