Developing Core Proficiencies Curriculum
The Developing Core Proficiencies Curriculum is an integrated set of English Language Arts/Literacy units spanning grades 6-12. Funded by the USNY Regents Research Fund, the free curriculum is comprised of a series of four units at each grade level that provide direct instruction on a set of literacy proficiencies at the heart of the Common Core State Standards. Each unit highlights a core literacy proficiency and provides approaches, instructional sequences, handouts, tools and texts for developing independent mastery and creative critical thinking in students.
DESIGN FEATURES OF THE CURRICULUM
COMMON CORE ALIGNMENT
Each unit focuses instruction and assessment on developing core proficiencies aligned with a limited set of targeted standards. Additionally, the activities of each unit integrate many other standards to support student learning. This two-tiered alignment design builds a variety of literacy skills in an integrated way, while developing core proficiencies through focused lesson sequences and assessment. The design also helps teachers capture precise evidence of student proficiency as they monitor student progress and integrate the series into a yearlong instructional plan.
Unit activities have been built to encourage creativity and leadership development with the goal of empowering students with awareness and responsibility of their own learning. The units are strongly focused on deep analysis of texts in ways that encourage the expression and defense of personal thinking. Approaches to literacy focus on independent questioning of texts, making one’s own claims about texts and defending them with evidence, developing inquiry questions and employing independent research to deepen understanding, and constructing personal logical arguments to explain one’s perspective.
COLLABORATION AND INDEPENDENCE
Following the design and intent of the Common Core, the unit series incorporates sustained and structured collaborative activities to build those essential collaborative skills and habits. Equally important to literacy is the ability to handle tasks independently. As such, the sequences of activities and materials in the units lead students progressively to successful independent performance.
ENGAGING COMPLEX TEXTS
The series is intentionally crafted around complex texts from a range of contexts so that students have opportunities to engage with significant ideas from a diversity of topics and perspectives, and analyze, evaluate, and employ textual evidence across genres. The open source and freely accessible texts also provide teachers with a rich repository of common core-aligned reading material, most of which have been formatted to include vocabulary glossing and line and paragraph numbers.
MULTIMEDIA AND TECHNOLOGY
Developing literacy with multimedia and technology are critical to the curriculum. Students develop analytic reading and research skills in various media. To support and encourage this development, the unit materials themselves have been designed to be used electronically by teachers and students in their analysis, writing and collaboration.
SUPPORT FOR ALL LEARNERS
The sequence of instruction has been designed to engage all students in instruction aligned to the CCSS. The text choices in this series combined with a purposeful sequence of instruction in each unit work together to bring ALL students, including ELL students and those reading below grade level, into productive struggle with texts, collaborative conversation, and evidence-based writing. Activities, pedagogical notes, worksheets, and handouts have been designed to aid the learning of diverse students.
Instruction is designed to give students conceptual facility with key literacy concepts and text-based expansion of vocabulary building skills. Unit texts also include modifiable glossaries of infrequent vocabulary and concepts to support all readers including ELL and those reading below grade-level.
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