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In Common: Effective Writing for All Students

What this is: Hundreds of samples of Common Core-aligned student work from K-12 classrooms around the country.

Why it matters: The shifts require that teachers gain fluency in identifying Common Core-aligned writing techniques at every grade level. 

In Common provides a range of examples of Common Core-aligned student work, drawn directly from K-12 classrooms across the country. These student writing samples demonstrate how students' writing skills can progress as they gain fluency across the three major types of Common Core writing: argument/opinion writing, informative/explanatory writing, and narrative writing.

One of the most common questions out there right now is “What does good student work aligned to the Common Core look like?” Teachers, coaches and school leaders alike will benefit from viewing these exemplars and sharing them within their schools and districts. 

Getting Started with In Common

Read these documents first to understand what In Common is and how best to use it.

The Story of In Common: Where the Standards Meet the Students

By James P. Patterson, a lead writer of the CCSS. 4-pg doc.

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In Common User Guide

Navigating and using the resource to improve instruction. 3-pg doc.

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In Common FAQ

A Common Core implementation resource for writing instruction

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Collection of All In Common, Writing Samples, K-12

Includes all samples from all three writing types below in a single, printable document. 648-pg PDF.

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Common Core Writing Types

Annotated Common Core student writing samples from all three types of Common Core writing types: Informative/Explanatory, Narrative and Argument/Opinion. 

Common Core Argument/Opinion Writing

This Common Core instructional resource focuses on CCSS.W.1: "Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence."

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Common Core Informative/Explanatory Writing

This Common Core instructional resource focuses on CCSS.W.2: "Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content."

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Common Core Narrative Writing

This Common Core instructional resource focuses on CCSS.W.3: "Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences."

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Professional Development for In Common

4 PD activities you can use with In Common to help build understanding of CCSS grade-level expectations for writing.

Colorful Language - PD Activity

30 min - 1 hr PD activity focused on understanding the terminology of CCSS writing standards

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How Does Your Garden Grow - PD Activity

30 min - 2 hr PD activity focused on understanding the three CCSS writing types: Opinion/Argument, Informative/Explanatory, and Narrative writing


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Learning By Example - PD Activity

30 min - 1 hr PD activity focused on annotating student writing samples with the language of the CCSS

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What Can My Students Learn By Writing - PD Activity

20 min - 1 hr PD activity focused on how reading and writing can be used to build knowledge

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All of the content on is covered by the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication License unless it is marked with the ©, which indicates that it includes content that has been licensed to Student Achievement Partners, Inc., from third parties and must be used solely as noted when hovering over the © next to the applicable content.