Common Core Standards for English Language Arts K-5

Gain confidence in applying Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts in K-5 classrooms. This course will provide you with easy-to-use, practical examples aligned with lessons that you can begin using immediately in your own classroom to teach Common Core Standards.

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
Starting  December 13, 2023
Offered in partnership with your preferred school


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Learning method

Course code: 4la

Discover the Common Core State standards for English language arts, and gain confidence in applying them to the K-5 classroom. In this course you will explore the basic elements of the standards—strands, anchor standards, and grade articulations—and you will see how they relate to each other. You will be empowered to speak knowledgeably with parents, peers, and the community.

You will explore the four English language strands—reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and language. You will examine how teaching literature gives students the opportunity to explore language, and consider the impact of a school-wide literacy plan. You will look at the roles of technology, homework, curricula, and assessments in the classroom. You will be inspired by loads of easy-to-use, practical examples of Common Core State Standards-aligned lessons that you can use with your own students.

What you will learn

  • Learn the basic elements of the standards
  • Learn terminology used in Common Core State Standards
  • Explore the 10 anchor standers and how they are articulated for each grade level
  • Become familiar with Appendix A, B, and C
  • Learn ways to incorporate the standards into your lesson plans
  • Learn strategies and tools for reading, writing, listening, and language strands into your classroom
  • Discover web resources for you, your students and your students' families
  • Learn ways to ensure that your school's curriculum is aligned with CCSS

How you will benefit

  • You will be empowered to steak knowledgeably with parents, peers, and the community about the common Core State Standards
  • Become confident in your ability to employ the CCS standards in your classroom and in your school

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led online course
  • 6 Weeks access
  • 24 course hours

In this lesson, you'll examine some of the most common myths about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). You'll learn the history of the standards and how they'll help you prepare students for the 21st century. You'll also learn the basic elements of the standards and discover how they relate to each other and get a handle on the terminology. By the time you finish this lesson, you'll understand the CCSS document and how to use it and be ready to start examining the standards in greater detail!

In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for reading. First, you'll explore the 10 anchor standards and see how their broad goals are consistent throughout the grades (kindergarten through grade 12). Then, you'll see how those broad goals are articulated for each grade level in K-5. You'll spend some extra time with the 10th standard, discussing text complexity and how it's measured, and get a chance to explore the text exemplars from CCSS Appendix B. By the end of this lesson, you'll be ready to examine those Reading strand grade articulations that will be relevant to your own classroom.

This lesson talks about foundational reading skills. You'll examine the Common Core Standards for foundational reading skills and learn how these standards address the most basic literacy skills. You'll discover ways to incorporate them into lesson plans that easily adapt for inclusive classrooms, and there will also be some time devoted to exploring CCSS Appendix A. By the end of this lesson, you'll be on your way to creating a personalized glossary and a focused collection of grade articulations for your own classroom!

In this lesson, you'll look at how the CCSS focus on informational text prepares students for 21st-century life. You'll learn some tips to help you differentiate between literature and informational text, and take a quick look at the informational text exemplars from the CCSS Appendix B. You'll also discover how text exemplars can help you determine which informational texts satisfy the Common Core Standards. Finally, you'll review some guided reading and close reading techniques and discuss why these are integral to science, math, social studies, and arts classes.

In this lesson, you'll discover how literature—stories, poetry, and drama—prepares students for their role in 21st-century society. You'll explore two more close reading strategies and look at how the tools and strategies that were covered in the discussion of the Reading strand align with the CCSS Anchor Standards for Reading.

In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for writing. You'll explore the 10 anchor standards for writing and review how their broad goals are consistent throughout all grades—kindergarten through 12th grade. You'll look at how those broad goals are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level and also take a peek at the writing exemplars from the CCSS Appendix C. By the end of the lesson, you'll be prepared to study the Writing strand grade articulations that will be relevant to your own classroom!

In this lesson, you'll look at the Common Core Standards for Speaking and Listening. You'll learn how the speaking and listening anchor standards relate to comprehension, collaboration, and presentation of ideas. You'll also examine how these broad goals are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level. Afterwards, you'll go over a few tried-and-true techniques for maintaining control in a conversational classroom!

Here you'll explore the Common Core Standards for Language, the fourth and final ELA strand. You'll learn how these anchor standards relate to the conventions of standard English, how language functions in different contexts, and how young people acquire and use vocabulary. You'll also review how the broad goals of the anchor standards are articulated for each specific K-5 grade level. You'll look at some practical examples of classroom activities that encourage students to play with language and examine how "playing with language" helps students actually understand language!

In this lesson, you'll learn how each anchor standard and grade articulation is identified by a simple-to-understand abbreviation. You'll look at all four strands and discuss the many ways technology and literacy work together in the 21st-century classroom. You'll also be presented with lots of great web resources—for you, your students, and your students' families. Integrating technology into the classroom and curriculum can be a great way to reinforce literacy skills and improve learning!

In this lesson, you'll come to understand how integrated literacy, curricula, classroom lessons, and homework fit together to create a CCSS-aligned learning experience. The lesson will provide you with some strategies for integrating literacy across the curriculum, and then you'll look at some ways to bring homework back into the classroom! You'll also be given a tool for examining your school's curriculum to ensure that it's aligned with CCSS. By the end of this lesson, you'll have the tools and knowledge you need to create a 21st-century classroom.

This lesson discusses assessments. These are a significant concern for many teachers—the changes to assessments aligned with CCSS, as well as the administration of the new assessment. This lesson will discuss summative assessments and the two new assessment consortia, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. It will also discuss formative assessment strategies that you can implement throughout your lessons and units. You'll be relieved to discover that you can still exercise a lot of control over the assessments you use in the classroom!

In the final lesson, you'll see how you can make CCSS come alive in the classroom. The lesson will talk about some strategies that will help you determine which lesson plans are already working well and align with the CCSS goals, and which you might consider replacing with new and improved lessons. It will also talk about ways you can differentiate your classroom instruction to meet CCSS goals and also meet the needs of your individual students. Finally, you'll look at some helpful resources for involving parents, family members, and the community in your 21st-century classroom!

Dr. Katie McKnight

Dr. Katie McKnight is an author, educator, and consultant. She received her B.A. from George Washington University, her M.Ed. from Northeastern Illinois University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today, she serves as a professor at National Louis University and an onsite professional development consultant for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). Dr. McKnight regularly publishes in professional journals and is the author of many books including The Elementary Teacher's Big Book of Graphic Organizers, and The Teacher's Big Book of Graphic Organizers, Grades 5-12 (recipient of the 2013 Teachers' Choice Award).

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.​

Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. You will interact with the instructor through the online discussion area. There are no live sessions or online meetings with the instructor.

The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release. However, you will have access to all lessons from the time they are released until the course ends.​

Students enrolled in a six-week online class benefit from a one-time, 10-day extension for each course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.​