9th Grade Writing

Dr. Keith Buhler


(PDF version of 2017-2018 Syllabus)

Course Description and Objectives:

This course will continue practicing Trinity’s unique Progymnasmata curriculum. Based off the Roman rhetorician Apthonius’ pedagogy, the Progymnasmata stood for centuries as the most dominant and wildly successful means of developing the skills of writing. The Progymnasmata is designed to minimize the common frustrations students experience in today’s writing classes by providing the structure to enable clear, effective, and creative writing. Students will refine/review older stages of the Progymnasmata and develop new skill sets in the Encomium and Invective stages, receiving further structure to describe, persuade, and communicate ideas with clarity, order, and creativity. Further, the daily practice of writing, both in and out of class, will also encourage the development and expansion of the student’s vocabulary, grammar, and powers of description.

This course will also continue students’ formal study of grammar at Trinity. Essential concepts such as the parts of speech, sentence structure, and grammatical agreement will be explored in depth.

Students will have opportunities to demonstrate their learning through class discussions, quizzes, grammar assignments and assessments as well as through the completion of major writing projects relevant to each stage of the Progymnasmata curriculum.

Assigned Texts:

         Progymnasmata: Encomium and Invective

         Grammar: A Beka III

Course Calendar:

         Semester 1: Review – Fable, Narrative, Chreia, Refutation, and Confirmation

         Semester 2: Common Topic, Encomium, and Invective

Course Grading:

  • Major Essays and Unit Tests: 30%                                
  • Writing Exercises and Assignments: 30%
  • Quizzes and Homework: 20%
  • Class Participation: 20%

Participation Rubric:

Daily, students will be assessed on their participation in class. Though outstanding participation may appear in a variety of ways, it is always marked by preparation, diligence, attentiveness, articulateness, insight, and respect. Daily participation will be scored on a scale of 1-10, according to the following criteria:

9-10: Students always take a voluntary, thoughtful, and active role in their own learning, challenging themselves on a daily basis. Through participation and inquiry, they consistently demonstrate a genuine desire to learn and share ideas with the teacher and their classmates. They initiate discussions, ask significant questions, and act as leaders within the group. They are willing to take risks, to assert an opinion and support it, and to listen actively to others. These students are always well prepared to contribute to the class as a result of having thoughtfully completed assignments, and the thoroughness of their work demonstrates the high regard they hold for learning. In class, they demonstrate a superior work ethic and focus on the tasks at hand.

8: Students consistently take an active role in their own learning.  They participate regularly in class discussions and frequently volunteer their ideas, ask thoughtful questions, and defend opinions. They listen respectfully to their classmates and are willing to share ideas as a result of having completed assignments. Though never causing disruption to the class, these students do not always demonstrate a consistent commitment to make the most out of our class time each and every day. In class, they demonstrate a satisfactory work ethic and focus.

7: Students sometimes take an active role in their own learning, sharing relevant ideas and asking appropriate questions. They contribute modestly to class discussions. These students listen to their classmates and respect their opinions. As a result of having completed assignments, these students are prepared to ask or answer questions when called upon. They may need occasional reminders to stay on task make the most of our class time, and to increase their level of commitment to the course. In class, the work ethic and focus demonstrated generally needs improvement.

6: Students rarely take an active role in their own learning. They often do not participate and rarely share ideas or ask questions. These students display poor listening skills, and they may be intolerant of the opinions of others. As a result of being unprepared for or disengaged from class, these students are unable to offer ideas, even when called upon. In class, their work ethic and focus is lacking.

0-5: Students are absent, unprepared, disrespectful, inattentive, or otherwise posing a significant behavioral and/or academic concern in class.

Quality Work Guidelines:

Only quality work from students will be accepted. Quality work is original, clean, clear, and properly titled, formatted, and stapled according to the assignment’s specifications. Work that does not meet these expectations will not be graded. Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable and any student who plagiarizes will be given at a minimum a zero on the assignment, detention, and a dock in participation.

Late work will not be accepted. Students who miss a class are required to obtain the necessary notes and homework from a fellow student and must have it completed by the next class period if they have not gotten an extension beforehand. Students who miss an assessment because of an absence, must make up the assessment the next school day they are present, either during a break (brunch or lunch) or study hall. Students who fail to make arrangements for missed assessments will not receive credit. Extensions can only be granted in advance and in case of emergencies or illness that prevents students from completing their work.

Assignments will only be considered on time if they are completed and turned in at the start of the class period. Students who are caught completing work in class will receive a zero on that assignment as well as detention and a dock in participation points.


If any concerns arise throughout the year, please contact Dr. Buhler directly. Students may also make appointments to meet during brunch or lunch. Emails will be answered as soon as possible, though email will only be checked and answered during school hours.

Email: kbuhler@trinityclassicalacademy.com \newpage

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