Connection to the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) include ten anchor standards related to literacy, and more specifically writing. They can be organized into four categories: Text Types and Purposes; Production and Distribution of Writing; Research to Build and Present Knowledge; and Range of Writing. The CCSS require educators to make instructional shifts in the following five areas:

  • Writing is an emphasis throughout the grade levels, from Kindergarten to 12th
  • With each grade level, students are expected to increase level of sophistication in writing skills and tasks.
  • Students must also learn to use evidence sources to inform or make an argument and not only their personal beliefs or experiences. This shift requires that students build knowledge about the world directly from text.
  • The emphasis in writing has moved from an emphasis on narrative and personal experiences to answering text–dependent questions and writing argumentative and analytical essays, relying on evidence found in the text.
  • Academic Vocabulary, both the general vocabulary required to negotiate secondary and college classrooms (sometimes referred to as transferable vocabulary) AND genre specific vocabulary (e.g., vocabulary used in various genres of writing, like poetry, expository, narrative, etc.) is essential for student success.

This figure briefly describes what the standards cover and how they become more complex over time.

This CEM, on Evidence-Based Writing Instruction, explains what good writing instruction looks like and what professional educators need to know and be able to do to facilitate writing for students, including those with disabilities or who struggle. As students are expected to become more independent as readers and writers, it is critical to develop their skills so that they’re better able to “write from the start.”

Anchor Presentation

The central resource in the Course Enhancement Module is an approximately six-hour Anchor Presentation, Write From the Start: Evidence-Based Writing Instruction. The presentation is designed for use in pre-service educator preparation or professional development program for in-service professionals. The presentation includes a Power Point with verbatim Speaker Notes, links to videos, activities and handouts for participants, and additional resources and readings. All handouts referenced in the speaker notes are available for download. The CEM is designed as a compendium of resources to complement the Innovation Configuration on Evidence-Based Writing Instruction to ensure the use of evidence-based practices are used in ongoing professional development.

Sample Course and Professional Development Activities

This sample activity is appropriate for a university course (in- or out-of-class activity) or for in-service professional development. Using page 1 of this handout as an example, document on page 2 how you would address each standard for students receiving services in a multi-tiered system for support (e.g., Response to Intervention). Think about:

  • how the learning opportunities are scaffolded to meet the different needs of learners
  • how the instruction and activities in tiers 2 and 3 support learning in tier 1