Common Core Standards Response to Intervention (RtI) Special Education ELL/ESL/Dual-Language Classrooms At Home Training

Common Core State Standards


What Is Writing?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) require students to be able to write effectively and proficiently. In order to ensure college and career readiness, students must be able to write for a variety of purposes, cite evidence from text, research and present knowledge on a topic, and produce and publish writing in a variety of formats.


The common core standards focus on three writing categories:
1. explanatory/informational
2. narrative
3. opinion/argument

Writing assignments are not what they used to be. Not so long ago, many teachers had students concentrate on fictional or personal narrative writing. Very little attention was paid to how they interpreted and wrote informational text.

However, key shifts in writing objectives have been made by CCSS. Students must now be able to confidently write about a text. They must be able to compose more extensive pieces where they have a chance to write it, read it, review it and revise it. Wherever possible, technology needs to be a part of the instruction as well — whether it is for the writing itself or to access multiple sources of information.

Reaching Common Core State Standards - Writing
November 25, 2013 04:30 pm ET

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Why Is Writing Important?

Studies show that learning to present important information in an organized piece of writing helps students generate a greater understanding of a text. In addition, it helps to improve both their reading comprehension and their writing skills. With the implementation of the Common Core English language arts Standards, students will be required to use writing skills to incorporate the skills of citing evidence from text. They will learn to analyze content using correct English rules of grammar. They will be encouraged to develop a highly academic and rich vocabulary, and to report findings on the subjects they choose to cover.

Writing about texts will also bolster overall comprehension and meaning behind the text through building knowledge about a topic or reflection. This includes written responses to text-dependent questions.

For example, in grade 4 of the common core writing standards (W.4.1), students should be able to write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information. In short, it says that students must be able to do the following:
  • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose
  • Provide reasons supported by facts and details
  • Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases
  • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented

How Do Learning A-Z’s Resources Support The Teaching Of Writing?

Writing A–Z offers writing lessons for multiple genres and text types. Each lesson comes with associated student resource templates with a set tailored for students at four different levels of writing proficiency to help teachers differentiate their instruction. The website provides hundreds of additional aids for teaching writing.

The core process writing lessons on Writing A–Z begin with the series of “emerging writer” lessons. They combine drawing and writing to narrate or inform a reader on a topic. From there, text type lessons for each grade are offered. They give students experience at writing about a complete range of content, such as informational research reports, fictional and personal narratives and opinion pieces.

The Informational Report lesson on Writing A–Z provides step-by-step instruction on creating a report that presents focused ideas, facts, and/or principles on a topic, including:
  • How to narrow a topic for research
  • How to develop focused questions for research
  • Identifying information from sample source material that answers focused research questions
  • How to create a bibliography at each of the developmental levels
Writing A–Z also offers comprehensive lessons for writing a biography. Students will also have the opportunity to write an experiment composition based on a research question, background research, and results of a process activity using the scientific method.

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Reading A–Z books offer excellent models of how to put ideas together to explain or persuade with one’s writing. For example, in the book To Drill or Not to Drill? students are provided with a model for pro/con writing. This book gives readers information on both sides of a heated debate: whether or not to drill for oil in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The book includes a history of American oil along with reasons to drill in ANWR, reasons not to drill, and the science and law behind it all.

Writing models exist for younger students as well. How to Make Ice Cream provides students with a model for a how-to book. Students can also follow the list of ingredients and the five easy steps to make their own ice cream.

On Reading A–Z all quizzes for books level C and above feature at least one extended response question. These require students to answer in writing an open-ended question using sound reasoning. This allows educators to measure skills that are difficult to assess with multiple-choice.

Writer Responses for select titles from levels E-Z encourage students to reflect on the deeper meaning of each book read. Prompts support writing that applies, synthesizes, or evaluates a book's enduring understanding, which provides lasting value through college, career, and beyond.

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