Common Core Writing: Introduction to the Standards

December 20, 2014

New to the Common Core writing standards or just confused? This post, the first in a series of ten, is an introduction to the standards and will explain their organization and how they build on each other from grade level to grade level.
Through my school district I had the opportunity to take an online course through Knowledge Delivery Systems. I have taken several courses with them over the past two years, including Assessment and Grading for Student Achievement, Supporting Struggling Students with Rigorous Instruction, Motivating and Engaging Students, and Common Core in ELA: Instructional Shifts for Effective Implementation, Grades 9-12. Three out of four of my previous courses were helpful so I was excited to get the chance to take another.

This course, Common Core: Implementing the Writing Standards, was broken down into 8 units:
Unit 1: Introduction to the Common Core State Standards for Writing
Unit 2: Writing Opinions/Arguments
Unit 3: Writing Informational/Explanatory Texts
Unit 4: Writing Narrative Texts
Unit 5: Research and Writing
Unit 6: Writing Across the Content Areas
Unit 7: Assessing Student Writing
Unit 8: Epilogue

In a series of posts (approximately one per unit) I hope to share what I learned and how I apply (and you should too!) this information in the classroom.

Unit 1: Introduction to the Common Core State Standards for Writing began by looking at the actual standards. The standards can be found here. The Writing standards are broken down by grade, with 9-10 and 11-12 banded together. The introduction overviewed what is common in the Common Core. Regardless of grade level, there are ten standards for writing and each standard touches upon the same skill, it just builds over time.
New to the Common Core writing standards or just confused? This post, the first in a series of ten, is an introduction to the standards and will explain their organization and how they build on each other from grade level to grade level.

Let's look at Writing Standard #3. In Kindergarten, students will "Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened."

By Grade 3 for the same standard, students will "Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences." At the Grade 3 level the standard is broken down into more specific sub-standards, which include introducing narrator and character, using dialogue, and signaling event order using temporal words and phrases.

By Grade 6, students will "Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences." The language is very similar to Grade 3, except now descriptive details must also be relevant and event sequences are well-structured instead of just clear. At the Grade 6 level the standard is also broken down into more specific sub-standards, which require greater use of descriptive details and a variety of transition words and clauses.

By Grade 9-10, students will "Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences." Details are now well-chosen instead of just relevant and clear. The more specific sub-standards for Grades 9-10 allow for the possibility of multiple points of view and plot lines.

As you can see while the standard has increased in complexity from Kindergarten to Grade 3 to Grade 6 to Grades 9-10, the standard remains focused on narrative writing. Why is this important to know? Being able to see how the skill builds over time allows you to see what a student should already know as well as the direction they are moving in. While struggling students may need past instruction repeated, students should not be being taught skills in which they are already proficient. For those students who are struggling, you can pinpoint what grade level their writing skill are at and work up from there to their current grade level.

Next up: Using gradual release with the writing process.

For more writing lesson ideas and resources:


You Might Also Like

0 comments