Your Title Text
Common Core
 




Sorry about the mess!
This page is currently under construction.



How important is a strong
writing program to the CCSS?

Lucy Calkins, founding director of The Reading and Writing Project, an organization closely related to the development of the CCSS, has issued the following quotes:

“If we were asked to describe the two or three most striking features of the Common Core State Standards, one of the things we’d say straight away is that the standards place a tremendous emphasis on writing. In effect, the standards refocus the nation on students’ proficiency as writers.

 

“…writing is assumed to be the vehicle through which a great deal of the reading work and reading assessments will occur.”

 

“The CCSS return writing to its place as one of the basics of education.

 
How does our curriculum fit
with the Common Core State
Standards (CCSS) philosophy?

Writing Instruction

Obviously, the CCSS expect the students to learn basic writing structure including topic sentences, supporting details, essays with introductions and conclusions, and research reports. With our curriculum, beginning with How to Teach the Paragraph, you will get the most teacher and student friendly curriculum that can be found. However, the power of our curriculum goes far beyond this.

Because writing is the focus for demonstrating understanding in ALL subject areas, students will need to have complete mastery of their basic writing skills so they can produce paragraphs and essays at will. If they are focusing on HOW to write, they will not be as focused on WHAT they are writing. This will make giving intelligent answers very difficult. With our system, students will internalize their writing skills so well, they will instinctively start looking for evidence to support questions, using topic sentences and thesis statements, and organizing their evidence to defend their opinions and arguments.

 

Will poor writing skills interfere with your students’ ability to think critically?

CCSS doesn’t just ask students to produce organized essays. It requires that the students give opinions, make arguments, provide evidence from text and primary sources, and so much more. Ask yourself this question:

Imagine that you students don’t have a firm grasp of the basics of writing. How well will they do when they are asked to produce organized writing while critically analyzing any given topic?

Without a strong mastery of the basics, they will struggle in both areas.

Our curriculum prepares students for
LIFE SKILLS and the CCSS TESTING!

The assessments for the CCSS have a much greater emphasis on writing. Students using our program will have internalized their writing skills so much, that timed tests such as CCSS assessments and even the SAT will be so much easier.

How does it work?         Start Small and Build + Image

Teach your students one simple trick for mastering the paragraph. Students will be forced to look for evidence to support their topic sentences and thesis statements. The result? CCSS fulfilled at a high level, but on a smaller scale.

Next, expand on that simple trick from the paragraph to master essay writing. Again, students have no choice but to look for evidence to support their thesis statements, inferences, analyses, and more.

Finally, expand that trick again to write incredible research reports. Students completing this step will be able to write essays and research reports, completely on their own while fulfilling the highest goals of the CCSS.

 

Sample Lesson:
Since time is always a factor, you can teach many of your writing standards during social studies. Fifth grade teachers in California are teaching the paragraph with their units on Native American tribes of North America. They spend two weeks teaching the paragraph and use the Native American tribes to practice and reinforce the skills. Along the way, the students are giving opinions and using supporting evidence to back up their opinions, all while reinforcing the paragraph.

Next, they spend three weeks teaching the essay during language arts. Then they use their unit on Colonial America to write essays with powerful introductions and conclusions. Common essay topics are the development of the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies; Roll of religion in each of the colonies; Relationships with Native Americans; and Economy of the colonies.

Imagine fifth graders writing research reports entirely on their own. These fifth grade teachers are teaching the one paragraph research report with the causes of the American Revolution. The teacher uses the one simple trick from paragraph writing to teach the students the basics of research report writing. The teacher models the process three times with topics such as The French / Indian War, The Townshend Acts, and The Boston Massacre. Next, the students practice in groups on topics such as the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the First and Second Continental Congress. Finally, the students practice on their own on topics such as The Battle of Lexington and Concord, The Battle of Bunker Hill, and The Declaration of Independence. This can all be done in four weeks.


