Common Core State Standards -Writing


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This is presentation made for my colleagues in a middle school setting. The presentation is purposely slanted toward two of the three writing standards: argumentative and narrative. This is because argumentative is not particularly well represented in our situation at the moment. narrative writing is well represented but within only one discipline -Language Arts. The aim is to show content areas how to work in narrative writing.

You're welcome to email me with questions, though I'm hardly an expert.( You're also welcome to follow my babbling and raving at

Ralph Lagana, 2013

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  • Less is More is particularly useful as a guide on how to work in many resources and higher level passages over the course of a school year.
  • Common Core State Standards -Writing

    1. 1. COMMON PHRASES MORE FOCUS ON  comparative reading college readiness  content-rich non-fiction seminal works; complex  narrative writing; argumentative texts and informational (as much as profound insight into the 35% should be argumentative) human condition  close reading premium on evidence  text-dependent questions from the text  culture studies  math: procedural skills, fluency, and application  academic vocabulary
    2. 2. 6.1 argumentative 6.2 informational 6.3 narrative Three Focuses
    3. 3.  writing that develops real or imagined experiences or events  uses effective narration techniques  includes relevant descriptive details  has well-structured event sequences  6.3e provides a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events
    4. 4.  writing that informs or explains a topic through analysis of relevant content  uses methods such as definition, classification, compare- contrast, and/or cause-effect  develops topic using relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, and quotes  uses transition words to convey relationships among ideas  6.2f provides a concluding statement that follows from the information or explanation presented
    5. 5.  writing arguments to support claims using clear reasons and relevant evidence  introduces and supports a claim(s)  uses credible sources (primary and secondary)  maintains a formal style (Toulmin’s approach)  6.1e provides a concluding statement that follows from the argument presented
    6. 6.  On first impression, one may think the following: Subject Area Writing Standard Language Arts narrative Foreign Language informational Social Studies informational, argumentative Mathematics informational Science informational, argumentative
    7. 7.  subject area  Language Arts Writing Standard  Foreign Language narrative  Social Studies informational  Mathematics argumentative  ScienceThat’s right -everyone shares the wealth and responsibility ofdeveloping these standards of writing.
    8. 8.  Argumentative writing is often confused with persuasive writing. With persuasive writing, one selects the most convincing evidence only, appealing largely to emotions. The only purpose is to be convincing. Loaded language is the preferred method of supporting a point. Argumentative writing is about making a case in support of a claim. It relies on warrants (logical appeals), verifiable data, and probabilities. Argumentative writing avoids loaded language when making a point.
    9. 9. Form and Termsa claim is madeclaim is base on evidence (i.e data)a warrant is given that explains howthe evidence supports the claimbacking given to support the warrantqualifications and rebuttals (or counterarguments) that refute competingclaims are givenBased on Stephen Toulmin’s TheUses of Argument, which has beenadopted by most universities andCCSS
    10. 10. Evidence, Claims, Warrants, andQualifications. Oh my! claim Expresses one’s stance or claim on an issueAnatomy of an It’s the view one wants readers to agree with and possibly act Argument upon. warrants These are the reasons one’s claim is correct. They come from data/ evidence, and often as a chain of reasoning. Warrants are as logical and reasonable as one can make them. evidence This is the proof that your claims are reasonable and sound. It takes the form of statistics, quotes, credible interviews (experts), original sources , etc. Evidence credibility is essential. rebuttal First, recognizes the other side of the issue, other interpretations of information Then, refutes the counter argument by using opposition’s argument against them. (Attacks weaknesses of evidence or logic.) qualifiers Sets the limitations to a claim. E.g.s: few, many, some, perhaps, probably, estimated, admittedly. They’re important to having your audience trust your argument.
    11. 11. Topic: Hmm…. Nope. Again, not quite what I meant. I’d planned toCats discuss… Killer cats!Awww. Socute!Oh, sorry. Not thesekind of cats, butrather…Killer Okay, maybecats! this is too far. Yes, this is more reasonable.
