When you’re planning lessons using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), it’s beneficial to visualize them as an integrated whole. Gone are the days where lessons focus on one standard. Instead, the Core allows teachers to delve deep into literacy by teaching the four strands in an integrated way. When reading a text, write about the text in a narrative, informative, or argument piece, discuss the text, and learn about the use of language from closely reading and writing. Repeated close reads provide additional opportunities to read through different lenses and revise writing. Below is an image I created that may help you to think about how the Core fits together like a puzzle  using the Anchor Standards for ELA. Examine the standards in each color and think about how you can work toward all standards using the provided protocol.

When I’m planning instruction, I like to move through 4 steps:

Step 1: Choose rigorous text for whole class instruction so students will have practice working with grade level reading and writing.

Step 2: Start planning lesson by focusing on the standards in pink (i.e, close reading, collaboration, and drafting a text-based writing response.) How will students meet those standards? Choose instructional strategies to best meet the needs of all learners.

Step 3: Introduce diverse media to supplement the text and ask students to incorporate new understandings into writing (standards in teal ).

Step 4: Continue close reading and begin revision process by focusing on the standards in teal (i.e, focus on language, style, and presentation of ideas.)

As you can see, one unit can allow students to delve deeply into the standards, which results in in-depth literacy instruction.

integrated pastels

After exploring the visual, reflect on the following prompt: Choose one piece of text you teach. Using the protocol above,  and your grade-level Common Core standards, plan how you could integrate all aspects of literacy as you plan your unit.

Visualize the CCSS as an Integrated Whole

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