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Nonfiction in the Common Core Classroom

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Jonah Conlin

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Nonfiction in the Common Core Classroom

Nonfiction in the Common Core Classroom
Thank You
"The End of White America"
References the overt racism and fear of minorities in The Great Gatsby
The discomfort surrounding the White identity
Journalistic piece that moved between examples from the past and today

Massachusetts Common Core
The ratio of nonfiction to fiction climbs throughout middle and high school until, in twelfth grade, 70% of reading, across all subjects, must be nonfiction.

Base / Foundation / Pillars

E-39 Advanced Essay Writing

Reading nonfiction
Consider the Lobster,
David Foster Wallace
; Best American Essays 2012,
David Brooks
; The Art of the Personal Essay,
Phillip Lopate
; Kaffir Boy,
Mark Mathebane
; Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life,
Steve Almond
; Histories of the Hanged,
David Anderson
(in process).

Massachusetts Common Core Standards

I could not practically return to Ms. Maloney with my new questions. So I opted for another source.
Began to compare the HN English 11 pacing guide, the Massachusetts Common Core Standards, and my own experience
How students reacted to essays

Jonah Conlin
Graduation Project

"3) My ultimate and primary goal for this project is to learn how students, from all backgrounds, react to professional and amateur essays...I will be well prepared to reflect on the connection students may or may not possess to contemporary essay writing."

-Graduation Project proposal

Does nonfiction communicate material more effectively and efficiently than fiction?

Does that make it more important?

How do high schoolers engage with fiction and nonfiction?
Includes the subgenres of exposition, argument, and functional text in the form of personal essays, speeches, opinion pieces, essays about art or literature, biographies, memoirs, journalism, and historical, scientific, technical, or economic accounts (including digital sources) written for a broad audience
Literary Nonfiction
Brought to Ms. Maloney's two HN English 11 classes
Discussion of the article followed by my asking the essential questions
About 80% of students did not read the full article, yet almost all participated


Removed Narrative

Personal Narrative
"Politics and the English Language,"
Common Sense
There Eyes Were Watching God, Namesake

"Notes of a Native Son," "Father Away"
"The Crack-Up," "On Running After One's Hat"
In Cold Blood, Society and Solitude
1) Started to use myself
2) Read about South Africa and Baltimore Public Schools
Lack of diversity
Lack of diversity - time period / narrative style / content / ideas
Olaudah Equiano James Baldwin

Ralph Waldo Emerson G.K. Chesterton

Thomas Payne Semour Krim

Edgar Allen Poe David Foster Wallace
+ Fiction Wild Card
The value of various narrative perspectives
The importance of literary diversity
Audio Clip From Class
Essential Questions
(rarely 1st person, omniscient, limited omniscient)
(1st person, limit omniscient)
AP Language
Common Core ELA Standards
How high schoolers respond to fiction versus nonfiction
Does nonfiction communicate material more effectively and efficiently than fiction?

Does that make it more important?

How do high schoolers engage with fiction and nonfiction?

Essential Questions
1) Yes

2) No

- Communicating content can be done more quickly in nonfiction
- But it makes nonfiction more valuable beyond high school
- Brute force, strike as many chords as possible with a diverse range of literature see what hits. Get students asking questions by giving them a lot
Full transcript