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Time to Read!This next article in our Eye on Curriculum: Common Core series dives into English Language Arts (ELA) activities. There are a number of sections within the ELA guidelines, however, we’re going to focus on one category, Reading: Literature, and provide you with specific discussion and activity ideas instead of an overall combination. We hope, with March Reading Month coming up soon, that this aids in your classroom planning and curriculum achievement goals.

As a starter, literature guidelines all contain the following sub-sects and skills, regardless of grade. The guidelines are the agreed-upon foundation that students need to learn in order to achieve a true understanding of what they read each year. As students advance, skill requirements evolve from concepts covered in previous years.

1. Key Ideas and Details – comprehension, understanding tone, understanding details in text and characters, noting story grammar, etc.

2. Craft and Structure – observing how stories are presented and organized, realizing the language that’s used, recognizing structural elements, comparing and contrasting different versions of stories, etc.

3. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas – really understanding detail, inferences and meaning. This section takes ‘Craft and Structure’ to a higher level, requiring students to move beyond a rudimentary application of their skills to thoroughly understand and apply them.

Related Skills
These are the skills that are found within the themes above:

• Comprehension
• Questioning
• Understanding Character Descriptions
• Understanding Point of View
• Comparisone/Contrast
• Understanding Theme
• Understanding Inference
• Sequencing of Events

Activities in the Class
Boy readingThe Common Core Initiative site breaks down each grade and standard, leaving the application up to you. So how do you teach these skills in the class? And most of all, how do you make it enjoyable for your students, and for yourself?

Let’s go to abcteach’s Common Core: ELA page. As we mentioned in the first blog, we’ve created the Common Core section to provide you specific activities that address the guidelines. We’re also working to classify materials sitewide under their appropriate sections. You’ll find a diversity of topics and worksheet types so that you can creatively tackle each standard without lesson plans becoming monotonous. Variety is the spice of (classroom) life!

The following is a handful of literature activity ideas for early to upper elementary students. For additional materials, peruse the site for items that fit your class. If you can’t find a specific report form, writing prompt, or word wall, don’t forget that you can use Clip Art and abctools to create your own customized worksheets.

• Poster Packets – Posters that identify the Common Core standards in student-friendly language. Most poster packets also include checklists of each standard that can be used by students to demonstrate their mastery or by teachers at conferences (with students or parents).

Member Site:

Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 1st Grade Literature
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 3rd Grade Literature
Common Core: Reading Standards Poster Set – 5th Grade Literature

Free Site:
Common Core Reading Standards: Poster 5th Grade-Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

• Generic Templates and Graphic Organizers – Use with stories, books, dramas, and poems.

Member site:

Common Core: ELA: Reading – Literature Study (1st grade)
Common Core: ELA: Reading – Fiction Book Report (3rd grade)
Common Core: Literature Comprehension Template (5th grade)

Free site:
Book Summary Form (any book)

• Comprehension Materials – Pieces which contain text as well as questions and common core-related activities.

Member site:

Biography: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer (Grades 1 & 2)
Biography: Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer (upper elem/middle)
Comparing Stories: Playing Sports (elem/ upper elem)

• Book and Story Templates and Units

Member site:

Book: A-Z Mysteries; The Absent Author (elem)
Book: Maniac Magee (upper elem/middle)

Free site:
Book Summary Form: Charlotte’s Web

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments. Our next Eye on Curriculum blog will tackle more ELA-related activities to have you amply prepared for the fun of March Reading Month.

Posted by Kathy Butler and Lindsey Elton, abcteach Team

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