Diocese of Ogdensburg

The Roman Catholic Church in Northern New York

The English Language Arts  Program  of the schools of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is based on the National Common  Core Standard.  As with all of our  educational programs, all instruction is centered in our Catholic Faith  foundation.

In the context of all ELA instruction, students are expected to use the  following practices which include:

  • read and work with a balance of informational and literary texts
  • apply reading writing skills in science and social studies
  • develop skills to read, analyze, evaluate texts that are increasingly  complex
  • support and make inferences based on text-based information
  • writing that emphasizes the use of evidence from sources to inform or  make an argument
  • build transferrable vocabulary to access grade level texts across  disciplines

The content of Grade Six ELA is clearly  outlined on the Diocesan Report Card.  In  addition to the content andskills, writing is highly emphasized  not only in ELA but in all subject areas.   The Common Core requires 4 types ofwriting – argument,  informative/explanatory and narrative.   Below you will find a strong writing sample for this grade level that is the expected  performance on an argument writing task.

Dear  Mr. Sandler,

              Did you  know that every cigarette a person smokes takes seven minutes off their life? Imentioned this because I just watched the movie,  Benchwarmers, and I noticed that Carlos smoked. Why did you feel the need to have one of the characters smoke?  Did you think that would make him lookcool? Did you think that would make him look older? It did  neither of those things. As a matter of fact, Ithink it made him look stupid and not very cool. Especially  when he put out a cigarette on his tongue.               If I were  producing a movie, I would want my characters to be strong, healthy and smart.  Iwould not have any smokers in my movies for many reasons.  The first reason is it sets a bad example forchildren. An estimated 450,000 Americans die each year from  tobacco related disease. In fact, tobacco use causes many different types of cancers such as lung,  throat, mouth, and tongue. Another reason notto promote smoking is it ages and wrinkles your skin. Who  wants to look 75 if you are only 60? It turnsyour teeth yellow and may lead to gum disease and tooth  decay. Lastly, smoking is a very expensivehabit. A heavy smoker spends thousands of dollars a year on  cigarettes. I can think of better things tospend money on.               So Mr.  Sandler, I urge you to take smoking out of all future movies you produce.  Instead ofhaving your characters smoke have them do healthy things.  That will set a positive influence for children instead of poisoning their minds. Thanks for reading my  letter. I hope you agree with my opinion.

Sincerely, __________ P.S. I love your  Chanukah song.

Criteria used to evaluate this piece  as a strong writing sample include:

  • introducing a claim
  • organizing the  reasons and evidence clearly
  • supporting the  claim with clear reasons and relevant evidence, demonstrating an understanding  of the topic
  • using words,  phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationship between the claim and reasons
  • establishing  and maintaining a formal style
  • demonstrating  good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors  that do not interfere materially with the underlying message)