Grammar and Punctuation

The two main issues with the CCSS are the complexity of the standards and how the standards should be taught.

Let’s start with the complexity. CCSS’s expectations are, in our opinion, unrealistic. For example, will 2nd graders really master the parts of speech? Well, the CCSS expects them to know the parts of speech so that in third grade they can start using them in a more “rigorous” fashion. Teachers are going to struggle to teach their current standards while filling in the gaps that are certainly going to be there due to the rigor of the standards. They will need strong resources that will allow them to hit current and past standards quickly and efficiently.

How the standards should be taught is a big topic for debate. In some schools, teachers are not allowed to use worksheets. All grammar instruction must come from the text. Teachers must pull out examples for grammar skills from whatever they happen to be reading at the time. Can you imagine the time required for teachers to plan grammar units only by pulling sample sentences for each skill from their reading text? Good luck to those teachers.

Other teachers are allowed to do mini-lessons apart from their text. In this case, our Standards Based Grammar worksheets provide a quick way for teachers to teach the skills. The lesson instructions are on the top of the pages with the student practice below. The best feature, however, is that most pages have an “Extension” at the bottom where students are required to practice the concept within the context of actual writing. Practical application of grammar skills certainly fits within the Common Core plan.

Finally, teachers who are allowed to use a systematic approach will find our Standards Based Grammar Series very helpful. Students learn each skill in isolation before attempting the practical application of the skill. This reduces anxiety by giving students time to digest the skill before using it in real writing situations.

Recommendations

While our Standards Based Grammar series follows the old format, each grade level is broken down into units which are listed in the table of contents. We recommend finding the grade levels that have the units that you will need to teach the most. For example, students of all levels struggle with capitalization and comma rules. The grade 5 and 6 edition has many worksheets and journal projects (called Extensions) to help students master these skills. Therefore, despite the grade you are teaching, these would make great resources. Additionally, the Home School Edition would be excellent as it covers almost every CCSS for grades 3 though 6.

 

Reading

Cite, determine, explain, compare and contrast, analyze, integrate, and evaluate.

These are just some of the verbs the CCSS uses when asking students to respond to literature and informational text. How will your students express these verbs, orally or in writing? I can assure you that for the state assessments and the end of the school year assessments, they will be done in writing.

Students will need to go into each reading standard with a “plan of attack.” How will I respond to the questions I’m asked? The good news is that the students using our writing plan already have this plan of attack. Whether asked to cite, analyze, or evaluate, the students will use the tricks they learned within our writing curriculum and apply it to the task at hand.

 Text Box: “Sample Reading Lesson”For example, after reading an essay about the founding of Microsoft, the students were asked to analyze the key events that led Bill Gates to create his company. After deciding on the key details as a class, the students were asked, in one sentence, to give their opinion on what role Bill Gate’s early life experiences had on the founding of Microsoft. Next, they used their evidence to support it. The pattern of:  

1. Find the evidence,

2. Make a thesis statement, and

3. Support the thesis statement

…is a pattern they have been taught over and over with our writing curriculum. The transition to reading is smooth, natural, and, most importantly, easy to remember.

 

Text Box: PosterThe Reading Routine: Use the exact same prewriting techniques used in our writing program to collect evidence from the text and answer CCSS type questions. This works with literature and informational text. Your students can use this technique to give both written and oral responses. The “find the evidence, make a thesis statement, and support the thesis statement routine” works well as a template for students to use when sharing responses in groups.






The Complete Writing Program:

Are you, the teacher, going to correct every piece of writing your students produce?

The Common Core State Standards require students to write. They don’t just learn how to write. They learn to write as a way of expressing their knowledge of the curriculum. They write, a lot, during reading, social studies, science, and math. They are going to write, write, and write some more.

Teachers can’t possibly correct every piece of writing the students produce. It might take up to four hours to correct one essay, let alone five writing assignments a day. The key is to work smarter, not harder.

