Saturday, October 15, 2005

A finished set of writing standards (that are good enough for me)
   

I’ve exerpted the 9-12 The California Language Arts Content Standards for writing. The reason they’re not very specific on the “written language conventions” is because those are all included in more detail throughout the k-8 standards.

It’s always possible, of course, to argue that these aren’t the “right” standards or to think of things that might also be included. Fine. But I’m deathly tired of such arguments. Wouldn’t it be nice to just have this sort of an outline, and know what was taught in 5th and 6th grade, even if not all the kids mastered it, and to know that all other teachers had been trained as a normal part of their preservice in what these few simple things meant and some basic strategies for teaching them?

As you can see, these standards present no threat at all to the Heritage Project. They do tell us what sort of essays we should be guiding kids to write, and they do give us a pretty clear way of creating a rubric for scoring them that is less vague than the 6-traits. I could easily take 4 or 5 of the standards, and have students do small writings that demonstrated they knew how to do them, that could be woven into a longer essay that would serve as a final product.

To me, they are helpful because they would give me the freedom to focus. I know a thousand good things to teach about writing, but by following these I could focus in on a far smaller set of skills and relax and take the time to teach them better.

I think that until we have clear standards such as these, any statewide writing assessments adds to the decible level without adding enough clarity.

I say we just adopt these so we can get on to the fun stuff--talking about great ways to teach these things.

WRITING

GRADES 9/10

1.0. WRITING STRATEGIES: Students write coherent and focused texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly-reasoned argument. Student writing demonstrates awareness of audience and purpose and use of the stages of the writing process, as needed.

Organization and Focus:

1.1. establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on the subject and maintains a consistent tone and focus throughout the piece of writing

1.2. use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate modifiers, and active rather than passive voice

Research and Technology:

1.3. use clear research questions and coherent research methods (e.g., library, electronic media, personal interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary and secondary sources

1.4. develop key ideas within the body of the composition through supportive evidence (e.g., scenarios, commonly held beliefs, hypotheticals, and/or definitions)

1.5. synthesize information from multiple sources and identify complexities and discrepancies in the information and how different perspectives are found in each medium (e.g., almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field studies, speeches, journals, and technical documents)

1.6. integrate quotations and citations into written text, while maintaining the flow of ideas

1.7. use appropriate conventions for documentation in text, notes, and bibliographies, adhering to style manuals (e.g., the Modern Language Association Handbook or Chicago Style Manual)

1.8. design and publish multi-page documents using advanced publishing software and graphic programs

Revising and Evaluating Strategies:

1.9. revise writing to improve the logic and coherence of the organization and controlling perspective, the precision of word choice, and the tone, taking into consideration the audience, purpose, and formality of the context

GRADES 9/10

2.0. WRITING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce text of at least 1,500 words, when appropriate. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

Using the Grades 9/10 writing strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students:

2.1 Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories:

a. Relate a sequence of events and communicate the significance of the events to the audience.

b. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places.

c. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters’ feelings.

d. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate changes in time and mood.

e. Make effective use of descriptions of appearance, images, shifting perspectives, and sensory details.

2.2 Write responses to literature:

a. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the significant ideas of literary works.

b. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works.

c. Demonstrate awareness of the author’s use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created.

d. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports:

a. Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant perspectives.

b. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently.

c. Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas.

d. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.

e. Anticipate and address readers’ potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations.

f. Use technical terms and notations accurately.

2.4 Write persuasive compositions:

a. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion.

b. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).

c. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning.

d. Address readers’ concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.

2.5 Write business letters:

a. Provide clear and purposeful information and address the intended audience appropriately.

b. Use appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style to take into account the nature of the relationship with, and the knowledge and interests of, the recipients.

c. Highlight central ideas or images.

d. Follow a conventional style with page formats, fonts, and spacing that contribute to the documents’ readability and impact.

2.6 Write technical documents (e.g., a manual on rules of behavior for conflict resolution, procedures for conducting a meeting, minutes of a meeting):

a. Report information and convey ideas logically and correctly.

b. Offer detailed and accurate specifications.

c. Include scenarios, definitions, and examples to aid comprehension (e.g., troubleshooting guide).

d. Anticipate readers’ problems, mistakes, and misunderstandings.

WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS

English Language Conventions are integral both to Writing and to Listening and Speaking. Thus, these standards have been placed between the other two.

GRADES 9/10

1.0. WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS: Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.

Grammar and Mechanics:

1.1 Identify and correctly use clauses (e.g., main and subordinate), phrases (e.g., gerund, infinitive, and participial), and mechanics of punctuation (e.g., semicolons, colons, ellipses, hyphens).

1.2 Understand sentence construction (e.g., parallel structure, subordination, proper placement of modifiers) and proper English usage (e.g., consistency of verb tenses).

