This 8-week middle school writing class is focused on building foundational skills for future academic writing success. We’ll learn how to write informative texts including how-to guides and process papers.
Age Range– 11-14
Class Type– Weekly Live Meetings
Start/End Dates– January 16-March 12, 2023
Session 1 Meetings– Tuesdays at 1-1:45pm Eastern
Session 2 Meetings– Thursdays at 3-3:45pm Eastern
Class Size– 3-10 Learners
|Enrollment||$220 Per Student*|
|*Sliding Fee Scale Available|
Making the leap into early academic writing can feel overwhelming — for learners and teachers alike!
There are many types of writing included under the umbrella of “academic writing,” and it can be beneficial to take some time to really focus on learning the elements of each particular type.
This class focuses on informative writing. Sharing information with an audience requires consideration of what the reader already knows, choices about how to organize and present ideas for clarity, and analysis to determine what is important enough to share.
We’ll practice these important skills through creating how-to and process-focused texts.
Note: Classes in the Middle School Writing Foundations series (1-4) can be taken individually or out of order, but learners brand new to academic writing will benefit from taking them sequentially.
Gain Key Academic Writing and Reading Foundations
Informative writing is a key academic writing component that comes up again and again throughout learners’ academic writing experiences.
This class will dive deep into the following informative writing elements:
- Adjusting texts for different audiences
- Organizing ideas for clarity
- Choosing which information to include and leave out
Meet Live Weekly
This is a live class, which means we meet weekly to discuss the reading and explore writing tips. Learners can also interact with each other and the instructor between class meetings on our discussion boards.
Provided materials include reading guides and activities to help with vocabulary and comprehension as well as writing tips to apply to the creation of our own narratives.
Find Individual Processes for Writing
There is no one way to write well. Learners must develop their own strategies and build a toolbox of approaches they can turn to as demands increase over time.
This class is designed to focus with intention on the tools used in informative writing.
Writers will get to practice writing their own informative texts with multiple drafts with focus on specific elements along the way.
Most learners can expect to spend 2-4 hours per week (including the live meeting) working on class materials.
Assignments Open Each Week
In order to allow for learners and their families to have the flexibility they need, assignments open by Monday of each week and are due by the following Sunday. Learners can complete work at whatever time works best for them throughout the week.
Live Sessions Meet on Tuesdays
Class runs from January 16-March 12, 2023
Session 1 (Tuesdays)–
We’ll meet via Zoom for a live discussion session each Tuesday at 1-1:45pm Eastern/12-12:45pm Central/11-11:45am Mountain/10-10:45am Pacific
Session 2 (Thursdays)–
We’ll meet via Zoom for a live discussion session each Tuesday at 3-3:45pm Eastern/2-2:45pm Central/1-1:45pm Mountain/12-12:45pm Pacific
If a learner cannot attend a session due to illness or a schedule conflict, they will still have access to all class materials and can check in with the instructor with any questions.
This class is a beginner option for my Middle School level classes (Middle School Foundations/Level 1). It’s designed for learners who are new to academic writing expectations. Learners will do best if they have the following skills:
- Can write about 150-200 words (about one-half page double spaced) on a single topic
- Confidently reads texts at or above ~650L on the Lexile rating
This class is a good fit for middle school readers and writers who have not had much formal academic writing experience.
It’s an especially good fit for those who need practice in understanding how to make the elements of a informative writing come together in their own work.
Finding the Right Challenge
More advanced writers with experience writing academic essays may benefit from this class if they struggle with informative writing.
Writers who can confidently write informative texts (such as recipes, how-to guides, and process papers) with a strong consideration of audience and clear structure may find this class lacks challenge.
These writers may instead benefit from a Middle School Level 2 class.
We will focus on informative writing elements through both reading and writing practice.
Students will learn about the following:
- Analyzing sample texts for informative writing elements
- Identifying audiences and adapting texts to meet different needs
- Organizing ideas in a logical order with smooth transitions
- Choosing key details and eliminating unnecessary ones
Common Core Standards Alignment
For those who are using Common Core standards, this course meets the following:
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2, 7.2, and 8.2 (identifying central ideas)
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4, 7.4, and 8.4 (determining word meaning in context)
- CCSS.ELA-WRITING.6.2, 7.2, and 8.2 (Identifying elements of narrative/explanatory texts)
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WRITING.6.4, 7.4, and 8.4 (write clear and coherent texts)
- CCS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.5, 7.5, and 8.5 (plan, revise, edit and rewrite)
- CCS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.10, 7.10, and 8.10 (write routinely over extended time frames)
Upon successful completion of class, instructor provides detailed exit letter suitable for inclusion in portfolio. Families may request numerical grade at beginning of class for a detailed course grade summary, but it is optional.
All students will receive individualized video feedback on all rough drafts that specifically addresses their submissions.
My teaching philosophy very much focuses on starting with students’ strengths to build confidence and using them to work on improvements over time.
Feedback is tailored to each student’s individual needs and goals. I also encourage a lot of self-reflection and provide opportunities for students to directly communicate their challenges so that facing them with strategies becomes a normal part of the writing process.
To participate successfully in class, learners will need the following:
- Microphone and camera for in-class participation
- PDF Reader
- Zoom (free account)
- Learners will submit work through Google Drive (a Google (Gmail) account can be acquired for free)
(Note: There are no required texts to purchase. Learners will receive access to links of class materials.)
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She has more than a decade of teaching experience including six years of full-time college experience
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.