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Question 8:
What might I see in a grades 6–12 ELA/literacy lesson that supports student achievement of the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy?


In grades six through twelve (6–12), students begin to comprehend literary works and informational and technical materials of increasing length and complexity, basing their analyses and inferences on explicit and relevant evidence from the texts. They expand on their ability to analyze ideas, literary elements, and connections in what they read, hear, and view, while incorporating these skills into their own writing and presentations. They write and present in different genres, including arguments supported by evidence, informative/explanatory texts with clear organization, and well-structured narratives exhibiting effective literary techniques. Their research projects draw on numerous sources, incorporating multimedia in both the information gathering and production phases, and are often conducted across multiple disciplines. These students engage in collaborative discussions while considering ideas and information expressed by others. They evaluate the impact of authors' choices, showing understanding of concepts such as tone, analogy, allusion, dramatic irony, and connotative meanings. 1 Students also learn to analyze authors’ reasoning and use of text features. Their control of conventions of standard English grows more sophisticated, as does their awareness and proficiency in a range of academic registers 2 in a variety of disciplines. Students who are English learners engage in all of these academic activities. At the same time, they are learning English as an additional language, and some students may be simultaneously developing literacy and academic skills in languages other than English.

As instructional leaders think about what they should see in a grades 6–12 ELA/literacy lesson aligned to the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy), there are several resources and tools available to consider, but the most comprehensive and widely vetted resource available to California educators is the State Board of Education-adopted English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework. With this in mind, this section will focus on helping instructional leaders answer the question above using guidance from the framework, viewing California classroom videos featuring emerging practices, viewing a video of a local educational agency (LEA) panel discussion related to the question, and considering what all of this means for their work and local context.

Connections to the California Professional Standards for Education Leaders (CPSEL)


Education leaders facilitate the development and implementation of a shared vision of learning and growth of all students.
Element 1A: Student-Centered Vision
Leaders shape a collective vision that uses multiple measures of data and focuses on equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for all students.
Example Indicators:
1A-1 Advance support for the academic, linguistic, cultural, social-emotional, behavioral, and physical development of each learner.
1A-2 Cultivate multiple learning opportunities and support systems that build on student assets and address student needs.
1A-3 Address achievement and opportunity disparities between student groups, with attention to those with special needs; cultural, racial, and linguistic differences; and disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
1A-4 Emphasize the expectation that all students will meet content and performance standards.


Education leaders shape a collaborative culture of teaching and learning, informed by professional standards and focused on student and professional growth.
Element 2B: Curriculum and Instruction
Leaders guide and support the implementation of standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessments that address student expectations and outcomes.
Example Indicators:
2B-1 Develop a shared understanding of adopted standards-based curriculum that reflects student content and performance expectations.
2B-2 Promote and monitor the use of state frameworks and guides that offer evidence-based instructional and support strategies to increase learning for diverse student assets and needs.
2B-3 Provide access to a variety of resources that are needed for the effective instruction and differentiated support of all students.
2B-4 Guide and monitor the alignment of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional practice.

Before you begin…

Prior to focusing on the question above, participants in this activity should be familiar with the following chapters of the ELA/ELD Framework:

The classroom videos featured on the next two pages are of specific grade levels within the grades 6–12 span. Thus, participants should review the following content and pedagogy chapters of the ELA/ELD Framework to be familiar with the state-level guidance concerning ELA/literacy instruction in these grades:

A Note-taking Guide (DOC) is provided to help you consider the practices and perspectives shared in the videos. You may want to review it before watching the videos and print it or have it open on your desktop to have in front of you while you watch.

1 “Connotative meanings” are the associative or secondary meanings of words or expressions.
2 “Register” refers to variation in the vocabulary, grammar, and discourse of a language to meet the expectations of a particular context.