I’ve finally made it to the section on Writing in Pathways to the Common Core. I will be completely honest with you all and admit that when I taught in the classroom, writing was my least favorite subject to teach. Ironically, I’ve now grown to love writing and think if I were teach again it would probably be my 2nd favorite (right along with reading). This is only because I continue to write myself on a regular basis and enjoy it just as much as I do reading.
Prior to the CCSS, there really hasn’t been much for writing standards, because NCLB put emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. If you sit down and look at the writing standards in the common core, you will find that they are organized into three broad categories or types of writing:
- opinion and argument
- informative/explanatory texts
While we often put our focus on the writing process in our classrooms, the # of pages in the CCSS for writing actually devote 1/2 of the pages to the 3 types of writing. In addition, the standards call for a “distribution of writing experiences that gives students roughly equal amounts of time and instruction in argument, informative, and narrative writing” (p. 104-105). Just like the reading standards, the common core standards for writing have a “shared responsibility” for other subjects to incorporate writing into daily learning.
At Dodgeland, we have done a great job of shifting our literacy time to provide students with the time to read so they can become better readers. The common core standards also call for students to write often; “write routinely” to make writing a habit.
I was surprised to learn how specific the standards are on expectations for what students should produce in a sitting. For example, 4th graders are expected to produce a minimum of one typed page in a sitting, and fifth graders, a minimum of two typed pages in a sitting!
As I reflect on what I’m learning about the common core writing standards I wonder if our current instructional time allows for students to practice writing daily, not just for narratives (which I know we’re probably best at in the elementary)? What does writing across the curriculum look like currently for our students throughout the day?
What should student writing look like at each grade level? You have all of the annotated examples at each grade level in your binder from Appendix C (also found online HERE
), but I’m going to include a snapshot from each grade level. Please note that for some of them, the pieces are more than a page and this is just a snapshot.
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Isn’t Pathways a great book? So much information.The overview of writing section is one I refer to often, and include in PD with teachers around the common core. It does a nice job of summing up the important shifts in what we teach and how we teach in writing. Has your staff looked at Donald Graves’ conditions? He has a great article and reflective survey that helps define what it looks like in the classroom. Sounds like your staff is on an exciting path!
Happy reading and writing!