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How can I help my middle-school students improve their writing skills and meet the demands of the CCSS writing standards?

The Common Core focuses on three primary types of writing: narrative, explanatory/informational, and argument.

Starting in Grade 4, there is an increasing emphasis on writing arguments. Students will be expected to support their arguments by referring to sources and citing text-based evidence. 

Provide opportunities for students to read complex texts and demonstrate their understanding through writing. Their writing should draw on evidence from literary or informational text to support their analyses.

Start by assigning writing prompts that involve brief, focused research, gradually building to assignments that require more-in-depth research using a variety of sources.

Literacy expert Nell K. Duke and others have demonstrated the effectiveness of having students write “with purpose”—about real issues facing their families, schools and communities. Sharing writing with others also motivates students to write with purpose. If they are writing book reviews, for example, you might have them post those reviews in your school or classroom library for other students to see.

For more ideas, check out this site about Ruth Culham's Traits Writing program.

Implementation

I am the reading coach for my district, and I'd like to set up a Book Fair for our middle schools. How do I get started?

Liz Weiss, our customer service director, can put you in touch with a regional representative who... more

How can I find out the cost of your books and programs?

Many of our classroom libraries are customized, so costs vary. The quantity of materials you order... more

My district's funding is tight. Since everything seems to be "going digital," is it time to take a second look at our libraries and staff?

Take a second look—as long as that means getting a different view of what your libraries and... more

How can I make sure my district's curricula are not just Common Core-aligned at the classroom level but also coordinated between classes and grades?

Ensuring coherence in your district's curricula is a challenge, but there are plenty of resources.... more

How can I make sure that my district has enough technological resources for the assessments?

Depending upon which consortium your state is a member of, go to Smarter Balanced or PARCC to learn... more

Learning Support

How can I help my special education students meet the Common Core’s call for learning coordinated across Math, ELA and the content areas?

Some instructional approaches for special education are being modified for students with special... more

What can my district do to help English Language Learners keep up with the increased academic demands of the Common Core?

In the short term, you can support your English Language Learners and their teachers by encouraging... more

Writing

How can I help my middle-school students improve their writing skills and meet the demands of the CCSS writing standards?

The Common Core focuses on three primary types of writing: narrative, explanatory/informational,... more

Content Areas

What do I tell the Social Studies teachers in my school who think they now have to teach grammar?

Your teachers’ mission remains the same: helping students understand how civic life, geography,... more