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Grammar for Writers

J. Swartwout Sprague High School

Course Description: Grammar for writers is a combined writing and language course
designed to acquaint you with a more detailed understanding of the structure of English
and how to use this understanding to improve your writing skills at the sentence level.
Concerned not only with so-called correctness in writing, we will seek in this class to
make conscious those rhetorical decisions we make intuitively when we write. By so
doing, we become empowered to make rhetorical choices that strengthen writing and
give us an increased sense of control. The course will NOT consist of eighteen weeks of
textbook drills and rules, but a carefully guided exploration of the grammar found in real
writing in the real worldincluding your own! In addition to the application of grammar
to writing, the class will explore grammar as an academic subject in its own right,
analyzing the ways in which speakers of English generate sentences and how our
language has changed over time and in different regions.
Grammar for Writers counts one-half credit toward your writing, English or elective
graduation requirement.

Textbook: Doing Grammar, by Max Morenberg. No need to check this out; well have a set
in the classroom to use as needed. Also, youll be taking lots of notes in class as well, so
in a sense, youll be writing your own textbook as the semester progresses!

Goals of the Course:

Identify the parts of speech, their forms and functions
Analyze sentences for constituent elements such as clauses, phrases, modifiers,
and complements
Develop sentence sense through wide reading
Punctuate sentences according to accepted conventions
Make verbs agree with their subjects
Use conventions for punctuating subordinate clauses
Combine sentences
Expand your syntactic repertoire in order to write more sophisticated and
rhetorically effective sentences
Arrange and rearrange sentence elements for readability and effectiveness
Experiment with punctuation for clarity and style

Major Topics:
Basic grammatical concepts
Parts of speech
Subjects & predicates
Style through sentence combining and sentence generating (embedding and
Introduction to transformational grammar (optional)

Assessment: Your grade will be based on a straight percentage from points earned on the
following types of assignments: tests, quizzes, homework, outside reading, and writing

Attendance: Although it scarcely needs saying, your performance in this class relies
heavily upon your physical presence in the classroom. To help motivate you in attending
class, the following rules have been adopted:
1. No make up work is allowed for unexcused absences.
2. Worked missed because of excused absences needs to be made up in a timely
manner. Talk to your teacher before or after your absence and arrange for a
mutually agreed upon date for turning in the work.

Special Needs: Classroom activities are differentiated to meet the needs of all students.
TAG students, and anyone seeking an extra challenge, are encouraged to explore
concepts in depth via independent study and additional tiers built onto regular
assignments. Students with IEPs will be provided accommodations according to their
IEP. If you feel additional accommodations are needed, please let me and your case
manager know.

Academic Integrity: All work is expected to be your own. When you submit any
assignment, journal, exercise, or test, it should be an original work containing your
thoughts and ideas. Submitting another persons work (even in part) without
appropriate citation constitutes cheating and you will not receive credit for the
assignment. Likewise, if you assist in the process of cheating your assignment will also
be held to the same standards and consequences.
Violations of academic honesty include, but are not limited to the following:
plagiarism, collusion, cheating, falsification, alteration, multiple submission, sabotage,
and tampering. Please see the school web site for definitions of these terms. It is the
students responsibility to ensure their compliance with the terms of academic honesty.
When in doubt, first check with your teacher.

Office Hours: My prep periods are 1st and 5th. I am also available after school and at the
email address above. Please do not hesitate to seek me out for help; thats what Im here


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