A Sample Syllabus for Sections 1-4

Jensen's Format WritingFirst I should say that we used Jensen's Format Writing for 2 school years. The sample syllabus on this page is very much like the one that I used with my children during the first year that we used Jensen's Format Writing. The work covers 32 weeks of a school year. The schedule is not jammed packed and will allow you to assign work in other areas of language arts.

If you've never made a syllabus for your student, you could try it with this class. I think it is good for an older student to have experience with following a syllabus.

What is usually in a Syllabus?

The following lists items that could be in a syllabus. The information in parenthesis are examples.

  1. Class Title (English II, Algebra I, ...)
  2. If this class is not home-based- Instructors name and contact information.
  3. School Term and Year, or just school year if this is a year long class. (Spring 2014 or 2013-14)
  4. If consistent throughout the year, the typical class day and time (Mondays and Thursdays 9:00-9:50)
  5. Text(s) needed for the class.
    this class is not home-based- the list of books and materials should be explicit, stating the book's edition and published date, and possibly its ISBN. If the syllabus is for an art class, then be certain to clearly state in great detail what sort of paper and materials that the student must acquire for the class. Explicitly defining materials saves everyone involved time and money.
  6. Course Description
  7. Course Objectives
  8. Grading Scale - two examples below for detailed grading scales see: Homeschooling: High School GPA
    ( A=94-100; B=86-93; C=77-85; D=70-76; F=below 70 )
    ( A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-69; F=below 60 )

In the syllabus you will clearly lay out certain policies that the student must follow. To get an idea of what sort of policies that you might include, look at the two sample schedules that are in the back of Jensen's Format Writing.

Schedule: First I made a broad weekly syllabus and you can see part of it here: Jensen's Format Writing -Syllabus for Sections 1-4 This syllabus assigns the parts of the book that I wanted my student to work on during the year. It is broad in that it is weekly and does not list assignment due dates. A broad syllabus is not enough for this class. You will need to evaluate essays and you cannot get behind on this. When you make a more detailed class schedule, one that contains assignment days, you will have to decide how many paragraphs and essays to assign a week and the due dates. Be certain that you allow yourself time to grade the work and get back to your student.

A Sample Syllabus for Sections 1-4

English Class Notebook
Using a notebook to hold all of the work and other relevant papers is optional. When my daughter did this class I used a thin 3-ring binder. I made a special composition paper to be used for some of the work. In the notebook, I added my class requirements, a calendar, a lesson plan, and any other parts of her English class that could be placed in a 3-ring binder.

The Weekly Schedule

Section 1: Single Paragraph Formats

This section teaches the formats of seven types of paragraphs. We will spend 9 weeks on this section.

Week one: Introductory Week
During this week, cover the material from To the Student to Good Paragraph Practices

Week Two: Continuity Exercises
During this week, go over Continuity in Writing and the Continuity Exercises

During the following seven weeks, the student will learn about each of the seven formats. At this point, decide if the student will complete two or three paragraphs per format. As suggested in To the Teacher, page 6-10, allow for time between each paragraph so that you may evaluate the paragraph and offer feedback to the student before the student completes the next paragraph. I opted for two paragraphs each week because of the work load on my daughter in other parts of English. Tip: Use the errors to assign grammar and style lessons.

Week Three: The Example Paragraph

Week Four: The Classification Paragraph

Week Five: The Definition Paragraph

Week Six: The Process Paragraph

Week Seven: The Analogy Paragraph

Week Eight: The Cause & Effect Paragraph

Week Nine: The Comparison Paragraph

--- End of Section One ---

Section 2: 5-Paragraph Essay Formats

Add ruled paper to the notebook for the students exercises, notes, and brainstorming for the essays. Final essays must be typed and double-spaced. Essays must be turned in by the due date. Essays turned in are considered final work and the grade issued will be the grade recorded. Students must study teachers notation on returned essays and learn from the remarks. We will spend 12 weeks on Section 2.

Week Ten: Introductory Week
During this week, go over Elements of a Five Paragraph Essay (pg 34), Thesis Statements (35-36), If student does not understand parallelism in writing, assign grammar lessons on parallelism for the remainder of the week.
See for parallelism: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/parallelism.htm
See for parallelism: http://donnayoung.org/english/composition/parallelism-in-writing.htm
See for unbiased language: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/unbiased.htm

Week Eleven: Thesis Statement
During this week complete the thesis statement exercises, review Thesis Statements (35-36) if necessary.

Week Twelve: Introductory Paragraph
During this week, go over Introductory Paragraphs (pg 40) and do the Introductory Paragraph exercises

Week Thirteen: Concluding Paragraphs and Transitions
During this week, go over Concluding Paragraphs (pg 44) and Transitions (pg 48) and do the Concluding Paragraphs exercises.
For more on transitions see: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/transitions.htm

Week Fourteen: Body Paragraph, Seven Sentence exercises
During this week, go over Body Paragraph Construction (pg 49) and do exercise #1
Go over, Seven Sentence Skeleton (pg50-51) and do exercises.
Go over Five Paragraph Essays (pg53), and Five paragraphs Essays: General Guidelines (pg 54).

Generally, the students should turn in one essay per format. Decide if you want the week to start on Wednesday as the author did (To the Teacher) or on another day. Decide on essay due dates. The author uses a Wednesday to introduce the format and Monday as the due date. I use Monday to introduce and Thursday, before class, as the due date. I check the essay on Thursday and I go over the errors with the student on Friday.

Week Fifteen: The Example Essay

Week Sixteen: The Classification Essay

Week Seventeen: The Definition Essay

Week Eighteen: The Process Essay

Week Nineteen: The Analogy Essay

Week Twenty: The Cause & Effect Essay

Week Twenty-one: The Comparison Essay

--- End of Section Two ---

Section Three: Practical Applications

This section explains how to use the 5-paragraph essay format to write three different types of book reports. If you would prefer to assign 3 books for this class, then plan to spend at least 6 weeks using 2 weeks per book report. You will need to assign the following 3 book types: historical fiction, biography, and general fiction. Remind student to take notes as explained in Book Reports (pg 77-79). Book report due date should be made known to student.

Weeks 22-23: Go over Book Reports (pg 77-79), Historical Fiction Book Report Guide (pg 80), and assign a Historical Fiction book.

Weeks 24-25: Go over Five Paragraph Book Report Biography (pg 81) and assign a biography.

Weeks 26-27: Go over Fiction Book Report Guide (pg 82) and assign a fiction book.
On the last day of the last week go over Test Questions (pg 83).

--- End of Section Three ---

Quick Essay Practice for those who plan to take the SAT. See: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/prep_one/essay/pracStart.html for more information and sample essays

Weeks 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32: At the beginning of English class assign an essay topic and require the essay due in 25 minutes. Note: these essays should be first draft quality. Evaluate the essays on how well the student has developed his point of view...ex. logical sequence, language usage. Do this once a week

Section Four: Business Writing

This section explains how to write several types of business letters and a resume. The syllabus below assumes a 3-day week due to assigned quick essay practice above and another day assigned to tasks regarding other parts of language arts such as grammar, literature, and vocabulary

Week 28: Go over page 86 and practice setting up a letter template on your word processor. On another day during week 28, go over and discuss all points made on page 87. Look over the examples on page 88-89 and do the assignment on page 89

Week 29: This week go over pages 90-94 and do all assignments

Weeks 30-31: Use the next two weeks to go over pages 95-103 and do all assignments.

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