Come to Class: Lessons for High School Writers (2008)

In Come to Class, Carol Jago shares the writing lessons and classroom survival skills she honed over 32 years of teaching. Each lesson describes Carol’s teaching moves and language and includes suggestions on pacing the lesson, setting students up for success, organizing flexible groups, and troubleshooting common classroom management problems.


Come to Class features five separate unit books: Writing to Explain, Writing to Persuade, Writing About Literature, Narrative Writing and Reflective Writing. Each unit books offers an opening essay, seven lessons, and resources text, templates and rubrics. Also included is a teaching guide and a resource CD-ROM.

The seven lessons included in each book are paced for one lesson per 50 minute classroom. Each lesson is easily adaptable and able to be lengthened or shortened, according to individual school calendars and classroom time periods. Over the course of the seven lesson unit, each student will have planned, drafted, revised, edited, and assessed a finished essay or story.

CONTENT (Specific to “Writing to Persuade”)

  • “Writing to Persuade” includes: (1) gathering ideas, (2) organizing ideas, (3) drafting, (4) revising, (5) editing, (6) final draft to finished essay, (7) preparing for assessment
  • Each plan begins with thoughts for the teacher to introduce the reasoning for the lesson
  • The lesson uses very detailed instruction, often putting specific classroom wording in quotation marks
  • Unit booklet also includes supplements of texts used, rubrics, checklist, and student-assessment


  • I believe teaching students to write cohesively requires a cohesive instructional plan. My experience with teenagers, particularly with unskilled writers, has been that students respond well to clear direction.” (Carol Jago)
  • Includes aspects of writer’s workshop such as: frontloading, conferencing, classroom discussion of ideas, teacher modeling, free-writing.

  • Extremely thorough and specific. I did not have any question on how to teach this unit after reading through the book.
  • Would be a great resource for a first year teachers or someone trying to build a curriculum
  • Easily adaptable for veteran teachers.
  • Demonstrated how to fluently include standardized test preparation into the teaching unit


  • The entire set was too expensive (around $80) for me to purchase without my school allocating funds.
  • Could all the books be joined into one book? Or expanded even more into a semester long curriculum? It seems to me that schools would be willing to invest in an aid like that for the beginning classroom teacher.
  • Any focus on celebration/publication? What is the goal of the finished draft? To submit their argument to someone of authority?

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Submitted by:

Sara Hoeve
English Instructor, Calvin Christian High School
Student, Western Michigan Universitysarahoeve@hotmail.com