How does it help me teach the standards?

Before describing any specific standard, the first major issue to address is how to give students meaningful feedback for the standards you are going to address. Obviously, you are going to give writing instruction which includes immediate assessment of the skill you just taught. However, how are you going to make sure the dozens of lessons you teach are implemented in your students' writing? You can do this by teaching the students how to use a rubric to score their neighbor’s work. The students will look for key lesson concepts in their neighbor’s writing and conference with them about these concepts. This is what the students learn in Chapter 1.

The rest of the book helps students build writing skills that will help them answer CCSS reading questions in a more intelligent fashion. Here are just some of the CCSS this book covers:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.3.a
Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

*Note: How to Teach the Paragraph and How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay are free with the purchase of The Complete Writing Program. For the CCSS, it is recommended that you begin with these. Also, to really get the most out of the CCSS, How to Teach the Research Report is highly recommended. Finally, to teach punctuation skills using the CCSS, Writing Tricks Plus is an excellent resource with very little teacher preparation required.

 

How to Teach the Paragraph /
How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay

(These books are free with 

The Complete Writing Program)

CCSS Covered
Specifically: Writing 3, 4, and 5
     
Generally: Most ELA CCSS standards.


Image the students being asked to analyze a text, make inferences, then use evidence to support their inferences. This is a very common task with the CCSS. Now, imagine a student who doesn’t have a firm grasp of the writing process. Not only will you, the teacher, be helping the students make these inferences, you’ll be teaching the writing process at the same time. This is too much for an emerging writer to process. They will neither accomplish their reading standard nor improve their writing skills. They will continue to be completely dependent on the teacher.

The CCSS expect students to take writing beyond just basic writing skills. They are using their writing skills to demonstrate understanding. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a very strong base for writing, their ability to demonstrate understanding will be extremely limited. This will produce problems for the students throughout their academic live and will be devastating on state assessments.

The goal for these books is to create confident, independent writers. If the teacher needs to help the student with any part of the writing process, the students are NOT independent writers. The goal is complete mastery of the paragraph and essay.

This process can be done quickly with long-term retention certain.

How are teachers using How to Teach the Paragraph / Five Paragraph Essay to meet the CCSS?

Many teachers are teaching their writing standards during social studies. Fifth grade teachers in California are teaching the paragraph with their units on Native American tribes of North America. They spend two weeks teaching the paragraph and use the Native American tribes to practice and reinforce the skills. Along the way, the students are giving opinions and using supporting evidence to back up their opinions, all while reinforcing the paragraph.

Next, they spend three weeks teaching the essay during language arts. Then they use their unit on Colonial America to write essays with powerful introductions and conclusions. Common essay topics are the development of the New England, Middle and Southern Colonies; Roll of religion in each of the colonies; Relationships with Native Americans; and Economy of the colonies.

 

 

 

How to Teach the Research Report

 

CCSS covered: Specifically: Writing 7 8, 9, 4, 5, 6, 1 and 2.     Generally: Most ELA CCSS standards.

 

This book is a powerhouse for teaching the CCSS. With the CCSS, students are expected to do two skills at the same time. First, they need to show mastery of writing skills. This alone can be a challenge as the research report is one of the hardest skills for students to learn. It is a very complex process, and, if your goal is for the students to be able to master this skill, you are going to need a very efficient system. This system must be user friendly and easy to remember.

 

The second skill is as complex as the first. Students will need to read through mountains of text looking for main ideas and relevant details. Deciding what information is important and what is not, then organizing it is very difficult. Now try doing this while writing an intelligent report. Many students panic just at the thought of writing research reports.

 

On some level, many of the CCSS require students to do extensive analysis of a topic and organize it in an intelligent manner. In essence, everything they do will have some aspect of research reports in it.

 

How are teachers using How to Teach the Research Report to meet the CCSS?

