High School Writing with Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl

High School Writing with Hope Jahren's Lab Girl (Guided-No Live Meetings)

Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl is a beautifully written tribute to what it means to be a scientist and a human.

Follow Jahren’s memoir through alternating chapters that explore her personal life and struggles with mental illness and her professional life and observations of the plant world.

Learners will write four, multi-draft essays and receive supportive, meaningful feedback that challenges them to find their own writing style and craft academic writing effectively and engagingly.

Class Duration: February 1-April 25

Class Size: 3-8 learners

Age Range: 13-18

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.

Hope Jahren’s critically-acclaimed book is a mixture of personal memoir and scientific writing. 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 a place that holds significance to them

–A process paper that practices audience awareness when describing steps in a process

–A career exploration paper that practices either primary or secondary research skills

–A textual analysis paper that takes a close look at one or more of the metaphors in the book

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 about other preferences including whether or not you would like to receive numeric grades in the class.

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 Hope Jahren’s book Lab Girl (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 Teachable, so a stable internet connection is necessary. Many materials are in PDF form, so a PDF reader is needed. We will have class discussions on Discord.

For assignments: Written work can be submitted through Microsoft Word or through Google Docs in a Google Drive folder.

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

Aligns with the following Common Core Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1, 9-10.2, 9-10.3, 9-10.4
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1 A-E, 9-10.2 A-F, 9-10.3 A-E, 9-10.4, 9-10.5, 9-10.9 B, 9-10.10
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.9-10.1, 9-10.2, 9-10.3, 9-10.4, 9-10.5, 9-10.6
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1, 11-12.2, 11-12.3, 11-12.4
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.1 A-E, 11-12.2 A-F, 11-12.3 A-E, 11-12.4, 11-12.5,
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.1, 11-12.2, 11-12.3, 11-12.4, 11-12.5, 11-12.6

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.

There is mention of sexual reproduction (primarily through a professional, biological lens). Hope Jahren is very open about her diagnosed bipolar disorder and her struggle to handle the impacts of the disorder when she is unmedicated.

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

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