    12. 12. • Examine the evidence/data in the chart. What questions does it create?• What claim can we make based on the evidence? 33 species extinct i.e. What argument can be made?• What warrants this claim? i.e. How does the evidence work to back up the claim?• Where do we need to qualify our warrants or claims? e.g. The data, coming from many studies (21), is wildly diverse for “small mammals” but not birds.• What are the rebuttals we should consider? Now let’s turn to the article and see how our claims, warrants, qualifiers, and rebuttals measure up to the claims of the original article.
    13. 13. Cats killing billions of animals in the US BBC radio discussionBy Rebecca Morelle Science reporter, BBC World ServiceCats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, killing billions of animals each year, a study suggests.The authors estimate they are responsible for the deaths of between 1.4 and 3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals annually.Writing in Nature Communications, the scientists said stray and feral cats were the worst offenders.However, they added that pet cats also played a role and that owners should do more to reduce their impact.The authors concluded that more animals are dying at the claws of cats in the United States than in road accidents, collisions with buildings or poisonings.The domestic cats killer instinct has been well documented on many islands around the world.Felines accompanying their human companions have gone on to prey on the local wildlife, and they have been blamed for the global extinction of 33 species.But their impact on mainland areas has been harder to chart.To find out more, researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service carried out a review of studiesthat had previously looked at the predatory prowess of cats.Their analysis revealed that the cat killings were much higher than previous studies had suggested: they found that they had killed more than four times asmany birds as has been previously estimated.Birds native to the US, such as the American Robin, were most at risk, and mice, shrews, voles, squirrels and rabbits were the mammals most likely to bekilled.Dr Pete Marra from the SCBI said: "Our study suggests that they are the top threat to US wildlife."The team said that "un-owned" cats, which they classified as strays, feral cats and farm cats, were killing about three times as many animals as pet cats.However, they said pet cats were still killing significant numbers of animals, and that their owners should do more to limit the impact.Dr Marra said: "We hope that the large amount of wildlife mortality indicated by our research convinces some cat owners to keep their cats indoors and that italerts policymakers, wildlife managers and scientists to the large magnitude of wildlife mortality caused by cat predation."A spokeswoman for the animal welfare charity the RSPCA said that a properly fitted collar and bell could reduce a cats success when hunting by at least athird.
    14. 14. “That Cuddly Kitty is Deadlier Than You Think” NPR radio report Note how many comments this item has generated, making for good argumentative discussions and writing. counter argument to the killer cat debate Select the image to read the New York Times article.
    15. 15. Developing Logical Arguments Without Hard Numbers “Slip or Trip?” At five-feet-six and a hundred and ten pounds,Queenie Volupides was a sight to behold and to clasp. When she tore out of the house after a tiff with herhusband, Arthur, she went to the country club wherethere was a party going on. She left the club shortly before one in the morning andinvited a few friends to follow her home and have onemore drink. They got to the Volupides house about ten minutesafter Queenie, who met them at the door and said,“Something terrible happened. Arthur slipped and fell onthe stairs. He was coming down for another drink—hestill had the glass in his hand—and I think he’s dead. Oh,my God—what shall I do? The autopsy conducted later concluded that Arthurhad died from a wound on the head and confirmed thathe’d been drunk. Determine what happened Select the picture for a lesson plan using the short-Excerpted from Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6–12 mystery “Slip or Trip”
    16. 16. Identifying the Pieces & Parts Evidence Rule (Warrant) Conclusion 1. Arthur still has a glass in his hand. As a rule, when people fall down Queenie is probably lying about stairs they drop what they are his falling down the stairs. carrying to save themselves. Probably=qualification This evidence is tricky. It could 2. There’s something cooking on the suggest Queenie’s husband was stove. home cooking and slipped. It could also suggest Queenie killed her husband and left in a hurry, forgetting the stove was on. could suggest = qualification 3. Arthur’s clothes are all neat. When people fall down the stairs, their clothes get disheveled. When people fall down the stairs, 4. Nothing on the wall is disturbed. there is a good chance they will reach out and possibly disturb things on a wall. 5. His feet are on the stairs. If one falls down the stairs, his/her His feet were carefully put into feet shouldn’t be on the stairs. place. A sudden fall might have moved 6. The carpet is neat. the carpet.
