Monument Project: Overview

People are freaking out about the Common Core initiative.  Really freaking out.  I feel like that it is the main topic in tweets, in-services, and lunchroom conversations. And the same comments keep popping up in each venue:

“How will we prepare our kids?” 

“There are so many standards!  How can we be expected to successfully cover all of them in a year?”

“Where is the fiction?  These ‘reading’ standards are primarily about non-fiction and informational texts!”

“I don’t have time to grade all the essays necessitated by the Common Core.” 

While I think we are more prepared than we think and that the Common Core isn’t a sign of the educational apocalypse, being successful in meeting the Common Core standards is about finding ways to blend multiple standards into one project or an assignment, which isn’t difficult to do but takes some planning and foresight.  To help, this week I will be posting on a project I have done with my students that addresses many of the Common Core language, reading, and writing standards.  Even though I have used it with my AP English Language and Composition students it would really work with any grade- or ability-level after a few simple modifications.  

While we are used to having our students complete a project on a novel, this project is based on argument and everyday rhetoric.  The project asks students to construct and deliver a persuasive speech advocating for a new monument on the National Mall.  After studying the Mall and who/what is already included, the students will determine a person or event that is missing and they feel deserves to be commemorated.  Over the next few days I’ll be outlining how to implement this project; however, below are a series of Common Core standards addressed through this project. 


  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


  • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
  • Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
  • Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
  • Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.


  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

One comment

  1. Erin says:

    I like this idea. I teach 6th grade reading and am trying to develop a new curriculum based on CCS. I have requisitions due for books this week. Are there any books you suggest ordering for this unit? Thanks!

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