1.3 Demonstrate an understanding of proper English usage and control of grammar, paragraph and sentence structure, diction, and syntax.

Manuscript Form (Grades Nine and Ten)

1.4 Produce legible work that shows accurate spelling and correct use of the conventions of punctuation and capitalization.

1.5 Reflect appropriate manuscript requirements, including title page presentation, pagination, spacing and margins, and integration of source and support material (e.g., in-text citation, use of direct quotations, paraphrasing) with appropriate citations.

WRITING

GRADES 11/12

1.0. WRITING STRATEGIES: Students write coherent and focused texts that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly-reasoned argument. Student writing demonstrates awareness of audience and purpose and use of the stages of the writing process, as needed.

Organization and Focus:

1.1. demonstrate understanding of the elements of discourse (e.g., purpose, speaker, audience, form) when completing narrative, expository, persuasive, informational, or descriptive writing assignments

1.2. use point of view, characterization, style (e.g., irony), and related elements for specific rhetorical and aesthetic purposes

1.3. structure ideas and arguments in a sustained, persuasive, and sophisticated way and support them with precise and relevant examples

1.4. enhance meaning by employing rhetorical devices, including the extended use of parallelism, repetition, and analogy; the incorporation of visual aids (e.g., graphs, tables, pictures); and the issuance of a call for action

1.5. use language in natural, fresh, and vivid ways to create a specific tone

Research and Technology:

1.6. develop presentations by using clear research questions and creative and critical research strategies (e.g., field studies, oral histories, interviews, experiments, electronic sources)

1.7. use systematic strategies to organize and record information (e.g., anecdotal scripting, annotated bibliographies)

1.8. integrate databases, graphics, and spreadsheets into word-processed documents

Revising and Evaluating Strategies:

1.9. revise writing to highlight individual voice, improve the style and sentence variety, and enhance subtlety of meaning and tone in ways that are consistent with purpose, audience, and genre

GRADES 11/12

2.0. WRITING APPLICATIONS (GENRES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS): Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce text of at least 1,500 words, when appropriate. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

Using the writing strategies of grades eleven and twelve outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students:

2.1 Write fictional, autobiographical, or biographical narratives:

a. Narrate a sequence of events and communicate their significance to the audience.

b. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places.

c. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters’ feelings.

d. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate temporal, spatial, and dramatic mood changes.

e. Make effective use of descriptions of appearance, images, shifting perspectives, and sensory details.

2.2 Write responses to literature:

a. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the significant ideas in works or passages.

b. Analyze the use of imagery, language, universal themes, and unique aspects of the text.

c. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text and to other works.

d. Demonstrate an understanding of the author’s use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created.

e. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

2.3 Write reflective compositions:

a. Explore the significance of personal experiences, events, conditions, or concerns by using rhetorical strategies (e.g., narration, description, exposition, persuasion).

b. Draw comparisons between specific incidents and broader themes that illustrate the writer’s important beliefs or generalizations about life.

c. Maintain a balance in describing individual incidents and relate those incidents to more general and abstract ideas.

2.4 Write historical investigation reports:

a. Use exposition, narration, description, argumentation, exposition, or some combination of rhetorical strategies to support the main proposition.

b. Analyze several historical records of a single event, examining critical relationships between elements of the research topic.

c. Explain the perceived reason or reasons for the similarities and differences in historical records with information derived from primary and secondary sources to support or enhance the presentation.

d. Include information from all relevant perspectives and take into consideration the validity and reliability of sources.

e. Include a formal bibliography.

2.5 Write job applications and resumés:

a. Provide clear and purposeful information and address the intended audience appropriately.

b. Use varied levels, patterns, and types of language to achieve intended effects and aid comprehension.

c. Modify the tone to fit the purpose and audience.

d. Follow the conventional style for that type of document (e.g., resumé, memorandum) and use page formats, fonts, and spacing that contribute to the readability and impact of the document.

2.6 Deliver multimedia presentations:

a. Combine text, images, and sound and draw information from many sources (e.g., television broadcasts, videos, films, newspapers, magazines, CD- ROMs, the Internet, electronic media-generated images).

b. Select an appropriate medium for each element of the presentation.

c. Use the selected media skillfully, editing appropriately and monitoring for quality.

d. Test the audience’s response and revise the presentation accordingly.

WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS

English Language Conventions are integral both to Writing and to Listening and Speaking. Thus, these standards have been placed between the other two.

GRADES 11/12

1.0. WRITTEN AND ORAL ENGLISH LANGUAGE CONVENTIONS: Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.

Manuscript Form:

1.1. demonstrate control of grammar, paragraph and sentence structure, diction, and usage

1.2. produce legible work that shows accurate spelling and correct use of the conventions of punctuation and capitalization

1.3. reflect appropriate manuscript requirements in writing


Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 10/15 at 08:48 PM
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