© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

CHECK OUT SHMOOP'S FREE STUDY TOOLS: Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

Common Core Standards: ELA - Literacy

Grade 11-12

Writing WHST.11-12.4

Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Set the Stage

In this standard, students are asked to determine the audience and purpose of a writing task, or assignment. Then, students will gather information and shape that information into an appropriate format for the given rhetorical context. As a teacher, your job is to provide students with many different tasks, purposes, and audiences for which to write. Students need experience adjusting their writing process and technique for a wide variety of contexts so they can be successful writers in any discipline.

  • Task – The writing assignment or genre. Students need to choose an organization and style that’s appropriate for the task, whether it’s a letter, blog, newspaper article, or formal paper. Task also includes a knowledge of the discipline in which students are writing and any discipline-specific conventions they need to be aware of.
  • Purpose – The reason for writing. Students need to know their goal as writers. Is it to inform? To entertain? To persuade or call to action? The purpose will also influence structure and style.
  • Audience – The readers. Students need to know who their likely or intended readers are, and they need to know something about those readers’ concerns and prior knowledge on the subject. When students know their audience, they can make choices to tailor their writing for audience needs and expectations, which increases the chance that they will accomplish their purpose.

Teach With Shmoop

Tag! You're it.

The links in this section will take you straight to the standard-aligned assignments tagged in Shmoop's teaching guides.

That's right, we've done the work. You just do the clickin...

Teaching Guides Using this Standard

Example

Dress Rehearsal

You’re walking down the hall during passing period, trying to hunt down your math teacher, but it’s tough going. Not only are there way too many people jockeying for position at senior corner, but they all look alike too. These days, it’s hard to separate the students from the teachers because they all seem to be dressed the same.

You take this complaint to sociology. During class, you explain your problem to your classmates, and your teacher, heaven forbid, takes your situation and turns it into a writing assignment. Can’t she ever just leave it alone? The task is to write an essay in which you discuss the current “blurring” of generations. Your audience will be your teacher and classmates, and your purpose is to explain ways in which adults and teens are becoming more alike. Even. As. We. Speak.

With your elbow partner, you brainstorm ideas. There’s dress, of course. That’s what you see in the hallways. Yesterday, Ms. Marvin was explaining the Ides of March when she started using teenage slang to help you understand. Last week, you saw a really hot car on the freeway, and you were stunned to see that the driver was some fifty-something dude!

You have three ideas so far: language, dress, and behavior. These seem to be the ways adults have become adolescent. Your ever-wise partner reminds you that some teenagers talk and act like adults, too. You think about that play you read in English class, A Doll’s House. In the 1800s, there were topics that never made their way into the conversation… things like, you know, s-e-x. Today, you can learn all about it on the Internet or in the lunch room. You can learn about ANYTHING on the Internet today. Television, too, introduces kids and teens to some adult-like situations.

You note that today’s youth have jobs in order to buy their own clothes, pay for car insurance, purchase junk food, etc. In your dad’s day, as he likes to point out, this was very uncommon. At your job, you are expected to speak with customers in a mature manner, and you find yourself dressing like the store manager who is, uh, at least 35.

Having taken notes on your ideas, you begin to structure your essay. You’ll use the criteria you have come up with (language, dress, behavior), and you’ll develop them with specific examples. Next, you’ll need to decide how you want to organize your essay: perhaps by writing about each criterion, moving back and forth between age groups, or by writing about each age group separately, navigating from one criterion to the next. If this sounds like an essay of comparison, DING DING…you’re right.

Keep your audience (your classmates and teacher) and your purpose (to inform about the “blurring” of generations) in mind as your draft your essay (the task). You’ll have plenty of time tonight after supper to get the assignment finished since your dad will win the battle for the Xbox. Again.

That’s a Wrap

Students have considered task, purpose, and audience for a fairly traditional rhetorical context here. A next step might be to ask them to use the same information, but write for a different audience or in a different genre (they can’t always write academic papers for their teacher). You also might change the purpose from informative to argumentative and ask students to take a stand on this issue. The key is to give students experience with how a different rhetorical context will affect their choices as writers, even if the information is the same. An important step is for them to reflect on the process; get them to think about their thinking.

Source:

Thomas, W. LaVerne. “The Blurring of Adolescence.” Sociology: The Study of Human Relationships. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2008.

Drill

Complete the chart 

Fill in the chart below with appropriate descriptions of how you would approach writing for each of the tasks, purposes, and audiences given. The first has been completed for you.

Task, purpose, and audienceDevelopmentOrganizationStyle
Write a lab report for your teacher.Explain the events that happened and changes that occurred, giving specific detailsChronological order of the steps followed by analysis and conclusion.Academic tone, simple sentence structure.
Write a response paper for your teacher and classmates in which you discuss the resignation of Richard Nixon.
Write a book review for your classmates on global warming.
Comment on a student's blog about mental illness.
Write a research paper on the effects of erosion on trout streams.

Answers will vary:

Task, purpose, and audienceDevelopmentOrganizationStyle
Write a lab report for your teacher.Explain the events that happened and changes that occurred, giving specific detailsChronological order of the steps followed by analysis and conclusion.Academic tone, simple sentence structure.
Write a response paper for your teacher and classmates in which you discuss the resignation of Richard Nixon.Research and explain the causes for Nixon's resignation; note your personal reaction/opinion to each cause.Chronological events leading up to Nixon's resignation; react to each event, or list all events and then react.Academic tone; mature, varied sentence structure.
Write a book review for your classmates on global warming.Read the book, explain the author's claims, describe the evidence used by the author, evaluate the effectiveness of the author's argument and writing style.Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the book; provide a summative evaluation of the argument and book as a whole.Academic tone; mature, varied sentence structure; use domain-specific vocabulary.
Comment on a student's blog about mental illness.Read the background information about the disease, make positive/negative comments and personal responses in a respectful way, respond to comments made by other classmates.Comment on individual statements; develop a counterclaim with supporting evidence; provide examples.Conversational tone; short, simple sentences and short paragraphs appropriate for Web writing, use domain-specific vocabulary.
Write a research paper on the effects of erosion on trout streams.Research the topic using credible and accurate sources; create an outline for your information; draft the essay.Offer background information on the problem; define and describe each cause of erosion; discuss the effects of each cause; describe possible solutions to the problem.Academic tone; mature, varied sentence structure; use domain-specific vocabulary and citation style.

Aligned Resources