Reading K-3: Road to the Common Core Writing Grade 1. Common Core Standards and Best Practices

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1 Common Core Standards and Best Practices Introduction: The Common Core The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent a coherent progression of learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics. They are designed to prepare K-12 students for college and career success. The English Language Arts (ELA) K-5 standards focus on six strands: Three Reading strands Literature, Non-fiction, Foundational skills Writing Speaking and Listening, and Language. Writing Standards: Research, Production and Distribution Anchor Standards for Writing The CCSS contain two kinds of standards. The College and Career Readiness (Anchor) Standards provide broad standards that guide teaching and learning at each grade level. The grade level standards give specific information about what students should understand and be able to do by the end of each grade. These two types of standards complement each other. Below are the Anchor Standards for Writing. Text Types and Purposes 1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. Production and Distribution of Writing 4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. 6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing. Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. 9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. 1

2 Range of Writing 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (A single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. The grade level standards below describe how the Anchor Standards for Writing apply to students in Grade 1. Writing Standards Text Types and Purposes 1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure. 2. Write information/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure. 3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure. Production and Distribution of Writing 4. (Begins in grade 3) 5. With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed. 6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers. Research to Build and Present Knowledge 7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of how-to- books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions.) 8. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question. 9. (Begins in grade 4) Range of Writing 10. (Begins in grade 3) To provide students with the depth and breadth needed to write effectively, writing instruction should include skills from a number of areas across the ELA strands, including: Reading Foundational Skills; Reading Informational Text; Reading Literature; Speaking and Listening; and Language. 2

3 Selected standards from the other ELA strands are included below, to illustrate the kind of integrated instruction that the standards require. When planning lessons for teaching students to write, please check the standards carefully and integrate appropriate standards from across the CCSS-ELA strands. Speaking and Listening Comprehension and Collaboration 1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups. 2. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media 3. Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly. 5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thought, and feelings. 6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. Language Conventions of Standard English 1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. 2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reading: Foundational Skills Print Concepts 1. Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print. Phonics and Word Recognition 2. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. 3

4 Direct Instruction Utilizing Direct Instruction ensures that students will get the support they need to own new skills and concepts. The table below outlines the process used in direct instruction. Teacher Explains Task Teacher Models Task (I do) Discuss How and When the Skill is to be Used Involve students in a conversation concerning why the skill should be learned and applied in their lives. Explain and Demonstrate the Skill Use simple yet accurate academic terms to move students to mastery. Engage Every Student Provide students with ongoing opportunities to ask questions. Carefully monitor students accurate use of all academic and content specific terms. Focus on higher order questions. The Teacher (I do) - Model the new strategy explicitly (work to see the strategy from your students current background) and let your students see you use the strategy throughout the day, with lots of I do it on the part of the teacher. Students have to be actively engaged throughout the lesson, even when the teacher is doing make sure they are NOT passive listeners. Engage them verbally and through response cards: yes/no cards, stop/go cards. Keep an ongoing list of how you keep your students actively involved throughout the lesson; this serves as a reality check to make sure students are kept actively engaged/involved, and also provides a quick-reference for effective methods you have used with your students. Explain and Demonstrate the Skill Use simple yet accurate academic terms to move students to mastery. Think Aloud procedures are most helpful. In a Think Aloud, the teacher models the thought processes that take place when difficult or unfamiliar material is read aloud. Teachers verbalize their thoughts as they read orally to students. The purpose is to assist students comprehension as they gain insight to how the mind can respond to what is known with what is being read. Work to increase the complexity of your examples and student work until the work is at grade-level or beyond. Move students to doing their own Think Aloud. Engage Every Student Provide students with ongoing opportunities to ask questions. Carefully monitor students accurate use of all academic and content specific terms. Focus on higher order questions. 4