 

Imagine fifth graders writing research reports entirely on their own. Fifth grade teachers in California are teaching the one paragraph research report with the causes of the American Revolution. The teacher uses the one simple trick to teach the students the basics of research report writing. The teacher models the process three times with topics such as The French / Indian War, The Townshend Acts, and The Boston Massacre. Next, the students practice in groups on topics such as the Boston Tea Party, the Intolerable Acts, and the First and Second Continental Congress. Finally, the students practice on their own on topics such as The Battle of Lexington and Concord, The Battle of Bunker Hill, and The Declaration of Independence. This can all be done in four weeks.

 

 

 

 

Writing Tricks Plus

 

Writing Tricks Plus teaches students to use a variety of sentence structure within their writing. It teaches students 16 “Tricks” to writing more powerful sentences. It begins by introducing four “Tricks” such as Dialogue and Introductory Clauses. Next, students practice identifying these types of sentences and writing them on their own. Finally, the students are required to demonstrate mastery by writing paragraphs using these tricks.

 

By practicing 15-20 a day, typically during journal time, students will have mastery of sixteen powerful types of sentences. Even better, they will be using these sentences within all their other writing, making their ability to meet the CCSS even stronger.

 

Besides improving the students’ abilities to meet the CCSS in all areas, just using Writing Tricks Plus alone will completely satisfy the requirements for CCSS.ELA-Literacy #3. Below is an example CCSS.ELA-Literacy 6.3:

 

Grade 6

CCSS.ELA-Literacy 3

Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy 3a
Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy 3b

Maintain consistency in style and tone.


























The Complete Writing Program is a workshop in a book. At the very least, it will show you, step-by-step, how to build stronger, more confident writers one day at a time. At its best, it will help you build an army of great writers within your class who will help you with your goal: building great writers.

Have you ever taught your class how to write an essay/story; spent hours reading and editing every one; gave the students constructive feedback; then have your students revise, edit and publish it? If you have, you know that it can be incredibly time consuming. Serious, meaningful conferencing between student and teacher is a luxury most teachers can’t enjoy very often. Why not work smarter, not harder? The Complete Writing Program will show you how to set up your class so your students are modeling and reinforcing the skills you teach on a regular basis, not you!


All great writing, no matter how old the writer, has five key elements:

  1. You begin by teaching your students the 5 key elements of great writing.
  2. Next, show your students how to look for the 5 key elements of great writing.
  3. Teach your students how to assess each other’s writing. They will use The Complete Writing Program’s “Writing Assessment Checklist” to identify the 5 key elements of writing in their neighbor’s writing.
  4. Students will score each other’s writing. In this way, they are reviewing the five key elements of writing as well as seeing it modeled within each other’s writing.
  5. Each chapter of The Complete Writing Program shows you how to build your students’ skills in the five areas of great writing. Use the worksheets and lessons in The Complete Writing Program as well as writing lessons from your school or district’s language arts program. Home school parents will find this program especially helpful as they continue to build their child’s skills in the five areas of great writing year after year.

  1. Save yourself dozens of hours correcting papers. The teacher does not need to correct every piece of writing assigned in order for the students to receive meaningful feedback. The students will know what great writers do and share what they’ve learned with each other during writing conferences.
  2. Students learn how to communicate their knowledge of writing to others. Students will develop their writing skills within the five areas of great writing at a different pace. Therefore, during writing conference time, they share their particular expertise. Your lessons become much more powerful when the students hear it again from fellow students.
  3. You have an army of mini-teachers in your class reinforcing the skills you’ve taught. Imaging your entire class reteaching your writing lessons to each other. Click Here to see an illustration of this concept, and you will understand the powerful this program. Illustration
  4. Your own one-on-one conference time with the students will be more powerful. You can pinpoint problem areas within your students' writing. Furthermore, they will understand why they are weak in a certain area and begin improving.
  5. More lesson plans than you can use in a year. Select the lessons that are right for you and your students.
  6. Use these powerful lessons for your observations with the principal. Teachers who have used lessons from The Complete Writing Program for their evaluations have reported remarkable results. Administrators have been so impressed that they’ve requested workshops in order to train their entire staff.

