The Common Core’s Redefinition of Literacy
Research Basis
6 Shifts in ELA Literacy
1. Balancing
Informational and
Literary Text
College and Life require more informational texts. (CCR)
How to read informational texts is not often taught in all
content areas. (ELA teachers still teach literature.)
The research shows that students have been reading
less and less challenging texts since 1962. Students
need to “struggle” to learn and increase readability
level. (The average 8th grader’s RL? graduate’s RL?)
This is familiar to most of us. Open response questions
required text-based answers; the new challenge is that
students will be grappling with multiple texts.
The argument addresses multiple sources plus the
writer’s perspective on the sources. CCR
Academic vocabulary is often lacking since there is
about a 4-year gap between HS RL and college
2. Building Literacy in the
Staircase of Complexity
Text-based Questions
5. Writing types redefined
Academic Vocabulary
›We need to provide students with
opportunities to grapple with
complex texts, sources and
› e.g., Was the Black Death deadly because of
genetics or were the plagues precipitated by the
conditions in the environment? (MA DESE)
The MA High Risk students have “flatlined” in our MCAS as well
Close Reading of Multiple Texts
PARCC ELA Assessment
o On computer grades 6-11; grades 3-5 will be pencil and paper tests
o Performance based: 2-day research simulation:
Students read a “suite” of texts including an “anchor” text, for example, a
speech by a prominent historical figure. (Lincoln’s Second Inaugural)
Write an essay that will cite evidence from the texts:
Students(Grades 3-5) would engage with literature
Students (Grades 6-11) would conduct literary analysis using a
combination of shorter and longer texts
o End-of-Year Exam (50%of the points) would have 6 literary and informational texts
with multiple choice questions, some of which require comparison and synthesis of
the reading
Shifts in definition of “text
› Persuasive essay is mainly
gone and replaced with
› Academic Argument
› Narrative is redefined
from the personal
From Simple Tasks to
Complex Tasks
› Standards 1-3: Writing types/purposes
– Argumentation/Opinion Writing
– Informational/Explanatory Writing
– Narrative Writing
› Standards 4-6: Production and Distribution of Writing
– Developing and strengthening Writing
– Using technology to produce or enhance writing
› Standards 7-9: Research
– Engaging in research and writing about sources
› Standard 10: Range of writing
– Write routinely over various time frames for various purposes
› Appendix A
– Defines text complexity
– Research on reading
– Research on college readiness (the gap)
› Appendix B
– Tasks for all disciplines K-12
– Align with the CC
– Lincoln’s second inaugural, for example
› Appendix C
– Student writing in a variety of genres and using the new
– “Text Types”
New Narrative
No Persuasive Essay
Argument Essay for all Disciplines
Informational texts
Close Examination of Text
Point of View: Read dialogue as Wilbur or Charlotte
With partner: Read again; How does Wilbur see Charlotte?
How does Charlotte see Wilbur? How does she see the world?
What is deep reading?
Classroom Sample—Teaching Channel Pinwheel
MCAS (some)
Standards Based Lesson
How Great is Gatsby Academic Essay,
Debate, and Vote
Common Core Aligned
How Great is Gatsby, Rotten Tomatoes Essay
After reading the novel and discussing it as a class,
After reading the novel and discussing it as a class,
o Based on one of the 5 perspectives (the four movies
 Rate Gatsby’s greatness or lack thereof on a 1 to 10
and the novel), view all four movie renditions of the
Great Gatsby(1925) from 1926, 1949, 1974, 2013
 Find three passages that support your opinion
o What were the aspects of Gatsby’s greatness that
 Using a “Living Likert Scale” arrange yourselves from
were emphasized or de-emphasized. Provide at least
1 to 10. 10=Greatest
4 images, passages, or scenes from each movie.
 With those with the same number, discuss your
o Do Living Likert Scale for each rendition of Gatsby
passages and rational
and collect evidence from other students whose
 Break line at 5 and line up 1/5,
ranking agrees or disagrees radically from yours.
2/6, 3/7, 4/8, 5/9-10. Discuss your position with your
o Work in groups, each of whom represents a “Gatsby”
opposites; listen carefully to the position of your
movie or novel as the best.
partner and his/her citations
o Read some reviews of TGG movies and the novel.
 Write a collaborative essay with
o Write a review for Rotten Tomatoes that compares the
argument/counterargument and at least 5 citations.
interpretations of Gatsby, relates them to the historical
 Peer critique at least two papers, one who agreed
era of the film, and that selects the “Gatsby” that
with you, one who disagreed.
most accurate portrayal of Fitzgerald’s intentions.
 Debate—Who won? Secret ballot.
Standard 7
Standard 6
Standard 8
Speaking &Listening
Standard 2
Speaking & Listening
Standard 5
•CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse
media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
•Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or
shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or
•Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using
advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in
terms of the task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to
maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and
following a standard format for citation.
•Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g.,
visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems,
evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies
among the data.
•Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive
elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and
evidence and to add interest.
Literary Analysis Task (Grade 10):
Ovid’s “Daedalus and Icarus” and
Sexton’s “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph
Use what you have learned from reading “Daedalus and Icarus” by Ovid
and “To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Triumph” by Anne Sexton to
write an essay that provides an analysis of how Sexton transforms Daedalus
and Icarus.
As a starting point, you may want to consider what is emphasized, absent,
or different in the two texts, but feel free to develop your own focus for
Develop your essay by providing textual evidence from both texts. Be sure
to follow the conventions of standard English.
› Align your curriculum to the 2011 MA Frameworks
– Text type shifts
– Complex Reading shifts
– Multiple text responses
› Prepare your students for the PARCC exam
› At the same time, you will be developing the
required “writing to text” assessment required by DESE
for all high schools this year
› The social construction of learning (Vygotsky)
– Collaboration (Get the Gist; jigsaws; Socratic Seminars; “Pinwheel”
– Group work with accountability
› Graphic organizers
› Feedback and conferencing
› Rubrics
› Interactive Notebooks/Note taking/Post-it Notes
› Technology apps—Showme, Explain Everything, Subtext
› Technology literacy is part of the CC