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Using the Technology Issue of The Change Agent to Teach to the College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards

The Change AgentThe Change Agent has heard from teachers and programs that they need materials to help them teach to the new College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards, and we have engineered our lesson plans and activities accordingly.

For example, turn to the story called “Finding Felix” in our latest issue, and on the surface, it is simply a moving account of a young woman who used social media to find her long-lost brother. But by using the carefully designed activities we have included, your students will have the opportunity to work on anchor standards 1-3 of the CCR standards in reading as well as writing. These include being able to determine what the text means and how you can prove it, and being able to write in various ways in response, including providing reasoning, evidence, and details.

Look on page 3 of the Technology issue, and at first glance, the story is a moving plea from a father: How can he afford to buy his daughter that fancy smart phone? But it’s not just a highly relevant account of a problem that almost every parent can relate to, it is also an opportunity for students to work on anchor standards 1-3 for speaking and listening as well as 4-6 for language. These include being able to converse by expressing yourself and building on others’ ideas, and being able to independently build your vocabulary. The online audio version of this article, available to subscribers, gives students a chance to listen to the article while they read along (an evidence-based strategy for improving reading comprehension, as well as grammar and pronunciation).

If you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about the new "Common Core," and if you’ve been wondering what resources are available for bringing that work into the classroom, you should know that The Change Agent lends itself rather seamlessly to the key shifts in the new CCR standards. What are those shifts? In English Language Arts, they can be summarized as: 1) expose students to increasingly complex texts, 2) give them opportunities to analyze readings and be able to cite evidence from the text for their analysis, and 3) help them build actual knowledge in science, history, and technical subjects.

The Technology issue of The Change Agent (published September 2013) is filled with extensions, factoids, background details, and research opportunities that help students build knowledge in exactly these areas (see #3 above). Discussion questions and writing prompts send students back to the text to find out what the author said, why she said it, what she meant, and how you know that’s what she meant. Articles reference each other and build on each other, offering a built-in "staircase" to more complexity and more knowledge. Opportunities to practice grammar and vocabulary exist within content that is interesting and relevant to adult learners. Not only that, but most of the content is written by peers, so readers have role models on every page! Look at the table below to see which articles address which standards.

The Change Agent has a long history of using socially relevant material to teach reading, writing, and math. With back issues on everything from fashion to health to the economic crisis, our articles impart knowledge, and the lesson plans and extensions help students distinguish fact from opinion, build their knowledge, assess the author’s point of view, analyze evidence, and build math skills based on real-world problems. So if you’re already using The Change Agent, you’re a step ahead when it comes to teaching to these standards. And if you’re not using The Change Agent, consider subscribing. It costs just $20 per year to access the current issue, all the back issues, and all the online audio and issue extras.

Use the Technology issue of The Change Agent to teach
College and Career Readiness (CCR) Standards

The 10 anchor standards for reading can be broken up into 4 groups

Anchor Standards In Everyday English TCA excerpts
Key Ideas and Details (R.CCR.1-3) What does the text say? What does it not say? What does it mean? How can you prove it? pp. 8-9, 19, 22-23, 43
Craft & Structure (R.CCR.4-6) How does author use language to commu-nicate? How is the text organized? Who wrote this and how/why does that matter? p. 19
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (R.CCR.7-9) How does this connect with other sources? Does it measure up? Is it valid? p. 51
Range and Level of Text Complexity (R.CCR.10) Can students read widely and deeply from a broad range of high-quality texts? pp. 44, 50-51, 52-53
The 9 anchor standards for writing can be broken up into 4 groups
Text Types and Purposes (W.CCR.1-3) Write arguments. Write explanatory texts. Write narratives. Stress complexity, reasoning, evidence, and details. pp. 22-23, 44, 45
Production and Distribution of Writing (W.CCR4-6) Know your audience. Speak clearly to them. Plan, revise, re-write. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to collaborate and interact. p. 20
Research to Build and Present Knowledge (W.CCR.7-9) Research. Gather information from various sources. Assess credibility of those sources. DO NOT plagiarize. pp. 6, 8-9, 11, 24, 39, 41
The 6 anchor standards for speaking and listening can be broken up into 2 groups
Comprehension and Collaboration (SL.CCR.1-3) Be able to converse by expressing yourself and building on others’ ideas. Integrate information from diverse formats. Be able to evaluate a speaker’s point of view. pp. 3, 10-11, 13, 44
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas (SL.CCR. 4-6) Present information in an organized way. Use various media in your presentations. Use formal English when necessary. pp. 17, 25, 35
The 6 anchor standards for language can be broken up into 3 groups
Conventions of Standard English (L.CCR.1-2) Get that grammar down! And spelling and punctuation too! pp. 20, 21
Knowledge of Language (L.CCR.3) Choose words, phrases, and punctuation for effect. Vary sentence patterns. Notice how language is used in poetry, drama, etc.  
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (L.CCR4-6) Use context clues to determine meaning. Use a dictionary. Understand figurative language and nuance. Use academic and domain-specific words. Be able to independently acquire new vocabulary. pp. 3, 12, 48
Key math shift: rigorous application of mathematics in real-world contexts.
  Real world applications for calculating probabilities as fractions, decimals or percent; statistical analysis of rational data. pp. 11, 14, 18-19, 20


A pdf of this grid is also available for printing.

Adapted from “College and Career Readiness Standards for Adult Education,” Susan Pimentel, 2013; and with thanks to

Photo credit:
 Jon Crispin