Table of Contents

Unit 3: Literacy in Upper Elementary History/Social Studies

Unit 3 presents example instructional activities excerpted and adapted from “Common Core Exemplar for English Language Arts and Social Studies: The Role and Responsibility of Citizens and Government in a Representative Democracy – Grade 5" by Michelle Herczog from the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The instructional activities were developed from models provided by Student Achievement Partners at and California State University, San Diego professors Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp in Text Complexity: Raising Rigor in Reading that emphasize close reading activities. You may download the sample lesson for use in your classroom or to reference throughout the module.

The goal of Unit 3 is to demonstrate how students can apply the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills to understand a historical primary source. The activities demonstrate techniques for helping students closely read and reread the primary source to answer text-dependent questions, develop comprehension, and demonstrate understanding through dialogue, writing, and presentations.


Throughout and upon completion of Unit 3, participants will be able to:

  • Examine instructional practices that develop CCSS
    skills and knowledge in an upper elementary
    classroom through the examination of a primary
    source document and related activities
  • Understand the relationship between the CA CCSS for
    ELA/Literacy and history/social studies content standards
  • Explore strategies for supporting students’ reading,
    collaborative conversations, research, writing, and


You may wish to print the CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy K–5 to be able to reference the grade 5 standards throughout this unit.