Classical Composition Curriculum - Kolbe Academy

Classical Composition Curriculum

Classical Composition 1: Fable Stage

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition I: Fable Stage Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classical Composition Vol. I Student Book: Fable Stage, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. I Teacher Guide: Fable Stage, Memoria Press

Course Description:

Classical Composition instructs the novice writer as though he or she were an apprentice to the great master writers. Instruction is based on imitation. Beginning by making the student aware of the structure of sound writing, and proceeding by giving the student the tools to imitate it, the course ends by equipping the student to design his own sound writing. The course begins by acquainting the student with models from which he can gain a sound grasp of structure. Then sentence and word variation, figures of description, rhetorical devices, and stylistic considerations are introduced slowly – all in service of the message to be communicated. At the end of the full course a student should emerge as a writer who can ascertain the purpose of any given writing task and employ the best means of completing the task to communicate the message.

The full course is set forth in substance and sequence in the Fable Stage Teacher Manual, a complete, self-contained course that is part of a series. The Student Workbook compliments each lesson. English Composition I: Fable Stage is suitable for introducing classical composition to 4th or 5th graders. It may also be used with upper grammar school students whose writing background has not included classical composition instruction.

Classical Composition Vol. I: Fable Stage Teacher Manual and the corresponding Student Workbook are the primary texts for this course. The child should write every school day, utilizing Fridays for writing instruction or practice, if the parent wishes to stay with the schedule as written. Parents are free to double-up on lessons depending on the rate at which their children absorb the lesson and according to the schedule they have established for their home school. The final week of every quarter is written to double-up on the lessons in order to finish out the course in the traditional thirty-six (36) weeks. Quarterly exams have also been supplied to be used as the parent decides. The lessons are set forth on a 10 day cycle by the publisher, but as Kolbe parents you may adapt the pace and coverage to your own schedules.

Read carefully and follow the Introduction to the Progymnasmata in the text itself. As an additional aid, Kolbe Academy has gone through the course as outlined in the text and has made instructional suggestions, scheduling the activities and assignments according to the familiar Kolbe course plan format. Of course, you are free to accelerate or slow your implementation of the program to meet your child’s needs as you see fit.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer.

    Provide techniques the student writer can employ to reason his way to the best approach to take and solution to implement for any given writing task

  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in invention, arrangement, and decoration (discovery, organization, and elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice in classical writing between the teacher and student
  • Lay the foundation for the student to grow in his skill and understanding of writing

 

Classical Composition 2: Narrative Stage

Note: As the second course in the Classical Composition sequence, it should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage.

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition II: Narrative Stage Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classical Composition Vol. II Student Book: Narrative Stage, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. II Teacher Guide: Narrative Stage, Memoria Press

Course Description:

The Narrative Stage is the second of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by imitating a well-told story, in this case, a narrative (folk tale). In fact, all of the Progymnasmata exercises are based on imitation, a method suitable for learning just about anything. Students will build skills in diction (word choice) and syntax (word order) by practicing variation. Variation means changing a word or arrangement of words in a sentence. Variation is a form of paraphrase. Further, by paraphrasing the whole story, students will build skills in organization (arrangement). By paraphrasing the narratives (folk tales) in different ways (amplification: adding to; summarization: shortening; inversion: retelling the story from a mid or end starting point), students will gain a solid understanding of structure.

In addition, students will learn how to use figures of description to make their writing come alive, and figures of speech to make their writing precise. By learning how to use figures of description to describe a place (topographia), or the stars (astrothesia), or a person from head to foot (effictio), students will engage their readers’ imaginations. By learning how to use figures of speech to add precision to their writing, students will engage their readers’ sense of style and form. By the end of the Narrative Stage, students should be able to appreciate the individual words and sentences used in a story (elocution), the overall structure of a story (including recognition, reversal, and suffering), and the communicative power of a story (including the appeal to imagination and to the moral and aesthetic sense).

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ to reason his way to the best approach to take and solution to implement for future writing tasks
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in invention, arrangement, and decoration (discovery, organization, and elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice in classical writing between the teacher and student

 

Classical Composition 3: Chreia/Maxim Stages

Note: As the third course in the Classical Composition sequence, it should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage and the Narrative Stage.

