Okay, so you understand the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts. You have wrapped your head around the instructional shifts they call for and maybe you even have a grip on the complexities of the content at your grade level(s). But I think one common (pun intended) refrain among educators who feel they “get” the CCSS is “Yes, but what should they look like in action?” The standards themselves can be overwhelming and the task at hand can seem arduous. It’s just not that easy to visualize implementation at this time. And it’s often challenging to find solid resources and lesson plans to help you with this visualization.
Eye on Education is working to change that with their series of Common Core Literacy Lesson Plans edited by Lauren Davis. I spent some time exploring the edition for grades 9 through 12 and was left thinking that this is the kind of things teachers need: High quality, detailed and thorough plans that tie directly to the CCSS. That’s exactly what you get in this volume, and I expect you’d find more of the same in their K-5 and 6-8 editions.
Here’s what’s contained within: 35 lesson plans, each with everything you need to put them into action in the classroom. Detailed objectives, standards alignment, explicit instructions for the introduction, group activities, class discussions, and individual work. There are also sections for lesson extension ideas as well as ideas for differentiation (for both advanced students and students who need support). Assessment options and links to additional resources are included for each lesson, too. Some are designed for 1-day sessions, others for longer.
This book covers all the CCSS ELA bases: Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening, and Language. And I found the lessons to be both challenging and highly engaging. It is clear that the purpose of this book is to push students’ thinking and also to develop their expression and communication skills. And you certainly don’t have to use all of these. Each stands on its own as a model of a solid lesson. There is a lot to build on and adapt here to suit your specific needs. The only thing I was left wanting more of was a bit more that deals with technology integration, but there are some tech-infused lessons in this book. Some of the standards that teachers need the most help with are those that specifically address digital technologies, but perhaps that is just a personal preference.
Overall, I think this is a great book for energizing your thinking and inspiring you to build awesome CCSS-aligned lessons of your own.
And that’s exactly what we need in the new world order of the CCSS (especially as we await the full development and complete reveal of the national assessments)–inspiration and ideas. This book provides plenty of both.
Disclosure: I reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. Also, Neil and I are under contract with Eye on Education to write a book of our own. Release date TBD.
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