Common Core Based Language
What is Common Core Based Language?
Objective: The purpose of this book is to help students learn the 6th grade Common Core State Standards for language and be able to apply these standards into their everyday lives.
Direct Interactive Instruction (DII)
Students will accomplish these objectives by completing a variety of activities that help utilize multiple learning modalities. These lessons and worksheets also incorporate the best practices of education by using Direct Interactive Instruction (DII) as a method of learning the material. Whether a teacher has been trained in these strategies is not important as many of the worksheets give the teacher a step-by-step guide to help the students master the standards.
Setting Off Non-Restrictive / Parenthetical Clauses using commas, dashes, and parentheses CCSS L.6.2a
Subjective, Objective, Possessive Pronouns CCSS L.6.1a
Pronouns: Number, Gender, Person CCSS L.6.1c
Fixing Vague Pronouns CCSS L.6.1d
Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns CCSS L.6.1b
Variety of Sentence Patterns CCSS L.6.3a
Comma Rules CCSS L.6.2a
Capitalization Rules CCSS L.6.2
Vocabulary Acquisition: Greek and Latin Roots / Context Clues CCSS L.6.4
The best way to get a real sense of what this book offers is to download the preview copy (See link above). It will not take long to realize that this book completely covers the CCSS for 6th grade language. If you need a little more encouragement to download the preview copy, here’s a more lengthy explanation of the program:
The goal for these lessons is mastery. Students are introduced to each concept, given the opportunity to learn the vocabulary of the standard, and guided through the lessons. The lessons end with the expectation that the students will use the skills taught in authentic language situations, both spoken and written.
The book begins with a complete list of the CCSS for language, including all the sub-standards required. This list will tell you where to find each unit and is followed by a teacher checklist that will help you keep track of the standards that you have and have not covered.
An excellent advantage of this book is that many of these standards can be taught within the context of other lessons. For example, many of the root words worksheets can be taught concurrently with your spelling or vocabulary routines. If you don’t have a spelling or vocabulary routine, this book even gives you that, along with all the material needed to help your students gain complete mastery.
This book takes the CCSS one step further. Because of the rigor of Common Core, most students will certainly need to review standards from previous grades before moving on to new ones. Sixth graders especially will have huge gaps in their knowledge base as the rigor of the previous years have left them struggling to keep up. With this in mind, the 6th Grade Edition of Common Core Based Language includes two comprehensive units on commas and capitalization. These units will help teachers provide review lessons that will give the students the confidence they need to work through the rest of their language lessons.
One of the goals of the Common Core State Standards is to get the students using the skills they are taught in real life situations as soon as possible. To that end, using a curriculum based on worksheets can be problematic. This may be a book filled with worksheets, however, the goal of these worksheets is to have the students use the language skills within their writing as soon as possible. Here is a list a features you will find within these lesson plans and worksheets:
A. Journal Extensions: Many lessons conclude with a journal activity which requires students to apply what they’ve learned in a real writing situation. For example, the students will learn to find the meaning of words by looking for Greek and Latin prefixes and suffixes. After they have practiced learning to break words into parts using the worksheets, they will be asked to keep track of words they find within the literature used in the class. The same is true for figurative language, vocabulary context clues, and many other skills.
B. Direct Instruction / Direct Interactive Instruction (DII): DII is a trend that has been sweeping the country. Basically, many of the best practices of teaching have been bundled together and given the label of DII. These strategies involve keeping all students actively involved in lessons at all times. Even if you have not been trained in DII strategies, many of the worksheets have incorporated the DII within the lesson. For example, there are times when the students are required to explain their answers to a neighbor using sentence frames to guide them. The more they explain their answers, the better they learn the vocabulary and concepts being taught. Soon, the sentence frames are no longer needed and the students have mastered the skills.
One example of this is when the students are learning to add non-restrictive clauses to sentences by using commas, dashes, or parentheses. The students must use what they’ve learned from the worksheets to decide which of the three is the best choice. Next, they use the sentence frame and fill in the blanks with the choices they’ve made. Look at the sample below:
Sentence: If we go to the movies at 7:00, we should be home by 9:30.
The student adds: “,which lasts for two hours,”
If we go to the movies at 7:00, which lasts for two hours, we should be home by 9:30.
The students explain their answer by using the sentence frame below:
“I used commas for my non-restrictive element by adding the phrase ‘which lasts for two hours’. I chose commas because I added bonus information, and it was a mild interruption.”
In the sentence frame, the students practiced using the vocabulary term “non-restrictive clause" and reviewed the rule that requires commas to be used for mild interruptions. It takes a certain amount of mental coordination for the students to use the sentence frame. However, once they’ve practiced it a few times, you’ll be amazed at how well your students can explain the rules for commas, dashes, and parentheses in non-restrictive clauses.
C. Teacher Checklists / Student-Parent Checklists: The Teacher Checklist allows the teacher to check off each standard after it has been taught. This is especially helpful if you do not teach the chapters in order or if you are using this book as a supplement. By doing this you are sure to cover every standard required for your grade level. You can also write down how many students mastered (and did not master) each skill in the boxes.
For the Student Checklist, you can make a copy for each student. After each assessment you can check “Mastery” or “Non-Mastery” of each standard for each student. This will give you an idea of which standards need greater attention throughout the year.
This checklist is also a way for you to keep the parents involved in their children’s progress. After each test, check off mastery or non-mastery. At the end of the school year you can send it home. The parents then have the option to find supplemental help and solid information to provide tutors. Also, you can make copies of the checklist for next year’s teacher which will give the teacher an idea of the skill level of upcoming students.