Everybody Has A Story to Tell

In the ongoing debate about the Common Core,  I would like to add my personal perspective.   I start this discussion with a school honored type of writing–the narrative.  Yes, everyone has a story to tell.

The genre of narratives has definitely been over-used. Significant amount of time is devoted to narrative writing throughout a student’s primary and secondary schooling.  In many lower elementary classes children spend their entire schooling exposed to only story writing.  These are a few typical writing assignments:

*Write a personal narrative of the time you …. (e.g. rode your first bike)

*Write a sequel to the book you are reading.

*Write what you did over the summer.  (My favorite)

The Common Core requires students to expand their writing repertoire.  More importantly, it aims to prepare students for academic writing.  So, who says the fun of writing has to be tied to storytelling.

What if teachers were to take their time honored writing assignments and give it an ” “informative” or “argumentative” twist.  Here are some ways, I have crafted the traditional writing assignments with rigor.

*Instruct the reader how you ….(ride a bike) using your own experiences to support the instructions.

*Propose a sequel to the book you are reading and support it with claims from the text.

*Explain something you have learned over the summer.

We all have a story to tell, but to prepare our students for college and careers goes beyond telling the story.  Perhaps it is time for creative writing to get some creative thinking.

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