Planning to Meet CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards


Do any of those questions sound familiar?

I spent this week with some fabulous teachers working on the Iowa Core Writing Standards.  Did we work on all of them?  No!  Did we talk about all of them?  Not by number!  But we did spend a lot of time talking about what good writing should look like, how writing will be assessed in the future, and the whole reciprocal nature of reading and writing.

So what’s my best advice for planning those “first writing lessons for the new year?”

Here is my thinking based on what I learned at Teachers College Reading and Writing Institutes this summer:

  1. At least 50 % of reading workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students reading books of their choice every day (CCR Anchor Reading 1 and 10).
  2. At least 50 % of writing workshop time (or more) has to be spent on students writing every day. (That writing has to be aligned to one of the first three CCR Anchor Writing Standards, Argument, Explanatory, or Narrative and 10).

(To summarize 1 and 2 above, every day the student will be working on a minimum of 2 reading and 2 writing anchor standards.)

If I have planned my instructional sequences well, I will have also managed to “bundle in” some Speaking and Listening and Language Anchor Standards or some Foundational grades K-5 standards to support the gradual release of responsibility.

How will I decide which ones go together?  One of my new tools is this graphic, A Periodic Table of the Common Core Standards,  from Burkins and Yaris.  During planning, this table will remind me of the wide range of standards available and I will choose the standards that best meet the needs of my students as I also consider what I have learned about “letting the students guide my instruction” from Vicki Vinton and our #wrrdchat as we studied the book, What Readers Really Do.

How will I know if I have been successful?

  • I will check the amount of time students spend reading and writing every day and shorten the “teacher talk” time to ensure that students are getting as much time possible for reading and writing.
  • I will listen to students in reading and writing conferences to hear what they are saying about reading and writing.
  • I will talk to students about my own reading and writing histories.
  • I will model reading and writing with and for my students.
  • And I will ask my Twitter mates for help, encouragement and assistance when things run amuck as they are prone to do!

(Dr. Shanahan has already said that there are no power standards in ELA here so that is a non-issue.)  And yes, you do have to teach all the standards!

How will you know that you are meeting the CCSS Grade Level Literacy Standards?  What is your plan for this school year?

9 responses

  1. Jo Ellen Latham | Reply

    Hi Fran,

    Great question stems to provoke thinking! This is a question we are hearing a lot as well. We are trying to make a shift from the traditional “time is the constant, learning is the variable” to “learning is the constant, time is the variable” so it has been very challenging (but necessary!) to respond to the time allocation discussions.

    We are starting with Doug Fisher’s visual idea of reading standards 1 and 10 being the bookends–we have to closely read a wide variety of challenging texts–and standards 2-8 being the avenue to reaching these 2 standards. Collecting diagnostic and performance data will be critical for making decisions as to how this will look for our students. Let the fun begin!

    PS. And we agree with Dr. Shanahan’s observation–there are no ‘power’ standards in the Common Core–but we do prioritize and bundle standards as it would be next to impossible to teach them all well. A challenge, but a great learning opportunity!

    1. Thanks, Jo Ellen!

      There are MANY folks that agree with Doug Fisher’s “bookend” idea that CCR 1 and 10 are the constants in reading.

      When I first heard Lucy Calkins talk about CCR 1-3 being the “what” in writing and that 4-10 would be the “how” for writing, it just made so much sense! (And some days common sense seems to be in such a short supply!)

      I believe that there is a lot of “gold” as far as opportunities for our students to reach high levels of reading and writing, but it truly is going to take “everybody” working on the ELA standards. That’s why I love that Iowa has “shared the love” with all content areas. We can do this together!

  2. […] Do any of those questions sound familiar? I spent this week with some fabulous teachers working on the Iowa Core Writing Standards. Did we work on all of them? No! Did we talk about all of them?…  […]

  3. Fran,
    Great work putting it all together! So much information makes it a challenge. I really love that Periodic Table. It’s simplicity makes the sense of the CC. I can’t wait to share with my staff. My goal this year (one of them) is to get my staff on twitter and favorite blogs. That way I won’t have to keep emailing them!


    1. Thanks, Julieanne!

      I, too, love the Periodic Table. I fear that some will miss the point in reading that we have to be very careful to include equal doses of both reading literature and reading informational text.

      Wouldn’t it be great to have your staff on Twitter and reading the same blogs? There is so much great conversation that deepens our thinking! (like this!)

      1. Just emailed a link to your blog to 20 LAUSD peep who came to learn about the know and wonder thinking from WRRD. Hopefully a few seeds are planted.

      2. Julieanne,

        Nothing ventured; nothing gained. It’s worth the effort. I definitely don’t claim to have all the answers, but I like to provide some food for thought!

        Thanks! I am glad that you think it is worthwhile!

  4. Love your action steps. Best wishes for another great year. And for learning all there is to know about CCSS. (Or does anyone know all there is to know?)

    1. Thanks, Rusha!

      I love learning MORE! I think there is a lot we have YET to learn about the CCSS. But it truly is a great learning opportunity!

      Have a great year as well!

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