Writing & Rhetoric Year 4
Term: Yearlong 2018–19, September 4–May 24
Target Grade Levels: Grades 7–8; 6th graders welcome (see placement details below)
Instructor: Mrs. Schinstock
Schedule: M/W 12:30 p.m. EST, 60–75 min.
Students taking this course continue in the trajectory of the Writing & Rhetoric series using Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison. During the first semester, students learn how to craft essays praising a virtue (an encomium) and blaming a vice (vituperation), focusing on the following skills: discerning the main idea; utilizing hyperbole and thesis; incorporating background and supportive detail, biography, and autobiography; noting the good and poor qualities present in a person or event; contrasting virtuous behavior and vice; and crafting effective conclusions that encourage readers either to emulate virtue or eschew vice. After completing the first semester, students spend approximately six weeks focusing on a research paper unit. Students will learn the seven steps to writing their own research paper: selecting a topic, getting an overview of the topic, outlining the paper, rounding up sources, taking notes, organizing notecards and completing an outline, and writing the paper avoiding plagiarism. In the second semester, building on their skills, students develop the art of comparison, learning how to craft a comparative composition that sets two persons, events, ideas, texts, or objects side by side for assessment. In this exercise, students may either offer praise of two things paired together, or praise one while criticizing the other. In learning this art of comparison, students also study elements of critical analysis, assessment, and judgment. After completion of this course, students are well on their way to becoming master writers and effective orators. For a closer look at the texts used in this course, please follow these links and click “Look Inside”: Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation and Book 8: Comparison.
Syllabus: Download the 2018–19 course syllabus here.
- This course is designed for students who have built a strong foundation in writing and are familiar with the progymnasmata (the “preliminary exercises” on which the Writing & Rhetoric series is based). Students who have successfully completed the previous books in the Writing & Rhetoric series will be ideally prepared for this course. Incoming students should be familiar with elements of the persuasive essay (narrative, descriptive, and expository). Students should feel comfortable with discussing ideas and making connections to the text, outside reading, and life. Students will be expected to write on average one essay a week and refine the skill of annotation to become more discerning readers.
- Students should be comfortable typing essays, although neatly handwritten essays are acceptable.
- Students in this course should have a strong command of grammar and a basic understanding of syntax before enrolling.
- This course is aimed at rising 7th–8th graders. Rising 6th graders who have completed the previous level of Writing & Rhetoric are welcome, though in many cases 6th-grade students require additional support from a parent in conjunction with the course.
- If your student is new to the Writing & Rhetoric series and/or beyond 8th grade, we ask that you contact us for a placement recommendation.
- Scholé Academy administers placement assessments in order to get to know each student and find the best learning environment for him or her, as we seek to educate our students well and wisely. Students should print and complete the WR4 Placement Assignment to confirm proper placement in this course. Please note that registration is not finalized until the student has submitted a placement exam and received confirmation of proper placement from Mrs. Schinstock. Download the WR4 placement assignment instructions here.
For further information on the Writing & Rhetoric series, please see the Classical Academic Press FAQ page.
“Mrs. Schinstock is amazing! Her knowledge of the classical foundation to both writing and rhetoric truly shines…The scholé pedagogy is what first got me interested. How it’s integrated into the teachers and curriculum makes me confident that my son is receiving some of the best education on the planet!” —Dan Driscoll, Scholé Academy Parent
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 7: Encomium & Vituperation Audio Files
- Writing & Rhetoric Book 8: Comparison Audio Files
These audio files allow students to engage their sense of hearing and their listening intelligence as Greg Lowe delivers the readings aloud in a thoughtful manner.
Joanne Schinstock earned a BA in journalism from Creighton University and a master in humanities from the University of Dallas. After studying a year abroad focusing on Italian language and culture in Florence, Italy, she began her teaching career as a middle school classroom instructor in language arts. While working at The Highlands School (Irving, Texas), she was the co-chair of the English department and a middle- and upper-school English instructor, teaching classes that included advanced placement language and composition and journalism. The Dallas Catholic Diocese recognized Joanne as a Work of Heart Award recipient, honoring outstanding teachers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Joanne also obtained an adjunct professor of humanities position at Brookhaven College in the School of Arts and Sciences (Farmers Branch, Texas).
From classroom teaching, her interests in the profession expanded to work in curriculum writing and professional development as a consultant for primary and secondary schools in North America and Manila, Philippines. Subsequently, she worked as a language arts instructor and curriculum coordinator for a 6–12th grade all-girls charter school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her duties included work with the Tennessee Charter School Association as an advocate for students, parents, and community members engaging in advocacy for disadvantaged students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Joanne took a reprieve from teaching after seven years to give time to her children and husband. She and her husband, Brad, currently reside in Oklahoma with their children. They find joy in forging their family culture in homeschooling in the classical Christian tradition, participating in their church community, and delighting in weekend family outings. Joanne began teaching Writing & Rhetoric at Scholé Academy in 2016.
“Mrs. Schinstock excels at providing my girls with very specific and constructive feedback on their written assignments. She strikes a good balance between challenging and encouraging students.” —Brandi C., Scholé Academy Parent
“She is fantastic in leading the kids to a truly contemplative, classical approach to writing. . . She was also excellent in communicating expectations, goals, and rubrics, as well as giving timely feedback on assignments. . . We love Mrs Schinstock!” —Scholé Academy Parent
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
Please Note: This recording is a sample of Writing & Rhetoric Year 3 with Mrs. Joanne Schinstock.
from Classical Academic Press