This session focuses on the writing expectations delineated in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. The presenters will share specific features of the standards that will impact writing instruction. They will engage participants in “unwrapping” representative standards to uncover the academic rigor within and discuss implications for instruction and assessment. Additionally, the presenters will provide “Common Core Common Sense” – tips to remember when planning to meet Common Core writing expectations.
The scatterplot slides come from multiple sources but are available at http://www.leadandlearn.com/sites/default/files/presentations/101028-cambridge-ma-making-case-writing-across-curriculum.pdf (from one of Doug’s presentations). The point to make is that a positive correlation this close to 1.0 is very powerful!
The most advanced secondary textbooks for English do not teach studentsto think critically or to write argument. Rather, they opt for vague discussionsof “persuasive writing.” Those of us who know the needs of college writers and who are familiar withthe new ACT and SAT writing samples know that persuasive writing will notsuffice. For college and career one needs to know how to make an effectivecase, to make a good argument. Gerald Graff was recently cited in EducationWeek as giving the following advice to college students: “Recognize thatknowing a lot of stuff won’t do you much good,” he wrote, “unless you can dosomething with what you know by turning it into an argument.”In the past two or three decades, colleges and universities have turnedto a newer treatment of arguments of probability, that by Stephen Toulminin The Uses of Argument.The Elements of ArgumentToulmin’s basic conception of argument includes several elements:» a claim» based on evidence of some sort» a warrant that explains how the evidence supports the claim» backing supporting the warrants» qualifications and rebuttals or counter arguments that refute competingclaims.
And, as Kelly Gallagher, one of my favorite teachers about writing, there is a literacy STAMPEDE bearing down on our students… take a moment to read his quote here…. (pause)Yes, our kids DESPERATELY need to be writing more… so that‘s what we’re here to talk about…
Clarify what NAEP is if necessary (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Note that although NAEP uses the term “persuasive,” it also encompasses argumentative. “Convey experience” means both fiction and nonfiction. Have participants fill out the chart on p. 106. Make clear the key point and discuss it as needed. Ensure they understand the key point that appears in the manual on the bottom of p. 106.
The Common Core documents are very clear about students using questioning, inquiry, analysis, etc. and do not dictate a “right” way to teach writing. Briefly discuss p. 91-92 of the manual. Then direct their attention to p. 93, where there are two visuals representing the stages of the writing process. Again, discuss briefly – ensuring that everyone is clear on the terminology. Also let them know that in the Common Core, the word “prewriting” doesn’t appear. The prewriting stage is called “planning” one’s writing.
“The most effective way to teach metacognition is to begin with direct instruction of the levels of thinking of thinking from Bloom’s levels of Taxonomy and/or from Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge model. Teachers should explain the levels of thinking and engage students in lessons that require them to compare and contrast analyze, synthesize, evaluate, judge, defend, etc. The teacher models what thinking sounds like when an analysis is underway. “THINK ALOUD”First it is important to have a working definition of the word “rigor.”While rigor is defined differently depending on the context, it is frequently associated with increases in “cognitive demand” or “cognitive push” and the “depth of application.”Historically, Bloom’s Taxonomy has provided our first metacognitive structure for coding cognitive demand. Other models for defining “rigor” exist; such as Webb’s Depth of Knowledge (DOK) and the Rigor, Relevance. Relationship (RRR) Framework conceptualized by the International Center for Leadership in Education. For our purposes today, we are simply defining “rigor” in reference to the Categories in Bloom’s Cognitive Process Dimension revised in 2005.
Bloom is concentrating on the type of thinking, “are you analyzing, are you evaluating, etc?” Webb is focusing on “how deeply do you have to know the content to be successful? It is not about difficulty it is about complexity, you have to ask yourself “what type of mental processing would have to occur”Webb describes his DOK levels as “nominative” rather than as a taxonomy; It is a scale of cognitive demand. There are 4 levels of Cognitive Complexity. “DOK levels name 4 different ways students interact with content. Each level is dependent upon how deeply students understand the content in order to respond, not simply the “verb” used. The DOK is determined by the ‘context in which the verb is used and the depth of thinking required.’ The Webb levels do not necessarily indicate degree of “difficulty” in that Level 1 can ask students to recall or restate a simple or a much more complex concept, the latter being much more difficult. Conversely, depth of understanding a concept is required to be able to explain how/why a concept works (Level 2), apply it to real-world phenomena with justification/supporting evidence (level 3), or to integrate one concept with other concepts or other perspectives (level 4).”
