Common Core


Common Core- Differentiation for Gifted

Many of the resources you will see on this site fit nicely with the Common Core and extend the standards, so please take a look at the other pages even though they are not titled Common Core.  This page will highlight specific Common Core standards and lesson ideas.

Good literature, whether novels or picture books, lend themselves well to multiple Common Core Literature Standards.

Common Core Exemplar Text– The Dot 



In The Dot, Peter Reynolds brings to life the relatable character, Vashti, a student who is reluctant to be an academic risk-taker.  Although this is a picture book, the level of analysis can make this appropriate for Kinder and up.  With support, even our youngest students will be able to determine the key ideas and lesson from this story.


Common Core Exemplar Text- Two Bad Ants

With the story, Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg, CCSS RL 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.7 are easily applied.


Reinforce how to use Depth and Complexity when “reading” a book cover.  Think out loud and model for students.  Really push them to examine the details of the picture.  What do they see?  How do the ants look to them? My think out loud- “They don’t look like bad ants to me.  I wonder what the problem in this story is going to be.”
Throughout the story, continue to go back to the title- Two Bad Ants.  

Have students apply Depth and Complexity to determine the Big Idea (lesson) of the story.

Bring in the perspective icon and discuss with students whether they thought the two ants were bad.  Be sure to have tell you “How they know”.  With younger students, the teacher can act as the scribe.  This reinforces the importance of citing textual evidence.

Continue the discussion and bring in the Big Idea icon.  Ask students to identify the lesson the ants learned.


The Grasshopper and the Ant- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.2

Envision Gifted. 2nd Grade Grasshopper and AntThis is from a 2nd grade class at my school.  Students determined the big idea/lesson in the story.  Students demonstrated their understanding through a quick write.

Point of View Influences How Events are Described

Envision Gifted. CCSS RL4.6. Depth and Complexity, Content ImperativesCCSS RL4.6  Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the differences between first and third person narratives.

Help students understand how/ why words and details used in first and 3rd person accounts might differ.



Visit the Library of Congress at to access first person narratives of the Gold Rush in their collection, “California as I Saw It, First Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849-1900“.


Download File for student use. CCSS RL 4.6 POV influences details

Envision Gifted. CCSS RL4.6. Depth and Complexity. Content Imperatives

Use Patterns to Discover the Lesson in a StoryEnvision Gifted. Patterns to Determine Lesson

Anchor Standard R.2- Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

Anchor Standard R.7

Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Envision Gifted. Close read image with Depth and Complexity. Men voting. Woman left out.     Envision Gifted. Close read image. Ants working together. Close read a image use Depth and complexity.

Analyze the Star Spangled Banner

Envision Gifted. Star Spangled Banner. Depth and Complexity

Help history come alive for your students by making it relevant and interesting.  Students will gain necessary background knowledge to critically read and comprehend the U.S. National Anthem.

I have included downloadable files below, but be sure to also check out the Smithsonian Website for great resources and background information on the song.

smithsonian banner

The Star Spangled Banner Origin, Context, Contribution

Common Core – Exemplar Texts

Envision Gifted. Character Analysis flowerExemplar texts are example texts that demonstrate the level of complexity and quality the Common Core State Standards require.  They serve as guideposts for teachers in selecting appropriately complex text for their students.

Link to the CCSS Exemplar Text

CCSS Appendix_B

CCSS.RL.1.3   Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story using details. 



 Exemplar Read Aloud Text: Mr. Popper’s Penguins

Envision Gifted. Mr. Popper Flower. Depth and ComplexityThe information used in this sample is drawn from Chapter 1.

The petals are laminated and removable for reuse throughout the year.  The laminated petals can be filled in by the teacher or given to student groups to complete.

Envision Gifted. Character Change Petals. Depth and Complexity

Character Analysis Extend It Further!

Envision Gifted. Character Flower. Depth and ComplexityHave students analyze not only key details about the main character in a story, but also that character as seen through the eyes of other characters.  Prompts include: Key details about the supporting characters; How other characters act around or toward the main character; What other characters think/feel about the main character; What other characters say about or to the main character.



Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding


Envision Gifted. CCSS. From Seed to Plant. Depth and Complexity.

Exemplar Text Grades 2-3 From Seed to Plant

 What is this book about? 


What should I learn from this book?

 Students use pictures and words from the cover to make predictions about the big idea of the book.