In theory, the five key elements of great writing can apply to emerging writers in kindergarten through grade 2. However, this program begins when the student is capable of writing a paragraph. (The Complete Writing Program will even show you how to do that.)

The five areas of great writing are the same regardless of age. The teacher will simply be building the students’ skills in the five areas at his/her grade level. Third graders will build their skills in the five areas at the third grade level while twelfth graders will build their skills at the twelfth grade level. The Complete Writing Program will help you decide what is right for your grade level.

This program has worked successfully in community college summer writing programs with students from grades four through eight in the same class.



Maybe your school or district has an adopted language arts program such as Houghton Mifflin, SRA/Open Court, Scholastic, etc… Their writing ideas might be terrific. However, many of these programs teach each piece of writing and HOPE that the students can put the writing pieces together.

The Complete Writing Program supercharges these programs. When you teach writing lessons out of these programs, your students will know exactly where each piece fits into the five elements of great writing. Furthermore, when you teach lessons out of your language arts program, your students will automatically look to see how it fits into the five elements of great writing. Again, you will have a class full of mini-teachers helping you reach your objectives.


Author's Message

When I first started teaching, I spent $100’s of dollars on books and workshops to help me become a better writing teacher. Yet, at the end of each school year, I never really felt confident that I had prepared my students adequately in writing.

I began taking ideas from books, workshops, and district approved material and altering these ideas to make them more productive. I knew that I was on to something when teachers began using my ideas in their own classroom. When you see the improvements in your students’ writing abilities, you will see the incredible value of this program. It’s a program you buy once and learn once. However, you will be using these powerful step-by-step procedures throughout your teaching career.

What is the value of this program? Honestly, I can’t say. All I know is the extreme joy I feel when my students skillfully use the new writing concepts that I have taught them. I feel good when I’m able to help other teachers improve the quality of their students’ writing. Finally, I’ve known great satisfaction when, at the end of the school year, I compare my students' writing to samples from the beginning of the year. It is clear that they have improved immensely. To me, this program is priceless. I want every teacher to feel the same confidence and satisfaction.


YES! Not only will your students become great writers, they will be VERY well prepared for state/federal standardized tests. Check your writing and grammar standards for your grade and state. The odds are great that your students will be tested on such things as:

  • Main ideas within the paragraph
  • Topic, supporting, and closing sentences
  • Variety of sentence structure
  • Vocabulary development
  • Imagery
You will be confident your students did well on these tests. In many cases, teachers will hear their students talking about the test after it is finished. “I saw an ‘Appositive’”, “I saw an ‘Interrupter’”, “I saw an ‘Adjective Writing Trick’”. Not only are the students getting the correct answers on the test, they are naming the rule that applied. The Complete Writing Program is powerful on so many levels.



“I was amazed at how quickly these writing techniques caught on. Within weeks, my students’ writing showed vast improvement.”

- Kathy Middough, 6th Grade

“As a first year teacher, this writing program was perfect. Everything I needed was laid out for me.”

- Traci Kinon, 5th Grade

“Teacher tested and kid-friendly, this writing program helps teachers at all levels become confident writers. Teachers found immediate results in their students’ writing when they implemented the program. The Complete Writing Program integrates reading, writing, and language and provides the structure and guidance that works with both veteran and beginning teachers”

- MaryLynn Bachmann; Principal, Williams Elementary School

Table of Contents

Descriptive Writing Sample

Improving Sentence Structure Sample #1

Improving Sentence Structure Sample #2

Report Writing Unit: Sample Page
 


Your purchase of The Complete Writing Program does not end our commitment to you. Our commitment is to help you implement this program until you are successful. Although this book is self guided, you will also receive a free newsletter every few weeks.

