Thursday, August 30, 2012

Common Core ELA "Look Fors"

Examining the ELA Common Core Standards closely is a great exercise for teachers and administrators alike. (Read this post for a specific process that helps unpack the standards.) However, once you've examined them, what conjectures can you make about instructional strategies?

After I unpacked the ELA Common Core standards, here are my top 5 "look fors" relative to instruction.

  1. Complex, nonfiction texts are used. Teachers should be using primary sources and other complex nonfiction texts in their classrooms. Textbooks and anthologies should not be the only texts available to students.
  2. Students spend time talking about what they've read. Speaking and listening are honored in the Common Core Standards, and shared dialogue is an excellent way to build meaning from complex texts.
  3. Students begin to read without receiving lots of background knowledge from the teacher. Students have the opportunity to grapple with difficult ideas and concepts without interference from the teacher. Being able to meet the standard means that students can be competent independently.
  4. Reading strategies are mentioned and used, but they are NOT the curriculum! Reading strategies are important, but significant amounts of time should not be wasted on the strategies. Instead, the strategies should be modeled and mentioned at strategic times.
  5. Students gather ideas and information from multiple sources, especially multimedia sources. In today's connected world, reading is much different than in years past. Students need to understand how to "read" websites, videos, and other multimedia sources.
What are your ELA Common Core "look fors?"

CC Photo Credit: Real Apple Core by Roger Karlsson


  1. The piece on reading websites is really a great aspect that is oftentimes overlooked. It's one thing to access a website, it's a hold other thing to know the functions of icons and where to find information on said website.

    Currently, in my second year of teaching technology at the elementary school level, I can't tell you how many students gave up on answering a question on a worksheet because they were unable to find the answer in the first two sentences of the website.

  2. Being able to persist with nonfiction reading is really critical. The more we can practice this with our students, the better! Thanks for your comment!



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