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The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 9-12

The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 9-12
What They Say, What They Mean, How to Teach Them

  • Jim Burke - Burlingame High School, Burlingame, CA
Additional resources:

August 2013 | 264 pages | Corwin

That version of the standards you wish you had
All over the nation, teachers and administrators are poring over the Common Core State Standards to come up with meaningful plans for raising student achievement.  But as clear as the standards are, they are more of a sundial than a GPS for pinpointing just what to teach and how to teach it.

Enter Jim Burke with The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 9-12. It’s that version of the standards you wish you had: a roadmap of what each standard says, what each standard means, and how precisely to put that standard into day-to-day practice across English Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects.

Designed to provide schools, districts, and departments with a common language or set of reference points for effective school-wide implementation, The Common Core Companion clearly lays out:

  • Grades 9-10 standards positioned alongside 11-12 standards with key distinctions highlighted so teachers know what they must teach from grade to grade
  • All the different content-area versions of each standard arranged on one page to facilitate easy reference and school-wide collaboration
  • Explanations of each standard on a corresponding page, written in accessible language, along with prompts and questions to help students learn and apply each standard
  • Essential content to cover and lesson ideas for modeling the literacy skills behind the standards
  • Instructional techniques for each standard based on Jim’s extensive teaching experience and current research on effective instruction
  • Complete glossary for each standard and adaptations for ELL students

Don’t spend another minute poring over the standards. Jim has already done that for you. Focus instead on how to teach them, using The Common Core Companion as your one-stop guide for teaching, planning, assessing, collaborating, and designing powerful reading and writing curricula.

“One cannot benefit from or use a document that demands more time than a teacher or administrator has each day. So I share with you, my fellow educators, the reformatted, parallel version of the standards I created to make the document itself more efficient, more usable, more helpful.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Jim Burke

Take a quick tour of The Common Core Companion

Introduction: Getting to the Core of the Curriculum
Moving Forward--Together

A Brief Orientation to The Common Core Companion: The Standards Decoded, Grades 9-12

How to Use This Book

Accepting the Invitation

Quick Reference: Common Core State Standards, 6-12 English Language Arts
Quick Reference: Common Core State Standards, 6-12 English Language Arts in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects
The Complete Common Core State Standards: Decoded
Part 1. Reading
Key Ideas and Details

Craft and Structure

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

Part 2. Writing
Text Types and Purposes

Production and Distribution of Writing

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

Range of Writing

Part 3. Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Part 4. Language
Conventions of Standard English

Knowledge of Language

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
Resource A. Common Core Recommended Reading Lists

Resource B. Text Complexity Tool

Resource C. Planning Calendar Templates

Teacher Notes
About the Author


“I must say, I am duly impressed.  This book gives the kind of ‘hands-on’ support classroom teachers and curriculum committees really need in doing the work of ‘unpacking’ the standards and interpreting those standards into curriculum documents.  The very detailed, complete discussions of the standards and the breakdowns that the Burke does are, in my opinion, exemplary . . . Well done!”

Joe Crawford, Author of Aligning Your Curriculum to the Common Core State Standards

“Fundamentally different from other Common Core books, The Common Core Companion is s a user’s guide designed by a teacher who actually uses the standards in his daily work with students. Jim Burke gently demystifies the Common Core State Standards and offers a practical tool for curricular alignment. I think you will find The Common Core Companion helps schools help themselves.”

Carol Jago, Member
Common Core State Standards Feedback Committee

“I love what Jim Burke has done to make the Standards less threatening and more useful for teachers. In particular, the indicators for what students and teachers should be doing, given the Standard, are extremely helpful; as are such a clear glossary and illuminating examples. All in all, The Common Core Companion is bound to be enormously useful and thus dog-eared!”

Grant Wiggins, President
Authentic Education, Hopewell NJ

“I have never read a book for teachers so well laid out and highly useful.  I predict administrators across the country will purchase this book for their secondary teachers to use in their staff meetings, individual department meetings, their PLCs, and for individual teachers to use as Burke puts it as ‘a personal compass to navigate the complexities of the Common Core Curriculum.’” 

Debbie Silver, Ed.D., Author of Drumming to the Beat Different Marchers and Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8

"The subtitle for this guide, 'What They Say, What They Mean, How to Teach Them' clearly defines the purpose of this outstanding resource. Utilizing a simple, consistent, and easy-to-read layout, the guide is divided into sections focusing on Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language."

Library Media Connection, August/September 2014

Extremely clear and useful! I had previous students explore the book to see what they though and they were all upset it wasn't out when they took the class. They've ordered copies on their own.

Dr Lisa Arter
English Dept, Southern Utah University
March 3, 2014

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