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Common Core Close Reading Exemplar for English Language Arts and Social Studies:

Grade Five: The Role and Responsibility of Citizens and Government in a Representative Democracy

Close reading is an instructional strategy that can be used to help students go deeply into text to seek out information, acquire key concepts, and employ strategies, automatically and invisibly as independent readers. The Common Core State Standards initiative encourages students to take several passes of text to read and reread passages closely and interact with text through a series of questions, discussions, and writing activities. It also calls for close reading of primary sources.

This fifth grade exemplar, adapted from close reading protocols found at achievethecore.org and by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp [i] provides directions for teachers to accomplish this goal in the context of the social studies curriculum to help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to become informed, engaged citizens.

In this exemplar, students focus their reading on the Preamble, the Articles and Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution to understand the explicit and implicit ideas regarding the purpose of government and rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.
After engaging in the close reading exercise, students are asked to apply their knowledge in relevant, real-world scenarios to create a "school constitution" and "student bill of rights" to strengthen understanding of these primary sources and build civic competencies as members of a constitutional democracy.

Video clips of each step of the exemplar feature Rebecca Valbuena, fifth grade teacher at Stanton Elementary School at Glendora Unified School District and her students. The exemplar, powerpoint presentation, and video clips are available for your professional development needs to demonstrate how social studies aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts can prepare students for college, career, and citizenship in the 21st century.

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At the bottom of this page you will find related files to download as part of this series.
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