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Getting to the Core of English Language Arts, Grades 6-12

Getting to the Core of English Language Arts, Grades 6-12
How to Meet the Common Core State Standards with Lessons from the Classroom

Foreword by Kenneth Lindblom

Additional resources:

April 2012 | 240 pages | Corwin

Design effective CCSS-aligned lessons for secondary students

If you want to revamp your secondary English Language Arts curriculum to reflect the Common Core State Standards, this book is the perfect resource. The authors move the implementation of the CCSS for ELA from the abstract to the concrete by providing adaptable, exemplar lesson plans in each of the CCSS strands: reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language. Each lesson template includes:

  • Intended grade level band, timeline, and the type of student writing involved
  • Connections to supporting theory, including the Backward Design model
  • Variations to differentiate the lesson for diverse student populations
  • Ways to link the lesson to technology and service learning
  • Reproducible handouts

The lesson narratives also give tips for incorporating technology into lessons and connecting them to enduring theorists in education (Dewey, Bloom, and Gardner). The final section offers collaboration strategies for connecting via technology to colleagues beyond the school building and working together on CCSS-based ELA lessons. This practical, easy-to-use guide will help you navigate the most efficient route to creating standards-based lessons that optimize student learning.

About the Author
Introduction: How to Use This Book
1. Laying the Foundation: An Overview
Part I: Reading
2. The Benefits of CCSS for the Teaching of Reading
3. Reading Lessons from the Field
Part II: Writing
4. The Benefits of CCSS for the Teaching of Writing
5. Writing Lessons from the Field
Part III: Speaking and Listening
6. The Benefits of CCSS for the Teaching of Speaking and Listening
7. Speaking and Listening Lessons from the Field
Part IV: Language
8. The Benefits of CCSS for Language
9. Language Lessons from the Field
10. Raising the Roof: Collaboration Beyond the School Building


Companion Web Site
This companion website will provide you with handouts related to the lessons presented in Getting to the Core of English Language Arts, Grades 6–12: How to Meet the Common Core State Standards with Lessons from the Classroom. In addition, you will find several examples of student work. We chose these samples to represent a range of student ability from those in an academic intervention program to those in Advanced Placement classes.

“This book is a wonderfully timely text that makes the Common Core Standards manageable. The authors integrate theory and practice by supplying examples and testimonials to transform the standards from the abstract to the concrete. This is a must for any teacher or school revamping curricula to reflect the CCSS.”

Lynn Frick, English teacher
Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI

"With its relevant ideas and suggestions for incorporating the CCSS into current classroom practices, this book is a gift to ELA teachers who grapple with this renewed approach to reading and writing instruction. All educators will benefit from the invaluable resources aimed at helping students to 'run with the literacy stampede' of the 21st century."

Judith Sullivan, Supervisor of Secondary English Language
Baltimore County Public School System, MD

"The understanding and implementation of the ELA common core standards are woven seamlessly with practical, classroom tested ELA lessons. The attention to background information, structure and content is artful. This groundbreaking publication belongs in the hands of new and experienced ELA teachers."

Evelyn M. Connolly, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Literacy and ELA
Molloy College, Rockville Centre, NY

"This book gives teachers both an understanding of the standards and a means by which they can put the standards into practice. It features sound pedagogy with the standards¸ emphasizing reliable assessment, teaching strategies, and suggestions for integrating media and technology. A must for ELA teachers seeking expert."

Victor Jaccarino, Team Leader

"A well-written text that benefits practicing educators and pre-service educators about to go into the field. Readers learn about the Common Core and its application in the classroom along with constructing powerful lesson plans to meet the needs of diverse classes. I encourage college educators to use this fabulous text."

Kjersti VanSlyke-Briggs, Associate Professor of Secondary Education
SUNY Oneonta

“This hands-on, research-based classroom guide for the CCSS presents classroom-tested lessons that are beneficial to all English teachers, from the neophyte to more experienced instructors. This book deserves an important place on the shelf of any current or aspiring English educator.”

Lawrence Butti, English Instructional Leader
Mineola High School, Garden City Park, NY

CCSS were not approved in Texas.

Professor Rodrigo Joseph Rodriguez
English Dept, University Of Texas-El Paso
August 18, 2014

Shows high-impact lesson directly aligned to the Common Core

Dr Jennifer Warford
Middle Grades Education, Northern Kentucky University
February 27, 2014

Great resource

Mrs Ellen Hamilton
LEAD, Butte College
May 27, 2013
Key features
  • A perfect resource for any middle or high school revamping their ELA curricula to reflect the Common Core.
  • Transforms the common core state standards for ELA from the abstract to the concrete by providing thorough examples, voices from the field, and adaptable lesson plans
  • Each lesson plan includes 1) what standards are being addressed, 2) applicable components of the Backwards Design model, and 3) opportunities for differentiation to reach students with special needs, ELLs, struggling learners, students with diverse learning strengths etc.
  • Provides in-depth coverage of each of the ELA CCSS strands - (1) Reading, (2) Writing, (3) Speaking and Listening, and (4) Language
  • Makes connections between Backward Design and the CCSS (Table 2.1).

For instructors

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