Gearing Up for the Common Core State Standards

Jean M. Evans Davila
K-12 Instructional Specialist for ELA
Why the move to Common Core State Standards
What important shifts will occur in K-12 English
language arts & literacy instruction with the CCSS?
What are some key features of the CCSS in ELA &
Where are we with the transition to CCSS in ELA &
What can we do right now to prepare students for
the CCSS?
Preparation: Graduates will be college and career ready
Competition: The CCSS are internationally benchmarked.
Equity: Expectations are consistent for all.
Clarity: The CCSS are focused, coherent, and clear.
Collaboration: The standards create a foundation to work
collaboratively (teacher, parent, & student; local district &
state, state & federal, U.S. & global community).
ELA & Literacy: 6 Shifts Condensed into 3 Shifts
50:50 info text to lit (K-5)
70:30 info text to lit (6-12)
Appropriately complex text
Text-dependent questions
Writing to inform/argue
based on evidence
Academic vocabulary vs.
domain-specific vocabulary
Building knowledge
through content-rich
nonfiction and
informational texts.
Reading and writing
grounded in evidence
from text.
Regular practice with
complex text and its
academic vocabulary.
The CCR is the “North Star” of CCSS
•Speaking & Listening
Reading: Literature
Reading: Informational Text
Reading: Foundational Skills (grades K-5)
Speaking & Listening
Reading: History/Social Studies
Reading: Science and Technical Subjects
Writing: History/Social Studies, Science &
Technical Subjects
The New Balance in K-5 ELA (50:50 Ratio)
50 % Informational Text
50 % Literature
Grades 6-12 Literacy (70:30 Ratio)
70 % Informational Text
30 % Literature
Harder for students to comprehend informational text
than narrative text due to its features
Much of our knowledge base comes from info text
Academic vocabulary comes largely from info text
Makes up vast majority of the required reading in
college/workplace (80 percent)
Yet students are asked to read very little of it in
elementary and middle school (7 to 15 percent)
CCSS moves percentages to 50:50 at elementary level
and 75:25 at secondary level
Measures of Text Complexity (Gr 2/+)
•Qualitative: levels of meaning, purpose,
structure, clarity of language,
conventionality of language, knowledge
•Quantitative: word length, word
frequency, sentence length, cohesion
•Reader & Task: reader’s motivation,
knowledge, experiences; the assigned
tasks, questions, and activities
Simplified texts often synonymous with
restricted, limited, and thin in meaning
Academic vocabulary can only be learned from
complex texts
Mature language skills can only be gained by
working with demanding materials
No evidence that struggling readers—especially
at middle and high school—catch up by gradually
increasing the complexity of simpler texts
Grade Reading Standard 10 (individual text types omitted)
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
With prompting and support, read prose and poetry [informational texts] of
appropriate complexity for grade 1.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature [informational texts] in
the grades 2-3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as
needed at the high end of the range.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature [informational texts] at
the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature [informational texts] in
the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as
needed at the high end of the range.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature [informational texts] at
the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and
3 Required Types of Writing
1. Narrative (convey experience)
2. Expository (explain/inform)*NF
3. Argument (persuade)*NF
A Focus on the Argument
•Substantive claims
•Sound reasoning
•Relevant evidence
Writing Standard 1(opinion and argument)
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in
which they tell a reader the topic or name of the book they are writing about and state an
opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g. My favorite book is. . .).
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
a.) Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an
organizational structure that lists reasons.
b.) Provide reasons that support the opinion.
c.) Use linking words and phrases to connect opinion and reasons.
d.) Provide a concluding statement or section
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
a.) Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
b.) Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources
and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
c.) Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and
d.) Establish and maintain a formal style.
e.) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.
Grade Writing Standard 1(opinion and argument)
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using
valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
a.) Introduce precise, knowledgable claim(s), establish the significance of the
claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an
organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and
b.) Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most
relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both
in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and
possible biases.
c.) Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections
of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claims(s) and
reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claims(s) and
d.) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the
norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
e.) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the
argument presented.
Common assessment system
Computer-adaptive assessments
Complex, integrated performances (research, multimedia)
Writing tasks that combine readings with textdependent questions (EVIDENCE! EVIDENCE! EVIDENCE)
Writing arguments
Reading grade-level texts
Greater frequency of assessment (not just end-ofyear)
Comparisons across students, schools, districts,
states, and nations
Unpacking CCSS and Appendices A, B, C
Training in Instructional Strategies (Webinars & CES)
Identifying District-wide Instructional Strategies
Reviewing Curriculum Mapping Project Materials
Working as a Vertical Team to Review CCSS and the
Current Curriculum
Reviewing Anthology Programs for Core Instruction and
Curriculum Development
1. Structure instruction so all students read grade level
complex texts. Build a staircase of literacy through daily
interactions with at least 2 types of text— 1) grade level
text, 2) independent and/or instructional level text.
2. Provide texts that are valuable sources of information that
allow opportunities for students to gain knowledge from
close reading
3. Provide scaffolding using high quality text-dependent
questions that do not pre-empt the text
4. Include opportunities to combine quantitative information
from charts and graphs text-based information
5. Focus on academic vocabulary (in addition to domainspecific vocabulary)
6. Provide extensive research and writing
opportunities for students to draw textual evidence
7. Understand and engage in well-supported
8. Design questions and tasks that require careful
comprehension of the text before asking for
comparisons with other texts
9. Design whole-group and small-group instruction
that cultivates student responsibility
10. Cultivate student independence
Text + Writing = Context
Text Dependent ?’s
Multiple Readings
Evidence! Evidence!
4-Corners of the Text
from Text
Dedicated, knowledgeable
teachers, support staff,
administrators, and parents
Adequate resources and
Rich and rigorous
Clear understanding of the
end-of-year learning
expectations for students
Jean M. Evans Davila
Norwalk Public Schools
K-12 Instructional Specialist for ELA
[email protected]
(203) 854-4106

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