Common Core & ELLs: Lesson Plans

The following units for grades 1, 4, and 8 are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and target English language learners' (ELLs) literacy and language needs. They were developed by groups of teachers from Albuquerque, New Mexico and Poughkeepsie, New York working in collaboration with Dr. Diane August.

Classroom videos of the these lesson plans in classrooms are also available.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Grade 1: Burro's Tortillas

This unit is based upon the picture book Burro's Tortillas by Terri Fields, a Southwestern adaptation of The Little Red Hen chosen by the teachers for its relevance to their students' cultural experiences.

Grade 4: Cinderella

This unit is based on a picture-book version of Cinderella, written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock.  This particular version of Cinderella was chosen by the teachers for its rich language and imagery.

Grade 8: "The Story of an Hour"

This unit is based on "The Story of an Hour," a short story written by Kate Chopin in 1894, chosen for its themes, historical context, and illustrations of irony.


Poughkeepsie, New York

Classroom Activities


These lesson plans are the result of the hard work of a number of individuals, including the members of our Teacher Cadres in Albuquerque, NM and Poughkeepsie, NY; Dr. Ellen Bernstein and the staff of the Albuquerque Teachers Federation; Debbie Kardas and the staff of the Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers' Association; and Pam Knittel, ESL Coach in Poughkeepsie.

Special thanks to Dr. Diane August and Erin Haynes; David Pook; Noel Gunther, Christian Lindstrom, Leon Gittens, Lydia Breiseth, Ashley Gilleland, Tina Chovanec, Shalini Anand, Kelly Decker, Erica Queen, and Bridget Brady of Colorín Colorado, a service of public broadcasting station WETA in Washington, DC; Dr. Karen Ford of the University of Virginia; and Susan Lafond of New York State United Teachers.

Funding for this project was made possible by the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund. Special thanks to Giselle Lundy-Ponce, of the American Federation of Teachers; and Ann Bradley, Justin Stone, Eve Dailey, and Danielle Hawkins of the AFT Innovation Fund.