Monday, September 3, 2012

Common Core--You're a bore!

Common core,
you're a bore.
Appendix C,
the writing I abhor.

I'm venting here...

I just printed out an "exemplar" text from the Common Core site. This 8th grade informative/explanatory text does not even have a lead. Really?  Are you kidding me? This is a model text. My units are given to me to modify, the exemplars meet the standards, but they are boring. Boring. This formal academic style of writing with so little voice is scaring me tonight.

Tomorrow my students and I will evaluate this writing piece according to the standards and the rubric and discuss what makes it good and discuss where it can improve. I am wondering if my students will notice how boring the writing is and how it does little to engage the reader.

Of course, engaging the reader is no longer a part of my standards. Here are my standards:

W.6.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
  • Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
  • Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
  • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style.
  • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented.
Should I even focus on leads/grabbers? Do they even matter any longer?  

Here is the student sample texts in case you're interested:

There are parts of CC I am enjoying, but there are other parts that have me asking where am I, where will I go, how will I find myself in all of this?

Common Core,
you're a bore.
I will not become you're whore.
I will swim until I find the shore.
I will find a way to do more,
than just achieve the score.


  1. When I think of the CCSS's lack of emphasis on background knowledge and connections, or the exclusion of visualizing strategies, I am sad, too. We have to sharpen the minds of our students wthout ignoring what's in their hearts.

  2. I'm sorry for your frustration. Perhaps it really will help to have the students examine & then to show them what writers do to improve (revise)? The pieces are like encyclopedia articles. We used to do an exercise that compared an article about something, then with the same topic, found a non-fiction piece that was crafty and clever.

  3. I hope your students do find the writing boring. Not only should we encourage good writing skills, we need to encourage creativity. Creativity has been sucked out of all standards. I fear for the future of our country when the kids who have not been given the chance to be creative hit the workforce.

  4. This is really funny to be because we are in the thick of working on rubrics for the common core. We added voice to our rubric. The one thing that I like is the whole idea of writing over an extended time frame and more emphasis on real explanation instead of manufactured expository prompts where no research is needed. I really feel like it is an ETS conspiracy...and now the author of the CCSS is working at the College Board. It always seems to be about economics.

  5. I get your frustration with the exemplars. Recently I read a blog where they talked about how the exemplars in the appendix are not necessarily the best examples of what the standards say for that grade level. Unfortunately I can not find this information now, sorry. My understanding from that post was, study the grade level standards to see if the exemplar matches it.

  6. Our goal is to create our own bank of exemplars- so I totally get your frustration. Some of the pieces in the appendixes were quite good...but some seemed generic and missing important elements. Cute poems in response, though!

  7. It is definitely vital to consider the CCSS with a critical eye to discuss what positive aspects they have, as well as areas that aren't there but are still important. Being engaging as a writer will always be important.


Thanks for reading my writing and sharing your thoughts with me.