Understanding and Implementing the English Language Arts (ELA)-Literacy Standards with a Focus on Reading
This course is designed to introduce participants to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA-Literacy and the important instructional shifts of those standards, including balancing informational and literary text, building knowledge in the disciplines, understanding the “staircase of complexity,” developing text-based answers, writing from sources, and using academic vocabulary. Participants will learn to examine standards closely, unpack and explore the standards, especially those addressing reading, vocabulary and language, and build background information. In addition, participants will learn how students will demonstrate mastery of the standards, how assessments will change, and finally, how technology and multimedia support teaching and learning of these standards. Participants will showcase what they have learned by completing a lesson around one or more CCSS for ELA-Literacy.
Goals and Objectives
During this course, participants will learn skills and strategies to:
1. understand key design features of the CCSS for ELA-Literacy,
2. understand the spiraling and sequencing nature of the CCSS for ELA-Literacy,
3. translate the CCSS for ELA-Literacy into practice,
4. use concrete examples to construct classroom activities,
5. identify knowledge and skills required by relevant ELA-Literacy Standards,
6. understand what it means for students to meet a chosen ELA-Literacy Standard, and
7. create a lesson around one or more ELA-Literacy Standard.
This course provides professional development aligned to the CCSS for ELA-Literacy through readings, activities and classroom applications of teaching strategies. The CCSS for ELA-Literacy establish what students should know but not how teachers should teach. This course is designed to help teachers learn instructional strategies that guide students to reach these new challenging content standards.
This course, Understanding and Implementing the ELA-Literacy Standards with a Focus on Reading, will help participants learn and apply the relevant CCSS for ELA-Literacy in their teaching. © 2012. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.
This is an introductory course for ELA teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, professional development specialists, or other school personnel. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers and the Internet, and proficiency with email and current web browsers.
Session One: Identifying the Standards to Teach
Before translating the standards into classroom practice, it’s important to get an understanding of the format of the standards. During this session, you will explore the way that the CCSS for ELA-Literacy are organized and examine the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards for reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language.
Session Two: Thinking Differently about Assessment
The CCSS demand a shift in classroom assessment practices from tests of knowledge to include an increased emphasis on performance-based and open-ended assessment. Formative assessment is a critical strategy to gather feedback to adjust and guide instruction and improve student learning. Students who meet the CCSS are able to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of the content through their work on projects, activities, games and other performances. A deep understanding of formative assessment is critical to teachers of all content areas who are implementing the CCSS for ELA-Literacy.
Session Three: Background Knowledge and Academic Vocabulary
One of the bigger shifts in the CCSS for ELA-Literacy is the focus on Academic or Tier II vocabulary words in the older grades and the importance of background knowledge in the elementary grades. Students who come to school with a wider range of background knowledge have been shown to be better readers and comprehenders later in life, while students who understand academic vocabulary (or Tier II words) understand what they are reading over students who are familiar with literary terms and devices. In this session, you will read about the importance of academic vocabulary or background knowledge and gain some skills on how to teach it.
Session Four: Selecting and Scaffolding Literary Texts
The Common Core has raised the bar for many on the types and complexity of texts chosen to teach in class. There are many resources available to help teachers select rigorous texts for their grade level and gather ideas for teaching fiction in order to ensure students are reading at the highest level possible to prepare them for the next grade. In this session, you will learn how to select a text for your grade level and develop two performance tasks to scaffold learning around a particular text.
Session Five: Informational Texts and Close Readings
In order to be ready for college and work, students need to be able to read and understand complex texts. In grade 4, the CCSS for ELA call for an equal emphasis on literature and informational text. However, by grade 12, the focus should be 30% on literature texts and 70% on informational texts. In this session, you will explore how to balance literary and informational texts, as well as how to best teach informational texts. After seeing a sample close reading in action of an informational text, you will develop your own text-dependent questions and performance tasks to help students understand grade-level appropriate informational texts.
Session Six: Incorporating ELA-Literacy Standards into the Classroom
In the final session you will review all that we have covered in the previous sessions and finish the Final Project Template with a final reflection on the steps you will take to begin to implement these new standards in your classroom. In addition to this, K–5 teachers will explore the foundational skills, while 6–12 teachers will become familiar with the History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subject standards. In the final discussion board, teachers will share ideas and concerns for taking the first step towards CCSS implementation.