This outline has worked well for my freshman English classes at the college level, but high school teachers may get some ideas from it, too. I've included basic descriptions of the assignments that I put in the syllabus along with the assignment sheets that I copy and give to my students.
If you're like me, you were thrust into teaching comp without much (or any) instruction or guidance. I put this packet together to help people design a class when they just don't know where to start. You can use this as-is or adapt it as you like.
I teach the class this way to emphasize the importance of critical thinking and of challenging and analyzing our deeply-held beliefs. I'm always surprised at the number of students who actually change their minds about their beliefs after they've done some research! They learn a lot about writing and the world with these writing assignments, and then they have a lot of fun with the last assignment. It's easy to grade, too, which is always a plus.
We begin the semester with a personal essay about something students' believe. We then move to an exploratory essay (research paper) in which students learn to support their beliefs with evidence -- or to change their minds if necessary. After they become informed, they are allowed to have opinions, so we then work on persuasive essays. The last assignment involves adapting everything they've written to a more visual medium.
I hope you and your students can have a lot of success with this outline