Writing Standards

The Writing Standards Page contains an explanation of the Common Core Writing Standards. Before we get to the standards, here are some popular lesson plans to get you started. More can be found under the ‘Writing” section above.

Here are some downloadable/printable pdf Common Core writing lesson plans to make your life easier.

Get five writing lesson plans with common core objectives, notes and instructions in a downloadable/printable pdf document. You can simply print it out, stick it in your lesson plan book and wait for administrative accolades. It’s only $4.95

Lessons include:

  1. “How to Write a Narrative/Reflexive Essay”
  2. “How to Write an Article Critique”
  3. “How to Write an Informational Article”
  4. “How to Write a Literary Analysis”
  5. “How to Write a Tall Tale.”
  6. “How to Write a Descriptive Essay”


Need more essay writing lessons for the common core. This guide includes the following:

  1. How to Write a Persuasive Essay
  2. How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay
  3. How to Write a Problem/Solution Essay
  4. How to Write a Comparison Essay
  5. How to Write a Definition Essay

Each lesson contains instructions for writing each type of essay (for your students), a list of common core objectives covered (for your administrator), one or more graphic organizers (for your students), and a rubric to make grading easy (for your sanity).

High School Writing Common Core Standards with Explanations and Lesson Links

The common core writing standards for high school come from the Common Core Standards Initiative Website.

Common Core Writing Standard 1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Explanation. The first writing standard requires students to write intelligently, to make claims, to support those claims, and to use valid evidence and logic.  Students should be able to

  • Introduce specific arguments and distinguish those arguments from alternate or opposing arguments in an organized manner using logic and evidence.
  • Develop arguments fairly and treating both sides of the argument while assessing strengths and weaknesses of different views.
  • Develop arguments in a clear, organized manner.
  • Establish and maintain a formal style with consistent voice and tone.
  • Provide a relevant conclusion.

Non-eduspeak Explanation. Students should be able to write and argue without sounding like an idiot, jackass, or moron. If the writing resembles a middle schooler’s love note or a 9-year old’s letter to Santa, it may be necessary to work on this standard.

Common Core Writing Standard 2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Explanation. Write about complex information, ideas, and concepts clearly and logically. Students should be able to

  • Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information by making important connections.
  • Use formatting, graphics, and multimedia to make ideas clear.
  • Develop the topic with relevant evidence and commentary appropriate to audience level.
  • Use appropriate transitions to clarify meaning.
  • Use appropriate word choice

Non-eduspeak Explanation. Learn something and write about it without sounding like a moron and putting people to sleep. If the person reading your writing makes fun of you the second you leave then you have not mastered this standard.

Common Core Writing Standard 3: W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.

Explanation. Use narrative techniques to write a story, a narrative essay, or to make points in an expository essay more clear.  Student written narratives should contain the elements of literature.  Students should be able to

  • Engage the reader.
  • Sequence events
  • Use details and sensory language to enhance theme.
  • Provide a conclusion that makes sense of the narrative.

Non-eduspeak Explanation.  Students should be able to tell a story that has a point and doesn’t make you want to rake your eyes with a pitchfork.

Production and Distribution of Writing Common Core Standards

W.9-10.4  Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in W.9-10.1-3.)

W.9-10.5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of L.9-10.1-3.)

W.9-10.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically

Explanation: These standards take into account what we call The Writing Process. It’s something we’ve been doing for years. Thank goodness the federal government has given their approval on it.

Non-eduspeak Explanation: No longer can students scratch their essay in crayon five minutes before class on the back of a cheeseburger wrapper and get a B for “trying.” It also means you can take your students down to the computer lab and babysit them for an hour as they take advantage of “technology’s capacity.”

Research Common Core Writing Standards

W.9-10.7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

W.9-10.8  Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

W.9-10.9  Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Explanation: This, my friends, is the dreaded research paper. Good luck!

Non-eduspeak explanation: This, my friends, is the dreaded research paper. Hide all sharp objects. Put your life coach on speed dial, keep the “meds” nearby because you have to grade these research papers. Hopefully you’ve covered the standards satisfactorily or you’ll be jamming that red pen up your nostrils in frustration.

Writing about Reading Standards

W.9-10.9a  Apply grades 9-10 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Analyze how an author draws on and transforms source material in a specific work [e.g., how Shakespeare treats a theme or topic from Ovid or the Bible or how a later author draws on a play by Shakespeare]”).

W.9-10.9b  Apply grades 9-10 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning”).

Explanation: This is literary analysis for fiction and non-fiction.

Non-eduspeak Explanation: Every now and then, make those kids write about what they read, using evidence, logic and all that other stuff an educated individual does. Most of the reading lesson plans on this site contain Common Core writing assignments, too. You’re welcome.

ELA Common Core Standards

Whether the Common Core Standards are just the latest fad or here to stay, you need lesson plans that address the Common Core Standards.  The good news is that they’re probably the same standards you’ve been teaching, but with a different name.  Use these links to find lesson plans matched up with the standards.

Last Updated on October 20, 2017 by Trenton Lorcher

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