Common Core Writing: Wrap Up & Additional Resources

March 03, 2015

A top ten list of things you need to know about teaching using the writing standards of the Common Core as well as resources such as text exemplars for writing analysis and samples of student writing.
This is number ten and the final post in a series about my online course, Common Core: Implementing the Writing Standards. If you are looking to get caught up, check out:
Post #1: an overview of the writing standards
Post #2: the gradual release process and writing
Post #3: explicit teaching of writing skills
Post #4: argument writing
Post #5: informational writing
Post #6: narrative writing
Post #7: research and writing
Post #8: writing across the content areas
Post #9: assessing student writing

In this final post, I wanted to wrap up what I learned from the course and share a few additional resources to help you align writing in your classroom with the Common Core. As this was a series of ten posts, I will leave you with a top ten list of what I learned.

1: The Common Core standards are standard across grade levels; they just increase in complexity.
2: The gradual release process should be used with writing just as with any other lesson in the classroom to ensure students have ample time to practice before working independently.
3: Explicitly teach students even the most basic of writing skills because any gaps in knowledge will only continue to be a hinderance.
4: Argument is the most important type of writing and must be grounded in evidence.
5: Find great mentors texts on interesting topics to hook students when doing informational writing.
6: Narrative writing can be blended with nonfiction and research by writing historical fiction or science fiction pieces.
7: Practicing research skills is not limited to research papers and can be done with shorter assignments.
8: Schools should take a unified approach for teaching writing across content areas.
9: Assessment should be used as a tool to plan future teaching and students should be active participants in the assessment process.
10: Likely you are already doing parts of 1-9, but as you approach each type of writing, look back closely at the related standard to ensure that your lesson is truly Common Core aligned.

As you shift your teaching to better align with the Common Core, there are several valuable resources related to writing on the Common Core State Standards Initiative website.

The English Language Arts Appendix A reviews types of writing and related language skills. Pages 23 - 24 define the three purposes in writing: argument, informational, and narrative. Pages 24 - 25 explain why argument writing is so important as well as the difference between persuasive and argument writing. Pages 28 - 29 introduces teaching and learning the conventions of Standard English (grammar and usage). Page 30 has a graphic showing an example of the progression of a skill across grades. Page 31 showing the progression of all language skills from grades 3 - 12.

The English Language Arts Appendix B focuses on text exemplars and performance tasks, which will show you what kind of readings students should be analyzing in their writing. Page 2 discusses selection of text exemplars. Pages 4 -13 are a table of contents of text exemplars listed by grade band and by type of text: stories, drama, poetry, and informational texts for ELA, history/social studies, and math/science, and technical subjects. Excerpts of the listed exemplars are on the pages that follow.

The English Language Arts Appendix C offers samples of student writing so you can see what student writing should look like at your grade level. Samples are broken down by grade and the three purposes in writing: argument, informational, and narrative. Pages 3 - 4 are a table of contents of samples broken down by grade and the three purposes in writing: argument, informational, and narrative. Pages 6 - 107 are the samples, each with an annotation that breaks down how each piece meets the grade level standards, citing examples from the piece to support each point.

I hope you enjoyed this series on implementing the Common Core writing standards, and as always I would love to hear how you are implementing these ideas in your classroom.

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