Finding Common Core Resources in English and Language Arts

September 12th, 2013

With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, thousands of educators are turning to online resources to supplement their curricula. Tom Vander Ark, writing for EdWeek, surveys the field of ELA resources and notes the challenges of creating Common Core-aligned literary resources.

Unlike the Common Core standards for mathematics, ELA standards call for students to analyze long passages, including informational texts, literary non-fiction, and literary fiction. Lisa Blum of the OpenEd Institute explains that the Common Core standards require significant content knowledge spread across many subjects: “[T]he Language Arts standards are requiring a deep engagement of the text and use of these language skills across other disciplines, such as history/social studies, science and technical subjects.”

Such a requirement has made developing OER, or open education resources, more difficult for teachers of English and Language Arts. As Lisa Petrides, president of ISKME, the creator of OER Commons explains:

ELA lessons intended to focus on reading and analyzing informational texts must be adapted and built from the ground up, using text-based inquiry. ELA units and courses need to show progressions of text complexity that are suitable for all learners in the classroom. CCSS-aligned materials now need supports so that students at different reading levels are accommodated and able to participate in inquiry-based literacy.

However, new open source resources to address ELA and the Common Core have sprung up, allowing teachers to share lesson plans and techniques, Vander Ark reports. OER like Free Reading and OER Commons, among others, provide strong ELA resources that teachers can use as building blocks for their lessons, tailored to the Common Core. While Vander Ark notes that “some assembly is required” with ELA OER, the programs continue to improve.

Looking for more Common Core resources? The What So Proudly We Hail curriculum features a carefully selected collection of American stories, speeches, and songs that meet the level of complexity, quality, and breadth of text that the Common Core requires. And because the Common Core calls for rigorous analysis of both literary and informational texts, What So Proudly We Hail includes content-rich nonfiction that touches not only on language arts, but also on content areas, including social studies and civics. 

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