Course Description / Grading System

Weekly Routine for Creative Writing: Poetry

Mr. Lally –                                     781-270-1877

As this class is a portfolio-driven course, the portfolio at the end of the year is a graduation requirement. Failure to turn in a portfolio at the end of the year will cause you to fail the entire course, regardless of your grades in the areas listed below.

  In Class Homework (i.e. what you should bring to class that day)
Monday Writing Prompts & ExercisesThese will be days where we add new “seeds” to our journals that may turn into newer pieces. Any new poem that has not yet been seen. DO NOT merely take something out of your notebook, unrevised. S the year goes on, you MAY submit a revised poem in lieu of your new pieceDROPBOX!!!
Tues Writing Day OR Revisions Assignments will vary – We will usually be in the computer room on Tuesdays
Wed. Read and Response dayDiscussion of the critical aspects of whichever piece(s) we have read for that week. Poems fully annotated, ready for discussion
Thurs Workshop day – with prepared notesWriting Day OR Revision day OR Working on a bigger project  Copies of your peers’ poetry with lots of helpful notes and insight – be ready to discuss!
Friday On Fridays (sometimes Mondays) you will receive a selection of Read and Response poems that relate to the type of writing being covered. We will, when time permits, finish any incomplete workshops from the previous day. No homework due Fridays, generally speaking.

If you miss a day of school, you are expected to bring in the work the day you return. My email at school is and I will no longer accept any excuses for incomplete work unless I get notice the day before you arrive to class empty-handed.

Please note: You have complete control over what you can and cannot bring into your portfolio with one major, notable exception: No work that has been completed for another class (Shakespearean sonnets, Beowulf boasts, etc)


You have four distinct grading areas. In each area, you have the opportunity to earn 10 points per week towards your grade.

1) Read & Response days. You must have read the poems and annotated them fully. You can earn up to 6 points per annotation. The other 4 points come from your participation in the following discussion

2) Workshopping each others’ poems. In any writing class, this is the most important part, and so it is also graded the most heavily. Each class, I will take, at random, ONE of the markups you come to class with. How much time you have put into that piece will earn you up to 6 points (Electronic notes = 4-point penalty). The remaining 4 will be earned in the discussion.

3) Homework: If you come to class on any Monday without anything for your group to read, you lose 8 points that week. If you do not have enough copies for everybody, you lose 4 points. Other HW assignments will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

4) Participation: Any day that you do not have your notebook will cost you 2 points. Disruption or inactivity (especially in the computer room) will cost between 2-4 points. Being on your iPad / smartphone for anything other than ambient music will cost you 2 points per day

Attendance is tricky, since so much of this class is in-class work. The easiest rule of thumb is this: You are still responsible for the work (e.g. distributing your feedback, handing in your read & response) whenever you come back. An absence will not lower your grade at first, but it will once you miss your third workshop or read & response day.

What do happy students have to say about my grading criteria?
“Enough is enough”
“I can’t sleep”
“You ruined my life”

(Yes, these are actual comments from a student who was trying to claim ignorance of my grading system. No, I don’t believe them either)

If you keep in mind that a writing workshop requires you to write and to workshop each other’s pieces (thoroughly and well), you’ll be fine. If you are confused, you must see me to clarify. Or ask me now, in class.


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