Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Disciplinary Literacy

Writing: Big Ideas

Types of Writing

Generally, writing is classified into three types:

  • Narrative
  • Informational/Explanatory
  • Arguments

(Common Core State Standards; New Standards Project)

The type of writing that is assigned should reflect the goals and purposes of instruction. Each type of writing can include a variety of genres. For example, narrative writing could reflect personal narratives or memoirs, fiction, biography, or poetry. Informational writing could comprise summaries, lab reports, directions, procedural explanations, reflections on learning, and research reports. Argument writing could include book or article reviews, essays, letters to an editor, blogs. Each type of writing promotes critical thinking and understanding of disciplinary literacy, requiring different emphases on the stages of the writing process.

The emphasis of writing across disciplines in middle school and high school is on informational and argument writing. While the writer’s “voice” is more apparent in narrative and argument writing, students should be encouraged to integrate their background knowledge with content in each type.

Reflect: Which types of writing do you assign most frequently in your classes? List three examples of these writing assignments and consider how they are both similar to and unique from each other in terms of what they demand of students.