Saturday, June 6, 2015
Saturday Sayings: A Whole-School Priority
I've seen the writing standards beyond my own grade level's, but admittedly I haven't studied them with much intent. Recently, I read some enlightening points from Calkins about what the standards require of my writers not too many years after they leave my room. It solidified this passionate stance I have about the vertical alignment process and why the whole school has to be on board when it comes to writing instruction.
Calkins makes the point that K-4 writing standards build easily upon one another and really don't stretch the writers too much. That doesn't mean we K-4 teachers are off the hook. When our writers hit 5th grade, it all changes. The standards between grades 5 and 8 are astonishingly steep. There is no feasible way the writers who step into that 5th grade classroom will be able to meet expectations unless each previous grade level does its job and does it well, starting in kindergarten.
I believe that long before Common Core arrived, there's been a great need for writing to be a whole-school priority. Pockets of quality writing instruction interspersed throughout a school or district have never been sufficient. I'm thankful the Common Core has propelled writing instruction to the top of the list for many districts and schools, not simply for individual teachers. Writing deserves this new-found attention.