Resources for Teaching the Common Core State Standards

Knowing where to find the information you need is a great way to get started with Common Core.

The Common Core State Standards are a hot topic in education today as 46 states work to implement them with fidelity by 2014. The Common Core was created to be “robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers.”  Career and college readiness, along with an emphasis on higher order thinking skills, is a new focus for K-12 classrooms. It requires a new level of planning and preparation. 

There is a clear alignment between the Common Core State Standards and the research-based instructional strategies in Robert Marzano’s Art and Science of Teaching framework. Educators are hungry for resources that are aligned and practical for classroom use.  Here are two helpful sites/resources that you can use immediately in your classroom:

Common Core State Standards, Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks

At the back of the ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are several appendices. Appendix B gives examples of text which exemplifies the text complexity required for each grade level.  Appendix B also provides sample performance tasks that can be used in the classroom to show proficiency for the standards.  Here is an example of the performance tasks for Kindergarten:

Sample Performance Tasks for Stories and Poetry
o Students (with prompting and support from the teacher) describe the relationship between key events of the overall story of Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik to the corresponding scenes illustrated by Maurice Sendak.  [RL.K.7]
o Students retell Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together while demonstrating their understanding of a central message or lesson of the story (e.g., how friends are able to solve problems together or how hard work pays off). [RL.1.2]

Common Core Curriculum Maps
2nd Edition can be purchased for $10/grade band (i.e.: K-2) or $30/complete set ELA K-12
The 1st edition is free if you can find it.  Here is the link I used (you click on the grade level and scroll to the bottom of the page): Common Core Curriculum Maps

Here is an excerpt of an example for Grade 8, Unit 1:

Urban Settings in America: “It Happened in the City”
This six-week unit of eighth grade starts off the year with reflections on the settings of stories and events—from poems and short stories to novels and nonfiction material.

Focus Standards
o These Focus Standards have been selected for the unit from the Common Core State Standards.

    •  RI.8.1: Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    •  RI.8.6: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
    •  W.8.3: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    •  SL.8.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    •  SL.8.1 (a): Come to discussions prepared, having read or researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence on the topic, text, or issue to probe and reflect on ideas under discussion.
    •  SL.8.1 (b): Follow rules for collegial discussions and decision-making, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
    •  L.8.4: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    •  L.8.4 (a): Use context (e.g., the overall meaning of a sentence or paragraph; a word’s position or function in a sentence) as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
    •  L.8.4 (b): Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., precede, recede, secede).

Student Objectives (daily objective in student-friendly language)
    •  Read and discuss a variety of fiction and nonfiction, specifically what these genres reveal about life in urban America.
    •  Write a variety of responses to literature, poetry, and informational text.
    •  Compare and contrast story characters, plots, themes, and settings from stories about urban America.
    •  Analyze different accounts of the same event (i.e., September 11, 2001).
    •  Write poetry (concrete or haiku) and perform it for classmates.
    •  Compare elements of the musical Chicago to other poetry and prose about Chicago.
    •  Define relationships between words (e.g., urban, urbanization, suburban; city, citify; metropolitan, metropolis).
    •  Participate in group discussions.

Do you have a favorite site or resource that has helped you practically implement the Common Core State Standards in your classroom? Share with us, or ask a question.

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