For Teachers

This page collects posts that might be useful to teachers, but do not fit in the ERWC or Ancient Rhetoric categories.

What About the Five-Paragraph Essay?–This post discusses strategies for helping students move beyond the five-paragraph essay in a natural and comfortable way. One strategy? Ask them to write six paragraphs.

Designing a Reading/Writing Course–This post and an earlier post, discuss the design of courses that emphasize both reading and writing.

The Alternate Style–Grammar B is a concept introduced in a 1980 book by Winston Weathers, An Alternate Style: Options in Composition.”Grammar A” is what Weathers calls the traditional “grammar of style” that insists on “continuity, order, reasonable progression and sequence, consistency, unity, etc.” (6). Grammar B is an alternate “grammar of style” that deploys variegation, synchronicity, discontinuity, ambiguity, and other disjunctive devices.  In this subsequent post I illustrate what writing in Grammar B is like. Your students may enjoy the freedom and creativity of writing in Grammar B.

Breath, Grammar, and Proper Punctuation: Why Punctuation is Confusing–This post is based on an article by John Dawkins. It explores the main reason we are confused about punctuation, which is that we have three systems: breath and pauses (the oldest system), grammatical, and rhetorical.

Business Letters and Formal Emails–This post has some quick advice for teaching students about these common genres.

The Declaration of Independence as an Argumentative Essay–This post analyzes the structure of one of the founding documents of our country.

Making a Reading Plan–This post is aimed at helping students develop a plan for reading a text. In a sense, the student creates his or her own mini-module for reading and responding to the text.

Ken Bruffee’s short Course on Writing–This post describes a very innovative course in writing and how descriptive outlining fits into it.

Descriptive Outlining and Arrangement–This post describes “descriptive outlining” and provides links to three different illustrative texts on the same topic: one that looks a bit like a five-paragraph essay, one that is more like the Roman six-part speech, and one that is like the answer to an essay question.

Writing a Rhetorical Analysis–This post takes this common assignment a little deeper, starting with a rhetorical precis to establish the basic rhetorical situation and then applying ethos, logos, pathos, enthymemes, and kairos to find out what is really going on in an example resignation letter.