Work at your own pace through this high school writing curriculum themed around the nonfiction book Outliers.
|Start / End Dates||Self-Paced (Start Any Time)|
|Enrollment||$40 per student|
High School Writing with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers
Writing is a lot easier when you have something to say, and that’s why integrated reading and writing experiences are such a valuable way to build complementary skills. This class pairs Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers with high school writing instruction to create an interesting, robust educational experience.
Who gets to determine what makes someone “successful”? That’s the question at the heart of Outliers, which pushes readers to question their own assumptions about success and explores the topic through some fascinating real-life examples. Along the way, learners will write four, multi-draft papers themed around the readings. Learners will build skills in personal reflection, persuasive writing, close textual analysis, synthesizing ideas from multiple sources, and drawing connections between pop culture and the reading.
Typically, around 3-5 hours of work per week over 12 weeks.
All course materials are available from Day 1 in this self-paced option, but it is broken into suggested weekly units that span 12 weeks. Following this schedule allows for time to revise drafts of papers, but it can be adjusted to meet learners’ needs or accommodate disruptions in the schedule.
What We’ll Cover
In each weekly unit, learners will receive the materials they need for that week’s classes. These include reading guides, quizzes, informal writing prompts, formal paper prompts, writing tips, and links to supplemental readings. There is also a facilitator’s section that includes tips on giving feedback and advice on adjusting the class difficulty to meet learner needs.
Outliers is largely free of the most commonly problematic material. One chapter does deal with murder in a non-graphic way. A few chapters deal with stereotypes and discrimination against minority groups including Jews, Koreans, and Jamaicans. The book identifies this treatment as discriminatory and does not condone it.
Learners will do best if they come into class with these skills:
- The ability to craft 2-3 paragraphs of writing on a single topic
- The ability to decode unfamiliar words through context clues
- Reading experience for full-length (200+ page) texts
Development of a personal writing process
Familiarity with strategies for the higher order concerns of writing (main idea, organization, development, and comprehension)
Familiarity with strategies for the lower order concerns of writing (formatting, style, and mechanics)
Note taking and using outside sources to craft papers
Revising writing over multiple drafts
- Synthesizing ideas from multiple sources and mediums
Aligns with the following Common Core Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1, 9-10.2, 9-10.3, 9-10.4
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1 A-E, 9-10.2 A-F, 9-10.3 A-E, 9-10.4, 9-10.5, 9-10.9 B, 9-10.10
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.1, 9-10.2, 9-10.3, 9-10.4, 9-10.5, 9-10.6
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1, 11-12.2, 11-12.3, 11-12.4
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1 A-E, 11-12.2 A-F, 11-12.3 A-E, 11-12.4, 11-12.5,
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.1, 11-12.2, 11-12.3, 11-12.4, 11-12.5, 11-12.6
- A copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers (used copies are fine)
- Word processing software (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, etc.)
- Device capable of accessing materials on Teachable (with video/audio capability)
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She’s a homeschooling mom of two with more than a decade of teaching experience including six years of full-time college instruction.
We have thoroughly enjoyed ancient history with Sam Matalone Cook and would love to continue following the history courses under her instruction. Michelle’s writing workshop was a welcomed addition to our semester and the ease of adding on a quick workshop to the semester was appreciated. I do wish that I could take classes, too. The great selection makes me jealous; Fairy Tales and Feminism would be so incredible to join in and to learn with Sam! And the LGBTQ+ history and US courses! Blair’s enthusiasm for science comes across strongly and is encouraging for the young learners. So many great classes- so little time.
Sheila and Elisa
So many great classes- so little time.
My Zoom-averse daughter looked forward to the weekly online meetings. Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussions. My daughter was motivated to work hard on her assignments and has asked to take another class from Michelle. E.F.P.
Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussionsTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciated your enthusiasm, support, and kind words in your video feedback messages to him. That goes a long way! [Learner] is going to a brick and mortar school next year for the first time since fourth grade. We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English! Woohoo! Jill G.
We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
The video lectures were clear and packed full of helpful and important writing lessons. The video and written feedback was clearly personalized, very detailed, and extremely beneficial for my learner. Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes! Kristi R.
Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner! I’ve been homeschooling my son off and on for years. Writing is very challenging for him and it is so difficult to take feedback from a parent. I have begged so many of his teachers to please offer direct, concise, written feedback and give him the opportunity to revise. I knew this would be the only way he could improve. This class was everything I’ve been asking for for years…..except I didn’t have to ask! It is designed this way and it worked brilliantly! My son gets to attend an adventure school in the fall, but if we homeschool the following year, the first thing I will do is sign him up for whatever Michelle is teaching. E.F.P.
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciate how organized the class was, how clear the expectations and guidelines were and how professional and encouraging the feedback delivery was. Darcey
I really appreciate how organized the class wasTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I just want to take a few minutes to send a huge thank you for the way you deliver (have delivered) feedback to [Learner]. He tends to put a lot of pressure on himself and doesn’t often take feedback or constructive criticism well. You have managed to give him a boost of confidence and an opportunity to look inward to appreciate feedback from others. I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey! Karen
I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey!Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting. It awakens something in him he craves and can only get from discussions like the one today. Bevin Early
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I especially enjoyed the final project for this class, which was something I had never tried before, using creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view points. It was quite a bit challenging, ultimately leaving me satisfied with the ending result.
I used creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view pointsTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
For us, this is “authentic learning.” We discussed how community college classes and other virtual online high school classes might be accredited and “weigh” a lot in terms of grades and credits, but SEA Online Classes is where her mind and creativity are challenged and inspired. I’d like to emphasize the part about creativity. She felt invited to engage creatively. SEA Online classes are where the love of learning happens.