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The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 3-5

The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 3-5
What They Say, What They Mean, How to Teach Them

  • Leslie Blauman - National and International Literacy Consultant
  • Jim Burke - Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA
Additional resources:

June 2014 | 288 pages | Corwin

With the click of a mouse, anyone has access to the standards. So aligning our instruction should be a snap. If only it were that simple . . .  Jim Burke anticipated the challenges and developed the Common Core Companion series for K-12. In his next smart move, he deferred to the talents of Leslie Blauman to be author of the 3-5 volume.

What makes Leslie Blauman’s Common Core Companion “that version of the standards you wish you had”? It’s the way Leslie translates each and every standard for reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, and foundational skills into the day-to-day “what you do”: lesson ideas, best literacy practices, grouping configurations, adaptations for ELL, anchor charts, and so much more.

The wisdom and how-to’s are all here, page by page:

  • The standards for literature and informational texts put side by side for easier planning
  • Teaching ideas for each standard
  • Recommendations on how to cultivate the habits of mind that are critical to meeting the standards, including interpersonal skills, collaboration, and perseverance
  • A glossary of academic language for each standard with adaptations for ELL students
  • An online bank of graphic organizers, student reproducibles, sample classroom charts, rubrics, and photos
  • Reproducible planning templates for each standard to help you map out lessons, select books, generate key questions, and more

With 30 years of classroom experience and consulting in schools nationwide, Leslie Blauman brings to this book a keen eye for what teachers need in order to get students in the intermediate grades ready as readers, writers, thinkers, and learners capable of meeting the Common Core’s rising expectations in middle school. Leslie’s classroom is a working model for child/staff development in reading, writing, and critical thinking in collaboration with the Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC).

“When considering the CCSS, we need to remember that teachers do not teach standards. Teachers teach kids! A classroom teacher who mixes it up with kids every day, Leslie Blauman teaches as if her hair's on fire”
Coauthor of
The Comprehension Toolkit

Preface by Jim Burke
Introduction: Getting to the Core of the Curriculum
Key Principles and Additional Teaching Strategies for English Language Learners 3-5
Quick Reference: Common Core State Standards, K-12 English Language Arts
The Complete Common Core State Standards: Decoded
Part 1. Reading
Key Ideas and Details

Craft and Structure

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Part 2. Writing
Text Types and Purposes

Production and Distribution of Writing

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Range of Writing

Part 3. Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Part 4. Language
Conventions of Standard English

Knowledge of Language

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Part 5. Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
Phonics and Word Recognition


Resource A. Common Core Recommended Reading Lists

Resource B. Text Complexity Tool

Resource C. Planning Calendar Templates



“A classroom teacher who mixes it up with kids every day, Leslie Blauman teaches as if her hair’s on fire. Years of experience and study have led her to teach students to think strategically within a workshop model framed by active literacy practices. The Common Core Companion, Grades 3-5, lays out a road map to incorporating these research-based practices so kids can perform at their optimum, meet and exceed the CCSS, and even more importantly, become lifelong, literate, thoughtful readers and thinkers.”

Stephanie Harvey, Coauthor of The Comprehension Toolkit

“Meeting the Common Core standards is a classic half-full/half -empty dilemma. We can either gripe about our un-favorite standards, or seize this manifest opportunity. Leslie Blauman seizes big-time. Her savvy guide to the CCSS in the intermediate grades overflows with wisdom, creativity, and energy. ‘Your students are readier than you think to astound you,’ she promises. Watch her prediction come true as your students rise to the challenge with the help of these smart and practical materials.”

Harvey "Smokey" Daniels, Coauthor of The Best-Kept Teaching Secret

“Leslie Blauman--a true master teacher--pulls the CCSS off the shelf and puts them squarely in the classroom with one time-tested idea after another to make them come alive for students. She breaks down the standards while building teachers’ confidence to incorporate them into their classrooms in thoughtful, effective, caring, and rigorous ways, always keeping at the forefront the importance of real reading, real writing, and rich discussion. This volume is an invaluable guide for teachers as they tackle the Common Core.”

Susan Zimmermann, Coauthor of 7 Keys to Comprehension and Mosaic of Thought, Second Edition

“Having worked with numerous principals around the country as an executive coach, and hearing their concerns regarding teacher workload and their comprehension of Common Core instructional expectations, I count this book as a ‘score’ for education. The format used literally takes the guesswork out of what needs to be taught while allowing the ‘art of teaching’ to remain. Novice or veteran, teachers will find The Common Core Companion, Grades 3-5, a great source of support for their craft, which will ultimately lead to academic success for students.”

Trina J. Rich, Executive Coach for School Administrators and Retired Executive Director of Elementary Schools

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781483349855