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 eight 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 informative writing task.

Football             What I like doing best is  playing football, mainly because it is one of my best sports. One of the  greatest things about it, in my opinion, is the anticipation, wondering what  the other players are thinking about what you might do. Football is a physical  game, of course, but it’s the mental aspect that I appreciate the most.             At times football can get  grueling, which makes the game even more exciting. The first time you make  contact with another player (even with all that equipment) you get very sore.  That is true for everyone, but in time you get used to the aches and pains.  After awhile, you develop mental discipline, which allows you to ignore some of  the pain. The mental discipline then allows you to go all out, to unload  everything you have, every play. That’s how you win games, everyone going all  out, giving 110%. The game takes concentration, just as much as any other  sport, if not more. You develop this aspect in practice. That is why it is so  important to have hours and hours of it. Mentally, you have to get over the  fear, the fear of eleven madmen waiting for chance to make you eat dirt. And  that comes through practice. Once you overcome the fear, you can concentrate on  the more important things, like anticipating the other guy’s next move.  Studying the playbook and talking with other players also helps.             During the game, your mind  clears of all thoughts. These thoughts become instinct. You have to react, and  react quickly, and you develop reactions and instinct in practice. For example,  when you’re carrying the ball or about to make a tackle, you want to make sure  you have more momentum than the other guy. If you don’t you’ll be leveled. But,  you should react instinctively to that situation by increasing your momentum.             Playing defense, all you want to  do is hit the man with the ball, hit him hard. Right when you unload for a  stick, all your body tightens. Then you feel the impact. After you regain your  thoughts, you wonder if you’re all right. You wait for your brain to get the  pain signal from the nerves. Even so, if you do get that signal, which is  always the case, you keep right on playing. You can’t let that experience shake  your concentration.             On offense, while playing  receiver, you can actually “hear” the footsteps of the defensive back as you’re  concentrating on catching the ball. What separates the men from the boys is the  one who “hears” the footsteps but doesn’t miss the ball. That’s mental discipline,  concentration.         Football is very physical or  else it wouldn’t be fun. But it is also a mental game and that is why it’s  challenging. You can get hurt in football if you screw up and ignore the right  way to do things. However, mental discipline and concentration, which you  develop during hours of practice, helps you avoid such mistakes.

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

  • introduces  the topic clearly, previewing what is to follow
  • organizes  ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories
  • develops the  topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other  information and examples
  • uses  appropriate transitions to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among  ideas and concepts
  • uses precise  language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic
  • provides a  concluding section that follows from and supports the information or  explanation presented
  • demonstrates  good command of the conventions of standard written English (with occasional errors  that do not interfere materially with the underlying message)