High School Writing with Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers

High School Writing with Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers (No Live Meetings)

This is an asynchronous class. That means there are no live meetings. Students will receive assignments each week that are due by the start of the following week. They will receive individual feedback and interact with one another through discussion boards. Class content consists of reading assignments, reading guides, video instruction, quizzes, short writing prompts, and four multi-draft essays.

Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers explores the American mythology surrounding success. Gladwell uses a series of engaging stories to carefully tear apart some mainstream assumptions about what it means to be successful. We will read the entire book over this 12-week class with supplemental readings.

Students will practice writing the following types of essays:

A personal narrative about their own experiences with success

A professional letter making recommendations to the parents of a child prodigy

An interpretive essay about the meaning of failure using supporting evidence from the readings

A textual analysis that examines a piece of pop culture for its messages on success

This is a robust class that will include lots of meaningful, contextualized writing practice. It is designed to help prepare writers for the kind of assignments they will encounter in college classrooms, but it will be scaffolded to meet learners where they are.

Upon enrollment, you will receive a form to fill out. This will allow access to our classroom (in Canvas).

Class Full

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Class Duration: September 21-December 13

Class Size: 3-8 learners

Age Range: 13+

Total Price: $99

This is an asynchronous class. That means there are no live meetings. Students will receive assignments each week that are due by the start of the following week. They will receive individual feedback and interact with one another through discussion boards. Class content consists of reading assignments, reading guides, video instruction, quizzes, short writing prompts, and four multi-draft essays.

Malcolm Gladwell’s best-selling book Outliers explores the American mythology surrounding success. Gladwell uses a series of engaging stories to carefully tear apart some mainstream assumptions about what it means to be successful. We will read the entire book over this 12-week class with supplemental readings.

Students will practice writing the following types of essays:

A personal narrative about their own experiences with success

A professional letter making recommendations to the parents of a child prodigy

An interpretive essay about the meaning of failure using supporting evidence from the readings

A textual analysis that examines a piece of pop culture for its messages on success

This is a robust class that will include lots of meaningful, contextualized writing practice. It is designed to help prepare writers for the kind of assignments they will encounter in college classrooms, but it will be scaffolded to meet learners where they are.

There are no live meetings for this class, so this is a good option for learners who prefer not to appear on camera and who like to focus on their own work rather than interacting heavily with other students.

While this is an asynchronous class, the feedback is very detailed. For all papers, learners will receive a personalized video giving advice on how to revise for the final draft. All final drafts receive written feedback.

Those who successfully complete all major assignments in this class will receive a letter of completion that is suitable for inclusion in high school transcripts.

Upon enrollment, you will receive a form to fill out. This will allow access to our classroom (in Canvas).

There are no live meetings. Assignments are open by each Monday and due by the following Sunday. Learners can work at their own pace within the week. If a week needs to be missed for a vacation or other obligation, please speak with the instructor to make arrangements.

Texts: A copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers (a used copy is fine; a library copy can be used, but the class is easier if learners can write in their books)

To interact in class: No camera or microphone needed. Class takes place on Canvas, so a stable internet connection is necessary. Many materials are in PDF form, so a PDF reader is needed. 

For assignments: Written work can be submitted through Microsoft Word or through Google Docs. 

Usually 3-5 hours per week of work; length may vary based on reading/writing speed

Some writing skills (ability to craft 2-3 paragraphs on a single topic)

Some reading skills (ability to decode unfamiliar words through context, ability to make connections between ideas over multiple chapters)

Development of a personal writing process

Familiarity with strategies for the higher order concerns of writing (main idea, organization, development, and comprehension)

Familiarity with strategies for the lower order concerns of writing (formatting, style, and mechanics)

Note taking and using outside sources to craft papers

Revising writing over multiple drafts

Synthesizing ideas from multiple sources and mediums

The feedback on the papers is based largely on the learner’s current skills. Basically, I do my best to make the class challenging without being overwhelming for all learners.

Families and learners are welcome to share any information about their individual learning preferences and needs and instructor will make accommodations that are helpful to the class.

Outliers is largely free of the most commonly problematic material. One chapter does deal with murder in a non-graphic way. A few chapters deal with stereotypes against minority groups including Jews, Koreans, and Jamaicans.

See this teacher’s policies on things like refunds, missing class, and behavioral expectations. (Click here to see the policies.)

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