Common Core & ELLs: Lesson Plans

Colorín Colorado has published three English language arts (ELA) units that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and target English language learners' (ELLs) literacy and language needs. These units for grades 1, 4, and 8 were developed by a group of teachers from Albuquerque, New Mexico, working in collaboration with the Albuquerque Teachers Federation and Dr. Diane August, an expert in instruction with ELLs. Each grade-level unit is based on one book or text, and it includes several lessons (from five to seven) as well as supplemental activities. For example, the grade 4 unit is based on the book Cinderella and has five lessons, with supplemental materials on vocabulary. The units include an introduction to the unit, a detailed Teacher’s Guide, and Student Charts (i.e., handouts).

Content Comments 

Each unit provides substantial information for teachers to implement the lessons with their ELL students. While each grade level varies slightly in lesson components, they all usually include descriptions on the Common Core State Standards that are addressed, background knowledge ELLs should know to comprehend the text, vocabulary instruction, graphic organizers that are important tools for ELLs, and a written assignment. The whole unit addresses the four modalities of language that ELLs need to develop: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The Teacher’s Guide for each unit/lesson is easy to follow, and they seem flexible enough for teachers to adapt for instructional planning, depending on their classroom and student contexts. A helpful supplement to the each lesson plan is a classroom video module that shows teachers implementing the lessons with their students.