    17. 17. bare-bones writing frame #1 Although not everyone would agree, I would argue that________ . I have several reasons for arguing this point ofview. Firstly ____. Secondly ____. Furthermore ____. Therefore, although some people might argue that ____. Ibelieve I have shown that ____. bare-bones writing frame #2Will you consider that ____? / There is data that supports (add your claim).Firstly, the evidence shows ____. select image to seeSecondly ____. Teacher’s College frameThirdly ____. and chartsYou may feel that ____, but I believe I shown, using relevant evidence, that ____Lastly, think about ____.
    18. 18. What is Narrative Writing? As noted: It’s writing that develops real or imagined experiences or events. It can come in multiple forms:  non-fiction journalism  drama ( a play) Etcetera.  Etcetera.  poetry  Etcetera.Really, it’s about writing that links events to tell a story.It tends to be stickier than informational or argumentative writing. Note: If you’re interested, select the Radio Lab image to hear a terrific speech as to why stories in science matter.
    19. 19. Among many things, science is about observable and measurable events. And……an argument could be made that it’s also about writing a compelling story. Because……without the story, there’s too much scientific gobbledygook. (non-scientific term) I think. As you watch this video, ask yourself: • How does Dr. Lue’s use of language differ from other descriptions you have read of cells and organelles? • How does the kind of animation that Dr. Lue describes, and that you saw in the video, change the way you think of cells? “Inner Life of the Cell” Biovisions at Harvard
    20. 20. Narrative Writing: (science) Guided Imagery Imagine the air moving through the room. As the air slowlycirculates, notice that on these air currents are carried benefitsthousands of microscopic, round, bead-like spores. They are so small you have to look very closely to spotthem. These spores are looking for an opportunity to grow.  Guided Imagery works well asThey are like tiny seeds, searching for a food source that will either a pre-reading activity orenable them to grow and live. If they locate a food source a student writing exercise.with enough moisture, they can grow. As you watch them drift by, you notice a loaf of bread onthe counter. The plastic bread bag has been left opened. The spores get closer and closer and some of them begin  Student can only write thisto land on a slice of bread. way if they have a fair grasp of Watch carefully as tiny little strings of cells begin to grow the content.from a spore. More and more cells grow out, farther andfarther from the spore. Soon there are so many of them that you see a tangledmass of little strings; these are growing denser and denser asthey feed off of the bread. You see some of them with little  Guided Imagery can also workhooks attach to the bread fibers. They continue to wind well as a short writing task, oneoutward and further outward. or two paragraphs only, for Now you can see a velvety fuzz appearing on the surface example.of the bread. What colors are you seeing? What have youwitnessed?
    21. 21. Quickwrites are an opportunity for students to write quickly,while thinking deeply. Why do we use similes? Name aThe purpose for using a focused quickwrite as the opening to a practical reasonthe class period is to link the previous day’s learning to new for using them?concepts.This requires that the teacher construct a prompt that isprovocative and expects students make relevant connections.Prompted quickwrites are a time-efficient means for promotingdaily critical thinking.Prompted quickwrites are also a proven way to anchor learning inlong-term memory.Quickwrites focus not on how well students write, but on how well they reason.
    22. 22. The Write Now Approach maximizes instructional time.As students enter the While the teacher By writingroom they see a prompt handles routine matters independently,that requires them to that often delay the students arerevisit a previously beginning of instruction, personally engaged inlearned concept. students silently bridge deepening their the learning gap understandings between yesterday and of the information today in a refocusing absorbed in the Which is experience. preceding class. easier to use, Which is easier to use, percentage or ratio? Why? percentage or Percentage is easier because you can picture it That is… ratio? Why? better than trying to picture some part out of a hundred. If you think of percentage as being out of a dollar; it’s easier. …if the questions are appropriately designed.
