Core Ready Lesson Sets for Grades 6-8 A Staircase to Standards Success for English Language Arts, The Shape of Story: Yesterday and Today

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-12-24
  • Publisher: Pearson

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Created specifically for middle school teachers, Pam Allyn’s dynamic Core Ready Program provides a complete toolkit for navigating and thriving with the core standards. In it teachers see clearly how to take complex concepts of the literacy standards and turn them into practical, specific, everyday instruction. The series is organized around the author’s Four Doors to the Core:

  • The Journey to Meaning: Comprehension and Critique
  • The Shape of Story: Yesterday and Today
  • The Road to Knowledge: Information and Research
  • The Power to Persuade: Opinion and Argument


Each book in the series includes powerful reading, writing, speaking, and listening sets; assessment rubrics; support for ELLs and diverse learners; and tips for doing high tech variations for literacy instruction for grades 6, 7, and 8.


Visit http://pdtoolkit.pearson.com to purchase access to the PDToolkit for Pam Allyn's Core Ready Series. The PDToolkit access does not come with the print book.


PDToolkit for Pam Allyn's Core Ready Series is a supplemental online subscription-based resource that provides the tools that educators need to implement the Common Core Standards effectively, fluidly, and successfully. The PDToolkit, together with the texts, provides the tools you need to ensure a standards-aligned year of joyful, effective, research-based literacy curriculum.

Author Biography

Pam Allyn is an authority in the field of literacy education and the world’s expert in home and school literacy connections. As a renowned motivational speaker, expert consultant, author, teacher, and humanitarian for children, she is transforming the way we think about literacy as a tool for communication and knowledge building. She is the executive director of LitLife, a national literacy development organization providing research-based professional development for K-12 educators. She founded and leads LitWorld, a groundbreaking global literacy initiative, reaching children across the United States and in over 60 countries. Her methods for helping all students achieve as literacy learners, including the most diverse learners, has brought her acclaim both in the United States and internationally. Pam is the author of eleven books for educators and parents including the award-winning What To Read When: The Books and Stories To Read With Your Child-And All The Best Times To Read Them (Penguin Avery), Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys (Scholastic) and Your Child’s Writing Life: How to Inspire Confidence, Creativity, and Skill at Every Age (Penguin Avery). Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, NBC News, CNN, The New York Times and across the blogosphere.

Table of Contents

About the Author iii
About the Core Ready Series iii
Acknowledgments iv
Welcome xii
Walk Through a Lesson Set xv
FAQs About the Core Ready Lesson Sets xxiv

