Writing in the Disciplines

College and career readiness demands that students have the ability to write in multiple ways for various purposes and audiences. Because students will be faced with rigorous writing situations in both college and at work, teachers need to help students become strong writers in all subject areas.

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In order to help students become competent, skilled writers, all content area teachers must teach writing.

To ensure we are building essential writing skills and moving students toward independence, students should produce 3-5 pages of academic writing each week.

This expectation can (and should) be shared by all content areas. For example, each content area can assign one page of academic writing per week--totalling 5 pages each week. Another option is to have departments share the responsibility over a month. For example, humanities (English and history) can assign a two page paper the first week of the month. The sciences (math, science, engineering, etc.) can assign a two page paper the second week. The arts can assign a writing assignment the third week and so on.

Writing in the Discipline
Preparing students for college.

There are a number of professional organizations, programs, and communities (like WID, WAC, ATD, and the National Writing Project to name a few) that research writing across disciplines in order to learn how writing is done in a discipline and how it can be used to improve student learning. From their research, and the work of other teachers of writing, we know that writing is a complex skill that requires layers of academic and cognitive skills.

English teachers cannot adequately prepare students for the multitude of writing tasks that they will face in academic and professional environments. This cannot be the English teachers burden.

However this work is divided up, it becomes the responsibility of each content area teacher to explicitly teach…

  • the types of arguments in the discipline;
  • the types of evidence valued in the discipline;
  • the motivation behind the discipline;
  • the values and conventions of writing in the discipline; and
  • the types of questions or problems the discipline seeks to answer or solve.
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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

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