This special report explores how writing instruction has changed in recent years, particularly with the adoption of college- and career-ready standards. The stories in the report, which include perspective pieces by current teachers, look at how teachers are adjusting to changes in the curriculum in writing instruction, what kinds of support they are receiving (or not receiving), and innovative instructional strategies designed to help student improve their writing and reach new skill levels.

Drawing upon her interest in hip-hop, teacher Lauren Leigh Kelly created “Hip Hop Literature and Culture,” an English course in which students discuss and write about hip-hop texts—including songs, films, and music videos—to explore constructions of gender, race, and self.

Read the story.



Expert teachers share advice and experiences on helping students meet new expectations in writing in our Teaching Ahead roundtable.

Read their posts.




What does effective writing instruction look like? How can teachers keep students focused and engaged? In a collection of videos from the Teaching Channel, master educators demonstrate a variety of effective instructional techniques for all grade levels.

See the videos.


June 20, 2016 The common-core standards call for students to write more and in more complex modes, but literacy experts say that's not happening in many classrooms.
June 20, 2016 The five-paragraph essay, a staple in school writing curricula, has become a source of debate for educators, with critics charging the format is too rigid and constraining.
June 20, 2016 The common core's emphasis on more argumentative and informational writing has made for a difficult balance for some educators.
June 20, 2016 Lauren Leigh Kelly's Hip-Hop Literature and Culture Class uses hip-hop texts as a means to develop students' media-literacy and critical-analysis skills.
June 20, 2016 One of the originators of the workshop model discusses the challenges facing writing teachers today and how her own methods have evolved to adapt to new expectations.
June 20, 2016 Though de-emphasized in the common core, creative writing can play an irreplaceable role in the development of students' complex literacy skills, writes language arts teacher Ariel Sacks.
June 20, 2016 Under the common standards, writing instruction is more strategic and substantive, teacher James A. Dittes reflects. But fewer diversions can also mean it's sometimes less fun.
June 20, 2016 Through verbal and written strategies, students gain a deeper grasp of math content, while giving teachers a window into their understanding, writes STEM educator Amy Shapiro.

This special report was produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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