Writing is one of the most important and essential skills a student can learn. Students who can organize their ideas and analyze well have a huge educational advantage. This is a class for students who already write paragraphs and short essays well and are ready to move on to longer persuasive essays. This class will take students step by step through the process of creating a strong essay. Students will begin by learning (or reviewing) the basic five paragraph essay structure and then expand their ideas with even longer essays. We’ll begin at the beginning, by learning how to create an engaging introduction that clarifies the overall topic and provides a strong and focused thesis. We’ll then create body paragraphs that develop specific topic sentences and provide details to support our arguments. We’ll work on how to transition between different points and then create a thoughtful conclusion that ties it all together. This class will use engaging and thought provoking argumentative topics to help elicit strong writing from students. We’ll use these to practice developing our ideas and then organizing them into strong persuasive essays. Students will gain valuable experience planning, drafting and revising their essays. By the end of the semester, each student will have completed a special “writing project portfolio” containing their polished essays. Students will definitely work hard in this class and do a lot of writing. There will be weekly homework assignments, in addition to our in class work, to provide students with lots of opportunities to hone their skills. We will use a Roundtable Writers’ Workshop format to look at essays together as a class so students can also learn about the reactions their writing elicits from others. Writing is, first and foremost, communication, so we’ll look at both ends of that transaction: the writer and the reader. Whether you want to prepare for the type of writing you’ll need to master for high school success, or just want to practice your persuasive writing skills, this is the class for you. Everyone will need access to a word processing program to aid with the revision process, so students who don’t have strong typing skills may also wish to participate in the Keyboarding Class this semester.