Approaches to the Common Core: OUTLINING YOUR FIRST UNIT

If you have done the work of paraphrasing the RIT standards and brainstorming on ways to teach them (and assuming you don’t have a curriculum that is already aligned, which is true for most people), start mapping out your first six weeks for how to meet the RIT standards.

PS–Don’t worry about the Reading Literature standards just yet.  Students need more help with nonfiction than fiction at this point because most typical ELA classes have fed them a steady diet of fiction, and they do not usually have much outside experience reading nonfiction.

Here’s a sample 5th grade Unit 1 outline that could be adapted easily for most middle grades.  NOTE: In addition to the key RIT standards, I cited other likely target standards.

SAMPLE 5th grade ELA UNIT 1 OUTLINE aligned with the Common Core

WEEK 1: (RIT 5.1, RIT 5.4)

  • Teach the Comprehension Process.  See the TLC “Comprehension 101” page for details.
  • Teach 4 key critical reading skills (paraphrasing, inference, vocabulary in context, inferring main idea).  Students practice paraphrasing and inferring from various texts.  See the TLC “Comprehension 101” page.

WEEK 2:  (RIT 5.2; W 5.2)

WEEK 3:  (RIT 5.2, 5.7, 5.8; SL 5.1, 5.2, 5.3; L 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6; W 5.2)

  • What are the central ideas in this text?  How are these supported? (I Do, We Do, You Do)
  • Repeat with multiple texts (from print and digital media).
  • Introduce Socratic Seminar (See TLC “Socratic Seminars” page for materials and a recipe) and students practice discussing the texts.

WEEKS 4 and 5: (RIT 5.5, 5.6; SL 5.1, 5.2, 5.3; L 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6; W 5.2)

Using multiple texts focused on the same topic/event/person/idea:

  • Identify the genre and structure [mini-lessons on genre and structure]
  • Compare and contrast the structures/genres of the different texts
  • Compare and contrast different points of view
  • For each text: What are the central ideas, and how are they supported?

WEEK 6: (RIT 5.5, 5.6, 5.9; SL 5.1, 5.2, 5.3; L 5.1, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6; W 5.2 and 5.9b)

Use multiple texts to build an argument: Given a question, refer to the different texts to respond to the question in writing (for practice/homework) and in Socratic Seminars.

About theliteracycookbook

In addition to this blog, I am the creator of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK Website ( and ONLY GOOD BOOKS Blog (, and the author of THE LITERACY COOKBOOK: A Practical Guide to Effective Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening Instruction (Jossey-Bass, 2012), LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014), and USING GRAMMAR TO IMPROVE WRITING: Recipes for Action (BookBaby, 2018). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Analyzing the Common Core Standards, Argument, Curriculum, ELA Common Core Standards, Evidence, Genre, Inference, Paraphrasing, Professional Development, Reading, Reading Informational Text, TLC Website Resources, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Approaches to the Common Core: OUTLINING YOUR FIRST UNIT

  1. Love the concept of mapping out the common core. There need to be more articles on this subject! Thank you for the references.

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