Grade 6 Packing a Punch: The Art and Craft of Short Stories 2
Introduction 3
Common Core State Standards Alignment 4
Core Questions 5
Lesson Set Goals 5
Choosing Core Texts 6
A Note About Addressing Reading Standard 10: Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity 7
Teacher’s Notes 7
Questions for Close Reading 7
Building Academic Language 7
Recognition 7
Complementary Core Methods 8
Core Connections at Home 9
Reading Lessons 10
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Reading Instruction at a Glance 11
Lesson 1 Readers engage in meaningful
conversations to explore short stories. 12
Lesson 2 Readers describe how a short story unfolds. 14
Lesson 3 Readers determine a central idea of a text. 17
Lesson 4 Readers explore the denotative and connotative meanings of words in a short story. 21
Lesson 5 Readers analyze how a variety of narrative techniques enhance short stories. 23
Lesson 6 Readers determine the narrative mode of a short story. 27
Lesson 7 Readers examine how a narrator conveys point of view in short stories. 30
Lesson 8 Readers compare and contrast how short stories across different genres approach a similar central idea. 33
Lesson 9 Readers apply knowledge of short stories to plan a reading discussion. 35
Lesson 10 Readers facilitate a reading discussion. 38
Writing Lessons 41
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Writing Instruction at a Glance 42
Lesson 1 Writers choose their words wisely. 43
Lesson 2 Writers share their thoughts on their reading with others. 46
Lesson 3 Writers reflect on key components of their reading through literary commentary. 49
Lesson 4 Writers include quotations from the text to support and strengthen their written literary commentaries. 53
Lesson 5 Writers revise and edit literary commentaries for strength and clarity. 56
Lesson 6 Writers compose a strong written literary commentary of their reading in a single sitting. 58
Lesson 7 Writers use their reading and analysis of short stories to inspire their own writing. 60
Lesson 8 Writers purposefully incorporate specific narrative techniques to enhance their short stories. 62
Lesson 9 Writers revise and edit their short stories with a peer. 63
Lesson 10 Writers share their short stories in authentic ways. 66
Glossary 68
Grade 7 Examining Past Perspectives: Historical Fact and Fiction 70
Introduction 71
Common Core State Standards Alignment 72
Core Questions 73
Lesson Set Goals 73
Choosing Core Texts 74
Teacher’s Notes 75
Questions for Close Reading 76
Building Academic Language 76
Recognition 76
Complementary Core Methods 77
Core Connections at Home 78
Reading Lessons 79
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Reading Instruction at a Glance 80
Lesson 1 Readers build background knowledge on a time period by examining historical photographs. 81
Lesson 2 Readers identify the elements of historical fiction in a model text. 83
Lesson 3 Readers identify the narrative mode of a story and analyze how the author develops characters’ points of view. 88
Lesson 4 Readers compare and contrast a fictional portrayal and a historical account of the same period to examine how historical fiction authors use history in their writing. 91
Lesson 5 Readers analyze how an author uses the historical setting to shape character and plot. 93
Lesson 6 Readers compare and contrast point of view in a print version of a historical fiction text to a film version. 96
Lesson 7 Readers evaluate the effect filmmaking techniques have on a story. 99
Lesson 8 Readers determine point of view in historical accounts and analyze its development over the course of the text. 101
Lesson 9 Readers consider how authors shape an argument to their advantage. 103
Lesson 10 Readers reflect on the ways historical fiction can connect us to real- life events. 107
Writing Lessons 110
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Writing Instruction at a Glance 111
Lesson 1 Writers craft questions to focus their topic and guide their research. 112
Lesson 2 Writers of historical fiction conduct research to prepare to write. 114
Lesson 3 Writers research factual details to create accurate historical settings. 117
Lesson 4 Writers choose characters whose perspectives offer the most powerful story. 119
Lesson 5 Writers compose a story from three different perspectives. 122
Lesson 6 Writers use dialogue to emphasize point of view. 124
Lesson 7 Writers plan author’s notes to describe and reflect on their historical fiction writing experience. 126
Lesson 8 Writers compose author’s notes to describe and reflect on their historical fiction writing experience. 128
Lesson 9 Writers collaborate on revision and editing. 130
Lesson 10 Writers share and celebrate their work. 133
Glossary 135
