Question Detail

How do I design an intensive writing course?

Jun 11, 2013 12:17pm

My school is adding a new English writing course intended for students who are college bound to imprve their writing and hold them at higher expectations. The course curriculum and content is up to me to design - HELP! Where can I find some good, solid, content ideas for an intensive writing course for 10th /11th graders? Common Core is coming in PA and my principal would like us to use it when writing curriculum this summer. ANY help would be appreciated.

  • English Language Arts / Other
  • 9-12
  • Assessment / Collaboration / Common Core / Differentiation / Digital Literacy / Engagement / New Teachers / Planning


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    • Jun 12, 2013 9:19pm

      You first have to start with the goals and objectives of the course: What are the skills that you want students to be able to do? What kind of writing do you want them to be able to accomplish? Is it a research paper, a non-fiction essay, a short story, a drama, a poem? is it fiction or non-fiction? Is it rhetorical or literary? It is not so much the content that matters, that unfortunately garnishes most of the teacher's time and energy, but the process by which you will get the students to their desired goals and outcomes. When I start anything, I look to concrete and measurable goals, and objectives that I expect students to achieve. The Common Core is merely a framework that assists in the development of lesson plans in the process, but the course is always driven by students' needs and their performance and production.

      • Jun 24, 2013 1:49pm


        You may find the following websites to be helpful:

        Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL):

        especially the Teacher and Tutor Resources:

        the Writing Across the Curriculum Clearinghouse:

        especially the helpful pages linked here:


        • Jun 24, 2013 1:49pm

          Student writing is likely to be most successful if it's situated within a genuine context. One example of how to do so is described by the article

          which presents a course in which writing is situated within the product design process. As they design and prototype products, they must write various documents: proposals, product reviews, etc.

          Situating writing within product design is just one (perhaps daunting) example. Use a context with which you are familiar and comfortable. For example, a much simpler context might be preparation for submission to a writing contest such as
          the essay contest for biographies of contemporary women in mathematics (hosted by the Association For Women in Mathematics):

          Good luck, and have fun!

          • Jul 13, 2013 12:26pm

            This is exciting. To start with, I believe that you must get the students writing. You will of course be teaching them proper form and technique, but before you do you must get them to write. I suspect that many students who end up in this class would be reluctant writers. Often, these writers don't write because they don't get to write about what interests them. A favorite author of mine, David Finkle, encourages the use of enthusiasm maps. He is a Middle School English Teacher, but has written two pretty amazing books on writing that I use in my 9th grade classroom. I highly recommend them. He really knows what he is doing and I have seen his classroom. His students really enjoy the process! Scholastic carries these books and they are fairly inexpensive. Something worth thought anyway.

            I have taught skills classes before. I have had great success, and I have made some mistakes along the way too. For the last several years, I have been using his techniques and I am very happy with the results I am seeing. :)



            • Jun 17, 2013 4:47pm

              Katie -
              I appreciate that! I'll be sure to look you up. I would love to see your syllabus. Unfortunately for me I never wanted to teach English, but I'm dual ceritifed and a first year teacher. This is definitely not covered in any courses in college.