Tag Clouds say a lot about Common Core’s Writing Standard 1

Next week I will be working with a group of educators creating a unit of study based on the expectations addressed in writing standard 1 of the Common Core. The prospect of such work is as exciting as it is scary. I mean I know the standards pretty well but I have yet to really begin to write curriculum using them.

Souring the great wide web this week, I discovered the blog from the site 19pencils (which the site as a whole is worthy of its own post) that had used tag clouds to highlight what the Common Core Standards focused on in literacy. It was at times perplexing to see which words were used more than others. And still requires some research on my part as to why people/characters like Peter Pan, Nicholai Gorgol and Paul Goble came up so often.

Anyway, I was curious what Writing Standard 1 in grades 6 to 8 looked like. I wanted to see if there were similar trends across grades or if there were glaring differences. My initial thought was that they would look very similar. You judge for yourself;

The tag cloud for grade 6;

Writing Standard 1 - Grade 6

The tag cloud for grade 7;

Writing Standard 1 - Grade 7

The tag cloud for grade 8;

Writing Standard 1 - Grade 8

So what I found most interesting where the words that were the biggest(used the most often) – RELEVANT, EXPERIENCES, INFORMATION, EVIDENCE and USE to name a few. Words like define, explain, compare/contrast, are not the focus anymore much like they used too be.

However, what was more striking to me was that there aren’t differences. The words seem to be used in the same frequencies across grades building more of a capacity rather than attempting to have the students do one thing one year and something completely different the text.

So you tell me – what do you think of the standards when you look at them in a tag cloud? Surprised? Expected? Disappointed? Remember this is just writing standard 1 which is persuasive writing, but still it says a lot about the lateral build which the Common Core has been touting.


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