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Writing: Making It Fit!
Writing can seem like a daunting task for both teacher and student. If you are still not sure how to fit it into your content area, here are a few ideas to consider.
At the first glance at the writing standards, one may think he could never make all of them happen in his classroom in a year's time. I would offer to approach the writing standards as a way to check for understanding in your content and plan for future learning rather than thinking of them as an additional piece on your already full educational plate.
There are TEN Common Core Writing Standards. I have taken the liberty of summarizing them into SIX so they are easier to manage. Of course, each teacher will want to look at the details for their grade level and content, but for the purpose of this blog, we will use the summarized version. In a nutshell, students in K-12 should be able to do the following:
1. Produce three types of writing (argument, informative/explanatory and narrative)
2. Produce writing that is developed and well organized by using the writing process.
3. Technology should be used to inform the writing as well as for the final piece produced.
4. Conduct research for short and long term writing projects by using multiple print and digital resources.
5. Writing should demonstrate understanding through analysis, reflection and research and be free of plagiarism
6. Writing should be done routinely for a range of tasks, audience and purposes.
In order to accomplish all of these, a teacher should need only to reflect on a few things when planning a lesson or unit.
What type of writing will students choose to demonstrate their understanding of the topic?
Will this piece of writing be short term or long term?
If short, it may be used as a formative assessment and not require the steps of the writing process, but may require numbers 3 and 4 above.
If it is a longer piece of writing, then, numbers 2,3,4,5,6 should be a part of the rubric provided to the student prior to starting the writing task.
Also, a teacher will want to consider...
How often should I have my students write?
How can I change the audience task or purpose to vary the writing assignment?
What kind of rubric should be used to measure a high level of analysis, reflection, and research (both digital and print)?
How will I check for plagiarism?
What advance organizers can I create for my students to help them understand how to write for different tasks and for different purposes?
I would suggest that a great summer task for teachers would be to consider the questions above and take inventory of instructional practices. One may find that with a few easy tweaks, the writing standards can be achieved by the way one does business in his classroom and does not require a Masters degree in reading!
You can do this!
For more ideas or resources, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org