November 1, 2014

5 Questions for Closely Reading the Writing Standards

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Last week, sandwiched between our musings about PARCC, we posted a blog about closely reading the writing standards.  As we gear up for this week at Burkins & Yaris, we are reposting that entry to launch this week’s series, dedicated to carefully reading and thinking about the Common Core’s writing standards. Our post 5 Questions for Closely Reading the Reading Standards was the first in a series dedicated to helping readers discover new insights into the Common Core.  Today’s post continues the series by providing five questions to support your explorations of the writing standards.

1.      How do the standards emphasize the writing process?
How are the practices of gathering and collecting ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing reflected in the ten standards for writing?

2.      How can we expect our students to change as writers after a year of work aligned to the Common Core?
Look at the grade level achievement standards for the grade you teach and the grade that precedes the grade you teach.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

3.      How do the standards emphasize writing quality? How do they emphasize writing volume?
As you work to answer these questions, we suggest you read the standards across each grade level and note how the descriptors change from grade level to grade level.  What do these changes communicate about the Common Core’s expectations of students as writers?

4.      How do the standards emphasize writing across all disciplines for real purposes?
The category titled “Text Types and Purposes” outlines the different kinds of writing expected of students.  Try to identify the threads of these expectations in the remaining seven standards and if any particular type of writing is emphasized more than others.

5.      In what ways do the Common Core standards align with your purposes and beliefs about teaching children to write?  What are the implications for you and your students?
Think about your vision of students as articulate participants in a literate society.  Look for places where the Common Core supports or interferes with your paradigms for literacy instruction.

As per our suggestions for reading the Reading Standards, we encourage you to work through these questions related to the Writing Standards in whatever way works for you.  Most importantly, please share your suggestions for revisions, your discoveries, and your insights, as we will in upcoming posts.

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