5 Teacher and Student Practice Task Together (we do) Student Practice (you do) Scaffolding/ Constructive Feedback Engage Every Student Invite volunteers to attempt the strategy on their own. Give corrective feedback as needed, allowing for follow-up questions. All feedback (including praise) needs to be specific. Carefully monitor students accurate use of all academic and content specific terms. Provide students with ongoing opportunities to ask questions. Focus on higher order questions. Access Student Ownership After many I do it and we do it examples, ease into you do it opportunities under your careful eye. Applying new learning accurately is crucial to future success. Student responses should give you a clear picture of their level of understanding and level of application. Engage Every Student Provide students with ongoing opportunities to ask questions. Invite volunteers to attempt the strategy on their own. Give corrective feedback as needed, allowing for follow-up questions. All feedback (including praise) needs to be specific. Carefully monitor students accurate use of all academic and content specific terms. Focus on higher order questions. Constructive Feedback Remember to begin with less complex examples with the goal of moving to grade level and above examples. Students may work independently, in pairs and or small groups. This is the perfect time for students to verbally state each step of the strategy, while giving their reason for the choices they are making. Constructive Feedback Remember to begin with less complex examples with the goal of moving to grade level and above examples. Students may work independently, in pairs and or small groups. This is the perfect time for students to verbally state each step of the strategy, while giving their reason for the choices they are making. Scaffolding and Differentiation At this time the teacher will need to provide additional opportunities for student practice (with immediate feedback and reteaching with possible accommodations) to ensure all students have every opportunity to learn. Engage Every Student Provide students with ongoing opportunities to ask questions. Give corrective feedback as needed, allowing for follow-up questions. All feedback (including praise) needs to be specific. Carefully monitor students accurate use of all academic and content specific terms. Focus on higher order questions. 5

6 Teaching Writing to Young Children Every first grade teacher wants students to be excited about writing eager to share their thoughts, experiences, and feelings and to write and draw about all things. Teacher modeling is key to student writing. The teacher s positive attitude toward the writing process is often what encourages his or her students to write. Students need to see their teacher involved in the actual writing process regularly. Students learn the value of writing as their teacher models the value of writing day-to-day in the classroom. In addition to the power of modeling writing for students, teachers can powerfully influence students perceptions about writing and build their confidence. Students need to learn that they possess knowledge, ideas, and information that is worthy of being shared through writing. Teachers can use class modeling, class discussion, and individual conferencing to instill these understandings in their students. Teachers often begin by modeling narrative writing. They start with an illustration. They tell a story based on their illustration, sharing their thoughts, as they begin to write. As the writing progresses, the teacher continues to think aloud, choosing particular words, sounding out/stretching the words as they spell and write. Thoughts to consider: Create a writing friendly classroom. Establish routines for writing every day. Discuss and teach what writers know and what writers do. Provide opportunities for meaningful and purposeful writing. Read from and provide a variety of reading materials, modeling the importance of craft and structure. Model narrative, opinion, and informative/explanatory writing. Spend a number of weeks on each type of writing and then spiral back to review the styles of writing that the class studied previously. Offer teacher modeling and peer response, both of which are integral parts of writing instruction. Provide teacher/student conferencing--another vital part of the writing process. Encourage students to revise and edit during and after conferring with the teacher. 6

7 Writing Strategies The Writing Process in a Nutshell 1. Prewriting 2. Drafting 3. Revising 4. Editing 5. Publishing In Grade 1, students learn to write for different purposes and to different audiences. Emergent writers write their names and dictate messages and stories. With the guidance of the teacher, they write simple stories, poems, rhymes and reports. With the guidance of the teacher, they write informational/explanatory pieces with an opening sentence, two to three details, and a closing sentence. With the guidance of the teacher, they write short narratives that include a main idea, characters, setting, and a sequence of events (real or make-believe). With the guidance of the teacher, they learn to gather information and use writing as a tool for inquiry and research. 7

