Karen Clark teaches seventh grade at KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary School.
Here’s what Ms. Clark says must be included in strong, grade-level writing in seventh grade.
“One of the things that students need to be able to do before leaving seventh grade is write a basic argument. So for example in my class, one of the things my students did this year was write letters to the editor, and in those letters they had to support or not support the idea of breed-specific legislation. For example, a student might have written something like, “We should not pass breed-specific legislation because there is no data to show that certain kinds of dogs are more likely to attack strangers than other kinds of dogs.” So, in sixth grade, students do learn how to write arguments. But seventh grade is the first time where they are required to start acknowledging the claims that they are going to see from the opposing side of whatever issue they are writing about. That’s pushed further in eighth grade where they are then required to not only acknowledge the claims from the opposing side but also provide their own counterclaims.”