My father, who had no more than an eighth grade education, wrote in a beautiful Palmer hand. His one-room schoolhouse education did not promise to take him far, but it did allow him to place words on paper in an elegant and readable manner. And, this skill had practical utility beyond its aesthetic beauty, since he worked for many years as a bookkeeper. But the public value of handwriting has diminished during the ensuing century. In fact, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) don’t even mention handwriting, cursive, or manuscript printing. Nevertheless, It is evident that the standards writers expect kids to learn some form of these—since the standards explicitly call for students to engage in written composition; and this would be hard to do if one had no way of getting words on paper.
To summarize, persuasion, opinion and argument are distinct from one another. For this reason, they require strategy-based direct instruction for student mastery. But this does not mean they exist in mutually exclusive silos. Talented writers develop a commanding mastery of each and then blend them expertly to address specific purposes and audiences.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Persuasion, opinion and argument - what's the diff?
There is an ongoing debate in my English department about instructing writing. Do we teach students how to write or do we guide them how to become writers? Let me clarify. One of my coworkers, who I will call Irene, believes most students are clueless how to write an essay and must be taught writing by strictly following a template. According to Irene, we need to teach our students to follow the Jane Schaffer method to construct a paragraph, or mimic Graf and Birkenstein’s They Say, I Say to develop a thesis. If we do so, eventually our students will have the tools to write like an academic.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Also differentiates between persuasive and argumentative writing.
The Common Core State Standards have made it even more important for educators to assist students in making the connections between writing and reading through thoughtful and well-planned instruction, assignments and feedback.
The Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) created Common Core State Standards-aligned writing rubrics as a resource to assist teachers with this work. These rubrics are intended to help in instructional planning and to provide guidance in assisting students with the writing process.
Aaron Churchill from Fordham that is. He writes a great piece citing an example of a West Virginia state test item as evidence of why CCSS and PARCC/Smarter Balanced has such potential to change the way we teach writing. Worth a read!
Each school year I begin with “writing boot camp” where we focus on the fundamentals of writing. I have transitioned to the Common Core Standards and developed flipped writing videos and complementary writing templates to help students learn how to write strong argument and informative paragraphs. I wanted to share these with teachers who might be able to use them and save time!
I am writing to you for some suggestions and recommendations concerning working with science and social studies teachers in light of the writing standards in the common core. I am a former English teacher with 35 years of experience and have, for the past seven years, worked to develop and present workshops and classes for content area teachers in reading – focusing on both disciplinary and content literacy.
I spent Friday and Saturday in a workshop about the assessments educators will find emerging with oncoming Common Core State Standards. Along with 40+ educators from across Pennsylvania, the Institute for Learning (IFL) led us through several assessment models designed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
Deb Gardner's insight:
Blog post written by a writing teacher - worth the read! Take-aways:
assessment models advocated multiple reads of multiple texts within one unit or lesson.
impetus to integrate reading and writing across all subject areas drives the dismissal of classes only using textbook-driven instruction...and their mirrored counterparts in current state testing.
not a short-term process. CCSS positioning educators to make a long-term commitment towards altering the way in which we teach and in how we see time best spent in our classrooms.
writing and the ability to extract and synthesize evidence from multiple texts is the essential component of upcoming CCSS assessments.
Maybe you’ve tuned into a concern some have raised about Common Core texts – do the new standards require English teachers to give up teaching fiction to make way for nonfiction? My friend and colleague Jessica Cuthbertson recently raised an important clarification - that there’s no need to focus on “either/or.”
The Common Core does suggest many changes to instructional practice, but I would argue that we can’t look at fiction and non-fiction as separate ingredients that need to be consumed in isolation. Instead we need to experiment with various blends to find strategies that will work.
Deb Gardner's insight:
I like this first hand account of teaching with the Common Core, particulary her emphasis on collaboration with colleagues.
My question is does the featured text drive the skills/standards or should the skills/standards drive the choice of the featured and supporting texts in a unit.
Many institutions are seeking ways to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or align curricula across secondary and higher education to better support student success.
Turnitin has partnered with the English Professional Learning Council (EPLC) to develop three writing rubrics—argument, informative and narrative—that are aligned with the CCSS. These rubrics help instructors convey their expectations to students, grade submitted work against the CCSS, provide critical feedback, and track student progress.
So what's the difference between persuasive writing and argumentative writing?
In persuasive writing, students passionately defend their point of view, relying upon opinion, personal experience, anecdotes, data, and examples. Argumentative writing, however, seeks to offer a more balanced approach, as it acknowledges points from the opposing view.
I'm sharing a lesson sequence on economy of language that provided a compelling intro to this standard. I co-planned the lesson with learning specialist, Marcia Stiman-Lavian, and I borrowed significantly from materials shared by fellow CTQ blogger, Bill Ferriter. This sequence was a lot of fun, and it really seemed to wake students up to the power and nuance of individual words, opening the door to more intensive investigation of the function of specific words--and punctuation--in text
How in the world are we supposed to apply the Common Core writing standards to teaching English language learners?
We've been asking that question of ourselves and others over the past two years, and we suspect we're not the only educators doing so. After reviewing the many resources available that attempt to provide guidance to teachers of English language learners (see "Resources of Note") and combining what we've learned through our daily classroom experience, we've developed a tentative answer to that question.
There is a panic amongst writing teachers that is based on the myth that our baby, narrative writing, is shunned by the Common Core standards. I'm here to encourage everyone to take a deep breath and repeat after me: "Nobody puts baby in a corner."
The Common Core Standards emphasize the integration of content understanding and writing. In Common demonstrates this, using K-12 samples from all three types of Common Core writing: argument/opinion writing, informative/explanatory writing, and narrative writing.
In this thoughtful article in Kappa Delta Pi Record, consultant/authors Mike Schmoker and Carol Jago say, “Done right, the ELA Common Core has the potential to right the ship of literacy, to facilitate, at long last, the creation of coherent curriculum in every course, and to rescue us from the fads and pseudo-literacies of recent decades.” They believe the CCSS appendices and ancillary documents are the “true strength” of the document, providing resources for students “to engage in close reading of large amounts of high-quality, complex text, combined with opportunities to engage in discussion and writing grounded in text.”
I was reminded of my experience by an essay tracing the rise and fall of grammar instruction ("Grammarians in Hoodies," Education Next, Spring 2013). During the 70s, there was a push to make English class more "relevant." Feelings about literature became more important than analysis. In 1972, the Conference on College Composition said that students had a right "to their own patterns and varieties and language." I was taken aback when the National Council of Teachers of English in 1974 issued a statement that correcting language was "immoral" because it was an attempt by one social group to exert dominance over another.
In another post I just got a really great question about using the 6+ 1 Traits of Writing and how they fit in the common core. With so much attention being paid to the reading aspects of the CCSS, it’s a great change to have questions about writing!
Deb Gardner's insight:
Christina Hank provides helpful links when asked about how to use 6+1 with CCSS.
The following is a guest post by Catlin Tucker, one of SimpleK12's presenters. Click here to watch Catlin's Webinars inside the Teacher Lear
Deb Gardner's insight:
Caitlin and her students leverage technology in productive and engaging ways. Consider ways teachers could collabortate across subject areas to dig in with additional texts and resources, (excellent issue for our Catholic school teachers).
The Literacy Design Collaborative is a network of teachers and partners “building out a template-based approach to the literacy demands of college and the workplace, as defined by the Common Core State Standards.” The concept is to give teachers tools (mostly offline but soon to be online) that enable them to transform the Common Core into classroom action by giving teacher the literacy resources to build student’s college ready literacy skills through their existing content lens.
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