Classical Composition –

Fable for the Upper Elementary and Middle School Student

Spring, 2020: March 12-June 11

Available Times (EST):
Thursdays 10-11AM

Price: $400US/$550CAN

Course Description

What if your child could have the same training as the greatest writers and speakers of all time? These giants of history learned their art through a system called the progymnasmata, which taught them how to effectively communicate and persuade their audiences – a necessary skill in any time period. These days, being able to clearly articulate the tenets of our Orthodox Faith is more needed than ever. The progymnasmata will teach your children to express themselves clearly through writing and speech, so that they might convincingly convey the Truth to others.
The first progymnasma is the Fable.

Learning Objectives

In this course, students will:
• examine an individual story or idea and learn how to use words to engage the listener.
• comprehend the structure of a narrative.
• learn how to use description to explain more complicated ideas.
• learn to retell the same story or idea using the facts of the story.
• come to understand that words are symbols that stand for ideas.
• learn that as writers they can convey the same meaning using different words.

Textbooks and Other Resources

Classical Composition Fable: Discovering the Skills of Writing, Student Book, James A. Selby. This student text can be ordered online for a reasonable cost.

Instructional Format: A class will be held each week in real-time, using the Zoom web conferencing system. In addition, video lessons will be sent out throughout the week. Students will be expected to watch these lessons each week, completing any activities sent out with the videos.

Office Hours: In addition to the required weekly meetings, the instructors will hold “office hours” each week. Office hours will be conducted using Zoom and will be by appointment.

Anticipated Assignments and Exercises

In the live class, the instructor and students will read a fable together and work through some of the exercises in the student workbook. For homework, students will complete additional exercises. In the next live class, the instructor will go over the completed homework assignments, answer any questions, and then move on to the next lesson.

For example, in the first class, students will learn to:
• Determine three important components of the plot.
• Summarize the fable by creating an outline.
• Create variations in their writing by rewording.
• Paraphrase by rewriting.


The grading in this course will follow a more elementary/middle school model. Since students are completing exercises and participating in classroom activities, they will be graded on how well they have completed their exercises and on their participation in class.

Participation (class time) – 30%
Exercises (at home and in class) – 70%