Approaches to the ELA Common Core Standards: CURRICULUM RESOURCES

Writing CURRICULUM?  Looking for RESOURCES?

1. Make sure you have ready access to the standards, which you can find here in PDF or on the “Standards” page of The Literacy Cookbook in Excel. (PS–To download the “K-12 ELA Common Core Tracking Spreadsheet,” which is easier to use, you’ll need to subscribe to the Website.  As a reader of this blog, you’re entitled to a 50%-off discount membership.  Click here and use this code: TLCBOOK50.  NOTE: The code must be entered in ALL caps in order to work.)

2. Probably the most useful and most overlooked resource is the Appendices for the Common Core Standards:

  • Appendix A: Research Supporting Key Elements of the Standards and a Glossary of Key Terms
  • Appendix B: Text Exemplars and Sample Performance Tasks
  • Appendix C: Samples of Student Writing

3. For pre-designed unit maps, check out the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project.  Originally funded by the Gates Foundation, this Website (which now costs $20-$60, depending on which grade levels you want to access) was developed by teachers for teachers, and it provides six sample ELA unit maps per grade.  They clustered the standards in each grade logically.  So instead of covering 50 standards in sequence from 1-50, they set up the units so that students read memoirs while writing personal narratives, for example.  They suggest useful grade-appropriate texts and potential activities and assessments.  While you don’t have to follow these maps, they’re a helpful starting point for thinking through how to organize your units.

4. For curriculum-writing resources, check out the “Curriculum Resources & Links” and “Templates for Lessons and Units” pages on the TLC Website.  The “2011 Unit-planning Template for Balanced Literacy” is based on the unit-planning template in Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005), but adapted to be more user-friendly.  For example, instead of listing 47 different random activities in the Activities section, the activities are organized into three particular tiers depending on where they would appear in Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Also, the standards and resources are listed immediately next to their activities so that when you’re writing your lesson plans, it’s easy to tell which standards you’re meeting and which resources you need.

5. My favorite book dealing with the Common Core so far is Pathways to the Common Core by Lucy Calkins, Mary Ehrenworth, and Christopher Lehman.  I’ve blogged about it HERE on my other blog, Only Good Books.

6. For updates on the forthcoming assessments, check out Education Week.  For example, “Consortia Provide Preview of Common Assessments,” by Catherine Gewertz, contains sample tasks that are being floated.  For more info, see the Education Week SPOTLIGHT on Common Core Curriculum and Assessment, a free downloadable PDF.

If you have any suggestions for resources, PLEASE CHIME IN!!!


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) and LITERACY AND THE COMMON CORE: Recipes for Action (Jossey-Bass, 2014). Check out my Website for more information about my consulting work.
This entry was posted in Assessment(s), Curriculum, ELA Common Core Standards, Professional Development, Resources, TLC Website Resources, Unit-planning and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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