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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources



Grades 11-12

Writing W.11-12.5

Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 on page 54.)

This standard is all about getting students to engage in the writing process. Students must first plan their writing and organize their ideas. Then, students create multiple drafts, examining their rough drafts and considering ways to revise through the addition or subtraction of material. Sometimes students may need to do substantial rewrites or even start over. You’ll have to be the writing process cheerleader in these situations to keep them from getting discouraged.

The last part of the process requires students to edit their papers for grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage errors. Students come to understand that true revision is NOT editing, an illusion they are often under. This standard also pairs with standard four as students continue to focus on purpose and audience as they revise. Let’s see how you can make this fly for your students.

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Assignment Example:

Your research paper on an assigned allusion, a literary device that is a reference to a person, place, or thing in history or another work of literature, is well past the hatching stage. Your allusion, the Phoenix, has been an interesting discovery. You’ve developed your subtopics. Your rough draft includes a summary of the original source, or story, and an explanation of the broad concept it represents. You’ve tied in two examples of usage in modern day, good ones at that. You’ve tried to sound as if you know what you’re talking about. In fact, your peer responder gave you high marks for your writing. It wasn’t a case of crash and burn.

Now, in the revision stage, you swoop in to refine that first draft. You notice that while you mentioned that the phoenix originated from Egyptian mythology, your research suggested that many cultures have a similar, bird-like creature that rose from the ashes. You’ll add this information to your text. The portion of your draft that describes the symbolism behind the phoenix might be improved if you alter one phrase. Change “the phoenix represents continued life” to “the phoenix represents immortality or life after death.” Also, the phrase “the phoenix literally rises from its own ashes,” might be a sensory detail that will add to the reader’s experience. You add that.

You notice you went off on a tangent in the second body paragraph that you’ll have to trim down. Finally, you note that the rubric for your essay asks for at least four current examples, and you have just two. You’ll have to fluff the feathers of that section.

You study your next draft checking for word choice. Twice you used slang in your paper that you know isn’t quite academic enough for this task. You remember that you must be scholarly, so you’ll have to change those words. After all, you are addressing your classmates and your teacher. Finally, you edit your paper for grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes. Did you always stay in the past tense as you gave the summary? You notice that in three sentences your subject-verb agreement is off, too. These small corrections will help your paper to be more professional; it will flow better, and there will be no distracting errors.

You’ve polished that paper to refinement. You look back at that messy rough draft and know that you have demonstrated strength and resilience even in the face of fire and danger.

Drill 1

Create a graphic organizer that best orders the steps described in this standard.