Zooming in on the vertical progression in writing
You’d be hard-pressed to find a school that isn’t focused on improving student writing. And that’s not surprising—it takes a lot of practice to transfer thoughts into writing, and to do so in a clear, compelling way.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a school that isn't focused on improving student writing. And that's not surprising—it takes a lot of practice to transfer thoughts into writing, and to do so in a clear, compelling way.
One of the ways we can help students become better writers is by deepening our understanding of the way standards connect and build on one another as students move from from one grade to the next. When we only look at the standards for our grade, it can be challenging to understand how this learning fits within the scope of a year or across the multiple years students will spend learning to hone their writing skills; in a way, we're looking at the standards in a vacuum. But when we look at the progression of standards across grades we’re able to contextualize our grade level learning goals and ensure the tasks we're putting in front of students are rigorous. Improving writing in our classrooms is no small task; it requires that we strategically support that builds on previous learning, such as using dialogue and descriptions, or using transition words to connect ideas.
Here's an activity you can use as part of a professional learning session for cross-grade teacher teams. In this activity, teachers create writing tasks based on grade-level learning goals, as defined by the Common Core Standards for their particular grade.