Course Syllabus


Course Syllabus for Graduate Credit

Writer’s Stylus Syllabus 2019


Writer’s Stylus: Transforming Substance into Significance


Two graduate credits granted through Friends University; 35+ hours (3-1/2 days) of formal, in-person instruction plus a major curricular project, additional reading, and one of two possible written responses with follow-up via email. Individuals pursuing graduate credit MUST be active participants in every session.


The Writer’s Stylus Basic Course is a highly interactive, three and one half-day professional development event for school leaders and K-12 teachers of all academic disciplines. Participants undergo a transformation, both personally and professionally, as they experience the teaching methods they will use with students. Graduate credit through a fully accredited institution is available for all interested participants. Topics covered during this five-day instructional writing course include:

What Are We Teaching and Why? Participants explore differences between what is often assumed to constitute writing instruction and what knowledge, understandings, and abilities that actually contribute to writing success.

A Revised Writing Process Drafting Less, Editing More

Revising Writing Making Waves of Improvement

Coaching Optimizing Student Writing Achievement

Instruction Teaching the Right Skills the Right Way

Instructional Design Developing a Holistic Program



Participants experience the instruction their students will experience:

Acquaintance and Analysis | Participants begin each day with Acquaintance and Analysis, a time where they are exposed to exemplary writing and challenged to identify what authors do to communicate effectively and powerfully.

Writing on Demand | Early in the event, all participants are given a writing assignment, because the only way to learn how to write well, is to write.

Direct Instruction | At various points throughout the course, participants receive direct instruction that explains and demonstrates practices that can improve their writing. This component includes a focused look at revision skill checklists with an explanation of how mechanics instruction provides students with the grammatical knowledge required to master revision skills.

Coaching | Soon, participants experience a Coaching segment where interaction is personalized and each blossoming writer becomes empowered to achieve at the highest levels.

Presentation | And finally, in one of the most moving experiences of the week, participants celebrate their learning; without exception, several writers volunteer to read their crafted compositions to the group. These improved essays reveal stunning growth, and teachers recognize how effective the instruction can be in developing young writers.


About two-thirds of America’s eighth grade students and about three-fourths of high school seniors failed to reach proficient writing levels on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a 2006 survey of college professors suggests a large majority of college students possess “limited writing skills,” and a 2003 study found American companies are spending billions of dollars on remedial training for employees—some “new hires straight out of college” (Dillon, 2008). The need for writing capacity has increased as electronic communication has soared. However, test results and observations by business leaders and college professors indicate that our current instructional efforts fail to equip students with proficient writing ability. This course takes a twofold approach in addressing this need: 1) it equips teachers with increased knowledge, understanding, and utilization of sound writing practices, and 2) it equips teachers to convert this knowledge into improved writing instruction for students.


Educators at all levels who are responsible for designing effective writing instruction and for assessing student writing, both within language arts and other content area classrooms.


Writer’s Stylus users will develop competencies in:
1. refining writing through multiple revisions, knowing what to analyze, how to recognize needed revisions, and make improvements

2. using the writing process to produce writing of publishable quality
3. thinking and communication, using critical thinking as a precursor to and purpose for writing

4. teaching students use of the writing process and methods of success for each step (e.g., successful revision)

5. coaching peers, students, and self throughout the writing process to reach optimal achievement

6. using instructional methods to develop student drafting capacities for increased writing assessment results

7. designing instruction that fosters student writing development—i.e., engages students in the full process of producing writing worthy of publication consideration


The course is taught by Kevin D. Washburn, Ed.D., on three and one-half consecutive days of instruction. Each day of instruction appropriately models the instruction intended for classroom implementation. Sessions are intense and require high levels of participation and critical thinking.


The Writer’s Stylus Basic Course Book

The Architecture of Learning: Designing Instruction for the Learning Brain (9780984345908)


All assignments given during the class sessions should be completed as directed. These will not be
collected by the instructor but will form the basis for in-class activity.

Grades awarded will be A, B, C, I, or F. It is expected that ALL student work will reflect high standards and a high degree of effort on the part of the learner.

Download the complete syllabus for submission details.


Writer’s Stylus Syllabus 2019

Friends Graduate Info 2019