Mike Schmoker, in Focus, asks his readers to “consider the words of Vince Ferrandino and Gerald Tirozzi, the former and current presidents, respectively, of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. I cite them in every presentation I deliver:Under-developed literacy skills are the number one reason why students are retained, assigned to special education, given long-term remedial services and why they fail to graduate from high school. (2004, p. 29)”
Ascd session common core academic writing
The “Core” Gets Us Back toOur Roots: AcademicWritingAngela PeerySenior Professional Development Associate,The Leadership & Learning CenterLisa CebelakProfessional Development Associate,The Leadership & Learning Center
Nonfiction WritingThe impact of nonfiction writing on student achievement is manifested not only in language arts but also in math, science, and social studies. Dr. Douglas Reeves, The Learning Leader
Writing Is Related to Higher Math Achievementr = .88
Writing Is Related to Higher Social StudiesAchievement r = .87 Writing
Writing Is Related to Higher Science Achievementr = .86 Science Test Scores
From the Work of George Hillocks• Argument is the core of critical thinking• Working through an argument is the process of inquiry• The way most teachers teach research is pedagogically unsound
―Generous amounts of reading, writing, and argument are essential to the development of truly literate and educated students.‖ Mike Schmoker, Results Now
Hillocks, Schmoker, and the Common Core• Argument is at the heart of critical thinking and academic discourse. It is the kind of writing students need to know for success in college and in life—the kind of writing that the Common Core State Standards puts first.
―There is a literacy stampede bearing down on our students, yet the skill of writing – a cornerstone of literacy – is being badly shortchanged in our schools. To make matters worse, this neglect of writing is coming at a time when the writing demands required in the real world are intensifying. Students are writing less when they desperately need to be writing more. A lot more.‖ Kelly Gallagher, Teaching Adolescent Writers
SPECIFIC FEATURES OF THESTANDARDS AND IMPLICATIONS FORINSTRUCTION AND ASSESSMENT
Shared Responsibility The Standards insist that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language be a shared responsibility within the school.
Writing Process and Writing on DemandRange of Writing10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Rethinking the Writing Process It is important to share the characteristics of the writing process, but to ultimately let thestudent decide what works best for him or her.
Use the “Unwrapping” Process to Reveal What Lies Beneath―Unwrapping‖ reveals the concepts and skillsembedded within the standards which serves toguide both instruction and assessment design.
Unwrapping• “Unwrapping” is a process to analyze and deconstruct grade-specific standards to determine exactly what students need to know (concepts) and be able to do (skills).• How each skill is applied to a particular concept determines its corresponding level of cognitive rigor. Larry Ainsworth, Rigorous Curriculum Design
Grade 2 Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
Grade 7Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. a. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically. b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text. c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), reasons, and evidence. d. Establish and maintain a formal style. e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Using “Unwrapping” as a Guide for Instructional Sequencing Conducting Short and Sustained Research Projects Short Research Short Research Short Research Sustained Research Sustained Research Projects Projects Projects Projects Projects Answer a Self- Answer a Question Answer a Question Generated Question Answer a Self- Solve a Problem Solve a Problem Solve a Problem Generated QuestionAnswer a Question Broaden Inquiry Narrow Inquiry Broaden Inquiry Narrow InquiryBroaden Inquiry Synthesize Sources Synthesize multiple Synthesize multiple Synthesize multiple sources sources sourcesDemonstrate Demonstrate Demonstrate Demonstrate DemonstrateUnderstanding Understanding Understanding Understanding Understanding Time
Common Core Common Sense• Writing-to-learn should be used frequently and consistently in all subjects, at all grade levels.• Product writing, both in ―on-demand‖ situations and in process-writing situations, should occur in all subjects and at all grade levels.• Teachers of all subjects must make time for authentic research and the writing process.
Common Core Common Sense• At grades K – 5, students should be stating their opinions (verbally and in writing) and giving reasons for those opinions – ―I like this character best because…‖ – ―I believe ___ because …‖• At grades 6 – 12, students should be stating claims (verbally and in writing) and citing evidence – ―The clear theme of the work is…‖ – ―Gum should be banned at our school because…‖
More from Mike Schmoker• Recommends several formal papers starting in 2nd grade (age 7), about one per month or about 9 per year, written in at least two drafts• Recommends two presentations per semester, about 10 minutes long in the upper grades• ―The erosion of literacy is one of the most profound but insidious developments in modern schooling.‖ Focus: Elevating the Essentials to Radically Improve Student Learning, Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2011.
More from Mike Schmoker- Team-based PLCs/Data Teams- Guaranteed and viable curriculum- Radical changes in literacy instructionCELEBRATE every “SMALL WIN” in these areas atEVERY staff meeting 35 - 50 percentile gain in 3 years
“What is essential for schools? Three simple things: reasonably coherent curriculum…, sound lessons…, and far more purposeful reading and writing in every discipline, or authentic literacy… The status quo has to change.” Mike Schmoker, Focus