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ELA Common Core State Standards . Overview of the Big Shifts in Common Core Standards for English Language Arts Overview of the Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects

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ela common core state standards
ELA Common Core State Standards
  • Overview of the Big Shifts in Common Core Standards for English Language Arts
  • Overview of the Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects

****If we engage students in reading and writing in all subject areas we can help close the gaps in reading and writing scores.

standards for english language arts organization
Standards for English Language Arts: Organization

Four strands

Reading (including Reading Foundational Skills


Speaking and Listening


An integrated model of literacy across subjects

Media requirements blended throughout

design and organization
Design and Organization

College and Career Readiness (CCR)

anchor standards

Broad expectations consistent across grades and content areas

Based on evidence

about college and

workforce training


Range and content

design and organization1
Design and Organization

K−12 standards

Grade-specific end-of-year expectations

Developmentally appropriate, cumulative progression of skills and understandings

One-to-one correspondence with CCR standards

standards for literacy in history social studies science and technical subjects
Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
  • It is important to note that the 6-12 literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical studies are not meant toreplace content standards in those areas but rather to supplement them.
focus on informational text in subjects other than english language arts
Focus on Informational Text in subjects other than English Language Arts
  • Students need to engage in the reading of high quality challenging texts in Science, Social Studies and Technical Subjects.
  • Distribution of Literary and Informational Passages by Grade in the 2009 NAEP on page 5 of the ELA Common Core Document shows:

Grade 4: 50% Literary Text 50% Informational

Grade 8: 45% Literary Text 55% Informational

Grade 12: 30% Literary Text 70% Informational

***This is for all subject areas, not just ELA

teaching fiction and non fiction
Teaching Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • How much informational text vs. literature English teachers are expected to teach?
  • One of the big shifts is more of a focus on informational texts but that needs to happen in Social Studies, Science and Technical subjects, not just ELA.
  • The Common Core Standards in ELA support teaching literature and poetry in English class, as evidenced by the examples on p. 57 and p. 58 of the standards.
  • For more on this topic, read the article in EdWeek at this link:


a big question
A Big Question
  • Can I be the teacher I want to be and teach the Common Core?
  • Jim Burke, English teacher at Burlingame High School and author of several texts on teaching English says Yes!
  • “You have to be willing to accept a certain amount of mess in this process of redevelopment, reimagining the curriculum. A class is a working draft. You inevitably have some stuff on the floor,” says Burke.
  • From Indetpretations Differ on Common Core’s Nonfiction Rule by Catherine Gewertz, Education Week, January 29 2013
the big shifts in ela
The Big Shifts in ELA
  • Look at the Six Pedagogical Shifts Demanded by the Common Core State Standards in ELA/Literacy.
  • Choose one of them and write down ideas for making that shift happen in your classroom/building.
  • Share ideas with your table mates.

Common Core Shifts in ELA

Shift 1 Pre K-5

Balancing Informational & Literary Texts

The standards call for a much greater emphasis on nonfiction. The document proposes that about half the reading in elementary school should be informational/nonfictional.

what can teachers do
What Can Teachers Do?
  • Include more non-fiction and informational texts in content areas as well as literary nonfiction in English language arts.
  • Use more primary sources.
  • Expect students to write more expository prose.

Shift 2 6-12

Knowledge in the Disciplines – Literacy in Content Areas

The Standards include criteria for literacy in history/social science, science and technical subjects. This reflects a recognition that understanding texts in each of these subject areas requires a unique set of skills and that instruction in understanding a historical document for example, is an integral part of teaching history.

what can teachers do1
What can teachers do?
  • Content area teachers can spend time making sure that students are able to glean information from a document and make judgments about its credibility.
  • Teachers can help students understand the nuances of the reading and writing in their specific discipline.
  • Example: Literature Circles in a Science Classroom

Shift 3

“Staircase” of Complexity

Students will be required to read increasingly complex text in order to reach the level required for success in college and the workplace. The Standards document cites evidence that the complex texts used in schools has actually declined over the past forty years.

what can teachers do2
What can teachers do?
  • Choose materials that are appropriate for their grade level and use strategies such as guided highlighted reading for complex text.
  • States and organizations have developed tools to help teachers evaluate complexity. (See Appendix A and B of the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts)

Shift 4

Text-based Answers – Focus on Evidence

In reading, students will be expected to use evidence to demonstrate their comprehension of texts and to read closely in order to make evidence-based claims.

what can teachers do3
What can teachers do?
  • Teachers can take time to read carefully with their students and in many cases reread texts several times.
  • Engage students in rich and rigorous conversations which are dependent on a common text.

Shift 5

Writing from Sources

Writing needs to emphasize use of evidence to inform or make an argument rather than the personal narrative and other forms of decontextualized prompts. While the narrative still has an important role, students develop skills through written arguments that respond to the ideas, events, facts, and arguments presented in the texts they read.

what can teachers do4
What can teachers do?
  • Require students to support claims with multiple and appropriate sources of evidence.
  • Expect students to cite evidence to justify statements rather than rely on opinions or personal feelings.
  • Give students templates to structure arguments. (see handout)
  • Read about the “Writing Revolution” at New Dorp High School on Staten Island.

Shift 6

Academic Vocabulary

Students constantly build the vocabulary they need to access grade level complex texts.

what can teachers do5
What can teachers do?
  • Focus strategically on comprehension of pivotal and commonly found words (such as “discourse,” “generation,” “theory,” and “principled”) and less on esoteric literary terms. (such as “onomatopoeia” or “homonym”)
  • Constantly build students’ ability to access more complex texts across the content areas.
  • See the High-incidence Academic Word List on the Common Core wiki at: http://common-core.wiki.inghamisd.org/English+Language+Arts
shift 7
Shift 7

Speaking and Listening

The standards expect students to be able to demonstrate that they can speak and listen effectively – two aspects of literacy rarely included in state standards. Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has created a speaking and listening assessment.

what can teachers do6
What can teachers do?

Ask students to engage in small-group and whole-class discussions and evaluate them on how well they understand the speakers’ points.