9th & 10th Grade Composition

Composition – 9th & 10th





Summer Hamblin




Course Description

We will cover the final three stages of the Progymnasmata during this course: Characterization, Description, and Thesis and Law. During the Characterization Stage we will learn to imitate the character of a given person and develop a writing style that is clear and concise yet rich in its delivery. Subsequently, we will study the Description Stage. The object of this Stage is to acquire the skill of vividly communicating descriptions of people, things, times, and places. From here we will progress to the final Thesis and Law Stage. According to Selby, this Stage teaches us two new skills: how to write a “logical investigation” and how to “compose an advocacy for legislation and an opposition to legislation.” The styles of each Stage will be practiced by completing several Characterization, Description, Thesis, and Law essays. Advanced application of the concepts will be accomplished by responding to college application essay prompts in each writing style. Finally, we will complete a comprehensive research project including a research proposal, annotated bibliography, outline, essay, and presentation.

Expectations & Guidelines

  1. You and your parent(s) are expected to read this syllabus in its entirety, sign it, and come to the first day of class with it signed and in your binder.
  2. We will foster a respectful learning environment and be kind to each other when commenting or peer reviewing work.
  3. You will bring your Composition binder, homework, and writing utensil to every class meeting.
  4. All handouts and returned essays must be kept in an organized manner in the Composition binder.
  5. You are required to write and submit your own original work. Paraphrasing, quoting, or summarizing other sources without proper MLA citations will not be tolerated. Duplication of your own work without prior instructor approval is also a form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism or cheating will result in a zero for the assignment. More than one instance of plagiarism or cheating will result in a referral to the Board and may lead to expulsion from the course.
  6. Due dates are clearly stated on the syllabus. You are required to turn in paper copies of your work on the due date. I will not accept emailed copies without prior communication with your parent.
  7. Late work will be penalized one letter grade per week. Missing work without a parent’s verbal excuse will result in a zero for that assignment. Failing to turn in work more than 25% of the time will result in a referral to the Board.
  8. If we have a class cancellation or I miss a week, a revised syllabus will be emailed to you prior to the next week; otherwise, follow the attached schedule.
  9. If you have any questions during the week, please text or email me. I will respond as soon as my schedule allows.

Required Materials

Composition Binder

Classical Composition: Characterization Stage           9781615383740            

Classical Composition: Description Stage                   9781615383764            

Classical Composition: Thesis and Law Stage              9781615383788            

MLA: The Easy Way                                                      978-1935356523           


Characterization, Description, and Thesis & Law Stages                                              Total Points

            Quizzes (3)                                10 points each                                                             30

            Peer Reviewed Essays (9)       20 points each                                                             180

            Final Essays (12)                       40 points each                                                             480


Research Project

            Research Proposal                   40 points                                                                     40       

            Annot. Bibliography                  40 points                                                                     40

            Outline                                         40 points                                                                     40

            Rough Draft                                50 points                                                                     50

            Final Draft                                 100 points                                                                   100

            Presentation                              40 points                                                                     40

                                                                                                                                1000 possible points

Peer Reviewed Essays will be evaluated line by line and corrected in class so that you know what to do on the next week’s Final Essay.


Because I know life happens, you start out with 20 “My Teacher Loves Me Points” to use for failed or missing Quizzes or Peer Reviewed Essay. (I know! Isn’t that outstandingly generous of me?!) Please note that the final essays and the research project requirements are NOT eligible for the MTLM Points. If you finish the year with Points still in your possession, you will receive those Points as extra credit! (You’re welcome.)


WeekDateLessonAssignment Due
18/17/2018Appendix: (pp.59-60)Read A’s Introduction and Four Sentence Types – Quiz!
28/24/2018Lesson 2: ParalyticPathetic Characterization Due – Peer Reviewed
38/31/2018Lesson 3: AntigonePathetic Characterization Due
49/7/2018Lesson 4: XerxesEthical Characterization Due – Peer Reviewed
59/14/2018Lesson 5: RuthEthical Characterization Due
69/21/2018Lesson 6: JudasMixed Characterization Due – Peer Reviewed
79/28/2018College Application Essay PromptCharacterization essay due: What did YOU say when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure? How did it affect you, and what did you learn?
810/5/2018Appendix: L. 9 (p. 69)Read A’s Introduction – Quiz!
910/19/2018Lesson 2: Familiar PlaceDescription of Place Due – Peer Reviewed
1010/26/2018Lesson 3: Dream HomeDescription of Place Due
1111/2/2018Lesson 4: Breaking DayDescription of Time Due – Peer Reviewed
1211/9/2018Lesson 5: SeasonDescription of Time Due
1311/16/2018Lesson 6: PersonDescription of a Particular Person Due – Peer Reviewed
1411/30/2018Lesson 7: PersonDescription of a Type of Person Due
1512/7/2018Lesson 8: ThingDescription of a Particular Event Due
 Christmas Break  
161/4/2019College Application Essay PromptDescription essay due: Describe a topic, idea, or concept that captivates you. 
171/11/2019Appendix: (pp. 125-126)Read A’s Introduction – Quiz!
181/18/2019Lesson 2: HomeschoolThesis Essay Due – Peer Reviewed
191/25/2019Lesson 4: RichThesis Essay Due
202/1/2019Lesson 5: AdversityThesis Essay Due
212/8/2019Lesson 10: JaywalkingApproval for a Law Due – Peer Reviewed
222/15/2019Lesson 11: JaywalkingDisapproval for a Law Due – Peer Reviewed
233/1/2019Lesson 12: Your choiceApproval for a Law of Your Choice Due
243/8/2019Lesson 13: Your choiceDisapproval for a Law of Your Choice Due
253/22/2019pp. 1-4Complete Steps 1-2 
263/29/2019p. 5Complete Steps 3-4: Research Proposal Due
274/5/2019p. 6Complete Step 5: Annotated Bib. Due (6 sources min.)
284/12/2019p. 6Complete Step 6: Outline Due
294/19/2019p. 7Complete Step 7: Researched Argument Essay Rough Draft Due
304/26/2019p. 7 (and p. 357-363)Revise
315/3/2019p. 7Researched Argument Essay FINAL Due AND Five-minute Presentations In Class
325/10/2019 Five-minute Presentations In Class!