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Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy See All Teacher Resources

Grade 11-12

Writing WHST.11-12.10

Write routinely over extended time frames (time for 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.

Set the Stage

This standard is all about making writing a routine part of how students engage with the concepts in your discipline. Students need to regularly complete short-term as well as long-term writing tasks. Short-terms tasks might be summary responses, reflections, or brief analyses that help students develop critical thinking and writing skills within a limited time period. Long-term tasks might be more in-depth research projects, arguments, analyses, or proposals. In these tasks, students should be developing their thinking on all sides of an issue and produce longer pieces of writing that demonstrate depth of understanding. As always, students should consider how the task, purpose, and audience affect their choices as writers.


Dress Rehearsal

In Publications I, a yearbook class, your teacher has asked you to write the dedication page. Since this is a very important introduction to the latest edition of The Torch, you’ve been given a week to complete the project. The book is being dedicated to Mr. Drews, a lifelong educator and state-champion football coach who is retiring at the end of the school year. Having been on the football team for three years, you have many memories of your coach, and Mr. Drews was also your health teacher. You respect him, so you are eager to get started on your task.

First, you reflect on the past… memories of games, rides on the buses, and in-class presentations. You write these in journal format, offering up not only the facts, but the impressions as well.

Next, a little research is in order. You’ll want to interview the coach about his education and training, about his life beyond the classroom and field, and how he feels about his coming retirement. You make a list of current students and staff members that you’ll want to get comments from, and get several phone numbers from the alumni association in order to speak with past students. You think interviewing Coach’s wife is a good way to get a different perspective on his life.

Naturally, every great story needs awesome photos. You’ll look back into the yearbook archives to get older photographs of the coach on the job, as well as more recent photos. While interviewing Mrs. Drews, you’ll also ask for any family photos she’d be willing to share.

Later, assembling your information, you begin to draft the dedication in chronological order. Your writing seems easy to understand, but there seems to be something missing…the heart that Coach Drews so brilliantly displayed in his teaching career. Since there’s time for revision, you decide to interject many of the positive comments made by the people you interviewed. You’ll intersperse the comments in italics with the facts in regular font.

Revising your work, adding, deleting, and re-arranging, you’re happy with the final outcome. Not only is the piece factual, it is also sentimental… just the effect you hoped to achieve. The pictures compliment the writing, often showing the raw emotion of coach, athletes, and family. Yes, you can hear the Nobel Prize nomination already.

Let’s switch gears for a moment. What about writing tasks that must be completed in a shorter amount of time, say a class period or two? Back in yearbook class, this might mean a simpler, quicker assignment. Imagine that you’re being asked to write about the Gay/Straight Alliance, a club in your high school. A half-page of space is available for the article and a photograph or two.

This assignment would entail interviewing the advisor and officers of the club. You’d want to learn about the club’s mission, social activities, services, fundraising, and community awareness work. Luckily, the group is meeting in the next couple of days, and everyone will be on hand to provide the information you are seeking. You’ll also be able to take a group picture of the club.

With your pre-written questions in hand, you complete your interviews on club meeting day. You’ve learned a great deal. The club provides support to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender folks and their friends. They’ve gone bowling and to film festivals. The group steers at-risk members to organizations that can help them with the challenges they face in society. The GSA has held carwashes and sold Skittles for Christmas Anonymous. Finally, they’ve taken part in political and social activism. They’re a happening group.

Based on your interview notes, you write up your summary of this club. The photograph shows a smiling group dedicated to making your school a safe place for ALL. Your report on the GSA will be part of the Clubs Section in the yearbook, and you’re ready for your next assignment.

Just think… only 57 more clubs to go. Good luck!

That’s a Wrap

Restricted by short time frames or given long time frames for more in-depth work, your students have shown they can adapt to the task, purpose, and audience in a discipline-specific area. Continue to give students lots of opportunities for different writing tasks in your discipline. Remember, those writing skills need to be reinforced in every class, not just English.


Task Analysis

Complete the chart below by determining the length of time required for each task. Put an X in the appropriate column.

TaskShort Time Frame (single sitting or a day or two)Extended Time Frame (time for reflection and revision)
A 5-8 page research paper
A definition and description of the US Supreme Court
An explanation of Hooke's Law
A multi-step lab experiment that determines what compounds conduct electricity
An informational essay that explains what role the government plays in the economic growth of a country
A listing of factors that act as agents of socialization
A paper that explains the phenomenon of memory


TaskShort Time Frame (single sitting or a day or two)Extended Time Frame (time for reflection and revision)
A 5-8 page research paperX
A definition and description of the US Supreme CourtX
An explanation of Hooke's LawX
A multi-step lab experiment that determines what compounds conduct electricityX
An informational essay that explains what role the government plays in the economic growth of a countryX
A listing of factors that act as agents of socializationX
A paper that explains the phenomenon of memoryX

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