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Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts: Grades 6-8 Paperback – October 4, 2011
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From the Back Cover
The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are meant to be taught within the context of a "content-rich curriculum," but they don't specify what content students need to master. Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts, written by teachers, for teachers, is designed to assist teachers by providing detailed curriculum "maps" for teaching the CCSS for English Language Arts within a coherent sequence of thematic units by grade level.
Each grade includes a "standards checklist" showing which standards are covered in which unit.
Each unit contains focus standards, student objectives, suggested works, sample activities and assessments, a sample lesson plan with guidance for differentiated instruction, and more.
Standards citations are included after each sample activity/assessment to indicate alignment.
Every standard in the CCSS is covered in the maps; most more than once.
The maps are flexible and adaptable to accommodate diverse teaching styles. Any teacher, school, or district can use this book to plan their year and to craft their own more detailed lesson plans with confidence that they are adhering to the standards.
"Common Core Curriculum Maps in English Language Arts is a wonderful tool for classroom teachers who have all they can do to handle their countless daily responsibilities. With the inclusion of essential questions, and even ways to bring in music and art, the maps in this book are ready-made for teachers to use as they see fit. The maps are a helpful tool for implementing the Common Core State Standards in the classroom and provide a welcome and long overdue system of support for America's educators."David P. Driscoll, former president of the Council of Chief State School Officers and current chair of the National Assessment Governing Board
"The curriculum maps in this book offer us a magnificent opportunity to rekindle the magic of learning in America's classrooms! Teachers will be excited to bring content-rich, integrated learning experiences to life using these maps as a guide." Teresa Chance, Professional Development Director for Rogers Public Schools, Arkansas
About the Author
Common Core is a non-profit organization formed in 2007 to advocate for a content-rich liberal arts education in America's K-12 schools. To improve education in America, Common Core creates curriculum tools and also promotes programs, policies, and initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that provide students with challenging, rigorous instruction in the full range of liberal arts and sciences. Common Core is not affiliated with the Common Core State Standards Initiative. For more information, go to www.commoncore.org.
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The description of the text provided above is quite accurate. I like the overview because it is a brief summary of what students are expected to do with the unit; and I also like the fact that it reminds teachers that learning from this lesson requires students to have knowledge acquired in the previous grade, stressing the importance of continuity in designing curriculum and expecting successful results. The only weakness would be to expect that every student read the same text from the previous grade, since there is a part in the lesson plan that makes connections between texts from both grades (e.g. A sixth grade text and a seventh grade text). However, this can be ignored since the "map" is a tool that can be adapted to different circumstances.It also provides a variety of suggested activities meant for advanced and slow learners, and student-centered as well as teacher-centered activities. Since each lesson provides in detail all the standards, the possible objectives, at least 12 assessment activities, the book turns out to be quite useful.
I read above that six units may not be enough, but I believe that they are sufficient to prepare a learner for the next grade considering the in-depth coverage given to the theme by each lesson or unit (also all language skills are included here).
Although the book states that it is for those responsible for implementing the state curriculum in their schools any interested teacher can benefit from its content.
The resources referenced within the maps are too many to mention and varied, including fiction and nonfiction novel texts as well as poetry, art pieces, film, and informational articles. All of the published books seem to be readily available right here on Amazon and the magazine and newspaper articles are very easy to gain access to through a search using your favorite search engine. I realize that the suggested texts may seem daunting and "above" many of our students but this is where education is headed and the suggestions are in line with the CCSSs. Many of the texts used in these maps are either exemplar texts taken from the indices of the standards themselves or are alternate texts by the authors of the exemplar texts.
I currently teach in a Title 1 school where many of my kids are ESL/ELL. Will some of what is suggested be a challenge for them? Yes, most certainly! But I say, "Bring it on!" Let's challenge them, they're worth it aren't they?