Course Description

This is a basic writing course that focuses on grammar and mechanics as they relate to the development of well-constructed sentences and paragraphs. The course is designed to help students improve basic writing skills and develop confidence by increasing language competency. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify specific grammatical elements and eliminate grammar errors.
  • Compose sentences in standard formal written English that demonstrate proficiency in grammar, mechanics, usage, and spelling.
  • Generate and organize ideas into paragraphs that have clear topic sentences and demonstrate a basic knowledge of paragraph unity, coherence, and development.


Description - Names

  • Prompt: Finish the thought -- When I think about my name, I think about...
    Write a paragraph that explores the meaning and significance of your name using descriptive language to illustrate.
  • Reading: "Lil Girl" by Avingnon Dugue & "My Name" excerpted from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Grammatical Focus: Apostrophes, Capitalization, Nouns, Punctuation, & Spelling

Narration - Stories

  • Prompt: Tell another person's story.
    Write a paragraph that narrates another person's story of overcoming a challenge, such as having a child at a young age, dropping out of school, getting divorced, or becoming ill. Use description and narration to create a focused snapshot of this person.
  • Reading: Humans of New York & Listening Is an Act of Love (Story Corps)
  • Grammatical Focus: Irregular versus Regular Verb Forms, Subject-Verb Agreement, and Verb Tense Consistency

Narration - Change & Influence

  • Prompt: Sometimes a negative influence creates positive change.
    Write a paragraph that narrates how a negative person or event created a positive change in your life.
  • Reading: Humans of New York & "A Change in Attitude" by Grant Berry
  • Grammatical Focus: Comma Splices & Run-on Sentences, Sentence Fragments, & Pronoun Point of View

Explanation - Muses & Music

  • Prompt: Listen to the mystery of music.
    Write a paragraph that explains the power or value that music has for humanity.  Use a song that is important to you as an example to support your main point.
  • Reading: Songs chosen by the students
  • Grammatical Focus: Commas, Parallelism, Sentence Variety

Reflection - Letters

  • Prompt: Reflect on your best work.
    Write a two-paragraph letter that evaluates through comparison your best work. Discuss the challenges you encountered while writing, and illustrate what you learned in order to overcome those challenges.
  • Grammatical Focus: Comprehensive Review - Editing Paragraphs

The Sentence

The first ten minutes of each class meeting is spent examining a sentence. Whether it be from classical or contemporary literature, song lyrics, Twitter, or advertisements, real world examples are used to spark discussions about how meaning is conveyed through word choice and arrangement. Sentences coordinate with writing topics and grammatical focus.