8 Types of Writing Opinion Writing In Grade 1, students are expected to write simple opinion pieces. They introduce their topic, state their opinion, provide a reason for their opinion. Before students engage in opinion writing, provide instruction on the difference between facts and opinions. Provide students with clear examples (including pictures when possible) of a fact that they can relate to. Then offer an example of an opinion. Example: A child has on a red shirt with a brontosaurus on the front. Fact: The shirt is red. Opinion: The brontosaurus is the best of all dinosaurs. Engage students in discussion of the differences between facts and opinions. Provide opportunities for them to practice identifying and distinguishing facts and opinions. Engage them in discussions in which they state an opinion and provide a reason. Once students have a grasp of what an opinion is, they are ready to write opinion pieces. Narrative Writing In Grade 1, students narratives tell stories that include a few appopriately sequenced events with some details. It is often helpful to have them illustrate their story before they start to write. To prepare students for writing their own narratives, provide them with opportunities to read and hear narratives. After reading a narrative (real or make-believe) to students, prepare them for writing. Help them identify sequence of events, noting key words and pictures from the text. Guide students to write sentences about the events, in the correct sequence. Use quick draws and quick write for each event. Informative/Explanatory Writing In Grade 1, students write informative/explanatory texts that introduce a topic and tell some facts about the topic. For example, after reading a book about insects and spiders, work with students to make two lists: a list of characteristics of insects and a list of characteristics of spiders. Then have students use the characteristics list to draw each and label the body parts and write two or three sentences about each. See the worksheet sample on the following page. 8

9 Draw and label the body parts for an insect and a spider. Insect Spider Write 9

10 Suggestions for Writing Tasks in Grade 1 Build writing into every day. Provide students with a variety of opportunities to write. Here are some suggestions. Signs and Posters Lists Greeting cards Invitations Letters Thank You Notes Classroom Newsletter Newspaper Article for the School Paper Mini-autobiography Mini-biography Report (about your classroom, school or other topic) 10

11 Assessing Students Writing At this grade level students are becoming writers and developing their writing skills. It is best to continue modeling, engaging students in conversation about writing, and writing daily. Provide an environment that allows for imperfection during the learning process, questions, exploration, and fun with words. Students in Grade 1 listen to, read, and regularly respond to a wide variety of age appropriate literature and informational text. As they listen and read, they begin to connect their experiences with information in print. First graders differentiate between words, sentences, and paragraphs. They are able to write complete sentences for themselves, using subjects and verbs, basic capitalization, and punctuation. They learn a large number of high-frequency words and show significant growth in their vocabulary. Students penmanship (letter formation, spacing) continues to improve with proper instruction and oversight by the teacher. Standardized writing assessments aren t usually given until at least grade 3. A standardized writing assessment is to be differentiated from an English language arts assessment or the administration of a benchmark assessment for beginning ELA skills or other early-literacy measurements. Use assessment rubrics for self-evaluation and teacher evaluation, as well as informal assessment strategies and conferencing. 11

12 References Berninger, V. W., Nagy, W., & Beers, S. (2011). Child writers construction and reconstruction of single sentences and construction of multi-sentence texts: Contributions of syntax and transcription to translation. Reading and Writing, 24, Cutler, L., & Graham. S. (2008). Primary grade writing instruction: A national survey. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100, Graham, S. & Harris, K.R. (2005). Improving the writing performance of young struggling writers: Theoretical and programmatic research from the center on accelerating student learning. The Journal of Special Education, (39 (1), l9-33. Hansen, Jane (2007a). First-grade children revisit their writing. Young Children, 62(1), Hansen, J., Davis, R., Evertson, J., Freeman, T., Suskind, D., & Tower, H. (2010). The PreK-2 writing classroom: Growing confident writers. New York: Scholastic. Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Mason, L., & Friedlander, B. (2008). Powerful writing strategies for all students. Baltimore: Brookes. Shagoury, Ruth (2009). Raising and nurturing young children s writing development. Boston: Pearson Education. 12

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