For the Sake of Argument: Another Common Core Shift


The Common Core standards shift our thinking and our daily teaching. Reading and writing receive equal emphasis, unlike previous reforms focused solely on reading and its foundations. Reading and writing are closely and intentionally related in the new CCSS, and writing is the vehicle by which students reveal their thinking and understanding.  The expectation is that students will routinely write, sometimes producing finished work in one sitting and sometimes sustaining a piece of writing over several weeks.

The standards require that all students work to become independent writers of three types of texts: narrative, informational/explanatory, and opinion/argument.  Writers of the standards recommend that the time spent on each type in the elementary grades be roughly the same. This is a shift for many elementary teachers, particularly in the early primary grades where narrative writing has traditionally taken center stage.

The CCSS underscore argument writing as part of being college and workplace-ready.  This explanation in Appendix A provides the rationale for the special place that argument has in the CCSS.  At TeachersFirst we recognize that this may be new territory for many elementary teachers, so we offer some suggestions and resources to help with this new approach.



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