Introduction to Composition

Main Focus:  This is an introductory writing course that will teach IEW Principles and essay writing

Teacher/Mentor:  Laura Lee

Course Length: Two Semesters

Type of Class: Group class through Heart Academy

When: Fridays:  1:45-3:00 Period 4

Class Fee Payable to Mentor-Teacher: $70/month

Credits:  10 credits of English

Materials Fee:  $15 one time

Minimum & Maximum Class Size: 3 and 10

Questions:   Laura Lee

Course Description – Students will learn style techniques and basic essay structures and strategies. We will work through the Institute for Excellence in Writing Structure and Style techniques the first semester.  Unlike many creative writing programs, this more classical system stresses modeling and builds a firm foundation of specific skills. As students practice each format and master each technique, they develop confidence and consequently creativity. Junior & high school students will see instant improvement in their written communication.  During the second semester, students will go from report writing to writing an elegant academic essay.  Piece by piece, I will walk students through the entire essay-building process using The Elegant Essay. From captivating introductions, to compelling descriptions and convincing conclusions, students learn to bring their words and their arguments to life. With explanation and practice exercises, it is an excellent extension and refinement of IEW Unit VIII.  Students will write different types of academic essays (such as persuasive, comparison/contrast, descriptive, and cause/effect essays) on a variety of subjects and prompts, while practicing the style techniques from the first semester.



Good, basic sentence writing skills including identification of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, use of basic technology applications, and a willingness to learn.

Students will need to type their assignments.


Assessment System

Each assignment will have an evaluation rubric showing the student’s success in meeting the requirements of each assignment.  Each semester, these will be presented to the parent as a total percentage by category and aggregate, with a list of material covered, which may be used as a record of accomplishment for students planning to attend college, and to help you ascertain grades for your report cards.  The student name, course, date of completion, and instructor signature are also included. The basis for this assessment will be the following items (this is an approximate breakdown and may be subject to change):

Weekly Essays and Revisions: 85%

In-Class Effort, Activities, Discussion, and Participation: 15%

Parent involvement in discussion and evaluation of students’ work is strongly encouraged. I will be available to parents as needed, to assist in evaluating performance against priorities, to answer questions, or simply to be a sounding board for discussion. I want to do everything I can to assist you in this endeavor.

Required Texts and Materials List:

The Elegant Essay by Lesha Myers,Third Edition (please bring every week)

Binder 8 ½ X 11, 2 inches deep

College ruled paper

Notebook dividers (set of 5) including sections labeled:


Word Banks

Notes (college ruled paper)

Completed Assignments

Portable hole punch (these fit onto the binder posts)

ZIP POCKET, which fits into the binder, containing:

Writing implements – at least 4

Your binder is not to be inspected or graded in any way.  However, creating and maintaining an orderly system will serve you well throughout the busy year ahead.  Set yourself up to be successful!

Course Requirements

An assignment will be given each week consisting of some reading and writing varying in length and detail as we learn new skills and the curriculum dictates.  Students will also turn in corrections to the previous week’s assignment.  The commitment requested of each student is to be on time, on task, and on track.  By on time we mean to convey the import of showing respect to your class by both arriving in a timely fashion and being prepared for class with your completed assignments.  By on task we request that you come ready to work, putting distractions aside so we can all glean the most benefit from our time together.  By “on track” we intend for you to understand that everything we learn in this course goes together and, thus, remembering and practicing techniques learned in previous lessons will help you to be successful.  If you do these things with an attitude of diligence, then you will grow as a writer.


Attendance:  Once-weekly classes means that our time is precious.  Please let the instructor know, as soon as you know, if you are planning an absence so we can discuss what you would like to do about the assignments.  Make every effort to be there with a head, heart, and hand ready to learn.

Classroom Expectations:  Although there will be teaching times during class, there will also be interactive practicums.  Please review standard classroom behavior with your student, stressing that they will be expected to follow along with what we are doing without distracting, or being distracted by others.  Class time is meant to be a peak learning experience, augmenting the important work done at home.  Student success can be assured in direct proportion to the effort they expend. Students will be encouraged to apply what they learn in class immediately and repeatedly.