These follow-up newsletters ($24 value) will serve several functions:

  • It will remind you about key aspects of the program. While you use the ideas in the book, the newsletter will help keep all the information fresh in your mind.
  • More Advice: You will get more tips and tricks to make your writing program even more powerful. Many of these tips are suggested by other teachers currently using this program. Soon, you may be making terrific suggestions to the many teachers using this program.
  • More Worksheets: These free worksheets will help your students improve even more in the five elements of great writing.
  • Updated Writing Strategies.

Newsletter #1: How to start your year using The Complete Writing Program.

Newsletter #2: Room Environment: Using bulletin boards as teaching tools.

Newsletter #3: The Student Writing Folder: How students can use a writing folder to organize the five elements of great writing.

Many More Newsletters to Follow!


Become THE writing authority at your school.
Order The Complete Writing Program, Workshop in a Book!

Your Order Includes:
  1. The Complete Writing Program, Workshop in a Book
  2. Free: How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay
    (Ebook - $17.95 Value)
  3. Free newsletters filled with extra worksheets, tips and tricks, and advice ($24 Value).
  4. $50 off any future workshop.
  5. We'll even pay the sales tax.

      The
      Complete Writing
      Program

      Soft Cover Version
      Price: $69
      On Sale
      $59
       
      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $8.00 with the purchase of the soft cover edition.  Just click "Add eBook" during checkout.  eBook link sent at time of shipping.

      (Includes: Free
      How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay eBook - $17.95 Value)

       




      The
      Complete Writing
      Program

      eBook
      (download version)
      Price: $59
      On Sale
      $54.80


      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $8.00 with the purchase of the soft cover edition.  Just click "Add Ebook" during checkout.  eBook link sent at time of shipping.


      (Includes: Free
      How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay eBook - $17.95 Value)

       

      For
      Purchase Order

      Click Here





      How to Teach the Research Report
      eBook
      Sale: $19.95
      (download version)


      Soft Cover
      Sale: $22.95





      Bundle Options
      Three Book Bundle

      1.How to Teach the Research Report
      2.How to Teach the Paragraph
      3.How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay

      eBook
      Sale: $39.95 ($46 value)
      (download version)


      Soft Cover
      Sale: $46.95 ($53 value)


      Add the 3 eBooks for $8.
      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $8.00 with the purchase
      of the soft cover edition. Just click “Add eBook” during checkout.
      eBook link sent at time of shipping



      Four Book Bundle

      All books in the Three
      Book Bundle plus,
      The Complete Writing Program

      eBook
      Sale: $74.95 ($99 value)
      (download version)


      Soft Cover
      Sale: $87.95 ($112 value)


      Add the 4 eBooks for $12.
      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $12.00 with the
      purchase of the soft cover edition. Just click “Add eBook” during
      checkout. eBook link sent at time of shipping


      Five Book Bundle

      All books in the Three
      Book Bundle plus,
      The Complete Writing Program and
      Writing Tricks Plus

      eBook
      Sale: $93.95 ($118 value)
      (download version)


      Soft Cover
      Sale: $118.95 ($132 value)


      Add the 5 eBooks for $14.
      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $14.00 with the
      purchase of the soft cover edition. Just click “Add eBook” during
      checkout. eBook link sent at time of shipping




      Six Book Bundle

      All books in the Three
      Book Bundle plus,
      The Complete Writing Program,
      Writing Tricks Plus
      , and
      Standards Based Grammar
      (any grade level - Select grade level during checkout.)

      eBook
      Sale: $126.95 ($156 value)
      (download version)


      Soft Cover
      Sale: $147.95 ($170 value)


      Add the 6 eBooks for $18.
      Note: The eBook version may be purchased for $18.00 with the
      purchase of the soft cover edition. Just click “Add eBook” during
      checkout. eBook link sent at time of shipping
       
       
       
      Website Builder