Common Core Standards: ELA
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 9-10 on page 54.)
This standard is all about the writing process. Students need to use strategies to plan their writing, and then they need to take that first rough draft and progress through a series of revisions. You’re likely to meet resistance on this one because students like to believe that once they’ve written something, they shouldn’t have to rewrite it. Shmoop recommends pairing this standard with standard four; ask your students to use revision to attend to the needs of their audience and the demands of their purpose. Students will examine their papers for flaws at the sentence and paragraph levels as well as organizational issues. They will be given an opportunity to revamp their writing as needed, finally editing for errors in conventions.
The most important piece of this standard is for students to see that writing is a PROCESS. Even professional writers re-draft many times before publication, and some are not satisfied even when they’re holding their books in their hands. Have your students compare their rough drafts with their finals. They’ll be amazed what revisions can do for their papers, and hopefully they’ll be less resistant to the idea in the future.
The following example is one type of assignment you might use to get students engaged with the writing process.
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Using this Standard
- 1984 Teacher Pass
- A Raisin in the Sun Teacher Pass
- A Rose For Emily Teacher Pass
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Teacher Pass
- Animal Farm Teacher Pass
- Antigone Teacher Pass
- Beowulf Teacher Pass
- Brave New World Teacher Pass
- Death of a Salesman Teacher Pass
- Fahrenheit 451 Teacher Pass
- Fences Teacher Pass
- Frankenstein Teacher Pass
- Grapes Of Wrath Teacher Pass
- Great Expectations Teacher Pass
- Hamlet Teacher Pass
- Heart of Darkness Teacher Pass
- Julius Caesar Teacher Pass
- King Lear Teacher Pass
- Lord of the Flies Teacher Pass
- Macbeth Teacher Pass
- Narrative of Frederick Douglass Teacher Pass
- Of Mice and Men Teacher Pass
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Teacher Pass
- Othello Teacher Pass
- Romeo and Juliet Teacher Pass
- Sula Teacher Pass
- The Aeneid Teacher Pass
- The As I Lay Dying Teacher Pass
- The Bluest Eye Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales General Prologue Teacher Pass
- The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Teacher Pass
- The Cask of Amontillado Teacher Pass
- The Catch-22 Teacher Pass
- The Crucible Teacher Pass
- The Great Gatsby Teacher Pass
- The House on Mango Street Teacher Pass
- The Iliad Teacher Pass
- The Lottery Teacher Pass
- The Metamorphosis Teacher Pass
- The Odyssey Teacher Pass
- The Old Man and the Sea Teacher Pass
- The Scarlet Letter Teacher Pass
- The Tell-Tale Heart Teacher Pass
- Their Eyes Were Watching God Teacher Pass
- Things Fall Apart Teacher Pass
- To Kill a Mockingbird Teacher Pass
- Twilight Teacher Pass
You’ve just finished reading Night by Elie Wiesel, and you’ve been given the task of writing an essay describing the concentration camps used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. While Wiesel’s story explains much of the horror, you’ve been asked to write more about the camps. Your purpose will be to inform your classmates and teacher, your audience, about the destructive nature of the camps. First, you’ll need to do some planning before you write. This might include brainstorming ideas, preliminary research, and outlining or clustering in order to organize your thoughts.
Once you have a plan, it’s time to write a rough draft. During the drafting stage, you’ll often conduct further research, and may go back to the planning phase as your ideas develop. Once you have a complete rough draft, it’s time to revise and polish your writing. You’ve got your ideas on paper, and that’s great, but (we know you hate to hear this) they probably need some more work. It’s important to reread your draft with the task, purpose, and audience in mind. Where could you make changes to better serve your purpose and audience? Is your structure and style right for this task? Let’s find out.
You meet with another student and exchange papers to peer review the drafts. After making critical comments, both positive and negative, you’ll consider what your peer has to say from a reader’s perspective. Based in part on the peer review and in part on your own best instincts as a writer, you come up with a plan to make your paper better. You noticed that some of your statistics about the Buchenwald camp are incorrect and really belong with the paragraph about Auschwitz-Birkenau, so you know you have to move that around. You also see that you gave much more space to one camp over another, so you’ll need to do a little more research to beef up the smaller section.
Yes, part of the writing process means to add, subtract, and move around. It gets a little… all right… A LOT messy, but you’re on the right track because in the process of explaining or informing, you’ve used statistics, vivid descriptions, examples, and short anecdotes. All of these are important for your audience to understand why the camps were so horrific.
After revising, you edit your paper, looking for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage. Your peer mentioned that she was confused with one of your sentences, and you realize it’s because there’s no verb in that sentence. You’ll edit that fragment and continue to look for other similar errors. You wouldn’t want these errors to distract the reader from your message. When you’re finished, you’ll have a polished, publish-ready piece. Look out, world!