• Composition Syllabus


    Instructor:  Mrs. Danielle Shields

    E-Mail:  dshields@augusta.k12.va.us


    Buffalo Gap High School Honor Code:  As a student of Buffalo Gap High School, I understand that I am expected to conduct myself honorably in the pursuit of my education.  Cheating, plagiarism, and fraud violate ethical and moral rules of conduct and will not be tolerated at Buffalo Gap High School.  Buffalo Gap High School should exist as a community of trust. 


    Course Description:  Students enrolled in Composition will work toward becoming skillful readers, listeners, writer, and viewers through a variety of experiences.  This course will focus on development of fundamental writing skills that students will use throughout their educational careers and throughout their lives.  Students will use the writing process to produce informal and formal writings.  Students are also responsible for reading and responding to the writing of their peers.  Grammar reviews and journal writings will also be emphasized throughout the semester.  Self-selected, independent reading will be a classroom ritual. 


    Materials Needed:  Students are expected to bring the following materials to class every day:

    • Self-selected novel
    • Large three-ring binder
    • Plenty of loose leaf notebook paper
    • Dividers (Warm-Ups, Grammar, Writing Resources, Activities, Journals, and Essays)
    • Writing Utensils (pencils, black and blue ink pens)


    Classroom Procedures:  Students are expected to follow the procedures outlined below daily:

    • Journals/Quickwrites: The students are to complete journals/quickwrites during designated class times.  The teacher will provide journal prompts as guides, and students will also be able to choose their own topics. 
    • Reading: Students will have to read informational material and peer writing.  Students will also have a self-selection novel for silent, sustained reading.  These novels will function as models for “good writing” for students..
    • Related Activity: The students will complete activities during classroom related to the material read and/or reviewed.  The teacher will give these assignments daily.
    • Homework: Students should expect homework to be given if we are not able to cover all the material that needs to be covered that day.  The goal is for students to stay focused to avoid homework.  In the event that homework is given, students are expected to complete homework assignments by the given due date.
    • Binders: Students are expected to keep up with their binders.  The teacher is willing to help students with organization. 


    Students Responsibilities:  Students are expected to attend class regularly with all materials, to keep up with writing assignments (including journal entries) and daily assignments.  Students are expected to make up missed work due to absences, to contribute to class discussions, and to follow departmental and classroom procedures.  Failure to comply with the responsibilities can be reflected in the student’s grade.


    Students Behavior:  Students are responsible for exhibiting standard classroom behavior.  This means students will remain in their seats until dismissed, work quietly, and treat all those in the classroom with respect and tolerance.  Failure to comply with standard classroom behavior will result in disciplinary action.  Students are expected to come to class everyday.  It is the student’s responsibility to get all missed work from the teacher.  This class is in compliance with Augusta County’s policy of four unexcused absences and the student is unable to make up missed work for a grade. Make-up work should be submitted within three days of the absence for full credit.  Tests may be made up before or after school, at lunch, or during activity period, but not during class time.  Deadlines are not extended for work missed due to club meeting or other activities.


    Grading:  Students are graded on a point system.

    • In-class daily activities: 10- 20 points
    • Homework: 10-20 points
    • Quizzes: 25-50 points
    • Tests: 100-150 points
    • Projects: 100 points
    • Papers: 100 Points
    • Participation: 10% of all class points
      • Major assignments (essays, tests, and projects) are worth 50% of the student’s grade.
      • Minor assignments (quizzes) are worth 40% of the student’s grade.
      • Participation assignments (in-class daily activities, homework, and classroom participation) are worth 10% of the student’s grade.


    Computer Use:  Students are required to complete and submit a signed Acceptable Use Policy in order to use computers at school. A significant amount of class work will require the use of school computers; a signed copy of the policy must be on file in order for students to complete these required assignments.  When the students use the internet, only educational-related sites may be visited.  Failure to comply will be in violation of the school’s policy.


    Course Overview:  Please note that the sequence may be subject to change.

                First Six Weeks

    • Grammar/Mechanics
    • Journals/Quickwrites
    • Silent, Sustained Reading
    • Process Writing
    • Using Details
      • Strong verbs
      • Specific word choice
      • Sense details
    • Figurative Language
      • Simile
      • Metaphor
      • Allusion
      • Hyperbole
      • Personification
    • Organization
      • Introduction, Lead
      • Thesis statement
      • Topic sentences
      • Summary sentences
      • Conclusion
      • Transitions
      • Paragraph development


    Second Six Weeks

    • Grammar/Mechanics
    • Journals/Quickwrites
    • Silent, Sustained Reading
    • Showing instead of Telling
    • Strong Verb Paragraphs
    • Effective Sentences
      • Complete sentences
      • Expanded sentences
      • Run-on sentences
      • Verbals
      • Variety
    • Research Skills
      • Bibliographic Form
      • Documentation
      • Library resources
      • Source and note cards
      • Outlining
      • Facts vs. opinions
    • Style
    • Unity
      • Tone
      • Point of View
      • Topic
      • Scope
    • Use of Examples/Supporting Details


    Third Six Weeks

    • Grammar/Mechanics
    • Journals/Quickwrites
    • Silent, Sustained Reading
    • Economy
    • Cliché, Jargon, and Euphemisms
    • Sentence Combining for Variety
    • Support
    • Clarity
      • Pronoun use
      • Misplaced modifiers
      • Ambiguous wording
    • Persuasion
      • Logic
      • Concession
      • Audience
    • Right Word
    • Spelling
    • SOL Writing Assessment
      • Understanding writing prompts
      • Understanding SOL scoring
      • SOL test taking strategies
      • Evaluating SOL writing
      • Writing prompt practice


    Formal writing assignments will function as test grades.  Students will write a descriptive paragraph and essay, two narrative essays, an I-Search paper, two expository essays, a persuasive essay, and several SOL essays.  Other grades will include grammar practice and editing, journals/quickwrites, and assignments building on activities done in class.

Last Modified on July 30, 2019