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Common Core Standards: ELA

Grades 11-12

Writing W.11-12.10

Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single setting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purpose, and audiences.

This standard is about making writing a regular part of what students do in your classroom. There are two parts of this standard, each dealing with a specific time frame. In an extended time frame, students are given several days or even weeks to complete a task, allowing for extended research and multiple drafts. In the second, however, time is limited, and students must collect their information quickly and think on their feet in order to draw conclusions. An important piece of this standard is for students to have opportunities to write for a wide range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. This standard asks students to gain dexterity with their writing skills so that they can successfully meet the demands of any writing context. What more could they ask for as they head off to college?

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Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example

Assignment Example:

In your English class, your teacher has asked you to read two Native American creation myths. After reading the stories, you will explain how the two compare, describing common elements within each story. You’ll also draw conclusions about what these similarities might say about Native American culture. Your writing may take any form you wish, but your audience will be elementary school students. You’ll be meeting with these students after your work is complete. Two days is all you’ll have to get your project together in time for your presentation.

On Day One, you’ll read “The Osage Creation Account” and “The Navajo Creation Myth.” While reading, you’ll create a chart that compares the two stories. You notice that water is described as being present at the beginning of time in both stories. The earth is described as “being covered with water.” In each story, animals are characters that help the gods create the world, the elk in the Osage tale, and the badger in the Navajo.

Other natural elements also play an important role. “The winds came from all quarters and blew until the waters went upward in a mist” and “… the cyclones blew until they had dried the mud” are evidence that the wind helped in the formation. Food sources are mentioned: “The hairs grew, and from them sprang beans, corn, potatoes, and wild turnips…” from the Osage account, while the Navajo myth says, “He likewise brought forth four seeds, the pumpkin, the watermelon, the cantaloupe, and the muskmelon.” Finally, in both tales, man and woman are created from corn.

On Day Two, you’ll decide upon a genre. Since your audience will be young children, you choose to make a Glogster poster. It will be filled with color and fun graphics that will attract and keep the interest of your listeners. On your poster, you’ll describe the similarities you found and offer specific examples and direct quotations to support your claims. As always, you teacher asks you to interpret this information and analyze its importance.

What do all the commonalities mean? Well, you might draw the conclusion that nature plays a very important role in Native American culture, regardless of the tribe. These stories try to explain the occurrence of natural phenomenon, such as mountain formations, various types of animals, and why bears walk on four legs. You’re looking forward to telling the children about these stories and how they reflect Native American beliefs and values. Sounds like you’re ready to present!

Now, how would this assignment look if you were asked to spend more time on it? Let’s plan for a week of effort. In addition to analyzing these two myths, you are asked to find two other myths. You’ll use the same criteria to explain the creation of the world, its inhabitants, and other natural phenomenon. In addition, you must include insights on your OWN creation story. You head to the library where you find several books on myths.

There, you discover that most cultures have a creation story. After skimming several stories, you settle on the Aztec myth and the Australian Aboriginal account. Again, you find that these also contain ideas about water, land formations, gods, and animals.

You also conclude that descriptions of nature depend upon the location from where the story comes. For example, you notice that the animals in the Down Under myth are kangaroos and lizards. The land structures in the Hawaiian narrative are volcanoes and mountains. You reflect on what you’ve learned and conclude that elements of each myth are dependent upon the geography and experience of its people. Rather than a poster, you are asked to write an essay in which you compare all four myths, and your audience will be your teacher.

After taking notes, you’ll decide whether you will shape your essay by criteria, that is talk about each element and how it reveals itself in each story, or discuss one myth at a time. Your first rough draft should include general observations about the stories. Since you have time to revise this essay, you’ll add more specific details on each element, including direct quotations to support your ideas.

Don’t forget about using those transition words and phrases typical in an essay of comparison: by the same token, likewise, similarly, and still. You’re pleased with your essay but realize you forgot to explain your own myth. To keep your teacher off the warpath, you reflect about how your creation story fits in with the other four. You are not surprised that, once again, you find many similarities to discuss. This assignment is just another feather in your cap.

Drill 1

Fill in the blanks of the paragraph with the appropriate words. Some words may be used more than once.

shorter extended task purpose
time frame research audience draft
reflection

In this standard, (1)_____________ determines the depth of your writing. You may complete tasks that are both (2)_____________ and (3)_______________. The first must be completed quickly, while the second offers you the opportunity to conduct in-depth (4)_______________ to find important facts, statistics, or examples to be used in your writing. Similarly, the chance to write more than one (5)____________ in order to refine your work is also provided. Also, since there is time for (6)_____________, you will be expected to analyze the meaning of your work. Regardless of the length of assignment, all writing must remain focused on the (7)______________, (8)______________, and (9)______________.

ANSWERS:

1. time frame – Hint: When your teacher gives you two weeks for a project, she expects you to do two weeks’ worth of work.

2. shorter – These tasks often take a day or two to answer a basic question.

3. extended – These tasks might be several days or weeks and require greater depth.

4. research – More time = more research expected.

5. draft – Yes, you read that right: more than one draft. When teachers give you more time to write, they are expecting more revisions and better quality. No procrastinating!

6. reflection – Why is this work that you’ve done important? What does it all mean?

7. task – The genre or specific type of assignment.

8. purpose – What are you trying to accomplish? Give information? Entertain? Convince your audience?

9. audience – Who are you writing this for? Who are your readers?

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