Advanced Language Arts Seminar

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Advanced Language Arts Seminar

Academic Year Language Arts

This course focuses on close-reading and analysis paired with academic writing. Students learn rhetorical analysis: how to recognize the "tools" an author uses to create certain effects in their writing, and then how to explain and analyze what the author is doing in an essay. (This is essentially the same work students do in an Honors or AP English class, in the new SAT essay,and in college English classes.) Students learn and apply these skills in the first trimester by studying several short stories from The Best American Short Stories of the Century, coupled with a study of a critical reading guide (How to Read Literature Like a Professor) and a college writing textbook (They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing). In the second trimester, students continue honing their rhetorical analysis skills with a nonfiction essay anthology, The Little Norton Reader. In the final trimester, students turn the lens on themselves, using the analytical and writing skills they've been developing to write a short memoir about an important time in their lives. Our goal with the memoir unit is to give students practice with the kind of reflective writing they'll need to do in their college application essays.

What happens in class?

Each lesson is different, but all lessons are designed around the following components:


Throughout the year, students work on several long-term writing projects both in class and at home. While students are drafting these projects, we try to have most of the writing happen in class so students can get instant feedback from their teacher, but students will be expected to complete some writing at home. At the end of each trimester, students will choose one of their papers to polish and put into a portfolio. Most of the projects will feature skills of analysis, crafting an argument, and engaging a reader, but not all of the assignments will look exactly like a school essay (in fact, we try to give students assignments that feel different, and, we hope, a little more fun than what they typically write in school).

Teacher Feedback

Each trimester, students complete 1-2 long-term writing projects that they draft and revise over several weeks. Since students complete most of their writing in-class, there are many opportunities for teachers to give feedback face-to-face, while students are working. The classes are structured so that teachers can conference with students in class, providing lots of oral feedback and some written notes on their work. At the end of each long-term project, students submit their final draft and receive written feedback from their teacher.


Students take three in-class exams, one at the end of each trimester.


All times Eastern.
Aug 31 - May 31
7:00 - 8:45 PM Leigha McReynolds
"One of the best decisions I ever made was to send my son to AoPS Academy for improving his math skills. The results are simply amazing! In addition to dramatically improving his math skills, my son also enjoys the social environment that the academy offers. Personally, I am very impressed with the quality of the entire staff (teaching and non-teaching alike). I would not hesitate to recommend AoPS Academy to any parent who is serious about developing their child's academic potential in a safe and stimulating environment."
-Kiran H.
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