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Teaching Toward the Third 'C': Developing Common Core-Aligned Units that Prepare Students for College, Career, & CITIZENSHIP



Two of the major purposes of high school classes, according to the Common Core Literacy Standards, are college and career readiness; indeed, these two purposes are mentioned together in the document so often that they are provided with a special acronym – CCR standards. The six-paragraph introduction to the literacy standards refers to the goals of college and career readiness six times, and the standards for the four ‘anchor’ areas of literacy – reading, writing, speaking/listening, and language – are titled, “College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards.” By contrast, the relationship between literacy and citizenship is mentioned only in passing and only once in the document. While no teacher denies the importance of college and career readiness, what is the educator to do who wants to develop civic curriculum and offer students relevant, critical instruction that is also aligned with the Common Core?

This resource offers some of my ideas for developing Common Core-aligned units that foster academic literacy while also encouraging students to engage with their communities and with controversial social issues. I will review the literacy anchor standards and explain how I utilized them to build a year-long youth participatory action research project into my 11th grade ELA curriculum that allowed students to develop research questions about social issues that mattered to them and then search for answers in texts and in the world around them. I hope that this resource will inspire you to create thematic connections between literary and informational texts and develop writing assignments that combine creative, informative, and analytical forms of expression.

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