A Quick and Easy Common Core Writing Assignment


My good friend and award winning yearbook editor Bill Tobler hounded me for about six weeks over some silly writing assignment he wanted my students to do for inclusion in this year’s edition of the FHS yearbook.

He gave me the forms back in September. I immediately placed them in my “get to later” basket on the corner of my desk and promptly forgot about them. He sent emails. I ignored them. He reminded me in person. I made up a lie. He reminded me again. I lied again. He gave me more forms. I placed those in my “get to later” basket, having completely forgotten that the original forms he gave me were still there.

He sent me another email. I ignored it. He came by in person again. I locked my door and covered the window with black butcher paper. Yesterday, he caught me unawares, so I agreed to hand out his little writing exercise. I had a 15-minute lesson plan gap anyways.

As I was going over the writing assignment with each class, I realized the assignment was actually educational and satisfied Common Core Standards for writing and language in addition to helping students practice word economy and correct word choice. Covered standards include:

  1. W.9-10.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters
  2. W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  3. L.9-10.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
  4. L.9-10.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Here’s the lesson. Feel free to use it. You don’t even have to give me credit. I, after all, stole it from Bill Tobler who gave it to me. He probably stole it from someone else.

Short and Sweet Writing Assignment: Write about a specific aspect of your life in 140 characters or less–characters include letters, numbers, punctuation marks and spaces.

You can, of course, adapt this assignment to a specific topic. For example, write about _________ in 140 characters or less. You can also fiddle with the rules. You are a professional, after all.

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