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3.1 CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy: An Upper Elementary History/Social Studies Example

When developing lessons in the content areas, it is important to focus the lesson on addressing the relevant content standards while using the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy to develop students’ literacy skills through that content. The lesson activities in this unit focus on the history-social science standards for grade 5, which address the importance of the Bill of Rights:

History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools

5.7 Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic.

5.7.2 Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights.
5.7.3 Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.
5.7.5 Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.


To effectively meet these content standards—and to access and master increasingly complex history/social studies primary and secondary source texts—teachers must also focus on developing students’ literacy skills using close reading, critical thinking, effective speaking, and expository writing activities. 

The following activities help guide students to closely read a primary source. By incorporating literacy instruction into the lesson, students will strengthen the skills needed to access and comprehend the document at the same time they develop content knowledge.