Uncommonly Good Ideas—Teaching Writing in the Common Core Era
Mary Ann Smith
Teachers College Press
This innovative resource provides teachers with a road map for designing a comprehensive writing curriculum that meets Common Core standards. The authors zero in on several “big ideas” that lead to and support effective practices in writing instruction, such as integrating reading, writing, speaking, and listening; teaching writing as a process; extending the range of students’ writing; spiraling and scaffolding a writing curriculum; and collaborating. These “big ideas” are the cornerstones of best researched-based practices as well as the CCSS for writing.
The first chapter offers a complete lesson designed around teaching narrative writing and illustrating tried and true practices for teaching writing as a process. The remaining chapters explore a broad range of teaching approaches that help students tackle different kinds of narrative, informational, and argumentative writing and understand complexities like audience and purpose. Each chapter focuses on at least one of the uncommonly good ideas and illustrates how to create curricula around it. Uncommonly Good Ideas includes model lessons and assignments, mentor texts, teaching strategies, student writing, and practical guidance for moving the ideas from the page into the classroom.
Presents no-nonsense information about teaching writing in the era of CCSS, including ways in which the CCSS are misinterpreted.
Focuses on “the core of the core,” the bedrock on which effective teaching approaches rest.
Incorporates the voices and practices of many talented teachers of writing, including ELA teachers from urban, rural, and suburban schools, as well as ELL teachers.
Addresses teachers as respected, dedicated professionals whose experiences and good judgment are the linchpins of any reform.
Sandra Murphy is professor emerita at the University of California, Davis. She co-chaired the Steering Committee to develop the 2011 framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Writing and served as a work group member to develop the Common Core State Standards. Mary Ann Smith directed the Bay Area and California Writing Projects and served as Director of Government Relations and Public Affairs for the National Writing Project.