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Common Core Strategies for

Teaching English Language Arts

(Adapted from:

Mini-lesson (10-15 minutes)

This phase involves a teacher modeling a reading or writing strategy for the students to practice. It could
also involve a "do now" to tap into students' prior knowledge. Students might build a schema around a
specific strategy that the teacher had modeled previously -- or do an activity to see what they retained of
the day's lesson.

Guided or independent student practice (40-45 minutes)

This is a student work time allocated for practicing the modeled strategy. During this phase the teacher
circulates the room conferring with individuals and small groups. He takes notes, makes informal
assessments, and provides one-on-one support to struggling learners.

Reflection (5-10 minutes)

This phase allows the whole class to regroup and review the lesson objectives, share learning, and reflect
on what worked or did not work.

The workshop model provides for both independent and collaborative learning, and thus fosters student
ownership of the learning process. This approach strongly emphasizes a student-centered approach to

Encourage independent reading

From the first day of school, we encourage students to choose the books they read. We model how to
choose and review a book for reading. We also encourage students to choose books at their independent
reading level rather than at their frustration or difficult level. Students read for 30 minutes daily and
complete an entry on the reading. Students are not only expanding their knowledge as good readers, they
are also building reading stamina.

Design product-driven reading and writing instruction

Plan units that are product-driven. Have a key or an essential question that instruction seeks to address in
the unit. It should become the epicenter of instruction, thus allowing for mastery. Students become
stakeholders when they know the instructional objectives and learning outcome.

Pre-reading and pre-writing strategies

Infuse pre-reading and pre-writing strategies to build schema. "What I know, what I want to know, and
what I learned" (KWL), quick-writes, and vocabulary activities before reading and writing are very useful
for tapping into students' prior knowledge and making connections in learning. Quick-writes also provide
excellent seed ideas for writing. Expand students' word choice by previewing text vocabulary before
reading and providing opportunities for students to find at least three synonyms for unfamiliar words.

Making meaning
Provide instruction in basic reading strategies using reciprocal teaching practice that includes predicting,
visualizing, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing. As students master these strategies, have them
read in small groups of three or four, applying the strategies to their readings. Students should be
encouraged to rotate roles. As they interact with the text, they are making meaning and comprehending
the text.

Text annotation
Teach students to mark or highlight text for main ideas and also for answers to specific questions. Text
annotation is an excellent method to make meaning and provide evidence to support answers.

Ask text-based evidence questions

Challenge students to provide specific evidence to support their answers. Use t-chart graphic organizers
to have them identify specific lines from a text and explain their thoughts about the lines.

Immerse students in the genre

Provide adequate opportunity -- one to two weeks -- for students to examine text features and structures,
and to read and learn from mentor texts and literature before writing.

Provide options for writing

As students examine mentor texts in their reading, provide a variety of writing samples for them to learn
from. Teach a variety of genres. Encourage learning and practicing the craft of authors through modeling,
conferring, and collaboration.

Analyze and interpret

Teach strategies that emphasize analysis and interpretation -- examine author styles and use of language
through literal and figurative analysis to get meaning from text.

I apply this model to ELT by working with kids twice a day. In the morning class, it is strictly curriculum-
driven; students are using the workshop as a means to their own learning. In the afternoon, I guide them
to help remediate the skills they need to improve their comprehension.