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition III: Chreia/Maxim Stages Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classical Composition Vol. III Student Book: Chreia/Maxim Stage, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. III Teacher Guide: Chreia/Maxim Stage, Memoria Press

Course Description:

The Chreia/Maxim Stage is the third of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by learning to think through the process of varying a truth under eight heads of development, each forming an exercise, each resembling a paragraph. The Eight Heads of Development are: Encomium (praise), Paraphrase (restatement), Cause (general story), Converse (opposite general story), Analogy (comparison), Example (specific case), Testimony (authority), and Epilogue (conclusion or summary).

The first head of development defines a worthy subject for thought; the second through seventh describes an operation of the mind as it grapples with the truth of the saying; and the last calls the reader to an affirmation of the truth. The purpose of the Encomium is to praise the author of the saying (Chreia) or the saying itself (Maxim); hence, the title of the course. The purpose of the Paraphrase is to make the meaning of the saying more clear through paraphrase or variation. The purpose of the Cause is to express the meaning of the saying in the form of a general story. The purpose of the Converse is to express the meaning of the saying in the form of a general story that applies to real life and illustrates its opposite. The purpose of the Analogy is to identify a similarity between the saying and something else. The purpose of the Example is to express the meaning of the saying in a specific way. The purpose of the Testimony is to provide a supporting quotation from a respected source (In a sense, it is another paraphrase). The purpose of the Epilogue is to call the audience to acknowledge the truth of the saying.

In each lesson the parent/teacher will remind the student of the purpose of each head of development. The instructional method and exercises remain the same from one week to the next and are clearly outlined in the Teacher Guide. The step by step guidance and questions that the parent/teacher asks to help the student write the chreia/maxim are in the teacher’s manuals. A model of the 8 heads of development applied to the 1st lesson’s chreia appears below.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas),and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student

 

Classical Composition 4: Refutation/Confirmation Stages

Note: As the fourth course in the Classical Composition sequence, it should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage, the Narrative Stage, and the Chreia/Maxim Stages.

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition IV: Refutation/Confirmation Stages Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classical Composition Vol. IV Student Book: Refutation/Confirmation Stage, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. IV Teacher Guide: Refutation/Confirmation Stage, Memoria Press

Course Description:

The Refutation/Confirmation Stage is the fourth of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by learning to think through the process of refuting (overturning given facts) or confirming (approving given facts) the truth of a narrative by examining it through a series of exercises that are, later on in rhetoric, called Heads of Purpose. In Refutation the student will examine a narrative and work through Heads of Purpose called: the Discredit, Exposition, Unclarity, Implausibility, Impossibility, Inconsistency, Impropriety, Inexpediency, and Epilogue. In Confirmation the student will examine a narrative and work through exercises called: the Credit, Clarity, Plausibility, Possibility, Consistency, Propriety, Expediency, and Epilogue. The set of exercises in Refutation are the opposite of those in Confirmation. The instructional method and exercises remain the same from one week to the next and are clearly outlined in the Teacher Guide. The step by step guidance and questions that the parent/teacher asks to help the student write the Refutation/Confirmation are in the Teacher Guide.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas),and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student

 

Classical Composition 5: Common Topic Stage

Note: As the fifth course in the Classical Composition sequence, it should be undertaken after completing the Fable Stage, the Narrative Stage, the Chreia/Maxim Stages, and the Refutation/Confirmation Stages.

Course Texts:

  • Classical Composition V: Common Topic Stage Course Plan & Tests, Kolbe Academy Publishing
  • Classical Composition Vol. V Student Book: Common Topic Stage, Memoria Press
  • Classical Composition Vol. V Teacher Guide: Common Topic Stage, Memoria Press

Course Description:

The Common Topic Stage is the seventh of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (However it is the fifth course) in the set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric. Students will learn to write by learning how to examine a common evil deed (at this stage). The teacher will ask questions to help the student develop a Prologue, Contrary, Exposition, Comparison, Intention, Digression, Rejection of Pity, and the six Heads of Purpose that support the punishment of the one who committed the evil deed. In doing so the student will develop his powers to analyze and reason. He will also get a taste of forming moral judgments. The instructional method and exercises remain the same from one week to the next and are clearly outlined in the Teacher Guide. The step by step guidance and questions that the parent/teacher asks to help the student write the Common Topic are in the Teacher Guide.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas),and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student
Top