Common Core ELA Lesson Plan Template

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a teacher today, you are probably interested in aligning your work with the Common Core State Standards. This lesson provides you with a template you can use for considering your work.

Why Align Your Lessons to the Common Core

If you are a teacher of English Language Arts, you are probably familiar with the Common Core State Standards and their implications for your work. The standards in ELA look at reading as a window into critical thinking and problem-solving, and they also offer guidance for how to relate reading and writing to other subject areas. One of the major focal points of the Common Core is on having all students become better prepared for college and careers by emphasizing depth of thinking, critical analysis, and making connection. Regardless of the age and grade level of your students, working with the Common Core can help them become deeper thinkers who are more prepared for the challenges they will face in their education and beyond. Yet as a teacher, it can be tricky to figure out exactly how to work within the confines of the Common Core without sacrificing your own creativity and pedagogical ideals. One strategy for doing this is to plan individual English Language Arts Lessons with the Common Core in mind. This lesson offers you a template for doing just that. This particular template is quite broad, leaving you wiggle room to work in standards that are relevant to your grade level and the specific content you are teaching. However, it shows you how you can work with the Common Core and meet the needs of the learners in front of you.

Lesson Template


Before looking at the Common Core State Standards, think about your own goals and objectives for the lesson. Consider what your students already know and what skills or knowledge they will get at the end of the lesson. Formulate the goal and/or objectives in your own words.


Next, have a close look at the Common Core State Standards for your grade level and specific content area. Look at the Anchor Standards, the literature standards or the informational text and reading foundational skills standards, determining which set is most relevant to your own goals and objectives. Do not neglect the writing, speaking and listening, or language standards; you might actually be surprised at how many of these areas your lesson will be touching on! Select three to five standards that you will work toward in this lesson, and write them into your plan using numbers as well as words.


As with any lesson plan, a Common Core-aligned plan should include a list of all of the materials you will need in order to successfully implement the lesson.

Direct Instruction

As you plan your procedure, begin by deciding what direct English Language Arts instruction you will offer your students. What will you read to them, say to them, or teach them how to do explicitly? When planning your direct instruction, reference the standards you have chosen. Sometimes, you may find that you can borrow language directly from the standards for use with your students.

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