Comp - Semester Plan for Comp 12

This what what my school used as an entire Composition 12 semester plan. It was revised before I left the school, but a school just starting a comp class or someone homeschooling might benefit. If I can find all assignments and link to them, it might not be too bad.

Composition 12, Revision The Common Core Standards call for proficiency in writing in three genres: argumentative, informative/explanatory, and narrative writing. The Comp 12 plan meets student learning needs in these areas.  Composition 12 also teaches and reinforces the Six Traits of writing and the writing process, so instruction and assessment should combine the language of the Six Traits, the writing process, and the Common Core Standards.


Unit 1 (6 days*): Warm-Up Writings—

ü  Purpose is to assess student strengths/weaknesses (check for paragraphing structure, grammar issues, fluency, idea development,  etc.)

ü  to explore the various genres of writing, and 

ü  to give daily feedback and allow time for revision so students are acclimated to the workshop environment in which revision is an important part of the process.


One type a day (short pieces): descriptive, read article and summarize, read article and respond at some length, make a claim and support it, tell an anecdote, explain something. . . (up to you).


Unit 2 (7-8 days): Who Am I? (2 pages)

ü  Purpose is to focus on the ideas, organization, and voice traits**, to get to know students, and to continue to introduce them to the entire writing process by assisting them with brainstorming, giving them time for drafting and revision (after teacher, peer, and/or Writing Center review) and editing.


Students focus on one thing about themselves (an event, an object, a

character trait or pattern of choices, . . .) and explain how that shows who they are.


Unit 3 (5 days): College Application Essay (in spring, the College Scholarship Essay) (length: that given by the college/scholarship of student’s choice. The UW prompt is below, fyi. Note: there is no length recommended for the UW essay; 500 words or so might be what students would shoot for.)

ü  Focus on the ideas, organization, and voice traits, adding word choice** (Core Standard: “Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters”). Note more formal voice than “Who Am I.”

ü  Continue process. Last year, Cyndy and Erin did not read papers until students had been to the Writing Center*** and, then, had revised. I, Liz, may do quick reads of these early papers to see if students are on track as far as ideas and organization. Later in the semester, I may also only read papers after the student has revised it following a Wr. Center conference. Last year, if students finished revising ahead of deadline, Erin read their papers and allowed them to revise again before she graded the paper. Note also, Erin and Cyndy did not use peer review as peer advice was inconsistent and not necessarily accurate. One other successful practice from last year: Erin (and perhaps Cyndy and Cheri) took a “revision break” after students had completed three papers, giving them several days (3-4) to make revisions based upon her comments on the graded papers. She didn’t revise the grade but that is something I, Liz, might do. (When I look at the number of days that we have for each essay, I do not necessarily see time for these “revision breaks.” Let’s play with this schedule and idea.)


 Prompt for all UW schools: “Please provide any additional information that can help us accurately evaluate this application. If you are aware of personal characteristics or circumstances (e.g., work experience, leadership qualities, motivation, community service, special talents, evidence of socio-economic disadvantage, etc.) that may help us make a more informed admission decision, please let us know.”


Unit 4 (10 days): “Convince Me” (2+ pages)

Students pick an issue, take a position and argue it. Students would work on fluency as well as all other of the Six Traits.

This is a new essay, so we can work on this together. This is not necessarily a research-based essay. Criteria for this piece would be to meet the 11-12 Grade Level Common Core Standard #1:

1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

a. Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

b. Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

c. Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.


Unit 5 (20 days): Research-Based Argument (4-5 pages)

Students are guided through a systematic, step-by-step research process so as to meet the following Common Core Writing Standards, along with Standard #1 (above):

7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

8.Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and over-reliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

o    Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

o    Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

o    Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

o    Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.

o    Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

o    Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).


Unit 6 (10 days): Personal Narrative (3-5 pages)

Students write about a critical moment (or pattern of critical moments) and end with a developed reflection. Warm ups for this piece may be a description freewrite and dialogue practice. Students should meet Common Core Standard #3:

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

o    Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

o    Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

o    Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution).

o    Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

o    Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.


Unit 7 (10 days): Explain It!/Inform Me! (2-3 pages)

Students explain/inform about a topic (may be cross-curricular—tech/science/social science). This may be a process analysis or a piece explaining something or informing. The goal is meet Standard #2. Students should make the significance of their topic clear, answering the question (implicit in their writing): why do we want to know this? Students should use commentary and voice to make this piece interesting. Students may use diagrams,  headings, graphics, etc. (See Standard #2.)

Self-Evaluation (1+ pages) and Portfolio Due on December 16/May 10 (We can revise these dates, but all comp students need to have the same date.)

Portfolios include all pieces all drafts of all pieces. Students should go to the Writing Center with pieces they decide to “showcase” for the portfolio.

Units 8 and 9 are the final exam. In the past, students have come to the final exam day only if they were not finished with the business/creative writing. I will let you know early in the semester whether students need to be physically in class during the final exam time or not.

Unit 8 (3-4 days): Business Writing: resume, cover letter, letter of complaint, memo, thank you letter, . . .

Unit 9 (13 or so days): Creative Writing: a One Act Play (10 pages)


Grading Scale from last year:

All papers were scored out of 10 points; Writing Center conference was worth 5 points. For every day late, 1 point was deducted from the paper grade.

The semester grade break-down looks like this: Writing Center conferences: 10%; paper grades: 25% paper grades; 50% portfolio; 15% final exam