Here is my first post of many where I unpack the Common Core standards to show how I am implementing the standards in my classroom. I am hopeful that these posts will be helpful, inspiring, and enlightening to those who read them… mostly I hope that you can see how FUN meeting the standards can be!

I figure the best place to unpack the standards with real examples would be right from my Grade 1 classroom.

So we begin:

Reading Literature: Key Ideas and Details:

Standard 1 (RL.1..1) Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Standard 2 (RL.1.2) Retell stories including key details, and demonstrate an understanding of their central message or lesson.

Standard 3 (RL.1.3) Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

AND for the fun part…

How I meet these standards:

I think that these three standards are totally achievable and appropriate for students. In fact, the other teachers I have talked to have long been meeting these standards.

I have written about my method of guided reading discussion before, but it seems appropriate to revisit it at this time.

I use a model in my classroom that really melds the Daily 5 and traditional Guided Reading Groups.

In my reading groups I do some form of word work practice, vocabulary focus, fluency, and comprehension daily (some days some components are covered more quickly and thoroughly than others).

Early on, I began setting a purpose for reading and giving students a task by using these discussion cards:

Unpacking the Common Core Standards- Key Ideas and Details for first grade.  Unpacking the Common Core Standards- Key Ideas and Details for first grade.


I also have cards for: What is the most important part? Who is the most important character, retell the story, what did you learn?, What are you wondering?  among other prompts.

Students read the text, I place the card on the table, and when they are finished “whisper reading”, their job is to find the answer to the question, and find a part in the book that helped them decide (or included the answer). They then practice reading that part over (reread for fluency) and then we share answers and “evidence” as a group (great for oral fluency practice as well).

As my students have become familiar with the prompts, there is now a discussion leader “star reader” who chooses the question/ prompt for the text.

Simply by rotating through these questions, giving students an opportunity to ask and answer the prompts, and by finding evidence… my students are meeting ALL of the Key Ideas and Details standards for the common core. They LOVE the “mission” of finding evidence. They enjoy taking a turn to be the discussion leader, and they are becoming better and better readers as a result.

In the guided reading pack I have posted on TeachersPayTeachers, I have all 12 discussion cards, written response pages to match each prompt, a planning sheet, and a progress monitoring sheet to use with any book.

Here is a FUN way my students worked on determining author’s message/theme or central message during Read Across America Week!

Unpacking the Common Core Standards- Key Ideas and Details for first grade.


We read The Lorax, and then determined the author’s message through the discussion of the Lorax and his actions and words. My students wrote the message in the speech bubbles and then created their own (super cute) versions of the Lorax.

Some of their messages were “Everyone needs to take care of the Earth. We need it to live”   or “We need to take care of trees because many animals and people need them”.

For first graders, that’s a pretty cool way to determine the author’s message! They had so much fun with it and it was really deep thinking for them.


I hope you enjoy and stay tuned!