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Offer to Every Teacher

For the last ten years, maybe a little longer, just after the first eye-opening year of No Child Left Behind you could hear in every break room, every teacher's lounge, every coffee shop, and even while they paced in their living-rooms, "If they would just give us a list of what needed to be taught, and then left us alone, it would be fine. I'm a teacher! I have a degree and everything! I know my kids, and I know what works!"

So, you are an 8th Grade English teacher? How about this for what we need to know in Writing:

Text Types and Purposes:

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence
  • Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.
  • Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
  • Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • Use appropriate and varied transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
  • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
  • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show the relationships among experiences and events.
  • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture the action and convey experiences and events.
  • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on the narrated experiences or events.

Production and Distribution of Writing:


  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
  • With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 8 here.)
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:


  • Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
  • Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new").
  • Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., "Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced").

Range of Writing:

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 discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

I know it looks like a lot, but it is for the year and it really isn't that much.

We don't care how you teach it. You can use lectures, or video, or Socratic discussion or sing a little song. You are the teacher. You know your students better than we ever could. There are a bunch of resources though, and thousands of teachers who are doing the exact same things with their classes that we can put you in touch with to share ideas and get support. There are lessons that are aligned to these requests, already made by some of the best educators in the nation, or you can make your own and share them with the teacher community.

All up to you. Have fun this year.

Common Core.



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