    23. 23. Prompted Questions: are open-end, allowing for a variety of possible answers, have real-world relevance,include relationships like compare and contrast, cause and effect, application, etc., provide opportunities for choice, e.g. most important, best use of, most valuable, and are “you” driven, asking students to think personally; this means using words like explain, describe, plan, might, would, if, and why.
    24. 24. This question benefits from connecting to math concepts previously presented, Which would be better to use having real-world relevance, and when purchasing food in a deepening understanding by asking restaurant, ratio or percentage? students to make a judgment based on comparison.This question benefits from Name at least two uses for acidsconnecting to a previous lab based on yesterday’s lab. Atexperiment, setting clear least one of your suggestionsparameters, and deepening should be an original idea notunderstanding by asking students to already discussed in class.apply their understanding.
    25. 25. QuickwritesCan settle in a class quickly, if done routinelyand within a set a window of time.Index cards help limit writing and focus thewriter.Provide nice –on the spot- formativeinformationTipsHave students read their writing verbatim. Bynot allowing them to add more orally, you helpthem write more clearly and accurately overtime.Ask for students with a different take on the prompt to share.Index cards are also easy to collect and file for later formative assessment of a class orstudent.
    26. 26. Snow Like it or not, books are running to the end of their course.F The printed word alone will no longer be enough.a Even a single style of presentation may not be enough.l Here’s an example of multimedia writing.l -from The New York Times
    27. 27. The New York Times “150 Questions to Write About”.Scholastic Magazine site.Much improved content andteacher materials. Aimed at older students but has some gems. Good for higher- level close reading.Longform site. Simple and cleanwith many great articles, but likeGallagher’s aimed more for olderreaders. Choose wisely. Again, aimed for older readers, but site is expanding its audience continually.
    28. 28. The Learning Network - Teaching and Learning With The New York TimesFebruary 20, 2013, 5:00 amShould Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?By MICHAEL GONCHAR Gym class is for playing sports, like kickball and tennis, and running around. Or is it? Some gym teachers are incorporating reading, writingand math into their curriculum alongside traditional physical activities to help students meet new academic standards. What do you think? Should gym class be only about physical education, or can math and reading also have a place in P.E.? In "Gym Class Isnt Just Fun and Games Anymore," Motoko Rich writes about the new trend in physical education. On a recent afternoon, the third graders in Sharon Patelskys class reviewed words like "acronym," "clockwise" and "descending," as well asmath concepts like greater than, less than and place values. During gym class. Ms. Patelsky, the physical education teacher at Everglades Elementary School here, instructed the students to count by fours as they touchedtheir elbows to their knees during a warm-up. They added up dots on pairs of dice before sprinting to round mats imprinted with mathematicalsymbols. And while in push-up position, they balanced on one arm and used the other ("Alternate!" Ms. Patelsky urged. "Thats one of yourvocabulary words") to stack oversize Lego blocks in columns labeled "ones," "tens" and "hundreds.“ "I dont work for Parks and Recreation," said Ms. Patelsky, explaining the unorthodox approach to what has traditionally been one of the fewbreaks from the academic routine during the school day. "I am a teacher first.“ Spurred by an intensifying focus on student test scores in math and English as well as a desire to incorporate more health and fitnessinformation, more school districts are pushing physical education teachers to move beyond soccer, kickball and tennis to include reading, writingand arithmetic as well. New standards for English and math that have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia recommend thatteachers in all subjects incorporate literacy instruction and bring more "informational text" into the curriculum. But some parents say they object to the way testing is creeping into every corner of school life. And some educators worry that pushingacademics into P.E. class could defeat its primary purpose. Students: Tell us ... Should gym class be only about physical education, or can math and reading also have a place in P.E.? Do you think sprinkling some academic instruction into gym can help students learn more than they would in a traditional classroom? Or do you think pushing academic instruction into gym class might defeat its primary purpose of getting students to be physically active? What do you do in your P.E. classes? Has gym class helped you to be physically fit? Has it helped you learn about different sports andphysical activities? Do you enjoy gym? Copyright 2013 The New York Times