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Watch Dr. Jana Echevarria Discuss the CCSS and ELLs PDF Print E-mail

Watch Dr. Jana Echevarria discuss the Common Core State Standards and the impact on English Language Learner instruction in the classroom.

If you do not see the video above, click this link to watch:

Blocked from YouTube? Watch it on SchoolTube:


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Dr. Shanahan Answers Your Questions PDF Print E-mail

Your questions... answered! After watching Dr. Timothy Shanahan's webinar about the CCSS Instructional Shifts here, many of you sent in questions. We sent them on to Dr. Shanahan and he responded.

Read Dr. Shanahan's responses here

Questions include:

  • With the huge emphasis on increased text level, it seems that the amount of reading done will decrease significantly. What are your thoughts on this?
  • David Coleman suggests reading 50% informational and 50% literary text. When we present students with "reach" texts, would you suggest we put more informational than literary texts in their hands?
  • What would be the accuracy percentage you'd recommend when you suggest students read at their frustration level/"reach" level?
  • What is the role of literary nonfiction?
  • What are your thoughts about using gradated texts? Texts on a variety of levels as a scaffold?
  • And many more!


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PowerPoint from Dr. Timothy Shanahan's Webinar PDF Print E-mail

Many of you have asked for the PowerPoint Dr. Shanahan used during his webinar on the CCSS Instructional Shifts. Great news, Dr. Shanahan was gracious enough to post the file to his blog for you!

Download the PowerPoint File Today



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Dr. Timothy Shanahan Talks CCSS Instructional Shifts PDF Print E-mail

In this webinar, Tim Shanahan discusses CCSS instructional shifts. He compares "How It's Been" with "How It Will Be." Enjoy!

If you do not see the video above, watch it here:


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CCSS Reading Recommendations PDF Print E-mail

Another question from the Ask the Experts voice mail line:

We are moving toward guided reading and we're developing our book room. I need some recommendations for guided reading books for grades 4 and 5. Hope you can help me. Thank you!

Hi there and thanks for your question. Of course we can help you! We sent this question off to our expert Kathy Bumgardner. Here's what she had to say...


Kathy Bumgardner's Response

"I definitely recommend a balance of informational (nonfiction) texts and literature (fiction) texts for using with guided reading groups. As guided reading provides the opportunity to teach and support students with strategies they can use with mostly slightly challenging texts, it can also provide an opportunity to balance with direct support for navigating complex texts and close reading as appropriate for the groups.

Besides using books, it is also possible to find excerpts from texts on Appendix B (CCSS) and even whole texts found online. Poetry, editorials, journal entries, articles, and other texts that are appropriate for students can be found and implemented with students in the supportive environment of guided reading groups. Also don't forget that it can be appropriate and highly productive to use consumer texts (menus, travel brochures, labels, advertisements, flyers, etc.) with students when providing reading strategies for navigating informational consumer texts.

I recommend short stories - including appropriate picture books - when using fiction (literature) so that the text can be completed in a reasonable number of sessions. However; when chapter books are used they can be started with support in guided reading sessions for the first several chapters and then released to students to finish in independent reading as students show understanding as appropriate. Checking back in with students as their reading progresses can be helpful as well. Poetry is also a great choice to add in to the mix as it adds a layer of challenge and interesting choices.

There are some suggested titles that are listed on Appendix B (Common Core Text Complexity Exemplar Lists) as well as others used effectively in many 4th and 5th grade classrooms across the country. Any titles used should meet the specific instructional needs of the students that they are used with based on assessments and data of the students."

Kathy's Recommendations

Titles I recommend for 4th and 5th grade include:


Tuck Everlasting Natalie Babbitt
Bud, Not Buddy Christopher Curtis
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon Grace Lin
Maniac Magee

Jerry Spinelli

(Spinelli is an excellent author to study and has multiple titles that are great to use)

Johnny Tremain Esther Forbes
The Cay Theodore Taylor
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler E.L. Konigsburg
A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1 Ursula Le Guin
Redwall #1 Brian Jacques
Hotel for Dogs Lois Duncan
Frindle Andrew Clement
Pushcart War Jean Merrill
Dear Mr. Henshaw Beverly Cleary

Picture Books

There are so many that are excellent to use. These are just a few...

Snowflake Bentley Jacqueline Briggs Martin
George Washington's Teeth Deborah Chandra, Madeleine Comora
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers Mordicai Gerstein
The People Could Fly: The Picture Book Virginia Hamilton
Tuesday David Weisner
My Great Aunt Arizona Gloria Houston
Where the Red Fern Grows Wilson Rawls
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan


Casey at Bat Ernest Lawrence Thayer
Fog Carl Sandburg
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Roald Dahl
They Were My People Grace Nichols
Autumn Emily Dickinson
Shel Silverstein poetry... so many to choose from


Biographies are excellent choices - choose as appropriate for level
Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend Will Moses
Benjamin Franklin: A Man of Many Talents TIME for Kids Editors
Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin Gene Barretta
Escape!: The Story of the Great Houdini Sid Fleischman
Jesse Owens Fastest Man Alive Carole Boston Weatherford
Bad News of Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Wilma Unlimited Kathleen Krull

Content Informational Examples

Your Skin Weighs More Than Your Brain Barbara Seuling
Songs from the Loom: A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave Monty Roessel
Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story Ken Mochizuki
Eye of the Storm: Chasing Storms with Warren Faidley Stephen Kramer
Follow the Trail: A Young Person's Guide to the Great Outdoors Jessica Loy
Friendship 7: First American in Orbit Michael D. Cole
Discovering Mars: The Amazing Red Planet Melvin Berger
Hurricanes: Earth's Mightiest Storms Patricia Lauber
Good Pet, Bad Pet Elizabeth Schleichert
Horses Seymour Simon
Telescopes Colin A. Ronan
Underground Railroad Henrietta Buckmaster

Thanks to Kathy Bumgardner for this terrific list! Don't miss her excellent website here -

Thanks so much for your questions! Call anytime! 331-248-CCSS (2277)


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