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Exposition: Informational Writing and Public Speaking

Academic Year Language Arts

In this course for 7th through 9th graders, students will learn the ins and outs of effective expository writing and speaking in multiple real-world contexts. They will learn how to find, understand, and present information to make their ideas understood by others, building an outstanding foundation for academic and professional writing. Along the way, they’ll investigate and report on events within their own homes or neighborhoods, prepare an essay for submission to a real-world publication opportunity, create an original historical documentary, and conduct and present their own independent scientific research. Each unit will also include a focus on a different genre of public speaking, developing oratory skills and practice.

In the first unit, students take on the role of investigative journalist, digging into a real story from their own lives. While reading articles by the world’s top journalists, they learn to gather and organize facts, conduct interviews with sources, and synthesize the information they've gathered into a magazine-quality investigative article. The unit closes with a live broadcast of AoPS Nightly News, with all students giving a live report on their investigation.

In the second unit, students study and join the long tradition of the personal essay. Most famously used in the college application, the personal essay is the writer’s space to express their ideas. Students will practice introspection and metacognition as they articulate not just a belief but also the experiences that have led them to hold it. At the end of the unit, students craft an essay worthy of real-world writing contests.

In the third unit, students become documentarians, tracing the historical development of an aspect of the modern world. They learn research skills, with an emphasis on locating and collating sources, and how to build a coherent and persuasive narrative out of seemingly disparate events. At the end of the unit, students create a documentary detailing the historical patterns they’ve uncovered.

In the final unit, students put on their scientist hats, employing an online database to research a scientific question and derive their own independent conclusion. They master skills crucial to clear scientific communication, including framing the thought process guiding an investigation and articulating complex and abstract concepts to a lay audience. At the end of the unit, students present their findings in the form of a TED Talk, blending hard data with engaging public speaking.

What happens in class?

Each unit begins with an exploratory period in which students learn new writing, speaking, and research skills. They are encouraged to cultivate their abilities as the unit progresses and they encounter more advanced expository forms. Each unit ends with a final project that is developed through a structured process of brainstorming, drafting, revising, and performing.

Each day of class will include a blend of the following types of activities:

Homework

Students should expect to spend about 1-2 hours on homework every week. Homework will include: practicing skills learned in class through questions in the Homework Tab, long-term writing assignments connected to the unit project, and assigned reading in one of the four quarterly books.

Teacher Feedback

During class, the teacher will give students direct, oral feedback on skills and projects. This in-person feedback is key in helping students revise and improve their writing while they are working on the unit projects. At the end of each writing project, students can expect to receive evaluative written feedback from their teacher.

Course Texts

Schedule in 2021-22

All times Pacific.
Saturday
Aug 28 - Jun 11
2:45 - 4:30 PM
Saturday
Aug 28 - Jun 11
2:45 - 4:30 PM
Aihoon Yeo
ENROLL
Sunday
Aug 29 - Jun 12
2:45 - 4:30 PM
Sunday
Aug 29 - Jun 12
2:45 - 4:30 PM
Zach Kissinger
WAITLIST
Tuesday
Aug 31 - Jun 7
6:45 - 8:30 PM
Tuesday
Aug 31 - Jun 7
6:45 - 8:30 PM
Robert Rubin
WAITLIST
Wednesday
Sep 1 - Jun 9
7:15 - 9:00 PM
Wednesday
Sep 1 - Jun 9
7:15 - 9:00 PM
Todd Powell
ENROLL
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"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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