Grade 8 Revealing Character: The Hero’s Journey 136
Introduction 137
Common Core State Standards Alignment 138
Core Questions 139
Lesson Set Goals 139
Choosing Core Texts 140
Teacher’s Notes 140
Questions for Close Reading 141
Building Academic Language 142
Recognition 142
Complementary Core Methods 142
Core Connections at Home 142
Reading Lessons 143
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Reading Instruction at a Glance 144
Lesson 1 Readers define and describe the meaning of “hero.” 145
Lesson 2 Readers discover key events and characters in Greek mythology. 147
Lesson 3 Readers search for the archetypal hero’s characteristics in mythological texts. 150
Lesson 4 Readers search for the archetypal hero’s journey in mythological texts. 154
Lesson 5 Readers develop understandings about the characteristics of Greek heroes through collaborative discussion. 157
Lesson 6 Readers preview contemporary novels to search for evidence of the archetypal hero and the monomyth structure. 159
Lesson 7 Readers search for the archetypal hero’s characteristics in independent novels. 162
Lesson 8 Readers search for the archetypal hero’s journey in independent novels. 165
Lesson 9 Readers recognize the importance of secondary characters in fantasy novels. 167
Lesson 10 Readers reflect on connections between mythology and modern literature by comparing and contrasting a novel to the filmed version. 170
Writing Lessons 174
The Core I.D.E.A. / Daily Writing Instruction at a Glance 175
Lesson 1 Writers determine the characteristics of a literary essay. 176
Lesson 2 Writers reflect on their research of an archetypal hero’s characteristics in independent texts. 179
Lesson 3 Writers reflect on their research of the archetypal hero’s journey in independent texts. 182
Lesson 4 Writers create thesis statements and outline their literary essay. 185
Lesson 5 Writers craft introductory paragraphs for their literary essays. 187
Lesson 6 Writers develop body paragraphs with evidence to support the thesis of their essays. 189
Lesson 7 Writers draft conclusions for their literary essays that follow and support their thesis. 190
Lesson 8 Writers add and cite a direct quote from their fantasy novels as evidence in their literary essays. 192
Lesson 9 Writers revise and edit and title their literary essays. 194
Lesson 10 Writers reflect on final drafts and provide feedback to others. 196
Glossary 199
Grade 6 Appendixes
Appendix 6.1 Elements of a Short Story Graphic Organizer 201
Appendix 6.2 Common Central Ideas in Middle School Literature 202
Appendix 6.3 Different Genre, Same Central Idea Group Discussion Guide 203
Appendix 6.4 Sample Short Story Discussion Guide: “The Last Leaf” by O’Henry 204
Appendix 6.5 Microblog Paper 205
Appendix 6.6 Written Literary Commentary Checklist 206
Appendix 6.7 Writing Prompts for Written Literary Commentaries 207
Appendix 6.8 Sample Short Story Version #1 and Version #2: The London Eye 208
Appendix 6.9 Short Story Checklist 213
Appendix 6.10 Clip-Apart Milestone Performance Assessment Checklists 214
Appendix 6.11 Core Ready Reading Rubric 219
Appendix 6.12 Core Ready Writing Rubric 224
Grade 7 Appendixes
Appendix 7.1 Analyzing a Photo Graphic Organizer 228
Appendix 7.2 Elements of Historical Fiction Graphic Organizer 229
Appendix 7.3 Narrative Mode Definitions 234
Appendix 7.4 Informational Text and Its Influence on Historical Fiction 235
Appendix 7.5 Sample Informational Text: The Freedom Riders 236
Appendix 7.6 Selecting a Topic Graphic Organizer 237
Appendix 7.7 Sample Historical Fiction Text: Riding for Freedom 238
Appendix 7.8 List of Transitional Words and Phrases 241
Appendix 7.9 Revising and Editing Checklist 242
Appendix 7.10 Clip-Apart Milestone Performance Assessments 243
Appendix 7.11 Core Ready Reading Rubric 250
Appendix 7.12 Core Ready Writing Rubric 256
Grade 8 Appendixes
Appendix 8.1 Greek Gods and Goddesses Graphic Organizer 260
Appendix 8.2 Sample Myths 261
Appendix 8.3 Hero’s Characteristics Graphic Organizer 264
Appendix 8.4 The Stages of the Hero’s Journey Defined 265
Appendix 8.5 Hero’s Journey Graphic Organizer 267
Appendix 8.6 Film vs. Text Analysis Graphic Organizer 268
Appendix 8.7 Common Archetypes in “The Lion King” Sample Essay 269
Appendix 8.8 Deconstructing the Literary Essay Questionnaire 271
Appendix 8.9 Hero Literary Essay Outline 273
Appendix 8.10 Perseus and Percy: Classic and Contemporary Heroes Model Literary Essay 274
Appendix 8.11 Literary Essay Editing Checklist 276
Appendix 8.12 Essay Feedback Sheet 277
Appendix 8.13 Clip-Apart Milestone Performance Assessment Checklists 278
Appendix 8.14 Core Ready Reading Rubric 284
Appendix 8.15 Core Ready Writing Rubric 289
References 292

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